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Welltraveledbrit's Round-the-World, Turkemistan, Uzbekistan, India, The Maldives & Kunming

Welltraveledbrit's Round-the-World, Turkemistan, Uzbekistan, India, The Maldives & Kunming

Old Apr 5th, 2008, 03:30 PM
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Welltraveledbrit's Round-the-World, Turkemistan, Uzbekistan, India, The Maldives & Kunming

I think I must have lost my mind...who does a six week round-the-world trip combining places like Turkmenistan and the Maldives? I planned it for my birthday so I have no one to blame but myself!

There's a reason people don't do this, it's a logistical nightmare. It seems like we've been applying for visas forever... in the case of Turkmenistan you have to get a "Letter of Invitation" from the travel agent before you can apply the visa! But now everything is in order, thank goodness the Maldives doesn't require a visa!

However, despite all the hassle including;
The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco turning down my visa application and saying I have to apply in Bangkok, and

Uzbekistan Airlines changing the date and time of our Tashkent to Delhi flight, throwing the entire itinerary out by two days, which meant I had to change all the hotel reservations and all the award flights I had booked...

we are on our way leaving on Wednesday! Yeah.

We're burning United miles and will mainly be flying on award tickets with Lufthansa and Singapore. I've combined a round trip to Europe, Turkmenistan counts as Europe (SFO-ASB, ATH-SFO) and a roundtrip to Asia (BKK-SFO-NYC-BKK) to make two round the world flights, this one and one at the end of the year when we'll combine the returns SFO-NYC-BKK, ATH-SFO, I still have to but a ticket between Bangkok and Athens.

Our route will be SFO-Ashgabat (ASB) overland through Uzbekistan for two weeks, fly to Delhi, a quick 10 day in India for some luxury, revisiting Udaipur, Ranthambore and seeing the Taj. A week in the Maldives relaxing, flying Delhi-Singapore-Male a fews days in Bangkok to sort out my Chinese visa and finally a week in Kunming visiting a friend, my first visit to China.

Looking forward to the combination of luxury in some places and adventure in others. We've wanted to see Bhukara and Samarkand for years. I'm so looking forward to looking at rugs in the market in Ashgabat, hopefully seeing a tiger in India and snorkelling in the Maldives.

If this is the reward it doesn't seem like turning 40 is too bad!
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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I'm looking forward to your trip report!

Have a wonderful time.

Happy Birthday!
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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i'm so excited for you and for us to be part of it all....i can only think of one other who has done the rtw and written it up for us...

i'm not sure i exactly see what you have done with the tickets however....you have two FF tickets right? one now and one at the end of the year??

in any case have a blast and let us know how it is going

bob
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 06:49 PM
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Can't wait to read all about it!
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 12:34 AM
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Welltravelledbrit,

We are 3 months into a 1 year round the world trip and despite the nightmare logistics, it is really great and, in some ways the problems encountered make the trip. The places you have planned sound great and we are already considering extending our trip to include some of these really out of the way and unusual places - even considering visiting rhkkmk in Boston!!

Have fun and let us know how it goes,



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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 12:48 AM
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A wonderfully interesting combination of places - really looking forward to hearing all about it!
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 01:21 AM
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I think it sounds like a great trip. If you have not already read it, I would suggest you read Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thurbon. He did longer overland trip of virtually the entire Silk Road, and included many of the places on your itn. His style is a bit hard to take, IMO, as he is vague his route a bit (and when he goes to Dunhuang does not even mention it, which I found weird), and you have to know your history pretty well already to be able to follow him, but generally I thought it was a very good look at the little-known cultures you will be encountering, and you may find some things useful in it. It might be fun to read while you are actually doing parts of the same route.

There are several other good books on these areas, esp Peter Hopkirkís books, and if you can get your hands on Aurel Steinís series, those are a little dry but fantastic background (I bought the entire series, leather-bound, in Delhi for like US$15 about a year ago, but that is probably too late in the stage of your trip).

You can fly from Delhi to Male on Sri Lankan Air via a quick layover in Columbo, this is a very nice flight and should be a good deal shorter than going via Singapore (unless there is a reason you want to go to Singapore). You can fly non-stop from Bangalore to Male, not sure if you have looked into that. While it is Air India, itís only 2 hours and even I can take 2 hours on IC (Iím doing this flight on Wed). You can get to Bangalore very easily from Delhi, and you may want to spend a few days in Bangalore yourself first (or go down to Mysore). Is there any reason you canít get your PRC visa in Delhi or even Male? (itís the capital of the Maldives)
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 05:27 AM
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welltraveledbrit - can I come too, lol! Aside from the Maldives that's very like one of my yet-to-do dream trips. But just six weeks - that's tough! My RTW took ten months... I'm leaving for Italy Monday, but I'll be looking forward to reading your reports when I get back.

BTW - which travel agency did you use for Turkmenistan, and did you use the same one for Uzbekistan? Is your flight to Delhi part of the award ticket? (Like Bob, I'm a bit confused about the routing.)

In addition to Cicerone's recommendation of Thubron's book, you might find Bernstein's "Ultimate Journey" interesting.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 07:22 AM
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Round the world in 6 weeks?! Can't wait to hear all about this exciting trip, thank you for sharing!
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Thanks for all your replies.

We didn't originally conceive this a a round the world trip. It was a Central Asia trip that grew in the wrong direction!

FLIGHTS: Obviously I haven't done a good job describing the ticketing! So for Bob, Thursdaysd and anyone else who may be interested in the creative use of FF mile I'll try again.

The core of what I'd done is two FF tickets;

One an open jaw San Francisco-Europe (routing SFO-Ashgabat April and Athens-SFO December) and a second FF ticket from Asia-NYC with a stopover in San Francisco (Bangkok-SFO May and SFO-NYC-BKK).

We're using the outgoing flights this Spring(SFO-ASB BKK-SFO) and the returns at the end of the year(SFO-NYC-JFK, ATH-SFO). In order to turn them into Round-the-World itineraries we have to buy one way flights connecting the Europe itinerary to the Asian flights. In other words we have to get between Ashgabat and Bangkok this Spring and Bangkok and Athens In December.

On the Spring itinerary we're buying at ticket from Tashkent to Delhi ($400) and on the way back at the end of the year we're buying a ticket Delhi to Athens ($500).

We're using a combination of FF miles on Singapore (DEL-SIN-MLE, MLE-SI) in May and (SIN-DEL) at the end of the year and Air Asia (SIN_BKK)to get us between Delhi, Male and Bangkok.

What is clever about this itinerary is that with the addition of several cheap economy flights linking the European and Asian FF Trips we have TWO mainly Business RTW for 80,000 (to Europe) 90,000 (Asia to US) and 30,000 m (DEL-SIN-MLE- SIN-DEL) miles per person. A RTW itinerary in business with UA is not, IMHO a good use of miles at 300,000.

I'm not sure if this complicates the entire thing or explains it!

TOUR COMPANY: Thursdaysd - We're using Stantours for our trip, I had contacted David years ago and he was the only agent that was really honest about the fact that we had no chance of getting into Turkmenistan at the time because of concerns over SARs. As you may know it is FAR cheaper to use a locally based agent than to go through one of the US companies.

CICERONE - There is method in our madness!
When I looked at flights from Delhi to Male they were generally awful connections or bad overnight flights. I'm using FF miles on SQ so we'll be in business class, and as may or may not be apparent from the explanation above we'll be using the return part of the FF flights through Singapore to return SIN-DEL later in the year.

On Singapore I'll have a larger baggage allowance because I'm Star Gold and while I never use it all I like the idea that if I buy a rug it won't be a problem.
There are certainly better flights from cities further south but we'll probably be in that part of India later in the year.

Thanks for the book recommendations, I'm reading another book by Hopkirk, Tournament of Shadows but my brother has been recommending The Great Game too. We won't be in Delhi for very long so I don't want to bother with the PRC visa there but I may look into it in Male. Many thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes.

Holidays are strange things, you tell some people you're going for 6 weeks and have another trip at the end of the year and they say how do you do it and for others 6 weeks is far too little. I do think I've crammed a little to much into this itinerary, but I couldn't resist the Maldives which friends and family have been recommending for years.

It's hard for us to leave for longer than 6 weeks because we're too attached to our dog!
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 11:43 AM
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Thanks for the extra info, welltraveledbrit! I thought that was likely what you were doing with the plane tickets, but I get confused with all the acronyms...

I communicated with David at Stantours back in 2004 myself, but I finally decided Central Asia didn't fit into that trip. I'll be very interested to hear how the arrangements work out - I still have Stantours bookmarked.

Have a wonderful, and safe, trip! (And happy birthday.)
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 05:33 PM
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Sounds pretty good to me!!! Can't wait for the trip report.
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 06:27 AM
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Have a wonderful time. I can't wait to read your report.
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