Learn about the life of local mountain farmers while you stay in a rustic homestay in Asraf village. Hike to Uhum village and visit the local sights. During this trip, you will also stay in the desert Yurt camp near lake Aydarkul and ride on a camel. Depending on the season of the year, you can swim or just walk along the lakeshores watching the rich aquatic bird life. On our way to Bukhara, we stop at the ruins of the ‘Nur’ fortress founded by Alexander the Great in Nurata city.
- Stay in mountain homestay and get to know the daily livelihood activities of rural people
- Whole day hiking tour in Nuratau Mountains
- Learn the preparation of Central Asian main dish Plov
- Stay in a Yurt and ride on a camel
- Swim or stroll along the shores of the lake Aydarkul
- Visit Alexander the Great’s fortress and other sights in Nurata city.
Day 1. Start in the morning from Samarkand and arive in Araf village by lunch time. Walk around to get to know the village and people, relax on the tapchan or supa under the walnut trees. Help or watch to prepare traditional dish
Day 2. Whole day hiking tour to Uhum village. Visit local historical sites; ruins of mongol fortification “Qorgoni Honkeldi”, ruins of “Deh” fortress in Upper Uhum. En route visit to old community water mill, which is still in operation.
Day 3. Stay in the Yurt, ride on the camel and admire the desert landscape. Visit the lake Aydarkul have swim or walk along the lakeshores.
Day 4. En route visit to the ruins of Alexander the Greats fortress, holly spring “Chashma” and 9th century mausoleum in Nurata city. Continue to Bukhara
Day 1. Samarkand – Asraf village
Starts in the morning from Samarkand and by lunch time arrive in a tiny Nuratau Mountain village called Asraf. After being welcomed by your host family settle in Yahshigul’s homestay. The homestay has a large garden with many fruit trees where you can spend some time to relax on one of the tapchans (comfortable tea beds) or on a supa (traditional loom built tea bed). After having settled, your host will show you their facilities. Lunch with the local family
After lunch, walk around the village and get to know how people are making a living in these remote valleys. In the afternoon, you may watch or help the family in the preparation of traditional dish ‘Plov’ from homegrown vegetables and mountain spices. Evening dinner with your hosts. Overnight stay in Yahshigul’s homestay.
Day 2. Asraf village
Early risers can either watch the sunrise on top of the hill behind the house or watch the host family doing their morning chores (bread baking in a tandir oven, cooking on a traditional stove) Breakfast with the family. Local escort guide takes you today to a whole day hiking tour to the next Nuratau Mountain village Ukhum (one way 7,1km, 3:30 hours with rest). Uhum is one of the biggest villages in the area and the valley Uhum stretches out for 15 km. The name Uhum originates from the Sogdian word Axm, which means « fearless warrior».
Start guided hike from Asraf village (686m high), uphill up to Sari Saqallog’u pass (900m high). You will see Mount Saribedak (965 high) on you left. Pass the ruins of the old Mongol fortress “Qorgoni Honkeldi” (768m high) and its settlement ruins (0:30 hours rest). From there you have a nice view of Uhum valley. Descending to Uhum village, you can see a rock with old petroglyphs (rather faint).
Once you reached the village of Uhum, continue to walk up to Upper Ukhum village to see an old community watermill, which is still in operation and the hydro pump that lifts water up to a local house. The owner, Bakhrom Kasimov, will proudly demonstrate the use of these old devices to you. Have a picnic at the ruins of “Deh” fortress. Return to Asraf village. Dinner and overnight stay in Yahshigul’s homestay.
Day 3. Asraf – Yurt Camp
Early risers can either watch the sunrise from the top of the hill behind the house or watch the host family doing their morning chores (bread baking in a tandir oven, cooking on a traditional stove). Breakfast with the family. 10:00 Say good bye to your host and leave for Yurt Camp (140 km/ 2 hours of drive). Arrive and settle in the Yurt camp. Lunch.
After lunch, transfer by car to the lake Aydar (14km / 10 min). Depending on the time of the year you can have a swim, walk along the lake shore or watch the rich aquatic birdlife (cranes, pelicans, many duck and goose species and numerous waders etc.).
17:00 Return to the Yurt camp. In the evening, ride on the camel or just walk around the dunes. You might be lucky to spot steppe tortoises, hares and desert agamas depending on the season. From the Yurt Camp you may also take a short walk to explore the nearby Kazakh village of Dungalak. Dinner. Overnight stay in the Yurt Camp.
Day 4. Yurt camp – Nurata – Bukhara
Breakfast. Leave for Bukhara via ancient Nurata city. There are many legends related with the origin of the city and its name. People refer the origin of the city to the fortress Nur, founded there in the 3rd century BC by Alexander the Great. However, according to archaeological excavations the cultural layer in this area reaches the age of 40 thousand years. Supposedly, the main reason to choose this place as a settlement was holly “Chashma” (spring).
10:00 Arrive in Nurata. Visit the 9th century mausoleum, mosque and the remains of the Alexander the Great’s fortress. Continue to Bukhara (200 km). 14:00 Arrive in Bukhara. End of program.
1 person- 305 USD per person
2 people -200 USD per person
3 people -170 USD per person
*Please contact us if your group is greater than 3 people
2 nights homestay, 1 night Yurt camp
3 Breakfast, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
1 day mountain escort guide service (with elementary English)
Sealed mineral water during the hikes
Camel riding around the Yurt camp (30 min)
Entrance tickets in Nurata city
All transfers with sedan car
What’s not Included
Additional tours or activities not mentioned in the itinerary
Items of personal nature
Additional fees charged on top of entrance tickets for photo/video cameras