Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan holiday
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Description of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan holiday
This two week Tajikstan and Kyrgystan holiday is one serious road trip, travelling along the famous Parmir Highway, the second highest highway in the world running between Osh in Kyrgyzstan to Khorog in Tajikistan and winding its way through the Parmir Mountains, their 7,000m peaks earning this artery the title ‘roof of the world’. As we travel through remote communities scattered along the Highway and beyond, we stay in welcoming homestays, immerse ourselves in a cacophony of cultures, with each village speaking in a unique dialect.
This journey through some of the most exquisite elevated landscapes in the world is more about following in the tracks of ancient traders and explorers than those of modern day tourists, with isolated communities that still see very few foreign visitors, and traditions that haven’t changed for generations.
The trip starts in Tajikstan’s capital city, Dushanbe, a more modern hub, but we very quickly enter a world of mountain passes and impressive peaks. As we continue through the historic and cultural landscapes of the Silk Road, a route that was both traded on and fought over for centuries, there are many fascinating sites to visit such as ancient forts, a ruby mine and an ancient Buddhist stupa.
Moving into Kyrgyzstan and the ancient city of Osh, we also take time to explore some of the natural wonders of this country so beautifully dominated by mountain wilderness. In Chichkan we take a hike through its famous gorge, meeting with local shepherds along the way. Other highlights include Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan’s largest lake and a mesmerising sight. It is also the world’s second largest mountain lake and deserving of its local name translated as ‘Pearl of Tian Shan’ in reference to the mountains that envelop it. The last stop on this eastern odyssey is Bishek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, a busy hub of markets and urban eccentricities.
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1 Reviews of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan holiday
Reviewed on 25 Sep 2019 by Jacqui Licht
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Traveling along the Pamir Highway and seeing fantastic scenery
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
High altitude is a given. It's better to rise gradually, so the direction Dushanbe to Bishkek might be easier.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Absolutely. We visited local restaurants and stayed with local people.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Really enjoyed it. Altynbek was super nice and accommodating and full of knowledge.
PlanetWe work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, an important effort in a country where the environment is often taken for granted and green thinking is largely absent.
Tajikistan does not see the same numbers of visitors that many other countries experience and as such some practices which we take for granted in other parts of the world may not be found here. We work closely with our suppliers to introduce concepts of environmental responsibility to the communities that we travel through. This can include asking hotels to implement practices such as asking guests if they need fresh cleaned towels each day, and reminding guests to turn off lights when they leave the room – small things that are standard practice in many places in the western world but not necessarily elsewhere.
Where appropriate and feasible we will always incorporate walking tours of cities rather than being reliant on private transportation - not only reducing our carbon footprint but we believe leading to a more enjoyable and intimate experience for our clients.
This tour travels through some of the world’s most remote regions, away from the well beaten tourist trail. Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us.
PeopleOur philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.
We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects.
This tour travels through some remote communities that often do not have much exposure to the wider world, and where opportunities for employment are extremely limited. We make use of local guides from such communities where possible this contributing towards local income, and we spend many nights in homestays - not only does this help small communities see some benefits from tourism but we believe it does much to promote cultural understanding and ultimately leads to a more enjoyable experience for our clients.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasise our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.