Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

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Traveller11
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Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby Traveller11 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:08 pm

Hi Folks,

As my wife and I really enjoyed our first trip to Central Asia & specifically Kazakhstan, spending a week in Astana before we then went to Almaty for our second week before going back home.

I can also appreciate that 2017 seems like a long way off at the moment, I remember the words 'Tempus Fugit' and yes time runs very quickly when you get into some serious planning and research of different places..........So.

We are planning a return in September 2017 on the following at the moment 'proposed' itinerary........

Central Asia Possible Itinerary

1) Flight from Almaty to Shymkent
2) Travel from Shymkent to Tashkent BY TRAIN
3) Travel from Tashkent to Samarkand BY HIGH SPEED TRAIN
4) Travel from Tashkent to Samarkand BY HIGH SPEED TRAIN
5) Travel from Samarkand to Bukhara BY TRAIN
6) Travel from Bukhara to Bishkek by Plane
7) Travel from Bishkek to Dushanbe by Plane
8) Travel from Dushanbe to Almaty by Plane

Just to clarify, while we will be spending time at each of the destinations, the sorting out of accommodation can come a bit later on.
My concern at the moment is with the transport from place to place.

If the itinerary makes logical sense then has anyone any experience of using a website called TuTu.Travel for making reservations for their Train Tickets? (I think it's based somewhere in Russia?)

I 'found' it when looking to find information on train travel for the proposed trips and was able to find timetables in English and the ability to purchase tickets using a variety of methods including CC & PayPal which gives you a bit of confidence if anything goes wrong!

When it came to looking for information on flights especially in Uzbekistan I was very surprised when the Uzbekistan Airlines Representative could not tell me if a flight was available between 2 cities and if there was more than 1 flight per day or even what day of the week the flights went! Unbelievable!
Having said that there was very little information on their website........
So maybe we have to consider going by TRAIN for the majority of the trip?

While we like to see the scenery outside the cities, we also like to wander around the cities to view life as it happens and see some of the architecture in the buildings.

Any input would be most welcome.

Thanks.
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lissie45
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby lissie45 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:24 pm

The info on trains in the region I've found is here http://www.seat61.com/Uzbekistan.htm We like the trains too - but I wasn't planning on booking them in advance - just at the station a couple of days before arrival. I don't get the impression that the country is set up to deal with advance planning!

If nothing else you want to be paying in blackmarket local currency - rather than official rates which I'm sure what would be charged on an online booking site.

The comment from Uzbeck airlines strongly suggest that flights run when there is a enough demand- again not an uncommon approach in "developing" countries.
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby Traveller11 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 7:15 am

Hi lissie45,

Thanks for your reply and the link to that website which has been saved.

Having had a look at your link I think it cleared up my question about what a 3rd Class Train Ticket was going to get me on 'the TuTutravel website! For one minute I was thinking it was either a 'Stand Up Place' with the Guard or a 'Lie Down Position' on the train roof!' While on the 'seat61' it seems to be the same as an economy ticket.

I take it you have also travelled on the trains by your comments and wondered what you thought of them considering that some of the journeys can be rather long?
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby steven » Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:00 am

I think your itinerary is doable, with 2 possible issues.

1. Don't take the train from Shymkent to Tashkent, take the bus. It will take 2-3 hours vs 6-8 hours by train.
2. Bukhara - Bishkek will go via Tashkent. You might have to wait a bit in Tashkent.

I suggest you take a SV compartment for the overnight trains (2 beds), it will be comfortable and you will have your privacy. Fast trains are new and impeccably clean, but with annoying tv screens. It's more like sitting in an airplane.

Have not heard of Tutu. People have had good experiences booking through tickets.kz.

I know the train pages on Caravanistan are lacking and outdated, and have them on high priority on my to-do list. They should be ready before the end of 2016, in time for your trip, to compensate for the lack of info on Seat 61.
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby bwv812 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:54 am

I would also suggest taking the overnight train between Tashkent and Bukhara, and then working back to Samarkand, as this will give you a bit more time to see things. (Assuming you can fly from Samarkand or can easily connect back to Tashkent and fly from there.)
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby gateskatherine » Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:10 pm

Hi Traveller11

When we were in Kazakhstan, we booked train tickets online using www.tickets.kz. We didn't book any international train tickets but I think they do have some routes. Our experience with the online booking system was very positive.

KT
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby Traveller11 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:04 pm

Hi Folks!

Thank you all

For your input and suggestions which after writing them all down I now need to go off and do my research!

I was not to happy about not getting flight details for Uzbekistan, and so was thinking that maybe we need to re-consider and do the whole trip by Train, but some of the distances and getting across borders might bring problems.

Oops! Nearly forgot.........

I will more than likely be back with more ?????!
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby steven » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:55 am

It might be easier in that case to fly into Tashkent, take an overnight train to Bukhara, backtrack to Samarkand and Tashkent, take a bus to Shymkent, and from there either

an overnight train to Almaty, then a minibus to Bishkek, or
go via shared taxis to Talas, then Bishkek, or
a bus straight to Bishkek/Korday.

Then fly off to Dushanbe.

ps: you're welcome :-)
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Re: Help required on a proposed trip from Almaty via Train & Plane and back to Almaty.

Postby Traveller11 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:32 pm

Hi Steven!

Thanks.......
I am now investigating those possibilities while I did consider not bothering with the Dushanbe part of the trip as comments viewed do not seem to 'paint a nice picture'!
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