4 Stans and Iran - 22 Days Tour
Day 1 – Arrival to Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Welcome to Kazakhstan! Upon arrival to Almaty airport, we will meet you and transfer to hotel for rest after flight. It takes about 20 min. of driving to the hotel. After we check in to hotel and have a short rest, we will have a Welcome dinner at one of local restaurants where we’ll provide a short introduction about Kazakhstan – the largest country of Central Asia with majestic mountains and plains, glaciers, and deep rivers, lakes and deserts, boundless steppes and the woods adjoin. Such variety of landscapes causes existence of rich natural world. Besides natural sights the country has a lot of rich history which is imprinted in numerous monuments: the remains of ancient settlements, barrows, petroglyphs, mausoleums and mosques being important shrines of Muslim culture. Kazakhstan – is a country of most ancient civilization of Euroasian continent, homeland of nomad tribes, a significant part of Great Silk Road - 1400 km. The republic contains 27 thousand monuments of antiquity. Leading industries of Kazakhstan are: metallurgy, chemical and mechanical engineering. Oil processing and production of building materials are also developed industries of Kazakhstan. After dinner today we’ll overnight at hotel in Almaty.
Day 2 – Almaty (Kazakhstan)
After breakfast at hotel, we have a full day of sightseeing ahead. Today we visit: Panfilov Park, Zenkov Wooden Cathedral, St.Nicholas Cathedral, National Musical Instruments Museum, Central State Museum, Almaty's Green Bazaar and have a Panoramic view at observatory.
Alma-Ata is a name of "the southern capital" of Kazakhstan. It is the largest city of country which was state capital during period from 1927 to 1997. Alma-Ata is located in southeast part of Kazakhstan near border with Kyrgyzstan at heights from 670 to 1100 m. The main sight of Alma-Ata are Panfilov Park named in honor of 28 heroes of the panfilovets, stretched in northeast part of the city covering near 18 hectares. Located in center of park is majestic Sacred Voznesensky cathedral. Behind Panfilov park, we come visit to one of biggest market places of Almaty – the Green Bazzar. It is a fine example of a true Asian bazzar. Next we will visit the Museum of national musical instruments named after Ykylas, it was opened in 1980’s and contains many types of Kazakh national musical instruments most ancient of which are dated to 17th century. In the southern part of the city we visit Central State Museum – place to see unique archeological finds telling history of Kazakhstan since the most ancient times to present. Museum displays over 120 thousand exhibits. Before dinner excursion to falcon farm with a short show program. After dinner at one of the local restaurants we overnight at hotel in Almaty.
Day 3 – Almaty – Bishkek – 170 mi (Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan)
Today after breakfast at the hotel we depart Almaty and drive to Bishkek via newly built highway. En route which will take approximately 3 hours we will enjoy beautiful landscape. Soon we will welcome you to Kyrgyzstan. On the way we will provide short information about Kyrgyzstan. Republic located in northeast of Central Asia, crossed by two world great mountain systems, Tien Shan and Pamir. 93% of Kyrgyzstan is covered by mountains, with strong continental climate the country of located 350 meters above sea level. In the afternoon we will arrive to the capital of Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek. Check in to the hotel for a short rest and have lunch at local restaurant. For the second part of the day we will have a sightseeing of Bishkek visit Central Museum, Panfilov park, the local bazaar. After dinner at one of the local restaurants followed by a folk show program, today we will overnight in Bishkek.
Day 4 – Bishkek – Issyk Kul – 165 mi (Kyrgyzstan)
After breakfast at hotel we’ll transfer to the Issyk Kul Lake, the pearl of Kyrgyzstan. In route we’ll visit Burana Tower located in the city of Tokmok in 50 mi from Bishkek. Today we’ll have lunch in Kyrgyz family in Tokmon city. After lunch break continue on driving to Issyk Kul Lake through Boom Canyon. Issyk Kul is one of the largest mountain lakes of the world and most beautiful lake in Kyrgyzstan located in northeast part of the republic between ridges of Northern Tien Shan: Kungey Ala and Terskey Ala at the height of 1609 m above sea level. Excursions will also include visiting petroglyphs of Paleolithic era and local museum in Cholpon Ata. Upon arrival we’ll check into hotel and have dinner at one of the local restaurants. Overnight at hotel in Issyk Kul Lake.
Day 5 – Issyk Kul – Chopon Ata – Grigorevka Gorge – Bishkek – 163 mi – Tashkent (Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll transfer to Grigorevka Gorge, Grigorevka Gorge located in 45 mi from the city of Cholpon-Ata. Gentle slopes of a valley are covered with a dense fir forest. Length of a valley is 25 mi. The Grigorevka Gorge, is considered one of the most picturesque in Issyk Kul area. Today we’ll have a relaxing day in the nature. After lunch at local restaurant we’ll return to Bishkek and transfer to the airport for flight to Tashkent by QH409 at 19:20. Welcome to Uzbekistan! Upon your arrival to Tashkent airport, you’ll be met and transferred to hotel to check. In route short introduction about Uzbekistan – one of the economically developed states of the Central Asian region, occupying a bit more than 11% of the territory of Central Asia. Main branches of industry of the republic are linked with the cotton growing, silk production, fruit and vegetable production and irrigation construction. Today we’ll have a full day of sightseeing in Tashkent. While for many travelers full day of sightseeing in Tashkent seem as a necessary stopover en route to the dream destinations, this historical city holds many unexpected surprises. Overnight at hotel in Tashkent.
Day 6 – Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast first half of the day we’ll visit old part of the city: Khast Imam Complex which displays unique Osman Koran thought to be the world’s oldest Koran. Chorsu bazaar- is one of the oldest, biggest bazaars of Tashkent. Madrasah Kukeldash – is a significant architectural sightvof the 16 century. After lunch we will continue on to modern part of the city: Independent square called Mustakillik, the main square of Tashkent, flanked by largest public buildings and walls of fountains. A. Navoi theatre square built in 1947 by Japanese prisoners in World War 2. Visits to museum of Amir Temur and museum of Handcraft Art will end our excursion of Tashkent, and we’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants and overnight at hotel in Tashkent.
Day 7 – Tashkent – Samarkand – 190 mi (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we will take a train to world famous Samarkand located 190 mi from Tashkent. The road to Samarkand is via Syrdarya and Jizzakh provinces and takes approximately 3 hours. We will arrive to Samarkand in the afternoon, check in to hotel and have lunch. After short rest we’ll start our excursion of Samarkand by visiting Paper Mills Factory where we’ll have a presentation of paper production from mulberry tree, Afrasiyob Museum, Ulugbek’s observatory – dated to 1428 - 1429 – known as biggest observatory of the East with best equipment to the time. After dinner at one of the local restaurants we’ll transfer to hotel for overnight in Samarkand.
Day 8 – Samarkand (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll have a full day sightseeing of Samarkand. Visit heart of the city – Registan Square which played great role in commercial and scientific life of the time. Gur Emir Mausoleum - mausoleum for the males of Temurid’s dynasty, real masterpiece of Central Asian architecture. Shaki Zinda Necropolis in the northern outskirts of Samarkand. Bibi – Khanum Mosque construction of which started in 1399 after Victorian campaign of Temur to India. Central bazaar of Samarkand- Siyobian where we’ll taste famous round bread (non) made only in Samarkand. After this long day, we’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants and overnight in Samarkand.
Day 9 – Samarkand – Bukhara – 172 mi (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel, we depart Samarkand for Bukhara. Stop on the way at the ruins of medieval monument Caravanserai Rabat-i-Malik. Continue driving to Bukhara via Gijduvan where we’ll visit Abdulla’s pottery house where we’ll be offered short presentation and a cup of tea. Upon arrival to Bukhara, we’ll accommodate at the hotel. Visit Chor Minor memorial. Today we’ll dinner in one of the local restaurants and will overnight in Bukhara.
Day 10 – Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we’ll have a full day of sightseeing of this ancient city. Bukhara is one of most historically rich cities on the Great Silk Road attracting attention of thousands of people with its unique heritage. Today we’ll visit: Samanid’s dynasty mausoleum known to be one of the best architectural samples of the Samanids period (875 - 999). Chashma Ayub Mausoleum – legend say is it of Prophet Jove. Bolo – Khauz Mosque. The Ark Forteress – Citadel is the most ancient memorial of Bukhara, on archeological matter dated to the 3rd century B.C. Kalon Complex – consists of minaret, Mosque and Madrasah both of which are still active. Magoki Attori Mosque. Ulugbek and Abdulazizi Khan madrasahs. Next we’ll visit most popular place of Bukhara – reservoir Lyabi Khauz complex built in 1620 by khans’ dignitary Nodir Devan Begi. We’ll end the day with a dinner at the local restaurant followed by a show program. Today we’ll overnight in Bukhara.
Day 11 – Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we’ll continue second full day of sightseeing in Bukhara: former summer palace of Bukhara Emir Said Olimkhan – last Emir of Bukhara, Sitora – iMokhi – Khosa, Museum of Decorative Applied Art. We’ll be back to Bukhara in time for dinner and have another overnight in Bukhara.
Day 12 – Bukhara – Khiva – 350 mi (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel, today we’ll have a long day ahead making our way through Kyzyl Kum desert going from Bukhara to Khiva. We’ll cover over 350 mi and spend most part of the day on the road. While it is a rather hard day, it is the only way to get from Bukhara to Khiva and we’ll try to make it as pleasant as possible. On the way we’ll make stops to visit ancient ruins Ayaz Kala and Toprak Kala. We’ll have a picnic lunch and upon arrival accommodate in hotel in Khiva for rest and relaxation. Khiva is a fascinating place, walk through Ichan Kala – old walled city of Khiva, will give you an insight into the life led there from ancient days up to the present time. We’ll have a dinner at the local restaurant followed by a show program. Overnight is at the hotel in Khiva.
Day 13 – Khiva – Urgench
After breakfast at hotel today we’ll have a full day sightseeing in Khiva: visit Ichan Kala – a UNESCO World Heritage Site including madrasah Muhammad Amin Khan, KeltaMinar, Kunya Ark, madrasah Muhammad Rakhimkhan. We’ll have lunch at local restaurant and continue sightseeing program: visit Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Islam Khodja Minaret andMadrasah, Djuma Mosque and Minaret, TashHovli Palace. After dinner at the local restaurant we’ll transfer to hotel for overnight and rest in Khiva.
Day 14 – Khiva – Dashoguz – Kunya – Urgench – Ashgabat – 200 mi (Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan)
After breakfast at the hotel today in the morning we transfer to border Shavat – Dashoguz – 40mi. Upon arrival proceed the way through passport control and customs procedures and enter in Turkmenistan. After border formalities on both sides we’ll continue our way to Dashoguz where we’ll have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we’ll drive another 75 mi to Koneurgench– the capital of Khorezmshahs, have sightseeing of Old City which will include: Portal of Caravansaray, Mamun Minaret, Il Arslan Mausoleum, Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, Academy of Horezm, KutlugTimur Minaret – one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia and TurabekHanum Mausoleum. After half day excursion of Koneurgench we’ll drive back to Dashoguz where we’ll stop for a dinner at one of the local restaurants. After dinner we’ll transfer to the airport for a flight from Dashoguz to Ashgabat. Upon arrival we’ll accommodate in hotel in Ashgabat for rest and relaxation. We’ll have a dinner at the local restaurant. Overnight is at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 15 – Ashgabat – Mary – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport of Ashgabat for a flight to Mary. Today we’ll visit Old Merv – Merv was located at the road crossing of Great Silk Road and quickly became one of most important and biggest cities of the ancient World. Sightseeing will include: Gyz Gala and Oglan Gala, Complex of Askhabs, Gyaur Gala, Erk Gala, Soltan Gala, SoltanSanjar Mausoleum, IbnZeid Mausoleum. In the evening we’ll return to Ashgabat. We’ll have dinner at local restaurant. Today we’ll overnight at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 16 – Ashgabat – Nissa – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
After breakfast we will proceed with sightseeing: one of the most beautiful cities of the world which was recently included into the Book of Guinness as the Most-White Marble City in the World. Today’s sightseeing includes: Complex of Monuments of Oguz Han and Sonssurrounded with fountains. Tombs of Turkmenbashy(first President of Turkmenistan S. Nyyazow) and his parents and brothers, Old Nissa-The Sanctuary of Parhian Kings, Nissa was the capital of Parthian Empire which lasted 600 years and was greatest enemy of Rome Empire. After excursions of Old Nissa we’ll proceed to Monuments of ArchabilShayolyand discover new part of Ashgabat with its’ modern buildings, monuments and parks which includes: Health Path of Turkmenbashybuilt on mountains which became very popular place among locals, Monument of Constitution and tallest building in Turkmenistan (600 feet), “Alem” Culture and Recreation Center. In the afternoon we’ll transfer to hotel and check in. We’ll have lunch at one of the local restaurants. After lunch we will continue with sightseeing of Ashgabat, visiting: Museum of Turkmen Carpets, Park dedicated to Turkmen horses-the pride of Turkmen, Gulistan Bazar, Monument for the Victims of the Earthquake of 1948, Monument of Lenin, ErtogrulGazy Mosque. We’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants. After dinner we’ll go for a night tour, driving along the main streets of Ashgabat making stop near Palace of Happiness. Today we’ll overnight at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 17 – Ashgabat – Mashhad – 170 mi (Turkmenistan/Iran)
Today after breakfast we’ll have shortsightseeing in Ashgabat: National Museum of History highly recommendable: one of the biggest museums in Central Asia. After Museum we’ll be visiting Arch of Neutrality – famous rocket and tripod style built building symbolizing neutral status of Turkmenistan. Its’ height is over 300 feet including 40 feet rotating statue of first President of Turkmenistan: SaparmyratNyyazow (Turkmenbashy). Enjoy short walking tour within the Park of Independency along the hundreds of fountains and statutes with stops to visit Monuments of Independency and Ruhnama. After lunch we’ll start making our way from Ashgabat to Mashhad.The drive is 170 mi long, which will take us approximately 3 hours, upon arrival to Mashhad we’ll catch a flight to Terhan. Once we arrival to Tehran we’ll check into hotel and have some time to rest and relax before welcome dinner. Today we’ll overnight in Tehran.
Day 18 – Tehran (Iran)
Today we’ll have breakfast at the hotel and a full day sightseeing of Tehran, sightseeing will include: Museum of the Islamic Period, Golestan Palace, Old Bazaar. Before we’ll continue sightseeing, we’ll have lunch break at local restaurant. Second part of sightseeing will include: Saad Abad Complex, Niavaran Museum andDarake Rural Area.We’ll end day with dinner at local restaurant and late city driving tour.Overnight in Tehran.
Day 19 – Tehran – Shiraz (Iran)
In the morning we’ll transfer to the airport of Tehran for a short flight to Shiraz. Upon arrival we’ll check into hotel and have morning excursion to Persepolis, which was capital of Achaemenid Empire,Naghesh-e-Rajab and Naghesh-e-Rostam – UNESCO world heritage sights. We’ll have lunch break and continue sightseeing:Eram Garden, (Garden of Paradise) a large garden with a beautiful palace Hafez – 14th Century Persian Mystic poet and Saadi Tombs –famous Persian poet of medieval period.After dinner at local restaurant we’ll overnight in Shiraz.
Day 20 – Shiraz – Isfahan – 300mi (Iran)
Today we’ll transfer to Isfahan, the drive will take first half of the day, and we’ll cover almost 300 mi, it will take approximately 6 hours. In route we’ll visitPasaragde a city in ancient Persia andtoday an archaeological – UNESCO World Heritage site, tomb of Cyrus the Great – founder of Persian Empire. Upon arrival to Isfahan we’ll accommodate in hotel and rest. We’ll have lunch in route and dinner in a local restaurant of Isfahan. Overnight in Isfahan.
Day 21 Isfahan – Tehran (Iran)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll have a full day of sightseeing in Isfahan, visiting: Imam, Sheikh, and Lotfollah Mosques, the Aliqapou Palace, Vanak Church, the Shaking Minarets, and the Fire Temple. After lunch sightseeing of this fascinating city continues with the Friday Mosque, ChehelSotoun, HashtBehesht Palace and Khajou Bridge. In the evening we’ll take a short flight back to Tehran. Accommodate in hotel, have Farewell dinner and overnight in Tehran.
Day 22 Tehran – Departure (Iran)
Today is the last day of the tour; we’ll have breakfast at the hotel and arrange transfer to the airport for your flight home. End of tour.