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Men, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia by Paul Craven

Journey through Central Asia



21 Days

Prices Start from

£5,200pp (ex. flights)

Travel through five very different countries, crossing desert, mountains and grasslands, seeing the finest architecture in Central Asia and mingling with the many different ethnic groups that inhabit the region.

This fascinating journey takes in the highlights of the ‘stans’, a region known for its nomadic culture and silk road history. Gain an insight into the cultures, people and landscapes which shape this captivating region, a crossroads which for thousands of years connected Europe and Asia. Cross borders, exploring mountains and lakes, spend a night under canvas in a traditional yurt and experience a melting pot of regional ethnic groups, colourful bazaars and architectural gems.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Yurt, Kyrgyzstan 1


Stay in a traditional yurt and experience nomadic life.

Chor Minor, Bukhara, Uzbekistan 2


Visit exquisite architectural monuments in Uzbekistan.

Old Lady Baking Bread, Nokhur, Turkmenistan 3


Take in the local market and some of Central Asia’s finest museums in Ashgabat.

Zenkov Cathedral in Panfilov Park, Almaty, Kazakhstan 4


Visit Zenkov Cathedral, one of the worlds tallest wooden buildings, built without a single nail.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1 - 2

    Almaty (Kazakhstan)

  • Day 3

    Almaty - Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)

    Travel overland into Kyrgyzstan

  • Day 4

    Bishkek - Cholpan Ata

  • Day 5

    Cholpan Ata - Karakol

  • Day 6

    Karakol - Son-Kul Lake

  • Day 7

    Son-Kul Lake - Bishkek

    Return overland to Bishkek

  • Day 8


  • Day 9

    Bishkek - Dushanbe (Tajikistan)

    Fly from Bishkek to Dushanbe in Tajikistan

  • Day 10


  • Day 11

    Dushanbe - Khujand

    Travel overland to Khujand

  • Day 12

    Khujand - Tashkent (Uzbekistan)

  • Day 13

    Tashkent - Samarkand

    Travel by train to Samarkand

  • Day 14


  • Day 15

    Samarkand - Bukhara

    Travel overland to Bukhara

  • Day 16


  • Day 17

    Bukhara - Mary (Turkmenistan)

    Cross the border into Turkmenistan

  • Day 18


  • Day 19

    Mary - Ashgabat

    Travel overland to Ashgabat

  • Day 20 - 21


Day 1 - 2

Almaty (Kazakhstan)

Zenkov Cathedral in Panfilov Park, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Arrive into Almaty and spend some time exploring Kazakhstan’s largest city. Visit Zenkov Cathedral, one of the worlds tallest wooden buildings, built without a single nail.

Day 3

Almaty - Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)

Day 4

Bishkek - Cholpan Ata

Rock with ancient art of two carved creatures on.

Depart Bishkek and travel overland to Cholpan Ata to see the petroglyphs, some dating from the Bronze Age.

Day 5

Cholpan Ata - Karakol

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Karakol, Kyrgystan

Continue on to Karakol, with its colonial period architecture harking back to the cities Russian past.

Day 6

Karakol - Son-Kul Lake

Yurt, Kyrgyzstan

Travel to the shores of Son Kul Lake to stay in a traditional yurt and the chance to experience the nomadic way of  life.

Day 7

Son-Kul Lake - Bishkek

Day 8


Spend the day in Bishkek with time to explore some of the historical sites including the Victory Monument celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany and the huge Ala-Too Square, where Bishkek’s immense ‘White House’ is located. Also visit the Open Air Sculpture Museum and the History Museum an wander the stalls of the Osh Bazaar – a great place to find traditional Kyrgyz clothing and handicrafts.

Day 9

Bishkek - Dushanbe (Tajikistan)

Day 10


Spend today exploring Tajikistan’s capital city, Dushanbe which is home to Hissor Fort and the 19 metre reclining Buddha in Nirvana.

Day 11

Dushanbe - Khujand

Day 12

Khujand - Tashkent (Uzbekistan)

Travel overland to Tashkent, a city that was virtually destroyed during a huge earthquake in 1966. Explore its small ‘old town’, home to a madrasa and fascinating history museum which offers an excellent overview of the Silk Roads history. The city is also home to many fine artisans plus one of the most interesting bazaars in the country.

Day 13

Tashkent - Samarkand

Day 14


Spend today visiting some of the exquisite architectural monuments in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Samarkand, home to one of the country’s most iconic sites, Registan Square.

Day 15

Samarkand - Bukhara

Day 16


Spend a day exploring Bukhara. A centre of Islamic learning the city has over 300 intricately decorated mosques along with 80 madrasas plus many colourful bazaars and tea houses where is it possible to experience life as a local.

Day 17

Bukhara - Mary (Turkmenistan)

Day 18


Visit the ancient site of Merv, once an important oasis city on the Silk Road.

Day 19

Mary - Ashgabat

Day 20 - 21


Take in the local market and some of Central Asia’s finest museums in Ashgabat.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More details

Spires of Zenkov Cathedral, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Spires of Zenkov Cathedral in Almaty


This trip begins in Kazakhstan, a huge landlocked country of rolling plains, rich in oil and minerals and dotted with archaeological sites. Spend time in the former capital of Almaty with its mountainous backdrop and many fine 19th Century buildings. The Zenkov Cathedral, a wooden structure was built in 1904 without the use of any nails. Adjacent is the museum of musical instruments and the central State Museum with wonderful pictorial displays and an excellent display of costumes.

Scenery on road between Sary Tash and Irkeshtam border, southern Kyrgyzstan


Cross the border into visa free Kyrgyzstan, a land of magnificent landscapes. Forested mountains and grassy steppes hide nomadic communities, crystalline lakes and rolling valleys. Spend time in the capital of Bishkek, surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too ranges. Over the next six days journey overland taking in ancient sites such as the 11th Century Burana Tower and the petroglyphs at Cholpan Ata, as well as the Russian history of Karakol city. Journey through dramatic gorges enroute to the picturesque lakes of Issy Kul and Son Kul and spend a night under canvas in a traditional yurt.

Lady in headscarf, southern Tajikistan
Local woman in Tajikistan


Continue south across the border to Tajikistan, a wild and forgotten corner of the globe with a fascinating history, a melting pot of regional ethnic groups and over 90% of the land covered by mountains. Based in the capital city of Dushanbe, visit Hissor Fort and the Museum of National Antiquities, the centre piece of which is the 19-metre reclining Buddha in Nirvana. Since the tragic destruction of the Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan, this is the largest Buddha in Central Asia. Travel overland to Khujand, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and an important point on the Silk Route.

View of Islamic buildings through blue mosaic archway.
Samarkand, Uzbekistan


Begin your adventures in Uzbekistan in the now relatively modern Tashkent, before boarding a train to Samarkand, one of the world’s most ancient and fabled cities. Inextricably linked with the great Silk Road, Samarkand was a famous trading city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While here visit one of the country’s most iconic sites, Registan Square. Next, Bukhara, a former capital and centre of Islamic learning the city has over 300 intricately decorated mosques along with 80 madrasas as well as colourful bazaars and tea houses.

Mary, Merv, Turkmenistan
Mary, Turkmenistan


Your journey across Central Asia ends in Turkmenistan with a visit to Merv, an oasis in the Karakum desert and once one of the most important cities on the Silk Route. Finally, Ashgabat, once devastated by an earthquake it is now a glittering example of hydro-carbon funded architecture and what it lacks in history, it makes up with a stunning array of marble-clad palaces, and some fascinating museums.

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Paul is very knowledgeable about all the destinations we book with him. Always organised to a high standard and a great help, he gives us confidence in our trip.

Central Asia

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling and accommodation choices.

Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Low Season
From £5,200 Per person
High Season
From £5,995 Per person

When to travel

Due to the varying landscapes across the region there can be dramatic changes in the climate. In general, the best time to visit is Spring and Autumn, between April and June and again from September to late October when days are dry and temperatures warm. Winters can be bitterly cold and summers dry and extremely hot. The Pamirs in Tajikistan are best visited between mid-June and late September to avoid snow-bound roads.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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