Special Interest Tours


Steppe Journeys prides itself on arranging interesting and sometimes offbeat excursions within Central Asia. Here are some suggestions, which we can customize to match your budget and interests.

Silks and Ceramics of the Ferghana Valley
Art and Craft Master Classes
Tashkent Architectural Tours
Rishtan ceramic bowl
Tashkent Small Museums Tours
Aral Sea Excursion from Nukus
Horse Riding in Kyrgyzstan
Adventures in the Desert of Karakalpakstan, Western Uzbekistan

4 Day Silks and Ceramics of the Ferghana Valley
Day 1: Tashkent-Ferghana (400 km, drive over Kamchik pass) After breakfast drive to the lush Ferghana valley, located beyond the Pamir Alay mountains in eastern Uzbekistan. It is a region famous for its silks and ceramics. On the way to Ferghana you will stop in Kokand for a short city tour and visit Khudayarkhan's palace, Juma mosque and the Royal cemetery Dahmai Shoh. After lunch at a local restaurant continue driving to Ferghana valley along Katta Ferghana canal, which was built by hand by 160,000 people in only forty five days. Overnight  Ferghana.

Day 2: Ferghana-Rishtan-Margilan-Ferghana Rishtan is renowned for its blue ceramics: the design and ornamentation are unique and of excellent quality. Later drive to Margilan Silk Factory Yodgorlik, where you will see how Uzbek hand-made silk is made with old technology. You will see the process of spinning out the silk threads from the cocoon and the final result being ikat silk fabrics. At the end of the tour you will have chance to buy local souvenirs from the factory shop. Overnight in Ferghana.

Silk threads tied for dyeing
Day 3: Ferghana-Andijan-Ferghana (110 km, one way)
A day trip to Andijan, the birthplace of Babur, the founder of Moghul dynasty. En route stop to visit the ruins of Quva dating back to 1st AD when the Ferghana valley belonged to the Kushan empire and it was a town of Buddists and Zoroastrians. in Andjian you will see the musuem of Babur, the 16th C Juma mosque and the bazaar. Evening return to Ferghana, overnight.

Day 4: Ferghana-Tashkent
After breakfast you can drive back to Tashkent via Kamchik pass or fly to Tashkent (depends on days of the week).

Inclusions:
  • Transport (Sedan car only, vans and buses are not allowed to drive on the pass)
  • Hotel accommodation in twin/double room sharing
  • Breakfast days 2, 3 and 4
  • Local guides in Kokand, Ferghana and Andijan
  • Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the program
  • Water 1l per person per day

Exclusions:
  • Personal charges in hotels
  • Flights
  • All extra not included in above program.
Cost: Please contact us, advising the number of people in your party.
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Master Classes

Woodblock printer's studio

Steppe Journeys can arrange interesting Master Classes with Uzbek artisans in various cities.

Programs include:
  • woodblock printing, 
  • ceramics, 
  • Uzbek cuisine and bread making, 
  • traditional dance, 
  • wood carving
  • embroidery.

Cost: Please contact us advising your interests. Perhaps you have another craft you wish to learn? Let us know.

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1 day Tashkent Architectural Tours

Tashkent was struck by a devastating earthquake in 1966 that destroyed most of the city. The city you see today is relatively new compared to the monuments of the great Silk Road oases. However, there are some marvellous modern gems well worth visiting.

This one-day guided tour will include:
  • the best stations on Tashkent's metro system, modelled on Moscow's and famous for the beauty of its tile work and ornamentation
  • prime examples of Soviet 'cosmic' style buildings such as the former Lenin Museum, (which now houses the vast State Museum of History of Uzbekistan) and the Tashkent Circus
  • apartment blocks from the 1970s that reveal a distinctive Uzbek take on Soviet brutalist architecture
  • new public buildings designed since 1991 such as the National Library
  • lunch can be at the Hotel Uzbekistan, another famous modernist building, or at a private apartment
Cost: Please contact us, advising the number of people in your party. We can also arrange an architect to accompany you.

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1 day Tashkent Small Museums Tours

There are some fabulous, little known museums dotted around Tashkent.  On this guided one-day tour you can visit a combination of these museums based on your interests.
Tamara Khanum
  • Tamara Khanum museum, located in the dancer's former house. Khanum was one of the first Uzbek women to dance without a veil and gained international fame for her performances. The collection of her costumes has been fully restored; the exhibition of historical photographs is also fascinating.
  • Ural Tansykbaev museum: an Uzbek artist, whose Fauvist works are astonishing. His paintings are in the Tretyakov gallery and the State Museum of Art of the Peoples of the East in Moscow, as well as the Savitsky collection, Nukus.
  • Mukhtar Ashrafi's House museum is devoted to the famous Uzbek composer and conductor,  one of the founders of the national opera, who dedicated his entire life to the development of Uzbekistan's musical culture.
  • Sergey Yesenin museum: the great Russian poet, briefly married to Isadora Duncan, spent time in Turkestan, where he loved relaxing in tea houses and reciting poetry. The exhibits, include manuscripts and autographs of Yesenin, his lifetime’s publications, photographs, and memorable objects. The house's interior provides an authentic picture of a European family’s mode of living in Tashkent in the beginning of 1920s.
  • Abdulla Kahhar Museum: the Uzbek prosaic and dramatist, satirist, master of short story and the author of the famous comedy 'Silky Suzani'
  • Sergey Borodin Museum located in the writer's house; his family has preserved the writer's rooms, library and sitting room exactly as it was on his death in 1974.
  • Tashkent Railway museum: a marvellous collection of huge steam and electric locomotives that plied across Central Asia.
Cost: Please contact us, advising the number of people in your party.
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2 Day Aral Sea Excursion from Nukus

Day 1 : 
Depart from your Nukus hotel at the crack of dawn for the long (8-hour, 400 km) drive to the Aral Sea!. Along the way you will pass the town of Kungrad which was once one of the five main trading towns of the Great Silk Road. From Kungrad you’ll drive northeast, eventually ascending to the surreal landscape of Ustyurt Plateau. You’ll pass Sudochie Lake, which teems with more birdlife than any other spot in the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

Ustyurt Plateau
From Sudochie Lake you’ll continue to the small oil-mining town of Urge, where you’ll break for lunch before heading north for some extreme off-road driving along the top of the Ustyurt Plateau. 


Eventually you’ll arrive at the cliffs that overlook the dried bottom of the Aral Sea’s former western border. From here you can barely make out a blue line on the horizon to the east. That’s the Aral Sea’s new shoreline, which now lies 185 km inside its former shoreline in Moynaq. Around here you can take exclusive pictures of the sea, witness the massive landslides that have occurred as a result of the sea’s retreat, and observe unique desert vegetation, much of it manually planted by the German organization GTZ. 


Next you will drive down from the plateau to the camp where you will stay for the night. From here you are free to walk to the seashore, enjoy the unique experience of swimming in Aral Sea’s salty waters or simply reflect how this huge sea has decreased from 70,000 sq. km to 27,000 sq. km in the last 47 years. In the evening you will enjoy a meal cooked over an open-air campfire before kicking back to enjoy the spectacle of a sky filled with thousands of stars and, if you’re lucky, a big moon. You’ll fall asleep breathing fresh air and listening to waves lapping the shore of the Aral.  
Accommodation: Camp (tents) 


View of a ship in the Aral Sea's graveyard

Day 2 : Aral Sea – Moynak-Nukus (400 km) 
After an early breakfast you ascend back onto to the Ustyurt Plateau and retrace your steps toward Urge. Before reaching Urge, however, you again descend from the plateau and drive southeast toward Moynak. On the way you will pass oil rigs set up to exploit the oil lying under what was once the Aral Sea’s seabed. After a stop for lunch, the tour continues to the settlement of Uchsai, formerly an Aral Sea port.

Thirty minutes later you arrive in Moynak. You can relive Moynak’s glory years in the local museum, where paintings depict a noisy and busy port town, with a bountiful harbour and rich fauna and flora. The museum also contains Karakalpak traditional tools, clothing, jewelry, and an exhibit on Moynak’s once-thriving fish factory. Next you will visit the World War II Heroes Monument, followed by last stop, Moynak’s famous “Ship Graveyard”, where you can take photos and once again contemplate the scale of the Aral Sea disaster. In the evening you’ll return to Nukus.

Inclusions:
  • Transportation in UAZ Patriot, Land Cruiser
  • 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner
  • Necessary accessories: tent, sleeping bags (or blankets), stove, table, chairs, plates, cups and etc. (all included in tour price)
  • Guide and cook
Cost: Please contact us, advising the number of people in your party.
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