A Cultural Odyssey to Samarkand and Beyond

Central Asia Explorer

Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan

24 Days

Call for Pricing

Level 3

Moderate

Overview

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    Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

    Overview

    Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan—sometimes known as the four 'Stans—reveal a rich historical and ethnic canvas, filled with dazzling scenery and a multitude of architectural wonders. From the blue-domed Silk Road oasis of Samarkand, where Tamerlane once held sway, to Issyk-Kul, a vast alpine lake surrounded by the forested peaks of the Tien Shan, our journey with veteran Central Asia Trip Leader Roger Williams brings us through the heart of the Silk Road. We'll enjoy a full exploration of these four countries, roaming ancient bazaars that take us back to the times of the Arabian Nights, meeting local families and traditional artisans, and exploring nine World Heritage Sites, including magnificent Bukhara, a 2,000-year-old city wrapped in medieval mosques, and Khiva, a walled town isolated in a vast desert. Join us for the ultimate Silk Road adventure!

    Arrive: Almaty, Kazakhstan

    Depart: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

    Highlights

    • Issyk-Kul Lake in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan
    • Ancient Samarkand, capital of Tamerlane, with its magnificent blue mosques
    • Nine World Heritage Sites including the Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Khiva

    Overview

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      Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

      Itinerary

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      After exploring Almaty, we head to remote Karakol, a town on the shores of Issyk-Kul Lake, one of the largest alpine lakes in the world. We visit the colorful market, a summer encampment of Kyrgyz nomads, and fascinating lakeside petroglyphs. En route to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, we visit the striking 11th century Burana tower, a Silk Road monument, and stop in a village for lunch with a local family.
      After exploring Bishkek, we fly to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, Central Asia's biggest hub, and tour its Old Town. We then take a train to ancient Samarkand, with its breathtaking main square, the Registan, a panorama of handsome blue-tiled mosques. We also visit the Shahr-i-Zindah, one of Tamerlane's first creations, the famed market at the village of Urgut, and enjoy lunch at the home of a local Uzbek family. A day's excursion brings us out to Shakre Sabz, birthplace of Tamerlane.
      We head to historic Bukhara, with two full days to savor this fascinating city, whose beautifully restored medieval quarter is a World Heritage Site. We visit the covered bazaars and mulberry-shaded plazas where old men play chess and enjoy roaming Bukhara's marvelous markets. In Khiva, we enjoy a full-day walking tour of this atmospheric walled city.
      Crossing the Turkmenistan border, we head to Kunya Urgench, with its pre- and post-Mongol monuments, then fly to Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital, an ancient city surrounded by the Kara-Kum (“black sands”) desert. Flying to southeastern Turkmenistan, we visit the vast ruins of ancient Merv, once one of the most important cities along the Silk Road and now a stunning World Heritage Site. Back in Ashgabat, we enjoy a full-day tour of the capital city of Turkmenistan, including the famous archaeological site of Nisa, which served as the winter capital of the Parthian rulers. Depart from Ashgabat on Day 24.

      Dates & Pricing

      Pricing below is per person and based on double occupancy. The earlier you book, the more choice you’ll have. WT also has the most generous cancellation and transfer policies in the industry, we make it easy if you change your mind. Have a small group of your own? Take over an existing date or choose your own. You’ll have your own private guide–and the adventure–all to yourselves!

      Payment & Cancel Schedule

      $600 due at time of reservation
      90 days prior to departure: Balance

      Cancellation & Transfer Schedule

      Up to 151 days prior to departure: No charge!
      91-150 days prior to departure: $600 per person
      90 days or less: 100% of trip cost

      Please note that this differs from our standard policy.

      Included
      • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader Roger Williams and local guides
      • Accommodations in hotels
      • All meals
      • All activities as indicated in Detailed Itinerary
      • All ground transportation and baggage handling from meeting until departure
      Not Included
      • Travel to and from the arrival and departure location as indicated in Detailed Itinerary
      • Additional hotel nights outside the trip's scheduled dates
      • Optional gratuities to Trip Leaders or staff
      • Optional travel insurance
      • Other expenses of a personal nature (some alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)
      • Visa fees

      Trip Leaders

      Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please click on their profiles below.

      Roger Williams

      View Profile

      What the Trip is Like

      The trip is rated Level 3, Moderate, according to our trip grading system. While this trip is not expected to be physically strenuous, the rustic accommodations, long travel days, and transportation conditions may be quite demanding. This is not a hiking trip, but we do hope to have opportunities for walks of two hours or more during the journey.
      Review Trip Level Details

      Accommodations are in good city hotels and in comfortable rustic lodges.

      Overland travel is in minivans and small buses, depending upon the size of the group. Road conditions can be very basic, and trip members should be prepared for long drives. Our expedition travels to areas that have experienced very little tourism. We believe that the most important requirements are a spirit of adventure and the understanding that you are visiting a remote and fascinating region.

      Client Testimonials

      "Excellent exposure to the heart of Central Asia. I really got a feel for the culture, people, and environment."

      Allen N.

      San Rafael, CA

      "The history, culture, and sites on this journey are amazing and the pace of our trip allowed time to enjoy it."

      Sandy C.

      Seattle, WA

      Book your trip today

      Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!

      Itinerary

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      Trip Levels

      With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.

      Level 1 – Easiest

      Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.

      Level 2 – Easy to Moderate

      Hotel nights and/or safari-style camping, hikes of two to four hours on some days. Other physical activities are sometimes included, such as optional sea kayaking.

       

      Level 3 – Moderate

      Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.

      Level 4 – Moderate to Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-6 hours), mountainous terrain, significant elevation gains and losses (hiking up or down as much as 3,000 feet) on many days. Altitudes no greater than about 10,000 feet.

       

      Level 5 – Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.

      Level 6 – Very Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (5-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Most hikes take place at altitudes above 10,000 feet, with some days ascending as high as 18,000 feet.

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In the evening, we'll gather for a Welcome Dinner and trip briefing at our hotel. Overnight at the Hotel InterContinental or similar.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":2,"DayTo":2,"Headline":"Almaty \/ Tamgaly Tas","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"This morning, we&apos;ll drive out to Tamgaly Tas, a World Heritage Site filled with 5,000 rock petroglyphs ranging from solar deities and animals from the Middle Bronze Age (14th-13th century BC) to the warriors, archers, men on horseback, flag standards, and other signs of power struggles in the Middle Ages (6th-12th century AD). These carvings offer a fascinating look at ancient migratory periods. We&apos;ll enjoy a picnic lunch and later return to Almaty. In the evening, we'll head up to Kok Tyube for a grand view of Almaty and its wonderful environs. Dinner at Tyubeteka restaurant. Overnight at hotel.\r\nDriving Details: Approximately 200 miles, 5 hours","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":3,"DayTo":3,"Headline":"Almaty \/ Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"A morning excursion brings us to Issykurgan, the excavation site of the Golden Warrior, a statue of a Scythian warrior unearthed from a kurgan (burial mound) in 1969. A skeleton was also found here and is believed to be an 18-year-old soldier dating from the 2nd-3rd century BC. We visit the site and the museum, then return to Almaty. Our explorations in Almaty, founded in the mid-19th century as a Russian frontier fort, include Panfilov Park, the city&apos;s central park, named after the Panfilov Heroes who died fighting the Nazis outside of Moscow, the multi-colored Zenkov Cathedral, one of the world&apos;s largest wooden buildings that was constructed without the use of a single nail, and the Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments. If time permits, after lunch we head out to visit the Kasteyev Museum of Art, housing some rare 18th-19th century paintings of Russian masters that survived the purges of the Stalin era. Later, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Bishkek. We'll have dinner at our hotel. Overnight at Hyatt Regency or similar.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":4,"DayTo":4,"Headline":"Bishkek \/ Issyk-Kul Lake \/ Karakol","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"With the rising sun, we&apos;ll depart for a scenic drive along the southern edge of Issyk-Kul, the second largest saline lake in the world. Though it&apos;s surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the lake never freezes, its name means &ldquo;warm lake&rdquo; in the Kyrgyz language. We&apos;ll stop in the small village of Bokonbaevo for an eagle hunting demonstration by local eagle hunters. We&apos;ll also visit with local villagers to watch traditional felt making. After lunch with a Kyrgyz family in a nearby village, we&apos;ll continue on to the peaceful town of Karakol, with its shady poplar trees, apple orchards, and back streets lined with Russian gingerbread cottages. This town was called Preshevalsky In Soviet times, after the famed 19th century scientist-explorer Nicolai Preshevalsky who died here in 1888 while on an expedition and is buried on the lakeshore nearby. Preshevalsky was one of the pioneering members of Russian Geographical society and is credited with introducing the wild Mongolian horse (takhi), renamed Preshevalsky&apos;s horse, to the world. He also made some very interesting studies about the region on the endemic flora and fauna. Upon arrival at our hotel, enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure, followed by dinner in the home of a local family. Overnight at the Hotel Karagat or similar.\r\nDriving Details: Approximately 230 miles, 7 hours","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":5,"DayTo":5,"Headline":"Karakol","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"An early start allows us to witness the best action at Karakol&apos;s famous animal market&mdash;the Mal Bazaar. Shepherds from surrounding regions travel long hours to bring their livestock to trade here&mdash;on foot, by cart, by tractor, by car, and even by motorcycle. This is old-style commerce at its best, with everyone evaluating the living merchandise; prices on handsome horses, sheep, and cattle fluctuating wildly by the hour; buyers struggling to load finicky sheep onto their flatbed trucks; and sellers trying to convince you to purchase their horses (they&apos;ll understand if you politely decline).\r\n\r\nThe old Orthodox Church, with its six golden onion domes, was founded in 1869 when Karakol was a garrison town on the edges of the Tsarist Russian Empire. Set peacefully in a grove of trees, it&apos;s a beautiful building with green-roofed towers, intricate decoration, and a central dome that&apos;s painted on the inside with constellations. Here, we&apos;ll learn about the Dungans&mdash;Muslim people of Chinese origin who are known for their kindness, industry, and hospitality. Mostly farmers, the Dungans immigrated to the region 140 years ago during a period of local unrest and still practice many traditional elements of their culture and cuisine. The Dungan Mosque&mdash;designed and constructed by Chinese artisans and completed in 1910, is still used today&mdash;it is a colorful wooden structure originally built without any nails. Don&apos;t miss the two large murals depicting beautiful images of rainbows and the solar system.\r\n\r\nWe also visit the One Village One Project Association, opened in 2011 to provide an opportunity for Kyrgyz women to produce high-quality crafts and food products. We&apos;ll spend time in the office and studio space, and observe as local women demonstrate how they create traditional handmade crafts, in particular felt goods such as slippers, wallets, bags, and toys, all created with locally produced wool and natural dyes. We continue to Karakol's small Regional Museum, which is located in a former Russian landowner's brick home and features exhibits on area petroglyphs and archaeological finds, regional costumes, Kyrgyz applied art, and photographs.\r\n\r\nAfter lunch at the home of a local family, where we will have a cooking class on traditional Kyrgyz noodle making, we drive to Jety Oguz Canyon, known for its red sandstone cliffs. On the way, we pass the red Broken Heart Hill, where two suitors are fabled to have killed each other in a struggle for a beautiful woman, who then died of a broken heart herself. Further on, the massive red wall of the Seven Bulls soars upwards. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":6,"DayTo":6,"Headline":"Karakol \/ Cholpan Ata","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"This morning we visit the Przhevalsky Museum, where we view a collection of photos and instruments used by the 19th century Russian explorer Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky during his explorations of Central Asia and Tibet. We will also visit his grave on the museum grounds. He died in Karakol, whose name became Przewalski, or Przhevalsky, in his honor until Kyrgyzstan's independence in 1991.\r\n\r\nLater we depart for Cholpan-Ata, a town on the northern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake, where we will visit a petroglyph site, created by local tribes in the Neolithic period. The images are mainly primitive long-horned ibex, horses, camels, and snow leopards.\r\n\r\nAfter checking in to a lakeside hotel, if time permits, we will board a boat and glide over the second-largest alpine lake in the world, beautiful spring-fed Issyk-Kul. Surrounded by soaring mountains, the lake is often clear down to depths of 15 feet. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":7,"DayTo":7,"Headline":"Cholpan Ata \/ Burana \/ Bishkek","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"From Cholpan Ata, we visit the open-air museum of Burana, famous for its brick minaret known as the Burana Tower. Built in the 11th century, it is one of the only existing watchtowers on the old Silk Road that traversed Kyrgyzstan. Climb up to the platform from inside the tower&mdash;while the ancient steps are steep, the view from the top is magnificent. The area was historically a settlement called Balasagun, the birthplace of the poet Jusup Balasagun, whose surviving work consists of an epic poem called \"Kutadgy Bilig\" or \"the knowledge which brings happiness.\" The settlement was an important seat of power, and was so celebrated that Genghis Khan's Mongol horde spared the city from destruction when it began to conquer the region in the early 13th century. The Mongols renamed the city Gobalik, meaning \"good city.\" Visit the small museum and the collection of ancient bal-bals, carved stone figures used as monuments. Enjoy lunch at the home of a local family and witness a demonstration of traditional Kyrgyz horse games, such as Ulak Tartysh, a sort of polo played with a goat carcass, and oodarysh, a kind of wrestling match on horseback. You may also observe kyz-kumai, or &ldquo;bride-chasing,&ldquo; in which a young man chases a young woman&mdash;both of them on horseback and wearing traditional costumes&mdash;and tries to kiss her. If he is not successful, the woman gets to hit him with her quirt. After arriving in Bishkek in the evening, enjoy a walk to the city&apos;s central square. Ala-Too Square was laid out in 1984 and adorned with a giant statue of Lenin. In 2003, a new statue, called Freedom, replaced Lenin. This is where the public gathers to celebrate. Visit the covered open-air art gallery in Oak Park, a great opportunity for shopping and people-watching. Local artists and painters congregate here to display and sell their pieces to the public. Enjoy strolling along the walkways lined with contemporary and traditional artworks, including paintings of Kyrgyzstan&apos;s famed mountain scenery, local cityscapes, portraiture, and more. Overnight at the Hyatt Regency or similar.\r\nDriving Details: Approximately 190 miles","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":8,"DayTo":8,"Headline":"Bishkek","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Our explorations today include sprawling Alatoo Square, where we see the changing of the guards and the massive Manas monument, and the history museum, with its ceiling murals depicting scenes from World War II and the Holocaust. In Dubovy Park, home to an open-air sculpture museum, we'll watch artists painting in the outdoors. Later, we&apos;ll visit the village of Supara for some traditional Kyrgyz cuisine with local folk music&mdash;a wonderful introduction to the thriving local culture. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":9,"DayTo":9,"Headline":"Bishkek \/ Tashkent, Uzbekistan","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"The sights, smells, and sounds of bazaars are part of the sensory experience of Bishkek, and there are several within the city; the largest is called Osh Bazaar. In these markets, travelers can purchase local crafts, dried fruit, fermented milk, rice, grains, and of course the brightly colored Kyrgyz textiles.\r\n\r\nThe Ala Archa National Park, established in 1976, is centered on the steep forested gorge of the Ala Archa River and the mountains that surround it. An alpine park, Ala Archa includes more than 20 glaciers and 50 peaks, which range from 12,000 to 15,000 feet. Soviet alpinists used to train here at a camp. After our visit to the park, we transfer to the airport for an evening flight to Tashkent. Dinner and overnight at the Hyatt Regency Tashkent or similar.\r\n\r\nTashkent: Once a walled city and a bustling Silk Route caravan crossroads, this city&apos;s name in Turkic means &ldquo;city of stone.&rdquo; It fell to Genghis Khan&apos;s mounted hordes in the 13th century and did not become prosperous again until the 15th century under Tamerlane, who bequeathed the city to his 10-year-old grandson Ulugbek in 1405. In 1865, the Russians snatched Tashkent away from the Emir of Bukhara, and it became the main Tsarist (and later Soviet) center for espionage during the Great Game of territorial rivalry between Russia and Britain. Within 10 years after Tashkent was taken, the Russian General Konstantin Kaufman, the architect of Russia&apos;s conquest of Central Asia, took Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and Khotan, and became governor of a brand new Russian province. The arrival of the Trans-Caspian Railway in 1889 and Russia&apos;s relocation of Russian workers and factories to Tashkent turned it into an industrial center by the 1920s. Much of the city was destroyed by a great earthquake in 1966, but there are still some parts of the old town left where you can see 15th and 16th century buildings.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":10,"DayTo":10,"Headline":"Tashkent","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"A city tour brings us to the old section of the city, Hast Imam Complex, Barak Khana seminary, Tila Shaikh archives, home to the oldest copy of the Usman Koran dating back to 7th century AD, Chorsu Market, Kukeldesh madrassa, and the studio of a master potter. We'll also visit the Mustaqillik Square History Museum, with its unique Buddha statues, and the Museum of Applied Arts, where we explore its Uzbek needlework and pottery from throughout the region. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":11,"DayTo":11,"Headline":"Tashkent \/ Train to Samarkand","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Following a scenic two-hour train ride from Tashkent, we arrive in Samarkand, where we settle into our hotel. After lunch with a local Uzbek family, we&apos;ll enjoy a walk to Samarkand&apos;s breathtaking main square, Registan, with its panorama of handsome blue-tiled mosques and 15th century madrassas (religious schools). The Registan was once Samarkand&apos;s main bazaar, full of caravansaries for passing merchant caravans. Tamerlane&apos;s scholarly grandson turned the Registan into the stirring masterpiece we see today. This evening, we&apos;ll have a special visit to Gur Emir, the mausoleum of Tamerlane, and have a chance to watch the sunset amid the stunning architecture. Overnight at Hotel Dilimah or similar.\r\n\r\nSamarkand: A sophisticated walled city when Alexander the Great took it over in 329 BC, Samarkand has had an array of rulers, from Turks to Arabs to Persians and Mongolians. They each made Samarkand their own, and Genghis Khan and his dreaded horsemen took the city in 1220. The illustrious warrior Tamerlane seized Samarkand in 1370 and while his rule was exceptionally bloody, he turned Samarkand into one of the cultural centers of Central Asia. It was during Tamerlane&apos;s time, from 1370 to 1405, that Samarkand became a city of almost mythic fame, with its soaring minarets and gleaming blue-tiled domes. During Tamerlane&apos;s conquests of other cultures, he always sent back to Samarkand the very best artists and architects and ordered them to build grand lavish monuments. The city went into decline in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the Emir of Bukhara took it into his khanate in the late 18th century. In 1865, Russian Cossacks took the city from the Emir during the height of the Great Game. The arrival of the Trans-Caspian railway 20 years later firmly linked Samarkand to Russia.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":12,"DayTo":12,"Headline":"Samarkand","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"In the village of Urgut, we take a stroll through the Sunday market and see where old silks were once traded and sold. In Shakre Sabz, birthplace of Tamerlane, the founder of Uzbekistan, we&apos;ll explore its monuments from the Timurid period, including the Ak Saray Palace ruins, Dorus Tilavat seminary, and the Kok Gumbaz mosque. In the afternoon, we&apos;ll visit Kunihil village to see the traditional way of making special paper using mulberry tree skin pulp, and also visit an Afghan carpet collector and store. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":13,"DayTo":13,"Headline":"Samarkand","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"We visit Bibi Khanym tomb, built to commemorate the wife of Tamerlane, and the Shahr-i-Zindah, a stunning complex of mosques and tombs displaying some of Central Asia&apos;s finest mosaics of deep sapphire and turquoise tiles set off against tawny earthen walls, the Afrosiab Museum, with its frescoes dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries, and Ulugbek&apos;s Observatory. In the afternoon, we&apos;ll visit the mansion of Kalantarov, a wealthy Jewish merchant, and later a museum that sheds light on the Jewish culture in Central Asia. Dinner at Oasis Garden Restaurant. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":14,"DayTo":14,"Headline":"Samarkand \/ Gijduvan \/ Bukhara","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Following the Royal Road&mdash;the old Silk Route dotted with traditional villages&mdash;we&apos;ll have the opportunity to stop at Malik Rabat, a World Heritage Site and one of the oldest Persian caravanserais of the region. It was greatly destroyed in earthquake of 1968, but the building has an impressive portal called &ldquo;peshtak&rdquo; that still remains. We'll also visit an old Silk Road covered well\/cistern nearby. In Gijduvan, we visit the traditional studio of a third-generation master potter. After lunch at his family home, we continue to Bukhara. Overnight at Hotel Omar Khayyam or similar.\r\nDriving Details: Approximately 160 miles","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":15,"DayTo":15,"Headline":"Bukhara","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"With two full days in this fascinating city, whose beautifully restored medieval quarter is now a World Heritage site, we visit the impressive Lyab-i Khauz architectural complex, once the principal source of water for all of Bukhara; Magak-i Attari Mosque, where Jews and Muslims once worshipped beside one another; Nadir Divan-begi Madrassa, with its gorgeous tile work; Poi Kalon minaret, with its incredible brickwork; and the madrassas of Abdulaziz Khan and Ulugbek. One afternoon, we have the special opportunity to visit with one of Bukhara&apos;s most well-known miniaturist artist Davlat Toshev, in his home studio. We will also see the Ark Fortress, once used as the army headquarters by the Bukharan emirs; the Zindan Prison, with its underground dungeon and Bug Pit; and then the brick monuments in the mausoleum of Ismail Samanid. If time permits, we&apos;ll visit the Bahauddin Nakshbandi Complex and mausoleum of a 14th century Sufi mystic. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":17,"DayTo":17,"Headline":"Bukhara \/ Khiva","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Today we drive across the Kyzyl Kum desert to Khiva, enjoying a picnic lunch en route. Upon arrival in Khiva this evening, we will have dinner accompanied by a performance of traditional Khorezmian music with the folklore group, Khalfi. Brilliant costumes, historic songs, and traditional instruments are featured in this program of local music and dance. Overnight at Malika Kheivak Hotel or similar.\r\nDriving Details: Approximately 280 miles, 7-8 hours\r\n\r\nKhiva: Like Bukhara, Khiva was once a minor stop on the Silk Road during the 8th century. It began to prosper under the rule of the Uzbek Shaybanid tribesmen, who captured it in the 16th century. As a Shaybanid khanate, it became one of the two major slave markets of Central Asia for hundreds of years (Bukhara was the other). Turkomen raiders captured people as far away as the Caspian and delivered them to Khiva&apos;s slavers. In the early 18th century, the Khan of Khiva made an alliance with Russia for protection against marauding tribes, and the Russians sent troops to Khiva in 1717 with the idea of protecting it. The crafty Khan had by then lost interest in the arrangement with the Russians and had them killed. He sent the head of their leader, Prince Alexander Bekovich, back to Russia with the few survivors. Khiva was taken over shortly thereafter by a Persian invader and began to prosper from trade between Russia and neighboring khanates. Two British officers, Captain James Abbott and Lieutenant Richmond Shakespear, entered Khiva separately in 1839 and 1840, ostensibly to negotiate with Khan over the release of certain slaves. As this was the height of the Great Game, they may have really been there to study strategic routes between Khiva and Russia. In 1872, Khiva became too much of a thorn in Russia&apos;s side, and as Russian troops under General Kaufman advanced on it, the Khan surrendered.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":18,"DayTo":18,"Headline":"Khiva","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"We enjoy a full-day walking tour of atmospheric Khiva, including the fortress of Itchan Kala, protected by thick brick walls; Kalta Minor minaret, decorated in turquoise tiles; Kunya Ark, with its copper cannons; Madrassa Rahimkhan, the emerald green-domed mausoleum; Pahlavan Makhmud, Islam minaret and museum; as well as the Friday mosque and Tashala Palace. Overnight at hotel.\r\n\r\nKhiva: Like Bukhara, Khiva was once a minor stop on the Silk Road during the 8th century. It began to prosper under the rule of the Uzbek Shaybanid tribesmen, who captured it in the 16th century. As a Shaybanid khanate, it became one of the two major slave markets of Central Asia for hundreds of years (Bukhara was the other). Turkomen raiders captured people as far away as the Caspian and delivered them to Khiva&apos;s slavers. In the early 18th century, the Khan of Khiva made an alliance with Russia for protection against marauding tribes, and the Russians sent troops to Khiva in 1717 with the idea of protecting it. The crafty Khan had by then lost interest in the arrangement with the Russians and had them killed. He sent the head of their leader, Prince Alexander Bekovich, back to Russia with the few survivors. Khiva was taken over shortly thereafter by a Persian invader and began to prosper from trade between Russia and neighboring khanates. Two British officers, Captain James Abbott and Lieutenant Richmond Shakespear, entered Khiva separately in 1839 and 1840, ostensibly to negotiate with Khan over the release of certain slaves. As this was the height of the Great Game, they may have really been there to study strategic routes between Khiva and Russia. In 1872, Khiva became too much of a thorn in Russia&apos;s side, and as Russian troops under General Kaufman advanced on it, the Khan surrendered.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":19,"DayTo":19,"Headline":"Kunya Urgench, Turkmenistan \/ Ashgabat, Turkmenistan","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Crossing the Turkmenistan border, we arrive in Kunya Urgench, with its pre- and post-Mongol monuments, including Turabek Khanym&apos;s mausoleum with its intricate tile work said to represent the night sky. (Note: During the border crossing, you must wheel or carry your own luggage several hundred feet to catch a public shuttle bus&mdash;and it can be hot at times). Later, we&apos;ll transfer to the airport and fly to Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital, an ancient city surrounded by the Kara-Kum (&ldquo;black sands&rdquo;) desert. Overnight at the Hotel Oguzkent or similar.\r\nDriving Details: Approximately 50 miles","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":20,"DayTo":20,"Headline":"Ashgabat","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"In the morning we&apos;ll visit the famous archaeological site of Nisa, which served as the winter capital of the Parthian rulers. We then explore the Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in Central Asia, whose golden dome welcomes devout Muslim worshippers. After returning to the city, we&apos;ll visit the Arch of Neutrality and the Wedding Palace for photos followed by a guided tour of the extensive Carpet Museum. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":21,"DayTo":21,"Headline":"Ashgabat \/ Mary \/ Merv","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"We take a short morning flight to the town of Mary in southeastern Turkmenistan. A drive through the Heart of the Kara-Kum desert brings us to the vast ruins of ancient Merv, once one of the most important cities along the Silk Road. Founded around the 6th century BC, it grew to become the third largest city in the world in the 10th century AD. The archaeological site sprawls over 30,000 acres of desert that was once a fertile oasis. Returning to Mary, we visit the Mary Archaeological Museum, with its collections of artifacts from local archaeological sites, including Gonur Depe, a Bronze Age settlement that once supported a rich caravan culture. It was at its zenith from 1600-1300 BC, and later declined and was eventually abandoned after the Murghab River diminished. If time permits, we&apos;ll pay a special visit to local artist Chary&apos;s house to see his studio and enjoy a cup of tea before having dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at Hotel Mary or similar.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":22,"DayTo":22,"Headline":"Mary \/ Ashgabat","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"After breakfast, we will set out by vehicle back to Ashgabat. Along the road between Ashgabat and Merv are several intriguing historic sites, which we will visit en route. 18th century Persian ruler Nader Shah, who by all reports was an ethnic Turkmen, built a fortress here during his wars of conquest; its remains still radiate grace and beauty. Outside of Ashgabat, we&apos;ll stop at a horse-breeding farm devoted to the renowned Akhal-Teke horse, arguably the oldest cultured breed of horse in the world. We will have a special visit with the owners, discussing the workings of the farm and about the breed. These elegant horses have long, slender necks, small heads, long legs, and narrow chests. They are said to have lent their genes to both the Arabian horse and the American Quarter Horse. If time permits, we will visit Geok Depe, where a stunning mosque has been erected to commemorate those who died during the famous siege of 1880, when more than 8,000 Turkmen soldiers and civilians lost their lives protecting the area from Russian invasion. Arrive in Ashgabat in time for dinner and overnight at Oguzkent Hotel or similar.\r\nDriving Details: Approximately 226 miles, 4-5 hours","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":23,"DayTo":23,"Headline":"Ashgabat","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"In the morning, we visit Altyn Asyrr Oriental Market, brimming with all types of goods for sale, from household items to traditionally patterned carpets, electrical appliances, and occasionally even animals. Returning to the city, we visit the fascinating State History Museum and the Russian Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest of the covered markets in Turkmenistan, with its colorful stalls of spices, food, and clothing. We gather tonight for our Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant in Ashgabat. Overnight at hotel.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":24,"DayTo":24,"Headline":"Ashgabat \/ Depart","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Transfer to the Ashgabat airport and depart on homeward-bound flights.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":1,"DayTo":9,"Headline":"Almaty, Kazakhstan \/ Karakol, Kyrgyzstan \/ Issy-Kul Lake \/ Bishkek","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"After exploring Almaty, we head to remote Karakol, a town on the shores of Issyk-Kul Lake, one of the largest alpine lakes in the world. We visit the colorful market, a summer encampment of Kyrgyz nomads, and fascinating lakeside petroglyphs. En route to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, we visit the striking 11th century Burana tower, a Silk Road monument, and stop in a village for lunch with a local family.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":10,"DayTo":13,"Headline":"Tashkent, Uzbekistan \/ Samarkand","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"After exploring Bishkek, we fly to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, Central Asia&apos;s biggest hub, and tour its Old Town. We then take a train to ancient Samarkand, with its breathtaking main square, the Registan, a panorama of handsome blue-tiled mosques. We also visit the Shahr-i-Zindah, one of Tamerlane&apos;s first creations, the famed market at the village of Urgut, and enjoy lunch at the home of a local Uzbek family. A day&apos;s excursion brings us out to Shakre Sabz, birthplace of Tamerlane.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":14,"DayTo":18,"Headline":"Bukhara \/ Khiva","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"We head to historic Bukhara, with two full days to savor this fascinating city, whose beautifully restored medieval quarter is a World Heritage Site. We visit the covered bazaars and mulberry-shaded plazas where old men play chess and enjoy roaming Bukhara&apos;s marvelous markets. In Khiva, we enjoy a full-day walking tour of this atmospheric walled city.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":19,"DayTo":24,"Headline":"Kunya Urgench, Turkmenistan \/ Ashgabat \/ Mary \/ Merv","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Crossing the Turkmenistan border, we head to Kunya Urgench, with its pre- and post-Mongol monuments, then fly to Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital, an ancient city surrounded by the Kara-Kum (&ldquo;black sands&rdquo;) desert. Flying to southeastern Turkmenistan, we visit the vast ruins of ancient Merv, once one of the most important cities along the Silk Road and now a stunning World Heritage Site. Back in Ashgabat, we enjoy a full-day tour of the capital city of Turkmenistan, including the famous archaeological site of Nisa, which served as the winter capital of the Parthian rulers. Depart from Ashgabat on Day 24.","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true}],"itinpdf":[{"ItinYear":"2023","docType":"1","FileName":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/central-asia-explorer-itinerary-2023.pdf"},{"ItinYear":"2024","docType":"1","FileName":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/central-asia-explorer-itinerary-2024.pdf"},{"ItinYear":"2024","docType":"2","FileName":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/central-asia-explorer-predeparture.pdf"}],"whattoexpect":[{}],"highlights":[{"DisplayOrder":1,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Issyk-Kul Lake in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":32367,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":2,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Ancient Samarkand, capital of Tamerlane, with its magnificent blue mosques","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":32367,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":3,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Nine World Heritage Sites including the Silk Road cities of Bukhara and 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to and from the arrival and departure location as indicated in Detailed Itinerary","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":2,"Type":"E","Description":"Additional hotel nights outside the trip's scheduled dates","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":3,"Type":"E","Description":"Optional gratuities to Trip Leaders or staff","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":4,"Type":"E","Description":"Optional travel insurance","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":5,"Type":"E","Description":"Other expenses of a personal nature (some alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":6,"Type":"E","Description":"Visa fees","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":1,"Type":"I","Description":"Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader Roger Williams and local guides","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":2,"Type":"I","Description":"Accommodations in hotels","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":3,"Type":"I","Description":"All meals","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":4,"Type":"I","Description":"All activities as indicated in Detailed Itinerary","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""},{"DisplaySequence":5,"Type":"I","Description":"All ground transportation and baggage handling from meeting until departure","Highlight":0,"AdditionalText":"","Category":"","ProductType":0,"ImagePath":"","ImageAltTag":""}],"destinations":[{"DestinationID":45,"Name":"Asia","Type":"Region"},{"DestinationID":275,"Name":"Central Asia"},{"DestinationID":129,"Name":"Kazakhstan","Type":"Country"},{"DestinationID":122,"Name":"Kyrgyzstan","Type":"Country"},{"DestinationID":134,"Name":"Turkmenistan","Type":"Country"},{"DestinationID":131,"Name":"Uzbekistan","Type":"Country"}],"activities":[{"ActivityID":217,"Name":"Cultural","Primary":0},{"ActivityID":238,"Name":"Limited Edition","Primary":0}],"guides":[{"GuideID":850907,"First_Name":"Roger","Last_Name":"Williams","BioShort":"Roger Williams has been one of our most versatile guides since 1986, and he shows no sign of stopping. If it isn&apos;t the surplus of knowledge Roger brings when he leads a trip that makes him so unique, then it may be his awareness for cultural preservation that keep trip members so loyal to his new adventures. &ldquo;There should be a rating higher than excellent for Roger,&rdquo; one client wrote after her journey with Roger. &ldquo;His knowledge, energy, planning, and attentiveness are superlative.&rdquo;","BioLong":"Roger Williams has been one of our most versatile guides since 1986, and he shows no sign of stopping. He spent eight years studying Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist iconography, Himalayan languages, and woodblock art in Nepal, and another two years studying Japanese woodblock art, Japanese language, and Shingon Shu, an esoteric sect of Japanese Buddhism in Japan. If it isn&apos;t the surplus of knowledge Roger brings when he leads a trip that makes him so unique, then it may be his awareness for cultural preservation that keep trip members so loyal to his new adventures. Each year, Roger works with WT to design new trips in fascinating areas. He has led in such far-flung locations as Iran, Pakistan, northern Afghanistan, Kamchatka, Burma, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Madagascar. When he&apos;s not leading, you can find Roger in Berkeley, California, where he is the director of Snow Lion Graphics\/SLG Books, a publishing house specializing in Asian cultures. &ldquo;There should be a rating higher than excellent for Roger,&rdquo; one trip member wrote after her journey with Roger. &ldquo;His knowledge, energy, planning, and attentiveness are superlative.&rdquo;"}],"guestreviews":[{"GuestNames":"Allen N.","GuestLocation":"San Rafael, CA","GuestReview":"Excellent exposure to the heart of Central Asia. I really got a feel for the culture, people, and environment."},{"GuestNames":"Sandy C.","GuestLocation":"Seattle, WA","GuestReview":"The history, culture, and sites on this journey are amazing and the pace of our trip allowed time to enjoy it."}],"Extensions":[{}],"SimilarTrips":[{"TripID":10297,"SimilarTripID":10422,"Trip_Code":"TRCASPAN","Trip_Name":"Caspian Odyssey"},{"TripID":10297,"SimilarTripID":10465,"Trip_Code":"CELESTIA","Trip_Name":"Kyrgyzstan: Hiking in the Celestial Mountains"},{"TripID":10297,"SimilarTripID":10250,"Trip_Code":"GREATGAM","Trip_Name":"The Great Game"},{"TripID":10297,"SimilarTripID":10546,"Trip_Code":"ULTUZBEK","Trip_Name":"Ultimate Uzbekistan"}],"Specialists":[{}],"TripSegments":[{"VendorID":72616,"ProductID":84621,"SelectType":"Optional","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Extra Hotel Night","Vendor":"InterContinental Almaty","Address1":"181 Zheltoksan St","Address2":"","City":"Almaty","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Pre-Trip Extra Services: InterContinental Almaty (DATES, 1 night)","Day":0,"Sequence":20,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"Nestled in the heart of Almaty, this large luxury hotel offers guest rooms with mountain views, a wonderful spa, and easy access to the city's top attractions. Rooms have all the modern amenities you would expect from a luxury hotel, including individual temperature control units, safe boxes, high-speed internet, free WiFi, data ports at desk level, and complimentary tea and coffee amenities.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/10-intercontinental-almaty-lobby.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":73419,"ProductID":84408,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Vendor Ops Payment","Vendor":"MIR Corporation","Address1":"85 South Washington Street, Suite 2","Address2":"","City":"Seattle","State":"WA","Postal":"98104","Product":"Central Asia Explorer","Day":1,"Sequence":0,"Duration":23,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":73419,"ProductID":84409,"SelectType":"Mandatory","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Internal Flight","Vendor":"MIR Corporation","Address1":"85 South Washington Street, Suite 2","Address2":"","City":"Seattle","State":"WA","Postal":"98104","Product":"Internal Air","Day":1,"Sequence":1,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":11,"ProductID":54,"SelectType":"Optional","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Single Supplement","Vendor":"Wilderness Travel","Address1":"1102 Ninth Street","Address2":"","City":"Berkeley","State":"CA","Postal":"94710","Product":"Single Supplement","Day":1,"Sequence":2,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"<p><\/p>","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":72617,"ProductID":84622,"SelectType":"Optional","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Extra Hotel Night","Vendor":"Hotel Oguzkent","Address1":"231 Bitarap Turkmenistan Ave","Address2":"","City":"Ashgabat","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Post-Trip Extra Services: Hotel Oguzkent (DATES, 1 night)","Day":25,"Sequence":20,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false}],"CustomFields":{"Custom_TC_Detailed_Itin_URL":"","Custom_Trip_Name_Addendum":"","Custom_Welcome_Letter_Addendum":"Visas are required for your trip, and we will be updating you with more specific instructions approximately four months prior to departure. In the meantime, please mail or email us a clear copy of your passport photo page.","Custom_Trip_Level_5":"","Custom_Welcome_Email_Send_List":"Extra Service Request Form","Custom_FI_Optional_Donation_Text":"","Custom_Final_Docs_Letter_Send_List":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Trip_Sales_Points":"<body>Another fun resource is this <a href=\"http:\/\/photoblog.wildernesstravel.com\/a-cultural-journey-along-the-silk-road\/\">blog post<\/a> by one of our recent travelers, complete with amazing photos from their experience that I think will give you a great sense of the adventure ahead.<\/body><meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/>\n","Custom_Sales_Email_-_TP_Trip_Sales_Points":"<body>Another fun resource is this <a href=\"http:\/\/photoblog.wildernesstravel.com\/a-cultural-journey-along-the-silk-road\/\">blog post<\/a> by one of our recent travelers, complete with amazing photos from their experience that I think will give you a great sense of the adventure ahead.<\/body><meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/>\n","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Payment_Terms":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>In order to confirm your space on this trip, we require a first deposit of $600 per person, which is fully refundable up to 151 days prior to departure.<\/body>","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Region":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>Central Asia<\/body>","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Region_Sales_Points":"","Custom_Emergency_Evac_Insurance":"","Custom_Welcome_Letter_Reading_List":"<strong>Reading List:<\/strong> Elevate your travel experience by delving into this <a href=\"https:\/\/bookshop.org\/lists\/wilderness-travel-central-asia-explorer\">curated collection of books<\/a> tailored to your upcoming adventure.","Custom_Valid_Passport_Alternative":"","Custom_Visa":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body><strong>TURKMENISTAN VISA:<\/strong> Your Turkmenistan visa will be obtained during the trip, upon arrival at the land border. Roger will have the group's letter of invitation and will assist with the visa process.<\/body>","Custom_FB_Before_You_Go_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Before_You_Go_-_MISC_2":"","Custom_Luggage_Requirements":"<body><strong>LUGGAGE REQUIREMENTS: <\/strong>Please check with your international air carriers regarding baggage weight limits for your flights to\/from Asia.<br>\n <br><br><div>\nHowever, <strong>please remember that you are allowed one piece of checked baggage on your internal flights, with a total weight limit of 44 lbs.<\/strong> A small carry-on bag (usually weighing no more than 11 lbs.) is also permitted. Your carry-on bag must fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment. <br><meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/>\n\n <br><br><div>Please keep in mind that domestic flights in Central Asia are known for delays and\/or cancellations. Weather, over booking, and other factors beyond our control often result in a group not departing or arriving on time, even with confirmed reservations. Our local staff and Roger will assist you should any delays occur.<\/div><\/div><\/body>","Custom_Carry-On":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body><strong>CARRY-ON: <\/strong>Valuable or essential items, such as hiking boots, camera equipment, binoculars, and prescription medications, should be hand carried on your flights to avoid loss or damage.Valuable or essential items, such as hiking boots, camera equipment, binoculars, and prescription medications, should be hand carried on your flights to avoid loss or damage.<\/body>","Custom_Hiking_Poles":"","Custom_Daypack":"","Custom_Vaccination_Card":"","Custom_FB_Packing_Reminders_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Additional_Notes_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Additional_Notes_-_MISC_2":"","Custom_Arrival":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>A Wilderness Travel representative will meet you upon your arrival in Almaty. After collecting your baggage, please look for a transfer agent outside of the Arrivals area. They will be holding a \"Wilderness Travel\" sign and\/or a sign with your name on it. You will then be transferred to the group hotel:<\/body>","Custom_Arrival-_Meeting_Place":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>InterContinental Hotel<br>\n181 Zheltoksan Street<br>\nAlmaty, 050013, Kazakhstan<br><\/body>","Custom_Arrival_Transfer":"","Custom_Departure":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>A complimentary transfer will be provided to the Ashgabat airport at the end of the trip, no matter when you depart. Please note that check-out time from our group hotel is 12:00 pm.<\/body>","Custom_Extra_Services":"","Custom_Contact_Information_for_Friends_and_Family":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body>If friends or family wish to contact you during the trip, we encourage them to call, text, or email you directly. Another option is to reach you by calling the hotel (please see the enclosed Hotel List). If they are unable to reach you directly, please instruct them to call our office in Berkeley, California, and we will get a message to you as soon as possible. If they need to reach you outside of our office hours, we ask that they reach out to our Trip Leader(s) (contact information listed below) and also leave a message with our Berkeley office, so that we can follow up with our team on the ground. <br><br>We recommend using <a href=\"https:\/\/www.whatsapp.com\/download\">WhatsApp<\/a>, and suggest you download the free app and enter the local contact number(s) in advance of your trip.<\/body>","Custom_Outfitter_Contacts_Left":"<meta charset=\"utf-8\"\/><body><strong>Roger Williams<\/strong> <br><br><br><div>Email: roger@slgbooks.com<\/div><div>Phone (WhatsApp): (+1) 510-816-2840<\/div><\/body>","Custom_Outfitter_Contacts_Right":"","Custom_name_slug":"central-asia-explorer-guided-cultural-tour","Custom_Meta_Description":"Overland journey through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, with visits to 7 World Heritage Sites including the Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Khiva.","Custom_List_Description":"Enjoy an epic overland journey through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, with cultural highlights from magnificent Bukhara, a 2,000-year-old Silk Road city-state, to Khiva, a walled medieval town in a vast desert.","Custom_Redirect":"","Custom_PJ_-_Best_Months":"","Custom_After_Dates":"","Custom_Trip_Web_Note":"","Custom_Title_Tag":"Central Asia Explorer | Guided Cultural Tour Across Five Stans","Custom_Before_Days":"","Custom_After_Days_Header_1":"","Custom_After_Days_Text_1":"","Custom_After_Days_Header_2":"","Custom_After_Days_Text_2":"","Custom_Choosing_Right_Trip_Office_Contact":"","Custom_About_WT_Expeditions":"","Custom_Arrival_-_Sales":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2022-11-30T15:35:02 --><p><strong>Suggested Airport: <\/strong>Almaty International Airport (ALA)<br \/><strong>Suggested Date &amp; Time: <\/strong>Day 1, by 3:00 pm<br \/><br \/><strong>Meeting Place: <\/strong>A complimentary transfer is provided from Almaty International Airport to the group hotel for all trip members, no matter when you arrive. A Wilderness Travel representative will meet you outside the customs area and will be holding a Wilderness Travel sign and\/or a sign with your name on it. They will then transfer you to the group hotel. There will be a Welcome Dinner and orientation in the evening of Day 1.<br \/><br \/><strong>Please Note:<\/strong> Since many flights arrive in Almaty in the early morning hours, we have guaranteed early check-in for you at the group hotel on Day 1. Your room will be ready no matter when you arrive on Day 1.<\/p>","Custom_Departure_-_Sales":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2022-11-30T15:35:50 --><p><strong>Suggested Airport:<\/strong> Ashgabat International Airport (ASB)<br \/><strong>Suggested Date &amp; Time: <\/strong>Day 24, anytime<br \/><br \/>A complimentary transfer will be provided from the Hotel Oguzkent to Ashgabat International Airport, no matter when you depart. Please note that check-out time on Day 24 is 12:00 pm.<\/p>","Custom_International_Air_Travel":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2022-11-30T15:37:50 --><p>You are responsible for making your own arrangements for flights to and from the trip.<br \/><br \/>There are many online consolidators for booking travel, but for more personal help arranging air transport, you can contact Exito Travel at 1-800-655-4053 in the US or 1-800-670-2605 in Canada.They are very adept at putting flight itineraries together, to even the most far-flung places. More information can be found on Exito's website at <a href=\"https:\/\/exitotravel.com\/\">www.exitotravel.com.<\/a><br \/><br \/>Depending on your routing, it will be necessary for you to depart from the US one or two days prior to Day 1 of the trip itinerary. We recommend you arrive at least one night early so that you have a full day to recover from jet lag. Extra hotel nights can be arranged for you (at extra cost). The name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport exactly, and your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of return to the US.<br \/><br \/><strong>Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip.<\/strong> Once your tickets have been purchased, please forward a copy of your email flight confirmation from the airline. It is your responsibility to ensure your flight times coordinate with the arrival and departure logistics for this<br \/>trip.<\/p>","Custom_Extra_Hotel_Nights":"","Custom_Recommended_Hotels":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Header_1":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Text_1":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Header_2":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Text_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_1":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_1":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_3":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_3":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_4":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_4":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_5":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_5":"","Custom_file_name":"central-asia-explorer","Custom_Passport":"A valid passport is required for your trip. Be sure to check the expiration date. Your passport must be valid for six months after your date of exit from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Your passport should have at least one completely blank visa page for each country you will be visiting. It is very important that these blank pages say &#8220;Visas&#8221; at the top. The last few pages of your passport, which say &#8220;Amendments and Endorsements,&#8221; and the final page of your passport, which may not have a page number, are not considered to be legitimate \"Visa\" pages. You can request a new passport through <a href=\"http:\/\/travel.state.gov\/passport\/passport_1738.html\">US Passport Services Office<\/a> (the service of adding pages for visas was discontinued as of January 1, 2016) or use a visa service agency, which can take care of your passport renewal and expedite the process, if needed. We recommend <a href=\"http:\/\/www.passportvisaexpress.com\/?affId=2120\">Passport Visas Express<\/a>. Be sure to allow sufficient time to acquire this before your trip. <br><br>It is a good idea to carry photocopies of your passport's photo page and any acquired visa pages for your trip (if applicable) in case your passport is lost or as an additional piece of identification, as well as extra passport photos.","Custom_Visas_and_Entry_Notes":"A visa is not required for US citizens visiting <strong>Kazakhstan<\/strong> if you stay 15 days or less (like you will be doing on this trip). If you plan to spend extra time in Kazakhstan, please contact our Wilderness Travel office for more details and help when it comes to the visa process. <br><br>A visa is also not required for US citizens visiting <strong>Kyrgyzstan<\/strong>. However, please remember to have adequate unused\/blank visa pages to allow for entry and exit stamps upon arrival and departure from Kyrgyzstan. <br><br>US citizens under the age of 55 need a visa to enter <strong>Uzbekistan<\/strong>, and it must be obtained prior to arrival. Uzbekistan offers an e-visa service through the Uzbekistan government: https:\/\/e-visa.gov.uz\/main. This e-visa is valid 90 days from the date of issue and allows for a single-entry of up to 30 days. If you are a US citizen over the age of 55, a visa is not needed for this departure. <br><br>US citizens also need a visa for <strong>Turkmenistan<\/strong>. As part of the Turkmenistan visa process, a letter of invitation is required. Wilderness Travel will obtain this letter for you, prior to departure. With this letter, all group members will obtain their Turkmen visa upon arrival at the Turkmenistan land border (during the trip). A visa fee will be required. The cost of this fee will be sent to you prior to departure.<br><strong><br>Special note: please remember to send us a clear color copy of your passport photo page, as well as a 2x2-inch color passport photo, as soon as you sign-up on this adventure. These are needed for the Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan visa processing.<\/strong> <br><br>If you are a citizen of any country other than the US, please check with a local consulate for entry requirements. Please note that all visa requirements and regulations are subject to change.","Custom_Money":"We suggest you bring US cash for this trip. Cash is the only form of payment in the most remote areas. <br><br>Upon arrival, please check with your Trip Leader for guidelines on where and how to exchange funds in the Central Asian republics. It is difficult to exchange money in the more remote local villages. <br><br>In addition to cash, you can also bring along an ATM card to draw money from ATM machines in major cities. To use an ATM internationally, please make sure that you have a four-digit PIN. <br><br>If you plan to use your credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, and AMEX), please remember to inform your credit card company before your departure that you will be using the card(s) abroad. Credit cards are usually accepted only at major hotels and in larger shops and restaurants in the major cities. Please note that hotels, shops, and restaurants may add a service charge of 3-4% when you use your credit card. <br><br>You will need to budget spending money for extra gratuities, any meals listed as &#8220;on your own&#8221; in the trip itinerary, and for personal items such as alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, phone calls, laundry at hotels, etc.","Custom_Tipping":"During the trip, the Trip Leader takes care of tips for waiters at restaurants, for porters for luggage handling, and for trip representatives who are with the group for only a short time. <br><br>For the staff who have accompanied you throughout a significant portion of your adventure&mdash;our local guides and drivers&mdash;excellent service can be rewarded through a pooled tip, a process that will be facilitated by your Trip Leader. Tipping for the Trip Leader himself is not formally organized. Should you wish to tip your Trip Leader, we suggest that you do so toward the end of the adventure. <br><br>Tipping is completely discretionary, but over the years, clients have asked us for tipping guidelines to reward outstanding service. A range of reference would be $12-14 per trip member, per day for the local guides\/drivers, and $15-18 per trip member, per day for the Trip Leader. <br><br>Some clients have expressed concern over carrying a large amount of cash on the trip for tips. So, for your convenience, your Trip Leader will accept personal checks from you for any tips that you would like to give to the local guides and drivers - in each country, he will carry extra local currency with him, which he can use for your tipping. He will then cash your check once he returns home to the US.","Custom_Food":"We will do our best to accommodate special dietary needs. However, please keep in mind that certain cultural differences or limitations due to logistics can make it extremely difficult and at times impossible to accommodate dietary restrictions. It is important to bring a flexible attitude and supplemental snacks. Please inform us at least eight weeks before your trip begins if you have a restricted diet.","Custom_Communications":"Most cities in Central Asia have internet cafes where you can access email accounts. However, overall internet access will be very limited at the hotels, lodges, and guesthouses on the trip (and you may have to pay extra for this service). You can ask your Trip Leader to show you where they are. Phone access will also be limited.","Custom_Electricity":"","Custom_Laundry":"","Custom_Ship_Notes":"","Custom_Inoculations":"Entry requirements and international health situations are subject to change; check with the Centers for Disease Control for updates. All shots should be entered on your International Health Card (yellow card), which is provided by the facility giving the shots. Keep it with your passport while traveling. It provides an important personal record for you to refer to when making future travel plans. Please consult with your physician regarding the following: <br><br><strong>Tetanus Booster: <\/strong>Strongly recommended (effective for 10 years). <br><br><strong>Polio: <\/strong> People who have received the primary series of at least three doses of polio vaccine are considered fully immunized. People who are unsure of their status should receive the vaccine (three doses spaced at intervals).<br><strong><br>Hepatitis: <\/strong>The vaccines HAVRIX and VAQTA (two injections, six to 18 months apart) give long-term protection against Hepatitis A and are worthwhile if you travel regularly to developing countries. <br><br><strong>Typhoid: <\/strong>The CDC recommends the shot or the oral vaccine Vivotif Berna.","Custom_International_Health":"","Custom_Malaria_Prevention":"","Custom_Staying_Healthy":"Change of diet and a number of other factors can cause stomach upsets while traveling, especially in underdeveloped countries. To guard against illness, follow these guidelines: <br><br><ul><li>Consider all tap water unsafe. Do not drink it or brush your teeth with it. Bottled water is available everywhere. Don't drink the water served in restaurants (bottled water is widely available). Avoid ice in your drinks (it may not have been made with treated water).On any airline, drink only the bottled water, not the tap water.<\/li><\/ul><ul><li>Beware of uncooked or raw foods such as salads. Don't eat fruit unless you have peeled it yourself. Avoid custards, pastry creams, yogurt, and milk where refrigeration and pasteurization are unreliable. Don't eat food bought from sidewalk vendors. Overall, be conservative about what you eat. <br><\/li><li>Frequent hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating, can cut down on the possibility of traveler's diarrhea.<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Getting_In_Shape":"","Custom_Medical_Care":"Medical services are extremely limited in certain areas we visit on this trip. In the event of illness requiring evacuation, there are risks involved. Depending upon the point where we are in the itinerary, an evacuation may take several days. You should bring an ample supply of any prescription medicines you need and the items listed on the personal first aid list, in consultation with your physician.","Custom_Altitude_Considerations":"","Custom_Reading_List":"Elevate your travel experience by delving into this curated collection of books tailored to your upcoming adventure. They will not only entertain but also provide invaluable insights into the history, culture, cuisine, wildlife, mountain trails, or even folklore of the places you're about to explore. Discover the perfect companions for your journey ahead by <a href=\"https:\/\/bookshop.org\/lists\/wilderness-travel-central-asia-explorer\">following the link<\/a> or scanning the QR code.","Custom_Photography":"","Custom_Cultural_Considerations":"There are some essential elements common to the cultural experiences of most of the people of these areas. For example, respect for one's elders and hospitality are widespread cultural attributes. Here are some things to be aware of: <br><br><strong>Respect: <\/strong>Great respect is given to religious sites in these countries. These areas, large or small, ruined or not, are regarded as sacred. It is not appropriate to climb up on one to take a photograph, or to do anything that might show a lack of respect. When in doubt, the best guide is to watch the local people and do what they do. <br><br><strong>Visiting Religious Sites: <\/strong>It's okay to wear shoes while walking around the compound, but shoes are often taken off before entering a religious site. <br><br><strong>Losing Face: <\/strong>In these cultures, it is considered unseemly to show too much emotion, such as displaying anger. It is best to just relax through any conflicts or irritations. In particular, avoid doing anything to cause public humiliation to anyone. This extends to criticism of service, engaging in public arguments, and &#8220;demanding to see the boss.&#8221; The people of these countries have an extreme reluctance to hurt others' feelings and thus lose face. <br><br><strong>Other Do's and Don'ts: <\/strong>In these countries, public demonstrations of affection between men and women are frowned on. The head is the most spiritual and exalted part of the body. Thus, it is not appropriate to touch anyone on the head, except for small children. (Touching the head of a small child demonstrates your protection of that child.) The feet, considered the lowest and dirtiest part of the body (especially in the villages) should never be pointed at someone. Bowing your head and body slightly when walking through someone's &#8220;space&#8221; is considered a polite and necessary thing to do. Your efforts to emulate the local behavior while in these countries will be much appreciated.","Custom_Giving_Back":"","Custom_Enviromental_Concerns":"","Custom_Shopping_and_Souvenirs":"","Custom_Seasickness":"","Custom_Explore":"","Custom_Additional_Information":"","Custom_Essentials":"<ul><li>Passport (valid for at least six months after your date of exit from Central Asia)<\/li><li>One other picture ID, such as driver's license<\/li><li>E-visa for Uzbekistan<\/li><li>Two photocopies of your passport photo page<\/li><li>Two extra passport photo(s)<\/li><li>Air tickets and expense money<\/li><li>Personal checks for optional gratuities and emergency use<\/li><li>Proof of travelers insurance, if purchased (insurance is recommended)<\/li><li>Prescription medication, if required (packed in your carry-on bag, not your checked baggage)<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Luggage":"<ul><li>Soft-sided roller bag with small padlock (must be unlocked for travel). Be mindful of baggage weight limits on Asia flights.<\/li><li>Daypack, large enough for a rain\/wind jacket, water bottle, camera gear, and other items you want during the day<\/li><li>Small roll-up duffel if you are an avid shopper <\/li><\/ul><br><strong><br>Weight Limit<\/strong><br>Please note that there is a total weight limit of 44 lbs. (20 kgs.) for the checked baggage on your internal flights in Central Asia flight(s). Some airlines also allow an additional small carry-on that weighs no more than 11 lbs. (5 kgs.).","Custom_Clothing":"Dress on the trip is very informal, with the exception of city dinners for which you may want to dress up a little (jackets are not required for men). You should carry or wear your walking shoes on your flights to make sure they arrive with you.<br><br>People in Central Asia dress conservatively and visitors should take care to dress modestly. A flexible system of layered clothing is recommended, such as lightweight shirts and trousers and lightweight raingear. Comfortable walking shoes will carry you a long way on this trip. A lightweight fleece jacket for cooler evenings is convenient, as the air temperature in desert cools down after sunset. The places we visit are very dry, with a lots of sunshine, and it can also be very windy. A sunhat and sunglasses are highly recommended. A scarf or face mask will come in handy to ward off dust during the long, dusty drives. In addition, we ask that women bring a headscarf for Mosque visits.<br><br>The clothing list below is provided as a guideline only; we encourage you to pack as lightly as possible.<br><br><ul><li>Wind\/waterproof lightweight rain jacket with hood<\/li><li>Fleece jacket or sweater for evenings<\/li><li>Hiking pants, loose-fitting and comfortable. Quick-drying synthetic fabrics are a practical choice.<\/li><li>Long-sleeved shirts. Quick-drying &#8220;travel&#8221; fabrics are ideal.<\/li><li>T-shirts<\/li><li>Hat with wide brim<\/li><li>Lightweight hiking boots or sturdy running shoes with good traction and ankle support<\/li><li>Tevas or other sturdy hiking sandals<\/li><li>Socks, underwear<\/li><li>Sleepwear<\/li><li>Casual city\/hotel attire<\/li><li>Headscarf for Mosque visits (women only)<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Hiking_Boots":"","Custom_Equipment":"<ul><li>Bath towel (travel fabrics dry faster)<\/li><li>Water bottle, 1 qt. capacity. Bottled water is available throughout the trip to re-fill<\/li><li>Good quality sunglasses with cases<\/li><li>Flashlight with extra batteries<\/li><li>Kleenex pocket packs for &#8220;nature breaks&#8221; on drives<\/li><li>Assorted plastic bags to organize items in your luggage; garbage bags to use as a bag liner for rain protection<\/li><li>Money belt or neck pouch. Always carry your passport, credit cards, and cash with you in a money belt or neck pouch tucked down inside your shirt or blouse.<\/li><li>Sunglasses<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Personal_First_Aid":"Every trip member should bring a small kit for personal use. Your own experience will influence your choices. <br><br><ul><li>Sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. We recommend mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they do not contain harsh chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Brands such as Honest Company, Badger, and Alba Botanica are found in most sporting goods stores and drugstores.<\/li><li>Lip balm with sunscreen<\/li><li>Aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol for muscle pain or headache, Tylenol PM for sleep<\/li>\r<li>Topical antibiotic (such as Neosporin) for cuts, bites, or sores<\/li><li>Insect repellent<\/li><li>Blister kit. Look for the long-lasting gel-type bandages that you can apply directly on blisters, such as Band-Aid Advanced Healing Bandages or Curad Gel Multi-Day Bandages. &#8220;Liquid band-aids,&#8221; such as New-Skin, are useful because they dry rapidly to form a tough protective cover over a blister.<\/li><li>Anti-bacterial gel for hand washing (at least 60% alcohol to be effective)<\/li><li>Antihistamine such as Benadryl and cold remedy such as Sudafed<\/li><li>Imodium for diarrhea. If you wish to bring an antibiotic for diarrhea prophylaxis, consult your physician.<\/li><li>Prescription medications properly labeled&mdash; bring a plentiful supply as they will be impossible to replace in Central Asia<\/li><li>Spare contact lenses or spare prescription glasses<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Optional_Items":"<ul><li>Converter and plug adapter kit for appliance use in hotels. Plugs have a variety of blade types. It is best to bring a plug adapter kit.<\/li><li>Camera, spare batteries.<\/li><li>Reading\/writing material<\/li><li>Lightweight binoculars<\/li><li>Travel clock<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Prohibited_Items":"","Custom_When_to_Go":"","Custom_Children":"","Custom_Tag_Line":"A Cultural Odyssey to Samarkand and Beyond","Custom_Lodging":"23 nights in hotels","Custom_Meals":"All meals included","Custom_Difficulty":"Cultural exploration and walking tours, rugged road travel","Custom_Currency_Exchange_Rate":"","Custom_Fuel_Surcharge":"","Custom_Signing_Up_For_a_Trip_-_Email":"","Custom_Optional_Hotel_Upgrades_-_This_Year":"","Custom_Optional_Hotel_Upgrades_-_Next_Year":"","Custom_Trip_Cost_Misc_Header":"","Custom_Trip_Cost_Misc_Text":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like":"The trip is rated <strong>Level 3, Moderate<\/strong>, according to our trip grading system. While this trip is not expected to be physically strenuous, the rustic accommodations, long travel days, and transportation conditions may be quite demanding. This is not a hiking trip, but we do hope to have opportunities for walks of two hours or more during the journey.","Custom_Terrain":"","Custom_Getting_in_Shape":"","Custom_Weather":"","Custom_Accommodations":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-09T15:35:31 --><p>Accommodations are in good city hotels and in comfortable rustic lodges.<\/p>","Custom_Cuisine":"","Custom_Transportation":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-09T15:35:57 --><p>Overland travel is in minivans and small buses, depending upon the size of the group. Road conditions can be very basic, and trip members should be prepared for long drives. Our expedition travels to areas that have experienced very little tourism. We believe that the most important requirements are a spirit of adventure and the understanding that you are visiting a remote and fascinating region.<\/p>","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Header_1":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Text_1":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Header_2":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Text_2":"","Custom_Trip_Level_Note_1":"","Custom_Trip_Level_Note_2":"","System_Choosing_the_Right_Trip":"<p>Adventure travel often involves exotic destinations, unusual levels of physical exertion, or activities you may not have participated in previously. We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please call Wilderness Travel at 1-800-368-2794 or email us at <a href=\"mailto:\/\/info@wildernesstravel.com\">info@wildernesstravel.com<\/a>.<\/p>","System_References":"<p>We&rsquo;d be happy to put you in touch with a past client that has traveled with us on this trip.<\/p>","System_Visit_Our_Website":"<p>At <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/\">saito8.com<\/a>, you can book your trip online or find out about added departures, last-minute deals, and one-time Limited Edition adventures that aren&rsquo;t listed in our catalog. You can also access our complete library of detailed itineraries filled with enticing photos and videos, read bios of our Trip Leaders, find descriptions of trip accommodations, and check real-time availability of any trips that interest you.<\/p>","System_Helpful_Links":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:52:03 --><p>Wilderness Travel has compiled a list of useful websites for travelers. Find the Toucan Club tab on the home page of our website and choose Helpful Links: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/ toucan\/links\">saito8.com\/ toucan\/links<\/a>.<\/p>","System_About_New_Trips":"This is a new adventure and one that we are particularly excited about offering. However, as with all new departures, flexibility and a spirit of adventure are always appreciated! Activities are described in the itinerary but they can vary, sometimes considerably, depending on weather conditions, the group, and other factors.","System_About_Private_Journeys":"<p>Wilderness Travel Private Journeys are designed for people who want to travel with their own small private group, but who still want to experience the same superb itinerary design, great accommodations, and signature quality of Wilderness Travel's escorted group trips. These Private Journeys allow you to choose your own dates and your traveling companions&mdash;and enjoy the WT touch on all aspects of the journey.<\/p>","System_Limited_Edition_Adventures":"This is a Limited Edition adventure&mdash;which means a unique trip we've never run before or offer only every few years. Led by our most experienced Trip Leaders, these journeys often take place in remote destinations with only the most basic infrastructure for tourism. If you see a Limited Edition trip scheduled for this year, now is the time to sign up, as spaces fill very early and the trip may not be back for a while! Planned daily activities and actual timings may vary due to local conditions or the discretion of your Trip Leader&mdash;it is important to bring your spirit of adventure for these special exploratory journeys!","System_Social_Media":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:33:43 --><p><strong>SOCIAL MEDIA:<\/strong> We invite you to share your adventure with us on social media. Tag @wildernesstravel and we may even feature your content on our pages!<\/p>","System_If_You_Miss_Your_Flight":"<p><strong>IF YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT<\/strong><br>If you miss your flight or are otherwise delayed, contact our Wilderness Travel office, as well as our local partners, with your new flight information. Refer to the Emergency Contact Information listed in this Final Bulletin.<\/p>","System_Valid_Passport":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-16T10:26:21 --><p><strong>VALID PASSPORT:<\/strong> Check that your passport is valid for at least six months from the last day of your trip, and that you have at least two blank pages for any necessary visa or entry and exit stamps.<\/p>","System_Insurance_Policy":"<p><strong>INSURANCE POLICY:<\/strong> If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan, you should have received an email confirmation of your policy. Please bring a digital or printed copy of this policy with you. If you cannot find your email confirmation, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. If you have not purchased Travelex insurance already, you have the option to do so up to 24 hours prior to your departure.<\/p>","System_Covid-19_Travel_Requirements":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-04-19T13:27:44 --><p><strong>COVID-19 TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS:<\/strong> Please double-check COVID-19 entry requirements for any countries you may be traveling to or transiting through, on this website: <a href=\"apply.joinsherpa.com\/travel-restrictions\">apply.joinsherpa.com\/travel-restrictions<\/a><\/p>","System_Pre-Trip_Safety":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:37:06 --><p><strong>PRE-TRIP SAFETY:<\/strong> In the next weeks, we encourage you to do everything possible to stay healthy. Please practice social distancing, steer clear of potential COVID-19 exposure, and take an at-home antigen or lab based PCR test before you depart.<\/p>","System_Wilderness_Travel_Office":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:07 --><p>Our office in Berkeley, California can be reached at 510-558-2488, or by email at info@wildernesstravel.com. We are available during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30 am-5:00 pm, PST). <\/p>","System_ECI_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:31 --><p>If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan through Wilderness Travel, please remember to bring your Confirmation of Coverages (COC) with you on the trip, including your Plan Number and important emergency contact information.<\/p><p>If you've purchased a travel protection plan on your own, we recommend that you bring a copy of your policy, including all coverages, with you on your trip.<\/p>","System_Face_Masks_and_Hand_Sanitizer":"","System_DidNotPurchase_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-02-28T12:27:44 --><p>Travel Insurance: We recommend that you purchase travel insurance for this trip. For your convenience, we offer Travelex travel protection. Please let us know if you would like us to add the Travelex Travel Protection Plan to this final invoice. You can learn more about the policy on our <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/toucan\/travel-insurance\">website<\/a>.<\/p>","System_Purchased_Insurance":"Please remember to bring a copy of your Travelex Confirmation of Coverage and State Specific Policy with you on your trip. You should have received an email directly from Travelex with these documents. If you need this email to be re-sent, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. <br><br><br>","System_Photography":"<strong>Camera Recommendations<\/strong><br>With the many advances in digital technology, a simple compact digital camera or even your smartphone is capable of taking pictures suitable for the needs of most people. For higher quality images and the ability to use long lenses for closer wildlife pictures, a DSLR camera is well worthwhile, though heavier. Most digital cameras and phones have good video options, but you may want to consider a GoPro for a lightweight, waterproof option. Always practice ahead of time with new equipment and bring your manual with you. You may want to consider renting camera equipment for your trip from places such as <a href=\"https:\/\/www.borrowlenses.com\/\">borrowlenses.com<\/a>. This is an especially good idea for renting large zoom lenses that you may need for just one trip. Adding their extra insurance fee to cover expensive equipment is recommended. <br><strong><br>Camera Accessories<\/strong><br>We recommend bringing at least two large capacity memory cards or a small digital storage unit (or tablet) to back up your photos, freeing space on your memory cards. Don't forget to bring a battery charger and a backup battery so one is always charged and ready to use. For trips where you may be away from power sources for multiple days, consider looking into a solar-powered battery charger or buying additional backup batteries, and check that you have the appropriate adapter for the electrical outlets in your destination.<br><strong><br>Sharing Your Images<\/strong><br>We would love for you to share photos from your trip, and with your permission, may even use your photos in our marketing materials or on our photo blog. We request that you send us a small sample of your best images. Please email your photos to wtphotoblog@gmail.com or tag us @WildernessTravel on social media.<br><strong><br>Photography Etiquette<\/strong><br>When taking pictures of local people, be aware of cultural considerations. Approaching people with a warm smile and using polite gestures or simple phrases to ask permission to photograph them usually works well. It is always recommended to engage people in conversation before asking to photograph them, but if people do not wish to have their photo taken, please honor their requests. We urge travelers to avoid giving money in exchange for photo opportunities, which makes it harder for future travelers to have a meaningful personal interaction with local people. Please always heed your Trip Leader's guidelines for what is appropriate. ","System_Gear_Store":"To help you prepare for your next WT adventure, we've put together a great collection of top brands including Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Eagle Creek, and more at our WT Gear Store (<a href=\"https:\/\/wildernesstravel.newheadings.com\/\">wildernesstravel.newheadings.com<\/a>).","System_Questions?":"<p>Our Area Specialists are your single point of contact and would be happy to answer any questions about your trip!<br>800.368.2794 | 510.558.2488<\/p>","System_Pricing_Detail-Small_Group_Adventure":" <br><br>To offer the lowest possible cost, our trips are priced according to the number of participants on the trip. All costs are per person, based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. Please note that Wilderness Travel staff, or guests of Wilderness Travel such as travel writers, photographers, or leaders-in-training, are not included in the tier pricing count.","System_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:58:05 --><p>We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance. You can take advantage of a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan designed for Wilderness Travel by Travelex, or purchase other insurance on your own. See our website for details: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance\">saito8.com\/insurance<\/a><\/p>","System_Make_it_Your_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:18 --><p>The prices above are for the ready-to-book adventure outlined in this Detailed Itinerary, a popular option that has been handcrafted by our Area Specialists to include the best of every destination. While many travelers choose to book this tour as is, our Area Specialists are also happy to work with you to customize this Private Journey to suit your specific interests and style of travel. We can arrange for longer or shorter stays, offer hotel upgrades (see below for sample costs), or add an extension to additional places of interest. We can even add special activities or customize excursions depending on your interests. We invite you to contact us to discuss your options!<\/p>","System_Signing_up_for_a_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:42 --><p>Early reservations are recommended since accommodations often sell out far in advance. Please call 1-800-368-2794 and ask for our [Africa Manager] or email us at [africa@ wildernesstravel.com] with any questions that you may have about this trip. To reserve your Private Journey, we will need to know your preferred dates of travel. We will then check availability and send you a proposed itinerary with exact pricing for your adventure. We can typically hold a provisional booking for one week. At that time, we must collect your initial deposit or accommodations will be released. We accept Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will send you a Welcome Packet that includes a letter of confirmation, Detailed Itinerary, Trip Application, Medical Form, and Pre-Departure Information Booklet with information to help you prepare for your adventure. Please see our Cancellations and Transfer Fee Schedule for specific payment information.<\/p>","System_Trip_Leaders":"<p>Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please visit <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/leaders\/\">wildernesstravel.com\/leaders<\/a>.<\/p>"},"terms":{"PaymentSchedule":"<p>$600 due at time of reservation <br \/>90 days prior to departure: Balance<\/p>","CancelSchedule":"<p>Up to 151 days prior to departure: No charge!<br>91-150 days prior to departure: $600 per person<br>90 days or less: 100% of trip cost<\/p><p><em>Please note that this differs from our standard policy.<\/em><\/p>"}}