Outstanding & magical Silk Route adventure !

From minute we landed in Beijing to the minute we departed from Tashkent we were constantly amazed, as each leg of our journey unfolded. The Silk Road Hotel Dunhuang was fantastic ( especially foot massage !) as were Mogao Caves --these combined with riding camels at Crescent Lake could have been a holiday in themselves and we presumed that we had seen all the highlights in first couple of days ---but we were wrong ! Our excursions out of Turpan were incredible and the journey there by 'bullet' train easy. Next Kashgar and our amazing attentive guide ( Anwar Jan ) and wonderful driver treated us to a fantastic few days --sightseeing , shopping and wine/dining in style !--nothing too much trouble and locals all extremely friendly and helpful ---we will be back ! (Hotel Barony ok ---wonderful location but poor breakfast and hard beds !!!) We loved the Sunday Cattle Market and Sunday Bizarre too Long old drive along Torugart Pass to Chinese border but no discomfort as car very luxurious , and quite an experience ! Early start for driver and guide plus long wait at border but not one complaint -- both waited patiently with us until the very last minute when gates were eventually opened !---sad to say goodbye to China and sorry for guide and driver having to make the long journey back to Kashgar . Bit apprehensive as not sure what to expect next ---we were soon extremely pleasantly surprised ! Alexander ( expert driver ) and Bajtur ( guide ) met us once we were through gates and greeted us warmly . We commenced journey ( even better car ) to Naryn stopping at Tash Rabat ---another world again ---afternoon tea served with fresh bread straight out of oven ---delicious ! Tasty meal in Naryn and then good night sleep in very comfortable Khan Tengri guest House. Next day exhilarating drive up the mountains to Song Kol Lake ---arrived just before lunch ---overwhelmed by whole area and excited to be staying in yurts ! Bajtur best guide yet with an outstanding knowledge of whole area presented in excellent English as well as being passionate about his homeland ! Thank you Alexander too for all the fantastic drives ,for our gifts and brandy !!! Cannot put into words how much we enjoyed our 2 nights stay here ---every minute seemed unreal ---wished we could have stayed longer but soon we were heading down again along '32' turn mountain road ! Wonderful couple hours in Kochkor learning felt making plus many sights along the way before arriving early evening in Bishkek . Hotel Plaza superb ---wished we could have stayed longer here as only time for a quick morning tour of city before we had to head to airport for next adventure !---again we will be back ! Uzbekistan next !---Hurshid ---yet another wonderful guide met us at airport and straight out for lunch and a tour of city ---unreal that just a few hours earlier we had been touring Bishkek and now we were in Tashkent doing same ! Next morning up early for train to Samarkand ---all went like clockwork and before we knew it we had arrived and were on another city tour ! Checked into another lovely hotel ( Grand Samarkand ) and taken out to eat in small traditional family restaurant set in a house. So much to see and do in Samarkand but before we knew it we were on the road to Bukhara,stopping off in Shakhrisabz. Bukhara just as wonderful as Samarkand but with added charm of old town . Hotel Minzifa just lovely and perfect breakfasts Free time last day ( bit weary as once we had checked out of hotel at noon we had nowhere to rest and flight not until 22.00 ) but managed to bolster the Uzbek economy inn the meantime ! Last morning in Tashkent before flying home . Some problems making purchases with credit card ---seems like 'normal ' non tourist shops can only take Uzbek Bank Cards or local currency hence turned into a 'hunt' for a bank that would cash us some money on UK card ( $ ) which we then could change to Som . Bank machines do not accept uk cards either although once back at hotel we discovered that the machine in their lobby did !!! Flight back ( Uzbek Airlines ) very good with an extremely small charge for extra baggage ---again amazingly helpful staff ! Whole adventure huge success and an wonderful education !

Margaret, from Scotland

Visited Uzbekistan in

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What was good about our local partner based in Uzbekistan?

Whole holiday very well coordinated and hitches solved without any fuss . Very quick response to any queries .

What could our local partner based in Uzbekistan improve on?

Printed information on arrival ( especially when arriving in China due to lack of internet access etc ) and all guide contacts before we left UK. Advice when hotel changed ( Malika Prime changed to Grand Samarkand ) ---as we had left hotel contact details with our family ! More interaction with local people ( especially Uzbekistan ) rather than sticking just to main tourist attractions .

What did you think about the guides or drivers on your trip?

Driver Yu Chang Ying who met us at Bejing was excellent ! Checked us into hotel and arranged packed breakfast for us next day . On departure parked and came to check in with us making sure we found best desk ( not automated ) to check in , in order to avoid excess baggage charge ! All drivers and guides excellent but Alexander and Bajtur ( Kyrgyzstan ) surpassed all !

What advice would you give to other travellers planning a trip to Uzbekistan?

Contact TravelLocal , be prepared for all weathers and take as much time as possible as even twice as long would not have been long enough for us !

What was the most memorable part of your trip?

Many things in Different Ways Best Hotel ---The Silk Road Hotel Best City --- Kashgar Best location ----Song Kol Lake and yurts Best Country ----Kyrgyzstan Best Architecture and History ---Uzbekistan

How likely are you to recommend TravelLocal?

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