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Itinerary for a 3 weeks trip to UZ and KG

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:13 pm
by loyola
First, this site is amazing! Thanks for creating this website; it’s very useful when you are thinking about visiting Central Asia!

My girlfriend and I are planning to visit Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in June (between 21-24 days starting around June 12th) and we’re trying to sort out an itinerary that would make sense since it’s our first time in this region of the world.

Do you think this itinerary is doable and not too crazy for a young couple that want to enjoy the best these countries has to offer?

June 12 Arriving in Tashkent
13-14-15 Samarkand
16-17-18 Bukhara
19 Going back to Tashkent
20 Moving to Fergana Valley (not sure where, if you have any suggestions we’ll gladly listen)
21 Entering KG, Osh
22-23 Arslanbob
24 moving toward Tash Rabat from Arslanbob
25-26 Tash Rabat
27-28-29 Song-Kul
30-1-2-3 Around Issyk-Kul
4-5 Bishkek (flying back on the 5th)

In KG, is it easy to organize transport with CBT to pretty much anywhere in KG. My biggest concern is going from Arslanbob to Tash Rabat (seems like a long journey).

Also, has anyone here been to Kel-Suu lake in Naryn region? It seems really nice but also really remote. Do you know where we can organize transportation to get there (if it’s possible)?

So, if you have any comments, suggestions or advices regarding our itinerary please share it with us. We’ll be happy to read you!

Once again, thanks for the great website!

Loy and Fl

Re: Itinerary for a 3 weeks trip to UZ and KG

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:58 am
by bwv812
You don't really need three full days in each of Bukhara and Samarkand, especially if you take the night train. Sure, there are more places to see in Samarkand, and Bukhara is a nice place to linger (in my opinion), but two full days in each is sufficient.

Margilon has an interesting silk workshop (which can be a bit difficult to find) and a large Sunday market, and there are some homestays in nearby Ferghana but nothing cheap in Margilon (important as registration for every night in the valley seems to be essential now).

Here's a map showing how to get to the Yodgorlik Silk Factory from Margilon's green market. It took me a long time to find out exactly where Yodgorlik was and LP still doesn't include GPS coordinates or a map, but seems to assume you'll have a tour guide.

I would make a brief stop at Ozgen between Osh and Arslanbob—you can see the mausoleums and minaret in an hour, and it's just off the road. But unless you have private transport, getting from Osh to Arslanbob by marshrutka may take half a day or more. And it will be very difficult (i.e., impossible) to get between Arslanbob and Tash Rabat in one day without private transport (and probably impossible even with transportation unless you spend the entire day bouncing around in your vehicle), as the road between Jalal Abad and Naryn is crap, few cars travel it, and there's no public transportation that goes to Tash Rabat, anyway.

In the Issyk-kul area, I quite like the Jeti-Oguz valley, and it may be possible to arrange a hike from there to Karakol. You can try to get info on this through the CBT and other tourist info office in Karakol, or through one of the private agencies there. I'm sure LP lists their contact info.

To if you're interested in finding transport options ahead of time, I would try the CBT head office in Bishkek and see what they recommend (especially since your route will span multiple regions). You could also try the CBT office in Arlsanbob as well as private agencies like the Osh Guesthouse. Kyrgyzstan is not a great place to travel if you want to get somewhere quickly or keep a schedule, unless you are willing to pay for a private vehicle.

You won't have any problems getting a marshrutka between Karakol and Bishkek, as they run frequently. Kochkor-Jeti-Oguz/Karakol should also be not too difficult.

Re: Itinerary for a 3 weeks trip to UZ and KG

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:37 pm
by povertyjetset
Just curious why you are devoting 3 days to Song Kol. Is it for a horse trek? The standard trip tends to be 2 nights - one in the woods somewhere and the next at the lake with a morning departure back to Kochkor by car. I did not do the horse trek but went to the lake and did not see the big deal as there's better trekking elsewhere in KG. However, many tourists there had done the horse trek and all seemed to like it. Bishkek did not appear to have too many sights, I think one full day is enough there.

I would second the rec. to cut back on Samarkand and Bukhara to 2 days each each but use the extra time to get to Khiva (2 full days there enough including one day for the desert fortress tour by taxi). If you set off for Khiva (Urgench, actually) after one day in Tashkent by night train it shouldn't alter the rest of your trip at all. Long train ride but trains in UZ (even third class) are nice albeit kind of hot. 2nd class should have AC but usually broken, at least that was my experience. Then another night train to Samarkand (can get dropped off at the Urgench train station after the desert tour if you opt for that; I did and it worked out well), express day train to Bukhara, night train back to Tashkent arriving early in the morning so you could get to Fergana same day and not spend another night in Tashkent.

Re: Itinerary for a 3 weeks trip to UZ and KG

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:34 pm
by steven
Much has been said by our 2 experts. For Ferghana, Andijan market on thu an sunday is wortwhile, Kokand is interesting too for half day. On my way to check out some more off the beaten track locations there, updates hopefully soon.

Re: Itinerary for a 3 weeks trip to UZ and KG

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:34 am
by loyola
Thanks for the comments! Much appreciated!

We will cut down on Bukhara and Samarkand to get to Khiva, I think it´s a good plan with the night train.

With the road between Osh and Naryn being bad, do you guys think it would be better for us to enjoy Arslanbob for a couple of days and then go to Bishkek? Maybe travelling to Song Kol from there, then Tash Rabat?

Re: Itinerary for a 3 weeks trip to UZ and KG

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:55 am
by steven
Both are good plans, i cannot recommend one over the other...maybe someone else?

Re: Itinerary for a 3 weeks trip to UZ and KG

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:35 pm
by bwv812
Arslanbob is nice and all, but you don't need more than a couple of days there, in my opinion.

Arslanbob-Bishkek is a long drive that will consume most of a day, and dipping back down from Bishkek to Song-kul, Naryn, and Tash Rabat—and then back up to Bishkek—doesn't sound like much fun. The road from Jalal Abad to Naryn is the better alternative, just that you will need to procure private transport if time is an important consideration. I would contact CBT and some private agencies to see what they recommend and what their prices are.