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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 1,843

Golden Road To Samarkand UZ

Visiting: Uzbekistan
Tour Duration 11 Days
  • Khiva
  • Bibi-Khonum, Samarkand
  • Registan Square, Samarkand
  • Islamic architecture, Uzbekistan
  • Yurt camp, Yangikasgan
  • Tour Style: Classic
  • Tour Type: Small Groups
  • Tour Pace: Busy
  • Tour Comfort: Standard
 

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12 reviews for this tour

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Golden Road To Samarkand tour available at present.

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9 , 06/12/13

Name

Steve

Tour Name

Golden Road to Samarkand

Tour Code

UZ

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Enjoyed staying in the yurt.

Tour Leader Name

Marat

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Marat was fully in control. Brilliant spoken English and very informative.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Stay warm at the yurt camp. Nighttime was very cold. Take a tripod for a nightime picture of the registan.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

The hotels were lovely but yurt was best. The Uzbek people were extremely warm and friendly.

 
9 , 06/12/13

Name

Stephen

Tour Name

Golden Road To samarkand

Tour Code

UZ

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The highlight was staying in the Yurt Camp. Just like being a boy scout again, and it was close to the accidental lake or rather sea in the desert. Seeing the huge expanse of water with the gulls and pelicans was special. And I had to watch where I trod to avoid the tortoises.

Tour Leader Name

Marat

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Marat was very professional and extremely competent. He was informative and very well organised.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Take something warm for sleeping at the yurt. I'd recomend the Registon Restaurant opposite registan as food was outstanding and service was quick. Be friendly with the locals, they are really interested in Britis tourists.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Please go. It's a treat for you and its a treat for the Uzbeks to meet you.

 
9 , 01/10/13

Name

Lambourne

Tour Name

Golden Road to Samarkand

Tour Code

UZ

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The Registan at Samarkand surpassed all my expectations. The group were lovely which made the trip all the more enjoyable and the tour leader was just right.

Tour Leader Name

Marat

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Marat was a very good, professional tour leader, he was organised and thorough and the whole tour went very smoothly. The group were treated as adults which was a refreshing change compared to some tour leaders I have experienced. He was quite reserved but when he did open up could be quite funny.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Uzbekistan was a more liberal country than I was expecting. There was one long journey but not as long as we thought it might be and Marat broke it up with a few short stops. If you have room in your bag take a travel pillow for the long journey and also as hotel pillows can be very hard

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

I thought the stay in the yurt camp was a bit pointless as there was little context to it and it was a lot less comfortable than other yurt camps I have been to. The start of the tour was very rushed and maybe 2 nights could be spent in Khiva. Most of the group were ill with stomach problems and the hot dry sun was probably a contributing factor, I certainly suffered from too much sun one day. I would have liked a bit about the modern day political situation in Uzbekistan.

Our Response

 

Thank you for your comments. It’s good to know you enjoyed the trip, and we appreciate your taking the time to provide itinerary suggestions – these have gone to the Product Manager who plans the trip. We’re sorry to read some of the group were ill; it’s an intermittent problem in Uzbekistan where the weather is hot and the food oily, but we have never been aware of any one cause of illness. It’s unfortunately the case that if one person becomes unwell, there’s a tendency for this to pass to other group members.

 

 
8 , 06/09/13

Name

Jane Hodd

Tour Name

Golden Road to Samarkand

Tour Code

UZ

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Walking the city walls of Khiva at 6am, watching the sun rise over the domes and minarets and a few locals coming out of their homes to sweep their front yards with what looked like broomsticks! Also in Khiva stumbling across the carpet workshop founded and run by a young Englishman whose book I had read at Christmas.

Tour Leader Name

Marat

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Very professional and organized. Quite reserved to start with but warmed as the trip continued.He was very helpful with currency changing and buying bottled water.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Be prepared for long drives, possibly culminating in swollen feet/legs and the obligatory Bokhara Belly. There seems to be no escape from the latter, despite scrupulous hygiene by all parties concerned. Take an umbrella as a parasol. It works wonders and keeps your head cooler than a hat!

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

The Uzbeks are the friendliest people you could wish to meet. They are charming, respectful and genuinely interested in visitors. They love having their photo taken with you, on their own or having you in their photos.Go and meet them before the country is overrun with tourists!

 
10 , 15/08/13

Name

Clare Gilbert

Tour Code

UZ

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

I adored the Registan in Samarkand. It really was big and until I'd arrived in Uzbekistan I didn't really realise what it was all about. It was heaving with local tourists and I enjoyed the interaction with them. The locals like British tourists, they gave us huge friendly welcomes in return for some brief English lessons and a photograph with them.

Tour Leader Name

Marat

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Marat was professional and experienced. His tour ran like clockwork. It wasn't until Samarkand where he lives did he lose his grey dullness and developed a good sense of humour. No dramas with him, he had it all totally within his control.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

"The Yurt camp was fun but we travelled in April and despite some warm sunny days the wind was icy cold at night. Several people had slept in all their clothes to stay warm. I'd recomend top and bottom thermals to sleep in during the Spring. Uzbekistan people are really friendly and approachable. The cities are very clean. They love the British and you will be bombarded with requests for locals to have their photo taken with you. They will also want to practice their English language which is taught to everyone at school. Might also be useful to remember your French as 70% of tourists come from France but not many Uzbeks can speak french and you could help them out. "

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Uzbekistan really surprised me in many ways and I'm glad I went.

 
10 , 15/08/13

Name

Steve

Tour Code

UZ

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The friendly and welcoming people were the greatest. And I was so surprised they were so adoring of British tourists - but they are. Regularly my wife and I held audience as we spoke and some gathered just to hear us? crazy but fun. I'm also in about 50 Uzbek photo albums too. The place was so clean and safe too.

Tour Leader Name

Marat

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Marat was a cool and dry cookie. Full of experience and confidence but a little lacking bravado and a sense of humour. Tour was managed to the letter so no complaints at all.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

"Yurts are cold at night - bring thermals in Springtime. Food is very nice.If you stay at Zarina Hotel in Samarkand I recomend Registon Restaurant.Maybe try a couple of times food is gorgeous. If you want to make friends take something small and English to give out to locals who take an interest. E.G some British coins. They love their football too and most I spoke with support Man City. Make sure you bring something suitable to carry your cash. Largest note is 1000 sum. $300 exchanged into a wad the size and weight of a house brick. If you need money be careful if you get too much, there is an interview and written exam to change back to dollars, which takes 10 minutes at Uzbek Hotel. "

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Please go. The Uzbeks would love to see you. I think currently this loction is a closely guarded by the French. But despite it being next to Afghnistan this is one of cleanest and safest countries I've ever visited.

 
0 Lindsay Mead, 27/10/11
I wasn't sure what to expect other than I knew that I wanted to visit Samarkand as the name appealed to me as being very "evocative".  The trip was excellent and the people were so friendly and proud of their country which I hadn't really expected. (UZ -29th July 2011)
 
0 Penny Mannion (Explore Staff), 09/08/11
I loved my time spent in Uzbekistan.  From the moment I arrived exploring soviet Tashkent a sprawling city with so much to see, to the well preserved and very beautiful city of Khiva. Star gazing and camel riding in the desert before slumbering in our yurts.  Getting lost in the ever sprawling dusty city of Bokhara before finally end our journey in the incredible city of Samarkand.  This is truly an incredible journey with many a tale told of the of the age old route that is the Silk Road. (UZ 10th June 2011)
 
0 PS, 14/06/11
Uzbekistan was a great surprise and generally in a very good way. The food was much better than I expected after previous reviews including some really delicious salads (generally of a Russian bent), which were perfectly safe. A few people got sick towards the end of the trip but as we'd all eaten lots of salads before this don't think these were the culprit. The best meals were those we ate in local houses -  real treat, one in Khiva, one in Bokhara and one in Samarkand. The architecture was as stunning as expected but buy a good guide book to mug up on afterwards as it's sometimes a bit of an information overload! However the real highlight of Uzbekistan was the people. They are so friendly, they are very eager to talk (if they speak English), and very happy to have their photo taken (without charge!). The country also feels incredibly safe and you feel perfectly happy to wander around even at night. One tip-bring a big wallet. The highest demonination note is 1000 sum and this is worth around 30p therefore when you change money you will have brick to deal with. You can pay for a lot of things in $US or EUROS (not mentioned in the trip notes) but it does complicate the working out of group meals! Previous reviews have also mentioned some long and boring coach drives - do not come here for spectacular scenery. I would also point out that the trip notes give the impression that the yurt stay in an Explore exclusive experience. We shared the camp with a group of around 20 French travellers. A bit of a disappointment. However, all in all, I can thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone interested in history and finding out about a very different part of the world. (UZ - 7th May 2011)
 
0 Richard Parry, 18/11/10

Tashkent was a pleasant surprise to us, full of parks and tree-lined boulevards, the Russian quarter, full of solidly built shops and one-storey bourgeois mansions contrasting neatly with the Old Town and the bazaar.

Khiva was stunningly beautiful in the cold bright light of morning or the soft pink dusk as the crows circled overhead and the aroma of local cooking wafted through the backstreets.

In Bokhara we relaxed round the square pool in the historic heart of the city sipping green tea at one of the ubiquitous Chaikanas, shaded from the heat. Next we were in the desert listening to the plaintive singing of a Kazakh nomad round the fire, our bellies warm with vodka.

Then to Samarkand to admire the beautiful Registran, the heart of Central Asia, and the tomb of Tamerlane; wandering the markets and eating samsa from a street food vendor. Back to Tashkent for rides on the wonderfully efficient and architecturally striking metro and our last meal. The highlights? The whole trip from start to finish! (UZ -10th August 2010)

 
0 Anne Marsh, 12/11/10

A trip into history down the silk route to an exotic past,well its certainly all of that, so if you don't like lots of breathtaking Islamic architecture and a feeling that Tarmarlane just might still be round the corner, think again. I,however, couldn't wait for a history fix in the fine array of Mosques Mausoleums and Madrassahs (not to mention yurts,tea houses and shopping domes) What's best? Khiva, the breathtaking walled city at sunset from one of the towers? Bokhara, a shopping fest of fabrics, jewellery and intricate Persian style paintings sold in the ancient Trading Domes and afterwards tea (beer) beneath old trees round the pool in the scenic centre? Or maybe Samarkand with its Registan Square, best in the early morning when you (and the local police) have it almost to yourselves. For a small personal donation (bribe) the officer on duty will let you climb a minaret for a fantastic if unsteady view over the town. This is not for those of a nervous disposition! All good ,well actually ,very very good, but the best bit for me was an evening classical concert held just for our group  in the hall of the Mosque with its brilliant acoustics. Accompanied by local musicians, playing instruments I didn't recognise, a fine  if  scary Uzbek soprano sang local folk songs and classical pieces. As there was a power cut the centuries old hall was lit by candles , when she sang 'Ave Maria' the shivers sent down my spine were not just due to the cold. 

This trip involves a couple of long hot and bumpy drives across the vast steppes (interesting scenery-grass, flat grass, more grass, grass- you get the idea).Our drivers The Uzbek Cowboy and George Bush Lookalike while absolutely excellent drivers in every way favoured heavy metal music, so if your preference is a little less Rock and Roll and a little more musical bring an i-pod. You get to drink tea everywhere from fancy little dishes,  although our group used them for slightly stronger liquids. If you are going to buy vodka only go for the dear stuff (about £2.50a bottle) the cheap one WILL give you a headache. Food also might be a surprise. I wouldn't rate Uzbek cuisine as the next  food trend but we ate well  sometimes in peoples houses for home cooking, I particularly liked manti-steamed dumplings and lagman meat noodle soup. I know the veggies in the group struggled a bit as often  a non- meat meal meant just picking out the offending bits in the kitchen or using meat stock to make veg soup so be warned. Morat, our ever helpful/practical tour leader insisted we end each meal with a large  slug of the above vodka "for disinfect"  a great excuse -works though.  A must do is Samarkand daily market. Loads of ladies with prams full of the distinctive stamped bread loaves, all things dried fruit and nutty with lots of free tastes from the friendly traders and a very weird area - strictly male only - groups  in traditional hats arguing , hand waving and haggling over sacks of obviously a very special and exotic commodity - Rhubarb. I have no idea what that was about but the men found it important. Uzbekistan is definitely different but it's also fascinating, incredibly photogenic especially if your thing is big blue buildings. It feels safe with friendly people- from the ladies selling pashimas who go for the soft sell, the gypsies who for a small fee will sell a wolfs tooth charm or if senior enough bless you with holy smoke from a saucepan of burning twigs - not a scam the local traders won't start work until they have had smoke waved over them and their stock, to the groups of youths on street corners who in a manner very unlike those at home smile,  bow and wish you good day. Its not like anywhere else and you need a sense of adventure and a sense of humour, along with a torch, lots of wet wipes and no sense of smell for the yurt camp , an awesome experience of upmarket camping and very  downmarket  toilets just watch out for camels!! and beware- green tea is highly  addictive. Never mind everyone you know will think you are mad -go to Uzbekistan anyway you probably won't regret it. (UZ -4th April 2010)

 
0 H.J, 17/09/10
This tour is a must for anyone with an interest in Islamic art and architecture, or for beautiful buildings in general. I have seen most of the world's famous Islamic buildings and none can rival the best Uzbekistan has to offer. Don't come expecting a luxurious air conditioned coach trip type expedition though. There are some very long bus rides across very bumpy roads in extreme heat. All the members of my trip suffered gastro-intestinal problems for most of the trip. Be scrupulous about hand hygiene (take plenty of alcohol gel), eat small amounts only, avoid fruit and salad, drink only bottled water.  Take oral re-hydration salts and a roll of soft loo paper. A couple of cereal bars from home would also be a good idea. Vegetarians should beware that this is not a destination where it is easy to avoid meat and if you are very strict about not eating anything that's been in contact with meat/cooked with meat you may need to rethink coming here. The yurt stay was great fun and made a natural break from the sight seeing. Make sure you take a head torch as the toilet is fair trek away from the yurts - though you'll be glad of it when you smell it! But it was worth it for the starry skies and the camel ride. Getting a visa can be tricky so apply early and use a company such as Travcour.  Customs and immigration is long and tedious - we queued for over four hours - and our flight landed at 2am so not exactly peak time!  Make sure all your papers are in order and be prepared for lots of form filling. Take an i-Pod and a few books to fill in the long journeys and queueing time. However, I personally wouldn't say this is an overly tough or uncomfortable trip - but it does depend on your expectations. Any hardship is more than compensated by the stunning sights - Khiva at sunrise (well worth getting up for), the majestic Registan, and the stunning Shah-i-Zinda to name a few. (UZ- 1st September 2010)
 
 
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