- 12th May 2022 – 27th May 2022
- 15 Nights / 16 Days
- 4000 km
- INR 5,75,000 + 5% GST Per Person
(EMI Option Available)
Your journey into the historic world of Central Asia will start with a flight to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves as a cultural hub, but as you explore Kyrgyzstan’s largest city, you may well be surprised by the vibrancy of this gateway. It is relaxing and unhurried - and is the perfect place to get an introduction into the life of Central Asia. Rest and relax at your hotel after the long flight and go for an evening stroll to acclimatize yourself with the exotic world of Kyrgyzstan. Explore the night markets, sample the street food and go for a drink in one of the numerous night clubs in this vibrant city.
Take an early morning flight from Bishkek to Osh. After landing in Osh, you will be directly transferred from the airport to the hotel, where you can relax before you start exploring the old city of Osh. Your expedition leader and crew members will take you through a brief orientation, answer all your questions and hand over the relevant documents required for the journey before you embark on one of the most extraordinary drives of your life. In the evening, meet your fellow travellers who have been driving from India and are on their way to the United Kingdom. Listen in to their exciting stories from the last three weeks on the road and get to know them as you wine & dine together.
Osh is the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan - reputedly 3000 years old. Osh’s sprawling bazaar and friendly locals provide an atmosphere that is far more archetypically Central Asian than you will find. It is also one of the best places to visit in Kyrgyzstan for foodies with several regional dishes that reflect the multicultural nature of the city. We have organised a private bus tour of the city that will take you through all the major sights including “Sulaiman - Too”, the sacred mountain of Kyrgyzstan, which is a significant pilgrimage place for Muslims, the home of Babur located on top of a mountain looking over the beautiful skyline of Osh, and the Jayma bazaar, one of the oldest bazaars of Central Asia.
We are going to hit the road today, so wake up early, pack your bags, load the car and get ready to embark on a great adventure. Today, we cross the ‘Dustlik’ border and enter Uzbekistan - your first land border crossing on this expedition. Brace yourself for a long wait as sometimes it can take several hours to cross this border. Here, the customs and immigration officers slowly go about clearing foreign vehicles and hundreds of locals crossing from either side of the border. If we manage to cross the border on time, we will get a chance to explore some interesting places en route Fergana. We will drive towards Fergana, one of the most beautiful valleys in Uzbekistan and stay in this beautiful and laidback city for the night.
After a laidback evening the night before, we will hit the road towards Tashkent, the capital and the largest city of Uzbekistan. The drive to Tashkent will take us through small villages and towns but be careful on the highway as local traffic police are always vigilant and looking out for drivers breaking speed limits. Once we arrive in Tashkent, admire the combination of modern and medieval influence in this unique city. Tashkent is a cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic city that is home to Uzbeks, Kazakhs, descendants of Mongol nomads, Armenians, Tajiks, and even green-eyed, red-haired descendants of Alexander the Great’s armies. One of the most visited cities in Central Asia, Tashkent is almost home to some of the friendliest people in the region.
Breathe in a breath of fresh air, as you’ve made it to the quirky, edgy city perched on the crossroads of Central Asia. It is a city brimming with culture, architecture, history and good food. Start your day with a visit to Khast Imam which has a collection of mosques and madrasas in the centre of Tashkent and is home to what is supposed to be the worlds’ oldest Quran. The surrounding narrow alleyways are the perfect place to wander and get a glimpse of old Tashkent. Go around Chorsu Bazaar where you will witness first-hand the chaotic network of stalls, outdoor food stands and wholesalers. In short, it will be everything you would expect from a Central Asian bazaar at the centre of the old Silk Road.
Another day to rest, relax or to wear your tourist hats and continue exploring this fascinating city. Hang out in the Amir Timur Square. Amir Timur was the most famous Central Asian conqueror in history. At its largest, his empire stretched from the borders of western China to Turkey. Some historians suggest that he came close to invading Xinjiang, China’s most western province. The area surrounding the square is home to restaurants and nightclubs. In the evening, the city comes alive with inline skaters and fairground stalls, allowing you to indulge in street games and local performances. Tashkent offers the best nightlife in Central Asia, so make sure to check out some of the clubs in the area before you hit the road the following morning.
Are you itching to get back on the road? It is time to cross another land border today and enter Kazakhstan. By now, you would be familiar with the customs and immigration processes at the border and understand that patience is definitely a virtue. This also means that leaving early would give us a head start and we would be able to cross the border and reach our hotel in Turkistan in time to get a good nights’ rest after a long and tiring day on the road. Soon after crossing the border, you will find yourself driving through vast, isolated expanses of endless roads which will feel like a stark contrast from the chaotic highways of Uzbekistan. Welcome to Kazakhstan, the 9th largest country in the world!
We hope you slept well after a long driving day. After a quick breakfast, get back on the road for a long drive from Turkistan to Aralsk. Enroute, we will be crossing many historic settlements like Erenozek, Zhalagash, Zhosaly, Korkyt-Ata-Baikonur, Aiteke-Bi (Kazalinsk) and Aralkum- Aralsk. Soak in the desert air of Kazakhstan as you drive through the pages of history. We will be driving on long, lonely stretches of road through the Kazakh steppe where the only thing we will have for company are empty fields, a clear blue sky and wild horses running parallel to our vehicles far away in the distance. Enjoy the solitude of the Kazakh steppe as days like these are a blessing in disguise.
Pedal to the metal as we will be driving for approximately nine hours today to reach the city of Aktobe. The vast open spaces of the Kazakh steppe are not only appealing but are also great to drive on. If time permits and if you are still up for some sightseeing, we might visit the 19th century Nurdaulet mosque, which is the most popular highlight of Aktobe. Primarily an industrial city, Aktobe is located on the southern end of the Ural mountains and some geographers also arguably consider Aktobe as the easternmost limit of Europe. Don’t miss the gorgeous sunset on the vast Kazakh horizon as we leave the steppe behind and enter the city limits of Aktobe.
Today we are going to cross the land border of Kazakhstan and drive into Russia, the largest country in the world. It is worth mentioning here that Russian border control is stringent and it may take a few hours before we clear the customs and immigration on the Russian side. Beginning from dawn to dusk, we will be driving towards Samara, our first night stop after crossing the border into Russia. Samara is the 6th largest city of Russia and is an alluring, intriguing city that is a pleasure to explore. You cannot escape history while driving through ex-Soviet countries or Russia, but you can certainly escape for the evening and enjoy some Russian vodka shots now that you are in Russia.
After four days of long driving days at a stretch, today you can enjoy a day at leisure. Who are we to judge if you want to spend the day lazing in your bed? But if you are enthusiastic and have the energy to explore, enjoy the city tour as there are a lot of historical buildings in Samara which make the city precious from the architectural point of view. Located on the banks of the Volga River, Samara is a major economic, cultural and industrial centre of Russia. It is also one of the principal aircraft manufacturing hubs of Russia. No matter what you do in Samara, don’t forget to raise a toast and cheer the customary “Nazdarovya” meaning “Good Health” in Russian.
Today, we will be driving west towards the city of Penza. The city gets its name from the river on the shores of which it was built, but the meaning of the word ‘Penza’ has long been lost over the centuries. Originally the city was built on the bank of the Penza River, but over time it expanded and now a second river called Sura flows through its territory. Nowadays Penza is one of Russia’s major industrial, transportation, and cultural centres, famous for manufacturing computer equipment, watches, and production equipment for a lot of different industrial sectors. Penza has a lot of interesting architectural monuments. One of the most beautiful buildings is the former Meat Arcade (Moskovskaya Street, 85), built in the late 19th century.
Wake up early in the morning refreshed and get ready to face the day as we are heading to Moscow today, the capital of Russia and undoubtedly one of the greatest cities in the world. Enjoy the drive to reach the political and cultural centre of the Russian Federation. Beware of the traffic cops on the highway and drive very carefully while approaching Moscow. Also, being one of the busiest cities in the world, the traffic in Moscow can be a nightmare, so be patient as we approach the centre of the city. We might get stuck in traffic jams and move at a snails’ pace. Pat yourself on the back for having driven all the way to Moscow by road!
It would be a crime to miss out on all the architectural and historical marvels that Moscow has to offer. Our hotel is located in the heart of the city to save you travel time and ensure that you can cover as much as possible in a day. There is so much to do and see here. Don’t miss a visit to the gorgeous Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin and the Red Square. If you are not a history buff but a bit of a shopaholic, head to the “Gum” shopping mall and pick up some elegant Russian hats and coats! In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with the group and reflect on fond memories of the expedition.
The expedition concludes this morning, and it is time to head back home. What you have seen and experienced in the last two weeks is unique, rare, unexplored and unseen by most of the travellers from around the world. The friendly people, the historic places, the exotic food and the unique culture that you have experienced on this expedition are going to leave an everlasting impression on your life and will surely leave you wanting for more. If you wish to extend your programme and stay back in Russia for a few more days, we will be happy to make all the necessary arrangements for you. But if you are flying back, bid farewell to your travel companions and return home with memories to last a lifetime.
INR 5,75,000 + 5% GST Per Person (EMI Option Available)