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Silk Route between Tashkent and Bishkek

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  • Ala Archa
  • Song Köl Lake
  • Tashkent
  • Arslanbob
  • Fergana Valley
  • Kochkor
  • Kyrgyz Fergana Valley
  • Cholpon Ata
  • Bishkek
  • Jeti Oguz Valley
  • Karakol

Asia is the continent where overlanding all started, and Dragoman has been the leading operator there since our first trucks went through in the 1980s - take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. This adventurous trip takes us far down the Silk Road, along which ancient traders would journey between Europe and China, and is the perfect holiday-length trip for travellers who love the great outdoors and spectacular mountain scenery. We begin in Uzbekistan's pleasant capital of Tashkent and venture into the truly breathtaking lands of the fertile Fergana Valley, visiting some of the historical highlights en route. We will then head into the favourite Central Asian country of many of our travellers - the remote and mountainous land of Kyrgyzstan in the dramatically-rugged Tian Shan mountain range. We explore the marvellous country of Kyrgyzstan on a flexible itinerary, adapting our route according to weather and road conditions - we will enjoy incredible scenery from soaring peaks to flat open spaces and beautiful forests and lakes, trekking in the stunning valleys, and immerse ourselves in the day-to-day life of the locals at various homestays and yurt camps en route. We then head to the fantastic Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to reflect on our truly special trip. Join us on this wonderful and unforgettable overland experience on the Silk Road!

  • Day 1 Bishkek

    Border Information: if joining in Bishkek, you will most likely enter Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport (IATA code: FRU). There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this relaxed and atmospheric city. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Bishkek before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Bishkek. In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. *Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.* *Another important note - please be aware that all itineraries in Kyrgyzstan are highly weather-dependent. The itinerary described in these notes are a statement of best intention, but we must approach each trip in Kyrgyzstan with a large degree of flexibility, as our leaders and local guides will have to 'play things by ear' according to the local conditions and weather. In low season certain routes become impossible and it may become far too cold to camp - in all cases there are fantastic and well-tried alternatives in place which means we can always run an excellent and comprehensive trip here, but please do not treat the exact details of the itinerary listed here as gospel - thanks for your understanding!*

    Learn all about the 20th-century history of Kyrgyzstan at the Mikhail Frunze museum, dedicated to the Bolshevik genera whose name Bishkek bore until the city was renamed after independence - Cost: USD
    Freely explore the vast Osh Bazaar, Bishkek's largest market - Cost: USD
    Explore Bishkek's past at the State Historical Museum on Ala-Too Square - Cost: KGS 150
    Visit the 9th-century Burana Tower outside of Bishkek, the minaret that is all that remains of the ancient Karakhanid city of Balasagun - Cost: KGS 60

  • Day 2 to 3 Ala Archa

    The next 2 days will need to be fairly flexible. Many of the group will apply for Uzbekistan visas in Bishkek. However, the Uzbek Embassy opening times will often vary and therefore our itinerary will need to remain flexible over the next 2 days to accommodate this. As a general guide, we will most likely spend our first night camping in stunning mountainous Ala Archa National Park near to Bishkek. We will then return to Bishkek on the following day in order to submit our visa applications. Once this is process is complete we will continue to Chong Kemin National Park, where we will have free time to explore and hike in this beautiful area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion if time allows. In Chong Kemin and Ala Archa we will wild camp. If it is too cold or simply preferred by the group, we may choose to camp in the grounds of a guesthouse in Ashu, a village in the Chong Kemin valley, where there could be the possibility to upgrade to rooms. Estimated Drive Times - 3-5 hours each day (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

    Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan

    Explore the beautiful Chong Kemin valley on horseback - Cost: KGS 300
    Head out on a white-water rafting adventure through the stunning Chong Kemin valley - Cost: KGS 1800
    Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley - Cost: KGS
    Enjoy a stunning day of wild camping and hiking in the beauty of the Ala Archa Gorge - Cost: USD

  • Day 4 Karakol

    Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk Köl and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata. We will then continue to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free evening to explore and relax! In Karakol we will stay in a decent local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

    Explore the ancient rock petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata on the northern shore of Issyk Köl Lake

  • Day 5 to 6 Jeti Oguz Valley

    Today we drive up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. The next day we will have a free day to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads! In Jeti Oguz we will camp close to a local family yurt. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours. Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti Oguz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will take a stunning and incredible drive up a mountain in a Russian 4x4 truck to Altyn Arashan, a hot spring development in a stunning alpine setting, staying in dormitory accommodation. We will then stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks).

    Trek into the wilds of the stunningly-beautiful Jeti Oguz Gorge on the edge of the Tian Shan mountains

    Explore the incredible mountain landscapes of the Jeti Oguz Valley by horseback - Cost: KGS 800

  • Day 7 Kochkor

    Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality! En route we will have an included demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'. Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up! In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

    Stay at an overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village
    See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here
    See an incredible demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor

    Visit a folklore demonstration near Kockhor where you can learn all about the handicrafts of the area, see a fantastic outdoor concert of traditional music and help to erect a yurt! - Cost: KGS 1000

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Overland expedition vehicle.