Five Stans: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan
Countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan
Tour duration: 19 days
Travel season: May - October
This tour is developed to see all states of Central Asia in one 20 days long trip. The term "Five Stans" includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. During the tour you get in touch with all major remains of the Great Silk Road as well as modern life of these bright countries. Five Stans are a group of five countries in Central Asia that share a similar cultural and historical background. Each of these countries offers a unique experience for travelers, with stunning natural beauty, impressive historical sites, and vibrant cultural scenes. Whether you are interested in exploring the vast steppes of Kazakhstan, the stunning mountains of Kyrgyzstan, or the impressive historical sites of Uzbekistan, the Five Stans offer a wealth of opportunities for adventure and discovery.
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country that is known for its nomadic culture, stunning natural beauty, and traditional hospitality. The country is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in Central Asia, including the Tien Shan Mountains and Lake Issyk-Kul.
Kazakhstan is the largest of the Five Stans and is known for its vast steppes, mountains, and deserts. The country is rich in natural resources, including oil, gas, and minerals. Its capital, Nur-Sultan, is a modern city with impressive architecture and a lively cultural scene.
Tajikistan is a landlocked country that is almost entirely covered by mountains. The country is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the Pamir Mountains and the Iskanderkul Lake. Its capital, Dushanbe, is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage.
Uzbekistan is a country with a rich cultural heritage that dates back to the Silk Road era. The country is known for its impressive historical sites, including the ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. Its capital, Tashkent, is a modern city with impressive architecture and a lively cultural scene.
Turkmenistan is a country with a rich cultural heritage that dates back to ancient times. The country is known for its impressive historical sites, including the ancient city of Merv and the ruins of the Parthian city of Nisa. Its capital, Ashgabat, is a modern city with impressive architecture and a lively cultural scene.
Dates of group departures 2023:
Maximum number of participants per departure: 16
Retail price per person (or contact for corporate quotes):
2-3 pax: 4841 USD
4-5 pax: 3757 USD
6-7 pax: 3421 USD
8-10 pax: 3110 USD
over 10 pax: contact for group price
Single room supplement: 950 USD
Carbon level per person
* based on 8 pax
100 kg CO2
120 kg CO2
Services included :
All transfers and excursions according to the program;
Transport: air-conditioned minivan or tourist bus;
Domestic flights: Almaty - Tashkent;
Tickets for domestic trains: Tashkent - Samarkand and Bukhara - Khiva;
Accommodation in DBL/TWN rooms;
Meals: breakfasts & dinners;
Entrance and environmental fees;
English speaking guide.
Services not included:
Photo and video fees in museums;
Single room supplement;
Additional overnight stays in cases of early arrival or late departure
Medical expenses and insurance;
1. Arrival in Bishkek
Coming to Bishkek, the first thing that attracts attention is that the city is literally immersed in greenery. A huge number of parks makes the air unusually fresh and clean. It is generally accepted that there are more trees for each resident than in any other city in Central Asia.
Today we take a walking tour around main Ala Too Square to watch ceremony of changing of the Guard of Honor, including Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people, Independence Monument, main governmental buildings, and finish at the Old Square with Parliament House and the only survived in Central Asia Lenin’s Monument. We proceed to Museum of Applied Arts and Victory Square to finish the city tour by short excursion there.
Folklore show during the dinner. Artists will demonstrate national musical instruments and techniques of playing.
2. Chon-Kemin Gorge
On the way visiting of Burana Tower. The tower is a part of archaeological and architectural museum complex and is protected by the state as a monument of cultural heritage. The tower was restored to its original design; this was done using excavated materials from the second half of the 19th century. The construction of the tower dates from the 10th and 11th centuries. Initially, the height of the minaret was 40 meters, and according to some researchers, 45 meters.
Chon Kemin is quiet valley with several small villages and farmers’ lands surrounded by magnificent mountains and fir forest. It is just a wonderful place to be, to sit on the doorstep and watch time pass by with a pot of tea. Today we arrange horseback games. Horseback games are the reflection of rich history of nomadic customs and traditions of the Kyrgyz people. It is a colorful show that celebrates many vibrant aspects of Kyrgyz culture and includes traditional horse games “Ulak Tartysh”, “Kyz-Kuumai”, “Oodarysh”, “Tyiyin-Enmei”.
Transfer to Karakol along Southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake.
Issyk-Kul is one of the largest mountain lakes in the world. Issyk-Kul Lake is located in the Northern Tien Shan at an altitude of 1608 m. The Lake has long been attractive for its natural and climatic conditions and unique beauty, and is also considered the pearl of Kyrgyzstan due to the mountain-sea climate, clean air, an abundance of solar heat, healing mineralized lake water and numerous hot springs.
On the way see Barskoon Gorge to take a light hike to a waterfall named ‘Tears of Leopard’. This gorge is one of the most beautiful on the southern coast of Issyk-Kul, famous for its high waterfalls and dense spruce forests. The largest gold mine in Kyrgyzstan – Kumtor is based here. Later in the afternoon we make a short stop at Jeti-Oguz Gorge, famous for Seven Bulls and Broken Heart Rock.
Arrive in Karakol and short city-tour.
4. Charyn Canyon & Almaty
We proceed to next country of our tour – Kazakhstan.
After border formalities are completed we drive further to see magnificent Charyn Canyon and its Valley of the Castles, named due to the pillars and rock formations forming imposing, almost lookalike manmade structures. In appearance, the Charyn Canyon resembles the Grand Canyon of Colorado, located in North America. Kazakhstan’s Canyon is somewhat inferior in size to the Grand Canyon of Colorado, but they are equal in beauty. You can choose to hike down towards the valley floor and climb back up again or observe the canyon rim from above.
Almaty is a sunny, cozy city surrounded by greenery with wide streets, beautiful buildings, numerous parks, squares and fountains. It is no coincidence that the beautiful city at the foot of the emerald ridges of the Tien Shan is called the “garden city”.
Almaty has a large number of sights that attract visitors to the city and delight locals with its beauty. We take a walk in Panfilow Park with Zenkov Cathedral in the center. The cathedral is one of the nine most unique monuments of wooden buildings in the world. Its wall paintings and interior decorations amaze visitors with its beauty and splendor. Our next stop is Museum of History. The museum represents a large collection of unique exhibits explaining an important role of Kazakhstan in the history. Take a cable cat trip Koktobe Mountain. At the top is an observation deck. Koktobe is the best place to view the city at day & night.
6. Flight to Dushanbe
Transfer to the airport for flight to Dushanbe Air Astana KC131 10:05-11:00 (should not be Monday).
Dushanbe arose at the intersection of roads in a small settlement where a large bazaar was organized on Mondays, hence the name of the city (“Dushanbe” in Tajik - Monday). Today Dushanbe is a modern capital with a developed infrastructure, industry, beautiful parks and gardens.
Today we discover the Tajik capital during a sightseeing tour, a modern city with wide shady avenues. Excursion to Museum of Archaeology.
Culminate the day with a visit to Hisor Fort, a 19th century Bukharian stronghold in Dushanbe. The main thing that Hisor is famous for is the local fortress, the former residence of the governor of the Bukhara emir. An impressive gate made of baked brick with two towers and a central arch led beyond the meter-high walls of the fortress.
In the morning visit the Monument of Ismoili Somoni-the ancestor of Tajik Nation located on the main square. A 40- metre high monument built to the memory of Ismaili Saman-Khuda, founder of the Samanid dynasty in the X century. The base contains a permanent exhibition on the Samanids and is paved in granite slabs. The upper part of the statue is coated with gold. After visit Tajik flagpole-the World tallest flagpole. The 165-meter flagpole entered the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the world’s tallest in August 2011, in time for the country’s 20th anniversary of independence. Having visited the flagpole, continue our excursion to Dushanbe's Museum of National Antiquities representing some impressive artifacts and exhibits including the massive napping Buddha. It’s also informative to learn about the evolution of people who lived in Tajikistan over the millenniaThen visit to Kohi Navruz after that visit to Djamshed Juraev master of mosaic.
Depart by 8 am for a beautiful drive today to Khujand via Istaravshan. We visit the well- preserved old town of Istaravshan, a maze of small alleys that wind through neighborhoods of shady, mud walled Central Asian homesteads. On the way you will enjoy majestic views of Fan mountain ranges and emerald Iskanderkul Lake (2195 m) that reflects the surrounding mountains.
9. Khujand & Tashkent
Khujand is the most ancient city of Tajikistan. According to historical data, it was founded during the time of Alexander the Great, about 2500 years ago. Now, it is a cozy city with many parks and squares, very hospitable residents. Syr Darya - a river flowing through the city center, is considered a great place for relaxation and swimming. The main attraction of Khujand is the Panjshanbe Bazaar - this is one of the most famous and largest covered markets in Central Asia. Next to the bazaar we visit a magnificent architectural monument - the mosque-mausoleum of Sheikh Muslihiddin built in the early Middle Ages and used up to the early 20th century
Transfer to the border and to further to Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is a vibrant and inspiring country of the East. The rich architectural heritage, the mass of historical monuments, the colorful bazaars, the generous nature that is carefully protected in protected parks - this is all that everyone can see in Uzbekistan
Tashkent is among the five largest cities in Central Asia. Among tall modern buildings, historical buildings, ancient mosques are hiding here, and modern shopping centers alternate with traditional oriental bazaars and markets. It is worth noting that many of the old buildings were restored - in 1966, a powerful earthquake partially destroyed them, and the appearance of the renewed city has changed significantly since then.
First visit is Kukeldash Madrasah, which still serves as a Koran School. You will also see the Khast Imam Square with the beautiful Barak Khan Madrasah, the Tillya Sheikh Mosque and the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum made of simple brickwork. Here you can also take a look at the Koran written by the third Caliph Osman (644 - 656). Museum of Applied Art. Underground ride.
11. Train to Samarkand
In the morning we take a train to Samarkand (08:00 – 10:00). Samarkand is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded 8 centuries before the beginning of our era. Once this city was the most important point connecting East and West, and the Great Silk Road passed through Samarkand. Therefore, here like nowhere else a huge number of cultural and historical monuments have been preserved - such as mausoleums, museums, mosques, ruins of ancient settlements and much more.
Visit of Registan Square which was for many centuries the heart of Samarkand. Some buildings, which are located at the square, have been preserved here in their original form since the time of their construction. We will see three beautiful madrasahs: the Ulug-Bek Madrasah built in the 15th century; the Tilya-Kori Madrasah built in the 17th century; the Sher-Dor Madrasah, also built in the 17th century. Visiting of Gur Emir - mausoleum of the Great Tamerlane.
12. Shakhrisabz & Bukhara
On the way we visit Shakhrisabz - one of most ancient cities in Central Asia. Outstanding architectural monuments and entire ancient quarters are located in the historical center of Shakhrisabz, bearing evidence of the centuries-old history of this city. These monuments and quarters belong to the heyday of the city during the time of Timur and Timurids in the XIV-XV centuries.
Continue to Bukhara. Bukhara is a real
City tour in Bukhara: architectural complex Poi Kalon with the Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Mir-Arab Madrasah, Toki Zargaron trade-domes, Magok-i-Attori Mosque.
In the morning we visit an oriental bazaar full of traditional colors and oriental smells. We continue our walk through Bukhara with the most beautiful architectural ensembles of mosques and madrasahs, visiting the Ark Citadel, the Mausoleum of the Samanids, Chor Minor Madrasahs, Lyabi Khauz Square - one of the main squares of the city is a real treasury of Bukhara - a whole architectural ensemble consisting of a mosque, a madrasah and a monument in honor of Khoja Nasreddin - a favorite character in oriental folklore. The area is surrounded by a wonderful clean pond with a fountain. Lyabi Khauz is a favorite venue for various mass festivals and official holidays in Bukhara. Continue to the Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum, Bolo Mosque. Folklore show in Nadir Divan Begi Madrasah.
14. Train to Khiva
Train trip to Khiva. Monday, Thursday and Saturday only 12:24 – 17:51
Free morning in Bukhara. We proceed to Khiva via Kizilkum Desert (red sands) by train - the route of invaders, nomadic hordes and armies of Persians, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.
Another city, many centuries ago located on the Great Silk Road, is the ancient Khorezm, or Khiva, as it is called now. Khiva can be regarded as an open-air museum - included in the UNESCO list, because here, whatever the building is, it is an ancient treasure. About 60 historical monuments, including the citadel, palaces, mosques, minarets and mausoleums, have been preserved in the old part of Ichan-Kala, which, like nothing else, preserves the image of the ancient eastern city of Khiva.
The findings of archaeologists suggest that Old Khiva, which existed already in the 5th century, served as a stop on the Great Silk Road.
Sightseeing tour of Khiva
Visit the old town of Khiva with the surrounding Kunya Ark fortress, Mohammed Amin Khan Madrasah, beautifully decorated Islamic Khodja Minaret, Palvan Kari Complex and Rafanek Madrasah. In the afternoon, continue your exploration and visit the Uch-Avliyo Mausoleum, Juma Mosque, the Tash-Hauli Palace, Arab Mohammed Khan Madrasah.
Transfer to Shavat Border and then to Dashoguz
First of all visit Konya Urgench – capital of the powerful Khorezmia which ruled here until Mongol’s invasion. This ancient town contains ruins of the capital of Khorezm, a part of the Achaemenid Empire. Our excursion plan includes Kutlug Temir minaret, Tubarek Khanum, Sultan Tekesh and the Fahriddin Mausoleums, burial mosque of 12th century and 15th century Gutluk Temir Minaret. Our journey continues to Dashoguz.
17. Darwaza & Ashgabat
In the morning we visit a picturesque bazaar of Dashoguz and then we change our coach to SUVs (3 pax in each) and head towards Darwaza crater. On the way we make a short sightseeing tour of Izmukshir Fort. The unique crater is also known as the "gateway to hell" among connoisseurs. The trip to Darwaza crater will turn out to be a fiery adventure. It is a spectacular sight of a 50 to 100 meter large cave in the midst of barren Karakum desert. After visiting the crater we will proceed to Ashgabat. Arrival 11-11.30pm. BBQ dinner at Darwaza.
City tour of Ashgabat. Guinness book record holder as the most white-marble city in the world (after all, even telephone booths are lined with this valuable mineral here). The capital of the country, fourth in the world for natural gas deposits. And the city of Ashgabat today is called "the most closed city in the world."
Visit Akhal Teke horse farm, the oldest purebred horse breed, which was bred about 5,000 years ago by representatives of ancient civilizations living on the lands of modern Turkmenistan. Akhal-Teke horses stand out for their spectacular exterior. Perfectly adapted to life and work in hot climates. They quickly acclimatize in other weather conditions. Akhal-Teke horses influenced the development of many breeds. Continue to Nisa - one of the most important historical monuments of Turkmenistan. This unique historical monument dating back to antiquity located near Ashgabat, on a plain at the foot of the Kopet Dag Mountains. Also visiting of Museum of History.
In the programs of guaranteed tours, as a rule, we use 3 * level and less often 4 * Hotels, as well as proven guest houses and yurt camps, which combine modern comfort with a national atmosphere.
Local cafes and restaurants offer a wide variety of National, European and Russian cuisine. There is always a choice of 1-2 vegetarian dishes.
The following vehicles will be used (depending on the number of people in the group):
Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan: 4-9 people: minibus Mercedes Sprinter; 10 and>: Bus of Setra class;
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan & Turkmenistan: 4-9 people: minibus Toyota Hi-Ace; 10 and>: Toyota Coaster class bus.
For each reservation, we charge a prepayment of 100 USD (or the equivalent in other currencies) to the account via SWIFT transfer or a bank card. The final invoice is paid no later than five days prior to the planned arrival via SWIFT transfer. Payment instructions will be sent after pre-booking
Cancellations up to five days prior to planned arrival are subject to full refund. Cancellations made less than five days prior to the start of the tour are non-refundable.