Uzbekistan Bicycle Tour Adventure

 

 

Get off the beaten path. It’s a cliche, isn’t it? Well, come to Uzbekistan and beat a new path with us. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the silk route and the ancient empires, then explore the relics of the Soviet era, while venturing into the naturally beautiful, remote corners of this fascinating country and connecting with communities who rarely see foreign visitors.

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Highlights

7

Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • 1

    Our group of adventurers meets in the lobby of the City Palace Hotel in Tashkent at 9 a.m. From here, it is a 1.5-hour drive out through the compact urban sprawl. The veneer of modernity fades quickly as we enter the countryside areas where the vehicles are fewer and older, the people are dressed more traditionally, and the hard-working donkey becomes a more common sight. 

    Upon arriving in tiny Nevich, a mountain village, we will set up the bikes and conduct a safety briefing amidst the sleepy mudbrick neighborhoods, likely with local kids watching in amusement. 

    Nearing the end of today’s route, we’ll come across the grape-growing fields in this area. Wine production may not have been the first thing you thought of when hearing of Uzbekistan, but it’s a growing industry here, and they produce a respectable drop—well, respectable for $4-6 a bottle at least. We can pick up a few of these to share with our hosts this evening. 

    As the sun sets, we’ll share stories and local wine in the warm embrace of our relatively simple countryside guesthouse, complete with an ensuite bathroom. 

    Tashkent

  • 2

    The riding starts in earnest today. An early morning is almost assured, thanks to the cacophony of your typical Uzbekistani village. The roosters may start it off, but once the donkeys get involved, only the heavily sedated could remain undisturbed.
    The early morning breeze makes it a rewarding start to our journey as we head to Charvac, ensuring we arrive with time to spare and allowing us to relish the surroundings.  

    On the way, we visit the Sun Institute, which is one of the two solar furnaces in the world. Built in the 1980s, the complex still amazes with its fantastic “space” view, reminiscent of either a launch pad or an alien station.  

    Today’s ride features more thrilling descents than challenging ascents, leading us through diverse roads and charming landscapes.  Initially, dry fields surround us before we ride into intensely irrigated areas, revealing vineyards flourishing with grapes.  

    To ensure a balanced and achievable day, we take a brief respite in the van towards the end of our journey, where we’ll relax at our lakeside retreat, our haven for the next two nights. 

  • 3

    Today’s ride unfolds as a challenging yet deeply fulfilling journey. We follow a relatively quiet and well-made road as we climb out of the valley and into the breathtaking Chatkal range. The scenery, adorned with flowers in the fields, unfolds like a masterpiece as we ascend, with the reservoir below offering a picturesque backdrop. 

    Our midpoint and turnaround location for today is the Beldersay Ski Resort. In the winter months, the more experienced skiers leave the easier Chimgan resort to the masses and come to Beldersay to test their skills. In the spring and fall, the scene is, of course, very different.  

    From the restaurant, you can gaze upon the arid expanse with idle chairlifts, and during spring, catch a glimpse of lingering snow on the summit of Greater Chimgan, the highest peak in the area at 3,300m.   

    After lunch, we retrace our tire treads as we ride back to our accommodation at the lake, with a stop at the park to rest the legs for a little bit. While much of the journey back is downhill, be prepared for a final short climb before reaching the top of the main descent.  

    After the ride, reward your efforts with a refreshing dip in the pool, and if time permits, we may even explore the nearby beach for an extra dose of relaxation. 

  • 4

    After the challenging ride yesterday, we have an easier one today as we ride along Charvak Mountain Reservoir to the village of Nanai, crossing bridges and rivers before we climb to Sijak village. As we descend to the town of Charvak, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views that embrace the vast Charvak water reservoir and the majestic mountains of the south-western Tien-Shan range. 

    We’ll stop at various villages along the route, inhabited by mostly ethnic Tajiks and known as the home village and resting place of an influential Sufi devotee, Sheikh Khoja Umar, who traveled to Tashkent to disseminate Islam.   

    The villages range in size from 500 to 4000 people, and the scenery is varied. The lake is a constant scene on our left, with an undulating road throughout the day. We conclude our ride in one of these small villages, where a modest lunch awaits in a traditional cafe and a cold bucket shower to wash away the grime of the road.   

    We’ll finish up the day with a 1h30min drive back into Tashkent to spend the night in the capital. 

  • 5

    Today we’re exploring Tashkent on foot. We delve into the lively Chorsu Bazaar, the main market in downtown Tashkent. It is a bustling, exciting place where the produce section comes alive at 5 a.m., followed by the vibrant textile and craft stalls at 6:30 a.m. 

    We visit the Earthquake Memorial, the White Mosque, and Cosmonaut Park, and we take a ride on the subway. Having squared away these monumental items of importance, we enjoy lunch at the Plov Center, where we can enjoy the very best of this national dish. We then find our way back to the hotel.  

    In the afternoon, we will travel 3 hours by van to the town of Jizzakh, where we will spend a night and be well positioned for our ride the next day. 

  • 6

    Starting out from town on the bus, we have a 40-minute drive to reach the start of the ride. Today’s adventure unfolds on gravel trails, weaving through undulating terrain that offers breathtaking vistas at every turn.  

    En route, we pause under the welcoming shade of the Mulberry Tree, a perfect spot for a delightful tea time with snacks.  

    The terrain is a fascinating blend of rugged beauty, offering a stark yet captivating contrast to the earlier journey north from Tashkent.  

    Ascending the Pistalitau Ridge, we’re treated to sweeping views before gracefully descending into the charming town of Bajram, nestled in the shadow of Ortacheku Rocks. Our ride culminates with a gentle ascent up a narrow gulley along a stream, leading us to our comfortable yurt camp. And yes, there’s a refreshing pool awaiting our arrival! 

    As the sun dips, you might find the mountains calling for a relaxing evening walk. Take a stroll and soak in the calm ambiance, allowing the day’s adventures to settle in the peaceful mountain setting. 

  • 7

    Today we have an action-packed day of adventure! 

    We make an early start, so a snooze on the 3-hour-long journey in the van is quite a likely possibility, as we’ll be driving through arid landscapes for the first half of the journey. Then, as the road starts to climb, things become a bit more scenic, and once we disembark and start pedaling, the true beauty of our destination unfolds. 

    We’ll hop on our bikes, and as we cycle from the mountain Zaamin reservoir towards the Turkestan ridge to the Zaamin National Natural Park, the landscape transforms. In spring, vibrant flowers carpet the grassy hills, while fall showcases a stunning array of foliage. 

    The area is home to walnut trees and juniper woods and is enveloped in fresh, cool air throughout the year. Then we take a slightly different route out and continue to our mountaintop accommodation, a dated but comfortable Soviet-era resort. 

    If the group is up for it, we can extend our cycling adventure by an additional 10 km, offering more breathtaking views. In the afternoon, embark on a 4-hour trek from Zaamin resort through Chuchkar Pass (2220 m) to the picturesque Uruklisai gorge. 

    After check-in at your comfortable Soviet-era resort on the Sulfa plateau, dinner is waiting for you. If desired, you can cap off the day with a light 2-3 km or 1–2-hour hike around the Suffa plateau to witness a stunning sunset and/or gaze at the stars. 

    zaamin

    đất


    Did you mean ज़ामिन

  • 8

    55km
    41.5mi
     Meal:BLD

    Today’s ride kicks off at 2000 meters, and the crisp mountain air encourages us to take it gently until we reach the summit at 2440 meters. 

    Navigating the undulating terrain, we approach the remarkable solar complex, PHYSICS-SUN. Built in the 80s, the complex still impresses with its fantastic “cosmic” appearance, looking like a launch pad or an alien station. The complex is located on a rocky hill at an altitude of 1100 m. in the picturesque foothills of the South-Western Tien-Shan. 

    After a lovely descent, we’ll tackle another climb, elevating us from 2300 meters to 2482 meters, and then we get to enjoy a big, long downhill that spans 30km, interrupted just twice for some short climbs.   

    Recharge with a well-earned picnic lunch before settling into the comfort of our van and embarking on the next leg of our journey to Samarkand, the second-largest city in Uzbekistan. 

  • 9

    UNESCO-listed Samarkand is Uzbekistan’s second-largest city. It is thought to be one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in Asia, and while it is hard to say exactly when it was founded, there is some informed opinion dating it to the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. 

    The city of Samarkand harbors a vibrant artisan community, a living legacy of its Silk Route past. Our journey includes a visit to the iconic Registan Square, where three magnificent madrasahs frame a historic public square. Here, you can immerse yourself in the intricate details of the ornate decoration both inside and outside these religious monuments. 

    For any early birds, there are some other monuments in the city that are well liked by a good camera.  

    After an action-packed morning, the afternoon invites you to unwind at your own pace. For those eager to delve deeper into the city’s treasures, your guide is ready to assist in uncovering more hidden gems and historical wonders. As the sun sets, we’ll gather for a delightful dinner to share stories and discuss the exciting chapters awaiting us on our adventure. 

    For those interested, a night city tour awaits after dinner, treating you to a mesmerizing light show at Samarkand’s main historical monuments: Gur Emir, Registan, and Bibi-Khanum.

  • 10

    Today, we’ll have an early start. We have a drive of around 3 hours to reach the town of Sarmysh, where we’ll explore the fascinating Petroglyphs of Sarmysh, tucked away in a canyon.  

    Unlike other rock art sites in central Asia, this one boasts a remarkable collection of clearly visible drawings etched into smooth black shale.  

    These drawings, believed to be up to 7000 to 9000 years old years old, portray a narrative of animals, dancers, and men with large appendages.  

    After lunch at a local café, you have the option of embracing a thrilling 32-kilometer bike ride from the Karga-Karag Pass to Nurata. The route, mostly downhill and on smooth asphalt, promises a challenging yet scenic experience for those seeking an extra dose of adventure.  

    Our evening retreat is a comfortable hotel in Nurataoffering modest yet cozy rooms. 

  • 11

    Today we’ll take a tour through Nurota, a city that traces its origins back to 327 B.C., thanks to the footsteps of none other than Alexander the Great. Marvel at the clever water system he left behind, still doing its job today, and catch a peek at the remnants of his fortress down south. 

    Now, let’s switch gears and hop on our bikes. Our next destination? A cozy yurt camp.

    For those seeking relaxation can opt for a visit to the north-western shore of Aydarkul Lake, where the beach invites you to unwind and soak in the surroundings. 

  • 12

    As a wise yurt-dweller once said, ‘a good sleep is a long sleep.’ Today is one of those unique days on the bike—not necessarily about breathtaking scenery but more about the joy of pedaling, good exercise, and engaging conversations with fellow riders. 

    The scenery is similar to the day before, but marginally less interesting. We’ll hop in the van and journey to Bukhara. Our first stop is the Rabat Malik Caravanserai, where we’ll explore an 11th-century fortified inn that once thrived as a bustling hub for traders and travelers along the Silk Road and marvel at the Sardoba Malik, an impressive underground cistern that served as a vital water source for the caravanserai. 

    We’ll hop on our bikes and ride through the Kyzyltepa region, which introduces a captivating mix of villages, cultivated fields, and off-road trails, offering a fresh perspective on the Uzbek countryside. 

    After checking in at our accommodation in Bukhara, we’ll cap off the day with a delightful dinner, likely seasoned with laughter and, quite possibly, a cheerful toast or two of Vodka. 

  • 13

    Our morning in Bukhara unfolds as we immerse ourselves in the rich history of this vital Silk Road city. 

    Witness the mesmerizing Lyabi-Khauz complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands as a testament to the city’s early rulers, who ingeniously crafted a network of canals to irrigate the surrounding landscape. This complex, with its historic pool, madrasah, khanaka, and minaret, tells the tale of Bukhara’s rich heritage.  

    Explore the only active madrasah in Bukhara, built in the 16th century. This educational institution stands as a living legacy to the city’s cultural vibrancy. Adjacent to it, the 16th-century khanaka, once a shelter for travelers, echoes the footsteps of those who sought refuge on the Silk Road. Marvel at the minaret, an architectural gem dating back to the 12th century, proudly symbolizing the spirit of Bukhara. 

    We’ll stroll through the central, old town area, where the atmosphere transports you back to the days of camel caravans. It’s a captivating glimpse into the past, surrounded by the echoes of ancient stories and the timeless charm of Bukhara. 

    As we bid farewell to the enchanting streets of Bukhara, rest assured that a comfortable hotel room beckons, providing the perfect haven after a journey through history. Tonight, we gather for our final dinner, sharing stories and toasting to the memories we’ve created together. 

  • 14

    It’s our last morning together, and what better way to end this Uzbekistan Bike Adventure than to visit a workshop or two where knives are crafted, and rugs are woven?  

    We’ll explore the buzzing bazaar nearby, where spices are piled high in unbelievably neat arrangements. Barter with the vendors and enjoy some local treats, then move on to the Ark of Bukhara, the fortress from which the Emir’s ruled.  

    On the way back to the hotel, we’ll pass a few of the workshops, but anyone wanting to shop should be a swift decision-maker, as we will be checked out of the hotel by 12:30 for our drive to the airport and 4:45 p.m. flight.  

    We should be arriving in Tashkent around 5:25 p.m. You have the choice to either stay at the airport for your international flight connection or let us take you to a city hotel where the tour concludes. 

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Booking Policy

  • All Meals: Breakfast x13, Lunch x14, Dinner x13
  • 13 nights in unique, specially selected accommodation
  • Full vehicle support and transfers
  • Well maintained bike and helmet
  • Snacks and water during riding/trekking
  • Knowledgeable English speaking local guide
  • All ticket, activity and entry costs included in the itinerary
  • Custom country-themed jersey and water bottle as mementos

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