The Five Stans holiday, Ancient Silk Road Cities

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05 Oct 2020
£3290
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05 Apr 2021
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19 Apr 2021
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03 May 2021
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17 May 2021
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31 May 2021
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06 Sep 2021
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20 Sep 2021
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04 Oct 2021
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
The natural environments that you’ll travel through in Central Asia are fragile; the cultures and traditions precious and often the communities we pass through are reliant on tourism. It is our responsibility as visitors to minimise the impact of our presence, protect what is precious and where we can leave a positive impact.

We are aligned with “Leave No Trace”, an international organisation that has set the global standard for outdoor ethics. Through targeted education, research and outreach, its mission is to ensure the long-term health of our natural world while maintaining sustainable recreation in nature.

Our company-wide Waste Management Policy encourages our travellers to take their own reusable water bottles and reusable stuff sacks to avoid single-use plastics. We follow this same philosophy in our office as well as on the tour: in our London office we have banned single use coffee cups and water bottles. We use recycled paper in our office and we are working towards reducing the amount of paper we use, as well as recycle all of our paper and plastic waste.

We were the proud recipients of the inaugural Australian National Travel Industry’s Environmental Achievement award for our Responsible Travel Guidebook. This detailed guide to responsible and sustainable travel is provided to all our clients before they travel.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Our preferred accommodations we use on this trip are locally owned and not part of big international hotel chains; this way we ensure your tourist spend is staying within the area and benefiting local people.

We have included some local guesthouses where available. For example, in Arslanbob we are hosted by a local family, who will prepare our evening meals and welcome us with great hospitality, this is also a chance to experience village life and connect with the local people.

We use local guides throughout this trip. The guides are highly experienced, have strong local knowledge of the area and a love and understanding of their country that they are happy to share throughout the trip. This not only provides a richer experience but creates valuable employment helping to keep income within the community.

A local guide brings so much value to the tour, they can explain to you the customs, the dos and don’ts to help you navigate Central Asia with cultural sensitivities. In addition, all clients receive a comprehensive pre-departure info pack, which includes some helpful hints for travellers to the region in terms of dress and culture.

We have scheduled visits to areas where you can see local crafts during the tour, including the village of Rishtan which known for its pottery and ceramics, and Marghilan where we visit a local silk factory. Buying your local crafts and souvenirs here will give you the opportunity to support these communities. Which also helps support these unique traditions, and to help sustain them for the future.

Climate

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