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Tours Pace 2

Central Asia: A Grand Tour

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

from £4,053 per person 20 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £155 if not required
  • VIP travel service VIP door to door
  • Breakfasts and more All breakfasts and more

Follow the Silk Route through three countries…

This adventure to the Central Asian Steppe and legendary Tien Shan Mountains strips away the enigma of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, revealing a land of stunning alpine scenery and mysterious ancient kingdoms. See modern cities tinged with the remnants of Russian rule, discover snow-crested mountains, lush valleys and otherwordly gorges, explore dusty ruins and follow the Silk Route into the heart of Uzbekistan. Here you explore the ancient cities of Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent where towering minarets, glazed arches and gleaming turquoise domes etch the skyline, and travel across a landscape little changed since the days of Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great.

Including...

20 nights in hotels 1 aboard a train and 1 in flight

52 meals: 22 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 18 dinners

Excursions and visits

  • City tour of old and new Astana
  • City tour of Bishkek
  • Visit to Ala-Archa National Park
  • Shopping at Osh Bazaar
  • Ruined city of Balasagun
  • Visit to the petroglyphs of Cholpon-Ata
  • Tour of Karakol
  • Djety-Oguz Gorge
  • Barskoon Gorge and Skazka Canyon
  • Charyn Canyon
  • City tour of Almaty
  • Funicular ride to the alpine resort of Shymbaluk
  • Shymkent city tour
  • Otrar and the Arystan Bab Mausoleum
  • Turkistan and the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
  • Walking tour of historic Khiva
  • Medieval Bukhara guided tour
  • Baha-ud-Din Naqshband's mausoleum visit
  • Visit Samarkand's Museum of Afrosiyab
  • See Tamerlane's tomb in Samarkand
  • Visit to the ancient Timurid centre of Shakhrisabz
  • Sightseeing tour of Tashkent
Spring Departures

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-Astana

Fly to Astana

After taking Saga’s included UK VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.

Astana Kazakhstan Asia

Day 2 Astana

Astana

The city of Astana, in a similar way to Washington, DC, was purpose built to be the capital of Kazakhstan. Arrive in the city where you will spend the night at the Hotel Kaz Zhol (4Q). After checking in to the hotel you’ll be taken on a tour of the city’s modern side of dazzling skyscrapers – some designed by British architect Norman Foster – and cutting-edge government buildings. See the huge Hazrat Sultan Mosque and visit to the National Museum, which covers the history of Kazakhstan from ancient times to present day. Lunch is at a local restaurant while you can look forward to a welcome dinner at a restaurant this evening complete with entertainment and a glass of wine. B, L, D

Astana Kazakhstan Asia

Day 3 Astana-Bishkek

Nur-Astana Mosque

Get set for an early departure as you head to the airport before flying to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan set against the backdrop of the Tien Shan mountains. You will spend two nights at the Ambassador Hotel (4Q). After checking in and lunch at the hotel you can explore the city on an included tour. In addition to visiting museums of history and fine art, the Philharmonic Hall and open spaces including Victory Square you will visit Osh Bazaar, one of the busiest markets in Bishkek. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant. B, L, D

Astana Kazakhstan Asia

Day 4 Bishkek

Ala-Archa National Park

After breakfast drive to Supara to visit the ethno-complex where you can immerse yourself in the history, culture and experience daily life of the ancient Kyrgyz. The site features wood and felt dwellings aswell as traditional stone houses. After lunch at the complex you will visit Ala-Archha National Park before dinner this evening in a local restaurant. B, L, D

Bishkek Kyrgyzstan Asia

Day 5 Bishkek to Karakol

Burana Tower

Check out after breakfast and begin your journey to Issy-Kul Lake, Karakol. En route, visit the Burana Tower, the remains of the mosque of the medieval city of Balasagun, set on the Silk Road. Travel to the lakeside town of Cholpon-Ata for lunch at a cafe, then visit the open-air ethnographic museum, which will reveal the history of the nomads who made the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul their home. Just outside of the town you’ll see a collection of ancient petroglyphs, or rock carvings, dating from 500 BC to the 6th century. The huge boulders here are illustrated with scenes of hunting, rituals and animals, particularly the horned ibex, it’s thought that the area was once a place of worship. Stroll among the rocks and admire the view over the lake, then continue your journey to the city of Karakol. Spend the next two nights at the locally rated 4-star Green Yard Guest House (3Q), where dinner is served this evening. B, L, D

Issyk-Kul Region Kyrgyzstan Asia

Day 6 Karakol to Barskoon

Tour the town of Karakol and see the Dungan Mosque, which resembles a Chinese Temple, and the distinctive Orthodox church built almost entirely from wood. After driving to Barskoon Gorge enjoy a gentle hike to the top of the Cup of Manas waterfall. Then, after a picnic lunch, head to Skazka Canyon, otherwise known as Fairy Tale Canyon because of its unusual rock formations – which resemble anything from the Great Wall of China to a hippo! After this you’ll visit Djety-Oguz Gorge where vast rocky outcrops rise above the forest. Dinner is at a local restaurant. B, L, D

Kyrgyzstan Asia Barskoon Gorge

Day 7 Karakol-Bishkek-Almaty

View of Almaty

After a scenic drive through Boom Gorge to Bishkek, fly to Almaty – Kazakhstan’s former capital. The city is a glamorous mix of skyscrapers, parks, shopping centres and western-style cafes. You will spend the next two nights at the Ramada Almaty Hotel (4Q) where a light dinner will be served tonight. B, L, D

Kyrgyzstan Asia Almaty Kazakhstan

Day 8 Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon

Today you visit the gaping chasm of Charyn Canyon and descend into it for a gentle hike between the sheer rocky walls. Thousands of years of weathering have left the canyon with a number of bizarre rock formations. B, L, D

Charyn Canyon National Park Kazakhstan Asia

Day 9 Almaty to Shymkent

Ascension Cathedral in Almaty

Explore Almaty’s Soviet-influenced old quarter and see the Ascension Cathedral, built entirely from wood without the use of a single nail, and visit the Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments. Then ride a funicular into the mountains to the alpine resort of Shymbulak, before returning to Almaty to visit the Central State Museum and the Grand Theatre. This evening you head to Kok-Tobe Park, the highest point in the city, for amazing views over Almaty. Catch the overnight train to Shymkent with a packed dinner onboard. B, D


Day 10 Shymkent

Shymkent is one of Kazakhstan’s most modern and dynamic cities with a blend of Russian, Kazakh and Uzbek influences giving it a unique identity. During your tour you’ll see the archaeological museum and learn about the ancient traders and nomads whose paths led them through the city. Stay two nights at the Aidana Plaza Hotel (4Q). B, L


Day 11 Otrar and Turkistan

Arystan Bab mosque

Pay a visit to the abandoned city of Otrar, once an important Silk Route stopover, and then see the great mausoleum and mosque of Arystan Bab. In the city of Turkistan you visit the stunning Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a revered Turkic poet and holy man. Ultimately unfinished, it’s a glorious picture of artful tile work, imposing masonry and bright turquoise domes. B, L, D

Turkistan South Kazakhstan Region Kazakhstan Asia Otrar

Day 12 Shymkent-Tashkent

Tashkent

Transfer to Tashkent in Uzbekistan where you will spend two nights at the Wyndham Tashkent (4Q)

Tashkent Uzbekistan Asia

Day 13 Tashkent

Tashkent

Enjoy a day at leisure in Tashkent. Perhaps seek out the historic market at Chorzu Bazaar or enjoy breathtaking views of the city from the observation deck of the iconic Tashkent Tower. B


Day 14 Tashkent-Urgench-Khiva

Khiva

Transfer to Khiva for two nights at the Asia Khiva (3Q) or a similar hotel. On some departures you'll stay overnight in Tashkent and spend just one night in Khiva. B, D

Khiva Uzbekistan Asia

Day 15 Khiva

Khiva

Today's included morning walking tour will reveal Khiva's inner fortress, Itchan Kala, an architectural treasure trove of carefully restored mud-walled monuments. Highlights include the Ismail Khodja Mausoleum, the 16th-century Kunya-Ark Castle and 19th-century Muhammed Amin Khan Madrassah. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and dinner with a folk show at the 19th-century Kibla Tozabog, the summer residence of the Khiva Khans. Between November and March this will be at an alternative venue in the afternoon. B, L, D

Khiva Uzbekistan Asia

Day 16 Khiva to Bukhara

The Red Desert

A long day's journey will take you across the Kyzyl-Kum or Red Desert, a route that once took camel caravans laden down with silk, spices and other exotic goods a month to make. You'll pause en route for a packed lunch before continuing to Bukhara, where you stay three nights at the Asia Bukhara (3Q) or a similar hotel.B, L, D 

Bukhara Uzbekistan Asia

Day 17 Bukhara

Samanids Mausoleum

A centre of trade and education for more than 2,000 years, Bukhara is the best example of a medieval city in Central Asia. Seek out its key sights on an included three-quarter day walking tour of its old town, including the 10th-century Samanids Mausoleum. Later this afternoon, perhaps visit the 15th to 16th-century domed bazaars where merchants still ply their trade. Look forward to an included dinner at a local guest house, with a class on Bukharian cuisine. B, D

Bukhara Uzbekistan Asia

Day 18 Bukhara

Naqshbandi Mausoleum

Journey beyond the heart of the city today to the magnificent 16th to 19th-century Naqshbandi Mausoleum, built for the founder of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, on an included morning tour. Beautiful blue-glazed tiles adorn the facade of this domed, multi-arched masterpiece. Also visit the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara, Sitorai-Mokhi-Hossa, a reminder of Uzbekistan's era of Russian rule. After an embroidery masterclass, enjoy lunch in a guest house, then this evening stroll through the atmospheric streets of Bukhara to a local restaurant for an included dinner and a folk and fashion show. B, L, D 

Bukhara Uzbekistan Asia

Day 19 Bukhara to Samarkand

Samarkand

After breakfast, take a bus to Samarkand where you stay two nights at the Grand Samarkand (4Q) or a similar hotel. This afternoon, join an included visit to the Afrosiyab Museum before dinner at a local restaurant. B, D

Samarkand Uzbekistan Asia

Day 20 Samarkand

Registan Square

Admire the colourful mosaics, blue domes and lofty arches of Registan Square on today's included tour. This grand plaza is bordered on three sides by a group of splendid structures spanning the 14th to 16th centuries, built by the Timurid dynasty. Afterwards enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. B, D

Samarkand Uzbekistan Asia

Day 21 Shakhrisabz and Samarkand to Tashkent

Tahta-karacha Pass

This morning, travel through the Tahta-karacha Pass to Shakhrisabz to discover 14th to 15th-century Timurid mosques, mausoleums and the ruined gateway of Ak-Saray Palace. Enjoy a taste of local cuisine during an included lunch at a guest house before returning to Samarkand for the two-hour Afrosiab high-speed train journey to Tashkent. Stay two nights at Lotte City Palace (4Q) or a similar hotel. B, L, D 

Tashkent Uzbekistan Asia

Day 22 Tashkent

Explore Tashkent

Explore modern Tashkent on an included sightseeing tour, and visit the Museum of History, the Museum of Applied Art and the Khast-Imam complex. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B, D

Tashkent Uzbekistan Asia

Day 23 Tashkent-UK

Fly home

Enjoy the morning at leisure before your return flight to the UK and your included UK door-to-door travel service home. B

Please note: For autumn departures the order of days and visits differs. Please select the Autumn Departures tab further up this page to view the alternative itinerary.


Autumn departures

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-Astana

Fly to Astana

After taking Saga’s included UK VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.

Astana Kazakhstan Asia

Day 2 UK-Astana

Astana

The city of Astana, in a similar way to Washington, DC, was purpose built to be the capital of Kazakhstan. Arrive in the city where you will spend two nights at the Hotel Kaz Zhol (4Q). After checking in to the hotel you’ll be taken on a tour of the city’s modern side of dazzling skyscrapers – some designed by British architect Norman Foster – and cutting-edge government buildings. See the huge Hazrat Sultan Mosque and visit to the National Museum, which covers the history of Kazakhstan from ancient times to present day. You will have lunch in a local restaurant while this evening you can look forward to a welcome dinner at a restaurant complete with entertainment and wine. B, L, D


Day 3 Astana

Nur-Astana Mosque

Today you’ll have a tour of the old part of the city, which dates from the era of the Russian Empire, and see Constitution Square, Congress Hall and the National Museum. You’ll also see the huge Hazrat Sultan Mosque. Lunch today will be a packed lunch from the hotel and dinner is at a local restaurant. B, L, D


Day 4 Astana-Bishkek

Ala-Archa National Park

Make your way to the airport for your flight to Bishkek where you will spend the night at the Ambassador Hotel (4Q). Explore the city and Osh Bazaar, one of the busiest markets in the city, on an included excursion, and also visit Ala Archa national Park. B, L, D


Day 5 Bishkek to Issyk-Kul

Burana Tower

Continue your tour to Issyk-Kul Lake, stopping en route at the ruins of Balasagun, once ruled by the Soghdian people and later by the Kara-Khanid Khanate, or kingdom. See the Burana Tower, an important marker along the Silk Road, and a collection of ancient headstones dating from 500 BC. Later on visit a local household to learn about traditional felt making. Stay overnight at Karven Four Seasons (3Q+) or Karven Issyk-Kul (3Q+). B, L, D


Day 6 Issyk-Kul to Karakol

Cholpon-Ata petroglyphs

See the petroglyphs of Cholpon-Ata, ancient rock carvings depicting local wildlife and hunting scenes – some of which date from the Bronze Age. Tour the town of Karakol and see the Dungan Mosque, which resembles a Chinese Temple, and the distinctive Orthodox church built almost entirely from wood. After this you’ll visit Djety-Oguz Gorge where vast rocky outcrops rise above the forest. Spend two nights at the Green Yard guest house (3Q). B, L, D


Day 7 Barskoon Gorge and Skazka Canyon

Skazka Canyon

This morning enjoy a gentle hike in the Barskoon Gorge, between the steep slopes of the valley and up to the top of the Cup of Manas waterfall. Then, after a picnic lunch, head to Skazka Canyon, otherwise known as Fairy Tale Canyon because of its unusual rock formations – which resemble anything from the Great Wall of China to a hippo! B, L, D

Barskoon Gorge Kyrgyzstan Asia

Day 8 Karakol-Bishkek-Almaty

Boom Gorge

After a scenic drive through Boom Gorge to Bishkek, fly to Almaty in Kazakhstan and spend the next two nights at The Rixos Hotel (4Q). As you’ll be arriving late, dinner will be a light supper at the hotel. B, L, D


Day 9 Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon

Today you visit the gaping chasm of Charyn Canyon and descend into it for a gentle hike between the sheer rocky walls. Thousands of years of weathering have left the canyon with a number of bizarre rock formations. B, L, D

Charyn Canyon National Park Kazakhstan Asia

Day 10 Almaty

Ascension Cathedral

Explore Almaty’s Soviet-influenced old quarter and see the Ascension Cathedral, built entirely from wood without the use of a single nail, and visit the Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments. Then ride a funicular into the mountains to the alpine resort of Shymbulak, before returning to Almaty to visit the Central State Museum and the Grand Theatre. This evening you head to Kok-Tobe Park, the highest point in the city, for amazing views over Almaty. Catch the overnight train to Shymkent with a packed dinner included. B, D


Day 11 Shymkent

Aksu Canyon

Shymkent is one of Kazakhstan’s most modern and dynamic cities with a blend of Russian, Kazakh and Uzbek influences giving it a unique identity. During your tour you’ll see the archaeological museum and learn about the ancient traders and nomads whose paths led them through the city. You’ll also visit two of its lively markets. Stay two nights at the Shymkent Hotel (4Q). B, L


Day 12 Otrar and Turkistan

Arystan Bab mosque

Pay a visit to the abandoned city of Otrar, once an important Silk Route stopover, and then see the great mausoleum and mosque of Arystan Bab. In the city of Turkistan you visit the stunning Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a revered Turkic poet and holy man. Ultimately unfinished, it’s a glorious picture of artful tile work, imposing masonry and bright turquoise domes. B, L, D

Turkistan South Kazakhstan Region Kazakhstan Asia Otrar

Day 13 Shymkent-Tashkent

Tashkent

Transfer to Tashkent in Uzbekistan and spend the night at Wyndham Tashkent (4Q). B


Day 14 Tashkent-Urgench-Khiva

Khiva

Transfer to Khiva for two nights at the Asia Khiva (3Q) or a similar hotel. B, D


Day 15 Khiva

Khiva

Today's included morning walking tour will reveal Khiva's inner fortress, Itchan Kala, an architectural treasure trove of carefully restored mud-walled monuments. Highlights include the Ismail Khodja Mausoleum, the 16th-century Kunya-Ark Castle and 19th-century Muhammed Amin Khan Madrassah. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and dinner with a folk show at the 19th-century Kibla Tozabog, the summer residence of the Khiva Khans. Between November and March this will be at an alternative venue in the afternoon. B, L, D

Khiva Uzbekistan Asia

Day 16 Khiva to Bukhara

The Red Desert

A long day's journey will take you across the Kyzyl-Kum or Red Desert, a route that once took camel caravans laden down with silk, spices and other exotic goods a month to make. You'll pause en route for a packed lunch before continuing to Bukhara, where you stay three nights at the Asia Bukhara (3Q) or a similar hotel. B, L, D


Day 17 Bukhara

Samanids Mausoleum

A centre of trade and education for more than 2,000 years, Bukhara is the best example of a medieval city in Central Asia. Seek out its key sights on an included three-quarter day walking tour of its old town, including the 10th-century Samanids Mausoleum. Later this afternoon, perhaps visit the 15th to 16th-century domed bazaars where merchants still ply their trade. Look forward to an included dinner at a local guest house, with a class on Bukharian cuisine. B, D


Day 18 Bukhara

Naqshbandi Mausoleum

Journey beyond the heart of the city today to the magnificent 16th to 19th-century Naqshbandi Mausoleum, built for the founder of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, on an included morning tour. Beautiful blue-glazed tiles adorn the facade of this domed, multi-arched masterpiece. Also visit the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara, Sitorai-Mokhi-Hossa, a reminder of Uzbekistan's era of Russian rule. After an embroidery masterclass, enjoy lunch in a guest house, then this evening stroll through the atmospheric streets of Bukhara to a local restaurant for an included dinner and a folk and fashion show. B, L, D 


Day 19 Bukhara to Samarkand

Samarkand

After breakfast, take a bus ride to Samarkand where you stay two nights at the Grand Samarkand (4Q) or a similar hotel. This afternoon, join an included visit to the Afrosiyab Museum before dinner at a local restaurant. B, D


Day 20 Samarkand

Registan Square

Admire the colourful mosaics, blue domes and lofty arches of Registan Square on today's included tour. This grand plaza is bordered on three sides by a group of splendid structures spanning the 14th to 16th centuries, built by the Timurid dynasty. Afterwards enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. B, D


Day 21 Shakhrisabz and Samarkand to Tashkent

Tahta-karacha Pass

This morning, travel through the Tahta-karacha Pass to Shakhrisabz to discover 14th to 15th-century Timurid mosques, mausoleums and the ruined gateway of Ak-Saray Palace. Enjoy a taste of local cuisine during an included lunch at a guest house before returning to Samarkand for the two-hour Afrosiab high-speed train journey to Tashkent. Stay two nights at the Wyndham Tashkent (4Q) or Lotte City Palace (4Q) or a similar hotel. B, L, D


Day 22 Tashkent

Explore Tashkent

Explore modern Tashkent on an included sightseeing tour, and visit the Museum of History, the Museum of Applied Art and the Khast-Imam complex. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B, D


Day 23 Tashkent-UK

Fly home

Enjoy the morning at leisure before your return flight to the UK and your included UK door-to-door travel service home. B

Please note: For spring departures the order of days and visits differs. Please select the Spring Departures tab further up this page to view the alternative itinerary.



Central Asia: A Grand Tour

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

from £4,053 per person 20 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £155 if not required
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Central Asia: A Grand Tour

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

from £4,053 per person 20 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £155 if not required