Along the caravan routes of Great Silk Road

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Along the caravan routes of Great Silk Road

Duration: 16 days, 15 nights
Season: May - October
Route: Bishkek – Tamga – Son Kul – Naryn town –  Tash-Rabat – Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva – Bukhara – Nurata – Samarkand – Tashkent 
Level of difficulty: program is suitable for people of any age; there aren’t any difficulties on the route but for several days transfer takes around up to 7 hours.

Primarily, the Venetian traveler Marco Polo called these caravan routes "Silk." Later German geographer Ferdinand Richhofen invented the term “Great Silk Road” in 1877, mentioning the path in his treatise “China”.
It should be noted that silk was the main, but not the only product transported from Asia to Europe. The goods like: gold, silver, semiprecious stones, glass, leather, wool, exotic fruits, cotton fabrics, sheep, hunting dogs, special horses were exported from Central Asia. Porcelain, metal utensils, tea, rice, spices, cosmetics and medicines, elephant tusks, tortoise shells and much more were transported from China.
Besides trade, an important part of “The silk Road” was technology sharing. For example, such as the manufacture of silk, paper, gunpowder, which spread from China to the West. Also an important part was the cultural exchange in relation to architecture, painting, dance, music.
In the program “Along the Caravan routes of Great Silk Road” we visit two countries: Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Concerning Kyrgyz part, driving along several routes, parts of the Silk Road leading to China and further to the West. Going to the two picturesque lakes of the country: Issyk Kul and Son Kul, get acquainted with the life of nomadic people. Cross the whole country and move towards Uzbekistan. On the way stop at one of the oldest cities: Uzgen and Osh. Uzbekistan has a rich program - visiting the most historical places: Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva. The program also includes an overnight at the Nurata yurt camp. It is located in the desert. Here you will feel like ancient merchants on the Great Silk Road, moving on camels from one oasis to another oasis further to the West.

 

Day 1.
Airport – Bishkek 

Meeting at the airport, transfer to Bishkek. Accommodation in a Hotel. Short rest. City tour around Bishkek. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Bishkek – 700m
Distance and travel time: 35km, 40 min.

Day 2.
Bishkek – Tamga 

Drive towards Issyk Kul Lake after breakfast. On the way visiting Burana architectural-historical complex of X-XI century. Stop in Boom gorge for lunch. Accommodation in guest house in Tamga village.
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Bishkek – 700m, Tamga – 1685m
Distance and travel time: 350km, 5-6h driving, 2 h for excursion.

Day 3.
Tamga – Son Kul 

Excursion to Skazka canyon in the morning. Stop in Kochkor village for lunch. Possible to organize art-felt workshop of making Kyrgyz carpets: shyrdak and ala-kiyiz. Visiting handcraft shop-museum. Transfer to Son Kul Lake. Overnight in yurts. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Kochkor – 1767m, Son Kul Lake – 3016m
Distance and travel time: 300km, 7h driving.

Day 4.
Son Kul – Naryn 

After breakfast horseback riding and acquaintance with nomad’s life. Transfer along the caravan routes of Great Silk Road to Naryn. Accommodation in guest house.
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Son Kul Lake – 3016m, Naryn – 2020m
Distance and travel time: 145km, 3-3,5h driving.

Day 5.
Naryn – Tash Rabat 

Transfer to Tash Rabat. Excursion to the ancient caravanserai Tash Rabat, short hiking up to the pass. Possible to have horse riding excursion. Overnight in yurt camp. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Naryn – 2020m, Tash Rabat-3200 m
Distance and travel time: 155 km, 4h driving.

Day 6.
Tash Rabat – Kazarman 

Drive to Kazarman village. Quite a long way driving due to bad road conditions. Get over two passes. Overnight in a guesthouse.
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Tash Rabat – 3200m, Kazarman – 1310 m
Distance and travel time: 210 km, 5-6h driving.

Day 7.
Kazarman – Osh 

After breakfast transfer to Osh. On the way stop at the one of the oldest city in Kyrgyzstan – Uzgen. Visiting historical complex Uzgen tower and three mausoleums. Accommodation in guest house/hotel in Osh. Evening city – tour to the sacred Suleiman Too mountain. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Kazarman – 1310m, Osh – 963m
Distance and travel time: 260 km, 7 h driving.

Day 8.
Osh – Tashkent 

Transfer to the Kyrgyz/ Uzbek border “Duslik”. Transfer to Tashkent. Evening walking around the city.
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Osh – 963m, Tashkent – 455m.
Distance and travel time: 455m, 7-8h driving.

Day 9.
Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva 

Morning flight to Urgench. Arrival, transfer to the hotel in Khiva. Guided sightseeing tour program in Khiva: visit the UNESCO World Heritage site Ichan-Qala inner city. Go to Kunya-Arc fortress, Sayeed Alauddin mausoleum, medrese Amin-Mukhamad khan, mosque Oq-Masjid, medrese of Khodja Berdibay, medrese of Shirgazy khan, Juma mosque and tower, medrese of Allakuli khan, Tash Khauli palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud mausoleum, minaret Islam Khodja. Accommodation in the hotel. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Tashkent – 455m, Khiva – 109m
Distance and travel time: 1000km, 1h 20 min by plane.

Day 10.
Khiva – Bukhara 

In the morning depart Khiva and drive to Bukhara. On the way stop to see Amudarya river. Arrival to Bukhara in the afternoon. Check in to the hotel. Walk around the city. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Bukhara – 229m
Distance and travel time: 450km, 7h driving.

Day 11.
Bukhara

Sightseeing tour in Bukhara. Visit Samani dynasty mausoleum, Arc Fortress, Chashma-Ayub, Kalyan mosque and minaret, medrese Mir Arab, Magoki Attori mosque, medrese Ulugbek and Abdulaziz Khan, trade domes, Lyabi Khauz complex, medrese Chor Minor. Overnight at the hotel. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Bukhara – 229m
Distance and travel time: 5-7h for excursion.

Day 12.
Bukhara – Nurata – Yurt camp

In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to yurt camp located in Kyzylkum desert near the village of Yangigazgan (Navoi region). On the way stop in Nurata to visit a local mosque with a holy spring water. Arrival to Yurt camp, accommodation in Yurts. Camel riding and free time. In the evening dinner near the camp fire with Kazakh akin singing folk songs. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Bukhara – 229 m, Nurata – 490m 
Distance and travel time: 170km, 3-4h driving.

Day 13.
Yurt camp – Nurata – Samarkand 

In the morning visit the unique Aidarkul Lake located in the desert. Walking around the lake, free time. In the afternoon drive to Samarkand. Accommodation in a hotel. 
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Nurata – 490m, Samarkand – 705m
Distance and travel time: 300km, 5-6h driving.

Day 14.
Samarkand

Sightseeing tour in Samarkand. Visit Registan Square, ruins of Bibi-Khanum Mosque, Shakhi-Zinda necropolis, Gur-Emir mausoleum, Ulugbek observatory, Afrosiyob museum, Central oriental bazaar. Overnight at the hotel.
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Samarkand – 705m
Distance and travel time: 5-7h for excursion.

Day 15.
Samarkand – Tashkent 

Transfer to Tashkent. Check-in in a hotel. Short rest. City tour. Accommodation in a hotel.
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Samarkand – 705m, Tashkent – 455m
Distance and travel time: 5-6h by car/2h by train.

Day 16.
Tashkent – Airport

Transfer to the airport. Departure.
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Tashkent - 455 m

Reccomended list of clothing:
Sunscreen (at least 20SPF);
Lip balm;
Sunglasses with UV protection;
At least a 25 Liter backpack for personal items;
Telescopic trekking sticks poles (optional);
Head lamp spare bulbs & batteries; 
T-Shirts, long-sleeved T-shirt, shorts;
Trekking pants;
Underwear;
Fleece jacket or pullover;
Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional); 
Down vest and/or jacket (optional);
Waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex);
Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex);    
Sun hat or scarf;
Warm fleece hat or light balaclava; 
Comfortable shoes.