The Nomadic Cultures of Central Asia | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998


The Nomadic Cultures of Central Asia



FROM £$ 9360

Private/Group Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy the hospitality of the nomadic people and the beauty of Son Kul Lake while staying in traditional yurts.
  • Visit ancient villages that served as strategic importance for the Great Silk Road.
  • Enjoy cooking demonstrations where you will learn how to make the national foods.
  • Learn about traditional carpet producing where local ladies will share their knowledge and experience of felt and carpet producing.
  • Walk the local bazaars, all very oriental and colorful shopping places for the locals with stalls of fruits, vegetables, spices and treasures.
  • Dine on local cuisine and watch a national music and folklore dance show in a beautiful madrasah.
  • Take in the views of one of the most spectacular passes in Central Asia, Moldo Ashuu.
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Tour Overview

Experience The Nomadic Cultures of Central Asia while exploring the enchanting landscapes of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Yampu Travelers will traverse through some of the most idyllic sceneries while stopping at some of the most important points of the historic Great Silk Road.

While exploring the mountains and lakes of the region, Yampu Explorers will witness the region’s grandeur through the eyes of its nomadic people with extensive cultural demonstrations, performances, and cuisines, all while staying in the comfort of traditional accommodations, or mobile lodges known as “yurts”. From Khiva in the far reaches of Uzbekistan to the shores of Issyk Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan, The Nomadic Cultures of Central Asia itinerary offers an unparalleled cultural experience.

Price includes domestic and regional flights within the itinerary; all hotel accommodations including daily continental or buffet breakfast and daily city tax; all transfers between airports and hotels with assistance and baggage handling; guided tours in English including entrance fees.

International airfare (unless specifically included), airport departure taxes that must be paid on-site, gratuities, meals not mentioned, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages with meals, early / late check-out, room service, visa fees/services and other personal items or services not mentioned.

Best Time to Travel

Best Good Consult

Package Price: From £$ 9360

Prices shown above are per person. Hotel categories do not adhere strictly to international ratings; Yampu has evaluated the hotels according to destination and availability. Prices include local airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodation including daily breakfast; all transfers with baggage handling, all guided tours in English and all entrance fees.

Please note that prices are subject to change based on availability and seasonality, especially during the holiday season from December 20th through January 5th each year. Please contact a Yampu Travel Specialist for more information on best times to travel.

Trip Type:

All our trips are operated on a private basis unless specified otherwise. This is only a sample itinerary; your Yampu Tour Consultant will personalize this trip for you according to your available dates, interests and type of hotels. This is your trip and we will work on making it perfect!

Tour Itinerary


International Flight to Bishkek

National

National Natural Park Ala Archa, Dinner Included

Upon arrival to Bishkek, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Transfer to the city will take 30-40 min. Check in to your hotel and rest before your hiking tour of the National Natural Park Ala Archa. This place is famous for hiking, trekking, and picnicking in its beautiful surroundings. After your hike, we will drive back to Bishkek to enjoy lunch at a local cafe.

After lunch, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Bishkek. The tour will make stops at the Monument of Kyrgyz National hero Manas, a moment to experience Changing of Guards of Honor, the Kurmanjan Datka and Lenin statues, the main Ala Too Square, different governmental buildings, Oak park and Fine Art gallery. The sightseeing tour of Bishkek comes to an end at Victory Square. Dinner at a local restaurant. less


Bishkek - Cholpon Ata

Transfer

Transfer to Cholpon Ata with Visit to Burana Tower & Issyk Kul Lake, Dinner Included

Today will be an interesting day as we leave the city and head to the countryside. At first we stop to learn more about the Great Silk Road and visit Burana Tower Historical complex. Burana Tower (ancient minaret) is located in 12 km far from Tokmok town. The territory where the tower is located was called Balasagyn town. This town had a strategic importance for the Great Silk Road. Here you will see a small museum with exhibits found at excavations, providing more details about this ancient settlement. Become familiar with collections of Balbals and turkic grave marks. In the afternoon, enjoy lunch at a local Kazakh family in Tokmok.

Continue to the Issyk Kul Lake after lunch. Issyk Kul Lake has a tectonic origin. It is the second largest alpine lake in the world after Titicaca located in South America. Its length reaches 182 km, and a width of 58 km, with a maximum depth of 668 m. During the summer period the water reaches up to 20-23 C. On the way to Cholpon Ata, admire beautiful landscape and changing scenery. After arrival at Cholpon Ata town, visit the famous petroglyphs site before getting accommodated at the resort on the lake shore. Dinner in a local restaurant. less


Cholpon Ata - Tamga

Transfer

Transfer to Tamga Village with Historical Tour, Dinner Included

In the morning we continue our tour and head further along the north shore of Issyk Kul lake. In few hours we will reach Karakol town where you will tour the city upon arrival. Karakol is a small but very interesting town with traditional Russian architecture. It was established in the middle of 19th century and became an important garrison settlement in the territory of Issyk Kul region.

Visit the Memorial Museum of N.M. Przhevalsky a great Russian explorer and researcher of Asian continent. Later on stop at the Dungan mosque, a unique building in a style of the Chinese pagoda which is still a functioning mosque. Also you will visit Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church. The structure was impressively built of wood without the use of a single nail. In the miraculous iconostasis of the church there is the famous Tikhvinian icon of Divine Mother, painted in 1897. Later there will be lunch at a local cafe in Karakol town. Continue driving to Djety Oguz canyon for a little hike. Djety Oguz from Kyrgyz language is translated as "Seven Bulls". Unlike Fairy Tale Canyon this picturesque gorge differs in the mountains covered with Tien Shan fir tree.
At the beginning of the gorge you will face a famous Broken Heart shaped rock. Walking up further for a panorama you will see those famous Seven Bulls rocks. The guide will tell you the legend about the origin of the gorge name. In Soviets, there was a sanatorium built in the gorge. Many people used to come here for treatment with the help of radon water.

Cosmonauts used to come here for rehabilitation, including Yuri Gagarin. After Djety Oguz, continue driving along the south shore of Issyk Kul Lake. Reach Tamga village and get accommodated in a local guest houses/yurt camp. Dinner at your accommodation. less


Tamga - Song Kol

Transfer

Transfer to Song Kol Lake with Visit to Skazka Canyo & Alpine Song Kol Lake, Dinner Included

After breakfast continue on your way along the south shore of Issyk Kul lake. Close to Tamga village, we stop to visit and walk around Skazka canyon for a scenic view of the dark blue Issyk Kul Lake in the background. Continue your way to Kochkor village where a tasty lunch is waiting for us. Here we will learn more about traditional carpet producing procedure with a shyrdak show. Local ladies will share their knowledge and experience of felt and carpet producing.

After a lovely time in Kochkor village, head to Son Kul Lake. Alpine Son Kul Lake is located on Tien Shan range at the elevation of 3016 m. The territory around Son Kul is a pasture for the cattle driven from Kochkor village, Naryn and Jumgal regions. During the summer Son Kul pasture is considered to be the best Kyrgyz "jailoo" or summer pastures. The road to the lake goes through the windy mountain passes and vanishes in the sky. As a result, Son Kul Lake from Kyrgyz language translates as "Last Lake". Accommodation in a local comfortable yurt camp. Here you can feel like a real nomad and get acquainted with the culture of Kyrgyz people.

A Yurt is a traditional dwelling of nomadic people of Central Asia. The foundation of a yurt consists of wood and several felt layers. The construction of such dwellings doesn't require a lot of time which makes it practical and useful for locals. The interior of a yurt is decorated with felt carpets and traditional embroidery. Dinner and overnight at the yurt camp. less


Song Kol - Tash Rabat

Tash Rabat Caravanserai Tour, Dinner Included

In the morning we continue exploring Kyrgyzstan and head to one of the most spectacular passes in our country - Moldo Ashuu. Driving down to Naryn town where we will make a stop for lunch and a city tour. Naryn is a town of long and narrow form, situated along the famous Naryn River also named Syr Darya, which is one of the biggest rivers in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. Naryn is the only town in Kyrgyzstan, where 90 % of the population is Kyrgyz. After lunch we will visit the Central Blue Mosque, the Central Square, and Historical-ethnographical museum. Later on, we will drive further south in a direction of China.

Turn to Kara Koun canyon and reach your yurt camp for accommodation. Tash Rabat Caravanserai is situated at the elevation of 3200 m not far from the Chinese border (Torugart). Its origin is a complete mystery; however, there is a hypothesis that it was built in 10th century. Researchers consider it to be a Nestorian monastery, others suppose it to be a victualing house for the trade caravans, and third ones insist on its defensive function. It is obviously clear that during the various epochs Tash Rabat Caravanserai had different functions. Dinner and overnight at the yurt camp. less


Tash Rabat - Chon Kemin

Chon Kemin Valley Historical Tour, Dinner Included

In the morning after breakfast, head to Tash Rabat Caravanserai for an interesting historical excursion. We then drive back in a direction of Bishkek city where we will have lunch at a local family's home in Kochkor. After Kochkor village, we will visit Orto Tokoi water reservoir and Boom canyon before turning to Chon Kemin valley. Chon Kemin is a valley 170 km away from the capital in a picturesque area between Issyk Kul Lake and Kazakhstan state border. This valley and same name natural park is famous with some historical battles between Kyrgyz and Kazakh tribes. Here we spend some time to relax, swim in the pool (optional) and have gentle walk to the closest canyon. Dinner and overnight in a guest house. less


Chon Kemin - Bishkek

Bishkek

Bishkek Cultural Experience Tour, Dinner Included

After breakfast proceed to Bishkek city. Lunch in a local cafe. There are some interesting activities left to do in Bishkek city including a visit to Osh market as one of the brightest examples of trading life.

Plus, we will have time for shopping at the market or at the local department store, ZUM. Enjoy your farewell dinner and folklore show at a local restaurant where musicians will play national melodies of Kyrgyz people and show you musical instruments. You will listen to a singing and enjoy the charming melodies of our ancestors. Overnight at your hotel. less


Bishkek - Tashkent

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and privately transferred to the airport for your flight to Tashkent.

Regional Flight to Tashkent

Upon arrival to Tashkent, you will be met at the airport and privately transferred to your hotel. Dinner in the local restaurant.

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and privately transferred to the airport for your flight to Tashkent.

Regional Flight to Tashkent

Upon arrival to Tashkent, you will be met at the airport and privately transferred to your hotel. Dinner in the local restaurant.


Tashkent - Urgench - Khiva

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and privately transferred to the airport for your flight to Urgench.

Domestic Flight to Urgench

Khiva Historic Silk Road Tour, Dinner Included

Upon arrival to Urgench, you will be met at the airport transferred to Khiva which is described as being part of the fairytale "Thousand and One nights" Visitors can spend days exploring the palaces and majestic homes, mosques, mausoleums, shops, arches and domes and minarets that have become iconic. Khiva was an important stop on the historic Silk Road, and as you stroll through the streets, you quickly get a feeling of what it must have been like living in the city all of those centuries ago. Dating back more than 2,500 years, Khiva was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1990.

Learn about Amin Khan Madrasah and Kalta Minor, the first buildings of the city, built in the 1850's and have served since Soviet times as the main hotel of the region. Witness Djuma mosque (X-XVII c) a cathedral mosque whose roof lies on 212 wooden columns with unique acoustics and original technical ideas of natural lighting. See Kunya ark (XVII c), an inner fortress with administrative buildings, gunpowder works, law courts, and a mosque. Next is Pakhlavan Makhmud Maosoleum (XIV - XIX c), the most remarkable architectural and memorial complex in Khiva with ornate tile work. From here, visit Islam Khodja minaret and madrassah (1908) - at 45 m high, this is the highest minaret in Khiva with the observation area high above the city. Follow your guide to Tosh Havli, known simply as Harem. This is a very particular place of the city where khans had lived with their four official wives and forty concubines. Overnight in the hotel. less


Khiva - Bukhara

Amu Darya & Labi Havuz Tour, Dinner Included

Depart for Bukhara after breakfast through the Kyzyl-Kum desert. For centuries it has marked the northern limits of Transoxiana and the edge of the boundless nomadic steppe. You will see Amu Darya one of the two second rivers of Central Asia separating the Kyzyl-Kum from the Kara Kum of Turkmenistan. Typical steppe astrakhans sheep are seen a lot. Arrive to Bukhara in the late afternoon just in time for an introductive excursion of the city in the old town called Labi Havuz followed by dinner. Overnight in the hotel. less


Bukhara City Tour with Visit to Museums & Mosque

Bukhara

Bukhara City Tour with Visit to Museums & Mosque, Dinner Included

Bukhara is the pearl of the East and one of the most ancient cities of Central Asia. The fate of many of the famous architects, scientists and poets of the previous centuries is connected with the name of this city. This is a city where the numerous masterpieces of Islamic architecture were built. There is a famous proverb of Bukhara which says: "The light descends from the sky in the world but in Bukhara it comes out from the ground." For this reason, the local people say that Bukhara is a homeland of thousands Muslim saints and protectors. During the centuries noble Bukhara has become one of the most important Islamic centers of Central Asia and the governors of the city called themselves "the faithful Emirs".

The city tour includes several stops including at Samanid's mausoleum (IX - X c) - it was the first building in Central Asia constructed from backed bricks in the shape of a cube covered by a dome with unrepeatable geometrical brickwork design - a masterpiece of world architecture. Next, visit Poikalon (XII - XVI c) architectural ensemble in the center of old Bukhara which includes the cathedral mosque "Masjidi Kalon", "Miri Arab" madrasah and the highest minaret (46 m) at that time in the Orient. Head to Ulugbek Madrassah (1417), the earliest of three commissioned by the enlightened Timurid ruler. His secular influence dominates the exterior design of the religious college. On to Maggoki Attori Mosque, a very impressive building where once in its place a Zoroastrian temple had been built. It is a museum of carpets today. Finally, visit Lyabi Havuz Square, a central life point in the old city. Before dinner we will watch a national music and folklore dance show in a beautiful madrasah. Dinner outside in a cafe and overnight in the hotel. less


Bukhara - Samarkand

Historic

Historic Sites of Bakhara with Ceramic Making demonstration with Transfer to Samarkand, Dinner Included

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Today we conclude our sightseeing in Bukhara by visiting the Chor Minor madrasah, which is unique and one of the most surprising buildings in Bukhara with four minarets - one for each corner. It was built in 1807, by Turkmen merchant Khalif Niyazkul. Visit the summer residence "Sitorai Mohi Hosa", one of the most beautiful well-preserved residences of the Emirs of Bukhara. Depart for Samarkand by car.

Along the way, we stop in Gijduvan to pay a visit to the Ceramics Boutique where the local family explains the process of ceramic production. The host family shows us how the Uzbeks cook their bread in a traditional clay oven before tasting. Arrive in Samarkand in the evening where you will have dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in the hotel. less


Sightseeing Tour of Samarkand's History

Sightseeing

Sightseeing Tour of Samarkand's History, Dinner Included

Today's sightseeing will be of the Registan Square (XV-XVIIc) the official center of Timur Empire, consists of 3 grandiose madrasahs of Ulugbek, Sher Dor & Tillya Kari. Visit the Gur Amir mausoleum (XV c), Timurids dynastic burial vault. This is a unique monument of Architecture with blue ribbed tessellated dome. Next up is Shahi Zinda necropolis (XIV-XV) a complex of more than 20 unique buildings of different ages. To finish the program, we visit the Ulugbek's Observatory (XV c) 1st observatory in orient with a 30m sextant built by Ulugbek to make exact astronomical catalogue. The museum of Afrosiab is a handout of the past history of Samarkand with its impressive wall painting.

At dinner today you will enjoy a cooking demonstration where you will learn how to make the national food called pilaf or plov. After breakfast we visit the Bibi Khanym mosque, the biggest construction of Timur the Great built in his capital. Visit the famous Oriental Bazar "Siab". After lunch we go to the Silk Paper factory which is an extraordinary spot of the city where the antique method of paper production is used. Overnight in the hotel. less


Souks and Handicrafts of Samarkand Tour with Transfer to Tashkent

Souks and Handicrafts of Samarkand Tour with Transfer to Tashkent, Dinner Included

Enjoy an early breakfast breakfast and transfer to the railway station to get a fast speed train Afrosiab for Tashkent. On arrival we start sightseeing of the capital: The Usman Koran Book Museum is the highlight of the Old City. The book is considered to be the oldest and holiest in the world from the VII century. Monument of "Courage" - this is the monument dedicated to the victims of the earthquake in 1966, after which Tashkent was wholly reconstructed. Mustakillik Square - former "Red Squire" with its Lenin Statue, today is a new modern main square of Tashkent with official governmental buildings.

The Navoi Theatre of Opera and Balley is a big icon of the city. Japanese architects completed construction in 1947. The Applied Arts Museum is a very beautiful house of the Russian diplomat with precious samples of the Uzbek arts. Tashkent Metro is unique in Central Asia with its impressive stations. It was completed in 1977. Chorsu bazaar is a very oriental and colorful shopping place for the locals with stalls of fruits and vegetables. Dinner at local restaurant and overnight in the hotel. less


International Flight Home

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and privately transferred to the airport for your flight.

International Flight Home

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and privately transferred to the airport for your flight.

International Flight Home

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Cholpon Ata, Kyrgyzstan

Tamga, Kyrgyzstan

Song-Köl, Kyrgyzstan

Tash-Rabat, Kyrgyzstan

Chon-Kemin, Kyrgyzstan

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Urgench, Uzbekistan

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Places You'll See

  • Kyrgyzstan

    With a history as vast as are its mountains are tall, Kyrgyzstan is a culturally rich destination that spans centuries. Once an important crossing point of the Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan today remains virtually unchanged with its pristine nature. Traditionally nomadic people, Kyrgyz await to share their traditions and heritage with visitors with open arms.

  • Uzbekistan

    Known as the heart of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan offers bewildering sites filled to the brim with history, making it one of Central Asia’s most sought-after destinations. Teeming with culture, Uzbekistan is home to many ancient relics and holy sites including one of the oldest manuscripts of the Koran. Nature lovers and adventure seekers will fall in love with Uzbekistan’s diverse nature while foodies will be salivating over some of the most flavorful gastronomy in the east.

Hotel Options

Featured Accommodation

Song Kol Yurt Camp

Yurt Camp at Son Kul Lake is located at the southern shore of Son-Kul Lake. Song-Kul is an alpine lake located in the Tian-Shan Mountain Range at the altitude of 3016m.

The surroundings of Son-Kul Lake are completely virgin. The most surprising fact is that you will never see a tree or even a shrub around the lake area, but there is a lot of grass. No wonder that Son Kul meadows has been used as summer pastures by nomads for grazing their cattle – herds of horses and yaks, flocks of sheep and goats.

Song Kol ,

Featured Accommodation

Tash Rabat Yurt Camp

Enjoy the hospitality of the Kyrgyz people and the beauty of it’s nature. Sleep inside a yurt or in one of the comfortable rooms of the guesthouse.

Tash Rabat ,

Featured Accommodation

Ashu Guest House

Not far from our capital Bishkek, this hospitable and cozy guest house is a place where Kyrgyz color and good service are combined. Built with environmentally friendly building materials, the guest house is designed for people who want to live in peace and quiet while learning more about Kyrgyz culture.

Located in the picturesque valley of Chon-Kemin, guests will enjoy the beautiful mountain views and crisp mountain air from the green coniferous forests.

Dine on national cuisine made with organic local produce and enjoy excursions to the picturesque places of our valley: on horse and on foot.

Chon Kemin ,

4 Star Properties

Cholpon Ata : Raduga

Tamga : Guest House Tamga

Khiva : Farovon Khiva Hotel

Bukhara : Paradise Plaza

5 Star Properties

Bishkek : Hyatt Regency Bishkek

Tashkent : Hilton Tashkent City Hotel




Responsive and helpful

Karolina was super responsive and helpful as usual in arranging and coordinating the itinerary – I enjoyed the whole trip thoroughly!

Traveled To

Alina M.

Traveled July 2019

Always a great trip with Yampu!

Always a great trip with Yampu!

Traveled To

Dave H

Traveled April 2019

All our questions were answered promptly and professionally

All our guides proved to be very knowledgeable and gave us their total attention. We felt that we were totally being given the knowledge we were seeking. All our questions were answered promptly and professionally

Traveled To

Let Us Customize This Trip For You

Our World Experts offer full support and dedication to customizing this tour to fit your wishlist - We can mix and match experiences, hotels and highlights to fit your budget and taste.

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