Detailed four week itinerary

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Detailed four week itinerary

Post by stevesayskanpai »

Hi all,

I am planning a four week trip to Central Asia in July/August. I am concentrating on Kyrgyz/Uzbek, with brief detours into Kazakh (Almaty) and Turkmen (3 day transit visa planned). The only fixed dates are the start, end, and the day on which I meet my travelling companion (who is flying in) for the second two weeks.

1- Arrive in Bishkek
2 - Bishkek
3 - Bishek to Almaty
4 - Almaty
5 - Almaty to Bishkek
6 - Bishkek to Issy-Kul (Cholpon-Ata)
7 - Issy-Kul (Cholpon-Ata)
8 - Issy-Kul (Karakol)
9 - Issy-Kul (Karakol)
10 - To Song-Kol
11 - Song-Kol
12 - Arslanbob
13 - Osh
14 - Fergana Valley -> Tashkent
15 - Tashkent (Friend arrives)
16 - Tashkent to Samarkand
17 - Samarkand
18 - Samarkand to Bukhara
19 - Bukhara
20 - Bukhara to Khiva
21 - Khiva
22 - Khiva to Muynak
23 - Muynak to Nukus
24 - Nukus to Darvaza Gas Crater (to Ashgabat?)
25 - Ashgabat
26 - Ashgabat to Bukhara
27 - Bukhara to Tashkent
28 - Tashkent
29 - Tashkent to Bishkek mad dash!
30 - Fly Home from Bishkek

(1) If the Turkmen transit visa is rejected (which it might be anyway as Uzbek -> Turkmen -> Uzbek technically isn't a transit is it?) then we'd spend the extra time going north from Tashkent into Kazakhstan to visit Turkestan and on to Bishkek that way.

(2) Is Song-kul to Arslanbob in one day realistic?

Any detailed comments on where I might want to make alterations or additions gratefully received!
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Re: Detailed four week itinerary

Post by bwv812 »

Some thoughts:
  • You won't get a Turkmen transit visa, for the reason you stated.
  • Instead of backtracking from Almaty to Bishkek, consider going from Almaty to Charyn Canyon and crossing at the much more scenic Karkara border. Then go to Cholpon Ata (which doesn't sound super interesting to me) or Karakol.
  • You can go from Song Kul to Arslanbob in one day, but only if you have a private car arranged. It will take a full day, and then your schedule leaves you with little or no time in Arslanbob and Osh (I would definitely stop at Ozgen for an hour or so while doing Arslanbob-Osh).
  • Based on train schedules and routes, the best plan is to go to Bukhara first via overnight train from Tashkent, then backtrack to Samarkand, then go from Samarkand to Urgench/Khiva. The reason for this is that there is no train between Bukhara and Urgench/Khiva.
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Re: Detailed four week itinerary

Post by stevesayskanpai »

Thanks, the idea of going via Karkara is an excellent one. I need to do more reading about Kyrgyzstan clearly to see whether Arslanbob is worth it.

Shame about Turkmenistan - can you think of any way in which I could rearrange it so that I COULD visit briefly?
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Re: Detailed four week itinerary

Post by steven »

Hi Steve,

for Turkmenistan, you will need to get a tour in your case. That is expensive, but if it is just for Darwaza, you can do it in a day and it should cost less than 200$. Send us a request and perhaps our people in Ashgabat can hook you up with other travelers at the time. Perhaps there will be others to lower the cost, you have to be a bit lucky.

What you can also do, is fly out of Ashgabat. Then you are eligible for the transit visa, and you do not have to do the crazy 72-hour road trip to Bishkek. And you wouldn't need a double-entry Uzbek visa.

I also agree with bwv, cut out Cholpon-Ata and spend more time elsewhere on Issyk-Kul. The hinterland is nice but the town itself is not.

Since you have such a tight schedule, I advise to spend less time in Khiva. It is really photogenic, but also really small. One morning or evening is enough to get your shots.
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