VISIT THREE STANS IN CENTRAL ASIA
Combination tour of 24 days, since 2023
Three countries, with partly the same history but very different in appearance. Kazakhstan with some mountain areas and impressive sandy desserts. Kyrgyzstan with mainly high mountains and valleys. Uzbekistan with well-preserved madrassas, castles and mausolea dating back to the Middle Ages.
As Central Asians we share much and have similarities, but it is our differences that will fascinate you on this tour.
In Kazakhstan you will visit the large, modern town of Almaty, the famous Medeo skating rink and several National Parks. In Kyrgyzstan you travel around the 2nd highest largest mountain lake in the world and learn more about nomadic life, and Uzbekistan has preserved a rich architectural heritage and was once the main centre of the Silk Road.
After independence all three countries developed in different directions. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are much larger than Kyrgyzstan and have more resources. Kazakhstan became financially well to do, contrary to the other two countries. The Uzbeks have always been settlers, the Kyrgyz have always been nomads.
The tour starts in Almaty and from there you make a round tour, visiting several National Parks, staying in hotels. B&Bs and guesthouses.
In Kyrgyzstan you will travel around Lake Issyk-Kul, learn about the local customs and habits connected with the nomadic life, and sleep in yurts, the felt nomad tents. You will get a chance to meet with locals, trying their cuisines and experiencing their daily lives and culture.
The Uzbek part starts in Tashkent and then on to Bukhara and Samarkand. All the major sites have been included. But there is more than just historical monuments – visiting bazaars, cooking classes, folklore shows, including a chance to enjoy some of the natural beauty as you travel from place to place.
Day By Day Programme
Here you can find a detailed description of the tour with routes and locations
|Day 1||Departure from your local airport.|
|Day 2||Arrival at Almaty Airport and transfer to the hotel. After some rest, a city tour with guide interpreter. Almaty is a modern, friendly town, originally built as a garrison outpost of the Tsars. In Panfilov Park in the center, you can visit the Russian Orthodox Zenkov Cathedral, go to the Green bazaar and admire the new modern architectural; buildings. Although it is not the capital, Almaty is still the economic center of the country. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 3||Today we visit the National Park Altyn-Emel, 250 km from Almaty. It is on the south side of the Ili River and covers 520.000 hectares. Lunch in Basschi. In the afternoon to the so-called “singing dunes” north-east of Almaty). “Singing Dunes” is a phenomenon of nature, famous for the fact that when the weather is dry the sand dune emits a sound similar to the tune of an organ. Stay with local family in Basschi.|
|Day 4||After breakfast we leave for Zharkent (118 km). This town is by the border with China. We visit the old Mosque and Orthodox church. Zharkent was a small Uighur settlement prior to official Russian township status. Lunch here, then on to Zhundzha. This village is the capital of the Uigur district and has hot spas. Stay in hotel near the hot spa.|
|Day 5||We drive to Saty and make an excursion to Kaindy Lake. This lake is 400m long and in some places 30m deep, and is located at an altitude of 2000m. It is the result of a large landslide, which you can see as there are still a lot of dead spruce trees in the middle of the lake. Lunch with local family. In the afternoon we continue to Lake Koksai. Hike to the Koksai lake. Stay in guesthouse in Saty.|
|Day 6||Return to Almaty. We stop at the Charyn Canyon, a famous canyon of 154 km. There are impressive rock formations. We will hike a few hours through the Canyon. Then on to Almaty, where we will spend the night before leaving for Bishkek (Supper not included). It is possible to fly to Bishkek in the late afternoon or spend the night in Almaty.|
|Day 7||Today we travel to Kyrgyzstan. There are 2 options: by plane or by taxi. Taxi is less expensive and will take about 4 hours driving. Flight takes about 1 hour, however most flights are at the end of the day. Arrival in Bishkek and transfer to the Umai hotel. Depending on arrival time, some sightseeing in Bishkek with guide interpreter. Stay in Umai hotel.|
|Day 8||Today by minibus to Cholpon Ata, a bathing resort on the north side of Lake Issyk-Kul, 250 km driving. On the way we will stop to visit the Burana Tower, one of the few historical buildings of Kyrgyzstan and a remnant of an old Silk Road town. The tower is part of the minaret of the town of Balasagun that was the capital of the Karahanieden in the 11th century. In 1974 the tower was restored and now you can climb up inside the tower and enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. Around the tower you find Balbals (gravestones) and petroglyphs from the 6th to 10th centuries. The small museum contains more artifacts collected in this area. From here we go to Cholpon-Ata where we will stay in a hotel. It is possible to have a swim in the lake.|
|Day 9||We continue along the north shore of the lake heading for Karakol. On the way to Karakol we stop in Oruktu, a small village with an open-air hot spa. We can take a bath here and then continue to Karakol, a nice town at the far east side of Lake Issyk-Kul. Stay in guesthouse.|
|Day 10||If this is a Sunday, first visit the famous animal market. Next to Jeti Ogus with differently-shaped bright red rocks. Most of the rocks have names and their own legends and stories about their origin (names like Seven Bulls, Broken Heart). Our guide will tell us more about these legends. We will spend the night in the yurt camp Manjyly. On the way there will be a short hike in Fairy Tale Valley. Here again there are some very impressive rocks formations.|
|Day 11||We drive to Bokonbaevo to meet a man who hunts with golden eagles. He will tell about his profession and show his bird(s). Then on to the yurt camp Temir-Kanat (2.450 m). The last 100 m up to the yurt camp is on foot or on horseback as it is not accessible for most vehicles. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 12||Day in Temir-Kanat. Here we can rent horses to ride, go hiking or maybe learn some Kyrgyz cooking. On horseback it is possible to ride in the direction of the glacier behind the yurt camp. You can also visit the shepherds living in their yurts in pastures and taste kymyz, (fermented mare’s milk,) and see how it is made. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 13||We leave Temir-Kanat yurt camp on foot to the where the car is waiting (about 25-35 minutes walking). From here through the Kongur Ölung valley to Kara Koo where we reach the road around Lake Issyk-Kul. Continue to Kochkor, a small town well known for the making of felt carpets. Here we have lunch and continue to Son-Kul, a lake at 3016m. Even in summer it will be cold her at night, so warm clothes are needed. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 14||Day in Son-Kul. This lake is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan. It is 29 kilometers long and 18 wide, with an average depth of 13 m., and is located on a wide plateau surrounded by mountains that are around 4000 m high. There are many shepherd families on the plateau and they spend their whole summer here with their horses, cattle, sheep and yaks. We can hike or rent horses to ride in the mountains. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 15||Drive down the mountains over the Kara-Keche Pass (3.384 m), passing a small mining town, and descend into the Suusamyr Valley. We will stay in a B&B in the village Kyzyl-Oi.|
|Day 16||Today a long drive, first through the Tor-Ashu Tunnel at 3.100 m. This tunnel is 2 1/2 km long and the only pay tunnel in Kyrgyzstan. Around many hairpin bends we descend to Sosnovka and on to Kara Balta. Here we join the main road to Bishkek where we will arrive in the afternoon. Stay in Umai hotel.|
|Day 17||Day trip to Ala-Archa National Park, about 40 km south east of Bishkek. We can hike along the trail to the waterfalls of the Ala-Archa River at 3200m. Other less difficult hikes are also possible. The flora in this park is very rich and many species typical for this habitat can be found. Picnic lunch. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 18||A day in Bishkek to do some shopping or sightseeing. Transfer to Uzbekistan. It is possible to go by plane or by night bus. By plane it takes a little more than 1 hour, by night bus the whole night. The night bus is rather cheap, 25-euro p.p., plane tickets around 150-euro p.p. (prices 2022) Arrival in Tashkent, transfer to the hotel. If you travel by plane you will arrive in Tashkent late in the evening. If you travel by bus you will travel overnight. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 19||Arrival, transfer to the hotel. After some rest, a city tour around Tashkent with guide interpreter. Lunch and dinner in restaurants. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 20||Early breakfast, by fast train to Bukhara, a half day city tour in Bukhara. Masterclass cooking national dish and folklore show. Stay in a hotel.|
|Day 21||Half day city tour in Bukhara. Visit the mausoleum and Madrasah. Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon transfer to Samarkand. En route visit the museum of ceramics. Free time. Stay in a hotel.|
|Day 22||Sightseeing around Samarkand. Visit the legendary mausoleum, Registan Square – world-famous complex of 3 madrasahs – and the golden dome mosque. Free time at Registan Square and local bazar. After dinner, light show at Registan Square (if available), night view of Tamerlane’s mausoleum. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 23||Drive from Samarkand to Tashkent. Photo stop near second largest river of Central Asia – Sirdarya, local fish market and roadside markets. After lunch, free time for shopping. Farewell dinner and stay in the hotel.|
|Day 24||Transfer to the airport for the flight home.|
Due to unforeseen circumstances, it might be necessary to make small changes in the program.
We ask for your understanding.
Our tours can be organized for individual travelers or groups of up to 10 people (and sometimes more) and for families with (young) children. For the majority of our tours you can specify the start date and length of the tour.
|Date on request||Date on request|
|4 and more persons|
|For four and more persons|
|Price without transfers from Almaty to Bishkek and Bishkek to Tashkent||€ 2.460 p.p.|
For bookings of 4, or more, persons we offer a 5% discount. In case there are less participants than required, if you pay an additional fee, the trip will go on as planned.
Terms of payment
Your booking will be confirmed upon receipt of a deposit of euros 250 per person. The outstanding balance must be paid either 8 weeks before departure or in cash upon arrival. We do not accept debit or credit cards.
• Transportation by minibus
• Transfer from and to the airport/ bus station
• All meals, breakfast, lunch and supper in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, in Kazakhstan s described in the programmme
• Stay in hotel, B&B, guesthouse, yurt and homestay, except hotel in Almaty
• Programme as described
• English/German (as required) speaking guide/interpreter in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, in Kazakhstan not included
• Flights and transfers between countries
• Hotel in Almaty
• Guide/interpreter in Kazakhstan
• Personal expenses
• Horses to ride
• Alcoholic and other bottled beverages
• Activities not mentioned in the programmme
If you have to cancel a tour you already booked, we have to charge you cancellation fee.
If Ecotour cancels the tour, of course you will get back the full amount you paid.
If you cancel your trip, depending on the time your message reaches us, you owe Ecotour the following amount:
|till 42 days before departure||one pays the deposit|
|day 42- till day 28||35 %|
|day 28- till day 21||40 %|
|day 21- till day 14||50 %|
|day 14- till day 5||75 %|
|day 5 – till day 2||90 %|
|on the last day before and the day of departure||100%|
A trip with Ecotour means an unusual and unforgettable vacation.
Our trips are suitable for those who do not insist on luxury, love the mountains,
appreciate the silence and do not want to travel in large groups.
WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU
Kyrgyzstan is a land full of beautiful experiences and wonders unique…
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Mountain passes, bad tracks, off-road, and firm climbs over 3000 m characterize this route.
Not all slopes are steep, but some are very long and on dirt roads.
But it is worth the effort.