7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

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Charlie061902
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7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by Charlie061902 »

Hi all! I am a 20 year old male from the UK who is currently planning a trip to Central Asia. I have wanted to visit the region for years and have just booked flights out to Bishkek at the start of August and back from Tashkent at the end of September, giving me roughly seven weeks in the area. I had wanted to do the Pamir Highway and the Fann Mountains but with the ongoing border dispute, I have chosen to leave Tajikistan out of my trip - if this is a mistake please let me know. This community and Caravanistan in general is an amazing resource and I cannot thank all those involved with it enough. Below is my proposed itinerary for the 7 weeks. Please criticise and advise as much as possible!

Bishkek - 3 nights, 4 days (early flight in and early Marshrutka out)
Cholpon-Ata - 1 night (Marshrutka to Karakol next day)
Karaol - 2 days (white water rafting, day hike)
Jyrgalan - 2 days (riding)
Lake Ala Kul trek - 3 nights, 4 days?
Travel back to Bishkek + Fly to Osh - 1 day
Osh - 2 days
Sary Mogul - 1 day
Heights of Alay trek - 5 days
Peak Lenin and Travellers Pass - 2 days
Sary Mogul to Osh - 1 day
Osh to Ferghana - 1 day
Ferghana and Kokand - 2/3 days?
Tashkent - 4 days
Fly to Nukus
Nukus, Moynak, and the Aral Sea - 3 days
Khiva and Karakalpakstan - 3 days
Bokhara - 3 days
Samarkand - 3 days
Tashkent to fly home - 1 day
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bwv812
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by bwv812 »

I would add Tajikistan and cut down on the amount of trekking in Kygyzstan and skip Nukus/Aral sea.

Khiva doesn't need 3 days, Bishkek doesn't need 4, Tashkent doesn't need 4, etc.

From Ala Kul, I would go to Osh overland via Kazarman instead of going all the way back to Bishkek and then taking a flight.
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willemspie
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by willemspie »

I shouldn't the choose the Heights of Alay trek, that's not the best in Kyrgyzstan. I should consider Song Kol, for instance, or the Fann mountains in Tadjikistan, or Ratsek Hut and above in the Ala Archa NP ...
Cholpon Ata, bof, I prefer the Southern shore (Tamga for instance).
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Charlie061902
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by Charlie061902 »

bwv812 wrote:
Thu May 18, 2023 3:55 am
I would add Tajikistan and cut down on the amount of trekking in Kygyzstan and skip Nukus/Aral sea.

Khiva doesn't need 3 days, Bishkek doesn't need 4, Tashkent doesn't need 4, etc.

From Ala Kul, I would go to Osh overland via Kazarman instead of going all the way back to Bishkek and then taking a flight.
With the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan Border how would you do Tajikistan? Would you go via Uzbekistan or just hope the border opens up?
Also how would you travel from Ala Kul to Osh? Private taxi or are there Marshrutki?
Thank you so much for your advice!
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Charlie061902
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by Charlie061902 »

willemspie wrote:
Thu May 18, 2023 5:18 am
I shouldn't the choose the Heights of Alay trek, that's not the best in Kyrgyzstan. I should consider Song Kol, for instance, or the Fann mountains in Tadjikistan, or Ratsek Hut and above in the Ala Archa NP ...
Cholpon Ata, bof, I prefer the Southern shore (Tamga for instance).
This is very helpful thank you. Is it worth stopping on the shores of Lake Issykul? If so, do Marshrutki run from Tamga to Karakol?
Regarding the Fann Mountains, are there any particular routes you recommend?
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willemspie
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by willemspie »

Marshrutkas run along the Southern shore but they are often full. But in Tadjikistan fee hitch hiking is a normal form of public transport, you must agree on the fare.

You can easily go to the Fann mountains from nearby Samarkand. You can trek 2, 3, 4, 5 days. From Artuch through the lakes to Alauddin, possibly Chimtarga Pass, and the Big Allo Lake, and even as far as Iskenderkul.
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bwv812
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by bwv812 »

Charlie061902 wrote:
Sun May 21, 2023 4:22 pm

With the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan Border how would you do Tajikistan? Would you go via Uzbekistan or just hope the border opens up?
Also how would you travel from Ala Kul to Osh? Private taxi or are there Marshrutki?
Thank you so much for your advice!
You would have to go via Uzbekistan. You can easily go from Samarkand to Panjakent and on to Dushanbe (or stop to do some trekking in the Fann mountains).

Only private cars/share taxis will take you overthe pass and to Osh. Since you are more constrained by time than money, it's probably easy to arrange it with whatever company is taking you to Ala Kul. Plus with a private car you can stop where you want to, such as at Uzgen.
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TheNonFlyingDutchman
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by TheNonFlyingDutchman »

I can only speak of Uzbekistan, but agree with earlier comments. Nukus/moynak I would skip, not really worth it. Khiva is def worth it but 2 nights (one full day) is plenty, just as Bukhara. Haven’t been to Samarkand yet. Tashkent isn’t that exciting, unless you’d like to party a bit in a weekend.
See if you can add Tajikistan to the tour, or maybe fly in on Almaty instead of Bishkek. Beautifully green city with mountains right next to it, and although I wasn’t able to do it yet, I heard many good stories about trips to Charyn Canyon.
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Ian Sp
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by Ian Sp »

I spent 7 weeks in the region from the end of April +5 days in Seoul on the way home.
I agree with the comments made by others that Khiva, Samarkand and Bukhara 2-3 days each.i took a night train from Tashkent to Khiva, 4pm train to Bukhara and then a fast day train Bukhara to Samarkand.

My main form of transport were trains and a few Marshrutkas/shared taxi's. Booking trains online was easy also able to cancel tickets and rebook online easily if your plans change. Highlight was first class train in Kazakhstan with a shower/toilet between Almaty to Turkestan. If i had my time again i would go Almaty to Tashkent, and give Turkestan a miss as it was a bit touristy.

Highlights.
Overnight trains were great in Kazak and Uzbek.
Almaty was an amazing experience. Day and night trip out the canyon, white water rafting etc with Onyx tours. Cheap and well organized tours. I did 4 with them. http://onyxtour.kz/ru/catalog/raspisanie-turov_20/ . I also caught a local bus out to Medeu gorge and caught the cable car to the snow (50 minutes on number 12 bus from Almaty 2 station). I would do this cable car + hiking at the gorge, rather than Kok Tobe cable car, which i thought was very disappointing.

Highlight 2. Seven Lakes in Tajik. I left my main bag in Samarkand and crossed to Tajikistan. Crossing the border was easy. Bus to border, then shared taxi to Panjakent where you can catch a shared taxi/bus to the seven lakes. A real highlight for me!!!. Note various comments by travelers on issues with mastercard for ATM's in Tajikistan.

Lowlight
Not a big rap for Kyrgyzstan, but others may disagree. Hiking was good, but you can do this in other places in Central Asian.
Bishkek, Osh etc disappointing. One day in Bishkek is more than enough. If you do go to Kryrg. You can catch a shared taxi from Osh to Bishkek or a 45 minute flight 3 times a day (3400 som)., I did a 14hr shared taxi from Osh to Bishkek for the views.

Depending how you fly in consider a few days in Seoul on the way through. I'm not a big city person, but Seoul blew my tiny mind.
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sebhoff
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Re: 7 Weeks in Central Asia - first trip itinerary

Post by sebhoff »

All good - and relevant - information. However, I just wanted to make the obvious point that your mileage may vary...
For example, I personally find both Bishkek and Tashkent very interesting cities - and I spent 3 days in the former and quite a few more in the latter (both trips combined). Bishkek is great for aficionados of Soviet architecture and wall art - some of the mosaics are stunning. The same goes for Tashkent. Both cities have opera houses/concert halls where you can experience concerts with repertoires that you are much less likely to find in the west - *if* this is your kind of thing, of course. Tashkent has wonderful museums (e.g. the State Museum of Applied Arts), a wonderful metro and a fascinating market (Chorsu). Etc. etc.
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