Legends of the Silk Road
A 5 Stans tour of Central Asia
On this 5 Stans tour in the veiled heart of Central Asia, a tapestry of secrets unravels across a timeless expanse. Each of the 5 stans of Central Asia is different to the last. Uzbekistan, a land of history, blue domes and conquering heroes. Kyrgyzstan, a land of untouched wilderness and natural beauty. Kazakhstan, the mother of ‘dark tourism’. Tajikistan, home to the open road of the Pamir Highway and Turkmenistan, a place closed off and at times utterly bizarre.
Each Stan, whispers tales of ancient Silk Road caravans that carried desires and dreams through hidden valleys and towering peaks. A mystical dance of cultures unfolds, where nomadic echoes intermingle with forgotten legends, and the winds themselves whisper cryptic verses of distant conquerors and celestial patterns etched in the stars.
In this magical region know where you are from the moment you wake up by staying in locally owned and operated hotels, yurt camps and even take an overnight train in Kazakhstan to give you a real chance to mingle with the locals on this 5 stans tour.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS – 5 STANS TOUR
- Wander the streets of the ‘two ladies’ of Uzbekistan, Bukhara and Samarkand, ‘City of Legend’; wander the blue domed mosques and fortresses and stand on the shoulders the of giants of the ancient world
- Explore the vast natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan with its Alpine ‘jailoo’ meadows, stunning lakes, pretty waterfalls and the impressive Jeti Ozguz and ‘fairy-tale’ gorges
- Camp out at the Darvaza Crater, the legendary ‘Gate to Hell’ and explore the sites of the strange city of Ashgabat
- Visit the ruins of the ancient Sogdian town of Panjakent and wander the streets of cosmopolitan Dushanbe in Tajikistan
- Discover the ex-Soviet legacy of the 5 Stan’s in Kazakhstan and explore the horizons of the vast steppe.
- Stay in traditional hotels, guest houses and yurts set up in the picturesque countryside and experience the overnight train in Kazakhstan
Trip style: Unique
Max group size: 15
DUSHANBE – BISHKEK
$12 985 AUD*
OR CONTACT US for more information
Trip code: LRDB *from
Details – 5 Stans tour
Duration: 25 Days
Trip style: Unique
Group size: Minimum 6 / Maximum 15
Trip code: LRDB
Cost: $12 985.00 AUD twin share
Single supplement: $1259.00 AUD
- 25-nights’ accommodation in historic and traditionally inspired hotels, guest houses, yurt camps and overnight train.
- Meals as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
- One-way flight from Khiva to Tashkent
- Sleeper train from Taraz to Almaty (4-berth accommodation)
- Invitation letter for Turkmenistan visa
- All other transport as specified in the itinerary
- Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader and local guides
Optional Extras (not included)
- Tashkent: Night at the Opera or Ballet
Trip price does not include
- International airfares
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Visas for Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan (if required)
- Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
- Additional accommodation before or after the tour
- Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
- Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas
Journey Rating – Quest
This 5 Stans tour travels through Central Asia, a region which can be highly unpredictable and you should expect that things will not always go exactly to plan (that’s all part of the adventure, right?). Central Asia is a region that is not overly accustomed to tourists and travelers. The friendly local people have one of the most welcoming and hospitable attitudes toward visitors in the world, however, it does mean that tourist type infrastructure and service standards may not be of the quality you expect at home.
This trip does involve a lot of walking during the sightseeing, to get the most out of this trip you should be able to walk confidently across uneven surfaces and climb stairs.
There are a few long travel days and most of the time we will be checking into an immersive hotel of a comfortable standard. On occasion we will be staying in rustic yurt camps, which will have shared facilities and accommodation.
There is no dress code on this 5 Stans tour, however these are moderate Islamic countries, and you should dress conservatively to avoid causing offense culturally. Woman may be required to cover their shoulders, heads and knees while exploring religious institutions and men should wear long trousers on these days.
Trains in Uzbekistan often stop at stations where the platform is quite low and require a step or ‘scramble’ up into the train, trains also often do not stop for long periods of time giving the group very little chance to get on and get settled before departing. Good quality hospitals, pharmacies and other public amenities will be limited to big cities but should never be too far away.
A note about fitness
This 5 Stans tour requires a good level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 4km over uneven surfaces during sightseeing, which will sometimes be at an incline. In addition, you should be able to climb up to 200 stairs unassisted and use an eastern style squat toilet (beware if you have knee issues). Squat toilets are common in public places, trains and at some of the yurt camps – don’t worry all hotels have western upright toilets.
You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the coach and on and off the train. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.) Train accommodation in Kazakhstan is in a 4-berth bunk style compartment (2 up / 2 down), you will need to be able to climb into a top bunk on the train as a lower berth can not be guaranteed.
In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. This trip often travels through remote locations where the availability of a hospital or even phone reception to call an ambulance is limited. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions. If you are unsure about your ability to participate fully and safely on this trip please give us a call and we will happily discuss this with you.
Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travellers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!
Please note that in this instance, the single supplement payable does not include the yurt camps which are in shared style accommodation or the train from Taraz to Almaty which is in a 4-berth compartment in which you may be sharing with local people.
Trip leader description
Accompanying you along on your 5 Stans tour will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:
- If you lose your passport or other travel documents
- If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
- If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
- Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
- Questions regarding the itinerary
Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.
The itinerary for this 5 Stans tour is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.
While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.
Minimum Age: 18 years
Due to the shared nature of some of the accommodation and remote locations on this trip children under 18 years of age are not permitted on this 5 Stans tour.
There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.
Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.