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Uzbekistan

Silk and souks, oh my!

Join us on this iconic journey through the Silk Road as we explore exotic Uzbekistan in the way only we can.

This 10-day adventure through the ancient cities of Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent are full of towering minarets, glazed arches, and gleaming turquoise domes that will leave you stunned.

Etch the skyline as you travel across deserts little changed since the days of Genghis Khan. This experiential tour will also introduce you to local women of Uzbekistan, who will share more about their daily lives and traditions.

You don’t want to miss this one!

Check dates and availability
Trip Dates Availability Price Payment
Oct. 5-14, 2022 $4999 USD
Reserve this trip with a $500 deposit, or pay in full. The balance of your tour is due in full 60 days before departure.

Day 1: Arrival to Uzbekistan

Today you’ll arrive to Uzbekistan! After customs formalities, you’ll meet your driver and guide in the arrival hall and transfer directly to the hotel for check-in and rest.

With a population of over 3 million people, Tashkent is the largest city in Central Asia. The city’s history dates back to the first century BC. A major caravan crossroads, it was taken by Arabs in the 8th century and by Genghis Khan in the 13th century and Tamerlane feasted here in the 14th. The Russian Empire arrived in the 19th century, and Uzbekistan was not an independent country again until the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. In a major earthquake in 1966, the entire city was destroyed and rebuilt.

Today, Tashkent is a curious blend of Islamic and Soviet influences, and home to some excellent museums. Following breakfast, we set out for an introduction to the city. Nowhere is better than starting the day at the earthquake Monument of Courage. Flattened by a devastating earthquake in 1966, the city was reinvented by the Kremlin to represent the very epitome of the socialist ideal. Then we’ll drive out to Barak Khan Madrassah, a historical building that has become a centre for local artists and craftsmen.

We’ll also get to see Islam’s most holy relic, the world’s oldest Koran, and visit Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent’s famous green-domed market featuring acres of spices, produce, and traditional crafts. After lunch, we’ll enjoy a walk to Independence Square, which represents a symbol of freedom for the Uzbekistan people who declared their independence from Russia in 1991. We will have an introduction to the national hero – Tamerlane, in the square of Amir Temur and see the Alisher Navoi Theatre from outside.

Tashkent metro stations are among the most beautiful in the world. Leading Uzbek architects and artists designed the stations, and each is an original work of art, devoted to a certain theme. To see for ourselves, we ride the metro a few stops. Before enjoying the dinner meet Muhayo Alieva – the founder of Bibi Hanum Fashion house in Tashkent. Bibi Hanum™ is a socially responsible enterprise that creates garments and accessories using traditional hand-woven silk cotton ikat fibre. Founded by Muhayo Alieva its mission is to provide economic opportunities for women while preserving Uzbekistan’s rich cultural and ethnographic heritage.

Meals: lunch, dinner

Day 2: Flight to Urgench, drive to Khiva

After breakfast, we’ll drive out to Barak Khan Madrassah, a historical building that has become a center for local artists and craftsmen. We’ll also get to see Islam’s most holy relic, the world’s oldest Koran, and we visit the famous underground system in this city.

Tashkent metro stations are among the most beautiful in the world. Leading Uzbek architects and artists designed the stations, and each is an original work of art, devoted to a certain theme. To see for ourselves, we ride the metro a few stops. Before lunch, we meet Muhayo Alieva – the founder of Bibi Hanum Fashion house in Tashkent.

Bibi Hanum is a socially responsible enterprise that creates garments and accessories using traditional hand-woven silk cotton ikat fiber. Founded by Muhayo Alieva its mission is to provide economic opportunities for women while preserving Uzbekistan’s rich cultural and ethnographic heritage.

After lunch, we would like to take you to meet the famous artisan family in Tashkent – the Rahmonovs, where we will learn about the process of ceramic production.

We then will have hands-on experience in creating bowls and plates of our own to be taken home at the end of the trip.

After enjoying a cup of tea with the family, we then drive to the airport to take our flight to Urgench, departing at 19:30. Upon arrival at Urgench airport, we will drive roughly half an hour to Khiva and have dinner before checking in at our hotel.

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Hotel Zarafshon Boutique

Uzbekistan womens tours

Day 3: Khiva – Bukhara

Khiva is full of amazing architecture – and today we will get a chance to see them all.

We will visit the walled inner-city section of Khiva called Ichan-Kala. This historic town preserves more than sixty historic monuments and hundreds of old houses dating back hundreds of years.

As you walk through the massive city gates, you are met by the gleaming Islamic architecture, the Kalta Minaret. Explore the town on a guided tour that covers all of the city sites. Enjoy broad views of Old Khiva on the top of Ak Sheikh baba observatory platform.

We will enjoy the evening’s meal by the minaret of a local madrassa, with the local life unfolding in front of our eyes.

Meals: B, L, D
Accommodation: Hotel Zarafshon Boutique

womens tour of uzbekistan

Day 4: Khiva - Bukhara

After breakfast, we check out from the hotel and start our road trip through the Kyzylkum desert to Bukhara.

During the ride down the modern Silk Road Highway, we will view scenic Central Asian steppes, and see how the waters of the once-mighty Oxus/ Amudarya river trickle towards the sullen Aral Sea.

After arrival in Bukhara, our guide would take us to the old quarter of Bukhara and visit the backstreets to meet the local community.

Bukhara was a key trading post on the Silk Road. This UNESCO enlisted city has many zigzagged backstreets, bustling bazaars, and historical monuments. Many call it “Bukhoroi Shareef”, which translates as Holy Bukhara for having hundreds of mosques and lots of mausoleums. The city has seen various dynasties battling for influence as it has always stood as a center of trade, culture, and scholarship.

(* we may replace this day’s road trip with a train journey, if the fast train resumes in 2022 after the pandemic)

Meals: B, L, D

group tour uzbekistan

Day 5: Bukhara

Today we visit the Ismail Somoni Mausoleum – a 10th-century unique monument, where more than sixteen styles of brickwork adorn the face of this cubic memorial.

Chashma Ayub Mausoleum – is a pilgrimage site for the locals, and is a unique place where locals believe prophet Job visited. We then will visit Boloi Havuz Mosque – a functioning central mosque of Bukhara. Across from the mosque, we visit Ark Citadel. It is the original fortress of Bukhara and likely dates back two thousand years or more.

After lunch, we will go to Poikalon Complex – the highlight of the city that includes the Kalon Mosque and Minaret, and the Mir-i-Arab Madrassah surrounds an open plaza teeming with merchants and local vendors.

Today, we will also arrange for a Hammam experience in one of Bukhara’s oldest hammams – a unique treat!

Meals: B, L, D

tour of uzbekistan

Day 6: Bukhara

After breakfast, we’ll start this morning at Labi-Havuz Plaza, located in the heart of the old town. The plaza is at the center of Bukhara’s old town and is a place locals go to meet friends, eat, drink, and relax in the shade.

Today we will explore the surroundings with a visit to Nodir Devon Begi Khonakoh – the place of abode for the Sufi dervishes and visit a local master’s house. Rahman is a fifth-generation Suzani master, and he will host us for a cup of tea and introduce us to the finest Suzanis in town.

Take turns to learn this ancient art form by making stitches, or browse the large collection of tablecloths, bedcovers, cushions, bags, or wall hangers designed with Suzani stitches. You’ll want to shop here, we promise!

Next, we’ll go to the famous Trading Domes of the city that once housed the best merchants of the Silk Road. We will visit the workshop of the blacksmith and talk to the spice vendors.

In the afternoon, you will have time for yourself to soak up the experiences and explore the city on your own. We will regroup in the evening to enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

Meals: B, L, D

samarkand uzbekistan

Day 7: Bukhara – Samarkand

After breakfast, we’ll start this morning with a visit to the holy shrine of a Sufi leader – Bahaudeen Nakshbandi. There are many orders in Sufism and representatives of all the orders were present at different times in what is Uzbekistan today.

The Sufi order Naqshbandiyya had the greatest and longest-lasting influence, and the memorial place is still well visited by pilgrims.

Next, we will visit the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara – Sitorai Mokhi Hosa.

At around midday on the way back to Bukhara, we will see the Chor Minor building, whose four minarets will remind you of the Taj Mahal.

After lunch, we will drive to the train station to catch our train to Samarkand. The journey takes 1.5 hours on a comfortable high-speed train.

After checking in at our hotel, we will visit the old quarter of Samarkand to enjoy the illuminated Registan square in the evening – which will take your breath away!

We will have dinner in a local restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel DiliMah Premium

uzbekistan tour

Day 8: Samarkand City Tour

Sublime Samarkand was the capital of the empire of Timur, one of history’s greatest conquerors. His vast empire rivaled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe, who ruled his kingdom with an iron fist while at the same time patronizing the arts and literature. Much of his architectural heritage has been preserved, allowing us to see how the city might have been at the peak of his power.

We start the day with the visit to the turquoise-tiled Gur-Emir mausoleum, where Timur is buried. We will hear the stories from his life and how he started the construction of Samarkand.

Then, we go to Registan Square – Samarkand’s (and arguably Uzbekistan’s) most famous landmark. The focal point of ancient Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas (religious schools) – Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tillya Kori.

Next, we will stroll through the spacious courtyard of the Bibi-Khanum Mosque—a structure that legend says was a gift to Tamerlane by one of his wives. After lunch, we will have time to explore the Siab Bazaar, where fruit and vegetables grown from the rich soil of the Zarafshan Valley are sold in a colorful market.

You may explore the city on your own during your free time this afternoon. While in the bazaar during the day, we will learn how to shop for the best ingredients of the Palov – central dish of Uzbekistan. There are many folk parables and legends about the healing and nourishing qualities of palov. Uzbek people believe that the very name for plov – “osh-palov” contains the first letters of the names of the dish basic ingredients: onion, carrot, meat, oil, salt, water, and rice.

This afternoon we will get the exclusive opportunity to meet a local Uzbekistan woman, and have lunch in her home. This will give us the chance to understand the traditions of Samarkand and the role of women in society.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel DiliMah Premium

Day 9: Samarkand - Tashkent

After breakfast, we will continue to explore the fairytale city of Samarkand. We will visit Shahi Zinda in the morning when the light is best for photography in this tile-rich street of turquoise and blue domes.

We then visit Ulgubek’s Observatory, once the biggest research center in Central Asia. Ulugbek was decades ahead of the West with his observations of the solar system and the earth and we will learn more about his story in this prestigious setting.

Our next stop is Konigil Paper Mill – where you may see the process of paper production from mulberry tree bark – just like in the 8th century. We then invite you to visit the workshop of two famous designers in Samarkand Lena and Valentina.

Lena Ladik’s Happy Bird Gallery is located close to Registan square. Her gallery is filled with original handmade Uzbek clothing, textiles, ceramics, and artwork, it is a combination of an upscale shop, museum, and antique store.

The director, Lena Ladik, is committed to supporting traditional Uzbek arts and handicrafts that incorporate natural materials, fair trade, and eclectic tastes.

Valentina Romanenko Art Workshop is the embodiment of the rich understanding of Samarkand masters in silk, painting, and embroidery. There you can find a collection of scarves, dresses, bags, and other garments made by old technologies handed down by Uzbek masters from generation to generation, and we will watch a costumed folk show.

Finally, we will take the fast train to Tashkent (2 hours) and then get ready for our flight tomorrow morning.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Lotte Tashkent Palace

Day 10: Departures

It’s departure day and we’re sad to see you go! After breakfast, we’ll begin airport transfers. After the trip ends, we’ll create a link for where we can share photos and keep in touch with one another.

Meals: B

guided tour uzbekistan
View full itinerary

Cost includes:

  • Shared accommodation
  • All meals
  • All activities and entrance fees
  • Domestic airfare
  • Domestic train tickets
  • Hammam and massage in Bukhara
  • Guided visits to women's co-ops
  • Transportation
  • Tour guide

Does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Alcohol, soft drinks, or dessert

What to pack:

  • Scarf for modesty in temples
  • Long linen shirts and pants
  • Camera
  • Comfortable clothing for train and car rides
  • Sweater for cool nights

Additional Info:

Lodging Where will we stay?

We will be staying in a variety of 3 and 4-star properties. Uzbekistan tourism is still on the rise, and thus, it’s best to be understanding that Uzbek hotels are often older, and reminiscent of the Soviet era.

We work hard to stay at women-owned properties and comfortable boutique hotels, but please be advised that conveniences like gyms, pools or wifi, are not the norm.

Tour is priced for double occupancy, meaning you will share your room with one other gal from our tour.

Flights Where do I fly into?

You will fly into Tashkent (TAS). Arrive anytime on Day 1 — be advised that you are likely to lose a day in transit. So, if our tour begins on a Sunday, you may need to leave on a Friday night or Saturday morning.

 

Visas Do I need a visa for Uzbekistan?

Many countries do need a visa for Uzbekistan, including those from the United States.

Apply online through the Uzbekistan government website. You are no longer required to go to the embassy for a visa.

Trip Minimum How many participants are required?

This trip will run with 4 participants, and has a maximum of 8, plus your Damesly tour leader and tour guide.

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