If you’re looking for adventure, an opportunity to travel with like-minded travellers and to get off the beaten track then this type of trip is for you! We will sometimes be covering long distances over a period of a few days but will then most often be camped up for a few days with opportunities for adventure activities, visiting local communities, time in a town or city to chill out or wildlife viewing experiences. The roads are sometimes bumpy and you need to expect the unexpected! This type of travel is through regions where things can change and experiences are more important than luxury – borders sometimes close and there may not always be hot water in the showers! You will generally be camping out under the stars, sometimes out in the bush, but generally more on campsites. (Our South America and Central Asia trips also use small locally-run hostels and guest houses). The trips are fully participative so you will be involved shopping for food in local markets, cooking for your group (on a rota system), collecting water and setting up camp. If you’re not confident about doing any of these things beforehand, don’t worry our crew are there to help you and you’ll be good at it by the time you finish!
You will be travelling on one of our own purpose built overlanding vehicles with up to 24 travellers, many of whom will be travelling on their own. It is a great way for solo travellers to travel. We have lost count of the number of travellers who have met their future spouse on one of our trips! Our vehicles are fully equipped with tents and cooking equipment and are designed for great all-round viewing and a sociable seating plan. You will be accompanied on your trip by a Driver and Tour Leader and, depending on your trip, we often use local guides at sites of specific interest for more detailed information.
This type of travel will provide you with a plethora of memories and stories to tell, new-found travelling companions and friends and a well-exercised spirit of adventure!
Responsible tourism: Kyrgyzstan small group tour, off the beaten track
Waste: at the point of booking a tour with us, all our travellers receive detailed pre-departure information which contains a large section on travelling responsibly. This includes advice on minimising the amount of waste they create on the trip. This informs travellers on what they can do before they go, for example removing toiletries from unnecessary packaging and taking a reusable water bottle and gives advice on what they should do whilst on the tour, for example, disposing of litter appropriately. All of this information on waste reduction is re-iterated at the pre-departure meeting at the start of the tour, with specific advice for the areas we visit on the tour. As a company we have a big commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling in our UK office. We are very aware of the environmental impact of our office in the UK, so we recycle and compost as much of our waste as possible. We try to reduce paper usage ,but when necessary we use recycled paper and stationery. Our brochure is available to view or download online and the paper version is printed on stock produced from sustainable sources and vegetable based inks.
Accommodation: Approximately 90% of the nights on this trip are spent, sleeping in tents or yurts. This obviously involves minimal use of electricity and if we're out in the bush we can only use the water that we carry-no chance to leave taps running, the air conditioning or heating or lights on! Filling up and carrying jerry cans of water helps concentrate the mind on how much water you consume!
Friends and Neighbours: On all of our trips we try to ensure that as much of the trip costs as possible are spent locally and at a grass roots level-helping to sustain local communities. On this trip we do a Home Stay with a family in Kochkor and then spend a few nights, in a yurt, alongside a family at Lake Song Kal. We also organise horse riding with the local community at Lake Song Kal. There are very little other employment options for the community here so this helps them sustain their traditional way of life. We generally do most of our food shopping in local markets and encourage visits to local restaurants and craft centres-including a woman's felt co-operative in Kochkor.
Travelling with Respect: In our detailed pre-departure information travellers are advised on travelling with respect and what they can do before they travel, to help achieve this and what they can do while they are travelling. We recommend for example, that they learn some of the local Kyrgyz language before they travel, to help them interact with the local people and read up on it's history and culture; that they do not take photos of local people without asking for permission first and are respectful in terms of their behaviour and dress during their trip.
This is a fairly new trip for us and we look forward, as we do with all our trips, in building relationships with local suppliers and providers. On our more established trips we also have a number of social projects that we support, including a school for refugee children, Children's Homes and a community led child-care facility for working parents. We hope that as we build relationships with communities on this tour we will be able to support specific projects in this region also.