What to Expect
Each Vantage Adventure is designed to help you fully experience local culture and to get out and explore while keeping active. We find these are the two most fulfilling and rewarding ways to transform any trip into an adventure, and into the experience of a lifetime.
This is an active trip, so it's important to be aware of some factors when considering this adventure. Below is some helpful information in this regard.
CULTURAL IMMERSION: Central Asia requires an intense foreign culture adjustment. Travelers at times will encounter dust, heat — all of which are part of the environment of the region, especially when traveling close to the deserts. The different culture, history & Heritage are the most rewarding part of the experience. These challenges – as well as the beauty, spirituality, and diversity – make Central Asia a rewarding destination.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Most sightseeing is on air-conditioned coaches with guides. Moderate to heavy walking is required throughout the tour. Steps are to be expected, as well as occasional steep and/or uneven terrain during sightseeing. This tour is not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties or those that require the use of wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
PACING: Total of two countries visited in base program, with five cities. Each tour involves 1 – 2 mile walk. If you wish not to walk this long, you can stop halfway and wait for the group to return. There will be two regional short flights as well as two domestic train rides at about two hours each.
SPECIAL FACTORS: Arriving into Uzbekistan, all passengers arriving in Uzbekistan are requested to fill in customs declaration forms – two copies on arrival – needed for customs control. Both copies are stamped at customs desk. One of the copies is left at the customs desk, the other one should be kept all the way through and submitted to the customs officer upon departure. Upon departure, one more customs declaration form is to be filled in. Please note that upon arrival you should declare all the money that is brought in. You should not hide it. The amount declared upon departure should not exceed the amount declared upon arrival. As a rule, it should be less, or at least same, but not more. If the amount of money brought in exceeds 5 000 USD, you are given a kind of certificate indicating the sum of money you have brought in. No worries, as this is just a formality.
Luggage needs to be locked for all domestic flights. Passengers are allowed one piece of carry on luggage weighing no more than 20 KG (44 lbs) and one piece of checked baggage. Tickets for domestic flights will be delivered on site. A hat or cap, sunscreen, a scarf (to cover your shoulder during visit to the mosque), bug spray, and walking stick will be very helpful. You will engage in a significant amount of walking over uneven terrain during your tour. We recommend comfortable walking shoes, with good ankle support, that are easy to remove when required at certain sites. When visiting mosques / some of the tombs, you are requested to take off your shoes , so it is wise to bring the easy shoes that are easy to take on & off during the tours. Please also note that some public toilets charge USD 1 per person (or the equivalent in local currency) to use the toilet, so please also have the small notes with you.
Although these Central Asia countries are nominally Muslim, decades of living under Russian rule have resulted in them being a very secular society. You'll find you can wear pretty well anything you like here, but these are still conservative countries so covered shoulders and nothing shorter than knee-length skirts/pants is probably best. Women don't need to cover their heads except to protect themselves from the sun but the gesture is noticed and appreciated when visiting holy sites -- so a scarf is useful. You can photograph just about anything from outside, although pictures of government buildings and officials in uniform are discouraged. In some of the interior visits , photos are not allowed at all, or you will be charging a fee for taking photos inside. Please ask your Adventure Leader for best practices. In any culture, it is polite to ask permission before taking pictures of people, and Central Asia is no exception. Some museums / sights charge you the amount of $2 – 5 USD per person camera fee if you wish to take pictures while visiting. Your Adventure Leader can provide details while on tour.