2 independent reviews for Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road

Reviews for Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road

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review 24 May 2015

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

1. The mausoleums in Samarkand 2. Crossing the Oxus 3. Desert flowers I am still trying to identify! 4. The market in Samarkand 5. The museums in Nuccus 5. The museums in Mary and Ashgabat

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

1. Take as many $1 bills as possible as photo fees etc all require small denominations. 2. Try and miss the Sunday market in Ashgabat 3. Do not miss the museums in Mary and Ashgabat

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

In Uzbekistan, where tourism is an integral part of the economy, the only town where I felt we made a valuable impact was Nuccus which, despite its fascinating art museum, seemed to be in greater need of tourists than the more well known towns. Neither country encourages home stays, which I feel means money goes more directly to locals, but if this could be included, it would be great. Turkmenistan certainly needs tourists to encourage conservation- unlike Uzbekistan no local tourism seemed to be happening. I appreciated using restaurants/ eating houses slightly off the beaten track so that the tourism dollar was spread around as much as possible.

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

Excellent. Our tour leader, Jude, was knowledgeable, unflappable and always encouraging and helpful. She really made the holiday. The only slight downsides were the border crossings (of which the worst was the first one- 11 checks of passports, searing heat and insane distances between buildings etc), the Sunday market in Ashgabat which is disappointing and a waste of time, and our driver who took us to the gas crater and then North- not a word or a smile, no consideration for passengers and used his mobile while driving! Murad was our best local guide and Izzat the least impressive. Finally, if at all possible, a direct flight to Tashkent at the end of the holiday would be preferable.

review 3 Nov 2012

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

Seeing the Darvaza gas crater at night.

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

Go with an open mind and remember you are travelling as part of a group. That means you must consider the other peole in the group. It is rude to always keep your fellow travellers waiting.

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

Not particularly.

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

A good trip to an interesting part of the world.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you Simon for your kind and very useful review of our trip. 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 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. Wherever possible we are happy for our clients to visit these projects to see for themselves where and how this money is being spent. This is a very exciting development for us and something we hope in time will become a major part of our organisation.

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