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KAZAKHSTAN / KYRGYZSTAN / UZBEKISTAN / TAJIKISTAN / TURKMENISTAN

On the Silk Road in Central Asia

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Road Scholar
Program #18766RJ
19 Days | 18 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
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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linda alley Jul 21, 2014 at 05:55 PM

Who is going on the Sept 24th 2014 Silk Road trip?
I am flying a day early on the 23rd out of Los Angeles to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. I will stay the night in Frankfurt at the airport hotel to rest up; board the airplane to Almaty with most of you the next day at 1:30PM on the 25th of Sept and arrive in Almaty at the regular scheduled time around midnight. Would like to meet some my fellow travelers ahead of time! I am retired, travelling solo, am 67 yrs old, well travelled, love to laugh, walk most mornings early, and am a tough old bird!


Kathleen Steinle Jul 20, 2014 at 02:21 PM

Thank you for the helpful "shoes" comments.
1. Any thing you wished you had left home or wish you had brought?
2. I have a "slash proof" fanny pack that would be "exterior"--will this be a security problem? Sound like small backpacks are "out" and shoulder bags are "in" for water/sunhat/camera etc?
Angier Peavy Jul 20, 2014 at 06:06 PM

I don't think that we ever felt any security concerns or threats. Some had backpacks; some had shoulder bags; some had regular bags; i had a multi-pocket vest. You can leave stuff on the bus when you are out touring, and many of the hotels had safes if you wanted to leave things in the hotel.


Kenn Charlton Jul 20, 2014 at 01:43 PM

I have read several comments regarding the unusual border crossings. Can anyone elaborate on the difficulties experienced with travel from one Stan to the next.
Irma Honda Jul 20, 2014 at 02:21 PM

We did not experience any difficulties, mainly because Jama, our tour director, prepared us for them in excruciating detail. The land crossings consisted of no man's land of varying distances (the longest one was between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan). After going through customs and immigration of the country we were leaving, we had to carry our luggage through the no-man's land to the immigration and customs of the country we were entering where we were met by our new local guide. Jama made sure that our visas were in order (correct dates, etc.) and that the forms we had to fill out were properly completed. Officials might or might not ask questions, but mostly did not since they did not speak English. My advise, follow the tour director's instructions, be prepared to be patient, pack lightly, and be flexible.
Kenn Charlton Jul 20, 2014 at 02:56 PM

Thank you Irma that is reassuring.
Carolyn Carlson Jul 20, 2014 at 03:09 PM

We also truly appreciated Jama's expertise at border crossings. However, we happened to be crossing into Uzbekistan at a time when the border had been unexpectedly closed just a day or two before we arrived and the brand new border guards were reluctant to allow the tour to enter. Jama saved the day. We understand that there are now taxis available to take people on the longest walk we did between borders (Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan). We agree that border crossings benefit from patience, small rolling suitcases and a sense of humor.
Kenn Charlton Jul 20, 2014 at 04:14 PM

Thank you Carolyn. My main concern is that Officials are not overly zealous like and interrogation or wondering what's in a persons shampoo bottle. But it seems all good now.
Carolyn Carlson Jul 20, 2014 at 04:44 PM

Hope it is smooth sailing for you. Have a wonderful trip. It is a fascinating tour.
Danna Moore Jul 20, 2014 at 05:06 PM

Rolling suitcases - NOT spinners.
Catherine Cloud Jul 22, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Just be cool, there are heavily armed guys everywhere at these crossings, they may or may not inspect your personal stuff. Don't take any photos of anything Jama tells you not to. They opened my husband's tablet computer and looked at photos (they got the stock ones of flowers & stuff which was funny) but Jama smooths the way as others have said. They know him at these borders and it's just a matter of being patient and tolerant of delays, paperwork and keeping close track of your documents. I once washed a vital entry doc that I had to have on the way out. When it dried it was still legible. When I presented it I made a washing pantomime and they all laughed about it. BUT if I'd really destroyed this piece of paper it would have been a significant hassle for Jama.


Kathleen Steinle Jul 20, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I depart on September 3. What shoes should I wear? Can I wear sturdy walking sandals? A friend thinks I need "socks" to avoid getting bit by insects. Is this true? Thank you for any advice
Angier Peavy Jul 20, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Sandals are fine. I wore socks with mine becasuse of the sand. Insects were not an issue.
William Waller Jul 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM

I know that some folks did wear sandals, some with socks and some naked. Sturdy walking sandals could work if you are used to climbing trails and walls with them. Not sure we actually ran into any insects which would constitute a clear and present danger to your tooties.
Angier Peavy Jul 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Ooops, it is, of course, "because" not whatever I wrote.
Carolyn Carlson Jul 20, 2014 at 10:43 AM

We went on the 9/3 trip last year and many women wore comfortable, sturdy sandals (with and without socks) and had another more dressy flat or small heel for dinners. I don't remember insects being a problem on our trip. Do heed the advice to pack light, though, as it may be hot and border crossings will require you to carry your own luggage.


Fred Gornick Jul 19, 2014 at 04:24 PM

I will be on the Aug. !6 Silk Road trip leaving JFK on Lufthasnsa. I live in NYC and would be glad to hear from any of my fellow travelers. I'm pleased that MIR is leading the trip. I went to Iran with them last year. It was very well run,


Proserfina Strona Jul 17, 2014 at 05:23 PM

I'm enrolled with the "On the Silk Road..." Prog. # 18766RJ and would like to know if there are other participants in the same program flying from Los Angeles to Frankfurt on Aug. 16, 3:05 PM ,Flight LH 0457. It would be nice to hook-up with somebody going in the same direction.
Thank you!


Irma Honda Jul 16, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Anne, judging from the forms we had to fill out to get our visas, I would guess that the process is not easy. I seem to recall that one or more of the Stans required a letter of invitation which MIR, the tour provider, had to prepare.
Danna Moore Jul 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Amen
Anne J Jul 19, 2014 at 09:56 PM

Thanks to everyone weighing in on the DYI Visa route. I think I will notch that idea up to "what was I thinking" :)


Leslie J Jul 16, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Hi Anne -
It seems like you're going to run into problems with time if you send away for the visas to be done through the company RS recommends (is it GenVisa they use?). Have you thought about getting a second passport? I'm considering doing that because I have some trips coming up which are close together where sending my pp for visas will cut it very close. As to the issue of getting them yourself I haven't read up on how challenging that might be but living in DC is a definite plus if you decide to try that.
Danna Moore Jul 16, 2014 at 12:02 PM

For years I ddin't realize that you could have a second passport, but at one point I think it was GenVisa suggested that to me. I didn't end up doing it, but it could be a good idea.
Leslie J Jul 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Just looked at the 2nd passport requirements and it's not exactly guaranteed - you do have to provide a valid reason for needing a second one. Also it's only good for 2 years which is a shame!
Jere Pilver Jul 19, 2014 at 04:25 PM

Hi Anne, I'm booked on the October 30 trip. I'm leaving a day early and plan to layover in Frankfurt.
Anne J Jul 19, 2014 at 09:54 PM

Great to meet you! I am arriving in Almaty on Tuesday, Oct 28 to explore for a couple of days first.


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Included
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17 nights of accommodations
48 meals: 17 breakfasts, 16 lunches, 15 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
29 Field trips
2 Hands-on experiences
4 Performances
2 Flights during the program

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4.6
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