Travel from Tashkent in Uzbekistan to Dushanbe in Tajikistan on this 33-day overland adventure. Take in the incredible scenery of Jeti Oguz, watch a demonstration from a local eagle hunter and camp in traditional felt yurts on the shore of dazzling Song Kol Lake. Explore the Kyrgyz cities of Bishkek and Osh independently, trek in Tajikistan's rugged Fann Mountains and journey on the legendary Pamir Highway.
Welcome to Tashkent
Welcome to Uzbekistan! On arrival there’s a pre-departure Welcome Meeting and the rest of today is free to explore Tashkent, the clean and modern Soviet-style capital of Uzbekistan.
Please note: Our itinerary in Kyrgyzstan is subject to change due to the unpredictable weather conditions in the country. We have tried and tested alternatives in place to ensure your trip runs smoothly, please see the trip notes for details.
Tashkent - Fergana. This morning we cross the mountainous Kamchik Pass in local transport, as our overland truck must cross without passengers. We stop in Kokand and have time to visit the sprawling Khudayar Khan’s Palace and the traditional Margilan Silk Factory. We then complete our drive to Fergana, where we’ll be joined by our overland truck this evening.
Overnight: Fergana | Breakfast
Fergana - Arslanbob (Kyrgyzstan). We board our overland truck for the first time this morning. Saying goodbye to Uzbekistan, we cross into the mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan, where the scenery is certain to leave you impressed. Once we’ve crossed the border, we drive to Arslanbob in the Fergana Valley, where we spend the night in a local family-run guesthouse. During our stay here, there will be free time to wander into the walnut forest - the world’s largest walnut grove.
Overnight: Arslanbob | Breakfast
Kyrgyz Fergana Valley
Arslanbob - Kyrgyz Fergana Valley. The next three days will be spent overlanding through the Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, home to some of the finest scenery in the world. We’ll make frequent stops to hike amongst the rolling hills and mountains. Along the route we plan to wild camp but we may stay in local guesthouses instead, if temperatures are too low.
Please note: If preferred by the group then we can spend an extra night in Arslanbob and spend just two days overlanding in the Kyrgyz Valley.
Overnight: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Shimmering Song Kol Lake
Kyrgyz Fergana Valley - Song Kol Lake. On day 7 we arrive at the shore of Song Kol Lake. During our two days here there’s time for hiking, horse-riding and you get to experience the life of rural Kyrgyz mountain shepherds. We’ll stay in comfortable yurts on the shore of the lake - yurts are felt tents and are the traditional form of accommodation for nomads in Central Asia.
Please note: In the low season, Song Kol Lake is inaccessible and we’ll stay on the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kol instead. Please see the trip notes for details.
Overnight: Song Kol Lake | Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2
Song Kol Lake - Kochkor. We drive to the small village of Kochkor today, where we’ll be staying in small family-run guesthouses. Enjoy some traditional Kyrgyz hospitality here and there’s also time to explore the village. We visit the local museum and a women’s felt making cooperative. Here you can find the traditional 'shyrdak' carpets that Kyrgyzstan is famous for. There’s also an optional folk music demonstration and you can learn how to erect a yurt.
Overnight: Kochkor | Breakfast, Dinner
Kochkor - Jeti Oguz Valley. On day 10 we pass Lake Issyk Kol and journey up into the mountains to reach the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. On the way we stop to watch a demonstration from an eagle hunter, who uses his well trained birds to catch animals for their meat and pelts. The next day is free to hike in the valley and admire the incredible red sandstone rock formations. There is also optional horse-riding available. In Jeti Oguz we camp without facilities.
Please note: In the low season the low temperatures may prevent us from camping in Jeti Oguz and we have an alternate itinerary. Please see the trip notes for details.
Overnight: Jeti Oguz | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Jeti Oguz - Karakol. Today we drive to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where the afternoon is free to explore. Perhaps pay a visit to the beautiful Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Overnight: Karakol | Breakfast
Chong Kemin Valley
Karakol - Chong Kemin. Leaving Karakol behind on day 13, we drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk Kol to admire the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata. We then continue to the Chong Kemin Valley, our base for the next two nights.
Day 14 is free to hike in the region or join an optional white water rafting excursion. There is also horse-riding available in the area. We plan to camp in Chong Kemin but if it's too cold or preferred by the group then we may be able to camp in the grounds of a guesthouse instead, or possibly upgrade to rooms.
Overnight: Chong Kemin | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Chong Kemin - Bishkek. On day 15 we drive to the bustling Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, stopping en route at the giant Burana Tower. There's free time to relax and explore the city upon arrival.
Day 16 is at leisure in the hospitable city and you can opt to visit the State Historical Musuem at Ala-Too Square. We may be joined by new travellers for the next leg of our overland journey into Tajikistan.
Overnight: Bishkek | Breakfast x 1
Bishkek - Toktogul Lake. This morning we depart Bishkek, heading south towards Toktogul Lake, a shimmering reservoir which is surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. Toktogul is the largest reservoir in Central Asia at 284 square kilometres, and is a key part of Kyrgyzstan's hydroelectric power industry. We’ll wild camp in the area near the lake tonight.
Overnight: Toktogul Lake | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ancient Osh & Sulaiman-Too Mountain
Toktogul Lake - Osh. Day 18 sees us embark on a long drive through mountainous, windswept terrain to Osh, one of the oldest cities in Kyrgyzstan.
On day 19 we climb to the summit of the sacred Sulaiman-Too Mountain, which is one of only three UNESCO-listed sites in the whole of Kyrgyzstan. It was once an important Muslim pilgrimage site and the panoramic views from the summit are enchanting. There's also a small mosque here which is still in use. We visit the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex, which is built inside the mountain, then return to Osh where there’s free time to explore the ancient city.
Tulpar Kol Lake
Osh - Tulpar Kol Lake. Today we say goodbye to Osh and set off over the mountainous Taldyk Pass (3,615m). We arrive in the scenic mountain village of Say Mogul and then leave our overland truck behind for an excursion up to the beautiful Tulpar Kol Lake. Here we either wild camp or stay in yurts, surrounded by incredible scenery.
Overnight: Tulpar Kol Lake | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Karakul Lake & Murghab
Tulpar Kol Lake - Karakul Lake (Tajikistan) - Murghab. Today we enter the mountainous Republic of Tajikistan. The border is located at more than 4,300m above sea level in the mountains so there are spectacular views from the border point.
Once we’ve crossed into Tajikistan, we drive to the shore of Karakul Lake, which is at a slightly higher elevation than Lake Titicaca in Peru. The surrounding marshes and peat bogs are also an important stopover for bird species including Himalayan vultures and Caucasian great rosefinches.
Enjoy lunch lakeside before we continue our drive over the Ak-Baital mountain pass, the highest pass on the famous Pamir Highway. This famous road, also known as the M41, connects Tajikistan with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. We arrive in the small town of Murghab, which was once the highest town in the Soviet Union.
Overnight: Murghab | Breakfast
Murghab - Langar. There’s an early start this morning as we embark on a full day’s drive through the rocky scenery of the Pamir Mountains. Enjoy incredible views of the rugged landscape and get your first glimpse of the Panj River, which we'll be following for the next few days alongside the border with Afghanistan. We stay in a traditional Pamiri guesthouse in the village of Langar tonight.
Overnight: Langar | Breakfast
Vrang & Ishkashim
Langar - Vrang - Ishkashim. This morning we can take a challenging but rewarding hike up to the ancient petroglyphs which were carved onto the rocks above Langar. Admire these ancient carvings and the spectacular views of the Wakhan Valley.
Later we also visit the tiny village of Vrang where we can admire the incredible and mysterious 4th century Vrang Stupa. There is fierce debate about the use of this amazing ancient structure, some believe it was a Buddhist stupa whilst others say it was once a Zoroastrian Fire Temple, similar to those found elsewhere in the Middle East. We also have time to visit the Village House Museum of Mubarak-i-Wakhani before arriving in Ishkashim, not to be confused with the town of the exact same name just over the border in Afghanistan.
Overnight: Ishkashim | Breakfast
Ishkashim - Khorog. On day 24 we drive to the riverside city of Khorog, the capital of the off the beaten track autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan. On the way we stop at the Garm Chasma hot springs, where you can enjoy a relaxing dip. There’s free time on day 25 to explore the riverside city. Perhaps browse the local bazaar or simply relax in one of the many parks. You may also wish to join an optional excursion to the second highest botanical garden in the world.
Overnight: Khorog | Breakfast x 2
Khorog - Khalaykum. Today we have a long drive through yet more incredible scenery along the border with Afghanistan. Late afternoon sees us arrive at the town of Khalaykum, where the evening is free to explore. Khalaykum is one of the prettiest towns in the Pamirs. Beautiful mosques and houses lean over the river which charges through the town centre and mountains rise up on all sides.
Overnight: Khalaykum | Breakfast
Khalaykum - Kulob. We have an early start this morning in order to reach Kulob, our next destination. We peel away from the border with Afghanistan and head back into Tajikistan, arriving at our hotel towards the end of the afternoon. Kulob is one of the biggest cities in Tajikistan and celebrated its 2700th birthday in 2006.
Overnight: Kulob | Breakfast
Incredible Iskanderkul Lake
Kulob - Iskanderkul Lake. We have a scenic drive today past the Nurek Reservoir on the rushing Vakhsh River. We then arrive at the shore of Iskanderkul Lake.
The triangular lake is fed by glaciers and the rugged mountains on all sides of the lake are a beautiful site to see. Iskander is the Persian pronunciation of Alexander, and the lake is named after Alexander the Great. A large swathe of the surrounding area is an important nature reserve and you’re sure to spot some birdlife as we set up our wild camp close by.
Overnight: Iskanderkul Lake | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Trekking in the Fann Mountains
Iskanderkul Lake - Artuch. Today we begin our three-day trek in the rugged Fann Mountains. We’ll leave our overland truck behind and take jeeps up to the small village of Artuch, the starting point for our trek. There’s time to explore the village and meet the local villagers. You can also enjoy a two hour hike to the beautiful Chukurak Lake.
Please note: If you do not wish to trek, an alternative option can be arranged in advance through your sales agent. Due to availability and restrictions this must be arranged at least 30 days prior to your trip departing.
Overnight: Artuch | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Artuch - Bibijanat Lake. Our donkeys arrive this morning to carry our luggage as we trek. There’s a briefing with our mountain guide before we begin trekking towards Bibijanat Lake. The scenery we walk through is simply breathtaking, with tall mountains and lush green forests littered with turquoise lakes. Tonight, we camp on the shore of Bibijanat Lake. (Trekking distance: 14 km).
Overnight: Bibijanat Lake | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Bibijanat Lake - Alaudin Lake. This morning we ascend to 3,860m above sea level to the Alaudin Pass. From the top of the mountain pass we enjoy tremendous panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and shimmering lakes before descending to Alaudin Lake where we camp for the night. (Trekking distance: 10 km).
Overnight: Alaudin Lake | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Alaudin Lake - Dushanbe. Our trek comes to an end today and there’s some free time after we’ve packed up camp. Soak up the last of the incredible scenery before we reunite with our overland truck and embark on the last leg of our journey to Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan. The city began as a small village and has now grown to have a population of more than 800,000. Your last night in Tajikistan is free to explore the city.
Overnight: Dushanbe | Breakfast
Today your overland adventure comes to an end. Contact the sales team if you wish to book extra accommodation in Dushanbe to further explore the city.
Is Overlanding Right For Me?
Overlanding is not a style of travel that will suit everyone so please carefully read the Trip Notes before selecting this tour and be realistic about your ability and desire to join such a trip. If you’re the adventurous type who’d rather spend a night wild camping in the wilderness than luxuriating in a boutique hotel, then overlanding is for you. You just need the right attitude, an open mind, and a desire to participate fully in the trip.
Overland travelling can be demanding and challenging. On your trip you’ll travel in a purpose-built expedition vehicle on an off-the-beaten-track adventure along rugged roads, sometimes across vast distances and at high altitude. You will find the drive times noted on the Trip Notes.
On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger, these are full participation trips and everyone gets involved and pitches in! You will also be expected to erect your own tent and help with camp chores including cooking meals for the group on a rota basis. Like all great adventures, the more you put in the more you'll get out!
The type, variety and standard of accommodation can vary greatly from very basic rooms without electricity or running water to comfortable hotels with good facilities. Generally in hotels most rooms will be twin-share, but some may be triple/quad-share. Hostels and yurts are nearly always multi-share and may be mixed sex.
The campsites we use range from basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and a bar. On occasions we wild camp with no facilities, which means there are no toilets - just the vast expanse of the great outdoors and a shovel!
Our overland journeys are designed to offer freedom, and many of our routes have a large degree of flexibility rather than a strict hour-by-hour or even day-by-day itinerary. We intend to follow the planned route but exact night stops and inclusions cannot be guaranteed and it sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our planned itinerary.