Central Asia, specifically the countries that Australians refer to as “the Stans” – Kazahkstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have been a growing tourism location for decades. Originally the majority of visitors were Russian, simply because during the days of Soviet Russia travelling internally was easier for them than externally, with the fall of the USSR the face of tourism in these regions started changing, and while Australians have been travelling there for some time, accessibility – through flights, visa issued, permissions, have always kept the numbers low. With Uzbekistan now allowing for E-visas, and with the ability to get visas on arrival for other, and some waiving them entirely – the region is going to open up like never before, and it is a region that is well worth visiting for a huge range of reasons.
The region is filled with natural wonders in Kyrgyzstan areas like the Golden Spa, or Broken Heart Gorge, are scenic rivals that are comparable to places like the rocky mountains, and the desert landscapes of Eastern Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have incredible rock formations that are truly remarkable. With some f the worlds oldest inhabited cities, and some of the more incredible Heritage listed sites like Shakisirabz, Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand you can discover some of the origins of modern astronomy and mathematics, you can discover the cultural growth of the local tribes and the influences of religion in the region, as an integral part of the old silk road the entire region is covered with forts, palaces, temples and museums that leave a person stunned at the wonder – and places like Registan Square (which inspired the tale of a 1001 Arabian Nights) have been doing so for centuries.
When you combine he natural wonders, the ancient cultures and the ancient heritage, it would seem that these destinations have enough for anyone, but their years under Russian and Soviet rule have brought another aspect to travel with regions like old nuclear test zones opening up for travel, the Aral Sea disaster zone, the former Space Center in Kazakhstan from where the USSR launched their initial space missions including that of famed cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin bringing in visitors who love not just modern history, but whom have an intense desire to see man;s impact on the globe and how they can help moving forward – not to mention the every day aspect that Soviet rule had on the region which can still be seen in the older housing communities, as well as the soviet era-esque statues, parks and memorials in major cities like Dashanube.
Central Asia for centuries has been a crossroads for travel – like Turkey, like India, and like Egypt – and has been a cradle for civilization, science and culture, and while in the last century, the control of the region has seen a change in where its visitors and influence has come from its opening boarders is bringing this incredibly diverse ancient, culturally significant and naturally stunning area back into the forefront of thought for travellers. What’s more is that as an area that has seen less press, less coverage and visibility – there is less expectations, you can be floored by what you discover rather than being dissapointed that what you are seeing isn’t exactly as you saw it in the social media posts of a thousand or more other travellers. With many of the destination names meaning little to the average Australian Traveller even seeing where they are going in print is an exercise in exploration that has for the most part become lessened with areas that see much more regular visitors, and for a truly unique experience, a taste of what these destinations are, now is the time to get in and see them, while the infrastructure is being developed, whilst the numbers are low, whilst things are still raw and unedited and free of the filters that mass tourism tends to produce.
Once these lands tied together the wonders of China and the Orient to the realms of Western Europe and the Middle East, through the Silk Road. The “Heart Of The Silk Road” package for 2020 currently being previewed by My Travel Expert for 2020 is the prefect example of the diversity that one can expect to see and encounter within the region, and with a limited group size of 16 becomes the perfect intimate way to discover the area.
The Heart of The Silk Road tour will visit a number of incredible places including Almaty, Karakol, Altyn Arashan, Tamga, Jety Ogyz, Lake Issyk-kul, Bishkek, Tashkent, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara, Chardjou, Merv, Mary, Ashgabat, Kov-Ata, Tashauz, Dashoguz, Urgench & Khiva
This is a small group journey that will run with no more than between 8 to 16 travellers, and will journey through some of the most incredible regions of Central Asia as it journeys through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It should be noted that the group size is limited in part due to he vehicles that will be used to discover the natural wonders of Kyrgyzstan.
Note From The Tour Leader:
This tour will cover the natural, historical and cultural highlights of these zones including Lake Issyk-Kul, Altyn Ashran, the Gate of Hell, Buhkara, Khiva, Registan Square and more. We will also visit some of the most significant cities of the region including Almaty, Bishkek, Tashkent and Ashgabat. This is not a 5 star luxury tour, whilst all the accommodation has been specifically chosen for flavor and experience – we have noted most as a lower category than official sites do, specifically so I do not raise expectations. We will be staying in a range of 3 star boutique hotels, a guest house, and what are officially listed as 5 star hotels but with their faded soviet glory would more appropriately be called a comfortable 4 star (on occasion). The package price is based Almaty to Tashkent and covers most expenses barring visas, tipping and most of the meals outside of breakfast. With the best food available outside local hotels I elected not to include meals so that we can get the best culinary experience whilst travelling.
The package price does not include the main international airfares, I do recommend using the Asiana Options when they become available but have left it open in case people decide to extend or visit other regions while on the road. This is a unique hand-crafted programme designed to take in the best of the region in relative comfort, and I would love to have you join us when we head there! – Regards Daniel
For more information on the Heart of the Silk Road Journey, please click here for the full itinerary!
Or Call My Travel Expert and the Shoalhaven Solo Sisters
on (02) 4421 5577 and ask to speak with Daniel
For those that came down to our tour launch on the 1st November – I hope you had a fantastic night, we sure did! Just seeing the charm of the Star Clippers Fleet, or the untouched lands of Uzbekistan, or the tiered hills of the Douro, absolutely stunning, and truly inspiring – at least we thought so!
To re-cap the night for those that were there, and to let those that were not know what is on offer we will do a brief run through of our tours, and the hyperlinks to the current itineraries (just click on the tour names) and programmes for them!
We have a small selection of day tours leaving from the Shoalhaven to explore areas beyond the local. I should also note that if the Wine Day in the Southern Highlands prove popular we will run others to both the Southern Highlands and nearby in the Shoalhaven. To that end the tours we have on offer are ..
- Vivid 2019. A revamped and updated dinner cruise for the Vivid lights, longer and later than previous years this is guaranteed to give us a fantastic view of the lights.
- Winter Wine Warmer. A visit to the Southern Highlands to get a taste of the local produce from wine to beer and ciders, capped off with a 3 course gourmet lunch.
- Ghosts and Grapes. A fantastic combination of the incredible abandoned town of Joadja and a brief taste of the Southern Highlands Wine Region
- Nepean Belle. A three course luncheon cruise aboard a paddlesteamer along the Nepean River in the lower ranges of the Blue Mountain National Park
For those that are looking to get away for more than a few days but not looking to travel to far we have a great selection of packages coming up from the beautiful Norfolk Island to a taste of luxury with the incredible Celebrity Solstice.
- Come Sail With Me! An incredible week away in Thailand aboard a luxury cruise aboard the tallship Star Clipper with fantastic meals and visiting all the most incredible locations
- Discover Broome. A week away discovering the highlights of one of Australia’s most scenic and secluded destinations.
- Solstice Escape. Join us on a short escape to Melbourne as we experience the luxury of the Celebrity Solstice. The perfect chance to sample this incredible vessel, shop in Melbourne without the worry of baggage weight for flights, or to just enjoy a weekend away.
- Norfolk Exclusive. With great central accommodation, all the sights people know about, plus those they hadn’t expected this tour covers all you could imagine and more for a trip to Norfolk!
For those areas beyond a small flight we have a stand out selection of tours coming in the next two years. Some are available to book now – like our Danube Cruise and Egypt, and others – like Russia and Central Asia are previews only where you can sign up your expression of interest so we can let you know all the details when they come on sale!
- European Gems. The time honored Danube cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, is a bucket list item for many – and the perfect trip for those looking for good company. With Stops along the Rhine, Main and Danube this is one of Europe’s Must Sees!
- Cradle Of Civilization. There is nowhere quite like Egypt, and this tour not only takes you to the highlights that everyone wants to see, but the true spectacles that many don’t even know are there. Limited to 16 places this tour is filling fast!
- My Hawaii Escape. For 8 years running the Pride of America’s Cruise around the Hawaiian Islands has been voted the “Best Hawaii Itinerary” and this is your chance to experience this stunning voyage.
- Heart Of The Silk Road. Join us as we journey the less travelled paths of the Silk Road exploring some of the most incredible natural landscapes and ancient cities on the planet as we traverse Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan
- Jewels Of Russia. Tying together two of Russia’s most incredible destinations (Saint Petersburg and Moscow) a Russian River Cruise is the perfect way to get a look at both the urban and rural life and landscapes of this remarkable destination
- Colours of Spain & Portugal. Visiting the highlights of Spain and Porrtugal and combining them with a Douro River Cruise this package is perhaps one of the best ways to get out and explore the incredible Iberian Peninsula
- Fall Colours Of The East With Canada and New England Cruise. Following on from our West Coast Tour – this trip discovers the incredible cities of Eastern Canada, the beauty of Niagra Falls and New England and the Eastern US Cities like Boston, all around the time that the seasons change bringing about a riot of colour and drama.
What an incredible range of tours and destinations! Again you can preview the programmes by clicking on the tour names above, but if there is any further information wanted on any of these tours, or if you want to book on one of them or register your interest please do not hesitate to contact us at My Travel Expert & Shoalhaven Solo Sisters!