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On the Silk Road in Central Asia

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Road Scholar
Program #18766RJ
19 Days | 18 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Julia Tye Jul 12, 2014 at 03:13 PM

Would hiking poles be helpful?
Dorothy Baker Jul 12, 2014 at 03:52 PM

I took them in October and never used them.

Leslie J Jul 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

This is such a helpful discussion board - thanks to all for your comments.

Can I ask you all one more question regarding packing - did you have time/ability to have any laundry done at hotels or mostly have quick-dry clothes that you can wash in the sink? We would be going in May so I assume hot & dry enough weather that clothes would dry overnight.
Carolyn Carlson Jul 12, 2014 at 11:41 AM

We went on this trip last September and did not find many opportunities to do laundry because of the busy schedule. However, we did have laundry done in Bukhara and I think any time you are staying more than one night it would be possible to have laundry done. It is a good idea to take quick-dry clothes so you can rinse things out in your room as needed. Have a good time. It is a fascinating trip. We thought the hotels were fine--clean and comfortable. Some were basic and we happened to have one or two rooms that were quite large and "cushy" for the area.
Leslie J Jul 12, 2014 at 11:48 AM

thank you! this is a fabulous and active board - so great to hear from previous travelers!
Danna Moore Jul 12, 2014 at 02:59 PM

Amen to the quick drying clothes. I thought that Bukara was heavenly! I would like for someone to tell me how the Kuzil Kum Desert Highway construction is going.
Danna Moore Jul 12, 2014 at 03:03 PM

Kyzyl Kum

Angier Peavy Jul 11, 2014 at 05:21 PM

You will find fresh baked bread all over the place. We bought it right out of the oven in markets and from stands, and it was all fabulous. Dried apricots are heavenly. We were there for strawberry and tomato season. I was naughty and ate them. I had no problems, but those of a more sensitive nature did.

Laurel Friesen Jul 11, 2014 at 05:10 PM

Ditto positive comments on hotels and food.

Catherine Cloud Jul 11, 2014 at 04:57 PM

We enjoyed the food very much but at Jama's suggestion were careful about a few of the raw vegetables. There are lots of beets in salads which were delicious. We took probiotics on our trip and I believe that is helpful. Our rooms were often smokey but we'd been warned of that and found the cleanliness and comfort totally acceptable. There were a couple of places with rather hard beds but we loved our trip and Road Scholar took good care of us all the way!

Irma Honda Jul 11, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Leslie, I found the hotels to be more than adequate--in fact, the hotel in Bukhara is one of the most charming places I've ever stayed in. The hotel in Khujand was the only marginal one and it was probably the best available and we were only there one night.
Leslie J Jul 11, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Good to know, thanks! Not sure if I should start a separate 'comment' or not but can I ask about the food in general?
William Waller Jul 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Hi - I'd be curious as to the reviews you read since I second the comments about the Khujand being a mediocre stay. However the rest of the hotels were very fine and I think it has to do with Elder Hostel picking rest places according to the expectations that their well traveled clients wish to have. There wasn't a hostel in the bunch! The food is generally suited toward the western palate, with few exotic touches or rarely spiced up. All the salads, fruits, and veggies are contracted to be washed with boiled water, at least for the tour led by Jama from Uzbekistan. He also provides bottles water on the buses, at meals, and even to take into your rooms for personal use with teeth etc. There are a couple of "in home" meals for which no one on our trip suffered any ill effects.
Danna Moore Jul 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

They may be contracted to be washed, but I didn't eat ANYTHING that wasn't cooked. I follow that all over the world in undeveloped countries and it serves me well. There were some fun meals that were great and some so so.
Leslie J Jul 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Thank you for further positive feedback on the hotels and also the food. The reviews I saw were on tripadvisor and I know you have to take them for what they're worth...some people have different standards, etc. I'm glad to hear about the fruit/veg prep so that they can be eaten. Always sad to be in places where the salads & fruit look great but you have to use the "peel it, boil it, or forget it" motto or risk unwanted adventures of the GI variety.
Leslie J Jul 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Danna - I'm of the same mindset most of the time and also take 2 preventative pepto-bismols before each meal in developing countries.

Leslie J Jul 11, 2014 at 10:21 AM

I know the tourist infrastructure in this region is what it is; I know I'm not going on this kind of trip to stay at the Ritz Carlton or sit by a resort pool drinking umbrella drinks; BUT the hotels that are listed for this trip get very grim reviews. Are they acceptable enough to not negatively impact the trip?
Danna Moore Jul 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM

There was only one hotel that wasn't "up to snuff" and it was so weird that it was funny!! Take along your sense of humor and you will have a wonderful time. We took pictures of the rooms and actually you don't want an uninteresting room in this part of the world.
Leslie J Jul 11, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Thanks for the reassurance. I promise I'm not THAT picky and will try to keep my sense of humor intact regarding the hotels :)

Kathleen Jul 06, 2014 at 09:38 PM

For those who might be interested in a video of the "Stans", the BBC did a four part series. Not historical but more for general audiences. "This four-part series, shown in 2003 on BBC2, BBC World and by broadcasters internationally, took Simon Reeve from the far north-west of Kazakhstan, by the Russian border, east to the Chinese border, south through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the edge of Afghanistan, and west to Uzbekistan and the legendary Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara." Viewable online:
Dorothy Baker Jul 06, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Thank you. I look forward to watching the series.
Kathleen Jul 06, 2014 at 10:23 PM

I'm into the second part now. It definitely isn't a tourist video. So be aware it could be considered a bit controversial.

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
17 nights of accommodations
48 meals: 17 breakfasts, 16 lunches, 15 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
25 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences
4 Performances
2 Flights during the program


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