Ever wanted to travel to one of the least travelled parts of the world? Sick of the queues to see all the major attractions? Want to get bragging rights over your friends? Then join us for our Silk Road Summer Combo Tour through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uyghur China! This promises to be jewel in the crown of our summer season!
We will start in one of the most surreal cities on earth – Ashgabat, where we’ll take in the sites of what can only be called a real life Sim City. From there, we head to Avaza, the completely unused and almost deserted five star beach resort, which also happens to be near one of the most amazing canyons in the world – Yangykala. We then journey to the mesmerising ‘Gates of Hell’, where we camp for the night next to the fiery crater.
Crossing the land border into Uzbekistan, we’ll find ourselves in the centre of the Silk Road. After exploring the beautiful old cities of Khiva and Bukhara, we’ll go to Samarqand, and see the famous Registan, before venturing to Tashkent – Uzbekistan’s vibrant capital city, the highlight of which will surely be Tashkentland, Central Asia’s answer to disneyland.
The next section of the tour takes us to Bishkek for Kyrgyzstan’s Independence Day, beginning with the Buzkashi Horse Games (or “dead goat polo”) in the National Hippodrome in Bishkek. After experiencing some amazing national music, dance, and food during the celebrations, we’ll leave Bishkek, and make our way into the phenomenal countryside of Kyrgyzstan, experiencing mountains and lakes, and having the unique opportunity to spend a couple of nights sleeping in traditional yurts.
Despite Kyrgyzstan’s natural beauty and nomadic culture though, we can’t forget that like the rest of Central Asia, this amazing country was part of the Soviet Union and there are still some fascinating relics of this to be explored. On the shore of Lake Issyk Kol, we’ll have the chance to visit an old Soviet heavy water factory, a Soviet brewery that is now responsible for Kyrgyzstan’s best selling beer and a YPT exclusive outing to the Soviet Meteorology Station.
Crossing the border into China, we’ll begin exploring this part of China that a lot of people don’t even realise exists, Uyghur Xinjiang, following the Silk Road from the ancient city of Kashgar, which is closer geographically to Tehran and Damascus than to Beijing, and the site where traditional Uyghur life hits the Chinese state head on, as well as visiting the old town and main bazaar. Being YPT, we can’t miss out on the huge statue of Chairman Mao in People’s Square.
Leaving Kashgar, we hit the southern Silk Road trail, skirting around the Taklamakan Desert. Passing through small Uyghur towns, we’ll stop in the oasis town of Hotan, famed for its jade and silk, and Kuqa’s amazing Thousand Buddha caves, reminding us that before the spread of Islam, southern Xinjiang was the place where Buddhism entered China. And before heading to Urumqi where the tour ends, we’ll make our final stop in Turpan, China’s Death Valley, the lowest and hottest place in China.
If you’d like to join us on this tour but can’t get enough time off work, the itinerary can also be split into sections. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan Summer Tour, Kyrgyzstan Independence Day Tour, Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang Far West Tour.
The LOI application process is quite complicated and time-consuming, and Independence Day is a special time of the year with extra restrictions. For the best chance of approval, please get in at least 3 months in advance. Late applications are accepted but the approval rate goes down, in most cases, you will get a full refund if the application is rejected.
Day 1 – Thursday August 20th – Ashgabat
Day 2 – Friday August 21st – Ashgabat, Gates of Hell
Day 3 – Saturday August 22nd – Ashgabat
Day 4 – Sunday August 23rd – Yangykala Canyon, Avaza, Ashgabat
Day 5 – Monday August 24th – Turkmenabat, cross the border to Uzbekistan, Bukhara
Day 6 – Tuesday August 25th – Bukhara
Day 7 – Wednesday August 26th – Bukhara, Samarqand
Day 8 – Thursday August 27th – Samarqand
Day 9 – Friday August 28th – Samarqand, Tashkent
Day 10 – Saturday August 29th – Tashkent
Day 11 – Sunday August 30th – Bishkek
Day 12 – Monday August 31st – Bishkek, Independence Day
Day 13 – Tuesday September 1st – Bishkek, Kok Boru Horse Games, Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs, Karakol
Day 14 – Wednesday September 2nd – Karakol, Valley of the Flowers, Jetty Ögüz Gorge, Kyzyl Suu
Day 15 – Thursday September 3rd – Institute of Glaciers Foundation, Issik Kol
Day 16 – Friday September 4th – Issik Kol Lake, Son Kol Lake
Day 17 – Saturday September 5th – Son Kol Lake, Naryn, Tash Rabat
Day 18 – Sunday September 6th – Tash Rabat, Chinese border, Kashgar
Day 19 – Monday September 7th – Afaq Khoja, Grand Bazaar, Kashgar
Day 20 – Tuesday September 8th – Kashgar, Yarkand
Day 21 – Wednesday September 9th – Kashgar, train to Kuqa
Day 22 – Thursday September 10th Kuqa, Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves, Overnight train to Turpan
Day 23 – Friday September 11th Turpan, Yarkhoto, Tuyoq
Day 24 – Saturday September 12th – Turpan, Urumqi, End of Tour
•LOI and registration in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
•All transport according to the itinerary
•Local English speaking guides in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan
•Western YPT guide throughout
•Accommodation according to itinerary in twin/double share, except on days 13, 14 & 15 where we will be sharing a yurt with each other
•Travel arrangements to Ashgabat at the start of the tour, and Urumqi at the end of the tour
•Visas for Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China
•Visas or LOI’s for Kyrgyzstan. Most Western passport holders can now enter Kyrgyzstan for 60 days without a visa, but if you don’t fall into this category we can advise you separately.
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.