Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Tajikistan
Heart of the Silk Road

Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Tajikistan – Heart of the Silk Road – a 15 day Small Group Tour.

This tour concentrates the essence of Central Asia, visiting three now distinct states connected across the centuries by the Silk Road’s east west trading legacy. Important historic cities such as Tashkent, Dushanbe, and Ashgabat, join the fabled khanates of Bukhara and Khiva, and incredible archaeological sites such as Merv and Konye-Urgenche.

Delve into the history of this fascinating region with Undiscovered Destinations small group tour along the ‘Heart of the Silk Road’. Visit Khiva with its superb monuments, the holy city of Bukhara as well as Samarkand, home to Central Asia’s most stunning architecture.

We cross the border into Turkmenistan to visit the ancient cities of Merv and Konye-Urgench, and its unique capital Ashgabat. Spend time in stunning Tajikistan with its incredible mountain scenery and enjoy the hospitality of the people throughout.

This really is a superb introduction to the Silk Road. The itinerary doesn’t aim to provide and in-depth exploration of Central Asia, but it does pack an incredible amount into a relatively short time, identifying a culturally rich and varied vein through neighbouring states that survived the wholesale homogenising of the Soviet period to emerge once again.

If this is your first experience of Central Asia it won’t be your last.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon there will be a city tour of some of the sites of Tashkent including the Chorsu Bazaar, Hast Imam Square and Kukeldahs Madrassa, with a ride on the metro system. Overnight at City Palace or similar. No meals are included today.

(Approximate journey time: one hour)

This morning we return to the airport and fly to Urgench, driving from there to Khiva. The ancient khanate is a stunning city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, possessing a wealth of remarkable monuments. The afternoon is spent exploring its sights, including mosques and madrassas, and mausoleums of former khans. Overnight Orient Star Hotel or similar. (B)

Today we continue to visit the city’s sights. After lunch there’ll be time to explore independently on foot. Overnight Orient Star Hotel or similar. (B)

(Approximate journey time: four hours)

Leaving Khiva, we cross the border into little-known Turkmenistan, heading for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Konye-Urgench, an ancient capital of the land of Khorezm known for its beautiful mausoleums. Afterwards we drive to the airport at Dashogus for a flight to Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat. Overnight Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (B)

Please note: The procedure for crossing borders can be lengthy even at quieter times. The border guards (especially those on the Uzbekistan side) carry out thorough searches of luggage and will pay close attention to any medicines and reading materials.


Today we discover the sights of Ashgabat, a modern city characterised by extensive and some would say eccentric building projects. Later we return to the airport and fly to Mary, an oasis town close to the ancient city of Merv. Overnight Mary Hotel or similar. (B)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

This morning we visit the array of mosques, citadels and Buddhist stupas found at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Merv, the most important ancient site in Turkmenistan, dating back 2,500 years. Afterwards we cross the border back into Uzbekistan and head to Bukhara, Central Asia’s holiest city. Overnight Sasha and Sons or similar. (B)

We spend today exploring Bukhara, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and where a superbly preserved old quarter makes it one of the region’s most spectacular cities. Overnight Sasha and Sons or similar. (B)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

After breakfast we drive to the legendary city of Samarkand, stopping en route at Gijduvan, locally renowned as a centre for ceramics. Upon arrival in Samarkand we begin to explore. Overnight Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Today is dedicated to discovering Samarkand’s remarkable ancient heritage. The city is most famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Site of Registan which contains perhaps the most breath-taking architecture in the whole region. It’s easy to spend hours among the square’s mosques and madrassas, all elaborately decorated in blue ceramic tiles and traditional Islamic art. Overnight at Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

(Approximate driving time: one to two hours)

After breakfast we cross the border into Tajikistan, driving towards Panjikent and stopping at the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of Sarazm, dating from 3,500 BC. Panjikent itself has a remarkably well-preserved old town, a vestige of its past significance as a Silk Road trading city. On arrival there’s time to explore the city. Overnight Umarion Hotel or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three-and-a-half-hours)

Leaving Panjikent, we drive to Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, over the 2,900m Anzob Pass. On arrival there’s time to see some of the sights and soak up the atmosphere of a little-visited Central Asian city. Overnight Hotel Serena  or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: four hours)

It’s a stunning drive today, for the most part on a surprisingly good roads, through the lofty Fann Mountains to Iskanderkul. On arrival there’s time to hike around the lake shore, exploring nearby waterfalls, springs and villages. Overnight Tourist Cottages. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three-and-a-half-hours)

After breakfast we drive over Shahristan Pass, through the Azob Tunnel to Khujand, the capital of northern Tajikistan. En route we will stop in Istravshan and visit the Mugh Fortress, Kok-Gumbaz Madrassa, Chor-Gumbaz mosque, and a local bazaar. On arrival we have time for a city tour. Highlights include Pushkin Square, Kamoli Khujandi Square, the fortress of Timur Malik and the city’s central market, one of the oldest in Tajikistan. Overnight Khujand Hotel or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: four hours)

Today we cross back into Uzbekistan and drive to Tashkent for our final night. Overnight City Palace or similar. (B)

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight (B)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

After a leisurely breakfast we drive to Fergana, stopping at Kamchik Pass for photos. If we arrive in good time there may be an opportunity to look around. Overnight Hotel Asia Fergana or similar. (B).

This morning proceed to the Kyrgyzstan border.  We then continue to the city of Osh. On arrival we take a look around the city and visit the nearby Sulayman Mountain, an important place of Muslim and pre Muslim pilgrimage and the only world heritage site in Kyrgyzstan. The mountain also affords superb views. Overnight Hotel Sunrise or similar (BL)

After breakfast we continue to Kazarman. En route we stop in Usgen and take a stroll around the market and visit the minaret and the well preserved mausoleums. We then continue to Kazarman for our overnight stop. Overnight stay in a local house (BD)

Today we travel to the pearl of Kyrgyzstan, Song Kul Lake which is one of the highest alpine lakes in the world, situated at just over 3000m above sea level.  This is a wild and spectacular land, and on arrival imbibe the peace and tranquillity of the environment. Overnight in traditional but comfortable yurts. Bathroom facilities are shared (BLD)

Today is to enjoy this magnificent environment at leisure. Depending on conditions you can swim, take some walks, and even horse riding can be arranged for an extra charge. Overnight in traditional but comfortable yurts. Bathroom facilities are shared (BLD)

After breakfast we leave the shores of Song-Kul and travel to another magnificent lake. This time to Issyk Kul and we travel the southern shores to the city of Karakol, the 4th largest in the country and here we will explore a number of notable historic sites including the beautiful Russian Orthodox Church. Overnight Hotel Karagat or similar (BL)

This morning we visit Djety Oguz gorge and take a walk before continuing to Cholpon Ata on the north side of Issyk-Kul Lake, the largest and arguably most beautiful lake in Central Asia. There will be an optional opportunity to visit the Regional Museum which has an open-air display of almost 2,000 petroglyphs of various ages, from 1,500 BC to the 1st century AD. Overnight aHotel Altyn Bulak or similar. (BL)

Leaving early today, we drive to Bishkek and explore the Kyrgyz capital, visiting Ala-Too Square, scene of the 2005 Tulip Revolution protests that overthrew then President Askar Akayev, the History Museum and other sights. There will be some time later today for you to relax or explore independently. Overnight Silk Road Lodge or similar (B)

After breakfast we drive to the Kazakh city of Almaty. We anticipate arriving early afternoon. After checking in at the hotel we spend the rest of the day exploring notable sites of the city including Zenkov Cathedral made of wood but without nails and reputedly the second highest wooden building in the world, the oasis of Panfilov Park and the Green market which gives a true flavour of Central Asia. Overnight Kazzhol Hotel or similar (B)

After breakfast explore some of the beautiful mountain scenery right on the doorstep of Almaty making it popular winter sports and mountaineering destination. If conditions are good we can take a light hike. This afternoon we return to the city and finish our trip with a visit to the historical museum of Almaty. Tonight we will enjoy a final meal in an authentic local restaurant. Overnight Kazzhol Hotel or similar (BLD)

At a convenient time transfer to the airport for your departure (B)

Dates & Price

Tour Notes

Return flights from London to Tashkent start at £590. Contact us for a quotation.

Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan

A 11-day extension to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan can be arranged post tour, for a full tour of all “5-Stans”. Please see the details of the itinerary on the day by day itinerary above.

Please note that this extension only is available from June to the end of September. Kindly contact us for more details if you are interested.

The 11 day extension from £2,495 per person. The single supplement from £180. Extension is guaranteed with 2 people.

Fergana Valley

Alternatively, a shorter 4-day extension to the Fergana Valley region of Uzbekistan can be arranged on request. Prices start at £495 per person based on 2 people travelling on a private basis with a Single Supplement from £99.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Domestic flights
  • Transport throughout
  • All accommodation
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Immigration duty USD$14 (Turkmenistan – subject to change)
  • Immigration duty USD$50 (Tajikistan – subject to change)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Tips

The guides were all just great… surpassed my expectations!!I had a wonderful time and saw a part of the world I might have never seen. I had originally planned to do this trip on my own, but now I’m glad I didn’t… It would have been very difficult and probably more expensive. Plus I really enjoyed my travel companions!


Michael Schmidt, USA