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In Search Of The Silk Road

A voyage of discovery in Central Asia’s intriguing Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

From£3,240

  • Kazakhstan

    Uzbekistan

  • 14 nights
  • Experiential

    Pioneer

    Sightseeing

  • May

    Sep

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 42440

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4 Sightseeing

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain. Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore the highlights of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
  • Be blown away by the immensity of Registan Square.
  • Explore bizarre rock formations in the Charyn Canyon.
  • Architecture of Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand.
  • Local guide in each country for specialist insights.

We are in the company of some of history’s greats, Marco Polo and Tamerlane, of beautiful buildings and exotic peoples. The majestic skyline of brightly coloured minarets and sand-coloured towers all contribute to the atmospheric setting.

Our central Asian journey begins in Kazakhstan; little known by westerners, but a land of wild natural landscapes. The two main cities, Astana and Almaty, in contrast, are home to the most unusual and futuristic architecture. Our time here will be spent exploring natural wonders such as Burabay National Park and Charyn Canyon as well as enjoying the highlights of Astana and Almaty. For information the official name of Astana has recently be changed to Nur-Sultan. The name change happened in March 2019 when the former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, resigned. For the time being we will continue to use the old name, Astana.

We follow along the ancient Silk Road trading route into the unique Uzbekistan city of Tashkent, blessed with some of the finest buildings in the Islamic world. We explore the hiking trails through snow-capped mountains in Beldersay with a mountain guide and in Khiva, discover architectural gems and towering minarets.

Travelling south, we’ll experience Bukhara where we’ll discover the spectacular sights of the city during a guided tour. Then on to Samarkand, a wonderful place and home of the impressive Registan Square, described by Curzon in 1899 as “the noblest public square in the world”. Here we’ll enjoy learning the local culture and traditions at the Koni Ghil Silk Paper Centre and the musical instruments at Sherdor Medrassah. We return to Tashkent where we’ll enjoy some more exploration and free time before our transfer to the airport for our flight home.

Please note in 2021 we will not stay in Nursultan (Astana) but will spend 4 nights in Almaty with two extra days walking the surrounding countryside. Our time in Uzbekistan is unchanged. Please see the Day by Day itinerary for details.

  • Flights from Heathrow to Astana returning Tashkent via Astana to Heathrow (Air Astana)
  • Internal flights & airport transfers
  • En suite accommodation with breakfast
  • Twelve dinners are included and are taken in hotels and local restaurants.
  • Five lunches
  • All activities and excursions as advertised in the itinerary
  • English speaking local guide
  • All local transport costs.
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

In Flight

Meals

In-Flight

We fly overnight from London Heathrow to Astana (Kazakhstan) with Air Astana.

Day 2

Astana, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

On arrival we transfer to our hotel in Astana where we can freshen up before an early afternoon tour of the city. Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan and one of the fastest changing cities in the world. Many of the buildings have been newly constructed and world renowned architects have contributed to their design; modern, but by no means characterless, many buildings have a unique and often futuristic design. Some traces of the distant past can still be found, such as the ruins of Bozok, a medieval settlement, which makes for a stark contrast. Other sights that we will see include; the Bayterek Complex, this unique construction is a symbol of Astana, and at a height of 97m there is observation deck from where a panoramic view of the city unfolds.

Day 3

Astana, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

We have an early start for our drive across the steppe (approximately 3 hours) to Burabay National Park to immerse ourselves in the land of pines and lakes. Here we will discover Borove Lake and the surrounding forests. We will walk to the cave of Kenesary Khan, one the famous khans of Kazakh. The path takes us through forest and by the lake shore. We return the same way. before making the journey back to Astana.


Day 4

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

We take an early morning flight to Almaty (Kazakhstan) where we spend the afternoon exploring the city. We will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Almaty with a local guide before finishing with the breathtaking panoramic views from Koktobe. Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan and still remains the commercial, financial, scientific and educational capital of the country. Its located at the bottom of Zailiysky Ala Tau at an altitude of 900m, and surrounded by a necklace of emerald-blue mountains with snow-covered tops. During our tour we will visit the historical center, the park of 28 guardsmen of Panfilov, the Memorial of Glory, Saint-Voznesensky cathedral, and the best-known squares of the city, Republic Square with the monument of Independence, and the old administrative centre. We will continue to discover the area as we take a gondola from Medeo to Shymbulak (1 ½ to 2 hours) to marvel in the picturesque views over the fantastic mountainous and the first skiing base of Almaty.

Day 5

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We will spend much of the day at Charyn Canyon; an amazing creation of nature. Numerous ravines and gullies were carved through centuries of wind and rain erosion. All along the valley you are surrounded by towers of eroded sedimentary of fantastical forms, such as one that resembles a majestic castle. We will have lunch in a local cafe before continuing to explore the canyon. We will return to Almaty for dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 6

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Early afternoon we will travel to Almaty Airport for our flight to Tashkent. On arrival we transfer to our hotel, where we can leave our luggage and continue on for a city tour of Tashkent. Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is a fascinating place. During our tour of the city we will discover the Old City, including the Khastimom complex, Tillya Sheikh mosque, Kaffal Shashiy Mausoleum, Kukaldosh Madrassah, Chorsu bazaar and the Applied Arts Museum. We will also visit ceramist Akbar Rahimov’s workshop and have a tea break with oriental sweets. We will continue our exploration of Tashkent with dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 7

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    200m

We will travel to the mountains in Beldersay where we will spend the day walking through valleys and archa (conifer) forests. We will ascend to Ghosts’ Rock and At-Jaylau glade before descending to the Mrarnaraya river for a picnic lunch and finally walking back to the car park. We will return to Tashkent for a free evening of leisure. Dinner is not included on this day.

Day 8

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We will fly from Tashkent to Urgench; from here we will transfer by road (40 minutes) to Khiva. Khiva has preserved its architectural heritage well from the days of the Silk Road, and now referred to as a ‘museum city’. Our sight seeing will include such sights as Madrassah Allakuli Khan, Madrassah Muhammad Amin Khan, Kunya Ark, Kelte Minar, Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum and Tash Hovli Palace. After we will visit a silk carpet workshop, which is under UNESCO sponsorship. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and dinner at the hotel.

Day 9

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we drive from Khiva to Bukhara, along the Kizilkum Desert (480km, 7-8 hours). We will take regular stops to stretch our legs and we will be provided lunch on route. We will stop at the Amudaryo River bank for the perfect photo stop opportunity. On arrival, we can enjoy some refreshments in the Spices Tea House.

Day 10

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

A full day to discover Bukhara, a magnificent city, and also a major stop on the Silk Road and steeped in medieval Islamic architecture, theology and culture. It still contains Uzbekistan’s finest and best-preserved mosques, madrassas, and bazaars. We will visit sites such as Chor Minor, Ark fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, the ancient Silk Market, Magokki Attori mosque and Labi Hauz complex. We'll also visit Sitorai Mokhi Hosasummer residence. This evening we will dine at a local restaurant.

Day 11

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

After breakfast we visit Sitorai Mokhi Hosa-summer residence. This is beautifully decorated summer palace was constructed between 1912-1918 by order of the last Emir of Bukhara Mir Sayyd Muhammad Alim Khan. We then make the journey to Samarkand. En route we stop at Gijduvan where we visit a ceramist’s workshop, the Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani Complex and Ulugbek Madrasah. We also visit Vabkent and ruins of Rabbat Malik Caravansary. Once we arrive at Samarkand, there is time to relax. Dinner will be taken at the hotel.

Day 12

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

En route we will visit Gur Emir Mausoleum, an Islamic monument tomb erected in the 1400s and one of the most interesting sights of Samarkand. We will also visit Registan Square, a real archaeological gem in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand. A mini concert and mini presentation about national music instruments at Sherdor Medrassah will inspire us before taking a visit to the Happy Bird Craft Centre to meet with local artists. The journey will finish with a visit to the 15th Century beautifully decorated Bibi-Khanym Mosque.Dinner will be taken at a local restaurant.

Day 13

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

We continue exploring Samarkand including Ulugbek Observatory, Afrosiab Museum, Shakhi Zinda necropolis and Siyab bazaar. Then we will visit Koni Ghil Silk Paper Center, to see the process of silk paper production and bread baking. We will enjoy freshly baked bread with tea and some traditional sweets. Later we take an early evening train to Tashkent (2 hours).

Day 14

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Our exploration of Tashkent continues as we visit the Arts Museum, Amir Temur Square, Earthquake Memorial and other landmarks such as the Navoi Theatre Square and the Independence Square. The rest of the day can be enjoyed at leisure.

Day 15

Final day

Meals

Breakfast

After breakfast, we take a morning transfer to Tashkent airport for our flight to London Heathrow, via Astana.

From (GBP)£3,240

Departure dates for your selected tour

10th Sep 2020 - 24th Sep 2020 (14 Nights)

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Astana (Air Astana)
  • Internal flights & airport transfers - arrival transfer by road c.30mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visas are required

Your Itinerary

Day 1

In Flight

Meals

In-Flight

We fly overnight from London Heathrow to Almaty (Kazakhstan) via Nursultan with Air Astana.

Day 2

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

On arrival we transfer to our hotel in Almaty where our rooms will be ready for us. We can freshen up before an early afternoon tour of the city. Almaty is the former administrative capital of Kazakhstan and remains the commercial, financial, scientific and educational capital. It is surrounded by a necklace of emerald-blue mountains with snow-covered tops. During our afternoon sightseeing tour, we will visit the historical center, the park of 28 guardsmen of Panfilov, the Memorial of Glory, Saint-Voznesensky cathedral and Museum of Musical Instruments.

Day 3

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2.5 hours

Today we head towards Turgen Gorge. On the way we will visit the Issyk burial mounds where the most important archaeological treasure of Kazakhstan was excavated - the tomb of the Golden Warrior, who became a national symbol of Kazakhstan. We will continue to Turgen Gorge where we hike to Bear’s Waterfall (2.5 hrs).

Day 4

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We will spend much of the day at Charyn Canyon; an amazing creation of nature. Numerous ravines and gullies were carved through centuries of wind and rain erosion. All along the valley you are surrounded by towers of eroded sedimentary rock of fantastical forms. perhaps the most photographed is one that resembles a majestic castle. We will have lunch in a local cafe before continuing to explore the canyon. We will return to Almaty for dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 5

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we take three cable cars up into the mountains to the south of Almaty. From Medeo we travel up to Shymbulak and further to the top of Talgar Pass (3163 m) to marvel in the picturesque views over the mountains. Hopefully the weather will allow fantastic views. From the top of the cable car we plan to hike to Shymbulak Peak (3355 m). Our plans today are dependent on weather and also the unpredictable maintenance schedules of Shymbulak cable car. If we cannot make it into the mountains, we will make alternate plans. 

Day 6

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Early afternoon we will travel to Almaty Airport for our flight to Tashkent. On arrival we transfer to our hotel, where we can leave our luggage and continue for a city tour of Tashkent. Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is a fascinating place. During our tour of the city we will discover the Old City, including the Khastimom complex, Tillya Sheikh mosque, Kaffal Shashiy Mausoleum, Kukaldosh Madrassah, Chorsu bazaar and the Applied Arts Museum. We will also visit ceramist Akbar Rahimov’s workshop and have a tea break with oriental sweets. We will continue our exploration of Tashkent with dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 7

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    200m

We will travel to the mountains in Beldersay where we will spend the day walking through valleys and archa (conifer) forests. We will ascend to Ghosts’ Rock and At-Jaylau glade before descending to the Mrarnaraya river for a picnic lunch and finally walking back to the car park. We will return to Tashkent for a free evening of leisure. Dinner is not included on this day.

Day 8

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We will fly from Tashkent to Urgench; from here we will transfer by road (40 minutes) to Khiva. Khiva has preserved its architectural heritage well from the days of the Silk Road, and now referred to as a ‘museum city’. Our sightseeing will include such sights as Madrassah Allakuli Khan, Madrassah Muhammad Amin Khan, Kunya Ark, Kelte Minar, Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum and Tash Hovli Palace. After we will visit a silk carpet workshop, which is under UNESCO sponsorship. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and dinner at the hotel.

Day 9

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we drive from Khiva to Bukhara, crossing the Kizilkum Desert (480km, 7-8 hours). We will take regular stops to stretch our legs and we will be provided with lunch en route. We will stop on the Amu Darya river bank for the perfect photo stop opportunity. On arrival, we can enjoy some refreshments in the Spices Tea House.

Day 10

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

A full day to discover Bukhara, a magnificent city, and also a major stop on the Silk Road and steeped in medieval Islamic architecture, theology and culture. It still contains Uzbekistan’s finest and best-preserved mosques, madrassas, and bazaars. We will visit sites such as Chor Minor, Ark fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, the ancient Silk Market, Magokki Attori mosque and Labi Hauz complex. We'll also visit Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa summer residence. This evening we will dine at a local restaurant.

Day 11

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

After breakfast we visit Sitorai Mokhi Hosa-summer residence. This beautifully decorated summer palace was constructed between 1912-1918 by order of the last Emir of Bukhara Mir Sayyd Muhammad Alim Khan. We then make the journey to Samarkand. En route we stop at Gijduvan where we visit a ceramist’s workshop, the Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani Complex and Ulugbek Madrasah. We also visit Vabkent and ruins of Rabbat Malik Caravansary. Once we arrive at Samarkand, there is time to relax. Dinner will be taken at the hotel.

Day 12

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we will visit Gur Emir Mausoleum, an Islamic monument tomb erected in the 1400s and one of the most interesting sights of Samarkand. We will also visit Registan Square, a real archaeological gem in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand. A mini concert and mini presentation about national music instruments at Sherdor Medrassah will inspire us before taking a visit to the Happy Bird Craft Centre to meet with local artists. The journey will finish with a visit to the 15th Century beautifully decorated Bibi-Khanym Mosque. Dinner will be taken at a local restaurant.

Day 13

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We continue exploring Samarkand including Ulugbek Observatory, Afrosiab Museum, Shakhi Zinda necropolis and Siyab bazaar. Then we will visit Koni Ghil Silk Paper Centre, to see the process of silk paper production and bread baking. We will enjoy freshly baked bread with tea and some traditional sweets. Later we take an early evening train to Tashkent (2 hours).

Day 14

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Our exploration of Tashkent continues as we visit the Arts Museum, Amir Temur Square, Earthquake Memorial and other landmarks such as the Navoi Theatre Square and the Independence Square. The rest of the day can be enjoyed at leisure.

Day 15

Final day

Meals

Breakfast

After breakfast, we take a morning transfer to Tashkent airport for our flight to London Heathrow, via Astana.

From (GBP)£3,330

Departure dates for your selected tour

22nd May 2021 - 5th Jun 2021 (14 Nights)

11th Sep 2021 - 25th Sep 2021 (14 Nights)

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Astana (Air Astana)
  • Internal flights & airport transfers - arrival transfer by road c.30mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visas are required

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Kazzhol Astana

The 4-star Kazzhol Astana is decorated in a classic Islamic style. It is just outside the city close to the Arch of Triumph and Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall. Each room at the hotel has free Wi-Fi and coffee & tea making facilities. Breakfast is buffet style.

Kazzhol Almaty

The Kazzhol Almaty hotel is conveniently located in Almaty. The rooms offer flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, safes and minibar. There's also an elegant restaurant and lobby bar. Other amenities include indoor pool, sauna and gym.

Miran International Hotel

The Miran International Hotel is 2 km from Amir Timur Museum in Tashkent. Understated rooms feature free Wi-Fi, safe, flat-screen TV and minibar. Amenities include a formal restaurant and cocktail lounge, wellness centre with an indoor pool, gym, sauna and hot tub.

Malika Kheivak Hotel

Hotel Malika Kheivak is a new hotel, built in 2008 by Malika Hotels chain. It is located in the centre of Ichan Qala, the historical fortress of Khiva, next to the Islam Khoja Minaret. The rooms offer flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, safes and minibar. There's also a restaurant and café/bar.

Minzifa Boutique Hotel

Housed in an ornate building in the historic area of the city, the Minzifa Boutique Hotel is a short walk from the Lyab-i Hauz pond. Set around a central courtyard, the airy, individually styled rooms feature colourful decor, free Wi-Fi, minibar and satellite TV. There’s a relaxed restaurant with rooftop terrace offering panoramic city views.

Hotel Grand Samarkand Superior

Set in the heart of Samarkand, Hotel Grand Samarkand offers Uzbek and European cuisine, a garden and free Wi-Fi in public areas. The Old Town district and Registan Square are within a 10-minute drive. The classic style rooms of the hotel offer elegant, warm-coloured interiors with white brick walls. All rooms offer air-conditioning, flat-screen TV and fridge.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This is a grade 4 sightseeing walking holiday including half and full days of walking at a moderate pace. This is primarily a sightseeing holiday where we will discover the cities and places of interest mainly on foot and with a local guide. The days where we will be mainly hiking, we will be walking between 1.5 – 5 miles. Our half day walks will be up to 3 hours of walking whereas our full days will be up to 5 hours of walking. We will be walking on generally good paths used by local shepherds. We will be taking paths through shrubbery areas and pine forests. We may also encounter small rivers to pass. The ascents and descents can be between 150-200m.

Walks & Excursions

This is primarily a sightseeing holiday, we will discover the cities and places of interest mainly on foot and with a local guide. The majority of walking will take place in Kazakhstan; however, the maximum walking in any given day should not exceed four hours. This will be taken at a leisurely pace to take time to stop and appreciate the wildlife, flora and fauna and various points of interest.

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Currency in Uzbekistan

The official currency in Uzbekistan is the Uzbek sum, but this currency cannot be obtained outside the country. We recommend that you take US dollars as currency. It is worth having a reasonable supply of small denominations bills if possible, as this is accepted everywhere. Exchange facilities are available in many of the hotels we will be staying in.  Major credit cards are widely accepted.

Currency in Kazakhstan

The official currency in Kazakhstan is the Tenge, which can only be obtained within Kazakhstan. Conversion of the Tenge back into hard currency may prove difficult. Foreign currency should only be exchanged at official bureaux and all transactions must be recorded on the currency declaration form that is issued on arrival. It is wise to retain all exchange receipts, although they are seldom inspected. We recommend that you take US Dollars cash and exchange when necessary.

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high.  In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff & to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Local Guides

To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.

Your Travel Details

Flights are from London Heathrow to Almaty (Kazakhstan) via Nursultan (formerly Astana) and return Tashkent (Uzbekistan) via Nursultan with Air Astana.

  • On day 6 of the holiday we fly from Almaty to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) with Air Astana.
  • On day 8 of the holiday we fly from Urgench (Khiva) to Tashkent with Uzbekistan Airways. 
  • On day 13 of the holiday we take a train from Tashkent to Samarkand.
  • On day 15 we fly from Tashkent to London Heathrow, with an aircraft change at Nursultan.
  • Other journeys will be taken by road.

Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?

If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.

Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.

If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.

Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details. 

Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.

Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents

For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

General Passport Advice

It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.

Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.

General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.

Passport Information for Uzbekistan

As of 1 February 2019, British Nationals can enter Uzbekistan without a visa for a maximum stay of 30 days. If you’re travelling on a different type of British passport, are travelling for a purpose other than tourism or business, or intending to stay longer than 30 days, you should check entry requirements with the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London. 

For entry into Uzbekistan your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

Passport Information for Kazakhstan

All foreign visitors to Kazakhstan will need to obtain a Kazakh visa at the nearest embassy or consulate office prior to entering the country. Visitors from EU, UK, USA, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand (see The list of economically developed, politically and migration stable States - https://vmp.gov.kz/en/visa-service) may obtain a tourist visa “B12” without an additional letter of invitation issued by the MFA of Kazakhstan in accordance with Annex 4 to the “Rules for issuing invitations, coordinating invitations for the entry of foreigners and stateless persons into the Republic of Kazakhstan”. Your application should include the purpose and dates of travel, along with the place of residence. Please contact the nearest embassy or consulate office of Kazakhstan for further details and instructions.

Note that broadly advertised e-visa to Kazakhstan will not work as requires all holders of e-visa to enter and depart through the airports of Nur-Sultan and Almaty only. Visas on arrival are only available for citizens of countries without the appropriate embassy or consulate office of Kazakhstan. Due to the rapidly changing situation and introduction of new rules without any prior notice, the information above is only relevant for today. It is your responsibility to check prior to the trip departure date.



Meals

Breakfasts, dinners and five lunches are provided and included in the holiday charge. Some dinners and lunches will be provided by a local family, meals will be eaten in an area which is an extension of a ocal’s home and more of a private, intimate restaurant. The hospitality provided is one which you are likely to experience as a guest in someone’s home. They will have the necessary licenses and certificates to trade as a restaurant. Where lunches are not included, they will usually be taken in restaurants or as packed lunches. Please note that only a breakfast will be included on our day of departure. The meals are generally good, plentiful and interesting throughout the holiday. Some meals will consist of two or three courses, while some will be of the mezze variety and contain various courses (usually include various salads, or soups and bread). Green tea is provided with most meals for no extra charge.

Please note that vegetarian eating is not widespread in Central Asia and some tolerance or patience may be needed at mealtimes.

Hotel Changes

The hotel(s) listed within this document are examples of standard only. Whilst we strive to deliver the hotel(s) listed within this Holiday Information Sheet, there will be times throughout the year when they change. If this occurs, we will advise you as such. From time to time hotels will change near to departure and you will not be advised until after arriving into the destination. We always aim to provide a replacement of similar standard and location, although we cannot guarantee similar facilities such as pool or bar.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

Footwear As Hand Luggage

We recommend that you either wear your walking boots or shoes or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the holiday programme.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Country Specific Kit

Wildlife and scenery viewing experiences are always improved with binoculars. For seeing a bird in the treetops or picking out some detail on the horizon they are invaluable. If you have a pair, please bring them with you on your holiday. On some holidays it will be appropriate to have them with you all the time. Sometimes you might prefer to avoid carrying the extra weight. Your tour leader will always be happy to advise which days it will be particularly useful to take them.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Electricity in Uzbekistan

Electricity in Uzbekistan is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a either a European two pin adaptor with round pins, or the Schuko smaller two pin adaptor. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/

Electricity in Kazakhstan

Electricity in Kazakhstan is supplied at 220-240 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a either a European two pin adaptor with round pins, or the Schuko smaller two pin adaptor. More information can be found at  https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

Most libraries stock a selection of travel guides/books which may offer you information regarding Central Asia.  Some suggestions are:

Central Asia King, Noble and Humphreys (Lonely Planet Publications)
The Great Game Peter Hopkirk Oxford University Press
Foreign Devils on the Silk Road Peter Hopkirk Oxford University Press
The Silk Roads. A New History of the World Peter Frankopan
The New Silk Roads. The Present and Future of the World Peter Frankopan


The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for Uzbekistan

No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Uzbekistan and travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.

Tetanus and Hepatitis A immunisations are recommended.

You may also wish to consider immunisations against Rabies and Hepatitis B.

There is low to no risk of Malaria in Uzbekistan.

Health Advice for Kazakhstan

No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Kazakhstan and travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.

While there is not a risk of yellow fever in Kazakhstan, if you are arriving from a yellow fever endemic country you will require a yellow fever vaccination and a certificate as proof. 

Tetanus and Hepatitis A and immunisations are recommended.

You may also wish to consider immunisations against Rabies, Typhoid, Tick-Borne Encephalitis and Hepatitis B.

Diarrhoea & Boiled Water

Don’t forget to exercise caution with what you eat to avoid upset stomachs and stay away from unpeeled fruit and vegetables, salad and do not have ice in your drinks. Hot, fresh cooked food, where possible, is best. 

Hand washing facilities may be poor or unavailable when travelling, we therefore strongly advise you to carry antibacterial sanitizing gel and / or hand wipes at all times and use to them regularly.

Drinking or cleaning teeth in un-boiled water is not recommended.  Bottled pure water is inexpensive and widely available in shops, at hotels, and on the coach. Make sure you only buy sealed bottles.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.

See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.

Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.

Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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Useful Information

Find out more

Kazakhstan

  • Capital

    Astana

  • Currency

    Tenge

  • Language

    Kazakh; Russian

  • Time Difference

    UTC +06:00, UTC +05:00

  • Flight duration

    6hrs from UK

Visas and Passports

Visa Required

Average weather

  • January

    -12°C

    Avg. Rain: 19mm

  • February

    -11°C

    Avg. Rain: 17mm

  • March

    -4°C

    Avg. Rain: 21mm

  • April

    8°C

    Avg. Rain: 26mm

  • May

    15°C

    Avg. Rain: 30mm

  • June

    21°C

    Avg. Rain: 29mm

  • July

    23°C

    Avg. Rain: 32mm

  • August

    21°C

    Avg. Rain: 23mm

  • September

    15°C

    Avg. Rain: 18mm

  • October

    6°C

    Avg. Rain: 27mm

  • November

    -2°C

    Avg. Rain: 26mm

  • December

    -8°C

    Avg. Rain: 23mm

Uzbekistan

  • Capital

    Tashkent

  • Currency

    Uzbekistan Som

  • Language

    Uzbek; Russian

  • Time Difference

    UTC +05:00

  • Flight duration

    10hrs from UK

Visas and Passports

Visa Required

Average weather

  • January

    0°C

    Avg. Rain: 35mm

  • February

    2°C

    Avg. Rain: 34mm

  • March

    8°C

    Avg. Rain: 51mm

  • April

    16°C

    Avg. Rain: 48mm

  • May

    21°C

    Avg. Rain: 30mm

  • June

    26°C

    Avg. Rain: 8mm

  • July

    28°C

    Avg. Rain: 5mm

  • August

    25°C

    Avg. Rain: 2mm

  • September

    20°C

    Avg. Rain: 4mm

  • October

    13°C

    Avg. Rain: 23mm

  • November

    7°C

    Avg. Rain: 28mm

  • December

    2°C

    Avg. Rain: 34mm

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