Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Tajikistan - Heart of the Silk Road
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Tajikistan - Heart of the Silk Road
Foreign Office Travel Warnings
We constantly monitor the advice posted by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO advises against travel to areas of Uzbekistan which border Afghanistan – this includes Termez which is visited on this tour. It is likely travel warnings will remain in place for some time to come, and we are only able to accept a booking on the basis that you are aware this is the case and confirm that you are still happy to travel irrespective of the current FCO advice.
You should check the validity of your insurance with your provider, given the travel warnings in place. We can however, help you organise insurance which will continue to be valid.
It should be noted that this information applies to British citizens. Other nationals are asked to check the current position of their respective government.
Accommodation and Meals
At Undiscovered Destinations we know our travellers prefer to stay in comfortable, mid-range accommodation. With a few exceptions you can expect rooms to be en-suite, with private bathroom and when necessary air-conditioning will be provided. In general you will find your hotel has a restaurant and/or bar.
We welcome solo travellers and single rooms will be allocated subject to the applicable tour supplement. Please note that on occasions you may not always be allocated a double or twin room, as some hotels have designated single rooms. These may be smaller in size. However, the supplement payable takes this into consideration.
The Government of Turkmenistan has introduced new legislation stating that smoking is prohibited in ALL public places, including streets, parks, and airports – in fact everywhere except specially designated areas (if any) in restaurants and hotels. Anybody spotted smoking will be taken to the nearest police station, where they may be kept for several hours before having to pay a fine of 300 manat (around £60). Those who refuse to go to the police station, pay the fine, or argue with police officers may end up being detained for up to 15 days. Anyone attempting to bring more than 40 cigarettes for personal use into Turkmenistan will be fined 500 manat (around £100).
Food & Drink
The daily meal basis is shown in the tour itinerary; breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D). Please note that lunch may be a picnic. Drinks are not included and will be payable locally in cash.
If you have any special dietary requirements you must notify us at the time of booking. While we will make every effort to cater for you, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
Budgeting for your Tour
You will need some extra money to cover meals and drinks not included in the tour price, any optional sightseeing, souvenirs and items of a personal nature such as laundry.
The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.
The prices for drinks can vary greatly depending upon location and the prices detailed below are an average guide. In general you would expect that drinks purchased in a supermarket or local bar to be less expensive, whilst drinks in an upmarket bar or restaurant may be more expensive.
Bottle of Beer $2-3
Water (Large bottle 1.5 L) $1
Tipping – Guide and Drivers
Tipping is common practise in Central Asia. If your local guide has been helpful then you could think about tipping. If you are travelling on our group tour, a reasonable amount to allow would be around $3-4 per person per day for the guides and around $2 per person per day for the driver.
ATM Availability: ATM machines are not widely available
Credit and Debit Card Acceptance: Cards are not widely accepted
Local Currency: The currency in Uzbekistan is the Som. In Tajikistan it is the somani, and in Turkmenistan it is the Manat
Recommended Currency for Exchange: US dollars – these should be crisp and free from any marks as many places will not accept them otherwise
Where to Exchange: Your guide will advise you
Joining your Tour
Our advertised prices do not include the cost of international flights. Please contact us if you would like a quotation to book a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
Joining your Tour Abroad
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a free airport transfer, both on arrival and departure. In order that the transfer can be arranged please ensure that you advise us of your flight information once available. Please advise the date, time and flight number for your arrival/departure. If we have not been advised of this information at least 2 weeks before travel, then you will be required to make your own way to the hotel on Day 1 of your tour.
It is a condition of booking with Undiscovered Destinations that you have adequate valid travel insurance, the cost of which is not included in the price of the tour. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip.
Most nationalities require a visa for Uzbekistan including UK, US and EU which should be obtained before you travel. While some nationalities including UK and US do not need official visa support before they can apply for their Uzbekistan visa, others will need a Letter of Invitation, and this will be provided by Undiscovered Destinations as required.
Please note that our scheduled Silk Road group tour requires that you obtain a multiple entry visa for Uzbekistan as you will be entering three times. The current cost of the visa if applied for directly at the Embassy in the UK is £57.
Most nationalities require a visa for Turkmenistan and this should be obtained before you travel. A Letter of Invitation will be required and this will be provided by Undiscovered Destinations. The cost of the visa if applied for directly at the Embassy in UK is £75.
Most nationalities require a visa for Tajikistan and this should be obtained before you travel. A Letter of Invitation and a Hotel Voucher will be required and these will be provided by Undiscovered Destinations. The cost of the visa if applied for directly at the Embassy in UK is £20.
These guidelines are based on information supplied by the embassies in London. If you are applying for your visa elsewhere please check details with your selected embassy.
Please note: We cannot request the visa support until we have full passport and client details from you. We will also need a clear copy of your passport and the location of the embassy at which you are to apply for the visa. The visa support is embassy-specific, so you cannot subsequently change your mind about where you will get the visa. It is your responsibility to provide us with these details in full. Failure to do so will mean that we cannot provide the visa support. Not all countries have official Uzbekistan representation, in which case you will need to allow extra time to send your passport to a country with an Uzbekistan embassy.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, valid for at least six months after your date of return to the UK.
We strongly advise that your passport contains a minimum of two blank pages, as this may be a requirement of the local immigration authorities. In addition certain countries will stipulate that the two blank pages are opposite each other. If you are unable to meet these requirements you may be refused boarding by your airline or denied entry by the immigration authorities.
For specific information about the requirements for your destination please check with the country’s embassy or consulate. Alternatively UK citizens can visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Vaccinations & Protection
We strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date information and advice regarding the necessary vaccinations. For a visit of less than one month, almost certainly you will be advised to have immunisations against the following: Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Meningitis.
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you are aware that any form of pills and medication will be carefully scrutinised at border crossing points, in particular by the Uzbekistan border guards. If you are travelling with prescribed medication you should take a letter from your doctor and a prescription with you, which make it clear that you are legally permitted to take the items- this also applies to items such as sleeping tablets.
Preparing for your tour
The region can be bitterly cold in its winter months and fiercely hot during July and August. The best time to visit is generally accepted to be from May to June, and September to November.
When it comes to clothing it is usually recommended that lighter clothes are worn through the day, and warmer ones at night- you will definitely need warmer clothing for the time spent at Lake Iskander Kul and in the Fann Mountains. It is also advisable to wear a hat during the day to protect from the sun. You should make sure that you bring a waterproof jacket for any rainy days. As Uzbekistan is conservative in terms of dress codes you should make sure that you bring a few outfits that are suitable for entering mosques and religious buildings – long sleeves and trousers / long skirts are a good idea.
The first thing on your list should be a first aid kit. Whilst there is no undue cause for alarm, travellers are best advised to travel well-prepared: adequately immunized, with sufficient supplies of prescription drugs, along with a medical kit. Suncream/sunblock is a must. Insect repellent, including a bite spray will also be useful to have.
You will not need to bring a sleeping bag as bedding will be provided when at the homestay. However we do recommend that you bring a towel.
Footwear is a main priority on this tour. Comfortable walking shoes/boots are recommended.
Luggage on tour
Your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage sized rucksack is acceptable. Please note that you will be crossing land borders on this tour, so you may wish to take wheeled luggage; some border crossings can be lengthy.
Electric Supply & Plugs
Electrical supply is 220V and plugs usually have two round pins like most European countries.
Tour Itinerary Versions
Please ensure that you have an up-to-date copy of these tour notes immediately before you travel, as from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. You will be informed of any major changes to your tour but small changes may just be added to these tour notes. These tour notes were updated on 09/05/16