Faye Walker review 20 Oct 2019
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most memorable was taking 3 hours for the border crossing from Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan. Appreciating the historical importance of the different waves of civilizations in developing The Silk Road and the different resulting cultures, was interesting. We now understand the importance of restoring the Aral Sea by better managing the irrigation from its rivers and how important water is to the countries that we visited. The opulence of Ashgabat compared to rural Turkmenistan was surprising, as was the need for restoration work in Samarkand. We enjoyed the great diversity of geography and cultures.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
The women need to be prepared for squat toilets - you need to retrieve the toilet paper from your pocket before you squat. Travel as lightly as possible and have good walking shoes. Be prepared for a range of temperatures. Hotel WiFi signal may not allow internet connections. Only use the website recommended by the tour company, when applying for visas, and be prepared for lots of security checks at border crossings. Don't forget anti diarrhoeal medication (Loperamide works well) and electrolyte replacement. US$ worked well.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
We hope that our puchases at markets, and meals and accommodation benefited local people. We were concerned about using so much bottled water but no safe alternative was available or suggested. We were not aware of supporting conservation - would volunteering time for a community project be a possibility on future tours? We would have liked more interaction with local people, including eating in less touristy eateries and not being over catered for with respect to food.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
The trip can be enhanced by the quality of the guides, and there was variability between our guides. We covered a lot of territory but the variety of destinations was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Read the operator's response here:
Many thanks for your feedback and constructive comments. The border crossings can be very slow which is highlighted in our literature and this group was nearly full so this of course slows things a little. We are looking at the possibility of some market visits in Turkmenistan to enhance the possibilities of local interaction. The feedback from the group has been that the guide for Turkmenistan was outstanding, Tajikistan excellent, but Uzbekistan a little less so and we will continue to work with the local guides to ensure continual improvement. We are working towards providing larger recyclable water vessels to allow clients to fill their own reusable bottles and this is a work in progress to implement. We have successfully introduced this to many of our tours already and we continue to consider this a high priority moving forward. Once again thank you for the feedback and travelling the Silk Road with us and we hope to see you again.