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At Cox & Kings we believe that a good holiday is not luck, but judgment. We have compiled the following advice to outline the nature of travel in Central Asia, and to help you prepare for your holiday. However, even with the most meticulous planning, minor problems can occur and, while our local representatives are always on hand to rectify such occurrences, we do request that you have a patient and broadminded approach to travelling in the region.
Cox & Kings supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Aware campaign to help you stay safe and healthy overseas. Find out more at FCO Travel Aware. The FCO website provides travel information for many countries around the world which includes advice on safety and security, entry requirements and health, as well as general information. Cox & Kings strongly recommends that you, and everyone on your booking, visit the FCO website and read the advice about the country you are planning to visit prior to booking. You should also revisit the advice regularly prior to your departure as it may change frequently. It is also possible to sign-up to receive FCO e-mail updates for your destination so you are aware of any changes to advice they issue and we recommend you do this. There are different levels of advice, and sometimes this includes advice against travelling to certain areas or countries. To check the current travel advice, visit gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and follow @FCOTravel on Twitter and Facebook.com/fcotravel.
International flights: On our tours the following carriers will generally be used: British Airways, Royal Jordanian, Oman Air, Egyptair, Emirates, Royal Air Maroc, Uzbekistan Airways, Turkish Airlines and Tunis Air. The name of the airline is clearly listed on the tour page, together with the stop-off airport, should this apply. We do not print flight timings in our brochure; however, you will find full details relating to your international flights printed on your confirmation invoice. All flight times as stated on your confirmation invoice refer to local times.
Some flight routings involve a change of aeroplane en route to your destination and will entail a transit time in the airport terminal while waiting for your connection. Please take note of the flight details as stated on your confirmation invoice as these will show you the amount of scheduled transit time in the stop-off city. All flight timings are subject to change by the airline.
It is important to note the difference between a ‘direct’ flight and a ‘non-stop’ flight. Non-stop flights do not have any scheduled touchdowns en route, while direct flights mean that there is no change of aircraft but that stops are possible and indeed probable, as per the airlines’ timetables. Unfortunately, airlines change their schedules regularly and, although we will advise you of any stops or plane changes at the time of booking, we cannot be held responsible for any changes after this date.
All our itineraries are based on Economy Class; however, should you wish to upgrade to Business or First Class, this is normally possible, subject to availability. If you would like to take one of these options, please contact one of our travel consultants, who can often offer an upgrade at specially discounted prices.
Baggage allowances vary according to the destination, flight and class booked, although in the majority of cases the allowance for Economy is 20kg, Business is 30kg and First is 40kg.
Internal flights: All internal flights in this brochure use jet airliners. Occasionally, when travelling on internal flights with local carriers or on light aircraft, it may be necessary for operators to change schedules at short notice and, if this should happen, everything possible will be done to minimise the inconvenience. Such a change may cause a delay to your onward travel arrangements and require an extra night’s accommodation at your board point, alternative travel by another airline or a different method of transportation. Although these arrangements are at the discretion of the airline, Cox & Kings will endeavour to help in any way it can and ensure that arrangements go as smoothly as possible.
Flight delays & insurance: Unfortunately, due to the increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. These delays can cause problems with onward connections and / or hotel and holiday arrangements. While the airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your destination at no extra cost, additional costs may well be involved in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward tickets. It is important that your travel insurance covers you against the costs incurred as a result of cancellation or delay to your flight. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly advise that you are insured against such eventualities.
Flight amendments: Most of the tours shown in this brochure use special airfares. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict any change of date, route or airline. Any such change made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Special requests: Cox & Kings will endeavour to request any specific meals or services, subject to availability, on the condition that we are told at the time of booking. Specific seat requests with most major airlines can now only be requested if travelling in Business or First Class. We are able to request general seating preferences for Economy Class passengers. With all special requests, please remember that they are all ‘requests’ and as such are at the discretion of the airline and cannot be guaranteed. Airport departure taxes: International UK departure tax is included in the cost of your holiday (unless otherwise stated) when you buy your ticket from Cox & Kings. However, some local taxes may have to be paid locally and you will be informed of these before you travel.
Generally, the road conditions you will experience in Central Asia are fairly good. The majority of the roads are sealed and in reasonable condition. However, please be aware that some tours involve off-road driving, which can be uncomfortable, dusty and quite strenuous. The distance covered in some of our tours is also considerable. If you have any problems with protracted road travel, please discuss this with your consultant. Types of vehicle vary according to the country visited and the numbers on a tour, but generally the following can be used as a guideline for the size of transportation provided: 2-3 passengers, saloon car; 4-6 passengers, minivan; 6-19 passengers, small bus; 20-28 passengers, medium bus. In destinations where conditions require it, off-road driving will be in 4x4 vehicles.
A number of flights to Central Asia arrive and depart early in the morning, and while we will endeavour to schedule your tour with a flight that arrives and departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in or check-out times may be required. To avoid the heat during the warmer months, early morning starts are often made for sightseeing.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Central Asia, especially in countries like Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and hotels should not generally be compared to western European standards. For our tours in the Central Asia, we have chosen hotels primarily for their location and the facilities available. We will endeavour to supply any extra information that you may require on these hotels. The hotels listed in the tour itineraries may occasionally be unavailable for the required dates. In this event, we will advise you of the alternative hotels, which will, where possible, be of the same or a higher standard than those featured in the itineraries. There are new hotels being built in Central Asia and we may upgrade those featured in the brochure if better options in the same category become available. Christmas and New Year dinners are compulsory at some hotels – these will be charged as a supplement when the prices are confirmed. Please note, all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room, please speak to your travel consultant who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Check-in & check-out times: For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in / check-out time is normally 12 noon, but this does vary between hotels. Early check-ins and late check-outs cannot be prebooked, but can sometimes be negotiated on site.
In most cases, prices for individual arrangements and tour extensions are quoted excluding a guide. Pre-booked guides are expensive and local guides are available at most major sites at a lesser cost. The supplement for a guide is available on request. For logistical reasons, some extensions are on a shared basis based upon a minimum of two passengers and not on a private basis.
Many of the sites in Central Asia are quite spread out and our tours consequently necessitate a reasonable amount of walking. While the walking is normally easy going, a full day’s sightseeing can be quite tiring and sometimes strenuous.
Please be aware that tourism is a relatively new concept in many parts of Central Asia and that much of the region is still extremely traditional. Please respect local customs and dress codes.