• New
  • Escorted Tour

The Five Stans of Central Asia

This exclusive, escorted tour will allow you to explore the Five Stans all once members of the old USSR but are now independent nations each with a history, culture and landscape, shaped by centuries of trade along the ancient Silk Road pioneered by Marco Polo. The scenery is diverse, ranging from deserts to multi coloured and stunning mountains.

Turkmenistan is known for the gleaming white marble city of Ashgabat and where you get to meet their universally renowned horse breed Akhal-Tekkes (Golden Horse)  

Uzbekistan is renowned for its magnificent Silk Road cities, a treasure trove of Islamic architecture and ancient history. Cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, boasting stunning mosques, madrasas, and mausoleums.

Tajikistan, like Kyrgyzstan is famous for its stunning mountain scenery and nomadic heritage while Almaty in Kazakhstan, the largest and wealthiest of the Five Stans was a key city on the Silk Road and today is one of the most popular cities in the whole region 

You will get to experience, a night in a traditional yurt, cook and eat a meal with a local family. Workshop visits that create a wide range of their arts from gold embroidery to handmade paper.

The opportunity to ride a horse and watch a a Golden Eagle perform the ancient art of hunting. 

This exclusive and fascinating escorted tour is an adventure into the past.


Your travel itinerary

Tuesday 15 April

Auckland - Dubai

Depart Auckland on an evening Emirates flight to Dubai.


Wednesday 16 April

Dubai - Ashgabat

On arrival early morning a day room is reserved for you to rest and relax. A late night departure on Emirates for Ashgabat.



Thursday 17 April

ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan)

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On arrival, transfer to our hotel, an early check-in is included. Balance of morning free to rest. This afternoon a tour of the country’s Capital that includes the Old Nisa Fortress, National Carpet Museum and the Park of Independence. Welcome dinner tonight.


Friday 18 April


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Today visit Arkadash stud farm, a chance to take a close look at the “winged” Akhal-Tekkes, and even take a ride on them. We continue on to visit the largest mosque in Turkmenistan, before a free afternoon. 


Saturday 19 April


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This morning we fly to Dashoguz, then drive to the border crossing into Uzbekistan and continue by coach to Khiva, which is thought to date back more than 2,000 years.

Sunday 20 April


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Khiva is made for walking. This tour takes in all the major sights of the Ichan Kala - (the citadel) including the truncated Kalta Minor minaret, the Kunya Ark and the Madrassah Rakhimkhon. This afternoon we continue to the Friday mosque and Tashauli Palace, including the harem.  

Monday 21 April


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Today, a full day drive to Bukhara across the famous KyzylKum desert (“Red sands”). The road more or less follows the path of the Great Silk Road with photo stops to see the desert flora and fauna. 

Tuesday 22 April


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A day exploring fabulous Bukhara. This incredible city is one of the most famous names in medieval Islam and is home to hundreds of registered monuments. On today’s tour, visit some of the main highlights before exploring workshops to see block printing, metal chasing, suzani embroidery, carving and miniature painting.


Wednesday 23 April


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Another half day tour of Bukhara with an excursion to visit Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa, the summer residence of the former emir of Bukhara. This afternoon we are invited to the local Uzbek house of RakhmonToshev, one of the best embroided textile makers in Uzbekistan. There is also the opportunity to participate in a cooking class of a traditional Uzbek dish – “plov”.

Thursday 24 April


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Morning drive to Samarkand en route to visit Gijduvan – center of famous handmade ceramics. Reminder of the day at leisure.

Friday 25 April


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On the city tour of Samarkand visit the famous Registan Square, for centuries the heart of Samarkand. Three beautiful madrassahs: (higher education centers) built in 15th/17th centuries; the Tillya-Kori Madrasah and Sher-Dor Madrasah. Later see the grandest structure of Amir Temur’s times - the chief Friday Mosque called Bibi-Khanum, the Silk Road bazaar and Shahi Zinda necropolis. We have included a visit to the Bagizagan winery with a wine degustation menu. 


Saturday 26 April


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Start the day at Konigil village to visit a paper-making workshop. Samarkand has been famous as a center of a high-quality paper manufacture. You can take part in the unique process of hand-made paper production: cleaning tree branches from the bark, polishing paper with a stone and painting it. Afternoon at leisure.

Sunday 27 April


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After breakfast cross the border at Jartepa then continue to the beautiful Seven Lakes located in the west of the Fann Mountains; each of them has its own colour, which varies from calming turquoise to mesmerizing purple. Enjoy a picnic before continuing to Penjikent.

Monday 28 April


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On the drive to Dushanbe you will visit picturesque Varzob gorge. The Gorge follows the Varzob River before climbing steeply over the Annzob Pass (3,373 m) to the Capital City.

Tuesday 29 April


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This morning a visit to the center of the city, the local bazaar and Botanical garden. Later a visit to the Cultural palace “Kohi Navruz” (Subject to permit), and witness the traditional architecture of Tajik people with woodcarving, painting and mosaic arts. In the afternoon an excursion to see the ancient fortress of Hissor - one of the most precious historical sites of Tajikistan


Wednesday 30 April


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Depart for Khujand with lunch at the Mountains café.  Enroute visit Mug Tepa which is one of the ancient settlements in Tajikistan. Here, visit a local Bazaar - an oriental market where you can find everything and probably watch a baking demo of the traditional Tajik round bread.


Thursday 01 May


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Morning city tour in Khujand to include: Pushkin square, Timur Malik’s fortress and Sugd museum, Panjshanbe bazaar (considered as one of the oldest markets in Tajikistan) and Arbob palace (it was the place where the Tajik Soviet officially declared independence from the Soviet Union and the Tajik flag was chosen). After lunch cross the border and re-enter Uzbekistan and continue to Tashkent. 


Friday 02 May


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Tashkent is one of the oldest and largest cities in Central Asia. The tour explores the capital by going back in time visiting the old town including the oldest market in Tashkent and Kukeldash Madrassah. In the afternoon we visit Independence Square in the heart of Tashkent and the Tashkent Metro decorated with local marble and granite like an underground palace.

Saturday 03 May


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A free morning before transferring to the airport for your flight to Bishkek the Country’s Capital. Upon arrival transfer to your city hotel and enjoy a leisurely afternoon. 


Sunday 04 May


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The day starts with a walking tour of Bishkek which includes the main Ala Too Square to watch the ceremony of the changing of the Guard of Honor, Manas Monument (national hero of the Kyrgyz people) and the Old Square with Parliament House. On the drive to Naryn a visit to the “Burana” Architectural complex. It is the ruins of a medieval city Balasagyn, which was one of the most developed cities during the golden ages of the Great Silk Road.  

Monday 05 May


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A day excursion to visit the ancient Tash-Rabat caravanserai (a 15 century medieval inn for merchants and travelers on the Great Silk Road). It is a stone fortress situated in the beautiful Kara Koiun gorge at a height of 3500m. Today, lunch is in a local family yurt– a special experience before returning to Naryn. 


Tuesday 06 May


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Today’s journey is to the second highest alpine lake in the world (1607m), Lake Issyk Kul. Enroute visit the handicraft center in the village of Kochkur. Then on to Kyzyl Tuu the village where 70% of villagers are engaged in the production of yurts. Here, you will visit a local family and their open-air wooden yurt workshop, where you can participate in the process of yurt installation. Tonight in Tamga village accommodation is in a yurt. (Private Toilet/Shower facilities). 

Wednesday 07 May


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The drive to Karakol city continues along the shore of Lake Issyk Kul, here you will meet up with “Berkutchi” – Golden Eagle hunter and watch the process of hunting. Next, visit Djety Oguz canyon, (2200m) known for its rocky outcrops. Arrival at Karakol and a city-tour which includes the Dungan Mosque, which looks like a Mongolian Buddhist.


Thursday 08 May

KARAKOL – “Kegen” - Almaty (Kazakhstan)

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Today’s drive is to the Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan border. After border formalities continue to the city of Almaty and some free time.


Friday 09 May

ALMATY (Kazakhstan)

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This morning we explore the “Green Bazaar” and the Central State Historical Museum. After lunch we visit the National Park in the Ili Alatau mountains where the altitude varies from 600 to 5,000 meters. The Medeo located at the height of 1,690 meters, is the highest skating rink location in the world. The last stop is Kok Tobe Park to take a ride on the cable car with magnificent panoramic views of the city. Farewell dinner tonight.

Saturday 10 May

ALMATY - Kazakh Ethno-Village “Huns”

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his village is a perfect place to experience the nomadic past of Kazakh’s culture, hospitality, traditions, games and rituals. The village, about 35 km from Almaty has a welcome ritual “shashu” before an entertaining program which includes a cooking class, traditional dancing and horse games, before a traditional local lunch.

Sunday 11 May

ALMATY – DUBAI - Auckland

An early morning start as we transfer to the airport for our flight home. Change planes in Dubai.


Monday 12 May


Arrive Auckland



Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
   $15,795  $ 17,997
Business Class Upgrade +$9,183
Premium Economy Class Upgrade P.O.A
Early Booking Discount ( 01 August 2024 ) $150
Previous International Pukekohe Travel Tour Discount $100

*This is a cash price. Credit cards will incur a 1.5% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment


• Items of a personal nature

• Travel Insurance is essential (please ask us for a quote)

• Airline and airport taxes (approx. $375)

• Items not specified

• Tips/Gratitude to Drivers & Guides

• Visas

Booking Conditions

• A non-refundable deposit of $1500 per person will secure a place on the tour

• Full payment is due no later than 14 January 2025 


• From the date of booking to 14 January 2025 – loss of deposit

• After 14 January 2025  – no refund

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is essential. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.

General Information

Temperatures ˚c  Max Min


 26  17


26 17


25 15


25 12
Almaty 23 11
Currency / Money  


Turkmenistani Manat


 Uzbekistani Som


 Tajikistani Somoni
Kyrgyzstan            Kyrgystani Som


It is essential you can manage your own suitcase. A bag with wheels is an advantage when travelling through airports.


• A current passport is required, valid six months beyond date of travel


• Turkmenistan visa fee (USD 90) to be paid by clients themselves on spot Tajikistan 

• Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – visa free for New Zealand passport holders.

Tour at a Glance

This is a soft adventure tour designed to experience the best of the five stans. We will travel by comfortable coach through incredible scenery and historic cities.


Health and Fitness

Walking tours are an important part of the itinerary and a good standard of health is required with the ability to walk on uneven surfaces and negotiate stairs

Terms and Conditions

For full terms and conditions please visit our website  www.pukekohetravelco.nz/termsandconditions  or ask our tour consultant for a copy

Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change