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Central Asia - tour company or independent?

Central Asia - tour company or independent?

Old Jan 4th, 2020, 05:52 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 21
Central Asia - tour company or independent?

Hi everyone! I'm planning a 2-3 week trip to Central Asia to celebrate my PhD graduation next year, in mid August to September. I usually travel independently but am strongly considering going with a tour company this time because I'm unfamiliar with the region, and I'm apprehensive about travelling as a solo female outside of touristy cities. If I'm to join a tour group, do you have any recommendations or experiences to share? I'm only starting my research and am currently choosing between G Adventures, Intrepid, Mir and Advantour.

I am mostly looking at Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, but I'm flexible in terms of itinerary. I also don't have a particular travel "style" - history and architecture, museums, nature hikes, beaches, I love them all. Thanks in advance for any tips you have!
crazyferretlady is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2020, 09:34 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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I went to Uzbekistan with MIR. If I were younger I would have gone with Intrepid (I have traveled with Intrepid, but not to Central Asia).

Start here for my TR (links at the top of the page): https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...tashkent-solo/

Go here for my thoughts on traveling with MIR: The Not-All-Golden Road to Samarkand

The trains in Uzbekistan are good, I wouldn't have a problem doing it independently, I think Turkmenistan would be more difficult.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2020, 09:04 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the tips! MIR sounds like a good choice.

Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
I went to Uzbekistan with MIR. If I were younger I would have gone with Intrepid (I have traveled with Intrepid, but not to Central Asia).

Start here for my TR (links at the top of the page): https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...tashkent-solo/

Go here for my thoughts on traveling with MIR: The Not-All-Golden Road to Samarkand

The trains in Uzbekistan are good, I wouldn't have a problem doing it independently, I think Turkmenistan would be more difficult.
crazyferretlady is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2020, 10:04 AM
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thursdays - why do you say " If I were younger I would have gone with Intrepid '? I am considering them for a SE Asia tour (Vietnam) and wondering what age has to do with it. I think I am in your general age group but haven't seen anything about Intrepid having an age limit?
isabel is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2020, 11:09 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Intrepid doesn't have an age limit (there was a woman in her 80s on the first one I took), but their tours tend to be more energetic and stay in less comfortable lodging. Although the Comfort level tour I once took was indeed more comfortable. I don't think they had an itinerary that matched my requirements for the Uz trip, and in any case I was suffering from low energy and felt like a bit of pampering.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2020, 06:06 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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If you're an experienced solo traveler and enjoy independent travel, there's absolutely no reason to take a tour in Central Asia. If you've been to other third-world countries solo, you can figure out Central Asia. There is a lot of good info online about all the places any tourist would go, and how to get between them. Some of the infrastructure isn't the best and the shared taxis are sometimes a pain (e.g, long waits to fill up, not being able to go directly from A to B and having to take a shared taxi from A to C to B), but you can always hire private drivers for fairly cheap if need be.

Central Asia seemed pretty safe in general. Of course, absolutely follow the usual precautions you'd follow anywhere, especially as a solo female. TKM is *extremely* safe; it's a brutal dictatorship with virtually no crime, and the streets are almost so clean that you can eat off them.

Consider Kyrgyzstan for nature/hiking. Really beautiful there. Look up Song-Kul hike. UZ is the best country for history and "sites." TKM is the best country for bizarre.
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