Silk Road - Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan Trip Notes

    • 18
    • CBSR
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $3,795
      CAD $3,845
      AUD $3,995
      EUR €2,780
      GBP £2,390
      NZD $4,735
      ZAR R36,365
      CHF FR3,425
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Last Modified: 24 Aug 2014
Silk Road - Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan
Trip code: CBSR
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Welcome to the greatest and most ancient of all trade routes - the Silk Road. For hundreds of years, merchants travelled in caravans of horses and camels, carting their exquisite silks, heady spices, highly prized gems, fragrant teas and other exotic goods. Moving from town to town along this route from Asia to Europe through the Middle East, they traded not only their wares, but ideas, cultures and technologies, and forever changed the relationship between East and West. Reveal the mysteries and colours of the Silk Road by travelling in the footsteps of these merchants across Central Asia on this incredible tour. From multicultural Tashkent to beguiling Samara and magnificent Moscow, this magical adventure through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia will transport you back in time.
TRIP CHANGE FOR 2014:
This trip is now an 18 day itinerary from Tashkent to Moscow including destinations in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, expanded from our 11 day itinerary in 2013. We also travel from Bukhara to Tashkent by overnight train.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeAlternate Joining point The Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Silk Road - Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan
Itinerary
Day 1 Tashkent
Xush kelibsiz! Welcome to Uzbekistan.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Tashkent is an interesting contrast to many other places along the Silk Road with its clean, modern feel and unusual contemporary architecture.
Some recommendations for things to see in your free time are the Applied Arts Museum for those interested in the carpets, ethnic costumes, embroidery and other traditional arts of the region; the Amir Timur (Tamerlane) Museum which depicts the story of this national hero's life and curiously displays what are claimed to be his actual eyebrows; a tour of the opulent Opera and Ballet Theatre and maybe staying on to see one of the performances in the evening; or exploring the maze of dusty streets with their small mosques and mud brick houses in what's left of Tashkent's Old Town.
TRIP CHANGE FOR 2014:
Due to our traveller's feedback, this trip is changing for all departures from 1st January 2014. We travel through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan over 18 days, finishing in Moscow, expanded from our 11 day itinerary in 2013. This trip now includes Samarkand, Bukhara, Shakhrisabz, Aksu-Zhabagly National Park and Turkistan.
Optional Activities
  • Amir Timur Museum - UZS3000
  • Museum of Applied Arts - UZS1200
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Samarkand
Take taxis to the station to board a local train to Samarkand (approx 4 hrs).
Please note that due to train schedules, the order of visiting Samarkand and Bukhara may be reversed on some departures.
One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Samarkand remains one of the most attractive in Central Asia despite a turbulent history of war and earthquakes.
The city blossomed under Amir Timur, known in the west as Tamerlane, a tyrannical 14th-century ruler. A lover of art, Timur was responsible for the colourful domes and exquisite minarets that now form the city's skyline. Although Samarkand fell into disrepair during the Soviet days, restoration is slowly progressing and the sights here are a photographer's dream.
Join a local guide for an in-depth tour of Samarkand's sights, first heading to the incredibly extensive Shah I Zindah Mausoleum complex - a holy site for local Muslims and where the Prophet Mohammed's cousin is buried. From there we walk to the massive Bibi Khanum Mosque, no longer functioning but impressive in its proportions and extravagance. We cover the short distance to the Guri Amir Mausoleum by taxi to see Amir Timur's final resting place before finishing at the most spectacular of all - the Registan.
The Registan is probably the most recognisable of all Central Asia's monuments. The facades of the two medressas facing the central square are decorated in elaborate mosaic, tiles and intricate geometric brickwork, flanked by towering minarets and topped by azure-hued domes. The interior of some of the buildings are just as impressive and there's so much to explore, including the many handicraft and souvenir stalls in the courtyards and rooms. We see some of the main rooms and have a chance to ask our local guide for interesting insights before having time here on our own to marvel at our own pace.
In your free time here you may like to:
Visit the ruins of the ancient observatory built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg. It is considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world at the time and the largest in Central Asia before it was destroyed in 1449.
Gain an overview of the region's history and local art & handicrafts at the State Museum near the Registan.
Marvel at the rate which the remains of the Old Testament Prophet Daniel are believed to continue to grow after death. He now occupies an 18m long tomb!
Included Activities
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda Mausoleum Complex
  • Samarkand - Guided city tour
  • Samarkand - Bibi Khanum Mosque
  • Samarkand - Guri Amir Mausoleum
Optional Activities
  • Home Cooked Silk Road Urban Adventure - USD25
  • Samarkand - Ulug Beg Observatory - UZS6000
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 4 Shakhrisabz
Travel by private transport to the town of Shakhrisabz (approx 3 hrs).
Shakhrisabz is the birth place of Tamerlane and while not nearly as spectacular as Samarkand in terms of sights, the ruins of the once immense Ak-Saray Palace will challenge our imaginations to envisage what a truly powerful leader he once was.
Climb to the top of Ak Saray's remaining entrance portal for views of the neatly-laid city stretching into the distance.
Our stay here is a great chance to see typical Uzbek town life as we take a walk around the shady streets and spend time with a local family. We stay in a large family home in the centre of town and while only limited English is spoken, their warm welcome crosses any language barrier. Rooms here are multishare and we share the basic bathroom facilities with the family.
We also try our hand at some Uzbek cooking, joining our hosts in preparing the evening meal - perhaps some plov (rice cooked with meat, spices and carrots) or dolma (rice and meat wrapped in vine leaves). Enjoy our meal in the family courtyard and sip green tea as the sun goes down.
Included Activities
  • Shakhrisabz - Ak Saray Palace ruins
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Days 5-7 Bukhara
Take our private van further to Bukhara (approx 4 hrs) - a favourite Silk Road city for many travellers. After check in the hotel your leader can help you to work out the free afternoon in the town as our walking tour with the local guide will take place on the next day.
In the evening you can join the locals and other travellers around Lyabi Hauz, a pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees in the Old Town's centre. Have a meal here of shashlyk (roasted meat on skewers) with non bread and green tea, head to the charming puppet show in the theatre nearby or see tradition meet contemporary culture at the nightly fashion show across the plaza.
After our walking tour with a local guide there's plenty of time to explore the artisan shops and wander the narrow twisting streets and alleyways on your own. This is one of the best places to pick up some local handmade souvenirs such as embroidered hangings and cloth, silk, carpets, pottery, woodwork, miniature paintings and jewellery. Don't expect it to be cheap however as each item takes painstaking labour to create and many of the sellers are the artists themselves.
Other things to do here include:
Stop in at the Ark, the old royal town that is Bukhara's oldest standing structure. Inside you can find the Zindon jail where spies of the Great Game era were imprisoned.
Get soaked and scrubbed within an inch of your life in a traditional hammom. You'll feel relaxed afterwards.
Depending on the season, we will either take an overnight train (approx 11 hours) or day train (approx 7 hours) back to Tashkent where we spend the night before heading on to Kazakhstan the next day.
Optional Activities
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum - Free
  • Traditional Puppet Show - UZS5000
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Aksu-Zhabagly National Park
BORDER CROSSING Day 8:
Exit UZB at Keles/Enter KAZ at Sary Agach
Cross the border into Kazakhstan (less than 1 hour from central Tashkent) and
continue to beautiful Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (approx 4 hours).
Kazakhstan's National Park, Aksu-Zhabagly, is the last exclave of the wild country in the mountains of South Kazakhstan Oblast and is the oldest in Central Asia. A large proportion of the National Park is covered by forests of Central Asia juniper, high mountain lakes, rivers, and glacier reservoirs and well-preserved flora. The park offers a wide range of activities including numerous short hikes with a break at the Aksu river canyon, one of the deepest in Central Asia and where the views are spectacular.
Aksu-Zhabagly is a part of the Community-Based Ecotourism (CBE) development program in Kazakhstan. The CBE uses part of their profits to protect this reserve and your stay here will contribute to the conservation of this exquisite piece of paradise. While here, we may have the options to go trekking, listen to a dombra (Kazakh national instrument) concert, and experience the unique taste of kumys (traditional drink of nomads - fermented mare's milk). In spring, we'll be treated to the sight of thousands of red tulips dotting the meadows, and in autumn, we might experience a fascinating horse festival.
Our accommodation here is in a home stay with a local family in the Zhabagly Village. The accommodation is twin share with shared bathrooms. It may be basic but certainly comfortable and a great opportunity to see how locals live as well as to practice your Russian and Kazakh! All meals are provided during our stay in the Reserve.
Accommodation
Homestay (2 nts)
Day 10 Turkistan
Leave the national park behind and drive to Turkistan (approx 4 hours).
Turkistan contains more historical relics and cultural sites than perhaps any other place in the entire country. In the 5th century, it was said that there were over a dozen mosques here and today, it is still possible to get a taste of the town's holy past as it is home to Kazakhstan's most iconic building - the Kozha Akhmed Yasaui Mausoleum.
En route we may have a chance to stop at the ruins of Otrar. The 13th century governor of this once-large town incited the wrath of Genghis Khan by having the Mongol merchant envoy murdered. As a result, the Great Khan invaded much of Central Asia and Europe, burning entire cities to the ground and causing much bloodshed. Another few kilometres away is the ruined Aristan-Bab Mausoleum which is a popular stop for pilgrims on the way to Turkistan.
Enter the Yasaui Mausoleum in Turkistan. The stunning blue and while tiled Mausoleum is the final resting place of a great Turkic holy man and Sufi. Built by Tamerlane, it is said that three visits here are equal to one visit to Mecca and as it is a religious site, women are recommended to wear a headscarf when entering.
Board the overnight train bound for Aralsk (approx. 12 hours).
Trains on all parts of this journey are simple but comfortable. There's a toilet/bathroom at the end of each carriage with a small sink and cold water. An attendant is assigned to every carriage to look after our comfort and safety although service standards can vary greatly. Each compartment has four bunks with luggage storage space inside. Bedding is provided, although some travellers still prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There's hot water available for making drinks or instant meals, tea and coffee. Sometimes snacks and drinks are available for purchase on board and most trains also have a dining car although with a limited menu. We travel 2nd class (four berths per compartment) on this trip. Trains are generally heated but most do not offer air conditioning. Please pack clothing appropriate for the warmer conditions on these train journeys.
Included Activities
  • Turkistan - Yasaui Mausoleum & Museum
Accommodation
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 11-12 Aralsk
BORDER CROSSING Day 12:
Exit KAZ at Zhaisan/Enter RUS at Iletsk
Before the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet cotton plantation irrigation projects in the 1960s, Aralsk was the major fishing port on the Aral Sea. Formerly one of the largest lakes in the world, the devastation that this caused is often called one of the regions worst environmental and humanitarian disasters, leaving a huge number of people unemployed, changing the climate of the area and leaving many locals without a way to sustain themselves.
A number of NGOs are now working in the region to restore water (and life!) to the communities that once thrived here. During our stay in Aralsk we will be hosted by one such organsiation, "Aral Tenizi" and have a unique opportunity to hear more about their projects and support their work. The town still has very limited infrastructure but very willing locals ready to share their homes and stories with travellers.
Our accommodation for the night will be a local home stay. Depending on the group size, the group may be split into a few houses. Accommodation is basic but cosy and comfortable, with mattresses on the floor serving as beds. Showers and toilets are located outside. There is electricity at all of the home stays that we visit on this trip.
The following day we take a tour of the area by 4WD. Drive on the former sea bed to the evocative ship cemetery 60 km from Aralsk. Continue on to Tastubek village where we glimpse at waters of what used to be the biggest body of water in Kazakhstan, watch locals fishing and even have a swim if you wish.
After returning to our home stay and a home cooked meal we board our overnight sleeper train to take us across the border into Russia and on to Samara.
Included Activities
  • Aralsk - Aral Sea 4WD tour
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 13-15 Samara
Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Russia.
Known from 1935 to 1991 as Kuybyshev, Samara is one of the 10 largest cities in Russia and stretches out along the banks of the famed Volga River. In Soviet times Samara had the status of a closed city mainly due to its aviation industry. It was ready to serve as the backup capital of the Soviet Union should Moscow have fallen to the invading Germans during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Nowadays Samara is a modern city with a pleasant historical centre lined with examples of 19th and 20th century merchant architecture, beautiful churches and of course, embankments of the Volga.
Visit Stalin's bunker, a top secret site during Soviet times. Only selected locals knew about the bunker until it was revealed to the public in 1991. This bunker is the deepest out of all Russia's known bunkers from the WWII period. 37m deep, with impressive networks of rooms and offices, it took 9 months to prepare this safe house for the USSR's leaders.
Samara offers lots of surprises for your free time, such as the Zhiguli Brewery the recently restored synagogue, hiking in Zhiguli National Park and Shiryaevo village with its museum dedicated to the great Russian painter Ilya Repin.
Board our final train to the Russian cosmopolitan capital, Moscow (approx 17 hours)
Included Activities
  • Samara - Stalin's Bunker
Optional Activities
  • Boat trip from Samara to Shiryaevo - RUB100
  • Zhiguli National Park - RUB100
  • Repin Museum - RUB170
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 16-18 Moscow
The great city of Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and seen Russia through some of its most turbulent years, from the days of the tsars through the communist era to the growing pains of democracy. Beneath its modern veneer - a sign of Russia's recent embrace of capitalism - Moscow is a fascinating, historic city with a wealth of sights to see.
Enter the Kremlin grounds which house the oldest and most important churches in the country, where many Tsars and Tsarinas are laid to rest. Also head inside the Armoury Museum which houses a glittering imperial collection of regalia and items once belonging to the world's richest monarchy, including Faberge eggs and ambassadorial gifts.
As Moscow's premier tourist attractions, tickets for the Kremlin and Armoury are in high demand. In order to control the number of tour groups entering these sights at one time the Moscow Tourism Administration has set strict quotas. The amount of time guides can spend with their groups is also restricted to 90 minutes in each area, with any exceptions possibly resulting in the guide losing their license, so while we appreciate that some travellers would like to spend longer in the Armoury Museum we ask for your understanding that the guide is under pressure to keep to the schedule.
The Diamond Fund isn't included in our tour, but after the Kremlin and Armoury there may be time to visit. Entrance tickets can be purchased in the ticket office at the Armoury. The Diamond Fund is open for visitors from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm. Thursday it is closed.
Visit Lenin, the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution which ushered in the era of communism, at his austere mausoleum on Red Square.
Please note that on occasion Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during regular opening hours without prior warning.
Moscow has plenty to experience so here are some ideas of other activities for during your free time here:
Step inside the colourful St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square. Legend has it that tsar, Ivan the Terrible, had the two architects blinded so that they couldn't build anything as beautiful.
Travel back to the beginnings of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery.
Relive the nation's turbulent past at Victory Park.
To really experience Moscow life, you need to ride the metro, admire the marble and mosaics that decorate the stations and get up close and personal with the city's citizens as they do their daily commuting.
The Izmailovo Markets are considered the best place for souvenir shopping.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Included Activities
  • Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury guided tour
  • Moscow - Lenin's Mausoleum
Optional Activities
  • Izmailovo Vernisazh Markets - RUB10
  • Moscow Up Close & Personal Urban Adventure - RUB2340
  • Moscow Bunker & Underground Urban Adventure - RUB4000
  • St Basils Cathedral - RUB250
  • Tretyakov Gallery - RUB400
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • CBSR Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan - Single Supplement (CBSR)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Silk Road - China & Kyrgyzstan (CBSK)
  • Silk Road - Beijing to Moscow (CBSKC)
  • Classic Uzbekistan (CPKU)
  • Ashgabat to Tashkent (KDOH)
  • Silk Road - Beijing to Moscow (CBSKC)
  • Silk Road - Beijing to Kashgar (CBSA)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
You will be travelling through countries that speak little or no English, where transport often runs only when it is full (and often overflowing), where hotels and restaurants have very different ideas of service and amenities, where the plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and the power will often just vanish. Many of the places we visit are not used to people travelling outside of large coach tours so they will be uncertain of how to deal with us. This can be a challenging trip covering a wide range of peoples, cultures, religious and political beliefs and is a trip that involves some long travel days and nights. Some passengers will experience fatigue more than normal due to these challenges. If you are able to bring with you a lot of patience and a huge sense of humour, then your experience will be greatly enhanced.
Physical rating

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Money Exchange
The official currency of Russia is the Ruble (RUB). 1 ruble = 100 kopeks.
We strongly advise against bringing travellers cheques as in Russia they can be extremely difficult or impossible to change.
ATMs are widespread in Russia so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and note that recent travellers have experienced difficulties in using credit cards without a debit function from US banks for purchases or withdrawals. Some banks will allow a cash advance against a major credit card which will incur a service charge of 5% or more.
The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. In any case, some money should be taken as cash in case of emergencies - we recommend around US$400 per person. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange as what is advertised is sometimes only for transactions above US$500, carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt.
Due to restrictions on changing money in Russia, only US$50 and US$100 notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition (no creases, marks, stamps or tears) will be accepted. Avoid bringing US$ notes in smaller denominations. By law, all purchases in Russia must be made in local currency.
The official currency in Uzbekistan is the Uzbekistan Som (UZS).
This can only be obtained in Uzbekistan. Conversion of UZS back into other foreign currencies may prove difficult.
Banks are rarely able to exchange foreign currency so you should ask the advice of your hotel or leader for where to change money. There are also many private money changers in Uzbekistan but if you choose to use them you must be sure to check the rate and your change carefully.
Major credit cards are rarely accepted in shops and restaurants even in bigger cities. Some banks in Tashkent will allow cash advances against a credit card but cash withdrawals are subject to a 5% or more service charge.
In Tashkent you may be able to find ATMs that accept international cards and use them to withdraw local currency; however these should not be relied on as your sole financial source. Some souvenir sellers and tourist restaurants may accept USD or EUR as payment but all other purchases in Uzbekistan must be made in local currency.
Please note that you must declare ALL currency (including travellers cheques) on entry to and exit Uzbekistan. Failure to do so accurately, or exiting the country with more currency than when you entered may result in delays, fines or the additional sums being confiscated.
The official currency in Kazakhstan is the Tenge (KZT). As we are not in Kazakhstan long and with few opportunities for shopping your leader will advise you on exchanging currency or making purchases.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
RUSSIA:
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants/cafes with table service: We suggest 5% to 10% of your bill, however check if a service charge has already been added.
Local guides: Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest 50-100 RUB per person per activity day for local guides with the amount adjusted accordingly for guides who are with you for a for a full day.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey, while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however a base of 50-100 RUB per person, per day is generally appropriate, with the amount adjusted accordingly for drivers who are with you for less than a full day.
Please do not tip with coins, notes of and less than 10 RUB or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US3-5, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, per person, per day can be used.
Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip isn't compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
REGISTRATION IN UZBEKISTAN:
Please note that immigration in Uzbekistan requires all travellers to register at each point of stay in the country. You will be given a small registration slip at each hotel which you must keep for presentation when exiting the country if requested. Failure to do so may result in delays at the border or possible fines.
CENTRAL ASIAN IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS:
As Central Asian immigration and customs officials are notoriously strict, please make sure you keep all forms for when you exit the country. A lost customs or immigration form could arise in a fine or being detained at the border. You must also declare ALL currency when entering and exiting the country; keep all currency exchange slips or ATM receipts.
RUSSIA:
Please note in order for our local operator to book train tickets in Russia, we require the following information at time of booking or no later than 60 days prior to departure.
• Passengers full names
• Full Passport Details
• DOB
• City of Birth
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Accommodation
Hotel (10 nts), Overnight sleeper train (4 nts), Homestay (4 nts)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
HOMESTAYS and GUESTHOUSES:
Please note that at our homestays and guesthouses you might be required to share a room with people of the opposite sex or with your leader. When we stay at people's homes, beds might be pull-out couches or mattresses on the floor.
HOT WATER:
Please note that in many cities in Russia, including Moscow, hot water is turned off for up to one month during summer for routine maintenance. During this time only cold water may be available.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Meals
14 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
USD 500.00
There are some simple breakfasts included on this trip which usually comprise bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea and juice (or similar).
The Central Asian diet relies heavily on meat based dishes. There are options available for vegetarians, however these may at times be limited to bread, fruit, nuts, yoghurt, cheese, eggs etc. Vegetarians or those with particular dietary needs may choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home or stock up at markets and supermarkets as you go (ie protein bars, dried fruits, etc)
Transport
Taxi, Overnight sleeper train, Minibus, Bus, Car, Train, Metro, Minivan
LONG TRAVEL DAYS
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Hotel Uzbekistan
45 Мusakhanov street
Amir Timur Square
Tashkent
700047
UZBEKISTAN
Phone: +998 (71) 113 1111
Joining point description
Hotel Uzbekistan is a mid-range 16 floor hotel located right in the centre of Tashkent near the Amir Timur metro station. The Navoi Ballet & Opera Theatre is in walking distance as are a number of shops and eateries. The hotel is 10 km from Tashkent International Airport.
Alternate Joining point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
09 Sep 2014 (CBSR140909)
Samir Hotel
str. RAKATBOSHI, 73
Tashkent region
Tashkent
100031
UZBEKISTAN
Phone: +998 712156898
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Arbat-House Hotel Отель Арбат Хаус
13 Skatetrniy Pereulok Скатертный переулок, дом 13
Metro station Arbatskaya м. Арбатская
Moscow
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Phone: +7 (495) 6431910
Finish point description
Arbat House Hotel is located in Moscow’s centre, 3 minutes walk from New Arbat avenue and only a short distance to Arbatskaya metro station. From here you can easily walk to Red Square and the Kremlin through Moscow's historical and cultural centre. The nearest airport is 30km away. Rooms are equipped with TV, telephone, air-conditioning, hairdryer, Wi-Fi, and minibar. Reception staff speak English.
Visit the hotel's website here: www.arbat-house.com
Finish point instructions
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's St Petersburg Office can be reached on Tel: +7 911 7033155. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
RUSSIA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI)
Most nationalities require a visa for Russia. You will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes called a Voucher or Visa Support Letter in order to apply for your visa.
You can obtain your LOI online through our local partners in Russia. Instructions and a link to the website will be sent to you at the time of booking. Read the instructions carefully and fill in the online application form. You will then be able to download your LOI instantly. Please note that we will add 3 days to the LOI duration before and after your trip dates for your convenience. If you are planning to stay longer than these dates please let us know as we will need to manually request a LOI to fit your specific travel plans.
The LOI included in the cost of your tour is for a Single Entry Tourist Visa. LOIs for other types of visas may be organised at your own expense and paid directly to our local partners, Parallel 60 (www.parallelsixty.com)
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
You must apply for your Russian visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en-route. Once you have received your LOI it is your responsibility to apply for your own visa either directly at an embassy or by using a visa agent. We do not recommend trying to obtain your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of residence as your application may be refused.
Use ONLY the information and dates on your LOI when filling in your visa application. There is no need to reference Intrepid Travel or include a copy of your itinerary as Parallel 60 is the official inviting organisation, not Intrepid. Do not be concerned if the destinations and accommodation listed do not match your Intrepid trip exactly. This information is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel and stay in Russia.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Letter of Invitation (LOI)
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4)
* Flight or other transport details - if required
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements
VISA EXTENSIONS
Please be aware that visa extensions are NOT possible in Russia.
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS:
Train tickets in Russia are booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip. If we receive changes to passport numbers less than 30 days prior to departure we cannot guarantee purchase of train tickets.
We do NOT recommend travelling on multiple passports for trips that involve border crossings by train. This can cause difficulties with train ticket bookings and cause significant issues delays at Immigration.
WARNING – MIGRATION CARDS
All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card. The entry portion of the card will be retained by Immigration upon arrival. The stamped exit portion of the card must be kept with your passport during your stay in Russia and submitted to Immigration upon departure. If you are not given a migration card at Immigration on arrival you must request one, even if the immigration official says that you do not need one. Loss or failure to receive the exit portion of the card will result in you not being able to travel on our trip as all hotels require this card for registration and may result in significant delays or fines upon departure.
KAZAKHSTAN - Intrepid Travel - The Visa Machine
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Intrepid Travel have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.
By logging onto The Visa Machine website via the links below you will be able to access checklists of what information and documents you will need to prepare as well as apply for the visa support documents you will need. More specific information is provided below for your trip, however for all countries we advise that you start your visa support application with The Visa Machine no later than 3 months before your trip is scheduled to enter each country in order to allow for the lengthy process, and where applicable, to apply for your visa in advance.
If you are visiting multiple countries, we recommend submitting a single application to The Visa Machine which contains all the information necessary for visiting each country. This will allow The Visa Machine to provide you with the most efficient customer service.
Please remember that applying for the necessary supporting documents as well as the visas is the responsibility of the traveller. Once you have submitted your application to The Visa Machine you will be contacted by their customer service team along with any further instructions.
The following country specific visa information was current at the time of writing. Please check with your local Embassy/Consulate for the most up to date information and requirements before applying for your visas.
Instructions and Information:
Kazakhstan has dropped visa requirements for visitors from 10 countries for a one-year test period. From 15 July 2014 to 15 July 2015 nationals of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the UAE, and Japan can travel in Kazakhstan visa free for up to 15 days. The no-visa pilot program for the 10 countries is supposed to last until July 15, 2015, after which it will be decided if the program will continue.
Please check with the Embassy for up to date information and requirements.
If you do require a Visa to enter Kazakhstan, please follow the below link to get the process started in obtaining your supporting documents with the Visa Machine.
http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/
Firstly please look at the Central Asia ‘CHECK LIST’ and make sure you have everything you need with you so you can start the process. The system doesn’t let you save your progress for later, so you must finish the entire application at the one time. If you are visiting multiple countries on your trip, the same information and documents may be required for different visas. Please make sure you carefully read the check list in order to eliminate any double up.
The Visa Machine will apply for the letter of invitation on your behalf. Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for you visa support, click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.
http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/visa-support
If you have any trouble with the online form please contact The Visa Machine on visasupport@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.
Other Information:
* On some trips you used to be able to obtain your visa en route in either Bishkek or Tashkent. This is no longer possible and you must now obtain your visa in advance if your Nationality requires a visa.
* It is not possible to obtain a visa on arrival at any land borders into Kazakhstan.
*You need to have your Kazakhstan visa before beginning your trip. There is no Kazakhstan representation in Australia or New Zealand so nationals of those countries are advised to apply to the embassy in Singapore.
UZBEKISTAN - Intrepid Travel - The Visa Machine
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Intrepid Travel have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.
By logging onto The Visa Machine website via the links below you will be able to access checklists of what information and documents you will need to prepare as well as apply for the visa support documents you will need. More specific information is provided below for your trip, however for all countries we advise that you start your visa support application with The Visa Machine no later than 3 months before your trip is scheduled to enter each country in order to allow for the lengthy process, and where applicable, to apply for your visa in advance.
If you are visiting multiple countries, we recommend submitting a single application to The Visa Machine which contains all the information necessary for visiting each country. This will allow The Visa Machine to provide you with the most efficient customer service.
Please remember that applying for the necessary supporting documents as well as the visas is the responsibility of the traveller. Once you have submitted your application to The Visa Machine you will be contacted by their customer service team along with any further instructions.
The following country specific visa information was current at the time of writing. Please check with your local Embassy/Consulate for the most up to date information and requirements before applying for your visas.
All visitors to Uzbekistan require a visa. Most nationalities will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI) in order to apply for your visa. Citizens of Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, UK & USA do not currently need a LOI to apply for a tourist visa if applying within their home country; however this information is subject to change at short notice so we recommend checking with the embassy before you start your application. If applying for a visa outside of your country of residency, a LOI will be required.
Please be aware that LOIs take an average of 15 days to be processed but this can be longer, so you will need to allow a minimum of 20 working days. This does not include the time it will take to apply for and receive your Uzbekistan Visa which will vary depending on place of application. Both LOI and Visa processing times are out of our control and can be unpredictable. Once the LOI has been processed a copy will be sent to you or your tour leader. You can then begin the process of applying for your visa if you are getting it in advance. LOIs are valid for a 3 months period so you must apply for your visa within 3 months of the LOI being issued.
Instructions and Information:
Please check with the Embassy for up to date information and requirements.
If you do require a LOI to enter Uzbekistan, please follow the below link to get the process started in obtaining your supporting documents with the Visa Machine.
http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/
Firstly please look at the Central Asia ‘CHECK LIST’ and make sure you have everything you need with you so you can start the process. The system doesn’t let you save your progress for later, so you must finish the entire application at the one time. If you are visiting multiple countries on your trip, the same information and documents may be required for different visas. Please make sure you carefully read the check list in order to eliminate any double up.
The Visa Machine will apply for the letter of invitation on your behalf. Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for you visa support, click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.
http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/visa-support
If you have any trouble with the online form please contact The Visa Machine on visasupport@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.
OTHER INFORMATION:
WARNING – REGISTRATION IN UZBEKISTAN:
All visitors to Uzbekistan must register with the local department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within 3 working days after arrival. When staying at a hotel, you will be registered automatically. Please ensure you keep any registration documents issued by the hotel until you exit the country.
LAWS & HEALTH:
Some medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia, such as sleeping tablets, may be illegal or restricted in Uzbekistan. You should declare all prescription medications and other restricted items on arrival in Uzbekistan, and carry a copy of the prescription with you.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
IMAGES FROM HOME:
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
Health
The diet and hygiene standards of Central Asia may be very different from what you are used to so please take care with washing hands before meals etc and bring some medication/re hydration salts etc should you experience stomach problems.
Giardia intestinalis, a parasite that can cause diarrhoea, is reported from time to time in the water supply and which may not be eradicated by purification methods such as tablets or iodine are used. For this reason Intrepid recommends against drinking unboiled tap water in all Central Asian cities.
Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
TRAIN TRAVEL
Local interaction is certainly big part of travelling experience in Intrepid trip just be careful when it comes to drinking with the locals and playing cards with strangers on the Trans Siberian and Trans Mongolian train journeys. Remember that often vodka sold on platform and by attendants is very low quality and can be dangerous for your health. "Card sharpers" (card sharks) will offer to play cards masked as a local travellers, the ultimate intent is to play for money.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
We recommend that you dress respectfully at all stages of the trip especially when in and around religious sites. In Central Asia both men and women generally dress very conservatively by covering their legs and shoulders. Women are advised to cover their heads when entering functioning Orthodox churches and mosques, while men should remove their hats.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 952.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.