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Ashgabat to Dushanbe

  • Duration: 47 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline
  • Physical rating: Demanding
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: EHT1/226827
  • Starts: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Finishes: Dushanbe, Germany
You will Visit
  • Ashgabat
  • Darvaza
  • Kunye Urgench
  • Khiva
  • Bukhara
  • Nurata
  • Samarkand
  • Tashkent
  • Fergana Valley
  • Arslanbob
  • Kyrgyz Fergana Valley
  • Song Köl Lake
  • Kochkor
  • Jeti Oguz Valley
  • Karakol
  • Chong Kemin Valley
  • Cholpon Ata
  • Bishkek
  • Toktugal Lake
  • Osh
  • Sary Tash
  • Karakul Lake
  • Murghab
  • Langar
  • Ishkashim
  • Khorog
  • Kulob
  • Iskanderkul Lake
  • Fann Mountains
  • Penjikent
  • Bibijanat Lake
  • Seven Lakes
  • Alaudin Lake
  • Dushanbe

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Ashgabat

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

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.

After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat 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 Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book. 

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please 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.*

02

Day 2: Darvaza

Today we set off north from Ashgabat and head into the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).

We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (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!).

03

Day 3: Kunye Urgench

Today we will continue our overland journey north across the Karakum. We will visit the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.

We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

04

Day 4-5: Khiva

Border Information: Exit Turkmenistan at Shovot, enter Uzbekistan at Nijazov.

This morning we will visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, before driving across the border into Uzbekistan and continue to the beautiful historic town of Khiva. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

The following day we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva during the morning. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.

In Khiva we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

05

Day 6: Bukhara

Today we will have a full day's drive to the fascinating city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights.

In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

06

Day 7-8: Bukhara

Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings.

07

Day 9: Nurata

Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!

In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

08

Day 10: Samarkand

This morning we will spend some time exploring the Nurata Hills with the option of taking a dip in Lake Ajdar Kul. After lunch we will drive to Samarkand where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

09

Day 11-12: Samarkand

Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings.

10

Day 13: Tashkent

This morning we will have a little more free time to explore more of Samarkand. After lunch we will drive to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

11

Day 14: Tashkent

Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.

12

Day 15: Tashkent

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).

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 to explore the Uzbek capital.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent 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 Tashkent.

In Tashkent 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!*

13

Day 16: Fergana Valley

This morning we travel in local transport over the Kamchik Pass to Kokand, where we will have the oppurtunity to visit the Khudayar Khan's Palace and the nearby Margilan Silk Factory before completing the journey to Fergana. 

The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Fergana.

In Fergana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (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!).

14

Day 17: Arslanbob

Border information: Exit Uzbekistan at Andijon, enter Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik.

This morning we leave Uzbekistan behind and make our way into the magical mountain kingdom of Kyrgyzstan! 

Once we have crossed the border we continue our journey to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley - if we are delayed at the border we may choose to stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead.

In Arslanbob we will stay overnight in a local family-run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

15

Day 18-20: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

We will spend the next 3 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside.

During these days we plan to wild camp en route. Please note that trips running in low season (May to mid-June and October to November), we may not be able to camp if temperatures are too low, in which case we will stay in local guesthouses along the route instead.

Estimated Drive Times - 4-8 hours each day.

16

Day 21-22: Song Köl Lake

Today we complete the drive to the incredible Song Köl Lake, where we will spend the next two nights.

We will have free time here to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and horse-riding.

At Song Köl we will stay in traditional felt yurts.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-8 hours.

Please note that trips during the low season will not be able to visit Song Köl Lake, as temperatures will be below freezing, the road will be snowed over, and there will be no yurts to stay in! Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl.

17

Day 23: Kochkor

Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!

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 - 5-6 hours.

18

Day 24-25: Jeti Oguz Valley

Today we drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl and up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. En route we will have an included demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'.

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 - 5-6 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 stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks) and then move via 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.

19

Day 26: Karakol

Today we will move on from Jeti Oguz or Altyn Arashan to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free afternoon to explore and relax!

In Karakol we will stay in a decent local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

20

Day 27-28: Chong Kemin Valley

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 beautiful area of Chong Kemin where we will spend 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

The next day we will have a free day to explore and hike in this stunning area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion!

In Chong Kemin 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.

21

Day 29: Bishkek

Today we have a short drive to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, with the opportunity to visit the Burana Tower en route. We will have free time to relax and explore the city upon arrival.

In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

22

Day 30: 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 and GBAO permits 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 Dragoman Sales team or your agent 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.*

23

Day 31: Toktugal Lake

This morning we will depart Bishkek early and travel through beautiful mountain scenery towards Toktugal Lake. We will have the opportunity to stop often and admire the views before reaching our destination later this afternoon.

Tonight we plan to wild camp near Toktugal.

Estimated Drive Time 6 - 8 hours. (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!).

24

Day 32-33: Osh

Today we will have a full day's drive to Osh, Kyrgyzstan's capital of the south where we will spend the next two nights.

Estimated Drive Time 8 - 10 hours

In Osh we will stay in a local hotel. 

On our second day we have an included visit to Suleiman's Mountain in the morning, we will then have free time in the afternoon to explore one of the oldest cities in the country. 

25

Day 34: Sary Tash

This morning we will have free time to explore Osh before we drive over the Taldyk Pass (3615m) and onto the small remote village of Sary Tash

Estimated Driving Time 3 - 5 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse. 

26

Day 35: Karakul Lake

Border Information: Exit Kyrgyszstan at Kyzylart, enter Tajikstan at Bor Dobo.

Today we will continue to the border and cross into Tajikistan and onto Karakul Lake. With the border post situated at 4336m between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan you will be able to enjoy some spectacular scenery along the way.

Estimated Driving Time 8 -10 hours

Tonight we will wild camp or stay in a local guesthouse

27

Day 36: Murghab

Today we will travel over the Ak-Baital Pass which is the highest pass on the Pamir Highway before arriving in Murghab. 

There will be free time this afternoon to stretch your legs and explore this small town.

Estimated Driving Time 4-6 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local hotel

28

Day 37: Langar

We will have an early start this morning as we have a full day drive ahead of us. Enjoy the amazing views of the Pamirs as we make our way over high passes to the Wakhan Corridor before eventually passing through another checkpoint where you will get your first glimpses of the Panj River. For the next 4 days we will be following the river which borders between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Estimated Driving Time 10-11 hours

Tonight we will stay in a traditional Pamiri guesthouse

29

Day 38: Ishkashim

This morning before we set off we will have a chance to hike up to see the Petroglyphs on the rocks above Langar. It is a steep climb but well worth it for the views over the village and the surrounding mountains.

If time permits we will also stop off at Yamchun Fort and the hot springs on our way to Ishkashim.

Estimated Driving Time 5-7 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse

30

Day 39-40: Khorog

Today we will continue our drive on to the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region ( Khorog ) where we will be spending 2 nights.

On the second day you will have free time to explore the town. Take a stroll through the local bazaar or simply relax in the parks and people watch.

Estimated Driving Time 6-8 hours

For the next 2 nights we will stay in a local guesthouse

31

Day 41: Kulob

Today will be an early start as we have a full drive day planned to reach our next destination. We will eventually peel away from the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border and begin to make our way inland to Kulob.

Estimated Driving Time 10-11 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local hotel.

32

Day 42: Iskanderkul Lake

This morning we will head north passing the Nurek Reservoir on the Vakhsh River before arriving at the stunning Iskanderkul Lake where we will make a bush camp for the night.

Estimated Driving Time 6-8 hours

Tonight we will wild camp by the lake

33

Day 43: Fann Mountains

Over the next 3 days we will be trekking in the beautiful Fann Mountains. For those not wishing to hike there is an alternative option to visit Penjikent and the 7 Lakes.

Option 1. - This morning we will begin our 3 day hike to visit some of the beautiful lakes of the Fann Mountains. We will leave the truck behind and take jeeps up to a small village called Artuch which will be the starting point of our trek. On arrival we will have some time to explore the village and get familiar with the countryside and local lifestyle. You can also do a short trek to Chukurak lake which is located approximately 2 hours away. 

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse. 

 

Option 2. - Early this morning after saying good bye to our trekkers we will drive towards Penjikent in the truck. After lunch we will have a city tour and explore the ruins of ancient Penjikent.

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse. 

PLEASE NOTE: YOU MUST ADVISE AT TIME OF BOOKING IF YOU WISH TO BOOK THE NON TREKKING OPTION, OTHERWISE YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE PUT ON OUR LAKES & MOUNTAINS TREK.

34

Day 44: Bibijanat Lake

Option 1. - This morning our donkeys  will arrive to carry our luggage. We will have a briefing with our mountain guide after breakfast and then begin our trek towards Bibijanat Lake. 

Trekking Distance - 7 km
Meals Included - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tonight we will be camping on the shore of Bibijant Lake. 

 

Option 2. - After Breakfast, we will head into the Shing Valley via Jeep to see the Seven Lakes. The mountains here seep a natural mineral called Shilajit which is used in Ayurvedic Medicine. 

Meals Included - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tonight we will stay in a traditional local guesthouse. 

35

Day 45: Alaudin Lake

Option 1. - This morning we will start our ascent to Alaudin pass ( 3860 metres ). The beautiful panorama of the surrounding peaks and lakes will be seen from the top of the pass. We will then descend down to Alaudin Lake where we will camp tonight. 

Trekking Distance - 10km
Meals Included - Breakast, Lunch & Dinner

Tonight we will be camping by Alaudin Lake. 

 

Option 2. - After Breakfast we continue to explore the Seven Lakes. We will eventually need to leave the vehicle behind as the roads are no longer passable and we will hike for the last hour to reach the 7th and final lake. After lunch we will then make our way back to Penjikent. 

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse. 

36

Day 46: Dushanbe

Option 1. - Today after packing up camp we will have a little free time before making our way back to Dushanbe. On the way we will meet up with our Dragoman Truck and non trekkers again to exchange stories over a farewell meal! 

Tonight we will stay in a good quality hotel. 

Estimated Driving time 5- 7 hours

Option 2. - This morning after breakfast we will rejoin with the Dragoman Truck and our trekkers and make our way back to the capital Dushanbe for a final farewell meal. 

Tonight we will stay in a good quality hotel. 

Estimated driving time 5 - 7 hours

37

Day 47: Dushanbe

Border Information: if finishing in Dushanbe, you will most likely exit Tajikistan at Dushanbe International Airport (IATA code: DYU).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tajikistan. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
    • See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvasa, popularly known as the 'Door to Hell'
    • Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench
    • See the beautiful turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva
    • Visit the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, a museum dedicated to the Khan that surrendered to the Russians in 1873
    • Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva
    • Learn all about the Khoezm culture and handicrafts at the Islam Hodja Madrassa, Khiva's newest monument
    • Explore the incredible Juma Mosque and the 12th century fortress of the Kukhna Ark
    • Visit the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mohammed, the legendary 14th-century poet, philosopher, wrestler, and patron saint of Khiva
    • Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water
    • Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty
    • Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared
    • Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark
    • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
    • Visit the Guri-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur
    • Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan, a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia
    • Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory, once the finest observatory in the Islamic world
    • Discover the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the world and the jewel in Timur's empire
    • See the beautiful and moving ancient mausoleum of Shah-I-Zinda
    • Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan
    • Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds
    • 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
    • Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge on the edge of the Tian Shan mountains
    • Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan
    • Tourist time: pedalos, sand, sun. On Lake Issyk-Kul, it?s a time warp
    • Visit the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex carved inside Sulaiman-Too Mountain
    • Visit Sulaiman-Too Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site dominating the city of Osh. Learn about the history of the spiritual landscape reflecting both Islamic and pre-Islamic beliefs as you climb to the top enjoying panoramic views of the city and beyond. 
    Accomodation
    • Camping - Hotels
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