Song Kol Lake | Kyrgyzstan
FROM: R47,900 pp

Discover the wonders of the Silk Road on this 30-day overland group tour which takes in the Central Asian countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. See the highlights of unusual Ashgabat, marvel at the flaming Darvaza Gas Crater and take in the historic cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand - the jewel in Uzbekistan's crown. Relax on the shore of Song Kol Lake, stay in a traditional yurt in the desert and marvel at the breathtaking scenery of Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley and Jeti Oguz.

Prices & Dates
Westbound Trip

Trip Highlights

Ashgabat - begin your adventure in Turkmenistan's bizarre and modern capital and explore the city on a guided minibus tour
Kyzylkhum Desert - spend the night in a traditional felt yurt and explore the rolling dunes of the desert
Jeti Oguz - see a demonstration from an eagle hunter and hike in the dazzling scenery of red sandstone cliffs and lush green valleys
Arslanbob - walk in the world's largest walnut grove and enjoy a relaxing evening in the village
Tashkent - explore the Soviet-style Uzbek capital independently and opt to visit the world's oldest copy of the Koran at Hast Imam Square
Samarkand - take in highlights of the Silk Road city including the stunning Registan and Bibi-Khanym Mosque
Darvaza Gas Crater - marvel at the unusual site of a flaming gas crater in the middle of the desert in Turkmenistan
Song Kol Lake - enjoy two nights in yurts on the shore of the remote lake and take in the picturesque landscape at leisure
Bukhara - learn about the gruesome history of the Uzbek city with a visit to the Kalyan Minaret and see historic Zindon Prison
Bishkek - complete your overland journey to the hospitable capital of Kyrgyzstan and enjoy free time to browse Osh bazaar or visit Ala-Too Square


25 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 12 dinners
9 nights camping (including 7 nights wild camping & 2 nights camping without facilities)
Airport arrival transfer on day 1
Services of two crew (drivers/tour leaders) and local guides along the way
Sightseeing as per itinerary
Guided tours of Khiva, Bukhara & Samarkand in Uzbekistan
17 nights in hotels & guesthouses
3 nights camping in traditional yurts
All necessary camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags)
Transportation in an overland expedition vehicle
Guided tour of Ashgabat and visit to the Darvaza Gas Crater in Turkmenistan
Eagle hunter demonstration in Kyrgyzstan

Not Included

International flights and visas
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture
Local Payment: $1080pp, paid in USD
Items of a personal nature, additional meals and drinks
Sleeping bag and roll mat - please bring your own for camping


Day 1

Welcome to Ashgabat

Welcome to Central Asia and the start of your overland adventure. On arrival in Ashgabat, an included transfer will take you to our joining hotel where there will be a pre-departure Welcome Meeting at 10:00am.

After you’ve met your tour group, there’s an included minibus tour to see some the city’s bizarre architecture. Turkmenistan’s eccentric president has a fascination with world records and as well as the highest concentration of marble-clad buildings, the city is home to the world’s largest indoor Ferris Wheel and holds the record for the highest number of fountains in a public place.
Overnight: Ashgabat

Day 2

Darvaza Gas Crater

Ashgabat - Darvaza. Boarding our overland truck for the first time, we leave Ashgabat and head north into the Karakum Desert. We stop at the incredible Darvaza Gas Crater, which is known locally as the “Door to Hell”.

The crater was formed in 1971 when Soviet oil drillers accidentally caused the ground to collapse and gas to begin escaping from the newly-formed crater. The Soviets tried to burn the gas off and the crater has been continuously burning away ever since. After we’ve visited this unusual site, we find somewhere suitable for our first night of wild camping.
Overnight: Darvaza  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Kunye Urgench

Darvaza - Kunye Urgench. We continue overlanding through the desert and enjoy a visit to the incredible ruined city of Kunye Urgench this afternoon. This ancient Silk Road settlement survived the invasion of Genghis Khan and highlights include the 60m high Kutlug-Timur Minaret, which is the highest minaret in the whole of Central Asia. We wild camp near the ruins tonight.
Overnight: Kunye Urgench  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Days 4-5


Kunye Urgench - Khiva (Uzbekistan). On the morning of day 4 we leave the desert behind and stop at the border town of Dashoguz to browse the vibrant markets here. We then say goodbye to Turkmenistan and cross into neighbouring Uzbekistan. Our overland journey continues as we arrive in the beautiful Silk Road city of Khiva, where the original city walls still stand imposingly around the buildings.

Day 5 sees us enjoying a guided tour of the ancient city where we can get a good look at the city walls and see other highlights including the turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, the blue palace of Tash Khovli and the incredible Juma Mosque.
Overnight: Khiva   |  Breakfast x 2

Days 6-8

Historic Bukhara

Khiva - Bukhara. Departing Khiva on day 6, we have a long drive to our next stop on the ancient Silk Road, Bukhara. We spend three nights in the city and there’s a guided tour on day 7 which takes in highlights including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque and Ark Fortress. Bukhara has a historically gruesome reputation and you’ll get an insight into this as you marvel at the Kalyan Minaret, nicknamed “Death Tower” due to its historic use as a place of execution.

Day 8 is at leisure or you may wish to delve deeper into Bukhara’s uncomfortable history with a visit to the disused Zindon Prison, home to the infamous Bug Pit. Prisoners would be thrown into the pit and rats, lice, scorpions and other creatures would be emptied onto their heads.
Overnight: Bukhara

Day 9

Nurata & the Kyzylkhum Desert

Bukhara - Nurata (Kyzylkhum Desert). Leaving Bukhara, we head into the Kyzylkhum Desert this morning and arrive at our yurt camp near the town of Nurata. Yurts are the traditional accommodation of nomadic people in Central Asia and you get to spend the night in one of the comfortable felt tents. There’s also an optional camel ride across the rolling sand dunes.
Overnight: Nurata  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 10-12

Exploring Samarkand

Nurata (Kyzylkhum Desert) - Samarkand. On day 10 there’s time to explore the Nurata Hills and if you wish, you can take a refreshing dip in Lake Ajdar Kul. After lunch we make our way to Samarkand, one of the most beautiful cities on the Silk Road.

On day 11 there’s a guided tour of Samarkand, taking in highlights including the central Registan plaza. You’ll also see the Ulug Beg Observatory and the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once the jewel in the empire of the famous warlord Timur, who conquered much of Central Asia in the 14th century. Timur’s tomb can also be found in Samarkand. Day 12 is free to explore this beautiful and charismatic city at leisure or you can opt to visit the nearby city of Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Timur.
Overnight: Samarkand   |  Breakfast x 3

Days 13-15


Samarkand - Tashkent. The morning of day 13 is free to relax in the hotel or further explore Samarkand. We then drive to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. The clean and modern Soviet-style city contrasts with the Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, making it a fascinating place to explore.

There are two free days in the city and optional activities include an excursion to Hast Imam Square where you can see the oldest surviving copy of the Koran. You could also independently visit the vibrant Chorsu bazaar or the Tashkent TV Tower - the highest building in Central Asia. We may be joined by new travellers in Tashkent for the next leg of our journey.

Please note: Our itinerary in Kyrgyzstan is subject to change dependent on the weather conditions. We have tried and tested alternatives in place to ensure your trip continues to run smoothly. Please refer to the trip notes for more details.
Overnight: Tashkent   |  Breakfast x 3

Day 16

Uzbek Fergana Valley

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 reunited with our overland truck this evening.
Overnight: Fergana   |  Breakfast

Day 17


Fergana - Arslanbob (Kyrgyzstan). We say goodbye to Uzbekistan this morning and 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

Days 18-20

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

Days 21-22

Magical Song Kol Lake

Kyrgyz Fergana Valley - Song Kol Lake. Day 21 sees us journey to stunning Song Kol Lake. Located in remote and pristine scenery, the lake is considered quite inaccessible and we’ll get to enjoy the absolute tranquility of the area. We camp in comfortable felt yurts near the shore of the lake and over the next two days there’s plenty of time for optional hiking and horse-riding in the region.

Please note: In the low season we will be unable to stay at Song Kol Lake due to the adverse weather. Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kol. Please see the trip notes for details.
Overnight: Song Kol Lake  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2

Day 23


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

Days 24-25

Jeti Oguz Valley

Kochkor - Jeti Oguz. Leaving Kochkor behind on day 24, we head up into the mountains to the stunning region of Jeti Oguz. We stop en route to watch a demonstration from a local eagle hunter, who uses his well-trained birds of prey to catch smaller animals for food and for their pelts.

Day 25 is free to hike in the incredible scenery, taking in the red sandstone cliffs and wonderful views. There’s also optional horse-riding in the valley. In Jeti Oguz we camp without facilities.
Overnight: Jeti Oguz  |  Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2

Day 26


Jeti Oguz - Karakol. Today we head to the quaint Russian-style town of Karakol where the afternoon is at leisure to explore or relax in the hotel. Perhaps visit the beautiful Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Overnight: Karakol   |  Breakfast

Days 27-28

Cholpon Ata petroglyphs & Chong Kemin

Karakol - Chong Kemin Valley. On day 27 we drive to Cholpon Ata where we can marvel at the impressive ancient petroglyphs which have been carved into the rock. We then continue into the stunning Chong Kemin Valley, where we’ll be spending the next two nights.

On day 28 there’s free time to hike in the lush scenery of the valley or you may wish to join an exhilarating optional white water rafting excursion. In the Chong Kemin Valley, we wild camp (weather permitting).
Overnight: Chong Kemin  |  Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2

Day 29


Chong Kemin Valley - Bishkek. We board our truck for the final time today as we complete our overland journey to the hospitable capital of Kyrgyzstan - Bishkek. We visit the towering Burana Tower en route and there’s free time to browse the colourful Osh Bazaar or explore Ala-Too Square in the heart of the city.
Overnight: Bishkek   |  Breakfast

Day 30


Today your overland adventure comes to an end. Speak to the sales team if you wish to book any extra nights accommodation in Bishkek.

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 roughing it 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. The pace of the trip can be tiring at times and facilities can be basic. 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 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. On the Trip Notes you will find more information about the accommodation each night.

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.

Prices & Dates

Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling.

Read More

Local payment - $1080pp, paid in USD

Please note that this is payable locally on day 1 of your trip in the currency specified.

Prices & Dates

Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling.

Read More

Local payment - $1100pp, paid in USD

Please note that this is payable locally on day 1 of your trip in the currency specified.

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In Brief

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
April to August
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 22
Hotel Rating
Simple hotels, guesthouses & camping
Local Payment
$1080pp, paid in USD
Tour Guide
Escorted by a tour leader
Breakfast: 25, Lunch: 10, Dinner: 12
OTG002239Central Silk Road Overlander - 30 DaysCentral AsiaOverlanding47900 ZARfalse0Turkmenistan