Uzebekistan did not disappoint. All the main sites in Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand are stunning, and the Uzbek people extremely friendly and welcoming. We were also lucky enough to get to visit the Savitsky Museum in Nukus due to the lack of flights to Urgench, and this was an additional highlight of the trip – I would recommend that Exodus consider including this in the regular itinerary, as it really didn’t add on much time to what was already a long drive anyway. Unfortunately, I can not be so positive about the night at the Yurt camp. While I enjoyed the drive through the desert and a chance for a little more wilderness and wildlife on what is generally a city-heavy trip, the actual camp was just an uncomfortable gimmick. There was no effort made by the camp, nor our team leader, to explain the history of Yurts and its relevance to Uzbek culture, and in reality we found ourselves in a busy basic campsite alongside about 3 other large noisy tour groups with limited and dirty toilet facilities (unlike the picture on the Exodus website which shows a small group of Yurts). We also weren’t given the opportunity (unlike the other groups) to camel ride as advertised in the itinerary – we had to either do it immediately on arrival, or not at all. Most worryingly, there was an enormous pile of abandoned plastic and broken glass behind the main Yurt buildings – hardly a sustainable experience. I would strongly recommend that Exodus just forget this Yurt experience, especially as it still requires a subsequent long and tiring ride to get to Samarkand the next day, which is especially painful after very little sleep in the Yurt and waiting arounf until 9.30 am to leave (unlike the other groups). If this trip must visit the desert, I would have preferred to stay in a local guesthouse in Nurata or somewhere similar (as some other companies do), and find out more about living in the desert environment – we leaned nothing at the Yurt camp other than not to do it again!
B Jeffs Uzbekistan Uncovered
Helen Cassaday The Five Stans of the Silk Road
This was the longest duration trip I’ve ever taken, covering the most ground by road and with some (by my standards) fairly extreme variations of temperature, altitude and landscape. But it was mostly very unusual, often spectacular and totally worth the bumpy ride – take layers, medications and a better camera than I did. The people were also a particular highlight. Jabbar in Turkmenistan was an impossible act to follow, but the local leaders were all very good. The group was a great mix and we bonded over one or two minor glitches and some medicinal vodka. We met the friendliest local people in markets, at the border crossings, on the road. They were very often willing to share my three words of Russian, and to practice their English. It was also very nice to be asked to join them for their photos – probably some of these invitations were from other tourists, but was still great to feel like the exotic extra for a change.
Ann Curry The Silk Road
An amazing experience travelling through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan which delivered on every level.
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