Mountain villages hiking tour 7 days
This seven day hiking tour in the Nuratau Mountains gives you a chance to explore five picturesque mountain villages, vast Kyzyl-Kum steppes and Central Asian biggest manmade lake Aydarkul. You will also meet some incredibly friendly local people and get to know their customs and traditions.
- Explore five remote mountain villages and local sights around
- Easy to medium hikes along the buffer zone of the Nuratau Nature Reserve
- Experience a stay with the village families and try different traditional meals
- Flora and fauna of scenic mountain valleys
- Kyzyl-Kum and lake Aydarkul
- Local customs and traditions
Best time: March – end of June, September-November
Day 1 – Samarkand or Bukhara – Sentob village
Arrive in Sentob village. Wander around the village to see the local mosque, local school and the village shop. You will also become familiar with local building style and get to know the daily activities of villagers. In the afternoon, free time in the homestay.
Day 2 – Sentob
Hiking to Kadvan valley (15km/8 hours). Visit the ruins of ancient fortress, watermill and medieval Arabic scripts on the rock. Admire the diverse flora and fauna and rich birdlife of the valley./p>
Day 3 – Sentob
Hike to the mountain lake Fazilman (10 hours /22km return). See the Lake Aydarkul and Kyzyl-Kum from the top of the plateau, meet friendly local farmers growing vegetables on the mountain plateau.
Day 4 – Sentob – Lake Aydarkul – Hayat
Leave Sentob via Lake Aydarkul to the next mountain village called Hayat. Drive though vast Kyzyl-Kum steppes and arrive at the lake. Watch the rich aquatic bird life, swim or just stroll along the lakeshores.
Continue to Hayat village. Excursion in the village.
Day 5 – Hayat
Whole day’s hiking tour to the next village of Uhum. Visit an ancient irrigation channels, petroglyph site and meet the local people going with their daily livelihood activities.
Day 6 – Hayat -Asraf
Pack your things and start guided hike via Uhum to the next mountain village Asraf (12,5 km / 5 hours). The luggage will be transported by donkeys. En route visit community watermill and ruins of Mongol fortress.
Day 7 – Asraf – Bukhara or Samarkand
Easy hike from Asraf to another Nuratau Mountain village Eski Forish. On the way visit the ruins of medieval observation point. Return to Asraf village, after lunch leave for the next destination.
END OF THE PROGRAM
Price & Service
|Number of People||1||2||3|
|Price per person||USD 400||USD 330||USD 280|
For groups greater than 3 people –price upon request
- 6 nights accomodation in the homestays
- 6 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners
- 6 day mountain escort guide service (with basic English)
- Sealed mineral water during the hikee
What’s not Included
- Additional tours and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
- Items of personal nature
Extension trips and extra activities which can be combined with above tour
Yurt stay and camel riding near the Lake Aydarkul
1 person – 80 USD
2 persons – 65 USD per person
3 persons – 55 USD per person
- 1 night Yurt stay including all meals
- 20 minutes of camel riding
- Trip by car to Lake Aydarkul
- Transport to/ from Yurt Camp
Alexander the Great’s fortress and holly spring in Nurata city
1 person – 15 USD
2 persons – 10 USD per person
3 persons – 5 USD per person
- Entrance tickets in Nurata city
- Transport to/ from Nurata
Petroghlyps in Sarmish Gorge
1 person – 20 USD
2 persons – 15 USD per person
3 persons – 10 USD per person
- Entrance tickets to Sarmish Gorge
- Transport to/ from Sarmish
Day 1 – Samarkand or Bukhara – Sentob village
Arrive in a homestay in Sentob village. Your host welcomes you and shows the homestay facilities. Almost all the houses in Sentob village have large gardens with the river passing through. Settle in a homestay.
Lunch with the local family.
After lunch, wander around the village to see the mosque, local school, village shop and a building style of the local houses. Sentob is one of the few villages where almost all the houses are built in traditional way using local rocks. Wandering through the village is a fantastic way to see locals doing their traditional livelihood activities. You will meet many friendly and curious villagers willing to talk to you. In the afternoon, you have a free time to chat with your host family. You may also watch or participate in traditional cooking practices. Dinner with your the hosts family
Overnight stay in a homestay in Sentob.
Day 2 - Sentob
Breakfast with the family. Today, your local escort guide well familiar with all hiking trails around will take you to a whole day’s hiking tour to Kadvan valley (7,5-8 hours/ 15km return trip). Start hiking up Sentob valley, pass an old watermill, ruins of ancient fortress and an Arabic script on a rock. The hike leads you along a crystal clear mountain stream with small water-falls, lush vegetation and natural swimming pools. Have a picnic on the way. The valley is great for bird watching and has a very diverse flora. Those who are interested in birds can spot following bird species: Spotted Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Mistle Thrush, Eurasian Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Persian Nuthatch, Blue Rock-Thrush, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Nightingale, Eurasian Magpie, Chukar, and occasionally one of the owl species.
Return to Sentob the same way.Dinner with the host family
Overnight stay in a local homestay
Day 3 - Sentob
Breakfast with the family. Our today’s treck will take us to the mountain Lake Fazilman (10 hours / 22km return trip). ). In the summer, many villagers move up to their mountain huts near Fazilman lake to grow vegetables in fertile mountain plateau. On the way to the lake, you will meet many farmers bringing fodder or firewood on donkeys from the mountains down to the village. Hike up the Chavaksoy valley to Guzbin (8.3km, 3 ½ hours) , reach the mountain pass, near peak Gaukum and continue on the plateau to Lake Fazilman (2.8km, 1 hour). Have a picnic and a good rest at the lake and return to Sentob via Saridasht.
Dinner with the host family.
Overnight stay in a local homestay
Day 4 – Sentob –Lake Aydarkul - Hayat
Breakfast with the family. Prepare for the departure to the next Nuratau village.
9:00 Transfer by car to Hayat village, visit the lake Aydarkul on the way. On the main Nurata-Jizzakh tar road branch off near Andigen village to the dirt road which takes you through vast Kyzyl-Kum steppes to the lake Aydar. Driving through Kyzyl-Kum you might spot steppe tortoises, hares and desert agamas.
Arrive at the lake, depending on the time of the year you can have a swim, walk along the lakeshore or watch the rich aquatic birdlife (cranes, pelicans, many duck and goose species and numerous waders etc.). At the lake, you will meet many fishermen from the villages nearby.
12:00 Leave for Hayat village. Arrive at Shiringul’s homestay in Hayat village.
Your host welcomes you and shows the homestay facilities. Settle in Shiringul’s homestay. The homestay has six separate guestrooms, furnished with carpets, kupacha mattresses and pillows. The owner of the homestay Parda Musaev works as warden in the Nature Reserve.
Have a lunch with the family.
Start your excursion through the village by visiting the nearby breeding enclosure of highly endangered Severtsov’s wild sheep. According to official statistics, approximately 2000 wild sheep are outside the enclosure in the Nuratau Mountains valleys. From the enclosure, continue walking up to the ruins of local fortress Shaxi Korgon situated on the hill opposite the enclosure. From the top of the hill you will see many abandoned houses that belonged to the families who were forced to resettle in 1950s by Soviet Government to cotton growing areas. Continue hiking up Hayat valley. Particularly in spring, you can see the diverse flora and fauna of the region and admire lush green landscape.
Return to the homestay and take a rest in the huge shady garden along the mountain brook on tapchans or benches. Dinner with the host family
Overnight stay in Shiringul’s homestay.
Day 5 - Hayat
Breakfast with the family. Today we hike to the village of Upper Ukhum (return trip 12km). Start guided hike through Guzar and the Sari Bedak passes to Upper Ukhum village (5,4km /3,5 hours – one way). From the pass, you will have a beautiful view of peak Karaul and Hayat village. Hiking up through Uhum valley you will see local woman baking brad in the tandir oven and doing other household chores. Women in the village are still spinning, weaving carpets or making kurpacha mattresses. Many people will welcome you to enter their yards and watch what they are doing. In Upper Ukhum village, see the ancient irrigation channels still used by the local farmers and visit the petroglyph site that is an indicator of the ancient settlement history of the area. A picnic lunch will be provided for you to enjoy en route.
Reurn to Hayat village taking different route.
Dinner with the family
Overnight stay in Shiringgul’s homestay.
Day 6 – Hayat - Asraf
Breakfast with the family. Today we hike to the next homestay in Asraf village. Our escort guide will accompany you and the donkey will transport your luggage.
Start hiking via Ukhum to Asraf village (12,5km-4,5-5 hours). Once you reach the school in Upper Uhum, turn left, continue walking down through the valley (about 1 km) and stop at the old community watermill. The old watermill is still in operation and three you will see a hydro pump that lifts water up to a local house without using electricity. The owner, Bakhrom Kasimov, will be proudly demonstrate the use of these old devices to you. Continue walking down Mushibirion valley and turn right at the ruins of the old Mongol fortress “Qorgoni Honkeldi”. To get to Asraf village you still have to hike another 3,5 km to the east.
Arrive in Yashigul’s homestay in Asraf village and be welcomed by your host.
Lunch with the family
After lunch relax on the tapchans under huge walnut trees and get to know your host family. In the evening, you may wander around the village watching people doing their daily chores or help the family to prepare traditional dish Plov from home-grown vegetables and mountain spices. Dinner with the family.
Overnight stay in Yahshigul’s homestay
Day 7 – Asraf – Bukhara or Samarkand<br />
Breakfast with the family. Our morning hike takes us along the buffer zone of Nuratau Nature Reserve to the next Nuratau Mountain village Eski Forish (return trip 11 km/5 hours). You have a great view of Lake Aydar and the vast plains of the Kyzylkum steppe during this easy hike. On the way, see ancient petroglyphs and visit the ruins of a medieval look-out point in Eski Forish which was used to observe the Kyzyl-Kum plains to avoid the sudden attacks of the steppe nomads. Return to Asraf village and have lunch with the family.
Say goodbye to your hosts and leave for the next destination