The Asia Overland Route – Bishkek to Ashgabat

CENTRAL ASIA – Kyrgyzstan  Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan &Turkmenistan

Horses ridden by a nation of horsemen with incredible skill on the saddle – riding before the age of five. 

Kyrgyzstan – Weeks 1 – 2…

A land of high mountain passes, grassy plains, alpine lakes & yurts, all in the Celestial Mountains. A strong Chinese influence.

Highlights – High altitude mountains and lakes

As big as England with just 5 million people; there is space to wander. We start in the capitol Bishkek. Visit Lake Issyk-Kul – a massive mountain lake with magnificent scenery & loads of activities to choose from. To the Karakol Jeti Orguz Region to hike in the Terskay Ala-Too Mountains. Ala-Archa Nature Reserve, here you can go trekking to the edge of glaciers.  Lake Song Kol – Traditional yurt stay, horseback riding and go trekking.  Visit the caravanserai of Tash Rabat -.

Kazakhstan – Week … 3

One of the larger countries in Asia – it extends into Eastern Europe; the people are a mix of Mongolian and Russians. The capital Alamaty; is named after apples, which is where they first grew. 

Highlights – the size of the place; the 9th largest country in the world

We cross to Kazakhstan and Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve the oldest nature reserve in Central Asia; stunning scenery of green valleys, rushing rivers and snowcapped peaks.  Look out for the Himalayan brown bear.

Uzbekistan – Week …4 – 5

The heart of the ancient Silk Road

Highlights – the beautiful cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand are the main highlights not only in Uzbekistan but in of the whole of Central Asia

Onto the capitol Tashkent and east; after transiting Kazakhstan.

We cross the desert and the Amu Darya River, (known in ancient times as the Oxus), to Bukhara. Its old centre with easy to get lost in narrow winding streets, mosques, medieval royal fortress and a bazaar complex; it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Samarkand was once the most populous city in the world; its 2,500 years of history old rivaling Rome in importance; now its attractions are  really big colourful mosques, markets and the impossibly big public square called ‘Registan’ or sandy place in Persian. This was made when public squares were for public announcements and executions.

Khiva town is one of the best preserved of the in Central Asia the Old Town is within a massive mud brick fortress. Climb the towering minarets and sit in the tranquil old mosques.

Turkmenistan – Week 5….

The recently passed dictator had the capital city Ashgabat made in white marble. The rest of the country is a beautiful empty dessert, with nomads in their yurts.

Highlights – Ashgabat, Darvaza Gas Craters, Konye-Urgench

The economy is run off its vast reserves of oil and gas which lies beneath Central Asia’s largest desert; the Karakum or Black Desert.

Kanye-Urgench on the northern border is a ruined town with old monuments. It was the scene of one of the biggest massacres in human history by Genghis Khan; his massacres started here and led to the death of over 70 million people; some 17% of the world population at the time.

We visit Darvaza Gas Craters, or the ‘Doors to Hell’, it’s a drilling operation gone wrong, which  opened a massive hole in the desert; from which the natural gas came out – it was lit to get rid of the dangerous gas and it’s been burning for 40 years.

Last stop is the capital Ashgabat, with enormous monuments and extravagant buildings made entirely of white marble.