Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan
Custom Travel | 15 Days
- Road trip across Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, exploring Islamic architecture and fascinating cultures
- Konye Urgench’s impressive monuments, Khiva’s walled city, 2,000-year-old Bukhara, and the great crossroad of Samarkand, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Lively bazaars, where locals shop for fresh produce, artisanal breads, fragrant spices, and textiles
- Experience local craftsmanship with visits to a potter’s studio, papermaker’s grotto, and a family-run carpet workshop
As chasers of the few remaining nowherelands, of legends and landscapes meant for dreams, we are hooked on the ’Stans. This overland trip focuses on two of them, weaving together two fabled cultures into one extraordinary journey. Commence in Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital, visiting its impressive national museums and Independence Park, with its gilded statues of ancient and mythological rulers. Onward to UNESCO-listed Merv, thought to have been the world’s largest city in the 12th century, and the splendid Konye Urgench, once a major center of learning in the Islamic world.
In Uzbekistan you visit some of our favorite earthly spots: Samarkand—whose Registan Lord Curzon called “the noblest public square in the world.” Glorious Bukhara, from which, the old saying goes, “the light ascends to heaven.” Khiva, smaller than its brethren, beat them to World Heritage Site status, a telling indication of its intimate beauty. Walking the narrow streets of Khiva’s old city is the next best thing to time travel. As you wander, you might get a sense of what Yasushi Inoue meant when he wrote that “the blue of Central Asia’s blue tiles sings a siren’s song, drawing the traveler from the desert, almost as though this deep ceramic blue was necessary to life.”
1 – 4
Arrive in the white marble city of Ashgabat, bedecked by monuments and bathed in neon by night Spend time exploring the city’s excellent museums and the famed Tolkuchka Bazaar A day trip to the ruins of Merv unlocks that ancient city’s long and storied history Take in the awe-inspiring Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque and the country’s prized Akhal Tekke horses.
5 – 6
Fly to Dashoguz on the Turkmen-Uzbek border and drive to Konye Urgench, once the greatest city in the ancient state of Khorezm. The surviving monuments pay testament to the great metropolis it once was Cross into Uzbekistan at Nukus and spend a morning exploring its treasured Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum Onward to Khiva.
7 – 8
Spend these days exploring Khiva's mosques, madrasas, minarets, and markets. The heart of this medieval warren (now largely and painstakingly restored) holds some spectacular examples of Islamic architecture.
9 – 11
Once Central Asia’s holiest Muslim city and its richest bazaar, Bukhara remains a wonderful place to shop, and today merchants and vendors still occupy one of its original caravanserais Steep in this wonderfully walkable town's history as you wander Ulug Bek Madrasa, Bolo Hauz Mosque, Bakhuddin’s Mausoleum, and more.
12 – 13
Samarkand is home to the Registan, “the noblest public square in the world” The magnificent funerary complex of Shah-i-Zinda may be Samarkand’s most moving sight, with intricate cobalt and azure-tiled structures reaching high into the sky Enjoy visits to a local papermaker and a family-run carpet workshop amidst time exploring the city’s other treasures.
14 – 15
Conclude in Tashkent, the country’s capital. Rebuilt after an earthquake in 1966, no trace remains of the formerly walled city with its 11 gates, but you’ll explore the small part of “Old Uzbek” that still stands, with madrassas and mausoleums dating back to the 6th century Depart for home.
Dates & Prices
Custom Trips offered year-round
From $11,250 per person (Custom Trip)
- Expertise of GeoEx’s travel specialists
- Services of GeoEx’s in-house air reservations team
- All accommodations
- All ground transportation and airport transfers
- Sightseeing, events, visits, and entrance fees
- Most meals
- Bottled or filtered water at included meals and while sightseeing
- Services of local guides, drivers, and other staff
- Some gratuities
- Emergency evacuation services and secondary medical expense insurance