17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Post your itinerary questions and trip reports here
gian
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:29 pm
x 2
x 2

17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby gian » Sun May 22, 2016 5:02 pm

Hi all

I will soon travel toCentral Asia and I have 17 full days (i.e. excluding inbound/outbound flights to/from Bishkek) available for visiting the area. My main interest is Uzbekistan and in particular the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, where I would really like to spend 3 days in each.

I was thinking of the following itinerary:
- from Bishkek to Osh (probably split in two segments to avoid traveling 14hrs by shared taxi)
- from Osh cross into Uzbekistan and overnight stop in Margilan.
- reach Tashkent and take the train to Samarkand (3 days)
- Bukhara (3 days)
- Khiva (3 days)
- Flight back to Tashkent (where I would like to spend at least one night)
- train to Almaty (one night at least)
- land transit to Bishkek (ideally a night too, but not sure if at the beginning of the end of the trip)

Now, I would like to keep everything flexible in case I am late or would like to stay longer or shorter in a place. What I am not sure right now is if this itinerary is doable in 17 days or it's too much of a rush.. there are a couple of transits I have not yet idea how to plan ( for example, from Osh to Margilan, and from Margilan to Tashkent). What do you think?

thanks in advance for any tip you can give me!!
0 x

bwv812
China expert
China expert
Posts: 731
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:02 pm
x 3421
x 172

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby bwv812 » Sun May 22, 2016 8:24 pm

You can save a day by flying from Bishkek to Osh (about the same price as the share taxi).

I did Osh-Margilan and Margilan-Tashkent. There wasn't anywhere cheap to stay in Margilan proper when I was there (and I arrived late as the border crossing took me over 3 hours, mainly because I was treated like a local since I kind of look like one), but transport wasn't a big problem. There are marshrutkas to the Osh side of the border, and lots of waiting share taxis on the Uzbek side. There are share taxis from Margilan to Tashkent, too, though the departure place was a bit out of the way.
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.com/ ... n-and.html

Do not take the train from Tashkent to Samarkand. Even though Samarkand is the closest city, it is a big mistake to take the train to Samarkand. Why? Because there is no train from Bukhara to Urgench/Khiva, but there is a train from Samarkand to Urgench. So the better plan is to take the overnight train all the way to Bukhara, then backtrack to Samarkand, then book the train to Urgench. This is much preferable to the long share taxi on bad roads between Bukhara and Urgench.

Three days in Khiva is a bit much (for me it was the least interesting of the three, and by far the most intensely touristic), but if you do spend that much time you will have the opportunity to visit the desert Qalas/fortresses north of Khiva. If you do take that daytrip, one good suggestion I have heard is to do it on your last day and arrange to be dropped off at the Urgench train station on your way back so as to avoid the Khiva-Urgench hassle (the overnight train to Samarkand and Tashkent leaves in the afternoon or early evening, I believe).
1 x
My 2012 overland trip from Tokyo to Istanbul: https://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.com

User avatar
steven
Admin
Admin
Posts: 3761
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3081
x 425

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby steven » Mon May 23, 2016 6:00 am

I would advise to take a minibus from Bishkek to Osh but to get off at the Uch Kurgan border crossing. It's right on the highway. http://caravanistan.com/border-crossings/uzbekistan/

I found Namangan the most colourful and lively of all the Ferghana cities. No tourists, amazing contrasts to the empty mountains of Kyrgyzstan. From Namangan, it's not so far to Margilan. I think this is the quickest way to get there.

If you are interested in ceramics I would pass by Rishton as well. I think 3 days in each of these cities is enough to get a good feel for them. Khiva is quite small, but if medieval Islamic architecture is your thing you will never tire of it. Otherwise, Qala's and Nukus are options nearby.

Kokand is also a nice town, but if you are a slow traveler perhaps that will definitely become too much.
1 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

gian
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:29 pm
x 2
x 2

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby gian » Mon May 23, 2016 2:36 pm

Steven, thanks so much! The Uch Kurgan/Namangan transit is really a great idea! This way I do not have to spend a night in Toktogul as I would probably manage to survive the 8hrs trip to Uch Kurgan :)
Just not sure about one point: if I stay in Namangan and travel south to Margilan, shall I go back though Namangan when traveling towards Tashkent?

@bwv812: thanks for your tips! I was counting on taking a shared taxi from Bukhara to Urgench as from reports on internet it sounds doable.. a route Tashkent-Bukhara-Samarkand-Khiva seems not optimising travel times.. I will check this option anyway!
0 x

bwv812
China expert
China expert
Posts: 731
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:02 pm
x 3421
x 172

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby bwv812 » Mon May 23, 2016 6:37 pm

The night train route actually optimizes travel time, in my opinion, given that night trains travel at night whereas share taxis do not.

The train to Urgench arrives at around 1:00 pm (far earlier than a share taxi from Bukhara would) and leaves for Bukhara/Tashkent at around 3:00 pm (far later than a share taxi to Bukahra would). For travel between Tashkent and Bukhara the savings are more drastic, as the trip consumes almost no daylight hours, while the Bukhara-Samarkand leg can be done in the evening after a full day of exploring.
0 x
My 2012 overland trip from Tokyo to Istanbul: https://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.com

gian
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:29 pm
x 2
x 2

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby gian » Mon May 23, 2016 7:50 pm

Many thanks!
So I am doing a bit of planning now and I coupled your advise with train info found on another website. I now have this itinerary:

1) Tashkent -> Bukhara: 8.25->14.56 (train #10,daily) or 22.00->07.01 (train # 662, daily)
2) Bukhara -> Samarkand: 7.45->10.50 (train #9, daily) or 19.50->01.22 (train #661, daily)
3) Samarkand -> Urgench: 23.51 -> 13.05 (train #56, only Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays)

I really like your idea, but the last segment can be completed only on Tuesdays, Fridays or Sundays, which could mean less flexibility. Hmm.
The website of Uzbek railways seems offline right now, I will try later. Hopefully the trains have sleeping cars?

EDIT: according to wikitravel ( http://wikitravel.org/en/Khiva ) trains from Tashkent/Samarkand to Urgench leave on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays.. ouch, a bit of confusion here..
0 x

bwv812
China expert
China expert
Posts: 731
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:02 pm
x 3421
x 172

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby bwv812 » Mon May 23, 2016 11:12 pm

I suspect that the data at Advantour is the best: they show trains that seat61 doesn't (including one that leave Bakhara at 16:10 and arrives in Samarkand at 19:10), and unlike the faulty data on Caravanistan they don't have the train to Urgench running daily (they also seem cheaper than here on Caravanistan—something Steven might want to look into).

http://www.advantour.com/uzbekistan/trains.htm

Note that the trains leave Tashkent in the evening of one day, but leave Samarkand a few minutes after midnight the next day... this explains some of the confusion out there, and I'm sure the agency you buy the tickets from (if doing so beforehand) can solve things for you.

I'm pretty sure all tickets for the night train will be berths—either for the open platskartny cars, 4-berth kupe compartments, or 2-berth SV compartments.
0 x
My 2012 overland trip from Tokyo to Istanbul: https://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.com

User avatar
steven
Admin
Admin
Posts: 3761
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3081
x 425

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby steven » Tue May 24, 2016 5:29 am

Thanks for the admonishment, bwv, I know I need to work on those pages. It's on the "reasonably-urgent" list. :-) About the prices, I can't get it any lower sadly.
0 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

gian
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:29 pm
x 2
x 2

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby gian » Sun May 29, 2016 8:16 am

Hello again guys.
Just 4 days before landing in Bishkek and starting the journey, so I wanted to check a couple of points.
Steven, you were suggesting to take a minibus from Bishkek to Uch Kurgan. Do they run during the day? Ideally i would take one early in the morning so I can enjoy the landscape.
Also, should I assume that I must pay the full run to Osh, ie 12-25 usd as you suggest here:
http://caravanistan.com/transport/bus-s ... yrgyzstan/
Thanks!
0 x

User avatar
steven
Admin
Admin
Posts: 3761
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3081
x 425

Re: 17 days in Central Asia: my itinerary

Postby steven » Mon May 30, 2016 2:41 pm

Hi gian,

sorry, I missed this. You probably will have to pay the full price. . Cars leave constantly from 6am to 9pm in Bishkek. From Margilan, take a taxi to Kokand, or perhaps straight to Tashkent. There is also a new train now from Kokand to Tashkent, have to update that, but shared taxi still the quickest way to get out probably.
0 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Itineraries & trip reports”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest