Just arrived in Seoul Korea and awaiting my flight to US and wanted to let you know that this is definitely one of my best tours ever. I'll send more details later but every aspect of this complicated tour was PERFECT.
We thought we would take a few moments during this wonderful trip that we are having to convey how much we keep being impressed by the quality of the logistics and of our guides/drivers.
As East site had been recommended to us by friends, we were expecting great service and equally great accommodation but nowhere near this level of professionalism and dedication.
First of all, I must say that we were astonished to see the finesse, command of the English language and the human qualities of our driver in Tashkent, in fact, to the point that we assumed he would be our guide for the entire trip! Thankfully Alexander is also a very kind and extremely culture guide, and both of them made our stay in the capital unforgettable.
Conclusion: Overall we liked the trip and were pleased with what we had the chance to see and explore. We do think the trip provided value and, as I said earlier, have an interest in looking at a future trip with East-Site in 2021.
I looked at the survey and prefer to give you my thoughts this way:
First, thank you for the guide and driver on the last afternoon in Tashkent that was billed as a repeat of what we did on day 1.
On the whole the trip was great. Baba and Gulya were terrific and knowledgeable. The hotels were fine. The food in the Turkmenistan hotels was a little wanting but Baba explained. Sasha and Son was very special. Restaurants were fine, some better than others but certainly no complaints. Gulya was wonderful about taking me to the Synagogue in Bukhara and translating for me. I was the only one who cared about markets and food —Baba was helpful for me with foods and ingredients and we worked it out in Uzbekistan. You can use me as a reference any time. The Caucasus are not doable for me this fall, but I hope they will be in the future.
I just returned from the Five Stans Tour from 10/11-29/19. I enjoyed all three guides but my experience in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan stands out. Mr.Bakhrom Tujchijev was instrumental in providing the best travel experience possible for my particular interest in these two countries. He was attentive to accommodating the individual needs of all group members with regards to physical and dietary preferences. He was well organized with boarder crossings, handling documents, registration at hotels and assuring smooth transition for flights. He maintained a high standard for safety throughout. He was flexible and courteous when interacting with a group comprised of visitors from various countries, age groups, previous travel experience, etc. He displayed a wealth of knowledge regarding the history, culture, art, politics and religion of the region. His command of English and ability to explain information in a clear and concise manner helped me gain knowledge and understanding. His pride and enthusiasm for his subject motivated me to continue learning more and to encourage my friends to explore the region with this tour company.
We leave tomorrow morning for Turkey. Ian has been resting and following the doctor‘s instructions for medications relating to his back problem. He is still in discomfort but we are hoping that will subside over the next several days.
We are grateful that East Site has been so supportive during this time, while Ian had to stay in Tashkent while I took a side trip to Tajikistan. It was very comforting for Ian to have Eliyor as driver for medical and massage appointments, and we appreciated the arrangements you made to accommodate us at the Lotte Palace Hotel, and particularly for putting Ian up at the lotte while I was in Kujand.
This has been a very interesting tour but not always easy so knowing that the company cares for the well-being of its clients means a lot to us.
Ian joins me in thanking you and East Site for everything.
At this moment, Bobby and I are on our way to New York aboard UZ Airways flight to JFK. First, I would like to say that I was so pleasantly surprised by the personalization and the flexibility of our guides. When I first started planning this adventure, you told me that our guide would do as much as we could handle, going above and beyond what was listed in the day’s itinerary, if we wanted. I have travelled extensively, both on group and private tours, and have never found this to be the case, but this was absolutely true with East Site. Our first guide, Ilyas, in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, gets the “greatest guide” award, as there was literally nothing he could not arrange for us at a moment’s notice! We had a wonderful time, and felt as if we really had a glimpse into local people and their culture. The kok-borou game and the eagle/archery demonstration were fantastic and memorable parts of our trip. His ability to get our laundry done (well and inexpensively) and returned to our hotel in Bishkek in time for our departure, was a great feat! He is outstanding and I can’t recommend him highly enough.
As you know, we ran into some health issues in Samarkand, but your and Victoria’s connections with the local doctor saved the trip. Bobby was treated like a VIP (Very Important Patient—L.O.L!) at the local hospital- the doctors and nurses were all extremely caring and helpful (one of the nurses even invited us to a relative’s wedding to be held on August 3rd!). Your professionalism and Akmal’s assistance turned an otherwise very difficult situation into a minor hiccup. We were able to continue onto Bukhara (which was my very favorite city) and beyond. I think we tried Akmal’s patience a bit, as each of the boys weren’t feeling well at one time or another and weren't always in the best of moods....Even though Akmal might not have thought they weren’t listening to all of the information he was providing us with, I can assure you all that we all learned a great deal about this area of the world! Nevertheless, each and everyday that we were with him, he was delightful, professional, happy, and eager to show us his wonderful country! We especially loved our meals with him, where he sought out the most authentic places for us to experience the local specialties.
Although we had heard that Turkmenistan was “different,” we were excited to explore it. As I indicated to Victoria when we spoke, we were very happy with our lovely guide, whom we called “Rose,” as her real name was very difficult for us! As with the others, she did everything under the sun to accommodate our wishes, and showed us her country.
On the whole, the hotels were very good. I am assuming in areas like Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and the smaller cities, they are the best available. We did love the Yldyz in Ashgabat! Drivers were all good, as well.
Please feel free to use anything written herein as a quote or give my name or email as a reference for future travelers. You did a wonderful job and I would definitely recommend your company to anyone looking to travel to Central Asia!!
Highlights of the tour (in my opinion only, others may have preferred other activities/events )
• Lunch and home visit on Day 6 (I’ve already mentioned this in my previous email, and I’m sure it was a favorite for all 5 of us who were on that part of the tour. For me, this was probably the #1 highlight. The others below were also great, but not quite as exciting as this one.)
• Golden eagle hunting on Day 4 or 5. This was not part of the original tour schedule, but was put in because weather prevented us from going to another bird “show.” The golden eagle hunting was so interesting and different, and a real part of the lives of the young men who did the demonstration.
• Puppet show on the last night just before our farewell dinner. This was just delightful, and as I looked over our group of 9, everyone was smiling and clearly enjoyed it. Thank you Julia for arranging this for us.
• Turkmen horses in Ashgabat. Such beautiful creatures, and while we couldn’t touch them, they were fantastic to see. Bava paid a worker to bring some out of the stable and parade them around so we could see the results of training the horses had had.
• Folk music and dancing program in Khiva. The show was entertaining and fun. The singers/dancers were clearly enjoying themselves, and that made it so enjoyable for us. It was more like being at a family gathering than at being at a rehearsed show. Very nice.
The most surprising things:
• Ashgabat. We had no idea that we would see anything like that city. So modern, clean, and beautiful. The whole city which was so new, reminded me of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, since they also were built only in recent years. Of course those cities are much more vertical with their skyscrapers.
• That delightful puppet show on the last night, along with the gift bags with the cute clay figurine magnets.
Julia, you have worked very hard and provided so many extras for all of us on this trip. We are so appreciative of what you have done. We had a great adventure and are so glad we were able to do it, and travel with East-Site. Thank you so much.
I just wanted to give you an update on how our trip is going. Right now we are on the train, about to leave Tashkent, en route to Samerkand. Now the train has started to move. Quite smooth, but of course we’re not up to speed yet. But this first class car is lovely and we are being served yet another meal.
Yesterday we had our lunch with the family in between the 2 plane flights. It was lovely. I think they were even more excited to be with us than we were. The doctor (a urologist) had invited his whole family, cousins, mother-in-law, sister, 2 of his 3 daughters with 4 or so little boys, cute as could be, and a 1 month old baby girl, and some others we couldn’t quite figure out. That was in addition to his wife, mother, and son who lived in the home. He had 2 musicians who played and sang during the main course of the meal. They were quite fun: I sang with them and Anna and I danced with the family members. We interacted a lot with all the family members, and truly enjoyed them although only the son, who attends medical school, spoke English, and not much at that. There were a lot of pictures taken by everyone, hosts and guests.
The food was incredible, but too much. I hope they ate what we didn’t. First came a beautiful spread of “appetizers” on a low table where we sat cross-legged to eat almonds, figs, apricots, other fruits, candies, honey, sour cream, yogurt, strawberries, and I forget what else. With tea of course. Sarah was in 7th heaven because it was all food she could eat. Well, there was some bread she didn’t want, but otherwise it was a vegan spread. Then we went to watch some women make the bread in the tandoor oven. Very interesting how they put the bread dough in the oven with mitts, and “pasted” it to the inside sides of the clay oven. Even Gulya said it was unusual.
Then we went to eat the main meal. Beef, chicken, some meat wrapped in grape leaves, salad, sausage, cheese, tea, of course, and more. Later they brought more fruit for dessert. All excellent.
They did a demonstration of how they put the infant in a cradle and tie her down and put some kind of tube near the urethra which runs through a hole in the bottom of the cradle, and that way she doesn’t wet on herself overnight. It looked kind of cruel, and the baby didn’t like it a bit, even though they rocked the cradle. It must be some kind of traditional approach. I asked Gulya if she had done that with her children, and she said no, but that is is very common and she was criticized for not doing it.
Overall, that whole experience was excellent. Such a lovely family in a lovely home, and it was truly a joy to be with them. East Site must have paid them a fortune to have done what they did.
Less fortunate was the border crossing from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan. Our guides were great and did as much as they could, coming as far as possible on both sides and helping as much as possible. The officials on both sides were pleasant and gave us special treatment as tourists. No complaint about that. No, the problem was with the surfaces over which we had to drag our suitcases on both sides of the border and in between. The Kyrgyzstan side was worse than the Uzbekistan side. The “no man’s land” in between the 2 borders, which Gulya says is about .8 km, was not quite as bad as the Kyrgyzstan side, but still not easy. It was raining so there were puddles and mud holes along the way, and we had to pull our suitcases through that as well as over rocks. The surface was very rough, and none of it was paved until we got to Uzbekistan. If we had not had suitcases, it would have been fine. We all made it, it was not impossible, but if you ever have clients who are not as able bodied as we are, they would not be able to do it. I just want you to be aware of that part. Maybe it will be worse at the long crossing coming up between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, but Gulya here says there is always a shuttle nowadays.
Overall we have had great experiences. The meals and restaurants have been outstanding. The hotels have always been fine. The one in Issy Kul, which you called “modest” was quite passable. We’ve all stayed in places much worse than that. Our guides have been very helpful, and they make the trip so much easier. We’ve only been with Gulya for less than a day, so I’ll let you know later about our interactions with her when we know more. As for Veronika who goes by “Nika,” she was wonderful. So pleasant and warm and comfortable, with a good sense of humor. She’s very open, and shared a lot about herself. She ate meals with us, which was wonderful, and unusual compared to guides we’ve had on other tours. She was very knowledgeable and most helpful. As you know, Sarah has special dietary needs, and Nika managed that so well, tending to Sarah’s needs while never neglecting the rest of us. Her English is excellent, and she translated for us so well. I am highly recommending her to you. If I were you, I would request her as a guide for all future tours in the K-countries. She apparently has a lot of trip booked already for this season, so maybe she has one or two with East-Site, but I know she also works with other companies.
Now I must run. I’m finishing this on Friday morning, after we spent part of yesterday in Samarkand. I’ll tell you more later, and hopefully have time to attach some pictures, but for now, that’s it. I felt it was important to give you the feedback on the change you had to make in the itinerary due to the plane changes. So that’s done.
Just a quick note to say thank you. Had a fabulous time touring the 3 Stans, everything went as you had presented.
Gulya and Bava are two exceptional guides.
Uzbeks are friendly, open, optimist people, they do wonderful work in preserving historical sites.
The visit to Turkmenistan was certainly an experience to behold. We saw the surface but judging by the state of things that was probably the extend of what’s allowed to be seen by the government. Quite an education I might say.
The Tajikistan visit was too brief to come up with some kind of assessment. Regardless, we were happy to have set foot in the country.
Thanks again. You earned my accolades and praises. I will certainly consider East-Site, and will refer friends to your company for future travels.
Good to hear from you. I would like to say that the 5-Stans tour was everything it was billed to be. It was an excellent tour and I enjoyed every aspect of it. The sights were incredible (one of the best trips I have ever taken); the guides were knowledgeable and very responsible so that we got everywhere and saw everything. Your East Site Travel agency delivers on your promises. Thanks again for the excellent tour -- it was truly magnificent.
The tour was Excellent, exactly as advertised, actually better. The guides were magnificent, the hotels were better than great. The sights in this unique part of the world, both modern and ancient were very interesting, some incredible. The extra efforts made by the guides and the company made a difference. My sincere thanks to you and the four guides who made this tour memorable.
Words escape me trying to describe our experience, can't say enough but to highly recommend to anyone interested in visiting Central Asia. If you like to travel - 5 Stans is a must see for you, you will never regret going there and East Site is your choice.
Well put together 5 Stans tour. We liked how there was no waste of time, all of the logistics went smoothly. We had flights wherever possible to substitute for long driving, aircrafts were modern and on schedule. Itinerary was followed religiously. Our favorite part was in Bukhara, architectural ensembles of various times were standing next to each other, creating incredible atmosphere of fairytale. We met a lot of people and interested with them in markets and in craft shops. Top notch guides, hotels, drivers, meals... we have no complains but gratitude for this experience.
5 Stans Tour was everything we expected and more. So many years we had plans to go, and at last, we did. East Site made it easy. They obtained our visas, all we had to do is mail our passports and one photo. It was one of the mail reasons we originally selected East Site, and we glad we did. Every guide who worked with us was master of their job. We had a lot of laughs and fun while learning a lot of new. From the moment tour started and until the very end, every day was special. Registan square took our breath away with it is size and beauty. Local people were friendly and hospitable, we didn't feel like visitors, we left like friends. If we knew how good this tour was going to be, it would have been on top of our list. East Site's 5 Stans tour is was least expensive with most inclusions, will go to the Caucasus next year. Thank you, Julia!
My wife and I have just returned to New York after a wonderful 19 day, 5 Stans tour to Central Asia. Between the outstanding cuisine, the knowledgeable tour guides and the great hotels we where able to relax with a stress free trip through each country! East Site handled all the paperwork (visa, flights est.) and with the trip being all inclusive we had nothing to worry about. It was an unforgettable experience, no flaws at any point.
Uzbekistan was one of the prettiest and historical country’s we toured through on our 15 days 3 stans tour for our 35th anniversary in 2017. Everything went as explained in our well organized itinerary. The tour guides spoke English very well which was comforting due to the shock of new surroundings. While dinner at local restaurants was a great experience and perfect touch, the hotels where picked out perfectly very clean great food and the customer support was great, being that my wife and I are in our golden age we cant move around as well as we used to from the moment we left the airport we had everything well organized and taken care of drivers that where humorous and attentive, and hotel management that made sure we had breakfast and luggage brought to and from the vehicle. My wife had knee surgery a few years ago and cant walk for long periods of time so our tour guide was so nice to drive us everywhere and even took us back to the hotel so she could put her feet up and rest! Couldn’t image a better trip for our anniversary. Our tour was organized by East Site Travel.
We have just returned from a marvelous trip in Uzbekistan organized by East site, it was one of the greatest trips of our lives, we had no idea what we have been missing out on for so long. With unending greenery, wide spacious roads, lovely restaurants and, museums, great shopping and above all very, very hospitable local folks. The giant city bazaars have everything you can think of. The local cuisine is also healthy with fresh ingredients - vegetables, meat, chicken, river fish, and an awesome variety of fresh juicy fruits. There are also lots of well-appointed restaurants of other nations everywhere. The hotels are beautiful, comfortable, and clean and offer excellent very attentive and receptive staff. With the trip being all inclusive they set you up with everything you, not worrying about currency exchange throughout each country you tour through which was the biggest sigh of relief that would of took us enormous amounts of time to figure out since each place you tour is different. I would like to recommend this new destination to everyone looking for great new places to visit and have a wonderful time as well as relaxation.
Thanks to East Site Travel we had a great trip. They were outstanding in every regard, flexible and very reasonably priced. We had our own driver for the entire trip but used great local guides in each location. Excellent service and used a variety of hotel styles which was very nice. They also handled the visa processing and was included in the price. Our plane was 24hrs late into Tashkent due to technical problem East Site adjusted the itinerary so we did not miss out on anything. Our trip was absolutely amazing. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend East Site to a friend.
Hi, My husband and I returned from a 10-day trip in October 2016 through Uzbekistan. Usually I always book my own lodging, do my own connections and transportation. However, due to lack of time to do research and sense that Uzbekistan was a "little bit-beyond me" and my experience, I decided to work with a traveling agency. Being somewhat independent-minded, when it comes to what I want to do on a traveling vacation, I was a bit apprehensive - not wanting to be pushed into doing the group bus thing/or a busy strict schedule. So I looked around and found East Site the prices were reasonable. I could not have been happier with both planning of the trip and trip itself. Both were awesome. Details: I worked with Mrs. Julia and by working together (via e-mail ,sometimes several times a day) she customized interesting itinerary for me. With use of their website, I was able to get info about each city we would visit. I had a big hand in deciding what to do and always had knowledge of schedule. Mrs. Julia's advice and recommendations were taken and frankly made trip even better she was so knowledgeable of the country and ensured me I would love everything. Trip planning and personalized attention was excellent. Once everything was decided, Mrs. Julia sent a detailed, itemized and clear itinerary and all sorts of information. Now, the trip...Each and every connection and experience, repeat everything, that we had with East Site was professional, on-time, responsible, friendly, expert and accessible - from drivers, to tour guides, to hotels, to domestic flights. I wholeheartedly recommend traveling to Uzbekistan its a great country, phenomenal sights, rich in culture and wonderful people and I unhesitatingly trust Julia from East-site to plan your trip.
I just did a 37 day Grand Silk Road Tour, traveling through Western China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia which I organized through a very recommended agency East Site. The price was very good compared to tours organized by other companies. From the beginning, the consultant Julia was prompt and extremely helpful with organizing the trip and assisting with queries. She also organized visa processing which was a lot less painful than many reviews had suggested. The whole trip went of without a single hitch which was great as there were internal flights and we had to be picked up at various airports and hotels met by different guides in the different cities and there were no problems with any of the logistics. Julia also phoned us twice during the trip to make sure everything was going well which was excellent personal service. I have pictures of every place I visited and plan to take more trips of Central Asia and to use this company and continue to recommend them to family and friends looking to explore more horizons.
Just spent 4 weeks traveling to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Combination of 5 Stans Tour and 3 Caucasus Republics. Photographing craftsmen, markets, eagle hunters, visiting homes, listening to Uzbek musicians, and sightseeing through local bazaars and museums. Our tour was planned through East Site. The adviser Julia did her best to accommodate our somewhat demanding requests for hotels, visits to the ancient part of Khujand, animal markets. All while being able to relax and take it easy on my troubling back!! Our guides were knowledgeable spoke English very well. We were taken to markets for antiques and other gifts I could bring back to my family, our guides were amazing and the cost of the trip was reasonable and all inclusive so everything was taken care of. What a great trip.
We used East Site and it was a trip of a life time - amazing! When I was originally planning our trip our group of 4 knew there was one thing we would be looking for in tour package in order to ensure a great trip, at this point we prefer to have a fixed schedule and know exactly when and where we are going, how we are getting there where we will be staying etc. Being that we no longer enjoy “backpacking” we now prefer organization. We were aware that this may cost more but it would be worth it. East-Site tour was perfect in every way - great itinerary, they would take care of all the visas, at a fair price, and answer emails and phone calls promptly even during busy seasons we never encountered any issues and we all were able to enjoy our trip and the tour guides were great they where informative about each country and never stumbled to answer our thousands of questions. Central Asia has so much to offer and there so much more we would like to see, so until next time we will reminisce with our friends about our outstanding experience over pictures we took of wonderful local shops, restaurants, Islamic architecture, and wonderful hotels and museums. Wonderful experience I can live over and over again!
After a hip replacement I thought traveling was far behind me, until last May my wife surprised me with a 12 day/13 night Caucasus silk tour and ensured me that Mrs. Julia of East Site and our guides and drivers would take extra care of us and would never have us visit or do any extensive activity other than enjoying ourselves boy was she right, the drivers spoke excellent English were knowledgeable and friendly as well as very professional and on time! I never troubled my hip, the food was pronominal we could never finish our portions. The sight from our hotel room when we first got there and every hotel from then on was breathtaking! The highlight of the trip was in Kakheti region, Georgia well known for its wine producing. We enjoy even more beautiful views of Great Caucasus Mountains and valleys, learned new traditions and culture of the country and region, taste wine at a farmer’s house to see a unique 300 year-old wine-cellar. I enjoyed my trip and my experience with East Site.
I cannot stress more how important it is to keep a positive attitude and remember how different Central Asia is from home. My sister took me on this trip through East Site which turned out awesome, the people are nice and hospitable, the places are marvelous. But every wonderful new experience comes with a few flaws the first impact can be very negative and gloomy but like ourselves we ran into another tour group in our hotel and we began to compare experiences and by far it made me understand we were in best hotel in the city We called our trip adviser from East Site (who by the way was so conveniently knowledgeable of the country and what to expect and reassuring ), because we wanted to thank her for all the before hand information that was so dully noted and needed to really enjoy our trip. Lastly, our tour guides were above and beyond they spoke such well English and that was the icing on the cake when we where able to really connect with them, thanks again! This trip really broadened our horizons.
East Site Travel was a great choice for us we are now back from our tour and can report that we had an outstanding trip and it exceeded our expectations. Many of our friends have traveled through East Site and have had very positive reviews of there trips, but always remind us to keep an open mind and remember this is a different way of life than we are used to and to embrace it, but that was of no surprise to us since we are very experienced and open minded travelers. We appreciated the history of every country we traveled through and enjoyed the company of our tour guides who did not over power us but made a point to educate us all while being so professional and personable. We will be recommending East Site to many of our friends and family as we share a lot of the same interests. Take care.
East-Site did first class operation on our 5 Stans Tour. Don't even think twice. Our every need was taken care of, just like being in a sedan chair. Itinerary was exceptional. We saw so much but it was done leisurely so we did not come back exhausted. Guides, hotels and food were excellent. Being that it was my birthday and at my age its just another number I was surprised to be met at the airport in Ashgabat with cake and flowers. Guess they know how to make a lasting impression. In addition Julia called us several times to find out how we were and checked with our guides every day.
My husband and I returned from a 3 Stan tour in March 2016 and we highly recommend using East site all the various tour guides hotels and attractions were handled accordingly spoke very well English and and flights and drivers where never tardy. Our favorite time on our trip was sightseeing through Bukhara what a beautiful city between the mausoleums and pottery houses the trip was phenomenal and cant stress how wonderful this new experience was for us! We were able to actually enjoy a trip worry free, East Site controlled all of that. Only out of pocket expense we ever paid for was gifts we purchased from all the local shops which brings another point to mind our trip adviser Julia called to check in on how things where progressing and I let her know I couldn't help myself from purchasing so many gifts for my daughters back home that I wasn’t sure how id bring them back home with us. She arranged for a driver to pick them up bring them to the hotel and have them shipped to our home back in Australia! Now that's hospitality and professionalism. Thanks again East-site I enjoyed our trip.
Wonderful wonderful job East Site did on our trip to Central Asia. To start off, their price was the best on the market and I couldn't imagine finding and agency that included visa processing since my friends and I don't travel this often, that process could be very troubling and stressful. And the all inclusive package made it even more enjoyable. Well organized itinerary was perfectly thought-out no mistakes and we were given ample time to relax and enjoy each scenery. My friends and I always bond over great food and boy did we enjoy our meals large portions and wonderful culture. All of our guides seemed as though they knew what we liked and delivered great professional service, from the moment we arrived in Tashkent to the moment we boarded our flights back to California. Over all a great trip!
It took me some time to find the agency that best fit us girls needs for a wonderful trip to Uzbekistan, East Site over saw our expectations, our trip adviser thankfully was from Uzbekistan so she was educated of her country, knew what to recommend and what to pass up. She spoke perfect English and was so professional and for the busy season I was inquiring about she found all the time in the world to answer all of my calls anytime of day since our time-zones where different. She handled all the visas for me and my 4 friends. The trip itself was beautiful, great hotels, very clean the tour guides where just as knowledgeable. Food was delicious, no complaints from us. We really enjoyed our trip.
I just returned to Thailand from a tour to China and the 5 Stans. The experience was wonderful, guides where great they educated my husband and I on so much very personable and yet professional, the hotels weren't what I'm used to but definitely the best in the regions very clean and traditionally decorated. People we have meet were so nice and all of our guides accommodated us since we have bad backs and can’t do any crazy activities such as climbing, long walks, and hiking. So were able to do everything on our itinerary and had extra time in our day to shop at local stores and grab coffee in between. We really appreciated the personal service and having a driver on time at each airport and having our luggage already retreived, our trip was wonderful we look forward to working with East Site again within the next year!
I just came back from a two-week tour of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, organized to the smallest detail in a perfect way by the remarkable tour operator Julia, from East Site Travel. This was the first time I ever planned a trip using internet information, and in fact I decided on going with East Site, based on other travellers' positive comments on their services. Well, it turned out they were all true. She is the best in her field. You couldn't ask for more from travel agency services. The personal guidance in planning the trip, the prompt e-mail answers to each and every question, her choice of tour guides that would best fit us, her legitimate care to meet all our needs, the exact fulfilling of every single thing they promised in the organized itinerary emailed and also displayed on the website prior to the tour - were all nothing short of perfect (and I don't use this word often). Before saying good bye we asked her in what other countries in Central Asia she organizes tours. Both I and the couple who traveled with me decided next year, if all is well, to travel "with Julia" to the Caucasus. This was definitely the voyage of my life. I highly recommend the experience of traveling in this part of the world - with East-Site Travel, and Julia.
We (my husband and I, both 66) just came back from a 5 week trip to Central Asia 5 Stans and Caucasus Tour. We spent 6 days in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, 7days in Uzbekistan, 6 days in Turkmenistan, 1 day in Tajikistan, 6 days in Azerbaijan, 5 days in Georgia, and 5 days in Armenia - which all was booked and organized through East-Site Tours. Julia and I exchanged probably 60 or 70 e-mails before we settled on which route to take, which activities to do, and which cities to visit and what to do where. I was VERY happy with the services, Julia went out of her way to accommodate us. She even changed a flight and some hotel rooms we had already booked, so we could spend less days in Tajikistan, and more days in Uzbekistan. The weather was just horrible in Tajikistan. Go for the cultural experience, the great sights and people, and if you are really lucky and it just rained, you might even see the Himalayas. IF you fly ask for a seats on the left side of the plane, since that is your best chance to make sure to see the hymilayas loved our views from above!! Everything worked like clock work. We had a great guide and driver, which added to our positive experience in such an amazing country! Treat yourself to Central Asia, overall, do not hesitate to use East Site, they REALLY do a great job, and I am sure that no matter what other company you would use, it could not be any more reliable or better! And im possitive they wont handle visa processing the way East Site does.
I returned from a 15 day 3 stans tour in October of 2012, I've been to Central Asia twice and every time East-site has been giving us excellent service. They provide good tour guides with all around service. You will feel welcome in their country. Julia from of East-site will be there 24 hours for anything you need. She will make sure that everyone is taken care of and of course happy. You will feel pampered with their services.
I had an excellent experience with East Site and was so happy that I used them twice afterwards.
1. Yes, there were itinerary changes on my tour, but I know for a fact that it was only because Turkmenistan stopped issuing tourist visas for a time; I saw on the Internet that other travelers were having the same problem at this time, and in fact Turkmenistan is well-known for this issue in general. East Site provided an alternative itinerary for the missed days, which is more than many companies do -- itinerary changes are NOT unheard of when traveling outside of the West.
2. There were zero missed sights on the tour that I took, and in fact the guides even took us to several places that were not on the itinerary.
3. All of the hotels we stayed in were exactly those mentioned on the itinerary. It's true that in some cases they were not up to western 5-star standards, but all were clean and in some towns it was obvious that the hotels provided were the best available.
4. The two guides we had were outstanding, especially the guide in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and all spoke excellent English. I have had guides on other trips that were not so great; I usually just tell the company about it, and they'll avoid these guides in the future.
5. ...Our group always ended up with food left over (especially when we were taken to local homes for lunch, which really was a highlight), and the quality of the food was excellent. The guide even asked for our preferences and took us to particular restaurants based on what we wanted; in one case he even searched around town to find a place serving fresh fish.
It's true that traveling in these kinds of places is never as tranquil as traveling in the West, but I have worked with lots of companies in different parts of the world and East Site is NOT a poorly run company.
malcolmrep, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
We traveled with East Site in May 2012 and had a wonderful experience. Over the three week period we had a variety of guides and hotels, some better than others, all more than adequate and all with excellent English and knowledge of their countries and cultures. The tour was excellent and the sites, food and accomodations the best available. The challenges of crossing through five countries were minimal because of the excellent service.
bobdonnelly, Saint Paul, Mn
Read the blog here: Reflections from travel through Central Asia
I went on the 3-Stans tour in May 2012. I thought East Site did a VERY good job, and I am a completely satisfied customer. Re the specific points: •We had several guides for various segments. They all spoke English well.
•Hotels were delivered were the same as hotels advertised. They ranged from really excellent and fully comfortable to quite adequate. None of the hotels was problematic.
•The guides always gave commentary and were very well informed.
•ALL of the food was excellent and plentiful.
A couple of other points. I arrived in and departed from Tashkent at odd times. On arrival, I was met by an English speaking guide who handled my luggage, took me (alone) to the hotel, got me checked in and so on. I arrived alone and before other people on my tour. Two reps from East Site took me to dinner and paid for my dinner, even though it was not part of the package. I got the same taxi luggage service on departure. Guides were always on time and were extremely helpful with translating.
RobertWKolb, Boulder, Colorado
My wife and I were on the 5 STANS TOUR in April/May 2012 and were looked after so well by East Site. Everything worked out well from the time we made the first approach prior to booking the tour until we departed for home from Almaty.
The organisation was great, the hotels were of high standard ( the U.S. ambassador was at the same hotel one night ), food was good and plentiful, no missed sights or changes to the itinerary, Guides were all excellent and all spoke excellent English and keen to look after us in a superior and friendly manner.
We felt we were cared for in a far better manner than we could have expected. We stayed in Tashkent for another day after the tour had finished ..The company principal, Julia, met us at the airport very early in the morning to ensure that our luggage was checked right through to Sydney ( our transit stop ). She had no need to do that for us . It was our responsibility. She just wanted to be nice and provide extra service.
I have no hesitation to recommending East Site to anyone. You would not regret travelling with them.
Frederick I, Dunedin, New Zealand
We did the 5 stans tour this past April '12. It was a terrific trip with just 3 of us most of the time. Of course there were a few minor glitches but I do not travel to areas like that and expect it to be like traveling in the US. If I wanted that I would stay here. What a wonderful area for someone who loves history and then there was the restoration of such beautiful buildings. I never had trouble with the guides and their English and most of them, as well as the drivers, had a good sense of humor. Maybe some people need a lot of looking after.
Ramona M, Seattle
I wrote a detailed diary of the trip which I just finished typing, so the facts are well documented and fresh in my mind..
In the Spring of 2012, my husband and I took a 1 month tour of the 5 Stans and Western China. We did not experience any of the things this person wrote about, quite the opposite. We had multiple flights, connections and border crossings and were amazed at how well organized everything was.
Our guides were superior, spoke excellent English, were very knowledgeable, punctual, friendly and helpful. They did everything they could to be sure that our needs were met. We saw everything that was promised plus a few extras.
Most of the accommodations were excellent, there was only one that I would say was substandard.
As far as the food is concerned it was more than we could eat and we often asked our guides to order fewer portions.
Julia, East Site's representative in the states, was friendly, arranged for all our visas, answered any questions or concerns we had from the time we first made contact in November 2011 until our departure on April 28, 2012. She called within days of our first email and apologized for not answring immediately as she just had an emergency C section. Now that is dedication. She even called us within minutes of our arrival in Tashkent to make sure everything was okay, a very nice touch.
Jackie & Tom S.
Jackie S, Oakland, California
I traveled with East-Site during June/July 2011 for their 5 Stans tour...
Experienced travelers understand the circumstances in traveling to remote and less developed regions of the world.
I found the accommodations to be just fine, as much food as we wanted and the guides were very knowledgeable, experienced and accommodating and there were no problems with language. We were handed off at each border professionally and were met on the other side by another guide who was ready to assist. The travel was safe, fascinating and we were handled very well from the initial booking, obtaining visas, throughout the trip and the safe return home.
I would recommend East-Site to anyone who would like to experience the Stans or any of East-Site's offerings.
JEFF C, Naples, Florida
I used East Site and found them to be professional, as advertised and accomodating (even changing travel at last minute request). Hotels were as promised and always comfortable. While the country may have its difficulties and lack of conveniences, East Site provided us with a wonderful experience and facilitated our travel. We would use them again.
JoErSa, New York
Generally excellent organization with helpful and friendly guides. Scenically the tour was outstanding and it was very interesting. As a tour operator with 30 year experience myself, I would not hesitate to recommend this company and destination.
We have returned to cold, rainy Syndey. I'd rather be back in sunny Uzbekistan. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The guides were knowledgeable and helpful, the hotels fine, tours interesting. All of the drivers/guides we encountered were a credit to East-Site. Special thanks to Bibi Khanum and Gozel - both were interesting and filled with information. They showed they enjoyed their career choice and were enthusiastic. Excellent guides. Two drivers deserve mention. Our driver in Tashkent and the driver who picked us up at the Turkmenistan border and drove us through Mary. Such good drivers! And so considerate and polite. We found no fault with any of the hotels. The hotel itself was very nice and the staff more than helpful. We really liked Uzbekistan - one of the more interesting countries we have visited. We couldn't believe how modern the country is, how nice the people are (and everyone could speak some English), how clean the country is. The food - YUM! I am a vegetarian and sometimes find the food to be less than delicious but I can't say it was a problem anywhere. How the Uzbeks and Turkmens make such wonderful salads, I don't know. I ate and ate. My husband was happily surprised at the variation and flavors. It's a wonder we didn't gain more weight than we did. I can't thank you enough for arranging the trip for us. It was much better than I ever imagined. My husband and I enjoyed every minute of our trip. THANK YOU!
Not as rushed as I had expected. There was enough free time to enjoy sights on one's own. Excellent organization of the 5 different countries which would be impossible to do on one's own. Visa service is a big plus... something other companies don't offer if they do it's at a high price.
We really enjoyed our holidays in Central Asia. Especially Uzbekistan has so many great places to see with breathtaking architecture and a very interesting historical background. The tour was organized perfectly and we are very happy with the service offered by East Site Travel. Our guides were great, impressing by their knowledge and efforts to make us feel like home. We will definitely recommend the tour to friends.
We would like to thank you for the wonderful trip we had in Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan. Everything was perfectly organized and better than we expected. The restaurants you offered to us were amazing and we tried a lot of national dishes. All the guides were very polite, knowledgeable and provided a log information about Central Asia.
I was very satisfied with the service provided by your travel agency and appreciate your assistance in making my trip perfect. I will definably recommend 'East Site Inc' and Central Asia destination to all my friends. Next year I am planning to travel to Caucasus countries.
We are just back from our trip which we enjoyed very much. I thought to let you know that we have been delighted by our adventure to Central Asia. The hotels were excellent, sightseeing and excursions were good and the guides professional. Moreover Uzbekistan is a wonderful country and people are very friendly and hospitable.
We returned from our trip to 5 'stans'. Debbie and I would like to thank you for all that you did to make our trip one of the most fantastic that we have ever had before during 20 years of our adventures. All of the arrangements that you made were outstanding. We have friends who want to visit Central Asia, and will definitely give them your contacts. Thank you again for all of your assistance.
We are now back to USA in good health and I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for us. We had a great trip to amazing Uzbekistan. My family and I enjoyed this trip to your country. The guides were professional and helpful. The people are very open and hospitable and the food is delicious. I was very impressed with excursions to historical places. Thank you very much for organizing this tour,
We are now back to USA in good health and I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for us. We had a great trip to amazing Uzbekistan. My family and I enjoyed this trip to your country. The guides were professional and helpful. The people are very open and hospitable and the food is delicious. I was very impressed with excursions to historical places. Thank you very much for organizing this tour,
Walter was very impressed with the excellent, quick, communication and the total assistance. It was an adventure of a life time. We both want to send you our thanks.
Dear East-Site, I wanted to say thank you for your help organizing our visit to Uzbekistan. You made it all simple when we thought it would be so difficult to organize. You were great. While we were hiking on a mountain trail we came across a man and child who were seated on a rock and a log. They were talking and eating some bread and cheese. We smiled politely and prepared to walk past them but they both stood up and gestured to us to have some of their food. We tried to refuse but they were insistent. We sat with them and actually sort of communicated. We all took our turn pointing to pretty sights and nodding. They shared their bread and cheese with us, which although it looked like a small amount, was actually quite filling and delicious. This kind of thing happened more than once on our brief visit. The people really are so kind and generous. I just wanted to share that with you.
Marie Christine Bellavista
Dear Julia, What an amazing land. I really wish I had discovered Cental Asia sooner. It was so beautiful and interesting. I must go back again. You will be hearing from me again because your company is very professional and very helpful.
Mrs. Violet Stutz
Dear East-Site: We had a fantastic trip and an amazing adventure on the Silk Road tour. Can't thank you enough for all your assistance arranging everything.
To East-Site Travel and Tours: We recently came home form a two week tour of the Silk Road. We still cannot believe the things we saw. It was wonderful experience from start to finish. The people at your agency were wonderful and patient, and understood our concerns and our ignorance! Thanks for everything,
Hi Julia, Well we are home from our Silk Road Tour. What an experience! Thanks so much for all your help, we really do appreciate it. We're still buzzing from all the excitement and beauty. Unbelievable!
Dear Julia, We got home about ten days ago but I'm just now getting a minute to thank you guys for all your assistance. Central Asia is really unusual and beautiful. I'm glad we went. I do want to mention that there was a bit of trouble for a minute at the airport on the way home. All in all a great time though. Thanks again.
Charles Lane and family
Thank you so much for the vacation of a lifetime. You certainly know your stuff! It was all just as you described. I'm a very pleased customer
I would like to say thanks to your agency for arranging the whole travel itinerary, and assistance with our visas, for our trip to Central Asia. It was an incredible experience, from beginning to end. You people are a pleasure to deal with. Everyone we dealt with by phone and email was very helpful and knowledgeable. Thanks again,
I was afraid this would be more like an educational field trip. And I would end up wasting my spring break. My cousin wanted to go so badly though - so I told her she really OWED me big time for this. But it turned out to be the best vacation ever, really original and fun. I'm so glad we went. I never imagined so much interesting and beautiful and really unique things to see and do. We didn't have time to do all we wanted. Maybe next time we can go for a longer trip. Thank goodness you guys speak better English than some of the other websites we contacted. That was really reassuring somehow, and we will be back!
Dear East Site Travel and Julia: You were right, everything worked out great and thanks for taking so much time with me. I was so cluless. One thing that we didn't really like was the food in the first hotel we stayed at in Samarkand and, the room was so-so. Not bad but not great. The rest was totally fantastic and we couldn't believe our eyes half the time. Geez its really gorgeous. We got a lot of great pictures of the architexture and of the scenery. I thought it would be like all dry and sandy everywhere. We had a blast. We told all our friends about it.
Julia, I wanted to take a minute to say how much I appreciated your help and advice regarding our trip to Uzbekistan. I never tried to organize such a large group for travel before. I would have looked like a fool if not for you. Thanks to you I'm a hero among the whole group now. Everyone was just thrilled with the experience. I'm sure you have a few new customers now from among the association, who want to see more of that lovely, unusual country. Very truly yours,
Cynthia Heller, President, Mirage Adult Community
Dear East-Site, We finally decided to follow your suggestions and decided on a tour of Central Asia. I was a little scared because it was such a foreign kind of place, but really you guys handled everything to the last detail so it was just smooth sailing the whole time. What a beautiful country, and what a cool mysterious beauty all over the place. We have pics that our friends and parents are amazed at, like of the monuments in Samarkand. Thanks for arranging things with the driver and the guide too, he not only knew where to take us and all but he actually took care of us. Whenever we turned around with a question he was right there. And a couple times we forgot something and he was very helpful, Just a really nice guy. I feel really proud that I went on this adventure. Thanks for your patience and everything and for making it all so easy.
I want to thank East Site for everything you did to help us arrange our trip to Central Asia. When we first contacted you we had no idea what we were doing. We had never traveled to this part of the world before and didn't know where to start. I guess we asked a lot of stupid questions :lol:, but we were really grateful for the patience and good humor of your staff in dealing with our concerns. In the end we worked out an incredible trip that covered Uzbekistan (OH MY GOSH HOW GORGEOUS) Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. I just can't say how wonderful the experience was, and how very grateful we are that we found you people to help us. My husband and I and our closest friends Marge and Sal, were tired of vacations where we laid around the beach or pool and drank marguerites all day. We wanted to go someplace different and see really different things...and DO things. We got to do sightseeing, stay at posh hotels, hike mountain trails (and take some great pictures) and we went canoeing, horseback riding (I wish I could have kept my horse, so pretty and what a sweetie) and even biked one whole day, stopping to drink some water to stay hydrated. A little girl and boy came over and the girl took Marge by the hand, pulling her and smiling and pointing to a little house. We all followed the children and were met in the front yard by an old lady who smiled and gestured us inside, where a younger woman had the table all laid out with a feast! There was a lot of yogurt, it was even used as salad dressing, and it was good! There was meat and cheese and bread and vegetables, and some kind of milk. We kept smiling and trying to say how good it was, rubbing our stomachs and nodding our heads. When we finally left the older lady gave us a loaf of warm bread baked with cheese, wrapped in a cloth. I t was so charming. Well my goodness, we did so many things in those three countries I could go on and on. The local people are very kind and friendly...the hotel workers, not so much. They were efficient but not that pleasant really. But the trip as a whole was amazing, fabulous, so very wonderful. What an incredible place-who knew??! We will never ever forget it, unlike our other trips to Bermuda, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico - sometimes we forget even which was which because they are all so similar. Thank you so much for working out all the details so it was just pure fun. And thank you for having staff and a website where English is so well spoken. We did have a little trouble with a couple of other sites on this issue so we ended up finding East Site. Lucky us!!! Thank you so much! We had a great time. Sincerely,
We returned from our tour to Central Asia about a week ago. It was the most unusual and memorable trip we have ever been on. Everything was so strange and beautiful. We experienced things we never even thought of doing before, such as riding on camels across deserts. It felt like we were in a movie reenacting ancient history! My husband said he felt like Marco Polo discovering strange new lands. We dined in fancy restaurants at times, and at the humble tables of country folk at other times; either way the food was great and the people warm and friendly and anxious to please. During our trip we stayed in posh hotels at times, and in more humble accommodations at other times. I honestly don't know which I preferred, as either way it was fun. The entire trip was totally exhilarating. Thanks for all you did to help make this wonderful event a reality for us.
I truly enjoyed my visit to Central Asia arranged for me by East-Site Travel. You guys were great. I feel that I have been to another world and not just on a vacation. I can't believe it was real, since now that I'm home it seems like a vivid dream! I have two albums full of photos to remind me it was all real. And two albums were not enough for all the pictures. Thanks for all the assistance and suggestions!
Well, we're home and it was unbelievable seeing the sights of Central Asia. It really was a thrill traveling along the Silk Road. The ancient monuments in Samarkand are the most beautiful things I ever saw. The people there are all so nice. I love the beautiful souvenirs I bought at the bazaars and price haggling was more fun and easier than I expected. The tour guides were the salt of the earth, as well as very helpful and informative. The nature was beautiful too. I can't believe I never thought of going to Central Asia before. Even my parents have been convinced from seeing my photos that they are going there on their vacation next spring. I can't wait for them to go and get back so we can talk about all the cool and wonderful things to see and do there!
Thanks so much for opening our eyes to this amazing part of the world! What a great way to spend our three-week vacation. Just Unforgettable! A truly wonderful experience.
I took a three week tour of Central Asia with two of my friends. We were concerned about obtaining the visas, passports and other paperwork, which, we had been told by a co-worker, was a huge hassle. But it was a piece of cake with our travel agent handling it for us (East-Site travel). So step one was not a problem at all. Next we had to figure out what kind of tour we were interested in. This was not easy because we are three very different people, and none of us had been to Central Asia before. Again, the travel agency solved that dilemma by working with us. Once they understood what we each had in mind, they knew just what tour package was right for us. So step two was another piece of cake. That was such a big relief. Thank you!
The trip was spectacular. It was all very exotic and colorful. We ate dinner one day with a country family of five, who shared their delicious food with us. The bread was incredible, and we had some kind of stew with a lot of tender meat in it and fresh vegetables; delicious. Wine and milk were offered at the table. The family never seemed to stop smiling. The next day two of the family members, a man and a woman, escorted us to a local bazaar where they helped us with purchasing gorgeous souvenirs, and sampled some delicious food. We have never felt as welcomed as tourists before on any of our other vacations.
During the trip we had the chance to watch a horse race, which was really exciting! It was an unexpected event.We managed to see the sights, some of the most amazing architecture you can imagine. And we took two nature hikes during the trip as well, which was very beautiful. On one of those hikes we got to raft down a mountain river. Sometimes during our trip we rode bikes, other times we rode in cars with the driver, who was really helpful and nice. He was very knowledgeable about the local customs and the tourist sights, and kept checking in on us to see if we were doing okay, or if we needed anything.
Not only were we thrilled with this wonderful travel experience in Central Asia, but we plan on going back at least a couple more tours offered by East Site Travel. It is the sort of region that you cannot see in just one trip. It was just fantastic. Many, many thanks.
Mark and Mary
Just settled in after coming home from a two week trip to Central Asia. Well it was unlike any place I have ever been, and I have been around. The whole deal was just incredible. It's a refreshing change of pace and awfully interesting too. There were tons of unique, interesting things to do and see. Thanks for all the help and suggestions, I appreciate it. Couldn't have done it without you.
So much beauty packed into one trip! East-Site, We must send you heartfelt thanks for helping us book this wonderful trip. What a wonderful, exotic place Central Asia is! The mountain views in Kyrgyzstan were exhilarating! And what can we say about Uzbekistan? Words fail us. The landscape was so gorgeous, the architecture took our breath away, and the people are so sweet. This is definitely the most memorable vacation we have ever been on. Thank you for all the tips and suggestions. You made this an amazing experience for our group. Although we did enjoy sleeping in a yurt, we still preferred the posh hotel in Uzbekistan. It was ultra- modern and the service was exceptional.
Anita and Bill Agastache
Still buzzing! East-Site Travel, you guys are the best. You were so patient with us and you ended up creating a tour package to Central Asia that blew our minds! Tashkent was full of great museums which we enjoyed very much. Samarkand is a jewel of beautiful buildings and stuff to do and see. Oh my gosh, everything was fantastic, and we're still feeling the rush!
I am rejuvenated! The best vacation ever. East Site- what a fabulous vacation. It really pierced through my doldrums, with all the unusual and exciting sights to see. It was just amazing, I feel reborn!
Dear East-Site Travel: We're home from our journey to Central Asia. Your agents handled everything perfectly for us and it was totally hassle-free and stress-free. We loved the Silk Road tour and the bed and breakfasts we stayed at were remarkable. Looking at the pictures we took, our friends were surprised the pictures were all from the same trip. We have photos of hang-gliding in mountain regions and then photos of ourselves at the beach! Pictures of my daughter feeding a camel in the desert, and one of her with a big brightly colored tropical bird on her shoulder. We have pictures of desert cactus in flower, and pictures of tropical hibiscus flowers as big as a dinner plate. Unbelievable. Thanks for the memories!
Glen and Miriam Foster and family
Thank goodness I took your advice! You were wonderful and everything worked out just fine. Thanks for being so patient with me, I must have driven you nuts! But I never heard of some of these places and I was a little nervous. Well, thank goodness I took your advice - you were absolutely right, it was an unforgettable experience. I can't believe I never thought to travel to Central Asia before. It was very unique and beautiful. The scenery, the amazing architecture, the friendly people, and all the fun activities. The outdoor bazaars were wonderful. It was really great. Thank you so much for everything.
Dear Julia, I know you told me the roads in some areas were bumpy and rough. Boy were they. But the driver was very reliable and good-natured, and kept us calm when we got anxious. So in general the trip was extraordinary. The whole region is amazing. Thanks for all your help.