Central Asia itinerary for one month

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stevesayskanpai
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Central Asia itinerary for one month

Post by stevesayskanpai »

Hi all,

I have posted this before but this is my 'final' itinerary for a trip to Central Asia, based on flying into and out of Bishkek, and having to be in Tashkent halfway through to meet my girlfriend there, who will be joining me for the second two weeks.

Ideally, I'd love any advice about the individual journeys/transport options to get from each of the places below to the next! I won't be able to rend a car, so will be reliant on public transport (trains, buses) and, as a last resort, taxis. Also any advice on how the itinerary looks overall. Thanks!

1 17.00 to 08.45 Turkish Airlines flight to Bishkek (KYR)
2 Day in Bishkek (Ala-Archa)
3 Bishek to Almaty (KAZ)
4 Day in Almaty
5 Almaty to Karkara Valley
6 Karkara Valley to Issy-Kul (Karakol)(KYR)
7 Issy-Kul (Karakol)
8 Issy-Kul (Karakol) to Bishkek
9 To Song-Kol
10 Song-Kol
11 To Arslanbob
12 Arslanbob
13 Osh
14 Fergana Valley -> Tashkent (UZB)
15 Tashkent (C arrives) 11.30 - 00.40
16 Tashkent to Urgench (19.30-13.05)
17 Khiva
18 Khiva to Nukus to Muynak
19 Muynak to Nukus to Khiva
20 Khiva/Urgench to Bukhara (4.5 hours)
21 Bukhara
22 Bukhara to Samarkand (08.05-11.27, 15.21-17.00)
23 Samarkand
24 Samarkanad to Tashkent
25 Tashkent to Turkistan (KAZ)
26 Turkistan
27 Turkistan to Aksu-Zhabagly Reserve
28 Aksu-Zhabagly Reserve
29 Aksu-Zhabagly Reserve to Bishkek (KYR)
30 10.25 -> 16.30 Turkish Airlines flight home
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bwv812
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Re: Central Asia itinerary for one month

Post by bwv812 »

When are you planning on doing this? I assume in the summer?

In my opinion, you don't have enough flex time to give you a buffer for when things go wrong. Aside from the trains in Uzbekistan, you can't count on transport times being that short (not unless you are willing to hire private vehicles, and even then things can still take longer from time to time). Khiva to Bukhara in 4.5 hours is very optimistic, for example.

You don't have to go to Bishkek between Karakol and Song Kol... you can go from Karakol to Kochkor.

Song Kol to Arslanbob you will likely need a pre-arranged private vehicle. If you want to fit all this stuff in, I think you need to have everything prearranged before you arrive (Song Kul trip & transport to Arslanbob, Aral Sea trip, Aksu-Zhabagly).
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steven
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Re: Central Asia itinerary for one month

Post by steven »

Agree with everything bwv said.

I would suggest to fly in and out of Almaty instead. It will save you some time and hassle taking an easy train from Shymkent to Almaty on the way back. On the way in, you can skip Bishkek and Ala-Archa, which frees up some time for you in the rest of your itinerary. You can go in very similar mountains right above Almaty. It is quicker and easier.

I also recommend you skip your day in Osh (nothing much to see) and move on immediately to Tashkent, perhaps with a half-day stopover in Kokand, Margilan or Rishton depending on your interests.
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stevesayskanpai
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Re: Central Asia itinerary for one month

Post by stevesayskanpai »

Yes, I'm visiting next summer.

Flying into and out of Almaty makes sense - though it'd be a shame not to visit Bishkek (even though I know it doesn't have the greatest reputation).

Skipping Ala-Archa might make sense it seems.

I should say that my primary interest is photography (http://www.stevenjamesmartin.com/Portfolio) so if there are any particular recommendations (particularly for photographing Kyrgyz people in traditional yurt settings) I'd appreciate them.

Also if there are any recommendations for what to cut out of my itinerary ... as it does seem that I'm trying to do too much
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stevesayskanpai
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Re: Central Asia itinerary for one month

Post by stevesayskanpai »

OK, I feel like I've done almost too much research and haven't got anywhere. The only key parameters of my trip are:

1. Four weeks long.
2. Fly into and out of either Bishkek or Almaty, being in Tashkent exactly halfway through my trip to meet my girlfriend.
3. Key focus is photography - of nature, landscapes, people and Silk Road sights.

If anyone has an itinerary to suggest from scratch - disregarding what I posted above - I'd be most grateful!
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Re: Central Asia itinerary for one month

Post by steven »

Seeing how you are really keen on Kyrgyz people in yurt settings, I would cut out the Almaty bit entirely, land in Bishkek and spend a few more days in the mountains to photograph landscapes, horses, yurts. Get in touch with a tour operator to organise a yurtstay and perhaps a little hike or horse ride, or organise it in Kochkor on the spot.

Song Kol to Osh should be glorious for pictures. There are yurt camps in the Kyrgyz Pamir near Sary Mogul that might tickle your fancy, very scenic. Better alternative than staying in the city for you?

Then you still have 3 days in Kazakhstan to tick it off, see the differences, and visit Turkestan and Aksu-Zhabagly.
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