5 weeks in Central Asia Intinerary / tips?

Post your itinerary questions and trip reports here
Post Reply
Gabemasca
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 10:52 pm
x 1
x 1

5 weeks in Central Asia Intinerary / tips?

Post by Gabemasca »

Hey Guys how are you?

I was originally planning a 1 1weeks trip that would start in Lanzhou and cover much of far west china, then 4 weeks in Kyrgyzstan, 2 in the pamir hwy and 1 in Uzbekistan. But unfortunately stuff poped up at home and I'll have to cut it to 5 weeks.

So I decided to cut the Chinese travel and focus more on the stans proper. Here is what I thought, and i would appreciate some tips.

Day 1- Arrive at bishkek
Day 2 - Bishkek to kochkor
Days 3, 4 and 5 - horse trek to Song Kol
Day 6 - Nyzart to Arslanbob ( is it possible in one day?)
Day 7, 8, 9 and 10 - treking in arslanbob
Day 11 to Osh
Day 12 to 24 - Pamir Highway to Dushanbe (via wakhan valley)
Days 25, 26 in Dushanbe
Days 27 and 28 in the Fann mountains
Day 29 to Bukhara
Days 30 and 31 in Bukhara
day 32 and 33 in Smarkand
Day 34 to Tashkent
day 35 fly out of Tashkent


Does this plan look solid? My main doubt is if it is worth not doing the Issyk-Kul lake area. Another alternative to this plan would be to skip the Pamir and to only Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan through the Fergana Valley.

Thank you very much!
0 x

bwv812
China expert
China expert
Posts: 743
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:02 pm
x 3523
x 176

Re: 5 weeks in Central Asia Intinerary / tips?

Post by bwv812 »

You can get to Arslanbob in one day if you hire a private car. But I don't think you can realistically get from the Fann mountains to Bukhara in one day (well, maybe you can go to Tashkent via Khojand during the day and then get a night train to Bukhara). And I'm not sure what you can do in two days in the Fann mountains, anyway, unless you're only going to go to Iskander-kul. In all honesty, I think that your time will be much better spent trekking in the Fann mountains than around Arslanbob.

http://ai.stanford.edu/~latombe/mountai ... ann-06.htm

Personally, if I only had 5 weeks I would start in China, only spend only a day or two in Osh/Kyrgyzstan, then immediately do the Pamir highway, Fann mountains, and Bukhara and Samarkand. The reason for this is that although you seem most interested in outdoor activities, Xinjiang is a much more culturally traditional than any of the CIS 'stans, and in my mind it would be a shame to miss it (and there's also a lot of scenery in places like Xiahe and Tashkurgan, too).
0 x
My 2012 overland trip from Tokyo to Istanbul: https://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.com

Seradane
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:33 pm
x 1
x 13

Re: 5 weeks in Central Asia Intinerary / tips?

Post by Seradane »

Gabemasca wrote:Day 29 to Bukhara
Days 30 and 31 in Bukhara
day 32 and 33 in Smarkand
Day 34 to Tashkent
day 35 fly out of Tashkent

Does this plan look solid? My main doubt is if it is worth not doing the Issyk-Kul lake area. Another alternative to this plan would be to skip the Pamir and to only Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan through the Fergana Valley.
You've not allowed a day to get from Bukhara to Samarkand - you can check the train timings here (http://eticket.uzrailway.uz/?lang=en) but that will eat a half day into one of your sightseeing days. It's not working for me at the moment so I can't check but I know the trains only run a couple times a day so may not be entirely convenient. Note on that search Bukhara station is called Buhara 1.

Re: Tajikistan to Bukhara, it might be slightly more efficient to go the other way - go from Tajik to Tashkent, then Samarkand and Bukhara on the high speed train, then take the night train from Bukhara back to Tashkent, saving you a day's travel.

Another thing to keep in mind is that July/August (when I assume you are going so as to do the hikes) is brutally hot in Uzbekistan, so unless you're really used to the heat you may need to sightsee in the mornings, retreat back into airconditioning around midday, then venture out again late afternoon. It stays light quite late but it does limit how much sightseeing you can do in a day, especially if you are losing half the day to train travel.

Issyk-Kul lake area is deceptively lovely, we really enjoyed the Altyn Arashan walk (which was really different from Song Kul) but it's probably the sort of place that benefits from spending a bit longer and exploring more slowly, as its attractions are not as 'big-ticket' and take a bit of discovering. So I'd say maybe skip it this time - you can't do everything, and I'm a fan of taking a little bit more time in slightly fewer places so you can enjoy yourself rather than just tearing from one place to the next! Maybe if you enjoy Kyrgyzstan you can come back here next time :)

Also I disagree with the other poster about putting China back in - China is so immense it's really hard to do in a hurry, and we found the bits of Xinjiang we managed to get to to be somewhat challenging. We loved China but culturally traditional? Perhaps you may see it if you go seeking homestays (difficult in the current climate) and speak Mandarin/Uighur but travelling with only English we've found it a lot easier to get to know the local people in Central Asia (especially Kyrgyzstan) - they are much friendlier and genuinely curious about you instead of you just being a fascinating novelty!

Hope that helps some :)
0 x

bwv812
China expert
China expert
Posts: 743
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:02 pm
x 3523
x 176

Re: 5 weeks in Central Asia Intinerary / tips?

Post by bwv812 »

Seradane wrote: You've not allowed a day to get from Bukhara to Samarkand - you can check the train timings here (http://eticket.uzrailway.uz/?lang=en) but that will eat a half day into one of your sightseeing days. It's not working for me at the moment so I can't check but I know the trains only run a couple times a day so may not be entirely convenient.
The night train between Tashkent and Bukhara stops in Samarkand, so it is possible to travel between the two without losing any sightseeing time. You only get half a night's sleep on the train, but it's worth it.

Seradane wrote: Also I disagree with the other poster about putting China back in - China is so immense it's really hard to do in a hurry, and we found the bits of Xinjiang we managed to get to to be somewhat challenging. We loved China but culturally traditional? Perhaps you may see it if you go seeking homestays (difficult in the current climate) and speak Mandarin/Uighur but travelling with only English we've found it a lot easier to get to know the local people in Central Asia (especially Kyrgyzstan) - they are much friendlier and genuinely curious about you instead of you just being a fascinating novelty!
I guess we had very different experiences, which is one of the great things about traveling. For me, Xinjiang is the only place I saw people in shalwar kameez, men with full bushy beards (well, maybe a few in Osh, too), women in full face veils, traditional Tajik attire (in Tashkurgan), horse and donkey carts in the streets, people listening to traditional music on the radio/stereo, as well as more traditional food and drink. For me it was quite a shock to cross into Kyrgyzstan and be blasted with blue jeans, miniskirts, Russian pop music, Russian-influenced cuisine, Russian architecture, etc. And although China is much bigger, the fact they have much better infrastructure as well as scheduled buses and trains (as well as overnight buses) made it a lot easier to travel efficiently. Obviously it would be better to do devote more time, but if this is your only crack at the region I wouldn't want to miss Xinjiang.
0 x
My 2012 overland trip from Tokyo to Istanbul: https://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.com

Gabemasca
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 10:52 pm
x 1
x 1

Re: 5 weeks in Central Asia Intinerary / tips?

Post by Gabemasca »

Hey Guys, thank you very much for the precious advice.

Unfortunately, I'll have to leave China out this time.

I finally closed my dates and Ill have 6 more days than on the plan previous mentioned. So what I'll do with this extra days is to add 3 or 4 of them for Fann Mountains hiking and the others for transportation.

Now one last question for KGZ. Would you recommend going first from Bishkek to Karakol, and there do a 3 days hike and then aftrwards go to Kochkor and Song Kul horse ride, then Osh. Or Sog Kul-Arslanbob would make more sense time and transportation wise.


Thanks a lot!

Gabriel
0 x

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post