This tour exceeded our expectations - everything was SO organized and flowed so smoothly. I thought that it was good value as well. I loved the hotels that were selected. Zarina was so responsive and designed a tour specifically for our interests in food. I never ate so well in my life. The buffets at the Serena hotel in Dushanbe, Tajikistan were the culinary highlight of the trip. For that reason alone, I would suggest that this hotel be used for future guests who like great food.
My favorite spots were Bukhara, Uzbekistan and Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Bukhara for the magical atmosphere, the terrific culture show, and fantastic souvenirs - particularly the very inexpensive but beautiful miniature paintings (I bought 8). Ashgabat was a striking white marble city unlike any other I have seen in the world. I am impressed by all the good the president of the country has done for his people. Flying into the city at night with all the gleaming, orderly white marble buildings and brilliant neon lights was such an experience. I have never seen so many impressive monuments. The city was spotlessly clean as well.
We also enjoyed the well-planned cities of Almaty, Kazakhistan and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and their settings against the mountains - they had so many parks and restaurant options!
We survived the border crossing at Turkmenistan and examination of our 20+ drugs by labeling everything for its purpose and smiling a lot. But a visit to Turkmenistan is one that you will not forget. Ashgabat is one of the most fascinating cities in the world (out of the 120 countries we have now visited). We travel a lot, but would not be able to do this tour on our own due to language difficulties and so many transfers (all which went perfectly).
My favorite guides were Elmira in Kazakhstan and Govel (sp?) in Turkmenistan - they were just superb and so knowledgeable. I give our highest recommendation for Anur tours!
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