On arrival into Tashkent you will be met and transferred to the group hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. This evening you will meet the rest of the group for dinner.
After breakfast we commence our drive to the Oybek border point where we will complete border formalities and cross on foot into Tajikistan. You will need to carry your own luggage across this border for approx 150m. Along the way to Artuch base camp we will travel over the Shakhristan pass (3378m) and into the amazing Zeravshan Valley. This area is famous for its unique mountain landscapes and beautiful lakes. Artuch base camp comprises of wooden chalets and cottages set amidst a wide expanse of juniper woods and it is here that we will meet our trekking guides, cook and porters.
Overland transfer today: Tashkent to Uzbek/Tajik border (70 km, 1,2 hrs), then cross over the border / continue drive to Artuch base camp (350 km, 7 hrs)
Overnight altitude: 2200 masl
A well trodden trail takes us up the Urjam River valley through mixed juniper and deciduous groves covering two giant scree dams steeply rising up the right hand side of the tight gorge. The dams serve as a natural filter for water running into the stream. The track levels out and once we top the upper dam, the turquoise necklace of Kulikalon Lakes frame the jagged summits of the Pamir Fann Mountains including Maria (4970m) Mirali (5120m), Rudaki (4900m) and Adamtash (4700m) which are known as the "Kulikalon Wall". After a picnic lunch we continue through the juniper forest and head to the eastern shore of Bibidjanat Lake for our first night camping. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sunset over Mirali Peak. (10 km, +700 m, 5 hrs)
Overnight altitude: 3000 masl
After a hearty breakfast we pack up camp and head steeply uphill out of the juniper forest and alpine meadows to the Alauddin Pass (3860m). Here we will be able to see the entire Kulikalon Lakes system. The snowcapped peaks of Chapdara (5050m), Bodhona (5138m) and Zamok (5070m) can also be seen. After a picnic lunch we descend steeply on a rocky path to our campsite on a glade of Alauddin Lake. This afternoon you can opt for an easy walk around the lakes or relax at our campsite. (7 km, +960m/-1060m, 7 hrs)
Overnight altitude: 2800masl
We begin today with an optional walk. There are some steep ups and downs and we make our way up to Matnoye Lake. We will see trailing glaciers, abrupt rock walls and rare birch trees. Nicknamed "Piala" for its round form is the smallest lake of the system which we will see today. Or you are free to stay and explore the area around the camp site. (8 km, +800m, - 900m, 6 hrs)
Overnight altitude: 2800masl
The track climbs up the pass to a saddle from which the huge hollow of Kulikalon Lakes and the western part of the wall are almost completely visible. We will then descend on a wide track to our camp at Kulikalon Lake. Today, weather permitting is fantastic for photography as we will have unforgettable panorama views of all surrounding mountains. (12,5 km, +830 m/-730 m, 7 hrs)
Overnight altitude: 2900 masl
The ascent of Gujtan Pass is relatively difficult, following a track amongst a grove of fir-trees. After approx. 2 hours we descend from the pass to the gorge of the Gujtan River and onto the picturesque village of Guytan. We follow the wide valley of the Achimajdan River to Kishlak Zimut where we will overnight in a homestay. You will be treated to some local food and hospitality readily offered by the people of Guytan. (21 km,+800 m/-1700 m, 9 hrs)
Overnight altitude: 1870 masl
Today we rest our legs and return to Tashkent via the Oybel pass. Again, you will need to carry your own luggage across the border area. Once border formalities are complete we will arrive in Tashkent early afternoon where the rest of the day is at leisure.
(350 km, 7 hrs approx 1-2 hrs at border crossing)
This morning we enjoy a half day tour of Tashkent before driving to Samarkand. In the evening enjoy some leisure time to explore this ancient and important Silk Road city plus our group dinner.
Today we enjoy a full days sightseeing in and around Samarkand. First we visit the impressive "heart" of Samarkand, Registan Square enclosed by three spectacular madrasah. These huge buildings with domes and minarets covered in a mosaic of azure tiles were built from the 1400s. Registan Square is truly one of the wonders of the ancient world. We will also visit the beautiful 15th centrury Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Siyob Bazaar and Ulugh Beg Observatory which dates back to the 1420s.
Today is a long drive through the Kyzylkum Desert. Throughout the desert more than 4,000 petroglyphs dot the slopes of the Sarmysh River. Despite the carvings dating back to the Stone Age, many have the appearance of being carved just yesterday. We will stop to view some of the best. En route we also visit Nurata, an ancient town founded in 327BC by Alexander the Great. The remains of this military fortress rise above the town and represent one of the most ancient archaeological monuments of the region. We arrive at our Yurt Camp late in the afternoon where we enjoy a hearty dinner round the camp fire in the company of local akyn (folklore singers).
Overnight Yurt Camp
After breakfast we pack up camp, bid farewell our hosts and drive to the beautiful Adyarkul Lake where we will enjoy a swim and stop for a leisurely lunch. Then we continue on to Bukhara to check into our hotel and you can enjoy an evening of free time, at your leisure.
Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan, situated on a sacred hill where sacrifices were made by fire-worshippers in springtime. Bukhara City was founded in the 13th Century BC during the reign of Siyavushids who ascended to power 980 years before the arrival of Alexander the Great. The city's name originates from the word "vihara" which is Sanskrit for monastery. The city was once a large and important commercial centre on the Great Silk Road. Bukhara boasts more than 140 architectural monuments dating back to the middle Ages. The city consists of atmospheric narrow streets, open green parks and gardens, and superb historical and architectural monuments. This evening we celebrate our journey with a farewell dinner.
We enjoy a morning at leisure before boarding the late afternoon train to Tashkent. You will be met at the train station and transferred to either the airport or your post accommodation arrangements. Trip concludes.