Wander Across Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (2022)

Jun. 13 — Jun. 28, 2022
16 days
6/12 spots booked
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be 100% refundable for 60 days (or until 90 days before the tour starts, whichever comes first).
When most people land here, they have no idea what to expect. By the end of their stay, they don’t want to leave. This is the ultimate tour of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Interact with nomadic Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities and learn about their culture
Go straight into nature - incredible canyons, valleys, mountain lakes and more
Spend a night in an Uzbek yurt camp
Wander through unbelievable ancient cities far off the beaten path
Discover local crafts at traditional markets along the Silk Road
Take in some of the world's most dramatic mountain landscapes

Everywhere you look in this region there seems to be the most beautiful snow-covered mountain range or the most mesmerizing lakes, the most dramatic gorges and beckoning deserts. Wandering through ancient cities full of pulsing energy, you’ll soak up the history. Traveling along dirt roads into hidden valleys, you’ll soak up the serene nature. Spending time in small towns and villages, you’ll understand why this region is considered one of the friendliest in the world.

This trip takes you to the heart of the Silk Road, where being welcomed into local homes for tea is as common as could be. There’s the colorful non-touristy markets, traditional crafts, unique regional cuisine and several activities that will leave your heart warm, your smile wide and your days unforgettable.

As we travel through these wonderful lands, you’ll stay in traditional yurts, warm guesthouses and even with local families. And you’ll dine in homes, with nomads and at some of the best eateries around.

In reality, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are two countries that few travelers reach. But for those who do travel here, they quickly become two of their favorite destinations on the planet.

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  • 1
    Day 1Bishkek
    Bishkek
    Arrival day
    Included: Dinner
    Upon arrival at the Bishkek International Airport, you'll be picked up by our private driver and taken to our hotel in the city center. Once everyone has arrived we'll have an evening orientation followed by a great local dinner.
  • 2
    Day 2Bishkek
    Bishkek
    Highlights: Walking tour of Bishkek
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    After breakfast we'll embark on a full walking tour of Bishkek, heading through the center of this planned city, with its endless monuments and grand plazas. From colorful markets to the public ping pong parks, into hidden neighborhoods that are home to a mix of the modern and traditional, you'll get an excellent feel for this peaceful city that maintains an appealingly positive vibe. We'll also enjoy lunch at one of Bishkek's most famous local eateries.
  • 3
    Day 3Tamga
    Tamga
    Highlights: Lake Issy-Kul, dramatic Ala-Too Mountains, Skazka Canyon
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Off we go towards the majestic Ala-Too Mountain Range, with a journey that will take us along the second largest mountain lake in the world. Backed by towering snow-covered peaks, Lake Issy-Kul is a gorgeous destination, with scattered villages, towns and nomadic communities near its shores. We'll stop for a walk through the gorgeous Skazka Canyon and will arrive in the little-known town of Tamga in the late afternoon. We'll then check in to our wonderful family-run guesthouse. (Total driving time to Tamga can be 7 hours including all stops, but it’s a gorgeous drive!)
  • 4
    Day 4Tamga
    Tamga
    Highlights: Soviet sanatorium, local activities, traditional dinner
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    After a home-cooked breakfast from our hosts, we'll explore Tamga with a nature walk that leads straight to Lake Issy-Kul. We'll pay a visit to the old Soviet sanatorium near town for a 'step back in time' Russian spa experience like no other! Our guesthouse hosts will then take us to several local homes to meet their friends and family so that we can learn about their culture and exchange stories with each other. After a fulfilling day, we'll sit down for a traditional Kyrgyz dinner.
  • 5
    Day 5Jety Oguz
    Jety Oguz
    Highlights: Jety-Oguz region, incredible nature, yurt camp
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Today we'll drive further into this surreal mountainous region until we reach magnificent Jety-Oguz. Here we'll find green valleys, deep red rock formations, massive peaks and nomadic communities that we will visit with some light walking along the mountain trails. We'll then settle in for a night at a quiet yurt camp away from civilization, surrounded by some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country.
  • 6
    Day 6Karakol
    Karakol
    Highlights: Walking tour of Karakol
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    After packing up our stuff, we'll take the short 1.5 hour drive to the quaint town of Karakol. We'll check in to our hotel and then head out for a complete walking tour of this friendly, traditional town. With its Russian Orthodox wooden church, Dungan mosque, picturesque neighborhoods and many local craft markets, we'll explore at a leisurely pace, always flexible to the local experiences that will pop up along the way.
  • 7
    Day 7Karakol
    Karakol
    Highlights: Food tour, traditional artisan workshops, free time
    Included: Breakfast
    In the late morning we'll head off on a local food tour focusing on regional specialties. We'll visit street stalls, restaurants and markets where you can sample a variety of dishes and snacks from Eastern Kyrgyzstan. In the early afternoon we'll learn about traditional crafts from local artisans at two great workshops that produce a unique range of products made from local felt. The rest of the afternoon will then be free for you to enjoy as you wish.
  • 8
    Day 8Karakol » Bishkek
    Karakol » Bishkek
    Highlights: Sunday Animal Market, Burana Tower, Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Waking up early will be worth it today as we stop by the traditional Sunday morning Animal Market on the outskirts of Karakol. Once we tour this bustling market that is probably unlike any other market you've ever seen, we'll begin our journey back to Bishkek. Our trip will include stops at the Burana Tower, Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs and other sites to break up the drive. We'll arrive back in Bishkek in the early evening. (Total driving time to Bishkek can be 9 hours including all stops, but it’s another gorgeous drive on a different route!)
  • 9
    Day 9Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
    Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
    Highlights: Flight to Tashkent, orientation tour of the city
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    With a short 1.5 hour flight to Tashkent this morning, we'll be in Uzbekistan before you know it! After transferring to our hotel in the city center, we'll head out with our guide for an afternoon wander that takes in the mix of modern and Soviet-era architecture. Once our walk is over, we'll enjoy dinner and evening views over the city from the Tashkent Tower.
  • 10
    Day 10Samarkand
    Samarkand
    Highlights: Main bazaar, evening in beautiful Samarkand
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Today's morning walking tour will take in more of Tashkent's highlights, including the main bazaar (Chorsu market) full of local products, food, crafts and more. After lunch we'll take a 4 hour drive to the city of Samarkand, an ancient site along the Silk Route. We'll take an evening orientation walk to soak up the great atmosphere of this picturesque location before sitting down for a local dinner in the heart of the old city.
  • 11
    Day 11Samarkand
    Samarkand
    Highlights: Full tour of Samarkand, hammam experience, free time, local dinner
    Included: Breakfast
    The full tour of beautiful Samarkand today will include Registan, the heart of the ancient city and home to some of the most spectacular architecture in the country. We'll visit the Bibi-Khanum mosque, Ulugh Bek observatory and you'll have a chance to visit an ancient hammam/bathhouse for a scrub and massage. You'll also have some free time before we meet up for an evening visit with a local family who will cook us a traditional regional dinner.
  • 12
    Day 12Nurata Yurt Camp
    Nurata Yurt Camp
    Highlights: Journey across the desert, Nurata Yurt Camp
    Highlights: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    After a 3 hour drive through the Uzbek steppes and into the desert, we'll reach Nurata. This is where we'll spend the day and night at a yurt camp, interacting with nomadic families, doing some light hiking, admiring the scenery and hanging out with the camels. At night, we'll settle into our traditional Uzbek yurts for a peaceful sleep experience out in nature.
  • 13
    Day 13Bukhara
    Bukhara
    Highlights: Travel to historic Bukhara, evening out in town
    Included: Breakfast
    Leaving our yurt camp in the morning, we'll drive to Bukhara, often considered the most beautiful city in Uzbekistan! It's beyond stunning and we'll spend time exploring the ancient mosques, caravanserais, local neighborhoods, monuments and more. Once evening comes around, we'll out into town for a local night time experience in this magical destination!
  • 14
    Day 14Bukhara
    Bukhara
    Highlights: Walking tour of the ancient city, free time
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Our walking tour today will take us straight inside the old city walls where you'll be awed by the Kalyan minaret, Bolo Haus mosque, traditional bazaar and the local crafts and jewelry market. That's not to mention the incredibly friendly people who are bound to strike up conversations, invite you for tea and most likely to meet their friends. With free time in the afternoon, you'll be able to wander around to the areas you like best and to really feel as if you are in an ancient land that not many visitors reach.
  • 15
    Day 15Tashkent
    Tashkent
    Highlights: High speed train back to Tashkent, farewell dinner
    Breakfast, Dinner
    We'll board a high speed train to Tashkent in the morning which should take 3-4 hours. Upon arrival, we'll check in to our hotel and you can then choose to have a relaxing afternoon of free time or join your tour leader for some local activities around the city. In the evening, the group will meet up for an excellent dinner as you share your favorite experiences from the past 16 days in this fascinating part of the world!
  • 16
    Day 16Tashkent
    Tashkent
    Departure Day
    Included: Breakfast
    Today you'll be picked up at the hotel by our private driver and taken to the airport in time to catch your departing flight.

Tour Essentials

Physical Level: Medium
While the tour itself is not very strenuous, please note that it can involve the following: somewhat long days, walking tours in the cities, being outside in potentially warm temperatures, a couple of long journeys, early morning wake-ups and other similar scenarios.
Accommodation
On this trip, accommodation ranges from great guesthouses and mid-range hotels to traditional nomadic yurts! You can always expect comfortable accommodation on this trip. *Yurt Camps will have shared bathrooms. Prices are based on twin-share rooms. There are 4 single rooms available at an extra charge. For twin share, solo travelers of the same sex will be placed together in a room with two beds.
Transport
During the trip, we'll travel in comfort with our private van. Our van offers plenty of space for each guest while giving us access to areas that larger vehicles simply can't go. We'll also have one flight from Bishkek to Tashkent and one high-speed train journey in Uzbekistan.
Meals
Breakfast every day, 5 lunches and 12 dinners are included. With included meals, some will be served family style and other times you will be able to order anything you wish from the menu. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice.
Sustainability
As with all of our trips, we aim to offer as sustainable an experience as we can. Reusable water bottles and shopping bags are provided to all guests, trash is recycled where possible and we avoid mass tourism activities that cause harm to the environment and/or do not benefit local communities.
Small Groups
This tour requires a minimum of 8 participants and has a maximum of 12 participants in order to ensure the best small group tour experience. With such a small group, you'll be able to enjoy unique, rewarding activities that would not be accessible with more people. That's the kind of trip we love to offer!

What's included

Included
  • Wandering Earl Expert Tour Leader
  • Small group (maximum 12 participants)
  • Accommodation (15 nights – 3* hotels, homestays, and yurt camps)
  • Transportation within Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (flights, private vans)
  • Local guides in each destination
  • All mentioned activities, entrance fees and workshops
  • Breakfast every day, 5 lunches and 12 dinners
  • Water throughout the trip
  • Gratuities at hotels/included meals
  • All airport transfers (Bishkek arrival / Tashkent departure)
Not Included
  • Flights to/from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan
  • Passport/visa fees
  • Meals and activities not mentioned
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Other gratuities

What's an Expert Tour Leader?

A Wandering Earl Expert Tour Leader is more than a guide. They’re a travel fanatic, and this is more than just a job for them, it’s a passion. They know everything there is to know about travel, and they’ll be with your group every step of the way, excited to show you what’s around the next bend.

They’ll be your cultural ambassador as they introduce you to hyper-local guides who know their part of the world better than anyone else. They’ll work hard every single day to ensure that you have the type of travel experience that brings you the most rewards. With endless connections and the freedom to improvise, our experts know exactly how to make a trip extraordinary.

And, most importantly, they’ll always be there for you any time you need them.