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Tehran, Tashkent & Turkmen Tehran - Tashkent

Trip Overview

If you want to explore and marvel at the blue mosques and architecture of Central Asia then this is the trip for you. Uzbekistan’s Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand fight for supremacy with Iran’s stunning cities of Esfahan, Shiraz and Yadz. The sheer quantity and quality of these magnificent cities defies belief.

Add in the history, civilisations and religion of the region and you have a fascinating journey. Sitting in the middle of this Islamic world, are the living relics of the 2000 year old Zoroastrian culture that is found around Yadz in central Iran and the remains of the “greatest city on Earth” Persepolis, the capital of the ancient Persian empire which was destroyed by Alexander the Great.

29 DAYS THROUGH Iran, Turkmenistan (+ 1 more countries)
RATING:
of 0 reviews
PRICE FROM:
$3,850 (USD) + 1,340 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
29 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
ACCOM:
5%
95%
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ITT
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour

  Walking tour of ancient Damghan

  Discover the winding streets and adobe architecure of Yazd's Old Town

  Guided tour of the incredible ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis

  Walking tour of some of the highlights of the old city of Shiraz

  Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour

  Wild camp near the 'Door to Hell' Darvaza Crater

  Overland in to the Karakum desert

  Guided tour of the ancient and beautiful city of Khiva

  Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

An easy trip staying mainly in comfortable hotels or guesthouses; this is a trip for travellers who enjoy history, architecture and culture and meeting peoples of different backgrounds.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Tehran ( 19th Apr 2020 )

Border Information: If joining in Tehran, you will most likely enter Iran at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA code: IKA).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6:00pm - please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note at the hotel on your arrival, as today is usually a travel day for the leaders and they are due to arrive in Tehran by mid-afternoon.

Please note that due to restrictions on citizens of the UK, USA and Canada being permitted to remain unaccompanied in Iran, you will need to fly into Tehran on the same day as the trip starts. These transfers from the airport to your joining hotel are automatically included in your trip. If arriving outside of these times please contact your sales agent. Please ensure the correct dates for your plans are clearly stated on all your visa applications.

Day 2 - Tehran ( 20th Apr 2020 )

Today we will have an included tour of the stunning Golestan Palace and the fascinating National Museum of Iran.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the former royal complex of Golestan Palace, a huge site built in the 16th century and Tehran's oldest monument

Included in Kitty

Learn all about Iran's rich and fascinating history at Tehran's National Museum of Iran

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Iranian Artists' Forum in Tehran, a large gallery for the country's best young artists to feature their work

Free

Explore the S'ad Abad Museum in the spectacular mountainside near Tehran, once a royal summer home during the Pahlavi period

USD 4.5

Visit the shocking Ebrat Museum, once the prison used by the Shah's brutal secret police before the revolution of 1979

USD 5

See Tehran's iconic Azadi Tower, the inverted Y-shaped memorial built in 1971 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the first Persian Empire

USD 2.5

Visit the viewing tower at the top of the iconic Milad Tower, one of the world's tallest towers at a height of 435 metres

USD 8

Visit the Laleh Park in central Tehran, an oasis of calm and a well-designed green space to observe local life pass by

Free

See some of Iran's most precious treasures at the Treasury of National Jewels, including the 182 carat Darya-ye-Nur (Sea of Light) which is thought to be the world's largest uncut diamond, and the phenomenal 34kg Globe of Jewels, made with over 51,000 precious stones

USD 4.5
Day 3-5 - Esfahan ( 21st Apr 2020 to 23rd Apr 2020 )

Today we wil have a full day's drive to the stunning old Safavid-era capital of Esfahan.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of the central highlights of Esfahan, including the showpiece central square of Naqsh-e Jahan and its surrounding mosques and royal palaces, the old bazaar, and the beautiful Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran.

On our second full day here, we will have free time to explore more of Esfahan's incredible sites, such as its ancient bridges, the curious 'Shaking Minarets', the Armenian Vank Cathedral, or the evocative Martyrs' Cemetery.

In Esfahan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the magnificent and colossal city square of Naqsh-e Jahan, the centrepiece of the Safavid-era city of Esfahan

Included in Kitty

Explore the Shah Mosque, the public mosque of Esfahan built by Shah Abbas I and a masterpiece of Persian architecture

Included in Kitty

See the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, once a private mosque for the emperor and his harem and home to some of the world's most beautiful and masterful internal tilework

Included in Kitty

Explore the grand palace of Ali Qapu and discover the stunning wall paintings of the former residence of the Safavid emperors

Included in Kitty

Visit the stunning Jameh Mosque in Esfahan, one of the oldest mosques in Iran and an amalgamation of several different styles of Persian architecture

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Wander the streets of Esfahan's old bazaar, dating from the 17th century

Free

Walk around Esfahan's historical centre and visit the five iconic Safavid-era bridges across the Zayandeh river

Free

Visit the Vank Cathedral, a beautiful Orthodox church set up by the Armenian diaspora in the 17th century

Free

See the curious 14th-century 'Shaking Minarets' in Esfahan, famous for the effect that if one minaret is shaken, the other will shake as well

IRR 5000

Visit the very moving Martyrs' Cemetery of Esfahan, a patriotic tribute to soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s

Free

Explore the site of the ancient Zoroastrian Fire Temples near Esfahan, where you get incredible views over the city and the surrounding valley

IRR 40000
Day 6 - Shiraz ( 24th Apr 2020 )

Today we will have a full day drive to the southern city of Shiraz.

In Shiraz we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 7 - Shiraz ( 25th Apr 2020 )

Today we will have an included walking tour of some of the highlights of the old city of Shiraz, including the beautifully-coloured Nasir ol Molk Mosque, the incredible mirrored interior of the Shah Cheragh Mosque, and the historical house of Narenjestan.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the stunning Shah Cheragh Mosque, a major pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims

Included in Kitty

Explore the 19th century Nasir ol Molk Mosque, famous for its extensive coloured glass art

Included in Kitty

Visit the Narenjestan Palace in Shiraz, the former home of the wealthy Qavam family of merchants

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the stunning citadel of the Arg of Karim Khan in Shiraz, built by the emperor Karim during the Zand Dynasty in the late 18th century

IRR 20000

Visit the tranquil site of the tomb of Hafez, a famous 14th-century Persian poet whose collected works are regarded as the pinnacle of Persian literature

IRR 60000
Day 8 - Persepolis, Zein-o-din ( 26th Apr 2020 )

Today we will drive to the phenomenal ancient ruins of Persepolis, once the capital of the mighty Achaemenid Persian Empire until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330BCE.

After this we will continue north to the famous Caravanserai of Zein-o-Din, an atmospheric 16th-century guesthouse originally built to accommodate merchants travelling on the Silk Road.

In Zein-o-Din we will stay overnight at the old caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Stay overnight in the incredible restored Safavid-era circular caravanserai in the remote deserts south of Yazd

Included in Kitty

Head out on a guided tour of the incredible historic ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, founded by Cyrus the Great in 550BCE and invaded by Alexander the Great in 330BCE

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the phenomenal site of Naqsht-e Rustam near Persepolis, the cross-shaped tombs of four of the great Emperors of Persia chiselled into the cliff face

USD 10
Day 9-10 - Yazd ( 27th Apr 2020 to 28th Apr 2020 )

Today we will take a short drive to the ancient desert town of Yazd, one of the oldest extant towns in Iran. On arrival we will have an included visit to two important Zoroastrian sites in Iran - the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence.

Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of some of the main highlights of Yazd, including the incredible Jameh Mosque, the Old Town and the Amir Chakhmaq complex.

In Yazd we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence outside Yazd, used until the 1960s to place bodies of the deceased so that they did not touch and pollute the sacred elements of fire or earth

Included in Kitty

Visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Yazd, where they keep a sacred fire that has supposedly been continuously burning since 470CE, the only Zoroastrian eternal flame of its type outside of India

Included in Kitty

See the stunning ancient Jameh Mosque of Yazd, built in the 12th century and a fantastic example of Azari architecture

Included in Kitty

Learn all about the intriguing and ingenious historical methods of getting water to the desert town of Yazd at the Yazd Water Museum

Included in Kitty

Freely explore the huge city square and mosque at the Amir Chakmaq complex, built in the 15th century

Included in Kitty

Discover the atmospheric winding streets and beautiful adobe architecure of Yazd's Old Town, one of the oldest towns in the world

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the fascinating centuries-old practice of Varzesh-e Bastani at the Yazd House of Strength, a curious blend of strength training, martial arts and wrestling, accompanied by traditional music

IRR 10000
Day 11 - Khoor ( 29th Apr 2020 )

Today we will continue our journey to the desert city of Khoor, where we have the option to take an evening jeep trip into the nearby salt flats to have dinner.

In Khoor we will stay in a beautiful hotel in the style of a desert caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

*Please note that with small groups and at certain times of the year we may be able to stay in a local homestay in the nearby village of Mesr*.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the ancient desert town of Khoor and see its beautiful palm trees and ruined castle

Included in Kitty
Day 12 - Damghan ( 30th Apr 2020 )

Today we will have a morning drive to the ancient town of Damghan. On arrival we will take a walking tour, including the Tarikhuneh Mosque which features columns dating from the year 760CE.

In Damghan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the ancient town of Bastam, containing monuments dating from the Ilkhanate Period when Iran was controlled by the Mongol Empire

Included in Kitty

Visit the partially-ruined Tarikhuneh Mosque which features 18 rear columns dating from around 760CE, making this one of the oldest mosques in Iran

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the splendid ancient brick building of Imamzadeh Jafar in Damghan, which has an appearance similar to a North African castle

Free

See Damghan's Jameh Mosque and it's fine brick minaret dating from the mid-11th century

Free
Day 13 - Shirvan ( 1st May 2020 )

Today we will drive to the historical town of Bastam and visit the Sufi complex in the centre. After this we will continue to the town of Shirvan.

In Shirvan we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 14 - Ashgabat ( 2nd May 2020 )

Border Information: Exit Iran at Bajgiran, enter Turkmenistan at Gaudan.

Today we will head over the border to Turkmenistan and to the bizarre capital of Ashgabat

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Day 15 - Ashgabat ( 3rd May 2020 )

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.

After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book. 

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
Included in Kitty
Day 16 - Darvaza ( 4th May 2020 )

Today we set off north from Ashgabat and head into the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).

We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvaza, popularly known as the 'Door to Hell'

Included in Kitty
Day 17 - Kunye Urgench ( 5th May 2020 )

Today we will continue our overland journey north across the Karakum. We will visit the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.

We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench

Included in Kitty
Day 18-19 - Khiva ( 6th May 2020 to 7th May 2020 )

Border Information: Exit Turkmenistan at Shovot, enter Uzbekistan at Nijazov.

This morning we will visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, before driving across the border into Uzbekistan and continue to the beautiful historic town of Khiva. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

The following day we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva during the morning. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.

In Khiva we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
See the beautiful turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva
Included in Kitty
Visit the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, a museum dedicated to the Khan that surrendered to the Russians in 1873
Included in Kitty
Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva
Included in Kitty
Learn all about the Khoezm culture and handicrafts at the Islam Hodja Madrassa, Khiva's newest monument
Included in Kitty
Explore the incredible Juma Mosque and the 12th century fortress of the Kukhna Ark
Included in Kitty
Visit the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mohammed, the legendary 14th-century poet, philosopher, wrestler, and patron saint of Khiva
Included in Kitty
Day 20 - Bukhara ( 8th May 2020 )

Today we will have a full day's drive to the fascinating city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights.

In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

Day 21-22 - Bukhara ( 9th May 2020 to 10th May 2020 )

Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water
Included in Kitty

Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty

Included in Kitty

Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared

Included in Kitty

Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Watch an entertaining evening puppet show, featuring many local Uzbek and Tajik poems and songs
USD 5

See the Indian-style Char Minar Minarets, four towers nestled in a maze of alleyways in downtown Bukhara

Free

Visit the gruesome museum at the old prison of Zindon

UZS 4500
Day 23 - Nurata ( 11th May 2020 )

Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!

In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts.

Included in Kitty
Day 24 - Samarkand ( 12th May 2020 )

This morning we will spend some time exploring the Nurata Hills with the option of taking a dip in Lake Ajdar Kul. After lunch we will drive to Samarkand where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 25-26 - Samarkand ( 13th May 2020 to 14th May 2020 )

Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the Guri-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur

Included in Kitty

Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan, a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia

Included in Kitty

Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory, once the finest observatory in the Islamic world

Included in Kitty

Discover the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the world and the jewel in Timur's empire

Included in Kitty

See the beautiful and moving ancient mausoleum of Shah-I-Zinda

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit to Shakhrisabz city

USD 20
Wander through the markets and carpet vendors of Samarkand, and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of the local carpet weavers
Free
Day 27 - Tashkent ( 15th May 2020 )

This morning we will have a little more free time to explore more of Samarkand. After lunch we will drive to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 28 - Tashkent ( 16th May 2020 )

Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore urbane Tashkent and experience a surreal cabaret dinner

Free

Visit the nightclubs and Imperial Russian-style cabaret restaurants of Tashkent

Free
Visit the religious centre of Tashkent at Hast Imam Square and see the Uthman Koran, believed to be the world's oldest extant copy of the Koran
USD 5
Day 29 - Tashkent ( 17th May 2020 )

Border Information: if finishing in Tashkent, you will most likely exit Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tashkent. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

DATES & PRICES

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Trip Notes
Departing: 19 Apr 2020
Returning: 17 May 2020
Duration: 29 days
Route: Tehran - Tashkent
$3,850 USD + $1,340 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 1 Sep 2020
Returning: 29 Sep 2020
Duration: 29 days
Route: Tashkent - Tehran
$3,850 USD + $1,340 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
closed
FULLY BOOKED
Departing: 20 Apr 2021
Returning: 18 May 2021
Duration: 29 days
Route: Tehran - Tashkent
$3,925 USD + $1,340 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 31 Aug 2021
Returning: 28 Sep 2021
Duration: 29 days
Route: Tashkent - Tehran
$3,925 USD + $1,340 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available