Four of us had an excellent "bespoke" trip to Uzbekistan seeing the major sights at a leisurely pace. The company accommodated all our wishes and arranged a memorable trip that met our specific needs. We asked for an extra day in each of the main cities so some of us could rest up and go back to revisit certain places that had caught our eye and this worked very well. The tour days were long, informative very well organised and each local guide was extremely helpful. The organisation was very good and when there were local issues these were resolved quickly and efficiently by the local organisers. we also enjoyed the high speed train but not the awful road trip from Khiva to Bukhara where there are currently 200 kms of good road and 250 kms of broken asphalt or little road at all. Our hotels were a mixture from the exclusive Tashkent Hyatt ..lovely sped a couple of days here at the end ..to the smaller and far simpler hotels elsewhere Uzbek people are amongst the friendliest we have ever met and it was hard to walk very far without people stopping to take our pictures or practice their English
we had a wonderful trip with very few major problems and even those we had were sorted out quickly and well. Shahida responded quickly to any queries we had en route and it was nice to meet her before we set off . The quality of the tour guides was generally excellent with one exception Transport and divers excellent
Generally everything was very good and worked smoothly but there were some issues. The trip was obviously a set of local experiences and hotels and guides bolted together and that's what we expected. While each part generally worked very well there was little or no thought given to our own travel experiences and comfort between these "packages". it would be good for the staff to think through what we would physically experience. For example the day we went to Khiva we left the hotel at 5am, before breakfast was available. At the airport it was impossible to get anything to eat and there was just coffee on the plane. When we arrived in Ugench we were told we were off to the mountain forts and as lunch had not been arranged there we wouldn't eat until late afternoon at our hotel in Khiva. I think the guide assumed we had had breakfast. By now we were 5 hours without food and about to face a whole day more..in fact every guide asked us why we didn't have lunch arranged so we often went without. But back to Urgench, by the time we had landed and realized we were setting off on an all day trip to the mountains with no stops to eat we were very dismayed. We were extremely hungry and annoyed that the other tourists on the plane had been given packed breakfasts by their hotels. Nothing for us. So we had to ask for a breakfast stop and then we did not have any lunch booked at all and there is nowhere in the mountains unless prebooked, as our guide said every other group always did. Eventually the driver found us a local place unused to tourists to stop at, at about 4 pm This was not a good day for us. And on some other days our guides were surprised we didn't have lunches booked. The tour days are very long..from 9 to 5 usually and its good to stop and rest in the middle of the day. Communications could be better on the itinerary as we were never told when the driver would pick us up each morning so a lot of What's App messages took place and in some cases , espically when our last hotel had not been booked for two nights, expensive ( to me) phone calls. The itinerary print outs badly need updating .. they must have been written ages ago.. itis a cut and paste job with each section/ hotel description being taken from an old description and in places the reality was different. For example the hotel in Bhukara did not welcome us with lemonade or green tea and its description is rather misleading. Neither did we have the promised packed lunch on appalling ride between Khiva and Bhukara nor were we told about the terrible state of the road. The driver could not speak English and we could not find toilets or ask questions about when we might stop or even when the road surface might appear again. It still under construction and for 250 Kms was so terrible two of us were car sick so we needed to be warned about he journey at least but we sailed into it with no food or explanation.
apart from teh driver from Khiva to Bukhara on the terrible terrain that will evetaully become a road, and who had no English at all the drivers were excellent adn teh transport compfatable. we had three excellent guides, with the guy in Tashkent pipping the others in Khiva, Samarkand and Timor's birthplace to the post but the guide in Bukhara had poorer English and was so confusing She got all her dates mixed up and eventually we switched off as we couldn't really understand what was going on She was extremely nice however so I don't want to be too critical.
Soak it all up. Expect lots of lovely friendly locals Good walking shoes Good camera Spare bag for all the fabric purchases Dress respectfully take bathplugs ( yes still we came across hotels with no bathplugs)
The Uzbek people So kind, generous and friendly