September Trip

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TrevtheCanuck
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September Trip

Post by TrevtheCanuck »

Hey all,

We are a couple Canadians (early/mid 30's) planning a trip to Central Asia for a month in early Sep-Oct. This Forum is a wealth of knowledge and we'll keep combing through it but I figured I'd see if anyone wants to throw some info our way anyways!! We're social peeps so Hostels, Bars, Restos, Coffee shops, tours, transit, any recommends you did or regrets you didn't, etc etc, are all welcome!!

Our route plan (loosely) is this...... Tblisi-Baku-Tashkent-Bukhara-Samarkand-Panjakent-Dushanbe-Pamir Highway-Osh-Bishkek-Song-Kul Lake/Kochkor-Almaty+Area.

We're digging into the lonely planet book and so far just using hostelworld for places to stay as reference.

A couple specific questions if anyone has some info......
-We are planning the train from Tashkent-Samarkand... Will we need to go through Kaz customs enroute and need a visa (I believe it's on arrival for us Canadians)?
-Has anyone flown in Kyrgystan? After the Pamir HWY we might entertain flying from Osh-Bishkek just to not be in a vehicle for another full day! The airline appears to be banned in Europe and we both work in Aviation :shock: :shock: So we aren't very excited about that. Any experiences?

Thanks is advance of course, and hopefully meet some of you on our journey!

Trev
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mpkz
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Re: September Trip

Post by mpkz »

Haven't been to Central Asia for 5 years or so (in Pakistan atm) so can only comment on the flight and train - I flew Osh-Bishkek on Air Manas (in Pegasus Airways livery, it seems like a local franchise of it or something) in 2017. Operated on some kind of 737NG (737-800 maybe) as far as I recall, I felt safer on this airline than on Pegasus' non-EU-banned flights in terms of observable safety traits like cabin crew doing their jobs properly.

Why would you need a Kazakh visa for Tashkent - Samarkand? I don't see anything on the route that would cross into Kazakhstan. (edit: ah, I see, the route might pass through. No visa or immigration in 2017. See seat61 for the best info on trains)

Caveat: I have a relatively high risk tolerance for airlines, for instance I am now flying around Pakistan and both AirBlue and PIA have some pretty stupid accidents in their history and are both coming off an EU ban (or is it still in force?)..
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TrevtheCanuck
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Re: September Trip

Post by TrevtheCanuck »

Thanks MPKZ. Appreciated info!
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jaaf
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Re: September Trip

Post by jaaf »

mpkz wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 6:54 pm
Haven't been to Central Asia for 5 years or so (in Pakistan atm) so can only comment on the flight and train - I flew Osh-Bishkek on Air Manas (in Pegasus Airways livery, it seems like a local franchise of it or something) in 2017. Operated on some kind of 737NG (737-800 maybe) as far as I recall, I felt safer on this airline than on Pegasus' non-EU-banned flights in terms of observable safety traits like cabin crew doing their jobs properly.

Why would you need a Kazakh visa for Tashkent - Samarkand? I don't see anything on the route that would cross into Kazakhstan. (edit: ah, I see, the route might pass through. No visa or immigration in 2017. See seat61 for the best info on trains)

Caveat: I have a relatively high risk tolerance for airlines, for instance I am now flying around Pakistan and both AirBlue and PIA have some pretty stupid accidents in their history and are both coming off an EU ban (or is it still in force?)..
If you are afraid of PIA and Air Blue, then you may try Serene airline or Air Sial
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sebhoff
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Re: September Trip

Post by sebhoff »

It seems like a lot to do and see in only one month! Tbilisi is great - but so is the rest of Georgia. And you can easily spend 2 weeks alone (or more) in Uzbekistan. So unless you really like to rush from place to place, it seems a little, well, rushed... ;-)
The train I took between Tashkent and Samarkand didn't enter Kazakhstan; no passport control or visa checks...
Seat61 is a wonderful page - but I don't think it is particularly good for Uzbekistan. The timetables it lists are out-of-date and some of the prices quoted are way off (e.g. the VIP price Tashkent - Samarkand is 199,000 som and not 582,000 som). I suggest you check https://e-ticket.railway.uz/en - that's also where I bought my tickets.
I flew on Avia Traffic from Bishkek to Osh and didn't notice anything I would need to worry about. But then again, I probably wouldn't notice. In any case: if you are willing to drive (and be driven) in Georgia and Central Asia, I strongly suspect your risk of ending up dead or in a serious accident is significantly higher doing this than on a flight between the two cities in Kyrgyzstan.
Sebastian
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tomnz
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Re: September Trip

Post by tomnz »

Kyzyl Art Pass Border is closed (Kyrgyz - Tajik border) so going between countries on on Pamir Highway isn't possible.
Permit for GBAO seems possible in person at OVIR and through tour agencies but not available via their evisa system online anymore.

UPDATE: the GBAO checkbox has reappeared on the eVisa website
Last edited by tomnz on Sun Aug 07, 2022 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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StephParis
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Re: September Trip

Post by StephParis »

sebhoff wrote:
Tue Jul 26, 2022 8:34 pm
It seems like a lot to do and see in only one month! Tbilisi is great - but so is the rest of Georgia. And you can easily spend 2 weeks alone (or more) in Uzbekistan. So unless you really like to rush from place to place, it seems a little, well, rushed... ;-)
I totally agree. Take your time !
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TrevtheCanuck
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Re: September Trip

Post by TrevtheCanuck »

Thanks guys and gals, I've got all of this noted! Unfortunately a month is all we'll be able to take off work. We won't have anything booked so if we fall in love with anywhere, somewhere else will get the axe and we'll have to come back. I am concerned that we may have to have a Pamir highway trip or vehicle booked in advance though...... Does anyone have any experience with booking a few days in advance? Or is this something we should look into long before?

A couple mentions of Seat61 now, and I agree, its basically the train bible. I've done some serious train trips before and intend to do more. That site is always my first stop! I still wanted to get more first hand info if possible. Sounds like the train from Tashkent to Samarkand won't be an issue for the Kazak border thought, so great news!

Thanks again for all the info! Very much appreciated!

Trev
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