Combine the marvels of Silk Road Samarkand and Bukhara with a road trip 11 days/10 nights.
Uzbekistan is home not only to mythical cities full of historic monuments, but also to majestic landscapes from the red sand Kyzylkum desert to rock green mountains. This road tour gives you the opportunity to drive through endless deserts, immense steppes, hidden oases as well as beautiful mountain ranges. Your road trip will include the visit of villages where you can see how the local people deal with extreme temperatures. The off-road tracks are absolutely safe, having been experienced for many years by our team. Magic Bukhara and ancient Samarkand will be the cultural highlights of this road trip, before you reach modern Tashkent, your finish point. History and nature together will be the main ingredients of this unforgettable experience.
Highlights of this road trip:
- Explore the oriental fairy tale cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, and modern Tashkent,
- Discover the Kyzyl-kum desert and its unique beauty,
- Stay in a tent overnight and enjoy precious and peaceful moments in the heart of the desert,
- Get acquainted with the local people via home stays.
Day 1. Modern Uzbekistan.
Upon arrival at Tashkent International Airport, our local team will welcome you and take you to a local bar for breakfast. Modern Tashkent, with over 2,200 years of history, will be the start point of your stay. The sightseeing tour will include a visit of Chorsu Bazaar and of Tashkent’s metro with its unique decorations, before you have lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you’ll discover the modern part of Tashkent with its impressive buildings. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to enjoy a performance at Alisher Navoi Opera (included in your reservation). Overnight in Tashkent.
Day 2. From modern Tashkent to the medieval city of Bukhara by high speed train.
In the early morning, you’ll be transferred to the train station where you’ll catch the high-speed train from Tashkent to Bukhara (travel time: 3.45 hours). Upon arrival, you’ll be taken to your hotel where you’ll check in. After lunch, you’ll start exploring noble Bukhara with its pools, shadowed by mulberry trees, its 16th century trade domes which were built in order to facilitate tax collection, the former Jewish quarter with its still active synagogue, and more. In the late afternoon, you can enjoy some time for yourself before you go and attend a traditional performance in the courtyard of an ancient madrasa. Your dinner will be served in a local house. Overnight in Bukhara.
Day 3. More of Bukhara on foot.
Today will also be devoted to the fantastic city of Bukhara, starting with a visit to the Ark Citadel – a city within the city. It was used as a permanent residence for Bukhara’s Emirs until its destruction by the Soviet army in 1920. Opposite is an ancient Djuma Mosque (Friday Mosque), which is still active today. You’ll then walk through the local bazaar and can meet local people by purchasing their daily goods. In the afternoon, you’ll have some time for yourself to explore the town at your own pace and to discover the local crafts. You’ll then gather to get everything together for your road trip and to have dinner in a rooftop restaurant… depending on the weather! Overnight in Bukhara.
Day 4. First day by car along the Silk Road ( 65 asphalt and 120 km dirt road).
In the morning, our mechanic will check your 4×4 jeeps before departure. You’ll leave the city of Bukhara and drive on road until you reach the start point of the desert track. Once in the desert, you’ll use the tracks. You’ll undoubtedly meet shepherds keeping their flock of sheep or cows, and drive past their houses along your way. You can observe steppe landscapes while crossing the railway. You’ll have a picnic lunch and approach the Gishty region, where some agricultural landscapes are irrigated with the water of the river Amudarya. You’ll stop in a homestay where you’ll have dinner with the host family. Overnight at the home stay.
Day 5. Route to the Kyzylkum desert via the Nuratau mountains (45 km asphalt and 145 km dirt road).
You’ll leave the home stay and head towards the Nuratau mountains. Today’s track will take you through immense steppes before you reach the town of Nuratau, where you can discover the fortress that was built by Alexander the Great’s soldiers. After lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll drive on through the Nuratau mountain range, where explorers have long searched for natural elements. From there, the view over the lake Aydarkul is simply breathtaking. In the late afternoon, you’ll stop at the beach and can swim in the lake before you get to the yurt camp for the night (one yurt accommodates four people). Before dinner and the performance of a Kazakh singer around the fire, a spectacular sunset may well be there for you.
Day 6. Exploring the desert ( 180 km dirt road).
The whole day will be devoted to exploring the desert and to enjoying the majestic landscapes. You’ll drive through the village of Dungalak and from there, reach an off-road track that will take you to neighbouring villages. Those unusual villages will be well worth a visit. You can then enjoy a ride through the sandy hills. After a picnic lunch, you’ll further explore the desert. Today is what you can call a real adventure! By the end of the afternoon, you’ll have found a comfortable place to set up your campsite. You can then prepare dinner together and relax around a peaceful fire. Overnight in the tent.
Day 7. Through the salt lakes (115 km asphalt and 95 km dirt road).
Your amazing overland raid will go on after breakfast. You’ll make a first stop at some salt lakes which are surprisingly located in the desert. You’ll be able to meet men working at the salt extraction. You’ll then reach the next Kazakh village where you can get some gas oil. After your picnic lunch, you’ll head for Ukhum, a mountain village that is located at the bottom of the Nuratau mountains and whose landscapes are in sharp contrast with the desert’s. Overnight at a homestay.
Day 8. Towards city life through the mountains (175 km asphalt and 45 km dirt road).
This morning, you’ll take an easy walk through the village and get familiar with everyday life. You’ll first follow the path used by the animals themselves and get to a small river. If you stop for a while and look around, the mountain landscapes are so stunning that you feel as if you have moved to another country overnight! After lunch at the homestay, you’ll reach the city of Samarkand via the mountain road. This last track will take you through local villages. Upon arrival, you’ll give your 4×4 jeeps back to the local agency. After checking in at your hotel, you can enjoy some time for yourself. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9. Discovering the city of Samarkand.
The whole day will be devoted to discovering this remarkable city and to visiting the wonders of Timur’s (also known as Tamerlane) former capital city. The first stop of this sightseeing tour will be at the majestic Registan Square, which is the center of the medieval city. You’ll then move further to Bibi-Khanum Congregational Mosque, which was built by Timur in honour of his favourite wife. Lunch will be served in a local chai-khana (tea house) near the Siab Bazaar. You’ll then take a walk through the bazaar and visit Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis (a burial place for nobles). In the evening, you’ll attend a performance at the El Merosi theatre (People’s Heritage). After dinner in a local restaurant, we will take you on ‘Samarkand by night’, a photo tour through the city. Overnight at your hotel.
Day 10. Samarkand – Tashkent by high speed train.
You’ll resume sightseeing in Samarkand in the morning by visiting the Afrasiab museum where pre-Islamic wall paintings and archeological arte facts are displayed. You’ll then be taken to Konighil village to discover the traditional way of producing Samarkand silk paper out of mulberry trees. After this sightseeing tour, you’ll have some time for yourself before your transfer to the train station. The high-speed train will be in Tashkent in just 2 hours. Upon arrival, you will be taken to your hotel, where a typical dinner will be organized for you to enjoy before you leave Uzbekistan.
Day 11. Tashkent departure.
The transfer to the International Airport of Tashkent. We wish you a pleasant flight!
NB; In the case of any emergency and weather conditions, for safety reasons or for any other reasons, the order and duration of the excursions included in the itinerary may be changed.