Expedition Overview

Travelling through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, is a journey full of remarkable contrasts to a region that is still largely undiscovered and unexplored. Each ‘Stan’ is quite different . This expedition will allow you to discover this truly adventurous and uncharted countries. We have managed to pack in some of the finest experiences starting with our specially prepped expedition vehicle, a driving route which has the most stunning terrains and landscapes, stay in remote and comfortable locations, and most importantly travelling with some of the finest people on this planet.

Expedition Details

Price Refer Dates & Price section below
Duration 14 days
Expedition Vehicle Toyota Landcruiser or Similar
Terrain Mountain Roads & Dirt Tracks
Group Size Max 12 pax
Country Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
Drive 2300 kms
Weather Max 35°C and Min -10°C
Ideal for : Solo Travellers | Adventure Couples | Friends (Age: 21+)

Expedition Itinerary

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel

Our expedition will begin from Kazakhstan which is often described as a land of deserts, vast steppes, yurts and camels. The country also gets associated with the old caravan routes of the Silk Road, along which was often little but dried-up steppes to keep the travellers entertained during their long journeys. We have chosen Almaty as the starting point. Almaty was the former capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and of the independent Kazakhstan. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel to take some rest or you can step out to explore the town on your own. In the evening we will have our expedition briefing and expedition vehicle walk-through. People who wish to spend more time in this city can come in a day early!

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel

Today we will start our epic expedition heading northeast, heading towards Charyn Canyons. Chiselled out of the steppe clay by an eponymous white river, Charyn Canyon is Kazakhstan’s supreme rift. After crossing the endless, wide-open plains outside of Almaty, the canyon comes as a true surprise. Seemingly out of nowhere, the landscape gets a third dimension. It is part of the Charyn Canyon National Park and stretches 154km along the Charyn River, one of the deepest rivers of the Northern Tien Shan mountains. For more than 12 million years, wind, water and sand sculpted Charyn’s red sandstone to form the wonderful shapes and shades that vary from deep orange to light brown. We will spend time exploring the valley of castles and other unique formations. The drive today will be mostly on tarmac and on some dirt road sections in the national park area.

Accommodation: Guesthouse in Saty

The Kolsai Lakes are a system of three lakes, nestled among the hills of the Northern Tien Shan Mountains, approximately 300km east of Almaty. They are also called “The Pearl of the Northern Tien Shan” and after visiting the lakes, we totally get why! The 3 lakes are so clear that, when the sun is out, the surrounding forests, hills and snowy mountain peaks are mirrored in the water. As you hike between the lakes, graze on wild strawberries and raspberries in summer and take frigid dips in the clear waters. The hiking trails between the lakes are steep in places and can get very muddy. The driving terrain today will be mostly gravel.

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel at Karakol

Early start today taking the back road out of Kolsai over to Kegen and then turn south through the Karakara pass into to Kazakh – Kyrgyz border. A scenic border crossing with the Karkara valley being the backdoor border crossing between the 2 countries. After clearing the border, we will arrive in the old Russian frontier town of Karakol. The city of Karakol has long been considered a gateway to the natural wonders of the Tian Shan mountains and Lake Issyk-Kul. However, its unique location and fascinating history have slowly enabled its transformation into one of Kyrgyzstan’s most engaging cultural and culinary destinations, too. We will be reaching this town post lunch giving sufficient time for us to explore this place at ease. The driving terrain today will be gravel through few mountain passes and evergreen forests.

Accommodation: Small hotel with private utilities

Today we will be heading west out of Karakol taking couple of detours to explore some very interesting places around before heading to Kochkor, a small city (read “village”) in northern Naryn Region of central Kyrgyzstan. The terrain today will be mostly asphalt and gravel.

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel at Naryn

Drive from Kochkor down to Sary Bulok and turn east through the mountains. The road loops through stunning terrain and then a narrow rocky gorge. This route is extremely scenic and wonderful places to stop and take-in as much of the landscapes as possible. The drive today will be mostly gravel heading all the way to Naryn. The town is known for being a scenic city, with the Naryn river – the longest in the country – running through it, surrounded by majestic mountains.

Accommodation: Yurt at the edge of a gorgeous lake at 3000 meters

It is, perhaps, fortunate that Kyrgyzstan’s stunning Song-Kul Lake is difficult to access. Any good traveller knows that the more challenging destinations are almost always the most rewarding, and this is very much the case with Song-Kul Lake. We will be driving through some of the most stunning mountain roads leading all they way to the lake. The lake stands at 3,013 meters above sea level between two mountain ranges in the Naryn River basin. Song-Kul lake is blanketed in lush verdant grass, making it a hotspot for nomadic cattle and horse breeders.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

We will start the day with horseback riding in the morning through the low mountains surrounding Song Kul. Then we hit the road to Kazarman through the famous Moldo Ashu mountain pass. The road to the summit is gravel running along the Kurtka river canyon. The road to the pass is constantly turning into serpentine, the slope is steep enough. From the top of Moldo Ashu Pass, you can see almost the entire road winding up to the pass. It also affords spectacular views of the Naryn Valley and some stunning mountain ranges to the south. Then we head to Kazarman, which has a reputation for being a rough town, probably due to its isolation and partly because of the nearby gold mine and ore processing plant. Certainly, it has a bit of a Wild West feel about it; its people seem a little more reserved towards strangers than elsewhere in Kyrgyzstan.

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel

Today we will be driving through the Kazarman pass which is one of the most stunning in the country. Long and breathtaking views. The most dramatic ascent of the route comes just after the village of Kok Jar, when you climb 50 corkscrew turns to the 3,500-metre Kara-Guu pass. The superb views reveal a lunar landscape, in which the softly moulded mountains are delicately tinted in red and beige stripes. Descending the pass, the sudden change of scenery is abrupt and almost shocking as the vast green expanse of the Fergana Valley edges into view for the first time leading into Osh. Osh is Kyrgyzstan’s southern capital, and one of the oldest cities in the country with sprawling bazaar and hospitable citizens

Accommodation: Bahoriston Resort on the shore of a Tajik Sea

A long driving day ahead of us today. Mostly highways and changing landscapes. We will do our second cross country overland border crossing into Tajikistan. After clearing the border, we will be heading toward Khujand. It is one of those cities that few tourists seem to visit, despite it being the 2nd largest in Tajikistan and close to borders with both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Our resort is located on the coast of the Tajik sea, called the Kairakkum reservoir, located in the North of Tajikistan, 25 km from Khujand.

Accommodation: Bahoriston Resort on the shore of a Tajik Sea

Khujand is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. The Persians, Greek settlers, Scythian tribes, the Arab caliphate, the Mongol Hordes and the Soviets all ruled this city at some point in time. Though the city has many interesting places to explore, but our personal recommendation is a visit to the PANCHSHANBE BAZAAR. The core of this great bazaar, reputedly the largest in Central Asia, is an unusually elegant, purpose-built hall (1964) with arched entrance portals and a pink-and-lime-green neoclassical facade. If not the largest it’s certainly one of the best-stocked markets in Central Asia. And there are plenty of traditional local restaurants that can satisfy your culinary lust.

Accommodation: Homestay with No Running Water & Limited Electricity

After a relaxing day at Khujand, we hit the road again. As we leave the city, the terrain slowly becomes more mountainous. After the village of Ayni turn into the mountains and drive along the Yaghnob river until the Yaghnobi settlements. A very remote and secretive valley. The Yaghnobi people are considered to be descendants of the Sogdian-speaking peoples who once inhabited most of Central Asia beyond the Amu Darya in what was ancient Sogdia; they speak the Yaghnobi language which is a direct descendant of ancient Sogdian. We will live in a traditional homestay with the locals understanding the rich history of their culture and people.

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel

After a relaxed morning, we head down the valley and turn towards Dushanbe. Our final destination of the expedition. Dushanbe is the Capital and largest city in Tajikistan. Its name means “Monday” in Persian language, having been built on the site of a Monday market. With a rural hinterland of grassy pastures and snow-capped mountains visible from downtown, Dushanbe is a delightful city built around parks, lakes and fountains. We plan to have a wonderful farewell dinner in the evening and discuss about the yet another epic journey we had together.

We finally bid adieu to Central Asia and you can checkout from your respective hotels as per your flight timings. Incase if someone wishes to extend your stay, do contact us and we can help you with necessary recommendations and logistics and hospitality.

Expedition Vehicle

Toyota Landcruiser or similar

What our Clients say

“A regular agency would have taken you in a chauffeur driven car, put you up in plush hotels and would not have allowed a real insight into the real micro part of Mongolia”

– By Bibhu, Mongolia Expedition 2017

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Dates and Prices

Dates Price per Person Interested?

The quoted price is per person on double occupancy basis unless otherwise noted, and are subject to change without notice. Families travelling with kids are requested to contact us for exclusive family prices. Solo travellers and groups with more than 2 members and those who need single supplement are requested to contact us for the differential pricing. Optional activities are at an additional cost. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars.

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • Exclusive expedition vehicle for a team of 2 people with fuel
  • Vehicle Preparation for Expedition
  • Expedition Leader and Expedition Management team throughout the trip
  • Local cultural expert throughout the trip
  • Expedition Mechanic
  • 4x4 support vehicle with essential kit for the entire duration of the trip
  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation & Meals
  • Comprehensive Vehicle Insurance
  • All permits required for the expedition including border crossings
  • Driving license translation
  • Support in VISA documents
  • All excursions, entrance fees, and visits as described in the itinerary
  • International Flights
  • Cost of Visa & invite letter
  • International Driving Permit
  • Comprehensive Personal Insurance(s)
  • Personal medication
  • Extras like room service, optional excursions and items of personal nature like laundry, tips, phone calls etc.

Why join us?

If you’re satisfied with booking your trip online and hoping for the best, you don’t need us. Unusual travel experiences and motoring across far ends of our planet are not simple to plan, let alone find. And that is what makes Nomadic Road distinct. We know our destinations thoroughly, collaborate with exceptional in-country colleagues, and have many years of experience orchestrating eye-opening journeys. With us, you’ll see a destination in a different light – through the Nomadic Road lens – and discover things you won’t find out about any other way.

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