ISIC card worth it?

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ISIC card worth it?

Postby laghubhara » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Hello everyone :)

We're currently planning our Central Asia trip, going overland from Turkey to China. (so, roughly: Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgysztan, Tadjikistan, Kazakhstan, China)
Does it make sense to have an ISIC card for any of these countries? We have normal student cards, but they're only in German...
In Europe, the ISIC card was never necessary, but I can't really tell about Central Asia. We would appreciate any insights!
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Re: ISIC card worth it?

Postby bwv812 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:32 pm

Student discounts aren't really a thing in most of those countries, so I don't think so.
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My 2012 overland trip from Tokyo to Istanbul:

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Re: ISIC card worth it?

Postby laghubhara » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:48 am

So after silk roading for a bit, our experience with student cards:

  • Turkey: Teleferik in Bursa would have gotten much cheaper by ISIC card and only ISIC card. Discount approximately same as the cost of the ISIC card though. Other than that, no student discounts.
  • Georgia & Armenia: Student discounts repeatedly given for various entrances. Local student cards were accepted (in German). These are worth it! Often below the local price and a mere fraction of the tourist price.
  • Iran: Student discounts are not a thing.
  • Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan: No student discounts.
  • China: Student discounts are super important!!! Entrance tickets are ~30% of our daily budget. Students get 50% off of a lot of things. Unfortunately, the further west (Xinjiang, Gansu, Shaanxi) you are, the more difficult it is to get the student discounts. We were repeatedly told those are only for Chinese students (Dunhuang Mogao Caves, Xi'an Terracotta Army). The further east you get (Jiayuguan, Beijing, Shanghai), you get student discounts everywhere. ISICs were accepted everywhere. We had to explain once that we are undergraduate students, because officially discounts are not for graduate students. An ISIC card does not say whether you are an undergraduate or a graduate student. :)
Before going to China, we got ISICs in Kazakhstan. We went to the Kazakhstan Council for Educational Travel in Almaty. They are responsive to emails or on VK. They first didn't have ISIC blanks, but then they found some or something. You need pictures in 3mmx4mm format, that is smaller than the usual visa or passport photo requirement. :| But it worked and it was definitely worth it for China. An ISIC costs 4500 Tenge.
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