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  • Golden Compass email address is info@goldencompasstours.com.au
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  • Golden Compass New Zealand Freephone number 0800-132-385
  • 0800-132-385

Journey to the 'Stans'
Commences Almaty 13 Aug and ends Tashkent 08 Sept 2017

  • Song Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan
    Song Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan
  • Bukhara Mosque, Uzbekistan
    Bukhara Mosque, Uzbekistan
  • Samarkand, Uzbekistan
    Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • The Aral Sea, Uzbekistan
    The Aral Sea, Uzbekistan
  • Zenkov Cathedral, Almaty, Kazakhstan
    Zenkov Cathedral, Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Program Status Guaranteed Departure
  • Price $ 14,900
  • Program Code GCTSTA17
  • Single Supplement $ 1,326
  • Activity Rating Moderate
  • Program Leader Peter Burns

Tour Itinerary

  • 26 Nights
    • 1 - Almaty 
    • 1 - Altyn-Emel
    • 2 - Kol-Sai
    • 2 - Karakol 
    • 1 - Issyk–Kul 
    • 2 - Son-Kul Lake
    • 2 - Bishkek 
    • 1 - Tashkent 
    • 2 - Khiva 
    • 1 - Nukus
    • 1 - Aral Sea
    • 1 - Nukus
    • 1 - Dashoguz
    • 1 - Ashgabat 
    • 2 - Mary 
    • 2 - Bukhara 
    • 2 - Samarkand 
    • 1 - Tashkent 

Commences Almaty 13 August and ends Tashkent 08 September 2017

Tour Highlights

  • The great trading cities of the ancient Silk Road: UNESCO-listed Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent
  • The World Heritage historic site of Itchan Kala in Khiva
  • The ancient UNESCO-protected city of Merv, also on the Silk Road, now modern-day Mary in Turkmenistan
  • The post-Soviet Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek and impressive capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgebat 
  • Learn about the environmental issues of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan
  • Discover the outstanding natural beauty of Kyrgzstan at Son Kul Lake and of Kazakhstan at Kolsai Lake

Tour Overview

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are an idiosyncratic collection of ex-Soviet republics which became independent when the USSR collapsed after 1991. 

Due to their strategic location, the 'Stans' of Central Asia were sought after and conquered by some of the world’s great empire-hunters, such as the Huns, the Persians, the Ottomans and the Mongols.

Two millennia ago, traders and caravans of pack animals bringing with them silk, porcelain and spices followed a route west from their home in ancient China over the steppe of Central Asia and into the fertile lands of Europe. When inquisitive Europeans travelled the Silk Road to China, they came back with knowledge, ideas and culture that changed the destiny of Western civilisation. 

Our 26 night program explores the heart of the great golden trade route across Central Asia. Our program is designed with multi-night stays in the historic cities of Bishkek, Khiva, Mary, Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent. These open-air museums are beautifully preserved Silk Road wonders filled with mosques, tombs, monuments and bazaars. 

We will also enjoy the stunning scenery at Altyn-Emel National Park and Kolsai Lakes in Kazakhstan and be immersed in nomadic culture on the shores of Son-Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan. A visit to the mysterious Aral Sea in Uzbekistan is also included. 

This fascinating program is restricted to 16 participants.

Tour Inclusions

  • Including return economy class international airfare
  • 20 nights in en-suited hotel accommodation
  • 3 nights in comfortable guest houses (shared bathroom)
  • 2 nights in an exotic yurt camp on the shores of stunning Song-Kul Lake (shared bathroom)
  • 1 night in a tent on the shores of the Aral Sea (shared bathroom)
  • Typical local breakfast daily, 25 lunches and 26 dinners
  • 4 internal flights:  Bishkek/Tashkent, Tashkent/Urgench, Dashoguz/Ashgabat, Ashgabat/Mary
  • Touring by comfortable coaches, mini-coach and 4WD. All with A/C. 
  • Train journey from Samarkand to Tashkent
  • Transport, lectures and field trips as indicated
  • Visa Fees, applicable entry fees and services of local guides
  • Services of a Program Leader
  • Gratuities and necessary tips
  • Detailed program information booklet
 

This is our first 2016 tour announcement. Combinations will be advised soon.

Peter Burns

Peter Burns grew up in suburban Melbourne and graduated as a civil engineer. Following his keen interest in the natural environment, Peter then completed a Master of Natural Resources and Diploma in Education at University of New England in Armidale NSW.

Peter has had an eclectic career, working as a civil engineer, teacher, and environmentalist. He has also lived and worked on remote Aboriginal communities in central Australia.

Peter has recently retired from Parks Victoria, where he worked for 18 years as the Ranger in Charge of the Great Otway National Park, which includes the iconic Great Ocean Walk.  Peter also undertook a 12-month work exchange to Scotland, as the Reserve Manager for Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve.  Peter has since become passionate about all things Scottish.

Peter and his wife live in a self-built sustainable house in the Otway ranges, where he is actively involved in the community as a volunteer Ambulance Officer.

An obsessive walker and Anglophile, Peter is committed to walking the length and breadth of Britain.  He has completed the Pennine Way, Offas Dyke Path, and a section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in the past two years.

Peter has lead groups throughout India, the 'Stans and the Caucasus: but his real passion of course is Scotland - where he looks forward to showing you the best of the Scottish Isles. 

Moderate

This program includes placeswhich can only be explored on foot and where walking tours may be a little longer and not always on the flat. Accommodation may have some stairs and or have some rooms which may involve some walking to access.
All our programs naturally involve some walking in order to discover bet­ter the places visited and, although we arrange porterage where this is available, participants are expected to be able to handle their own bags. Our program leaders will always try to make as much of the program as possible available for those who find walking longer distances, uphill or down steps difficult but, in same places, this cannot always be avoided.
If you have any concerns at all about your level of fitness, please do not hesitate to talk to us and discuss further with the experts who know the particular demands of each program.

Make an Enquiry

Follow these simple steps to secure your place on one of our unique tours:

  1. Select the program or programs you are interested in joining and make a note of the program code that appears next to the program price (eg: GCTAD14).
  2. Access the Golden Compass booking form here.
  3. Complete the details you have available (we understand your flights and travel insurance details may not be confirmed when you make your booking).
  4. Print and sign your form, then simply scan and email your form direct to info@goldencompasstours.co.nz. If you prefer you can fax your form to +44 (0) 1494 431 144, or post it to our New Zealand postal address at:

  Golden Compass, P O Box 3452 Shortland St. Auckland 1140, New Zealand.

Please note we require a deposit of NZD500 per person per program with the full balance for each tour being due 70 days prior to the start of your program or programs in the UK, Europe, North Africa or Asia. 

Once the deposit payment has been taken you will then be sent your confirmation letter either by email or post (as you prefer). An invoice for the balance will be issued to you 12 weeks prior to the departure of your first tour or tours. Full payment by MasterCard, Visa or electronic bank transfer is required 70 days prior to the start of your tour. 

If you need any assistance please call our Freephone number on 0800 132 385.