2 independent reviews for Afghanistan and Tajikistan holiday

Reviews for Afghanistan and Tajikistan holiday

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review 22 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visiting Afghanistan, even just the Wakhan Corridor, was an amazing experience which is hard to explain. Even this part of the country, which receives small amounts of tourism due to its relative safety (it is most easily defended from the Taliban at the entrance to the corridor, and this defence is genuine - 250 Taliban fighters had been killed in a recent skirmish), is completely Afghan, which is obvious in the level of development (virtually non existent) and cultural attitudes (no women visible in the towns unless covered in Burkhas). People are generally extremely friendly and welcoming especially in the countryside but the atmosphere in the small town of Ishkashim on the border was occasionally slightly hostile. However we were welcomed into local homes, invited to a wedding and treated with great kindness and friendliness by the local Waki people who live the simplest lives in a very difficult demanding environment. The cost of visiting Afghanistan is astronomical considering the quality of the facilities (which if course is all part of the experience and very interesting!). The roads and vehicles are terrible, everywhere is dusty and dirty and accommodation is very variable with multi- shared rooms with minimum access to water and sanitation and little privacy. Food was fine as we had a cook travelling with us who was wonderful, but obviously there is no choice and little variety. Tajikistan is much better in terms of facilities and cultural attitudes to women and tourists, but the roads are also rough and accommodation mainly basic, with basic food and limited (but slightly better!) hygiene.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This is an amazing trip, and a unique experience. The trip is frequently cancelled so I felt privileged to be able to go. However it is not for the faint hearted! The Tajik part involves a lot of driving, though through amazing scenery. Overall accommodation is rough, dirty and very basic with no running water, and limited cold water for washing. Hygiene standards are poor, though the food was much better than I expected, but all water needs sterilising. Getting visas was complicated and for women, wearing long clothes and scarves all day was hot and uncomfortable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely, the vast majority of people welcomed us with open arms and wanted their pictures taken with us. There were plenty of opportunities to buy local products and all the money we spent went directly to the local people we stayed with.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing, it will be very hard to find another trip to beat this one!

review 27 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I note that it is hard to answer this question because the 20 day duration of this small group tour was experientially rich; but, if I were to identify one or two highlights this would have to be the rebuilding of a road in the Afghan Wakhan Corridor on the return journey to Ishkashim and the impromptu singing and dancing after our evening meal in Goz Khan, Afghanistan.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Anyone interested in joining this small group tour organised by this holiday provider requires an open mind so that participants are able to embrace attitudes and cultures that may be very different to what they are accustomed to. Approaching this Afghanistan and Tajikistan adventure with a spirit of anything could happen will allow for a truly rich and memorable small group travel adventure.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, during one part of the trip the group visited a Pamri handicraft outlet in Khorog, Tajikistan; the local office of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Qala ePanj, Afghanistan; a women's handicraft development project in Khandud, Afghanistan and a local elementary school catering for over 200 children in the Wakhan Corridor.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I have travelled with this holiday provider on several occasions. I comment that the Wakhan Pamir Adventure, Tajikistan and Afghanistan small group tour was the most challenging and culturally rich travel experience I have had to date. I came away from this journey impressed with the generosity and profound life spirit of the local guides, van drivers and inhabitants that I was privileged to encounter during my 20 days in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

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