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explore Uzbekistan

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tashkent  |  urgench  |  khiva  |  bukhara  |  samarqand

With a $500 Deposit

April 19 - 29, 2024

Discover the ancient Silk Road and experience over two millennia of fascinating history and culture by following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, and other famous travelers. Journey to the center of great Islamic scholarship during the classical period, and retrace the steps of sages of the Islamic tradition such as Al-Biruni, Al-Bukhari, Al-Maturidi, Al-Khawarizmi, and Umar Khayyam. Learn also about the rich multi-ethnic and multi-religious heritage of Central Asia, and the various dynasties that made a lasting impression through the arts, architecture and customs of the region.

FACULTY GUIDE

Professor ozgur koca

Bayan’s professor Dr. Ozgur Koca will be the faculty escort for the tour. He is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Philosophy. Dr. Koca has previously organized and guided numerous interfaith-intercultural dialogue trips to Turkey, and he has prior travel experience in Central Asia. He will remark on aspects of Islamic theology (kalam), philosophy (falsafa), and spirituality (Sufism) in connection with the region. He is the author of Islam, Causality, and Freedom: From the Medieval to the Modern Era (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

Itinerary in uzbekistan

The first day of the tour is Sunday, April 21. In order to arrive by this date, travelers will depart from North American gateways on Friday, April 19. Travelers from other origins will depart on Saturday, April 20.

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Bayan has been offering faculty-led tours to world heritage destinations since 2017, with recurring tours to Southern Spain, Malaysia & Singapore, Uzbekistan, Jerusalem & Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Bosnia-Herzegovina, with exciting new destinations being planned for the coming years.

WHY JOIN A BAYAN TOUR?

Tours offered by Bayan cater to the diverse interests and needs of families, while offering an exceptional educational and cultural program. Each tour is led by one or more faculty members who provide daily background lectures and insights about the historical and contemporary contexts. Local guides are utilized as well at various points in time. The itinerary is crafted by experienced personnel to maximize your enjoyment and satisfaction. While the scheduled program is robust, ample time is provided to explore on your own, shop for local handicrafts and souvenirs, and enjoy some leisure activities. Bayan’s tour group size is typically up to 35 participants.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Tashkent

  • Khast Imam Complex / oldest Qur'an manuscripts

  • Kukeldash Madrasah and Imam Bukhari Islamic Institute

  • Chorsu Bazaar traditional market

  • Amir Timur Square, Independence Square

  • Domestic flight to Urgench (Khiva)

 

Khiva

  • Ichan Kala preserved medieval city

  • Mohammed Amin Madrasah

  • Kunya-Ark Castle

  • Train or bus through Kyzyl Kum desert to Bukhara

 

Bukhara

  • Bukhara old quarter and markets

  • Citadel Ark

  • Po-i-Kalyan Complex

  • Naqshbandi memorial complex

  • Samanid Mausoleum

  • Sitorai-Mokhi0Khosa summer palace

  • Traditional pottery market

  • Bukhara tea house

  • Jumah prayer

  • Train to Samarqand

Samarqand

  • Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum (resting place of Timur and Ulugh Beg)

  • Registan Square

  • Mausoleums of Al-Muturidi and Al-Bukhari

  • Shah-i-Zinda Complex

  • Ulugh Beg Observatory

  • Bibi-Khanum Masjid

  • traditional paper mill

  • Train to Tashkent

 

Along with visiting these sites, we will encounter the people and make friendships, sample various Uzbek cuisines, appreciate cultural programs, and enjoy the natural landscapes that we pass through.

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TOUR INFORMATION

tour pricing

Double-occupancy:

 

Adult                              $2,595

Additional Adult          $2,295

Minor                             $1,895

Single Supplement     $500

Land Package Inclusions

  • 8 nights hotel (5* in most cases)

  • Ground transportation by private A/C coach

  • Airport transfers

  • All meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - included!

  • Internal flight from Tashkent to Khiva

  • Train journeys between several cities

  • Bayan scholar providing daily talks and guidance

  • Local English-speaking professional guides throughout the trip

  • Local professional guides

  • Entrance fees for sites

 

exclusions

  • International airfare to Uzbekistan via Instanbul (budget about $1,500 round-trip per person from US gateways)

  • Tourist visa (may or may not be required based on nationality) - approx. $40 USD

  • Gratuities for driver(s) and guide(s)

  • Personal items

  • Hotel incidental charges, hotel porters and other individualized services

  • Covid-19 testing, treatment and/or quarantine costs (if applicable)

  • Urgent care, medical treatment and testing, related expenses

  • Travel insurance (recommended)

hotels 

Our tour group will stay at the following hotels, or ones of comparable quality:

 

Tashkent              Hilton Tashkent City Hotel or similar (3 nights)

Samarkand          Zarafshon Parkside Hotel or similar (2 nights)

Bukhara                Sahid Zarafshon Hotel or similar (2 nights)

Khiva                     Farovon Hotel or similar (1 night)

With a $500 Deposit

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

Arriving to Uzbekistan

 

We recommend reaching Uzbekistan via Turkish Airlines, although other airlines may be used.  Travelers from the US are encouraged to depart on Friday, April 19 from their origin city and transit in Istanbul.  Many tour participants may be on the same flight from Istanbul to Tashkent (TK 370) that leaves around 6:30pm on the evening of Saturday, April 20, and reaches Tashkent around 1:00am on Sunday, April 21.

Participants from other origin points may join the flight from Istanbul to Tashkent mentioned above, or use alternative flights to arrive in Tashkent on the morning of April 21.

Upon arrival on April 21, participants will be able to check-in to their hotel rooms early, and rest during the day or explore a bit on their own, before an evening walking tour.  When booking travel, participants can consider adding extra days in Istanbul before the tour until April 20 or 21, or after the Uzbekistan tour concludes on the morning of April 29.

Departing from Uzbekistan

 

Our group will check out  of the hote in Tashkent on the morning of Monday, April 29 and be provided a transfer to the international airport.  A flight on Turkish Airlines (TK 369) departs at 9am for Istanbul, and travelers can connect to on-going flights from Istanbul in the afternoon hours.  Participants can explore other departure times, destinations and flights.

Booking Your Flights

 

Once you've paid you deposit to Bayan Tours, you should research and book your flights as soon as possible to try and obtain well-priced airfare with suitable flight timings and layovers.  You can use your own travel agent, check airline websites, or use other booking sites to select the flight legs that are best for you.  We recommend that you choose routes with layovers of not less than 90 minutes.

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  • Who is leading the tour?
    Bayan’s vice president and professor Munir Shaikh will be the faculty escort for the tour. He holds an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a specialization in the history of Islamic Iberia (Al-Andalus), and certificates from academic programs in Morocco, Egypt and Spain. He has lived for periods of time in Spain (and Morocco), and is conversant in Spanish. He has taught academic courses on Islamic Spain, Middle Eastern history, Islam, and world history, and led world heritage tours in various countries, including seven previous excursions in Southern Spain.
  • What is the expected group size?
    Bayan’s tours are focused on providing a well-rounded experience featuring scholarly knowledge, cultural exposure, recreational activities, and free time. Most tour groups are multi-generational and diverse in nature. In addition to historical and contemporary sites of interest, the itinerary includes visits to mosques and other places of worship to accommodate the religious needs of group members. Our group size tends to be in the range of 30-40 participants from North America and beyond. Participants are able to get to know one another and develop bonds of friendship and camaraderie that can last a lifetime. By participating in a tour, you are helping sustain and advance Bayan’s mission as a non-profit educational institution.
  • When is the registration deadline?
    We are accepting registrations for the tour until March 31, in order to reserve seats on a train, book sufficient hotel rooms, procure entrance tickets to monuments, and ensure other details. You must pay a refundable deposit of $500 per traveler. Deposits are partially refundable through February 15, 2024, however, a cancellation charge of $ 100 per traveler will apply for any cancellation requested 24 hours after time of booking. For other important terms and conditions, please click here. After payment of your deposit, you will receive an invoice for the remaining balance for your party, reflecting any applicable discounts. The balance payment is due no later than April 15, 2024.
  • Is a visa required for U.S. citizens to enter Spain?
    Bayan’s tours are open to participants who wish to join from anywhere in the world. However, the majority of participants tend to be from the United States. US passport holders do not need to obtain a visa to enter Spain for tourism. This is true for nationals of many other countries as well. However, non-US passport holders are encouraged to check requirements for their nationality and obtain a visa if required.
  • How physically demanding is the tour?
    Our group will be transported from city to city in a luxury air-conditioned tourist bus. However, in each city, since we will be in the historical centers where buses can't go, we will use the metro or other local public transportation, and occasional taxis, to get around. Even so, there will be a significant amount of walking on most days, on slight inclines and steps. The streets at times will have cobblestones. The walking distances involved at any given time can range from 1/4 to 1/2 mile between rest points. The guides will take into account the differing abilities and health conditions of group members and regulate the pace and intensity of the tour accordingly. Nonetheless, participants should expect to walk roughly 12,000 steps each day (about 6 miles in aggregate) during the first few days of the program, and perhaps 8,000 steps per day during the latter portion of the itinerary. This tour may not be suitable for those with knee, hip or foot pain that could be aggravated by the amount of walking involved. Ideally, all participants should prepare for the tour by walking at least 5,000 steps per day in the weeks leading up to the tour.
  • What type of food will we have on the tour?
    Spain’s food is a mix of Mediterranean and local traditions. Some dishes, such as paella, reveal their roots in Arab/Muslim cuisines. While the types of vegetarian options have grown in recent years in Spain, most local meat dishes feature pork (we will be sure to avoid any foods prepared with pork or alcohol). During the tour, we will dine at restaurants that serve zabiha halal foods, or at places that offer seafood and vegetarian options. You can expect meals to include Middle Eastern, Turkish and Moroccan dishes at restaurants run by local Muslims, and Italian and other types of dishes more generally. You’ll have the option of sampling various suitable tapas (small dishes) that are routinely consumed in neighborhood establishments..
  • Will you provide more information about the daily schedule and other details?
    Yes, all participants who have completed their full payment will receive a detailed information packet that includes descriptions of the cities and sites to be visited, the daily schedule, currency exchange, local prayer times, electrical adapters, weather, what to pack, and more.
  • What precautions are you taking with regard to COVID-19?
    We encourage participants to be fully vaccinated with at least one booster shot for all who are eligible to receive these shots. Travelers may visit Spain for tourism, but must provide either a certificate proving full vaccination, a negative test (PCR or rapid antigen), or a certificate of recovery. Travelers can enter using the EU Digital Covid Certificate or its equivalents. We do not expect to mandate masking during the tour, but we encourage masking whenever possible and according to each individual’s comfort level. For example, when shopping in crowded areas, it would be best to wear a mask. General sanitary practices should be maintained at all times, such as washing hands with soap, using sanitizing gels and wipes, and maintaining a reasonable distance between individuals.
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