Silk Road holiday, five Stans of Central Asia
Description of Silk Road holiday, five Stans of Central Asia
Let us introduce you to the five Stans of Central Asia: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. They’re an enchanting bunch, when you get to know them, with some of the Silk Road’s most exquisite, yet lesser-visited, architectural, natural and cultural treasures.
This all-encompassing four week small group holiday is a must for all travellers who like to think outside of the box when it comes to exciting Asian adventures. Marked by some of the Silk Road’s classic cities – including: Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva – this experience follows one of the world’s most mysterious trade routes and allows you to step back in time amidst mountains and markets.
Tien Shan (the Mountains of Heaven), in particular, always make for a memorable section of the Silk Road with desert sands and racing rivers adding to opportunities to fully embrace the old-fashioned spirit of adventure. Chances to stay overnight with a family in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan also do nothing to limit the unique range of possibilities that the Stans have to offer as well as allowing for authentic home cooked food like you’ve never tasted before.
From the fabled white marbled city of Ashgabat to the chic café culture of Tashkent and Almaty, this is your chance to observe, get involved and become experienced in a land very far from what you’ll be used to back home. Ever wandered what life is like on the Silk Road? Well, now’s your chance.
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PlanetWe have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we visit are not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip and as tour operators, it is something we are careful to promote.
Your guide on this trip will have been trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas. This is relevant on a tour such as this one for example on day 22 at Sary Chelek which was included on the list of UNESCO Protected Biosphere Reserves in 1978. As a rarely visited area which provides some of the finest scenery in Central Asia this is an area we will need to be particularly mindful of the environment. By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit.
We are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on ancient cultures and fragile environments. We realise that taking clients through this region can have a negative impact on the environment if not handled responsibly and as such, on all of our trips we go to great lengths to minimise the negative and accentuate the positive - after all, there are also many good things that the traveller can bring.
PeopleIn Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan we use local ground handlers - this means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economy and helps to improve employment opportunities in remote regions. By incorporating homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of guides and drivers into our itineraries, we ensure that money you spend on your trip goes directly into the local economy and local communities benefit from tourism. Our engagement with the local communities can be seen throughout this trip in our use of local homestays in Tajikistan (on nights 15, 16 and 17) and Kyrgyzstan (on nights 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23).
We believe it is important to show respect for local traditions, cultures and history. For this reason our Five ‘Stans of Central Asia tour includes UNESCO world heritage sites. An example of this is on day 8 when we visit Khiva’s UNESCO-protected old town. Another example can be seen on day 22 when we visit Sary Chelek which was included in the list of UNESCO Protected Biosphere Reserves in 1978, one of Kyrgyzstan’s least visited but most striking locations.
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can directly channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities.
We also support several other Aid agencies and NGOs around the world which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.