The “Stans” -Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan


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July 26th – August 7th, 2025

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Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in The “Stans” with an itinerary that not only includes famous locations like Samarkand and the Tian Shan mountain range but also takes you to lesser-known, awe-inspiring destinations and provides immersive cultural experiences!

There are photography trips, and then there are immersive cultural and photographic experiences unlike any other. This is one of those extraordinary encounters!

To be completely transparent, the reality is that, without our exceptional guide, his extensive knowledge, and his extensive connections, we could never access many of these locations. Securing special permits, arranging behind-the-scenes transportation, managing a myriad of logistics, and tapping into a wealth of knowledge and expertise all contribute to making this one of the most fascinating and off-the-beaten-path journeys we have ever embarked on!


*Hiking difficulty – There is some uneven ground over stones and pathways on this tour.    Almost everything we photograph is within a very short walk but you should be able to walk up to a mile.  If you have any concerns or special circumstances, please do not hesitate to reach out with your questions. We will be at higher altitude on some portions of this tour. 

Overview Video



  • Dates : July 26th – August 7th, 2025
  • Price : $7495 (Mongolia participants, receive an extra $700 discount)
  • Non Photographer Spouse or Friend rate – $6495 (Only 2 available) Please inquire to register as a non photo rate.
  • Payment plan available! 

Inclusions :

  • Accommodations (Luxury hotels, Yurts on a beach, High Mountain Eco Hotel, locally owned boutique hotels and more!)
  • All meals – Exceptional food and cuisine
  • Transportation including domestic flights and high speed rail
  • Photography Instruction with the MPA team
  • Small group – 12 clients – 2 instructors.
  • Our professional guide with a Ph.D. in Central Asian studies- Yuri

Non-Inclusions :

  • Airfare to and from Dushanbe and Almaty
  • Travel insurance (A minimum medical and evac are required)
  • Alcohol and extra drinks
  • Items of personal nature such as laundry, passport, visa etc


  • David McKay
  • TBA

Instructors are scheduled, however they are subject to change based on needs.

Itinerary and Highlights

Cultural Interaction

We will have many engaging opportunities to interact with the beautiful people we encounter, allowing us to both capture stunning photographs and gain educational experiences.

Historic Sites

Not to be missed on our journey, we will explore some of the most historical and well known sites in Central Asia and along the Silk Road 
Samarkand, Bukhara, and the Tian Shan mountains just to name a few!

Off the Beaten Path

Are you ready for an adventure? If you love exploring and discovering new places, you’re going to love this! We’re talking about going to places very few have ever gone before – villages, old Soviet ghost towns, and remote mountain roads that are rarely seen!

Accommodations and Food

You will have the opportunity to indulge in various accommodations, including luxurious hotels, a beach Yurt, an eco high altitude hotel via cable car, and stunning swimming pools! Additionally, you will be able to savor some of the finest cuisine from Central Asia.

*Detailed day to day – (Subject to change based on factors that can occur)

Day 1 – Land in Almaty. Early check in at our comfortable, central hotel. In the afternoon we will see more of Almaty, including the colourful Zenkov cathedral and the Green Bazaar. A welcome dinner at a good Georgian restaurant. 
Overnight in Almaty, Park Hotel. Breakfast, dinner. 
Day 2 – In the morning we will go explore Malaya Stanitsa, Almaty’s oldest cossack settlement, and its old wooden church. Lunch at a cosy little Ukrainian restaurant, housed in one of the city’s first wooden houses. In the afternoon we check out from our hotel, and head up the mountains, using two cable cars. We will spend the night at a cozy lodge high up – with some amazing alpine views. They have a great restaurant, which we will basically have to ourselves – the cable car stops at 5 pm, and all day visitors are gone. 
Overnight near Shymbulak, S.N.e.G or Tenir Eco. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 3 – After breakfast we head down and continue to remote eastern Kazakhstan, where we cross the Karkara valley border to Kyrgyzstan. Arrive in Kyrgyzstan in the early evening, check in at our cosy family-owned hotel, and dinner at a local cafe. We will make several stops today at beautiful, rugged mountains, bus shelters, and more. 
Overnight in Karakol, Green Yard. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 4 – We will start early, driving to the heart of the Tian Shan mountains, and the almost abandoned old mining town of Inylchek. Picnic lunch out in nature, and dinner back at our hotel.
Overnight in Karakol, Green Yard. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 5 – In the morning we will see Karakol’s wooden church and wooden Dungan (Chinese Muslim) mosque, and then continue along lake Issyk Kul’s southern shore. Issyk Kul’s is the largest lake in Central Asia, the world’s second largest high altitude lake, and second largest saline lake. We will visit the workshop of a local yurt maker, and have a home-cooked lunch at his studio. In the afternoon we continue to our yurt camp on the lake shore. We will enjoy some spectacular rock formations and mountain views during sunset. 
Overnight near Bokonbaevo, Feel Nomad yurt camp. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 6 –  After breakfast we continue west. We will drive further along Issyk Kul’s shore, then cross the Boom Gorge, drive on back roads in the Chuy valley, and arrive at the Supara Chunkurchak resort. We will stay the night at the most chic yurt resort in Central Asia – with what I’d say is the Cadillac of yurts! A light lunch at the resort, and a free afternoon to enjoy the traditional banya (bathhouse) hidden in the forrest, walk the mountains around, or rest and enjoy the clean air. A traditional dinner. 
Overnight at Chunkurchak valley, Supara. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 7 –  A late breakfast, and then we head down the mountains to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. We will enjoy lunch at a great little Japanese restaurant, and then explore Bishkek: wedding palace, the main Ala Too square, and the former square with the Lenin statue. A late afternoon flight from Bishkek to Tashkent. Check in at our comfortable hotel – the most comfortable hotel in Uzbekistan – and dinner.
Overnight in Tashkent, InterContinental. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 8 – After breakfast we will explore Tashkent’s Chorsu bazaar, the largest market in Central Asia, and the colourful Tashkent metro, one of the former Soviet Union’s most strikingly beautiful subway systems. We will have lunch at Tashkent’s plov centre, where they cook around three tons of plov, or rice pilau, every day. Afternoon at leisure at the hotel. 
Overnight in Tashkent, InterContinental. Breakfast, lunch. 
Day 9 –  Breakfast, and a morning fast train from Tashkent to Bukhara, taking roughly three hours forty five minutes. Once we arrive in Bukhara, will see the old Russian, German and Japanese cemeteries in Kagan, not far from the train station. Lunch at a local restaurant serving tandoor roast lamb. Check in at our comfortable hotel, and time to rest. In the later afternoon we will explore Bukhara: the Jewish neighbourhood, and some of the most impressive old Islamic architecture. We will see the Kalon minaret and mosque with their gorgeous evening lights on. Dinner at our hotel – which has the best restaurant in town. 
Overnight in Bukhara, Mercure. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 10 –  A morning, lunch and early afternoon to enjoy the hotel and its pool, or wander and explore more of Bukhara. Late check out at 3 pm, and transfer to the train station for our fast train to Samarkand, taking roughly hour and a half. In Samarkand, we will go straight to the Registan to admire its brilliant Islamic architecture and mosaics. Check in and dinner at our cosy guesthouse in the old town. 
Overnight in Samarkand, Rabat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. 
Day 11 –  After breakfast we will visit some of Samarkand’s other stunning sights: the Shah-I-Zinda cemetery, and Tamerlane’s mausoleum. We will enjoy lunch in Samarkand’s best restaurant, and in the afternoon head for the nearby border with Tajikistan. We will cross and continue our drive along the rugged Zerafshan valley. We will make several stops at Soviet mosaics and striking nature. We will spend the night in the village of Ayni, at a local inn. It won’t be luxurious, but rooms will be clean and air-conditioned, and with private bathrooms. 
Overnight in Ayni. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 12 – We will start early, and spend the entire morning and lunch in the old village of Veshab. In the afternoon we continue to Dushanbe. We will spend a couple of hours exploring Dushanbe: the treelined Rudaki avenue, listen to a little concert at the Museum of Musical Instruments, and a visit to a studio making Florentine mosaics – with pieces of colorful rock from around Tajikistan’s mountains, and the new, beautifully lit city tower. Check in and farewell dinner at our comfortable hotel. 
Day 13 – End of tour – and transfer to Dushanbe airport for your early flight out. 

Tour Pack

Please download the Tour Packet from link below when it becomes available.  Much of the information contained in the packet is also available under the Tour Prep page here on the web site. However, this packet will also include some gear specifics for this tour.

 Please note that specific flight information, arrival and departure times, accommodations, and other logistical information may not be in this packet. Those items will be emailed to you at various times in the planning process of each tour.

The “Stans” 2024 Tour Pack




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