Uzbekistan Embraced

Uzbekistan – Uzbekistan Embraced Tour – a 12 day Small Group Tour.

The Silk Road cities of Tashkent, Samarkand, and the Khanates of Bukhara, Khiva are all names that have resonated through the centuries, heavy with exoticism and remoteness. It’s surprising to see that most are now linked by high speed ‘Bullet Train’. Elsewhere, Amir Timur – ‘Tamerlane’ – an undefeated military genius from the 15th century, still occupies a revered place in Uzbek psyche, while more recent Soviet icons, even the hammer and sickle motifs on the subway walls, have already faded.

The legendary ‘Silk Road’ occupies a mythical place in the imaginations of western travellers, a remote region in the centre of the Eurasian landmass through which countless traders journeyed on their voyages between Europe and the Far East. As well as commerce, the exchange of ideas and cultures flowed through the various arteries of the Silk Road, resulting in an incredible flowering of architecture, education and religion.

Placed at the heart of the region lie the enigmatic sites and history of Uzbekistan. On this tour we visit the truly astounding sites of Khiva and central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara and of course take in the spectacular architecture of Samarkand’s Registan – one of the most stunning collections of architecture to be found anywhere. We spend a night in a yurt at Lake Aydarkul, the centre of Uzbekistan’s developing ecotourism, and finish in the busy capital of Tashkent.

Uzbekistan is rightly renowned as a remarkably rich repository for the past. Visiting its outstanding architectural heritage, it’s difficult to be unmoved by beauty inherent in the design and execution of mosques, minarets, mausoleums and madrassas.

However, listen too for contemporary tales of national unity over ethnic division, and of political liberalisation over authoritarianism. Uzbekistan already possesses a wealth of history but its story isn’t over. Go now and see for yourself.

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.


On arrival in Tashkent transfer to hotel accommodation. In the afternoon start to explore Old Tashkent, the impressive Khast Imam Square, the holy heart of the city where the Telyashayakh Mosque houses the Uthman Koran, said to be the world’s oldest. Afterwards there’s time to wander through Chorsu Bazaar, the largest farmer’s market in Tashkent, filled with the heady smell of spices. Later, just in front of the hotel, we visit Amir Temur Square, the oldest public park in Tashkent. Overnight Uzbekistan Hotel or similar.

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

This morning we head to the airport for a flight to Nukus, the isolated capital of Uzbekistan’s autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic. Here, the remarkable Art Museum founded by Igor Savitsky became a sanctuary for 40,000 early 20th century Russian paintings banned by the Soviet government. The story of the collection was detailed in an award-winning 2010 TV documentary, Desert of Forbidden Art. There’s time to view the collection which represents the second-largest gathering of Russian avant-garde art after The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. Later we drive to the ancient khanate of Khiva. Overnight Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (BL)

After breakfast the day is free to relax and independently explore the wealth of ancient monuments in this most remote of Central Asia’s Silk Road cities. Overnight Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

Today there’s a full day city tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ichan Kala, or inner town. Highlights include the 18th century Juma Mosque where 213 black elm pillars support the prayer hall’s roof, and the later 20th century Islam Khoja Minaret whose colourful stripes reach almost 57 metres. Afterwards we explore the 12th century Kunya Ark, a fortified residence of Khiva’s khans, and its watchtower. Elsewhere, in the tiled courtyard of the 18th century Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, there’s time to appreciate what must be one of the city’s most beautiful retreats. After lunch at a private house we visit the bazaar and a one of Khiva’s many historic caravanserais. Overnight Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

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

There’s a long drive today, leaving Khiva early for Bukhara, where the city’s historic centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Bukhara is one of the region’s most spectacular cities, where a superbly preserved old quarter lends itself to exploration on foot. Highlights of today’s city tour include the spectacular 12th century Kalyan Minaret, one of the defining symbols of Bukhara and once the tallest building in Central Asia, and the three domed bazaars; the Jewellers’ Bazaar, the Cap Makers’ Bazaar and the Moneychangers’ Bazaar. We take a break for lunch at a local restaurant and afterwards head to the emphatic bastions of the Ark fortress, a royal town within a town and home to the city’s khans for over a millennium. Finally, just outside the historic centre we have time to see the Samanid Mausoleum, an exceptional example of early Islamic architecture, completed in 905 AD. Overnight Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

This morning we drive towards the Nuratau Mountains. On the way we visit the town of Nurata, famous for its decoratively embroidered suzani fabrics. Afterwards we visit a fortress from the time of Alexander the Great, and then continue to Lake Aydarkul. Overnight Yurt Camp. (B)

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

After a relaxing morning, perhaps taking the opportunity to ride a camel ride or swim in the lake, we drive to the legendary city of Samarkand. On arrival the rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Samarkand has a spectacular collection of architecture, the most famous of which are found at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Registan. Early western travellers wrote extensively of Samarkand’s remarkable mosques, madrassas and mausoleums, all elaborately decorated by blue ceramic tiles and traditional Islamic art. Nearby, at Gur-e-Amire, lies the 15th century tomb of Amir Timur, also known a Tamerlane, one of the most effective military leaders in history, and his grandson, Ulugh Beg a visionary astronomer. Elsewhere, after admiring the impressive Bibi Khanym mosque we continue to the extensive Siab Market, before taking lunch. In the afternoon we visit Shakhi Zinda, a collection of richly tiled mausoleums for rulers and nobles of Samarkand. The site’s name translates to Living King and refers to an original shrine thought to be the grave of Qusam ibn- Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad.  Overnight Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

This morning we visit Ulugh Beg’s Observatory, constructed in 1420. Today Ulugh Beg is remembered more as an astronomer than Khan of Bukhara. He was fascinated by the stars and the universe, and as a result of observations undertaken with the naked eye he calculated the length of a year to within one minute and two seconds of the modern value. Unfortunately Beg was assassinated on the orders of his own son, and the observatory razed by religious zealots. Later we visit the Meros craft centre, where silk paper is produced from mulberry bark using water power and traditional methods. Overnight Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

After breakfast transfer to the railway station to board our train for Tashkent (0840/1240). In the afternoon we can take in some more of the city sights including Independence Square, the largest in the former Soviet Union, and flanked by public buildings and walls of fountains. In addition we will visit the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre completed in 1947 by Japanese prisoners of war, and the Museum of Applied Arts, as popular for its setting in a beautiful house, as for its many lovely exhibits. Overnight at Uzbekistan Hotel or similar. (B)

The tour ends with a transfer to the airport to connect with your onward 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).

Today we visit Rishtan, famous for its traditional cobalt pottery techniques, Margilon to witness traditional silk production, and later call in at a local bazaar. Overnight Hotel Asia Fergana or similar. (B).

After breakfast drive back to Tashkent via Kokand visiting Khudoyar Khan’s Palace, the Norbuta Museum- Bia Madrassah, and the Modarikhon Mausoleum. Overnight at Shodlik Palace Hotel or similar. (B)

The tour ends today after breakfast with airport transfers departing to meet onward flights. (B)

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 2 travellers. Please contact us to check on group numbers if a tour is not guaranteed as your reservation may be enough to guarantee the tour departs.

Single Supplement from £255.

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

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Tashkent costs from £35 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £62 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

A 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 £95.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch with us so that I can tailor your perfect tour of Uzbekistan.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Uzbekistan Embraced Tour Map

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 flight
  • 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
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Tips

We had a very enjoyable trip. I would like to specifically highlight our guide in Uzbekistan who was very good. The trip was well organised and we wouldn’t have any hesitations recommending your company to others.


Ben and Rika Smethers, Japan