Sovietistan

The ultimate central asian odyssey

Kazakhstan – Kyrgyzstan – Tajikistan – Uzbekistan – Karakalpakstan

For those travellers with less than ten days available for their holiday this tour has been divided in three parts:

    • Kazakhstan + Northern Kyrgyzstan (eight days)
    • Southern Kyrgyzstan + Tajikistan (eight days)
    • Uzbekistan + Karakalpakstan (seven days)

    When filling out the booking form below please be sure to tell us whether you are going to join the tour for the whole length of the itinerary or you prefer to choose only a segment of it. 


    Tour dates

    Regular monthly departures: this tour is offered regularly once a month from March to early June. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the ask-us button below and we will match your preferences with the relevant scheduled group departure. If you are unsure about the month you wish to travel in, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will give you a wide range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours! 

    Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with friends and there are 5 or more of you, you can set your own dates and we will organise a tour just for you without charging any additional fee. If you are travelling solo or with less than 4 companions we will organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.


    ITINERARY

    For those travellers with less than ten days available for their holiday this tour has been divided in three parts.

    The following itinerary refers to our most popular route in Central Asia. This immense land, a very Soviet version of the Wild West, greets its temerarious guests with a cornucopia of natural, historical and cultural wonders. In case you are interested in a particularly remote area, unusual activity and/or off-the-beaten-path attraction within Central Asia or if you are just looking for an hit-and-run visit to say Samarkand or Almaty (or whichever else city or village), we will easily meet your needs with a unique tour individually designed according to your preferences. Thanks to our deep knowledge of the territory and longstanding collaboration with independent local tour operators we are, indeed, able to offer you a wide range of tailored routes and bespoke itineraries across and beyond the white vastnesses of Soviet Central Asia. We also regularly cater for ethnologists, historians and documentarists alike interested in conducting field research in the region. Get in touch for more info on our private tours to Soviet Central Asia

      Part 1 - Kazakhstan and Northern Kyrgyzstan

      Day 1 - Kazakhstan: Almaty

      • In the morning you will meet our tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
      • Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Soviet Central Asia.
      • During the day we will explore Almaty, a leafy Soviet metropolis with a pleasant atmosphere that will please everyone's taste: Socialist architectonic shapes, exotic bazaars, lively nightlife and hipster bars. 
      • Dinner and overnight in Almaty

      Day 2 - Kazakhstan: Kapchagay and Sary Ozek

      • Mountain drive to the Altyn-Emel National Park.
      • Visit to the lakeside village of Kapchagay and the semi-abandoned town of Sary Ozek.
      • Quick lunch on the lakeshore in Kapchagay. 
      • Afternoon walk in the pristine nature of the Altyn-Emel National Park.
      • Dinner and overnight in Altyn-Emel

      Day 3 - Kazakhstan: Altyn Emel

      • Morning hike along one of the many nature trails crisscrossing the park.
      • Picnic in the Kazakh wilderness.  
      • After lunch we'll head back to Almaty.
      • Dinner and overnight in Almaty

      Day 4 - Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek

      • We'll leave Almaty in the morning and head to Kyrgyzstan.
      • After the pretty straightforward border formalities we'll drive straight to Bishkek, the national capital.
      • During the day we will explore Bishkek, visiting both the heavily russified downtown full of nostalgia and Socialist-era buildings and the archetypically Central Asian outskirts. 
      • Lunch, dinner and overnight in Bishkek

      Day 5 - Kyrgyzstan: Issyk-kul

      • Today we'll head to the great Issyk-kul, the Kyrgyz own answer to the ocean. 
      • We'll visit Soviet-era resorts and traditional lakeside villages before hitting the beach in the village of Cholpon-Ata, the local version of Cancun.
      • Dinner and overnight in Issyk-kul.

      Day 6 - Kyrgyzstan: Karakol

      • Morning drive to the market town of Karakol.
      • During the day we will explore Karakol and its bustling markets, concrete squares and bizarre Chinese mosques
      • Lunch, dinner and overnight in Karakol

      Day 7 - Kyrgyzstan: Karakol

      • We'll spend the whole day touring the gorgeous natural attractions around Karakol such as the red cliffs of the Broken Heart and the green pastures of Jety-Oghuz.
      • The sporty guys among us can enjoy a bit of hiking in the lush nature of the area, whereas the more hedonistic ones may indulge in a fresh-beer-cum-shashlik.   
      • Traditional Kyrgyz dinner and overnight in Karakol

      Day 8 - Kyrgyzstan: Naryn

      • Early in the morning we'll head south to Naryn, a remote Kyrgyz town renowned for its ancient Islamic buildings, and say goodbye to those finishing the tour in Kyrgyzstan.
      • For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to Bishkek International Airport for your flight back home.
      • You will probably arrive in Bishkek in the afternoon, so it's advisable to book an evening flight or one for the following day.
      • For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destination: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
      • Those continuing the tour we'll enjoy a sublime drive along the southern shores of the Issyk-kul and onto the remote mountain road connecting the lake to Naryn.
      • Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the journey in Bokonbaevo and Kochkor, two traditional villages south of Issyk-kul.
      • Lunch in Bokonbaevo
      • Dinner and overnight in Naryn

      Part 2 - Southern Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

      Day 9 - Kyrgyzstan: Naryn to Arslanbob  

      • Early morning departure for Arslanbob, a pretty mountain village surrounded by walnut trees.
      • Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the journey in Kazarman, a traditional Kyrgyz town located on the southern bank of the Naryn river.
      • Those travellers beginning the tour in Southern Kyrgyzstan will be collected at Osh International Airport and transferred to Arslanbob to catch up with the rest of the group coming from the north. 
      • Dinner and overnight with a local family in Arslanbob

      Day 10 - Kyrgyzstan: Arslanbob

      • We'll devote the entire day to Arslanbob and its magical surroundings. 
      • For the athletic ones: morning hike to the waterfall.
      • For the lazier ones: a relaxing walk in the fairy-tale walnut forest.
      • Lunch, dinner and overnight in Arslanbob

      Day 11 - Kyrgyzstan: Osh

      • We'll leave the natural beauty of the Arslanbob valley and head to the urban chaos of Osh, the second biggest city in the country.
      • We'll spend the entire morning touring Osh and its main sights such as the unmissable Statue of Lenin, the towering Solomon's Throne, the exotic Grand Bazaar and the grandiose Central Mosque. 
      • After a traditional Central Asia lunch we'll spend a lazy rest of the day shopping for souvenirs, sipping hot tea and chilling-out in the city park. 
      • Dinner and overnight in Osh

      Day 12 - Kyrgyzstan: Sary Tash and Lenin Peak  

      • In the morning we'll head to the Trans-Alai Range.
      • We'll enjoy a drive along the Pamir Highway up to the border with Tajikistan
      • We'll then head to Sary-Tash, a rather otherworldly Mad-Max-style hamlet along the road and the last major Kyrgyz outpost on the Highway.
      • From Sary Tash we'll enjoy stunning views of the Trans-Alai and in clear-weather days you'll get a glimpse of the mighty Lenin Peak and Communism Peak, the two highest mountains in the whole USSR.
      • Dinner and overnight in Sary Tash

      Day 13 - Tajikistan: Gharm and the Wild Valleys

      • Early morning drive along the scenic mountain road connecting Sary Tash to Tajikistan, one of the least known republic of the former USSR and the only Persian-speaking country in Soviet Central Asia.
      • Border formalities and tour of the remote Tajik village of Sarigon and Jirgatol.
      • We'll then continue our journey to Gharm, the regional capital. 
      • Please note: from time to time the local authorities close the border crossing between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan south of Sary Tash. Under such circumstances we reserve the right to modify the itinerary for day 12 and 13, cross the border in Batken (Kyrgyzstan) to Isfara (Tajikistan), spend the night in Khujand (formerly Leninabad) and head south to Dushanbe the following day.
      • Dinner and overnight with a local family in Gharm

      Day 14 - Tajikistan: Dushanbe    

      • Today we'll head south toward Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan
      • On our way to Dushanbe we'll stop for some well-deserved relax hours in the sanatorium of Obi-Garm, a true gem of socialist architecture and Soviet allure
      • In the evening we'll finally reach the capital, where we'll enjoy a lucullian dinner before eventually hitting the hay (or going wild at a local disco). 
      • Overnight in Dushanbe

      DAY 15 - Tajikistan: Dushanbe and Hisar   

      • Dushanbe walking tour: Rudaki Park, Victor Square, Old Chaikhana, Mevlana Mosque, National Theatre, City Library, Palace of the Nations, Ismail Somoni Statue and lots of Socialist apartment blocks and Soviet brutalist buildings. 
      • After lunch we'll visit an ancient fort said to date back to Cyrus the Great in Hisar, a pleasant Tajik town just a few kilometres drive from the capital.
      • Dinner and overnight in Dushanbe

      DAY 16 - Tajikistan: Penjikent and the Fann Mountains  

      • We'll head north again, this time towards the high peaks of the Fann Mountains near the border with Uzbekistan.
      • We'll spend the day exploring remote mountain villages and beautiful natural areas along the Zeravshan river.
      • In the evening we'll reach Penjikent, a sleepy Soviet town right next to the border with Uzbekistan. 
      • Dinner and overnight in Penjikent

      Part 3 - Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan

      Day 17 - Uzbekistan: Samarkand

      • Early in the morning we'll visit the traditional mountain villages surrounding Penjikent; then we'll head west to Uzbekistan and say goodbye to those finishing the tour in Tajikistan.
      • For those flying out, we will arrange transfer to Dushanbe International Airport for your flight back home.
      • For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations, we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
      • For those continuing the tour, we'll cross the border to Uzbekistan and arrive in Samarkand in the afternoon. 
      • Those travellers beginning the tour in Uzbekistan will enjoy a free day in Samarkand and meet the rest of the group in the lobby of the designated hotel for dinner (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email). 
      • Dinner and overnight in Samarkand

      Day 18/19/20 - Uzbekistan: Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva

      • We'll spend three full days touring the legendary Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.
      • Get lost with us among the narrow alleys and the many wonders of these three jewels of Islamic architecture and Soviet classicism.
      • Besides visiting all the world-famous attractions of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva we'll also have the chance to truly go off the beaten path and tour abandoned buildings, ancient graveyards and bustling bazaars as well as meet and spend time with the welcoming locals.
      • Between Bukhara and Khiva you'll also enjoy a stunning scenic driving through the red dunes of the Kyzyl-Kum desert.
      • Dinner and overnight in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva

      DAY 21 - Karakalpakstan: Nukus

      • We'll spend a relaxing Silk Road morning walking around the many wonders of Khiva old town and then get back on the road and head to the mysterious, remote and rather desolate Republic of Karakalpakstan.
      • In the late afternoon we'll reach the quintessentially Soviet town of Nukus, the Karakalpak capital.
      • Dinner and overnight in Nukus

      DAY 22 - Karakalpakstan: Moynaq

      • After breakfast we'll visit the surprisingly rich Savitsky Collection of Renegade Soviet Art in the Karakalpak State Museum.
      • After a long drive across surreal landscapes and remote post-Soviet hamlets we will reach the of Moynaq, an end-of-the-world outpost of Soviet civilization located on the former shores of the disappeared Aral Sea
      • Moynaq walking tour: Ship Graveyard, Former Fish Factory, Aral Sands, School, Museum, Memorial, Cultural Centre.
      • In the evening we'll then head back to Nukus stopping for dinner at the desolate town of Kungrad along the way.
      • Overnight in Nukus

      DAY 23 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations  

      • After enjoying a last Karakalpak-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.  
      • For those flying out, we will arrange transfer to Nukus International Airport for your flight back home.
      • For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations, we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
      • End of the tour. 

      PRICE

      4 to 9 participants: 3300 €

      Are you interested in only one segment of this trip?

      Please contact us for individual quotes and further details.


      The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region (jeep or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.

      The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.

      The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility. It is also possible to make the tour the other way around, starting from Nukus and finishing in Almaty.

      Please note: It’s advisable to arrive in Almaty one day before the actual tour begins. You should notice, however, that you’ll have to take care of your accommodation for any day and night preceding the actual start date of the tour. Without any additional charge we will readily and gladly reserve a room for you at our hotel of choice and you’ll be able to pay for it by cash or credit card once you check-in. If your flight lands on the same day as the tour begins and you prefer to rest a bit before going out sightseeing, you will then meet your tour guide and the rest of the group at the designated hotel in the late afternoon. 

      Airport pickup/transfer in Almaty and Osh is available for just 35 euros per ride.


      where the heck am i travelling to?  

      BELOW you can see the different tour stages marked on a map of the region you are going to explore with us

      CLICK HERE FOR SOME NICE PICTURES AND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS DESTINATION

      POSSIBLE TOUR COMBINATIONS FOR THIS ITINERARY INCLUDE

      Turkmenistan and/or Pamir Highway