Authentic Desert Living

Camel Ride

Lake Aydarkul

A Magical Desert Yurt Camp Getaway

Embark on an enlightening 2-day yurt camp tour in the Uzbekistan desert, a journey that intertwines ancient history, authentic cultural encounters, and the captivating allure of the desert landscape. This insightful experience allows you to step back in time and explore the remnants of the past, believed to date back to the era of Alexander the Great. As you traverse the desert, you’ll find yourself staying in traditional yurts, offering a unique glimpse into the nomadic lifestyle of the region.

Venture beyond the yurt camp and set out on a 4 km hike to the desert village of ‘Dungalak.’ This walk not only showcases the stark beauty of the desert landscape but also provides a window into the daily lives, livelihoods, and land-use practices of the local desert inhabitants. A harmonious blend of history and nature, this tour also offers the choice between a leisurely camel ride or a car journey to explore the captivating surroundings, culminating in a visit to Lake Aydarkul. This expansive man-made lake, situated 8 km southeast of the yurt camp, presents a serene backdrop for exploration.

As the day winds down, the enchantment continues around the campfire, where the melodies of local bards weave stories of the desert’s past and present. This journey promises to be an unforgettable blend of history, culture, and the untamed beauty of the desert.

Highlights of the Tour

Explore the ancient ruins of Alexander the Great's fortress in Nurata city

Settle into traditionally decorated yurts in the picturesque desert yurt camp

Engage with village life in Dungalak, a window into desert livelihoods

Delight in a camel ride or leisurely strolls amidst the serene dunes

Enjoy a serene lakeside picnic with an optional refreshing swim

Day 1 – Transfer from Bukhara through Nurata to desert yurt camp: At 9:00 am depart from Bukhara or Samarkand via Nurata city to the desert yurt camp located near the village of Dungalak (total 5 hours of drive). On the way to the yurt camp, stop in Nurata to visit the ruins of Alexander the Great’s fortress, holy spring, and other sights. After having lunch in Nurata, continue to the desert yurt camp. Upon arrival, settle into your yurt, enjoy a leisurely camel ride, or walk around the dunes before enjoying the evening around the fireplace listening to local bards tell stories through music.

Day 2 – Visit to desert village Dungalak & Lake Aydarkul then return to Samarkand:
After breakfast, you can get a car ride or walk to the nearby desert village Dungalak (4km) to get familiar with the life of village people who mainly live on livestock and sheep farming. After visiting the village, drive by car or ride on the camels (an additional 20$ per camel) from the camp to Lake Aydarkul located 8 kilometers (3 hours) to the southeast. Aydarkul is an artificial salty lake that stretches 180 km to the east, being the largest wetland body in the area it is home to many aquatic birds such as cranes, pelicans, numerous waders, many ducks, and goose species. Enjoy a picnic at the lake. Depending on the season you can swim or just stroll along the lake shores observing the birds. In the afternoon transfer to Samarkand/Bukhara (5 hours of drive).


Click the “Itinerary” tab to see a detailed itinerary.

Click the Tabs to Find out More

Trip Details

Trip Details


In Samarkand: at Gur Amir Mausoleum
In Bukhara: at the statue of Naserridin at Labi Haus Pool

All year round. Recommended to visit during April to the end of October.

Check the availability for this tour on the sidebar calendar.

2 days

From 2 to 12 travellers


  • 1 night in the yurt camp (private yurt for the group)
  • 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
  • Camel riding around the yurt camp (20 min)
  • Transport: Bukhara/Samarkand – Yurt camp – Samarkand /Bukhara
  • Entrance tickets in Nurata city
  • Registration
  • Traditional music performance by a local bard around the fire

  • Personal travel insurance
  • Guide
  • Optional camel riding to the Lake Aydarkul (20 $ per camel)


Driver for transfers to and from the yurt camp

Your 2-Day Desert Yurt Tour Itinerary

Day 1 – Bukhara – Nurata – Yurt camp
At 9:00 AM, our driver will collect you at the meeting point. Embark on a picturesque 5-hour drive to the desert yurt camp nestled near the charming village of Dungalak in the Kyzyl-Kum desert. En route, make a stop in Nurata city for lunch and get a glimpse of local attractions, including the remnants of Alexander the Great’s fortress, a holy spring, and a historical mosque. As you explore Nurata, you’ll uncover fascinating legends interwoven with its history and name. Delve into the 9th-century mausoleum, mosque, and the remnants of Alexander the Great’s fortress, immersing yourself in a tapestry of heritage. Continue your journey towards the yurt camp, 65 kilometres and an hour’s drive away. Upon arrival, settle comfortably into your traditional yurt accommodation.

In the afternoon, take a camel ride or leisurely stroll across the mesmerising desert dunes. Depending on the season, you might encounter steppe tortoises, agile hares, and the vibrant hues of desert agamas. A delicious dinner awaits, followed by the enchanting melodies of local bards around a crackling campfire. Later, retire to your cosy yurt for a good night’s rest surrounded by the tranquillity of the desert.

Day 2 – Yurt camp –Lake Aydarkul – Samarkand
After breakfast, explore the nearby desert village, Dungalak, situated only 4 kilometres away from the yurt camp. Engage with the local village life, centred around livestock and sheep farming, and gain insights into the rhythms of rural existence. Later, you can choose to traverse to Lake Aydarkul, either by a comfortable car ride or atop a camel companion (with an additional camel fee of $20). This lake, stretching 8 kilometres southeast from the camp, presents Aydarkul’s allure. As the largest artificial salty lake in the region, it sprawls 180 kilometres eastward and serves as a sanctuary for a vibrant array of aquatic birds, including cranes, pelicans, ducks, and geese.

Indulge in a picnic by the lakeside, and depending on the season, go in for a swim or stroll along the tranquil shores while observing the lively birdlife. With memories of the desert village and the mesmerising lake etched into your journey, embark on the afternoon transfer, a 5-hour drive back to Samarkand.

Private Tour Enquiry

All our tours are available as private tours. To request private tour departure dates you can send us an enquiry here. Please fill in your details and select your preferred adventure tour in the form below and we will get back to you with available departure dates. Please note, private tours can depart from Samarkand or Bukhara.

  • Which tour are you interested in?

See What Previous Travellers Have Said About Our Tours

See More Uzbekistan Adventure Tours