Samarkand, Uzbekistan

DUSHANBE to BISHKEK (23 days) Silk Road Adventure

Small Group Adventure

Silk Road Adventure

Countries Visited: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Discover the stunning scenery of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan with a trip that takes you off the beaten track and into the heart of the wilderness. From Dushanbe we travel through the highlights of the Silk Road by road and rail, visiting Samarkand, Khiva and Tashkent, before getting out in to the wilderness in Kazakhstan. We visit the ex capital city of Almaty and then enter the wilds of Kyrgyzstan, taking an epic journey around Lake Issy-Kul before ending our journey in Bishkek.

Route Map

DUSHANBE to BISHKEK (23 days) Silk Road Adventure
Click map to enlarge

Highlights

  • Appreciate the beauty of the Registan, madrassas and mosques in Samarkand
  • Discover Bukhara - an important stop on the Silk Road, home to over 350 mosques and 100 Islamic colleges
  • Drive through desert from Khiva to Bukhara to see the ancient Khorezm Fortresses
  • Take Uzbekistan’s fast bullet train from Bukhara to Tashkent
  • Wander the leafy streets and enjoy the cafe culture of Almaty
  • Discover Kazakhstan's natural beauty in Charyn Canyon National Park and Kol Sai Lake
  • Explore the stunning scenery around Karakol by foot or on horseback
  • Take a swim in Lake Issyk-Kul, the world's second largest Alpine lake

Includes

  • Lake Issyk-Kul
  • Khiva World Heritage Site
  • Samarkand & Tashkent
  • Aksu Zhabagly National Park
  • Charyn Canyon National Park
  • Jeti Orguz - Hiking in the Terksay Ala Too mountains
  • Accommodation fees (yurt camps, family guesthouses, simple hotels & hostels)
  • Transport in private minivan/minibus
  • Overnight sleeper train and day-time trains in Uzbekistan
  • Meals (approx. 50%)
  • Services of Oasis tour leader and local drivers

Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Airport Transfers
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Meals while in hotels/hostels
  • Tips
  • Optional Excursions

Trip Itinerary

Dushanbe - Tajikistan’s largest city and aptly its name means “money” in Tajik language. It is a big, showy entry to the country. Today is arrival day and after making your way to our start hotel, you can spend any free time you have strolling through the city’s parks and admiring the fountains and the wide boulevards punctuated with grand buildings. Visit “Flag Pole Park” or the bazaar, or make the most of being in a city with restaurants specialising in various different cuisines!

From Dushanbe we drive westwards and we enter Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan we will find well preserved relics from the time when Asia was a centre of empire, learning, and trade along the famous silk route. Some of its cities have abundant old architecture, mosques and minarets cloaked with the mystery of the orient dating back thousands of years.

Samarkand is the second largest city in the country. The history of Samarkand dates back 2,500 years, making it as old as Babylon or Rome. Here we have time to explore the splendid architecture such as the 15th century Bibi-Khanum Mosque which when it was built was considered to have the largest dome in the Muslim world. Today it stands next to a noisy and colourful Oriental market. No trip here is complete without a wander around the three edifices of the Registan, once Medieval Samarkand's commercial plaza and today quite possibly the most awesome sight in Central Asia.

Tonight, we take advantage of Uzbekistan’s well developed railway network for a sleeper train journey to Khiva.

Khiva is another town with much historical influence, which was also on the great Silk Road. This is one of the most noteworthy of the cities and towns of Central Asia. It is a unique monument town, completely preserved in the cultural style of the region and is a World Heritage Site for its historical significance. It has more minarets than any other place in Asia and the Juma Mosque, which has an amazing 218 ornate carved wooden columns, is another of the main attractions. We will spend a couple of nights here to explore the ancient madrassas, medinas, mausoleums and museums and soak up the unique atmosphere.

Our drive from Khiva to Bukhara takes us through the desert to see the Khorezm Fortresses. Little visited by tourists, these ancient, abandoned castles, some around 2000 years old, stand stark in the vast, arid desertscape.

Bukhara is situated on a sacred hill and was founded in the 13th century BC. It is home to over 350 mosques and some 100 Islamic colleges. The city is intrinsically linked to the history of the Silk Road and later the ‘Great Game’ that played out in the nineteenth century between Russia and Great Britain. One of the most famous individuals involved in this historical period, the Englishman Alexander Burnes, was known as ‘Burnes of Bukhara’ and the books he authored based on his adventures in this part of Asia gave him celebrity status in Victorian England.

Bukhara today is an attractive city with narrow streets, green parks and gardens, and is a pleasure to wander around and there will be the opportunity for a bout of good humoured haggling in the bazaar.

This morning we take a fast bullet train to Tashkent, the present capital of Uzbekistan. This modern, cosmopolitan city hosts a mixture of Islamic, Soviet and twenty-first century buildings, and is a pleasant place to spend a couple of nights. Riding the city’s metro is an experience in itself, with many of the stations ornately decorated, much like the more famous underground in Moscow, and there is also some lively nightlife to check out.

We drive north away from the city to cross the border into Kazakhstan. Our first stop is the city of Shymkent, the country’s third largest and a thriving centre of trade as it has been for hundreds of years. From here you have the option of taking a trip to Turkistan to see the Kozha Ahmed Yasawi mausoleum built in the late 14th century.

Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve is our next stopping point and we spend two nights here in a family homestay, taking some time to enjoy the stunning scenery of green valleys, rushing rivers and snow capped peaks. Here we stand a chance of spotting bears, ibex and golden eagles. There are hiking and horse riding options around the reserve.

Following the Kyrgyz border, we head east to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis and capital until 1997. Almaty is the largest and most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan. Set in the foothills of the Trans Ili Alatau mountains, the area has a ski resort (Shymbulak) at an elevation of 2,200 mtrs and enjoys a great amount of snow from November through to May.

The city has many sights and attractions, including Ascension Cathedral in Panfilov Park; Abay Opera House; Golden Warrior Monument in the Republic Square and the giant Almaty Tower. Or for adrenaline lovers, why not ride the ‘Fast Coaster’ roller coaster, that is located on the side of a mountain and reaches speeds of 45 km per hour.

Leaving the city behind, we journey across the steppe to Charyn Canyon National Park, home to a red rock canyon carved by the Charyn River. We continue to overnight in the village of Shatty where our accommodation is in a local family guesthouse. The next morning, we will take a drive to either Kol Sai Lake with the option of a hike in the beautiful surroundings (4-5 hours) or to Kaindy Lake with its dead trees jutting eerily from the turquoise water.

We cross the border to re-enter Kyrgyzstan and head for the town of Karakol, with its attractive houses and tree-lined streets and the Terskay Ala-Too Mountains rising up behind. Nearby is Lake Issyk-Kul, a massive mountain lake with magnificent scenery. From our base in Karakol you have the option to go hiking in Altyn Arashan or to the vast red stone cliffs in Jeti Orguz. Our journey continues along the north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul where we stop at Cholpon Ata, a resort popular with Kyrgyz and a great spot to enjoy the lake’s beaches. Our final drive brings us to Kyrgyzstan’s capital and journey’s end, Bishkek.

Our trip ends after breakfast. Bishkek is a well-connected city, with the airport serving destinations throughout Asia with connections for onward travel further afield. For those with some time to spare it’s a pleasant city to spend a few days at the end of your trip, with some excellent bars, cafés and restaurants dotted around to relax and reflect on your trip through Central Asia.


Trip Joining Point:  Hello Dushanbe Hostel - Dushanbe

Start Time Day 1: 18:00

Address: 5 Proyezd Nisora Mukhammada 4/1, 734024 Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Website: https://www.booking.com/hotel/tj/hostel-hello-dushanbe.en-gb.html

All prices listed are approximate and subject to limited availability.

Room Type Price Description
8 Bed Dorm GBP7.00 Per Person, shared facilities
6 Bed Dorm GBP7.00 Per Person, shared facilities
Twin / Double    GBP17.00 - 33.00   Per Room, en-suite facilities

 

The trip starts from the Hello Dushanbe Hostel at approximately 6pm on the morning of Day 1 of your trip. 

Located 2 km from the city centre, the Hello Dushanbe Hostel is a friendly hostel with an outdoor garden area to enjoy. All rooms are air-conditioned with flat screen TV's, free Wi-Fi is also available. There are plenty of room types to choose from with shared or en-suite facilities, there is also a fully equipped communal kitchen for guests to use.

PRE-TRIP ACCOMMODATION:

Please book this through booking.com: https://www.booking.com/hotel/tj/hostel-hello-dushanbe.en-gb.html. Accommodation costs for any additional nights are payable direct to Hello Dushanbe Hostel on arrival.

Airport Transfer Costs: Approximately $10 USD

If you would like to arrange an airport transfer, please contact Hello Dushanbe Hostel directly. 

If you have chosen not to book a transfer with the Hello Dushanbe Hostel, there are taxis available from outside the airport as you exit after arrivals. Not all taxi drivers will speak English, so it is advised to have the hostel address written down to advise them.

We recommend changing some currency into Tajikistan Somoni in the airport at a bureau de change.

Day 1 of your trip is an arrivals day, there will be a pre-departure meeting in the starting hotel this evening, usually around 6:00pm.  There will be a notice in reception advising the exact time and here your crew will explain how the day to day running of the trip works. Your Tour Leader will collect your Local Payment money as well as 2 photocopies of your passport information pageinsurance policy details with policy number and confirmation that the duration will cover you for the entire trip and a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. It is essential that you attend this meeting - please let the UK office or your tour leader know if you are unable to do so.

Post-trip accommodation can be arranged with your Tour Leader during the trip or directly with the hotel on arrival. The return airport transfer can be arranged through your hotel / hostel and is not included, it is at your own expense. We regret these services cannot be arranged via the Oasis office before departure.

Normally our trips start in the evening of day 1 with a pre-departure meeting (you will be given exact details on when and where to meet either on collection from the airport or it will be clearly noted in the reception of our joining hotel). Please check the start time of your trip in the Accommodation Information section and allow extra time for your arrival wherever possible.

Return flights can be booked for the final day of the trip which is set aside for your departure. You may wish to allow some extra time to explore your departure city further. 

There are many online flight search engines such as www.skyscanner.net or www.ebookers.co.ukflights can also be booked direct with airline websites or through travel agencies. Please inform us of your flight details through your online account, as airport transfers can be arranged for various trips. 

One way ticket - If you intend to travel on a one way ticket to meet up with one of our trips, without possessing an onward flight ticket - we recommend that you have a copy of your payment confirmation/receipt (that you will be sent at time of your balance payment) available at immigration to assist easy entry.

Departure Taxes - Please check with your Travel Agent or Airline if your flight ticket already includes a departure tax payment out of the country. 

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your trip finishes. This is a general requirement for all of the countries we travel to on our trips.

If you have dual nationality you can only use one passport for the entire trip. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require.

Please bring 2 photocopies of your passport details to give to your tour leader.

As a guideline, you will need at least 1 blank page per country in your passport after you have obtained any relevant visas before your trip commences.

The information below is to be used only as a guide and may change without prior notice. It is advisable to contact the relevant embassy in plenty of time before the trip departs to check the current visa requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require. 

Kazakhstan

Passport holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan.

Passport holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Kyrgyzstan

Passport holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan.

Passport holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Tajikistan

UK passport holders require an E-visa in advance. E-visas can be applied for through the following link: www.evisa.tj.  Details for the visa application will be emailed to you before your trip departs. A GBAO permit is also required if travelling in the High Pamirs. 

Uzbekistan

Passport holders from UK, Ireland, Australian, New Zealand, Canada and most EU countries can obtain a free visa into Uzbekistan at the border on arrival. American passport holders will need to apply for an e-visa before arrival into Uzbekistan. (Please note: those on the 40 day Silk Road Circuit will need to apply for a double entry e-visa)

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

It is possible that you may require some vaccinations for your trip, depending on the areas that you are visiting. As we are not medically trained, we are unable to give detailed advice on vaccination requirements, so please use the information below as a guide only. We have worked closely with Nomad Travel Clinics for many years and they offer Oasis travellers a 10% discount on vaccinations, anti- malarial drugs, first aid items, clothing and equipment, just enter discount code OASIS1000 at www.nomadtravel.co.uk. Alternatively you can check out the fit for travel website for more travel health information or consult a reputable travel clinic or your GP for information and advice. We suggest that you allow at least 8 weeks to get all your vaccinations.

Covid-19 - While we do not make being vaccinated against Covid-19 compulsory on our trips, we strongly recommend it. Being fully vaccinated (including any available boosters) will both protect your health, the health of other travellers and crew (through reduced risk of transmission), save the additional time and cost required to obtain pre-entry PCR tests and avoid potential disruption to the itinerary. Should a country require negative PCR tests before entry for unvaccinated travellers then obtaining these will be at your cost should you need them. If a country will not admit unvaccinated travellers at all, then any travellers in the group affected would need to overfly that country at their own cost.
Remember to bring copies of your proof of vaccination with you.

Yellow Fever - Being vaccinated against Yellow Fever and having a valid certificate and a photocopy is deemed compulsory in many countries we visit, especially at certain borders and are needed if you are entering from an infected country. You can view a list of countries requiring a certificate through the World Health organisation http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf 

Rabies - Vaccinations are regularly recommended for some of the countries that we travel through - especially if time and money are not a deterrent.

Malaria - In some of the areas we visit there is a risk of contracting Malaria. You must be aware that whatever malaria prophylactics you are taking, they only offer partial protection. They must be coupled with your own physical efforts against being bitten - which is the best prevention. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes come out at sunset so from this time you should wear long sleeves and trousers.  Exposed skin, especially ankles, should have insect repellent containing 'Deet' applied to them. Your crew will advise on where the worst affected areas are on the trip. There are a number of prophylactic malaria treatments on the market & requirements change. It is also wise to take a sample of whichever prophylactic you choose, a few weeks before you leave. This way you may determine early on if you have any adverse reactions so you can change the regimen if necessary. Please consult a reputable travel clinic or GP for advice.  For more information visit www.nomadtravel.co.uk or www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk

Altitude sickness - This is caused by thin air (due to lack of oxygen) and can affect anyone arriving at high altitude (above 3000mtrs). The symptoms are headaches, dizziness, shortage of breath and possibly nausea. To avoid this or alleviate the symptoms make a point to acclimatize by arriving into a high altitude destination a few days early and make sure you do not over exert yourself, rest for a few hours, avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, large meals and drink plenty of water.

As we are travelling mostly by land (as opposed to flying into a high altitude location) we should acclimatise gradually, and so avoid 'soroche', mountain sickness.

Dengue - Unlike the malaria mosquito, which bites at night, the dengue carrying mosquito bites during the day. Some areas we travel to do have occasional outbreaks & it is therefore advised that you take care not to be bitten during the day as well as at night. There is no vaccine available.

Opiates and Prescription Medicines in Central Asia - Please note that all opiates and their derivatives are highly illegal in Central Asia, particularly Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Any products containing opiates, such as codeine or co-codamol are illegal and if you are found in possession of them you may be arrested as a drug-trafficker. Ensure that all personal medication is clearly labelled. If you are travelling with prescribed medicines you will need to have a copy of the signed doctor's prescription with you. 

These rules can change without notice, so if you have any queries it is advisable to check travel advice provided by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which provides specific information for each country on the latest requirements. 

It is a compulsory requirement that you have adequate travel insurance before you join any Oasis Trip & at the very least are insured for all necessary medical & repatriation costs incurred.

You will be asked to provide the following details in My Oasis Account if you have not already done so: travel insurance name, insurance policy number & insurance emergency telephone number. You will also be required to give a copy of your policy with this information to your Tour Leader on arrival with confirmation that the policy duration is sufficient to cover you for the entire duration of your trip.  It is also wise to leave a copy of your insurance policy with a friend or relative for safe keeping.

We believe that your safety and holiday enjoyment are very important. It is a mistake to think that "it will never happen to me". It is also very important that you are covered for all the activities that you may wish to undertake while on our trip. It is extremely important that you check the full extent of your cover related to 24 hour Medical Emergency Assistance. In the event of you needing medical treatment you want to know that you have the best cover available to you. Your policy should include adequate Medical Emergency and Repatriation cover as well as Cancellation, Baggage and Personal Liability cover. You need to be aware of EXACTLY what activities your policy covers you for. Please note that skiing is not usually covered in most insurance policies. 

We offer tailor made Overland Adventure Travel Insurance that covers most of the adventure and sporting activities on our trips.

For further information on the insurance we offer, the activities covered and costs, check out the Travel Insurance section of our website. You can purchase our insurance by logging into My Oasis Account and click 'Buy Insurance' or through the following link.

Local Payment (LP)

LP is part of your overall trip payment and is the most cost effective and practical way to get hard currency to the Middle East and Asia to pay for a variety of your day-to-day local costs which cannot be pre-paid from the UK. It is a guaranteed amount, set before your trip departs, and unlike 'group kitty' systems we will not ask you to contribute more once the trip is underway. Using a Local Payment like this allows your tour leader to pay for a variety of things in cash, ensuring that the money goes directly into the local economy rather than being filtered through international payment systems and companies. 

Please note: Your LP is payable to your Tour Leader on the first day of the trip in US$ Dollars CASH ONLY. Make sure that all your notes are in good condition. Old, torn or marked notes are often refused by the banks and we will therefore be unable to accept them either. Please do not bring all of your Local Payment in US$100 notes and also make sure that they are post 2013 and do not have a serial number starting with CB.

How to bring your currency?

Past Oasis travellers have fed back that they have felt, as a general rule, it is best to bring your money in cash as a combination of Euros and US dollars. Euros are of course the best currency throughout Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran, and for all of Central Asia and China US dollars are favourable. Pre-paid travel currency cards are also an option if you are concerned about bringing all your money in cash but we advise bringing at least 50% of your money in cash. Some travellers worry about carrying so much cash with them, however all Oasis Overland trucks are equipped with an onboard safe for the security of your money and passport. 

US dollars dated pre-2006 are not generally accepted so please ensure your notes are dated 2013 onward possible and are in a clean condition with no writing on the notes. Scottish pounds are usually not accepted. 

Turkmenistan - is a largely cash-based economy; in all of the country there are very few ATMs, all in Ashgabat, and these are often out of service. Credit/debit cards and pre-paid currency cards are very difficult to use. Please budget for your time in Turkmenistan entirely in US dollars cash. It is possible to change money in hotels and at bureaux de change at a set exchange rate. 

Spending Money

From past traveller feedback, US$150 to US$200 per week should cover costs such as meals out (on average 50% are supplied), soft drinks and beers, email and communications, souvenirs and other general spending. Personal spending habits and budgets differ greatly from person to person. Budget on optional activities and visa costs separately (see visa section above and optional excursions page) and allow extra for your Local Payment contribution. 

Changing money

Change your money only at banks, hotels, airports or official exchange bureaus. It is illegal to change money on the street, as these people will normally be opportunistic thieves or undercover police. Your crew will advise you where and when you can change money & with what means. It is also a good idea to have a small CASH emergency fund, to allow for the unexpected.

Credit and Debit Cards

If using credit or debit cards (bear in mind these cannot be used in Turkmenistan) Visa is best; Mastercard and American Express have limited access through parts of Asia. Please note that usually you will be given local currency and NOT US$ or £GB. We recommend that you inform your bank that you will be using your card abroad to avoid it being blocked. 

Pre-Paid Travel Currency Cards

These cards are similar to normal Credit and Debit cards but they can be pre loaded with cash before you travel with a set amount allowing you to withdraw this cash using the card at normal ATMs. It is a more secure way to access cash on your trip, but again do not rely on these as your sole means of funds on a trip - (please refer to the ATM section). Several banks and companies now offer these cards, but be sure to look into the rates for withdrawing cash when making your decision. Pre-paid cards that use Visa are preferable to Mastercard, which can be difficult to use. 

ATMs 

These are available in most major cities along our route and allow you to withdraw local currency only. We discourage you from relying on your ATM card as a primary source of funds in case it is lost/stolen/swallowed, or the machine isn't working. In some destinations we probably won't even see a bank or ATM for days on end.  Even where do find them, they cannot always be relied upon - things change, and ATMs don't always work! Besides memorising your PIN, it is also important to be aware of your daily withdrawal limit and bank withdrawal costs. 

Tipping

Is often expected and relied upon. It is often more than a reward for services well done, but, as wages are extremely low, it is an accepted means of supplementing an income. If you would like to leave a tip for any activity/individual, you could organize this as a group and give a tip at the end. A recommended amount for restaurants is usually 10% of your total bill and similar for activities. Some countries also add an extra Government tax on restaurant bills.

Because it can be difficult to know what to tip, and because it has such importance in some areas both economically and culturally, there may be times and activities for which your tour leader will make it clear what level of tipping is 'customary/expected'. They may also be quite enthusiastic or assertive in encouraging you to take account of these suggestions. This is motivated by the knowledge of how important tipping can be, and the offence or confusion that can be caused when local people are tipped poorly. In the end, tipping remains at the discretion of the individual, but our tour leader will continue to advise on normal or average rates, and we would ask you to carefully consider the economic or personal impact of being seen as 'under tipping'. We know that many who travel with us are on a tight budget, but ask you to consider that those we work with locally may also face financial hardship, and also work very hard to try to give you unrivalled service/ experiences. 

As a very rough guide, we would suggest that you budget for an amount equal to 10% of the local payment for your trip, plus 10% of the cost of any of the listed optional excursions that you wish to do. The amounts you end up tipping may vary from a rigid 10%, but hopefully this will help you budget in general.

In the past we have been asked by travellers about tipping your Oasis Crew. If you choose to do this, it would be budgeted separately from the above. Our drivers and tour leaders work very hard at making your trip a great travel experience. Working overseas can often be challenging and they are pretty much on call for you 24 hours a day, so it's appreciated as a thank you for hard work and good service, but of course not mandatory. Our suggestion is to budget around US$2-5 a day.

You will experience a variety of climates and weather conditions in Asia. At times it can be very hot, with temperatures reaching 40°C or higher in the deserts of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China. On the other hand, it can get very cold, dropping to -5°C or lower in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and Georgia. Though much of the trip will pass through dry areas where rainfall is rare, you will also travel in regions that can have rainfall year-round or at times even snow.  So it is important to bring suitable clothing for all conditions. View Central Asia Climate Chart

The less you take the less you have to pack, wash and lug home; you can always pick up extras along the way. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much gear. Clothes washing or laundry facilities will be available. 

We prefer that you bring your gear in a traditional soft sided 70 - 90L rucksack or holdall - suitcases are not ideal. Remember baggage is limited to 20kg per person plus one day bag.

 

Equipment

Toiletries - Most available to buy on trip

  • Sleeping Bag liner (can be welcome in yurt camps for extra comfort and warmth)
  • Small day-pack or small bag to carry daily items
  • Soft rucksack or holdall (NOT rigid suitcase)
  • Water bottle - for personal use - we recommend Water-to-Go (see below Responsible Travel)
  • Soap, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, antibacterial hand wash, lip balm & moisturiser
  • Sun block 35 + after sun, hat & sun glasses
  • Tampons (can buy in most places)
  • Contraception

Clothes

Personal Effects

  • One pair of trainers or boots
  • Sandals/flip flops/jandals/thongs
  • Underwear/socks
  • T shirts/shirts
  • Shorts/swimwear
  • Jeans/trousers/jog pants/leggings
  • Skirt or dress
  • Sweat shirt/jumper
  • Waterproof jacket/poncho
  • Camera with protective case, spare batteries, film/memory card
  • Torch & spare batteries (head torch is best)
  • Travel adaptor plug/charger (for cameras & mobile phone batteries)
  • Money belt
  • Personal stereo
  • Small towel &/or sarong

What to wear - Keeping your arms, shoulders and legs covered will go a long way to prevent causing offence and hassle to yourself.  This is true for men as well as women (especially in predominantly Muslim countries). Attitudes range from fairly liberal to extremely conservative - avoid wearing tight or revealing clothing in those areas.  We do ask you respect their cultures and show some sensitivity where appropriate.

 

Recommended Medical Kit List
  • Antiseptic ointment/Antihistamine cream & tablets
  • Nurofen or equivalent pain-killer
  • Eye-drops/bath
  • Anti-diarrhoea treatment
  • A couple of bandages (elasticated & triangular)
  • Insect repellent containing Deet

  • Re-hydration sachets/vitamin tablets
  • Medication for personal allergies/asthma etc
  • Assorted plasters
  • 1 Course of malaria treatment
  • Some suitable antibiotics as recommended by your doctor for infected cuts or to treat severe dysentery

It is your responsibility to carry your kit on included excursions and optional activities as some local operators may not have medical kits to hand.

Cameras (incl. Digital & Video Cameras) - An easy to use 'point and press' will get you some good photos. For memorable shots, it may be worthwhile investing in an SLR camera, but be sure to get some practice in before the trip! Most towns and cities have internet cafes where you can download onto CD/internet sites - but don't rely on it.

Photography - Be aware of your surroundings when taking photographs and filming. Some locations will be sensitive or have local laws banning photography. For example it is usually forbidden to use cameras at borders or around government buildings, military installations, bridges and airports or to take photos of local officials. If you do take photos or film where it is not permitted you may find yourself being questioned by irate officials who may decide to confiscate your camera or instruct you to delete all the images/footage on your device. If in doubt ask for permission, or if there is no-one to ask use some common sense.

Drones - As the use of drones becomes more common, countries throughout the world are gradually updating their laws and restrictions on usage. The specific regulations will vary from one country to another, so do check the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for the latest information. As with cameras, use your common sense if you do use a drone and avoid operation in sensitive areas or near any public or government buildings. If you plan to bring a drone on your trip with us please contact us first to ensure there will be a suitable place to store it while on your trip. We cannot be held responsible for any equipment which may be confiscated by the local authorities. 

Electrical charging & power supply - It may be difficult to find a power source for charging at times, so a spare battery is a must. Log onto www.whatplug.net for information regarding the different electrical plugs and voltage used in each country.

The internet and WiFi are available in many towns / cities you will visit. Do bear in mind that the connections can be unreliable and will not always be as fast as you are used to at home.  If a lot of people try to use the internet at the same time the speed will be slower still, especially if trying to make Skype calls or upload photos / videos.  During periods of the trip where we are wild camping, internet will be less common.

Some travellers choose to take an unlocked mobile phone with them and buy local SIM cards in each country, allowing them to use mobile data.  If you particularly want or need regular internet access this may be a good option. Telephone calls can be expensive usually £1 to £5 for a three minute call.

Online Diaries - A great variety of free "travel blogs" are now available online, they are a good way of keeping relatives and friend up to date with what you are doing and a good place to upload photos, collecting messages as well as keeping a record for yourself.

Before you go

  • Remove unnecessary packaging before you go - waste disposal facilities are often stretched or non existent in the places we visit. To avoid unnecessary pollution of local water supplies take environmentally friendly toiletries with you.
  • Why not invest in a wind-up or solar-powered torch or media player before you travel or at least rechargeable batteries.
  • Learn some of the local language and read up on the local history/culture before you go. You'll get so much more out of your trip.
  • Why not pack some pens/pencils exercise books in your rucksack and they can be donated to a local school or project while you're away. You can also purchase these items cheaply, locally which will help local businesses.
  • Take a sturdy water bottle with you from home that you can re-use throughout your trip. We carry large quantities of purified water with us on our Expedition vehicles and it is much better for the environment if you drink this, rather than purchase bottled water along the way. (It also saves you money).
  • Water-to-Go: Oasis Overland have partnered with Water-to-Go to help reduce the number of plastic water bottles consumed during a trip. Water-to-Go is a filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from any non-salt water source. Click here and enter the code OASIS15 to purchase your Water-to-Go products at 15% discount. Water-to-Go will then donate a further 15% to Oasis Overland Charity projects.
 
While you're travelling

 

From experience gained in running trips, we have developed our own practical and manageable environmental policy which all of our crew practice on the trips we operate, and they will share this information with you at the start of your trip. We welcome your input on this, plus any new ideas you may have, to improve our existing procedures. As a guide here's a few tips to bear in mind.

 

  • Don't waste water. It is a scarce resource in many of the places our trips visit. On all our Ultimate and Overland Expeditions we carry large quantities of purified water with us. We encourage you to refill your own water bottles from this supply, rather than purchase bottled water along the way-much more environmentally friendly and saves you money.
  • Never buy endangered species or endangered habitat products. Apart from the fact of it being illegal it also encourages the trade to continue.
  • Look after and preserve the areas we visit. Be careful about stepping on coral reefs or trekking on undesignated tracks.
  • Buy locally made crafts and products helping to support the local economy.
  • Don't feel when bargaining that you have to get the cheapest price possible just for the sake of it. Pay what the item is worth to you & don't worry about what someone else has paid.
  • Try the local food and drinks - this will help to support local farmers and food sellers. Sitting in a local cafe is also a great way to meet local people.
  • Dispose of litter appropriately on your trip. This includes cigarette butts. Not only does litter look unsightly it can be lethal to wildlife.
  • Where any toilet facilities exist, however unsavoury they might seem to you, they should be used. Where they do not, always bury your waste and make sure it is never near (at least 30m) a water source.
  • When game viewing do not encourage your guides to get too close to the wildlife so that their natural behaviour is impeded.
  • Respect local customs, traditions and beliefs of the people in the different regions that you travel through.
  • Do not take photos of people, ritual events or special places unless you have asked first. Dress appropriately according to local codes and show respect around religious festivals.
  • Recycling is almost non-existent in many of the areas and countries we visit - we do the best we can with limited resources & space on our vehicles.
  • For books dedicated to travelling more responsibly & ethically see: www.tourismconcern.org.uk
 
Community Projects - Oasis are active in raising awareness and providing support to a number of projects and local schools where we believe we can make a positive difference. More information on the projects we support.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) offer country-specific advice, regarding not only security but also entry regulations, local laws and customs and health. We strongly recommend all travellers visit the FCDO website, or the equivalent in their home country, to familiarise themselves with local conditions and issues in the countries they plan to visit before committing to a trip with us. You can view their website here.

If you have any questions at all about the safety or security of your trip, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss your trip in more detail.

In cities - All major cities have their share of petty crime (just like our cities) and sensible precautions need to be taken.  Wearing expensive looking jewellery or watches and carrying cameras will draw unnecessary attention to you.  Leave valuables such as passports and excess money in your hotel safe (we recommend carrying a copy of your passport details page at all times). You may find a simple money belt is more discreet than a bag. Always be aware of your surroundings and when approached by people you do not know, use your common sense. At night in cities it's best to use a taxi, rather than walking around the streets, single women in particular need to be careful and we would suggest that it is safer to be in a group.

Oasis does not take responsibility for clients' personal items and we advise you to not take items of value that are not essential for the journey.


Guides

To give you a safe and memorable experience on our Central Asia small-group tours, one of our experienced Oasis tour leaders will be escorting this trip. We may also use some local guides for some sections of the trip, or some included activities. City guides and wildlife guides are also available locally if you wish to add some guided activities during your free time. 

Accommodation

We use a mixture of local hotels, family guesthouses and yurt camps along the way using shared rooms (between 2 people of the same sex from your trip) unless you are a couple or you have requested a specific type of room. It must be remembered that the Hotels we use are an integral part of Central Asia and can suffer from common problems that can affect all levels of hotels such as, electrical failure, plumbing faults and other technical difficulties and hot water may occasionally be temperamental if a lot of people are using the showers at the same time. This is a possibility throughout all classes of hotels. 
Solo travellers may choose to share a same-sex twin or triple room with other travellers on the tour (if available), or can choose to add a single room supplement to guarantee a single room throughout the trip. If a same-sex room share is not available, then this single supplement does not need to be paid.

Transport

We use a mixture of public / local buses and trains, comfortable overnight sleeper trains, private charter vehicles, and 4WD jeeps on our Central Asia small group trips. 

Meals

All breakfasts are included whilst on tour plus many other meals in locations such as Yurt Camps where you have not other option about where to eat in the evening. We find that most people appreciate sampling the culinary tastes of Central Asia and class this as one of their favourite pastimes. This is why we do not include every meal - allowing each person the chance to try out some of the local cuisine from markets, restaurants & cafes. 

Vegetarians / Vegans / Coeliacs / Gluten & Lactose intolerance

Our local representatives and guides will always do their best to assist people with any dietary requirement or intolerance whenever possible. However it is not easy if you are a fussy eater. It must be remembered that the variety of dishes available may not be the same as available to meat eaters. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet or because of an allergy or would miss from home, it would be best to bring these with you, due to the high cost and scarcity of these specialised and often imported foods.

Remember when eating out in local restaurants & hotels that vegetarianism or food allergies / intolerances, are still not widely known about or understood by many local people. i.e Vegetarians or Vegans will often be offered fish or chicken in error.  Most large towns and cities, or areas used to tourists, will often have more choice but please be aware that it will probably not be as varied as you are used to when eating out at home.

Distance and Time 'En Route'

We will be travelling through several different countries including border crossings, and on this trip there is a lot of ground to cover. There are a few long drives, but the transport is clean, comfortable and safe, and we make sure that after a long drive or two we try and slow the pace down a little before continuing again. We also make comfort stops and stop off at sites of interest along the way, where possible, so you don't feel too rushed, even on travel days.


Optional Excursions are paid for on the day and organised during your trip, so you can decide whilst travelling which activity you may want to do. Prices listed are only a guide and may be dependant on fluctuating exchange rates and minimum numbers. Please see below for more details.

 

Kyrgyzstan

Title From Price
Museum Entrances, from US$2

Uzbekistan

Title From Price
The Registan, Samarkand US$15
The Ark, Bukhara US$2.5
Khiva Tourist Ticket to Various Sites US$12
Kalon Minaret, Bukhara US$3

Kazakhstan

Title From Price
All Day Hiking, Ranger & Entry - Aksu Nat. Reserve US$30
All Day Horse Riding, Ranger, Entry & Lunch - Aksu Nat. Reserve US$50
Entry to Aksu National Park US$10

We feel that having optional excursions gives a greater degree of flexibility and independence to our group members; independence to decide how much your spending budget can afford; flexibility to decide when and what time of day or with whom to visit a particular site, rather than for example, with the whole group at a pre-ordained time. If you decide not to join a popular excursion, you will have free time to relax or wander off to a market, village or beach, depending on where we are.

You pay for the optional excursions to the local operator, ensuring the money stays with that operator in the local community and this ensures as well, that you are paying the true price for any optional excursions you want to do. This also applies to accommodation costs before and after the trip. Please note that the prices of optional excursions quoted are approximate as local prices can and do change. Please see the relevant trip page for the Optional excursions you can do on that trip and a list of prices.


23 days from 0
Add to wishlist Added to wishlist
  • Travel Style
    Small Group Adventure
  • Start Location
    Dushanbe
  • End Location
    Bishkek
  • Region
    Central Asia

Trips you might also like

BISHKEK to DUSHANBE (18 days) Silk Road Explorer
Travel Style
Small Group Adventure
Operating Months
Jul
BISHKEK to BISHKEK (16 days) Kyrgyzstan Uncovered
Travel Style
Small Group Adventure
Operating Months