Central Asia highlights tour

“A chance to journey through five of central Asia's 'Stans', this is a jam-packed tour of history, culture and architecture all wrapped up in the intriguing story of the Silk Road.”


Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Uzbekistan | Tajikistan | Kyrgyzstan | Ashgabat | Anau | Mary | Merv | Bukhara | Gijduvan | Samarkand | Termez | Dushanbe | Iskandar Kol | Istarafshan | Khojand | Kanibadam | Ferghana | Tashkent | Bishkek | Son Kul | Ala Arch National Park | Almaty

Description of Central Asia highlights tour

Stretching from the Caspian Sea to the borders of western China, the ‘Stans’ of Central Asia encompass a vast expanse of land, cultures and history. Lying at the crossroads of an intricate web of trading routes, this region has witnessed the ebb and flow of people, commerce and ideas between Europe and Asia for centuries.

This incredible journey takes you from Turkmenistan across the Asian steppes to the mountains of Kazakhstan, passing through the homelands of the Uzbeks, the Tajiks and the Kyrgyz. Natural wonders include the Fan Mountains and the fertile Ferghana Valley.

You’ll follow part of the old Silk Road, taking in the ancient ruins of Merv and a host of legendary cities. There's 2700-year-old Samarkand, vibrant Tashkent with an old quarter studded with 16th and 17th century madrassahs, mausoleums and mosques, plus Bukhara – a dramatic desert-ringed fusion of Europe and the Orient.

But highlights abound throughout the trip. In the Turkmen capital Ashgabat visit the amazing Tolkuchka Bazaar, while nearby Nisa offers the ruins of the Parthian capital dating back to the 3rd century BC. Bishkek's Osh Bazaar is renowned throughout Central Asia, while nearby Son Kul serves up 2500-year-old petroglyphs plus a chance to hunker down in a yurt camp by a stunning mountain lake in Ala Archa National Park.

In Tajikistan, the city of Khojand contrasts a Middle Ages citadel with the largest statue of Lenin in Central Asia, while Dushanbe offers Central Asia's largest Buddha. You'll also visit Margilan - birthplace of Babur, founder of India's Moghul dynasty.

Istarafshan, meanwhile, is an unforgettable town whose maze of small alleys are lined with mud walled homesteads. From here, you'll head into heart-stopping vistas as you cross the Anzob Pass (3372m) to the breathtaking Lake Iskandar Kol (Alexander's Lake). See how it compares with the green-and-turquoise Big Almaty Lake amid dramatic peaks at the end of your journey in the thriving Kazakh metropolis of Almaty.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
Good walking shoes will be your best friend.
Trip type:
Tailor made to your budget and preferences.
Activity level:
25 nights 3*-4* hotels and guesthouses.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available at hotels with surcharge.
25 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners.
Accommodation, private transport, transfers, entrance fees, guide.
The currency converter above works on today’s interbank exchange rate. We do take bookings in a variety of currencies, but the rates are often set months in advance and may therefore differ from those shown above which are for guidance purposes only. Please enquire for details.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the fragile eco-structure of the desert is not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our guides are trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to all trips in all regions, and as tour operators is something we are careful to promote. In each area we employ and develop close relationships with drivers and guides. We feel the interaction between our friends and our clients offers both parties a valuable understanding between cultures.

We also support several NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, A-Cet and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.

The Impacts of this Trip

we use local ground handlers who in turn book locally run hotels, providing employment for a number of members of staff and support families. The ground handlers also use local drivers and local guides at the sites – our clients are taken to local family run restaurants. This means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economy.

In Central Asia we have developed unique relationships with many of the semi-nomadic peoples of the region and through our form of interactive, socially conscience tourism have helped them adapt to the modern, changing world by providing important income opportunities. With Sogan Bai, an eagle hunter from the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, or Noorgul, a shepherdess from the pristine Son Kul, or Nazira and her family at Tash Rabat, we have been responsible for introducing them to the homestay market, helping them to provide good, clean and interesting accommodation which in term allows them to educate their children, improve their standard of living and look after their ill.

We also support several NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, A-Cet and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.


1 Reviews of Central Asia highlights tour

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We did. Trek over Ton Prival pass, approximately 4,100m high, through the
snow, for 9 hours. It was an exhilarating day, with the most amazing views. The
view from the top was great, but every corner on the way it just got better and
better. That was a definite highlight!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have as much time as you can to spare. We managed 31 days, which allowed
lots of time for visiting cities as well as hiking, which was the primary point of
our trip. Don't overlook places like Bishtek or Turkmenistan; when planning the
itenarary they were not high on my list of must dos, but they turned out to be
highlights as well.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We interacted with many local people, used local shops, market stalls to try and
make a positive impact. I am not sure how successful we were, but many people
earned more money from us coming, which must be a good thing.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely excellent. The diversity was amazing. Yet, even with 31 days, there is
still so much we need to see. Next time the Pamir Highway just cannot be
missed! And maybe Lenin Peak!

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