46 days in Central Asia Itinerary

46 days in Central Asia Itinerary

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Route & dates

46 days in Central Asia Itinerary

Start: Sydney, Australia
Fly:  27​h
1
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
— 3 nights
2
Karaganda, Kazakhstan
— 4 nights
Fly:  7​h 45​min
3
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
— 2 nights
Drive:  12​h 30​min
4
Muynak, Uzbekistan
— 1 day
taxi + train:  10​h 30​min
5
Khiva, Uzbekistan
— 2 nights
6
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
— 4 nights
7
Samarkand, Uzbekistan
— 4 nights
8
Bukhara, Uzbekistan
— 4 nights
9
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
— 4 nights
Fly + bus:  3​h 15​min
10
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
11
Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
12
Karakol, Kyrgyzstan
— 4 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
13
Almaty, Kazakhstan
— 4 nights
Fly:  19​h 30​min
End: Sydney, Australia

3
nights
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

Nur-Sultan ©
First Akmola, then Tselinograd, and now Astana: the city's latest name means "capital," something Astana became in 1998.
Get a sense of the local culture at Nur-Astana Mosque and Assumption Cathedral. Visit Temple of St. Seraphim of Sarov and Constantine and Helen Cathedral for their historical value. When in Nur-Sultan, make a side trip to see Alzhir, Memorial Museum of Victims of Political Repressions and Totalitarianism in Malinovka, approximately 50 minutes away. There's lots more to do: take in panoramic vistas at Bayterek Tower, stroll around City Park, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hazret Sultan Mosque, and stop by Astana Allee.

For maps, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Nur-Sultan trip planner .

Sydney, Australia to Nur-Sultan is an approximately 27-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 4 hours traveling from Sydney to Nur-Sultan. Traveling from Sydney in January, things will get colder in Nur-Sultan: highs are around -13°C and lows about -23°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) so you can go by car to Karaganda.

Things to do in Nur-Sultan

Shopping Historic Sites Museums

Side Trip

Alzhir, Memorial Museum of Victims of Political Repressions and Totalitarianism
Find places to stay Jan 15 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Khan Shatyr ©
Khan Shatyr
Nur-Astana Mosque ©
Nur-Astana Mosque
Assumption Cathedral ©
Assumption Cathedral

4
nights
Karaganda, Kazakhstan

Karaganda ©
Lying in the heart of Kazakhstan, Karaganda stands as the capital of its region in a vast landscape of unpopulated steppe.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima and Bektau-Ata Mountain Area. Get some historical perspective at Temple of the Icon of Our Lady Skoroposlushnitsa and Vvedenskiy Cathedral. Step out of Karaganda with an excursion to Temirtausky City Local Lore and History Museum in Temirtau--about 54 minutes away. There's much more to do: examine the collection at Karaganda Regional Museum, don't miss a visit to Regional Central Mosque, appreciate the history behind Monument Mining Glory, and pause for some serene contemplation at Holy Cross Church.

To see more things to do, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Karaganda online holiday planner .

Getting from Nur-Sultan to Karaganda by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. In January, daytime highs in Karaganda are -11°C, while nighttime lows are -22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) early enough to travel to Ashgabat.

Things to do in Karaganda

Nature Parks Historic Sites

Side Trips

Temple of the Icon of Our Lady Skoroposlushnitsa, Temirtausky City Local Lore and History Museum, Qarqaraly National Park, Bektau-Ata Mountain Area
Find places to stay Jan 18 — 22:

2
nights
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Ashgabat ©
A Soviet-like grid of opulent marble edifices in the center of the desert, Ashgabat paints an unusual picture.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Thu): examine the collection at Turkmen Museum of Fine Arts, examine the collection at Turkmen Carpet Museum, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ertugrul Gazi Mosque, then appreciate the history behind Independence Monument, and finally explore the ancient world of Parthian Settlement of Nisa. On your second day here, don't miss a visit to Gypjak Mosque, take in the spiritual surroundings of Geokdepe, and then delve into the mystery of Kow Ata Underground Lake.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read our Ashgabat trip itinerary builder website .

You can fly from Karaganda to Ashgabat in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and taxi. The time zone difference when traveling from Karaganda to Ashgabat is minus 1 hour. Plan for much hotter temperatures traveling from Karaganda in January, with highs in Ashgabat at 9°C and lows at -3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Muynak.

Things to do in Ashgabat

Historic Sites Wildlife Museums
Find places to stay Jan 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Ertugrul Gazi Mosque ©
Ertugrul Gazi Mosque
Turkmen Carpet Museum ©
Turkmen Carpet Museum
Parthian Settlement of Nisa ©
Parthian Settlement of Nisa

1
day
Muynak, Uzbekistan

Muynak ©
Mo‘ynoq, also spelled as Muynak and Moynaq, is a city in northern Karakalpakstan in western Uzbekistan. Kick off your visit on the 25th (Sat): take some stellar pictures from Ships Cemetery.

For reviews, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Muynak trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Ashgabat to Muynak takes 11 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can travel to Khiva.

Things to do in Muynak

Outdoors Historic Sites Scenic Drive
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Ships Cemetery ©
Ships Cemetery

2
nights
Khiva, Uzbekistan

Khiva ©
With an illustrious history as a main stop along the Great Silk Road, Khiva boasts remarkably well-preserved cultural attractions and a beautiful historic core.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Kalta Minor Minaret and Tomb of Sayid Allauddin. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Stone Palace (Tash Khauli) and Citadel Kunya-ark. There's still lots to do: admire the striking features of Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, explore the historical opulence of Nurullaboy Saroyi, explore the ancient world of Itchan Kala, and don't miss a visit to Islam Khodja Complex.

To find ratings, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Khiva day trip planning website .

Traveling by combination of taxi and train from Muynak to Khiva takes 10.5 hours. In January, daily temperatures in Khiva can reach 3°C, while at night they dip to -5°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Tue) to allow time to travel to Tashkent.

Things to do in Khiva

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Kalta Minor Minaret ©
Kalta Minor Minaret
Citadel Kunya-ark ©
Citadel Kunya-ark
Stone Palace (Tash Khauli) ©
Stone Palace (Tash Khauli)

4
nights
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Tashkent ©
One of the largest and oldest cities in Central Asia, Tashkent combines layers of history and a bustling modern edge.
Visit Minor Mosque and Kukeldash Madrasah for their historical value. Take a break from the city and head to Chimgon and Lake Charvak. Get out of town with these interesting Tashkent side-trips: Charvak Reservoir (in Yusufhona) and Pulatkhan Plateau (in Chimgan). Next up on the itinerary: take in the spiritual surroundings of Teleshayakh Mosque, hunt for treasures at Chorsu Bazaar, admire the masterpieces at Uzbekistan State Museum of Applied Art, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Khoja Akhrar Mosque.

For reviews, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Tashkent online trip maker .

Fly from Khiva to Tashkent in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sat) to allow time to travel to Samarkand.

Things to do in Tashkent

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Charvak Reservoir, Pulatkhan Plateau
Find places to stay Jan 28 — Feb 1:
Highlights from your plan
Chimgon ©
Chimgon
Teleshayakh Mosque ©
Teleshayakh Mosque
Charvak Reservoir ©
Charvak Reservoir

4
nights
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand ©
Uzbekistan’s most glorious city, Samarkand, offers a fine combination of history and modern urban life.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Tillya Kori Madrasah and Shah-i-Zinda. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Imam Bokhari Mausoleum and Sher Dor Madrasah. Take a break from Samarkand with a short trip to Dorut Tilovat in Shahrisabz, about 1h 30 min away. There's much more to do: admire the landmark architecture of Ulugbek Madrasah, don't miss a visit to Registan, explore the different monuments and memorials at Gur Emir Mausoleum, and delve into the distant past at Afrasiab.

To find reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, use the Samarkand road trip planning site .

Traveling by flight from Tashkent to Samarkand takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 10°C in February, and nighttime lows around -1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) so you can travel to Bukhara.

Things to do in Samarkand

Historic Sites Museums Spas

Side Trip

Dorut Tilovat
Find places to stay Feb 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Registan ©
Registan
Tillya Kori Madrasah ©
Tillya Kori Madrasah
Sher Dor Madrasah ©
Sher Dor Madrasah

4
nights
Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Bukhara ©
Inhabited for millennia, the city of Bukhara boasts a World Heritage-listed center teeming with historic mosques, madrassas, pools, and ancient ruins.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Poi Kalyan Mosque and Nodir Devon Begi Madrasasi. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Mir-i Arab Madrasah and Bakhautdin Naqsband Mausoleum. There's much more to do: contemplate the long history of Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, make a trip to Trading Domes, get great views at Great Minaret of the Kalon, and admire the landmark architecture of Nodir Devon Begi Xonaqosi.

To find maps, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Bukhara road trip planning site .

Getting from Samarkand to Bukhara by train takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: fly; or drive. In February, daily temperatures in Bukhara can reach 10°C, while at night they dip to -1°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) so you can travel to Dushanbe.

Things to do in Bukhara

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Feb 5 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Mir-i Arab Madrasah ©
Mir-i Arab Madrasah
Poi Kalyan Mosque ©
Poi Kalyan Mosque
Bakhautdin Naqsband Mausoleum ©
Bakhautdin Naqsband Mausoleum

4
nights
Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Dushanbe ©
Little more than a small town at the turn of the 20th century, Dushanbe grew rapidly during the Soviet era and now serves as the national capital and home to nearly 800,000 people.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Hisor Fortress and Ismaili Centre. Step out of the city life by going to Iskanderkul Lake and Nurek Dam. Get out of town with these interesting Dushanbe side-trips: Ski Tourism Complex Safed Dara (in Tagob) and Hisor HIstorical and Cultural Preserve (in Hisor). There's much more to do: view the masterpieces at NOOR ART GALLERY, stroll around Rudaki Park, have some family-friendly fun at Kokhi Navruz, and make a trip to Stele with the Emblem of Tajikistan.

For photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Dushanbe trip itinerary builder tool .

You can fly from Bukhara to Dushanbe in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and car. Traveling from Bukhara in February, expect nights in Dushanbe to be about the same, around 0°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 14°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Bishkek.

Things to do in Dushanbe

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Hisor, Nurek Dam, Iskanderkul Lake, Ski Tourism Complex Safed Dara
Find places to stay Feb 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Nurek Dam ©
Nurek Dam
Hisor Fortress ©
Hisor Fortress
NOOR ART GALLERY ©
NOOR ART GALLERY

4
nights
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek ©
Wandering the grid-like, tree-lined streets of Bishkek, you'll discover the friendly atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and Soviet-era architecture of the country's political center.
Step off the beaten path and head to Kashka-Suu Ski Resort and Ski resort Too-Ashuu. Take a break from the city and head to Issyk-Ata Gorge and Alamedin Gorge. Step out of Bishkek with an excursion to Burana Tower in Tokmok--about 1h 25 min away. And it doesn't end there: explore the striking landscape of Ala-Archa Gorge, take in the awesome beauty at Bir-Bulak Gorge, and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Church of the Holy Prince Vladimir.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Bishkek online travel route planner .

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Dushanbe to Bishkek in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of car and train. The time zone difference moving from Tajikistan Time (TJT) to Kirgizstan Time (KGT) is 1 hour. Traveling from Dushanbe in February, you will find days in Bishkek are much colder (0°C), and nights are a bit cooler (-11°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) so you can drive to Kochkor.

Things to do in Bishkek

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Burana Tower
Find places to stay Feb 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Ala-Archa Gorge ©
Ala-Archa Gorge
Issyk-Ata Gorge ©
Issyk-Ata Gorge
Kashka-Suu Ski Resort ©
Kashka-Suu Ski Resort

2
nights
Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan

Kochkor is a village in northern Naryn Region of Kyrgyzstan. Kick off your visit on the 18th (Tue): explore the activities along Kol-Ukok Lake and then explore the activities along Orto-Tokoy Water Reservoir. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 19th (Wed): take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Jailoo Kilemche and then take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Kochkor sightseeing planner .

Traveling by car from Bishkek to Kochkor takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and taxi. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) so you can go by car to Karakol.

Things to do in Kochkor

Nature Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Feb 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Kol-Ukok Lake ©
Kol-Ukok Lake
Orto-Tokoy Water Reservoir ©
Orto-Tokoy Water Reservoir

4
nights
Karakol, Kyrgyzstan

Karakol ©
Set in the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains, Karakol reigns as Kyrgyzstan's trekking and climbing hot spot, surrounded by snowy peaks and scenic natural attractions, including canyons, waterfalls, lakes, and hot spring resorts.
Step out of the city life by going to Karakol Gorge and Altyn Arashan. Discover out-of-the-way places like Canyon Fairy Tale and Climbing Tours. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Karakol: Barskoon Waterfall (in Barskoon) and Canyon Skazka (in Tosor). Next up on the itinerary: take in breathtaking views at Jeti-Oguz Canyon (Seven Bulls Rocks), stop by Issyk Kul Brand Shop, stroll around River Park, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathederal.

For other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Karakol driving holiday planner.

You can drive from Kochkor to Karakol in 4 hours. Another option is to do a combination of train and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun) early enough to drive to Almaty.

Things to do in Karakol

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Tosor, Jeti-Oguz Canyon (Seven Bulls Rocks), Barskoon Waterfall
Find places to stay Feb 19 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Canyon Fairy Tale ©
Canyon Fairy Tale
Altyn Arashan ©
Altyn Arashan
Karakol Gorge ©
Karakol Gorge

4
nights
Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty ©
Almaty, the former capital, still stands as the country's largest city.
Escape the urban bustle at Altyn-Emel and Big Almaty Lake. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like St. Nicholas Cathedral and Ascension Cathedral. There's much more to do: get great views at Kok-Tobe Hill, pause for some photo ops at Glory Memorial, have fun at Medeu Skating Rink and Ski resort, and admire the masterpieces at A. Kasteyev Museum of Fine Arts.

To find ratings, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Almaty online day trip planner .

Getting from Karakol to Almaty by car takes about 6.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car. In February, daily temperatures in Almaty can reach 2°C, while at night they dip to -8°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Thu) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Almaty

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Feb 23 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Kok-Tobe Hill ©
Kok-Tobe Hill
St. Nicholas Cathedral ©
St. Nicholas Cathedral
A. Kasteyev Museum of Fine Arts ©
A. Kasteyev Museum of Fine Arts

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