Multi-Stan Trip 2019

Multi-Stan SERMEISS Trip in 2019: June 18 – July 10

Organized by Chris Drake 

SIGN UP NOW (BEFORE Nov. 15)

(Maximum number in the group is 16 so only the first 15 people who sign up will be able to go)

Registration is now open for our adventure next summer.The dates have been confirmed: beginning in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday, June 18 and traveling via Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to Uzbekistan, finishing in Tashkent on Wednesday, July 10 (although each person can add a day or two at the beginning or the end since we arrange our own transportation).

What a treat this is going to be: traveling along part of the Silk Road, seeing historic fortresses, towers, and museums, magnificent mosques, madrassas, and other buildings in places including Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. What a memorable experience it will be to go up into the mountains, to walk among a proliferation of wild flowers, to see yaks and horses in the high mountain pastures, to stay there in traditional yurts (yes, with their out-houses a little walk away), and even to swim in a couple of warm-water lakes! This is a trip you will NEVER forget!

Here are more of the details—the actual itinerary and the cost of the trip. The actual trip, with its itinerary, is arranged by GEEO, an offshoot of G Adventures. This trip has been organized just for us and as such is open only to people who book through me—i.e. SERMEISS members and their friends!

I strongly recommend arriving on June 17, one day before the official itinerary starts, in order to get over jet lag and travel tiredness. At the end of the trip you may want to stay one extra day to see more of Tashkent, but that is entirely up to you. Of course, extras like this are at our own expense. 

If you sign up and pay the deposit before November 15, you will pay $161 less than if you wait until after November 15.  Please see information given later in this missive.

Here is the Itineraryto give you a good idea of what to expect each day. This is taken directly from the information GEEO provides.

Itinerary

Day 1: Bishkek Arrive at any time.

The program begins tonight in Bishkek. We will have a group meeting at the hotel around 6 p.m. Upon arrival at the hotel, please check the notice board for information about the group meeting. During the group meeting, the GEEO leader will outline the trip itinerary and answer any questions you might have.

If you arrive early enough, consider visiting the State Historical Museum to learn more about Kyrgyzstan. This marble-faced cube building, built in 1984 when Kyrgyzstan was part of the Soviet Union, retains many aspects of its original purpose as a state-of-the-art Lenin Museum.

Day 2: Bishkek/Chong-Kemin (BD) Morning city tour of Bishkek before departing for Chong-Kemin. Stop at the Burana Tower before arriving at the community guest house. Explore the village and then eat a home cooked traditional dinner.

 

Day 3: Chong-Kemin/Song Kul (B, L, D) Optional morning hike. Continue on to Song Kul and spend the night in a traditional yurt. Opt to spend the day hiking or go for a horseback ride.

 

Day 4: Song Köl/Bokonbayevo (B, D) Travel to Kochkor and stop at a Kyrgyz felt-making workshop. After lunch drive to Bokonbayevo Village and spend the night at a homestay, indulging in a traditional local meal.

 

Day 5: Bokonbayevo/Jety-Oguz (B, L) Visit Ak-Orgo yurt Workshop Center. Continue to Jety-Oguz Gorge & and overnight in a traditional yurt.

 

Day 6: Jety-Oguz/Karakol (B) Leave Jeti-Oguz and transfer to Karakol. Visit the Prejevalskiy Museum and a walking tour of the city followed by free time to explore.

 

Day 7: Karakol/Saty Village (B, D) Cross into Kazakhstan. Continue driving until arriving in Saty Village. Have a two hour hike exploring Kaindy Lake. Spend the night in a guest house sampling traditional Kazakh meals.

 

Day 8: Saty Village/Almaty (B) Depart for Almaty, stopping along the way at Charyn Canyon. Take a city tour. Have a free afternoon to explore the city.

 

Day 9: Almaty/Dushanbe (B) In the morning, transfer to Almaty airport and board a flight to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Enjoy an evening in the city.

 

Day 10: Dushanbe/Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (B, D) Visit sights in Dushanbe. Drive through valleys and mountains in stunningly beautiful Iskandarkŭl. Meet locals and explore this gorgeous landscape in the Fann Mountains. Stay at a CBT homestay.

 

Day 11: Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (B, L, D) Spend a full day exploring. Opt to hike in the mountains. After a picnic lunch, return to Sarytag village.

 

Day 12: Kŭli Iskandarkŭl/Khŭjand (B) Continue to Istaravshan. Visit a fortress and an ancient settlement. Soak in the view over the city. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse). Drive to Khujand. Explore the city in the afternoon.

 

Day 13: Khŭjand/Tashkent (B) Visit the Khŭjand market. Drive to Uzbekistan and its capital city of Tashkent. Enjoy a short walk in the evening before an optional dinner.

 

Day 14: Tashkent (B) Enjoy a free day to explore.

 

Day 15: Tashkent/Samarkand (B) Travel on to Samarkand. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum.

 

Day 16: Samarkand (B) Take a city tour/visit to the Registan. Free time to visit the Guri Amir Mausoleum, Tomb of the Prophet Daniel, and the Registan minarets. Enjoy some free time.

 

Day 17: Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp (B, D) Travel out into the desert to visit the Nurota Shrine and remains of the Alexander the Great fortress. Spend an evening in a yurt. Opt to ride a camel or enjoy a Kazakh singing show.

 

Day 18: Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara (B) Travel to Bukhara. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, have dinner with a local family, or visit a traditional hammam (bathhouse).

 

Day 19: Bukhara (B) Take a half-day guided walk around the beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets that make up the Old City.

 

Day 20: Bukhara/Khiva (B) Travel through the Kyzyl Kum Desert to Khiva. Take a walking tour.

 

Day 21: Khiva (B) Enjoy a guided tour of the city with free time to experience the local life. Opt to browse the shops, wander the lanes, examine handmade silk rugs, or sit in a café.

 

Day 22: Khiva/Tashkent Fly to Tashkent. Enjoy a city tour or explore on your own. Optional visits to history museum, fine arts museum, mosques, or bazaars.

 

Day 23: Tashkent (B) Depart Tashkent at any time.

 

Costs have increased a little

The cost of the trip in the stans is $3,650 (for the 23 days) if the trip is booked and the deposit paid by November 15. If booked after November 15, the cost will be $3,811.

This cost includes:

All transportation on the trip (including 2 internal flights)

Standard hotels/guesthouses (15 nights), yurts (3 nights), community based tourism homestays (4 nights) 

Most entrance fees, city tours, and walking tours

22 breakfasts, 7 dinners, and 3 lunches (excluding alcoholic drinks)

Service of a G Adventures Tour leader throughout and local guides 

The cost does not include:

International travel (to Bishkek and back from Tashkent). The cheapest flight as of October 17, 2018 from Washington DC to Bishkek (on June 15) and back from Tashkent to Washington DC (on July 11) is $1,044 on Aeroflot, but the hours are very inconvenient! Other airlines are more expensive but kinder to the traveler (e.g. Turkish Airlines $1,324)! I recommend checking with Momondo for the best prices.

Travel, health, and cancellation insurance

Visas (to Uzbekistan--$160 and to Tajikistan $50); Americans do not need a visa for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (non-citizens would need to check for themselves what requirements apply)

Tips and gratuities (between $140 and $160) to guides and drivers

Beverages

Meals not mentioned in the itinerary

Optional tours and admission tickets

Airport transfers

Incidentals 

Payments due: a deposit of $250 is required by GEEO and I need to receive a deposit of $300 as well. Both are due by November 15, 2018 (the one to GEEO by credit card; you book on line; the one to me by check, made out to Christine Drake, and sent to 710 Connecticut Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23508). The $250 to GEEO is non-refundable but can be carried over and applied to any other GEEO trip in the future. If not paid by November 15, the cost of the GEEO part of the trip goes up by $161. I need to receive your $300 non-refundable deposit also by November 15.

Most of the rest of the payment will be made directly to GEEO. I will need to receive another $300 by April 18 (60 days before the trip starts—just like GEEO). 

Here is GEEO’s cancellation policy:

 Cancellation policy (from GEEO)

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEOin written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that GEEO has received your written cancellation request, please call GEEO 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

·      If you cancel 60 days or more prior to departure, all your program fee payments will be refunded except for your $250 deposit which is kept on file for future use

·      If you cancel between 30 and 59 days prior to departure, you will receive a 50% refund of the GEEO program fee and your deposit is kept on file for future use

·      If you cancel within 30 days of departure, you will receive no refund of the program fees, but your deposit is kept on file for future use.

I also need to know if you have to cancel.  Most of the $300 second payment sent to me will not be refundable, but that will depend on the number of participants in the group.

Other Thoughts

We will have our own transportation (and drivers): mostly a small bus/van or land rover-type 4X4 vehicles.

We have to be able to carry our own luggage—and are restricted to one carry-on and a knapsack or day pack. The weight restriction on our 2 internal flights is 33 lbs. (15kg). 

Since we will be in a more conservative culture, we need to dress modestly. Shorts should go below the knees, shirts should cover shoulders (i.e. no tank tops/singlets or any type of clothing that shows straps or leaves shoulders or backs bare). Loose, long clothing works best—long trousers (capris work well too) and long skirts. Women will need to bring a headscarf for visiting mosques. 

We will reach altitudes of up to 11,000 feet so a light sweater/jacket will be necessary (also useful for the flights to and from this region).

More information will be forthcoming. This missive is just to let you know that the trip has been confirmed and everything is in order. I do hope you will want to come and be part of the group.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

With my best wishes, Chris Drake (Cdrake@odu.edu) 757 683-4713 (office) or 757 705-8357 (cell).

 When you have read all this please go to 

Control and click

https://geeo.org/tour/multistandrake/

  


Multi-Stan 2019 Scholarships

SERMEISS is pleased to offer up to five travel grants up to $500 to attend the 2019 trip to the Caucuses.

Guidelines

  • Open to K-12 teachers, community college instructors, graduate students, and non-tenure track faculty in the SERMEISS region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) who are SERMEISS members. Become a member by visiting http://www.sermeiss.org/join
  • Please submit your resume or CV along with the completed application.
  • The applicant must intend on teaching in the consecutive school year.
  • Awards will be given up to $500.
Request an application from Cal Allen at edsermeiss@gmail.com.