24 Day Silk Road & Stans Adventure dep Bishkek

Women Only

Max Group 12

Lifetime Deposit

Solo traveller friendly

Our Patchies are so in love with our Silk Road trip, that it has quickly become one of our signature itineraries!

Each ‘Stan’ is special and unique, with distinct languages, cultural traditions and landscapes. You’ll be blown away. Add to that the magic of the Silk Road history and you’ve really got an adventure.

Our concept is simple – a small group of like-minded women seeing the sights, cities, villages, deserts, and mountains worth seeing – and avoiding the tourist traps.

We’ll also make time to stop and just take it all in, and you’ll enjoy the freedom to enjoy things your way.

This trip is for genuine adventurers only. This trip does go way off the beaten path; there will be moments where you’ll be miles away from comfortable Western infrastructure. If you bring an explorer spirit, you’ll love it.

Currently 6 SPOTS LEFT 48 Spots

Highlights

Kyrgyzstan: Multiple hikes through jaw-dropping mountains scenery

Tajikistan: Cook a feast with Tajik women villagers before eating and dancing

Kazakhstan: Explore the city of Almaty and its rich heritage

Uzbekistan: Take in the highlights of the Silk Road and learn the history & stories

Feel what it was like to travel this route centuries ago

Get under the tourist layer and meet real people, have genuine interactions and eat traditional local food

Trip Details
Dates Price AUD
(per person twin share)
  • 27 Aug 2024
  • Ends: 19 Sept 2024
  • $10,386
  • Private supplement: $2,105 ⓘEven if you come solo, we will match you with a roomie. This Private Supplement is for those who would like to pay extra for their own private room.
  • BOOKED OUT
  • 3 Sept 2024
  • Ends: 26 Sept 2024
  • $10,386
  • Private supplement: $2,105 ⓘEven if you come solo, we will match you with a roomie. This Private Supplement is for those who would like to pay extra for their own private room.
  • ONLY 1 SPOT LEFT
  • 10 Sept 2024
  • Ends: 3 Oct 2024
  • $10,386
  • Private supplement: $2,105 ⓘEven if you come solo, we will match you with a roomie. This Private Supplement is for those who would like to pay extra for their own private room.
  • 5 SPOTS LEFT
  • 24 Sept 2024
  • Ends: 17 Oct 2024
  • $10,386
  • Private supplement: $2,105 ⓘEven if you come solo, we will match you with a roomie. This Private Supplement is for those who would like to pay extra for their own private room.
  • BOOKED OUT

Price

  • $1,900 AUD deposit.
  • 2 week cooling off period applies.
  • Lifetime Deposit. If you need to cancel, your deposit is transferable to other trips.
  • Twin Share: we’ll match you with a roomie if you’re travelling solo.
  • Private supplement available (max 4 spots) for those who would like to pay extra for their own private room.
  • Tip Kitty: $200 USD

Please refer to our payment terms in the FAQs.


Trip length

24 days, 23 nights


Meeting point

Hotel Navat, Bishkek


Ending point

Mirzo Hotel, Tashkent


Group size

Maximum 12


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section to see the participation requirements


Included

  • Airport transfers
  • Transportation: All trains, private vehicles
  • Almaty-Dushanbe flight
  • Tashkent-Khiva flight
  • Same English-speaking trip leader for all countries, with local guides who speak the language in each destination!
  • All meals
  • Bottled water for the entire duration of the tour
  • All listed activities and entrance fees, and accommodation

Not included

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Any visas required
  • Late check-outs at hotels
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Tip kitty
  • Personal expenditure

Our accommodation

Every step of the way, we’ve sought out fun, unique accommodation wherever possible. We’ve also got a few stops in Western-style hotels for you to refresh and regroup for the next adventure.

You’ll sleep in:

  • a Kyrgyz yurt camp
  • a Tajik community guesthouse
  • a comfortable 4-star hotel in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

The majority of the accommodation – especially in Uzbekistan – is simple, comfortable 3-star hotels. In all cases, we’ve worked hard to find the right balance of comfort and keeping the price reasonable. Just remember that when you get off the tourist trail, that means there isn’t much in the way of actual tourist infrastructure. We think that’s a good thing, but it’s not without its drawbacks…. the ‘best’ place in some of these towns can have its faults. Just come prepared!

What our Silk Road Patchies say

Leonie F | travelled September 2022

“The 4 Stans’ trip – my expectations were high & the trip exceeded these! This trip provided so many authentic experiences, we had variety, flexibility, absolutely fabulous food, mini craft classes and opportunities to interact with locals. I learnt so much about Central Asia; history, culture, crafts and religions. I’d highly recommend this trip. Our amazing, knowledgeable and intuitive tour leader, Abdu brought these countries, their people & their past to life!” 

 

Michelle L | travelled September 2022

“I loved that we did more than the usual ‘tourist’ activities. We met the real people and shared meals with them while learning so much about their history and culture. I came away with a sense of awe that, before I arrived, I knew so little about this part of the world and now I want to learn more… At all times we felt safe and got to meet so many people who were very warm and welcoming.”

 

Diane S | travelled September 2022

“The tours were well organised with great itineraries that were made all the more special by the tour guides. Each guide was absolutely passionate about showing us their country. They treated us with care, friendship and patience and nothing was too much trouble. Patch Adventures and their trips are so good I’ve already booked the Tunisia trip for next year.”

Click the tabs to find out more
DAY 1: BISHKEK

All amazing adventures begin somewhere. For you, that’s Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The best way to arrive is to fly via Dubai; no matter when you arrive you’ll be met at the airport by a welcoming face who will drive you to your accommodation.

Meet the group in the hotel before heading for lunch, followed by a gentle walking tour of Bishkek city. 

Before dinner, we will hear the story of a local woman entrepreneur – in her own words. The group welcome dinner will be in one of our favourite local restaurants.

Accommodation: Hotel Navat (or similar)
Included: Lunch and Dinner

DAY 2: BISHKEK

The Kyrgyzstan capital, originally named ‘Pishpek’, has an interesting Soviet-era influence. Get to know Bishkek a bit more personally today, as you visit memorials that mark the turning points in its more recent history. 

Lunch will be enjoyed in an ethno-yurt complex, followed by some more strolls around the beautiful greenery of Bishkek’s boulevards and parks. You’ll learn of its history as part of the Great Silk Road and explore some local sights including the full sensory experience of Osh Bazaar, the city’s main market.

A local Korean family welcome you into their home for dinner this evening.

Accommodation: Hotel Navat (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: BURANA

Today you’ll really start to ‘do’ Kyrgyzstan, exploring its beautiful landscapes and wonderful culture. Right from the get-go, you’ll be interacting with history, as the group stops at the medieval Burana Tower – the last remnant of the historic Silk Road city of Balasagun.

After lunching with a local family near Burana you’re off to see a centuries-old tradition of skilled sports’ horsemanship, in a game that resembles polo. Meet the horses after the event and have a chance to snap a photo or two with them. 

Then, relax and take in the mountain scenery along the way to the village of Kochkor, the final stop for Day 3. 

Dinner and overnight at a family guesthouse, with some local stories to boot.

Accommodation: Hotel Nomad Lodge (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: FELT CARPETS OF KOCHKOR

Indigenous arts are flourishing in Kochkor, famous for its traditional Kyrgyz felt carpets or ‘shyrdaks’. Today is a special treat as we meet the artisans behind the craft – a local women’s cooperative. Learn how these special carpets are made; they’ll even insist that you make your own to take home (no added cost)!

Issyk Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world, and that’s where you’re headed next. 

But first, a stop at the village of Kyzyl-Tuu, a yurt-making hub! Over a tasty lunch, a local yurt-building family will share some of their secrets with us.

The afternoon has a few surprises in store as you explore the beautiful Kyrgyz countryside on the way to the lake, where the group will stay in a Yurt Camp – your resting place for the next 2 nights. This Yurt camp has a few more mod cons, with a hot shower available.

Accommodation: Tamga Yurt Camp (one toilet and shower per yurt, outside)
Included: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

DAY 5: KAJI-SAI

By now, it’s day 5 and you’ll be fully in the rhythm of the Kyrgyz countryside. The hustle and bustle of the West will feel like a different universe as you contemplate the spectacular countryside, miles away from any distraction.

After breakfast, a short trip to Skazka (meaning ‘fairytale’) Canyons is on the cards. This unusual rocky landscape has been shaped by nature into quirky sculptures and formations. Here you’ll have the good fortune of meeting the ‘eagle hunter’, and his eagle.

The afternoon will be spent in Kaji-Sai having lunch with a local family, then getting your art on at a little museum, followed by a folkloric performance. Oh, and bring your swimsuit if you’re up for a pleasant surprise afterwards! 

You may also want to warm up your vocal chords for this evening….

Accommodation: Tamga Yurt Camp (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: KARAKOL

Transfer along the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kul to the town of Karakol. En route you’ll visit Barksoon Gorge with its mixed flora bursting with colours. This is the place for scenic vistas – imbibe the lake, a beautiful waterfall and views of surrounding mountain peaks. Pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming! 

Discover the connection between Yuri Gagarin of historic space flight fame, and Issyk Kul. Lunch is a BBQ picnic in the Arabel plateau forest. 

Back in Karakol, we’ll enjoy a restaurant dinner at the Dastorkon.

Accommodation: Green Yard Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, BBQ Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: JETY OGUZ

There’s lots to see during your city tour of Karakol this morning, including the wooden Russian Orthodox Church, which has been standing since 1885. It’s the fourth largest city in Kyrgyzstan and has a true multicultural experience.

You’ll then visit Yrdyk village and learn about Dungan culture, an ethnic Chinese diaspora, and have lunch with a Dungan family in their home.

On the way back to Karakol we will take a diversion into the side valley of Jety Oguz, famous for its two red rock formations called “Seven Bulls” and “The Broken Heart”, to hear the legends behind their interesting names. 

Meet up with a small producer of local honey, then enjoy a dip in a hot spring before dinner! Tonight, you’ll dine with a Uighur family. All in all, a very interesting day!

This is the last full day of the trip in Kyrgyzstan. Tomorrow, Kazakhstan awaits!

Accommodation: Hotel Green Yard (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: CHARYN CANYON

This morning, the group will head directly to the Kazakh border. Kazakhstan is the largest country by area of the Silk Road, and while it has a reputation for broad open spaces, you’ll start in the picturesque mountain region of the South East.

A designated stop at the Charyn Canyon, pictured above (remind you of anything?) This will make for a great lunch stop as you walk down to the river (3km) for a picnic lunch, before getting back on the road towards Almaty.

Today’s a big day on the road, so there are no plans for tonight besides dinner and a deep sleep.

Dinner is in the city. The hotel for tonight is brand new and reflects the investment coming into the Silk Road.

Accommodation: Hotel Kazzhol Park (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: ALMATY

Almaty is the cultural and business capital of Kazakhstan. In the morning, we’ll take a tour of the city, visiting Panfilov Park and the unique Zenkov Cathedral (pictured above). Today is a more relaxed day, and this afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to meet a local dance teacher who will give you a class on traditional Kazakh dances.

Then later, perhaps you might buy some fresh fruit and veggies at the Green Bazaar. By the way, Almaty means ‘the place with apples’ (it’s thought that apples originate from here)!

In each country, we will have a local expert guide in addition to our trip leader. This means that every step of the way, you’ll have someone with you who can translate any of your questions and help you understand the local culture more deeply.

Accommodation: Hotel Kazzhol Park (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: ALMATY

There’s been a lot happening so far in this trip, so today is a slower pace before catching the afternoon flight to Tajikistan. A country that has been described as ‘mountains upon mountains upon mountains’; you simply will not forget this! 

In the morning, an optional activity: visit a local mountain resort to see the local views and explore on foot the marvellous mountains of the Trans-Ili-Atau.

It’s only a short flight to Dushanbe and after checking into the hotel, we have a fabulous Tajik welcome dinner hosted by your specialist Tajik guide tonight.

Accommodation: Atlas Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: DUSHANBE

Dushanbe, is a treasure of a city with just 800,000 people and a relaxed pace. A local expert guide will join the group to visit the National Museum of Antiquities, Rudaki Park and a few other sights on a city tour. 

Navruz Palace was conceived of as a spectacular tea house, but the owners got carried away and ended up with a monument of total excess. Described by one person as ‘opulence gone wild’, it is now the Presidential Palace of Tajikistan. 

The photo above does not do it justice. Amongst a few stops, that’s the highlight for the morning. You’ll have free time in the afternoon, so take a chance to rest and replenish your batteries in our relaxing hotel accommodation. Tomorrow you’re going back on the road for more exploration – this time to the wondrous Tajik mountains, with a chance to meet some locals and enjoy Tajik hospitality.

Accommodation: Hotel Atlas (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: ISKANDERKUL LAKE

Road trip day today, with over 7 hours on the road!

The drive itself is a major highlight as we wind our way through the rugged valleys and mountains of Tajikistan. We’ll stop at Iskanderkul Lake (named after Alexander the Great) for lunch and go on to enjoy a leisurely afternoon after checking into our simple lakeside accommodation.  

Enjoy the mountain scenery or stretch those legs and take a short hike to a nearby waterfall. Tonight’s dinner is at the cottages. 

Accommodation: Simple cottages with private bathrooms 
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: ISTARAFSHAN

It’s a scenic drive through Shahriston Pass this morning. On the way we’ll make a stop in  Istarafshan, a town founded by Cyrus the Great (the founder of the first Persian empire) more than 2500 years ago. The place has been well known for its artisans since the 14th century and today you’ll visit the workshops of blacksmiths who specialise in hand-crafted knives, and do lunch with Mr Usto Sodiq and his family – a comb maker.

The 90-minute drive through the Fergana Valley to Khujand goes quickly, so there’s some time to settle into the hotel before dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: KHUJAND

Today’s city tour takes in Panjshanbe Bazaar, Tajikistan’s biggest market and the Maslihaddin Mosque – both central to the town. By now you’ll have become accustomed to the mass of colours, textures, sights, sounds – and hopefully tastes(!) associated with the Silk Road bazaars. And surely no less amazed. 

We will also visit the Arts School where the students will perform their traditional Tajik musical and dance performance. 

In the evening we will visit The Guest House Anora Museum. It is one of the few remaining places in Khujand to experience a pre-soviet era, traditionally-designed Tajiki house. You’ll share a traditional Tajik meal together with the hosting family too, after you’ve rolled your sleeves up for a Tajiki style cooking masterclass.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: TASHKENT

It’s just a 1-hour drive to the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border this morning, and as you’ve by now familiarised, you’ll cross on foot to meet your Uzbek guide and driver on the other side. You’ll reach Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, in time for lunch at a local restaurant. 

Your expert guide will lead you on an afternoon tour of the city, which may happen to include some chance meetings with local artists in Tashkent’s artists’ corner, locally known as ‘Broadway’. 

Tonight your local Uzbek guide will host a welcome dinner in one of his favourite local restaurants. 

Accommodation: Mirzo Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16: TASHKENT

Tashkent has a different vibe to most central Asian cities. Due to a huge earthquake in 1966, the city was rebuilt in Soviet style, designed to be a reflection of the best of Soviet town planning and architecture. 

Not all buildings were ruined in the quake; some did survive and the group will visit some highlights today before taking a ride on the famous Tashkent Metro – one of the most beautiful in the world. If you thought metro stations had to be dirty and boring, well, the Uzbeks would like to have a word with you!

Following lunch, a special treat as you visit the craftsmen section of the city and meet a local artisan family, the Rahimovs. They’ll show you the inner workings of their ceramics business.

Accommodation: Mirzo Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 17: KHIVA

Khiva, considered an open-air museum, is a UNESCO destination and a favourite of many Silk Road travellers. Smaller in scale, with just 80,000 people, it has an exceptional atmosphere that obscures its dark history. You’ll reach Khiva today following a 90 minute flight from Tashkent.

You’ll love Khiva; a labyrinth of alleyways and blue mosaics. Despite its infinite beauty and feeling of calm, the Khiva of old was a local slave market hub. This is a reminder that the Silk Road may be magical today, but it hides many skeletons in its shadows. On a side note… the locals believe that Shem, son of Noah, founded the city.

Dine on a patio with the sunset as the backdrop tonight for an amazing city view.

Accommodation: Hotel Asia (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 18: KHIVA

Today we will spend another full day in the magnificent Silk Road oasis of Khiva. Walk the citadel city walls in the morning. You’ll have an insider’s view of Uzbek life inside the city’s residence quarter when you visit a home where the neighbourhood ladies help you prepare traditional pasta known as Shivit Ashi. A magical, memorable moment indeed. 

The afternoon is free for you to wander, or spend some time hunting for handmade souvenirs. Dinner is in a madrassa tonight with a folklore performance show.

Accommodation: Hotel Asia (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 19: TRANSFER TO BUKHARA

Drive through the scenic Kyzylkum desert to Bukhara, with a lunch stop and leg stretch along the way. 

This 5-hour journey is a relaxed way to amble (and just so you know, the roads can be a bit on the rough side in sections) through the Uzbek countryside before arriving in the early evening to our destination… just in time for dinner in the Old City.

Note: The major cities of the Silk Road – Samarkand, Bukhara and to a lesser extent Khiva are very much discovered – thanks to their well-preserved and exotic beauty. The Silk Road is quite popular! We’ll do our best to time our visits to avoid crowds but just be aware that we’re not going to be the only show in these towns.

Accommodation: Hotel Paradise Plaza (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 20: BUKHARA

Bukhara is one of the crown jewels of the Silk Road trade route. A UNESCO-listed city, it is a zigzag of backstreets, bustling bazaars and historical monuments. Its moniker ‘Bukhoroi Shareef’, meaning ‘Holy Bukhara’, is named so for its hundreds of mosques and many mausoleums.

Today, you’ll visit famous sights such as the Samonid Mausoleum (one of the most important monuments in Central Asia), the Chasmai Ayub Mausoleum and the Bolo Hauz Mosque. The Poikalon complex, pictured above, is today’s centrepiece. Despite its religious origins, the highest minaret is nicknamed the ‘Tower of Death.’ See if you can figure out why! (Hint: it’s a long way down.) 

And then in the evening, we’ll meet with Makshuma Niyazova, a local historian and archaeologist who received her PhD in 2007. During a short walk and over dinner, she’ll explain the rituals and history of this ancient Silk Road city. Feel free to ask her any question you like – about history, definitely, but also about what life is like for a professional woman in modern Uzbekistan.

Accommodation: Hotel Paradise Plaza (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 21: BUKHARA TO SAMARKAND

After breakfast today we visit Ark Citadel – Bukhara’s original fortress and a symbol of power – quite possibly more than 2,000 years old. Then, we’ll meet up with Rahman, a famous 6th-generation embroidery artist, before lunch. 

A private room awaits us in a local restaurant where we’ll be entertained by a live performance – a special treat of song and dance.

In the afternoon we hitch a ride on the comfy high-speed train to Samarkand and arrive in plenty of time for dinner in the city.

Accommodation: Hotel Registon Saroy (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 22: SAMARKAND

Samarkand is one of the most popular sites of the Silk Road. Conquered by both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, this key trading post is dripping with history.

Registan Square is the focal point of ancient Samarkand framed by three beautiful madrassas (religious schools) – Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tillya Kori. Today will be full of exploration of this and other important local sites, accompanied by your local expert guide.

Dinner is a highlight as we join the family of Farida Apa, a local primary school teacher. She’ll teach the group how to make the local dish ‘Plov’ before we eat with her family and enjoy the evening with them.

Back in the city once more, Registan Square is resplendent in the evening and we’ll go to bed with hearts and bellies content.

Accommodation: Hotel Registon Saroy (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 23: SAMARKAND – TASHKENT

Already we’ve reached the last full day of the tour. Feels like so long ago… but at the same time it’s like yesterday that we headed off! 

We use the day to explore some of Samarkand’s ancient history as it was, before the Mongols destroyed it in the early 13th century. We’ll see some spectacular tile work at the family necropolis of the Timurid dynasty, and visit a bakery in one of the backstreets of the Old Town – perfectly timed if you’re feeling a bit peckish! 

We’ve arranged a private fashion show of hand painted silks and traditional suzani embroidery, at renowned Uzbek fashion designer Valentina Romanenko’s Ayesha Studio before the group heads to Tashkent on the high speed train. 

And then… it will be time for the farewell dinner, where the group will reminisce over a vivid and memorable trip.

Accommodation: Mirzo Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 24: FAREWELL, FRIENDS

Kyrgyz yurts. Kazakh steppes. Tajik mountains. Uzbek history. Just think that you’ve lived it for yourself and now have countless stories to tell! You will have witnessed each country’s precious culture, rich history and unique heritage. And whenever anyone mentions the Silk Road, you’ll be able to say… ‘I’ve been there!’ 

Included: Breakfast

Transfer to the airport.

Trip Map
Hiking & Fitness

Fitness

You’ll need a reasonable fitness level to participate in this trip, regardless of whether to choose to hike.

If you can walk for 4-5 hours – ie 10-14km – at a moderate pace on undulating terrain, you’ll be fine. All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it but it will be impossible to enjoy this trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour that lasts for a full afternoon, for example. (better to be honest!)

The longest hiking day involves 5.5 hours of walking. It’s not a race, though, and we’ll take as long as needed. If you’re not confident with your fitness, we’d recommend doing training hikes in your local area so you come to this trip ready to rock!

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:USD exchange rate. Our trip pricing is determined by what the exchange rates are at the time of publishing the trip.

The pricing on these trips is based on the following exchange rates:

12 September 2023 departure: 1 AUD:0.69 USD

19 September 2023 departure: 1 AUD:0.69 USD

A deposit of $1,900 is required to hold your spot. Payment can be made by credit card (fees apply) or bank deposit.

There is a cooling-off period of 2 weeks. (Applicable to all bookings made 110 days in advance.)

We have implemented a ‘lifetime deposit’ guarantee. Deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable at any time, right up until the first day of the trip.

The final balance of the trip is required 95 days in advance of the departure date. Our suppliers require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.

Please refer to the full terms and conditions for further information.

This is the most frequently asked question we get!

Nearly everyone is in their 50s and 60s, with some people above and below (but of course, everyone is welcome!)

Most Patchies come alone and are matched with a room-mate. Remember, you don’t need to pay for a single supplement if you come solo. We will place you with a similarly-aged roommate.

The typical Patchie has travelled a LOT, is a well-seasoned adventurer, and is not easily thrown by small things. However, many Patchies tell us that this is their first ever group tour. Many of our guests have avoided tours to this point as they’re not attracted to being herded around in large groups.

Oh, and one last thing:

Patchies are warm, generous, and kind. We knew it would be like this, but we weren’t expecting it to be *quite* like this. We’re so blessed as a business to have the customers we do; we consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest people in the world.

Airfares are not included. We recommend Flight Centre!

There are no Visas currently required for Australian and New Zealand passport holders to visit any of the Stan countries on this itinerary. 

Yes, there are two available. If you come by yourself, you will be matched with a roommate. Booking a private/single supplement is not necessary unless you want a private room.

Don’t try to bring local money. If you want to bring cash, don’t bring AUD; USD is preferred.

Our guide will assist you to change money while on the ground. In all major cities, there are ATMs where you can easily take money out! The exceptions is Tajikistan, but you’ll have ample opportunity to get cash before entering.

We’ll regularly communicate with you to let you know when you’re headed into an area without much money available.

 

Most of our trips have a tip kitty because many cultures have interesting and diverse rules when it comes to tips. We’ve found it to be the easiest way to combat over-tipping, under-tipping or having the tip fall into the wrong hands. Our goal is for guests to relax and know that the complexities of tipping are taken care of, on their behalf. On this trip you’ll visit four different countries with independent currencies, so for the sake of ease, we ask that you provide the amount in USD.

As your trip transitions on Day 10 to your second regional guide, we ask your contribution be:
– $90 US given to your guide in Bishkek on Day 1
– $110 USD to your regional guide in Almaty on the evening of Day 10.

The kitty will be managed by your regional guide and distributed along the way at restaurants for included meals, hotel staff, drivers and all guides.

 

Private transport, specifically designed for Central Asia-like conditions, will be our primary mode of travel.

They are modern, spacious, comfortable, air-conditioned.

Our hand-picked local drivers are safe, experienced, and friendly.

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. However, to enjoy this trip, you’ll need to be able to spend time on your feet and regularly walk for 2-3 hours. Daily activities might include walking on uneven and hilly ground, getting on and off various forms of transportation and occasionally climbing some stairs. You may also encounter over-the-bath showers in some of the accommodations.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it, but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately, this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

There’s no need to wear a hijab, but ladies are expected to obscure their hair when entering mosques. Please bring a lightweight scarf to loosely drape over your hair for those times. We also encourage you to dress a bit more conservatively in general. Our typical recommendation is to cover shoulders and knees. Tajikistan is more conservative than the other countries.

Feel free to bring your bathers, as there will be limited opportunities to swim.

Some days do involve long stretches of driving and you need to be the kind of person who enjoys road trips. Any such necessary long drives are offset by photo stops, picnic lunches, roadside pitstops, tea/coffee breaks, and of course seeing points of interest, leg-stretching walks.

Our vehicles are comfortable, well-maintained, and not prone to breaking down.

You’re visiting the Stans at the perfect time, with warm days and cool evenings. The potential for days over 30 is real, however, so be ready with layers. Rain showers are not uncommon; please come prepared.

On the long driving days, it’s recommended to wear blouses with long sleeves and pants for your comfort. For cool mornings and evenings, we recommend you bring at least one warm jacket or sweater, and a light sweater.

Comfortable hiking shoes are fine, no need for boots. Please be ready to dress conservatively in general but on hiking days, dress how you please.

Fixed Line Internet & Wi-Fi Internet access will be available in nearly all hotels. However, in Kyrgyzstan, it’ll be restricted to larger towns and villages which you will have the opportunity to pass through every few days. In the countryside, you’ll have little access. If you must stay in reach, speak with your guide about getting a local sim card.

YES! We can accommodate vegetarian, vegan and gluten free diets no problems, or any variation of the above. Just let us know in advance. Note: this food is often very simple and may get repetitive. We cannot cater for those with severe nut allergies. Any other medical conditions get in touch.

We recommend flying through Dubai. If you join the Iran trip, you’ll need to organise flights to Tehran.

In the unlikely event of a health or security related incident during a trip, we’ve engaged a local partner to assist. From our experience, there is not one framework that fits all, and every incident is unique and requires a different approach. With all trips, your guides are your day-to-day support. While behind the scenes, there is an active line of communication – between your guide, the on-ground support team, and Australian Ops.

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