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Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Shanghai, China
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56 posts
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Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Hi,

I am planning to visit Kyrgyzstan in the near future, can anyone recommend one or two reputable tour operators for this country?

Thanks in advance!

Scunthorpe, United...
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1,733 posts
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1. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Back from Kyrgyzstan yesterday.

Our UK agent used Sitara http://www.sitara.com/

Sitara used a local firm called Top Asia http://topasia.kg/ for driver and guide.

All went well.

Also try or ask Celestial Mountains http://www.celestial.com.kg/

Michael

2. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

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Shanghai, China
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56 posts
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3. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Thanks for the extremely useful reply to my post! Sounds like you had an amazing time, and I am looking forward to it, planning for 2009 maybe.

Cheers!

Helena, Montana
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4. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Howdy,

I travelled around Kyrgyzstan last July (2007) and completely fell in love with the mountains and the mountain culture. Unequalled hospitality!

We used a group in-country called Community Based Tourism (Lonley Planet has their information highlighted). They have incredible homestays/yurt stays and will setup transportation for you around the country (the crux of the Kyrgie experience). They have their main office in Bishkek, then many offices around the country. Since they are in the cities and are operated by english speaking Kyrgies, they are able to cater to what you need. The best part is the money goes and stays locally. They have set up a great network of local artisans and guides. Things are typically on the budget side of things, but outside of Bishkek, that is how the country runs. Any other questions, I'd love to help out. Please do post pictures. I can not wait until my next visit to this amazing place.

Bermondsey
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5. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Hello

I am in the process of booking a tour through Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan with Sitara Tours. It's pleasing to see a positive recommendation, as all my correspondence with them has been via e-mail after looking at their webpages, and up to now I've not found any independent verification that they are a genuine tour operator (equally, I've found nothing to suggest they aren't!).

I've now finalised the details of the booking and have got to the tricky part where they've requested payment. They say payment is handled via their office in Canada and they are unable to accept payment by credit card - needless to say, I'm pretty wary about shelling out c$3,000 in cash to a company I don't know, in an overseas country, with no means of recompense if they default on it. Is there some kind of middle-ground or is the only way to send the money and cross our fingers that they're waiting to meet us when we get off the plane in Almaty?! I notice that you say you used a travel agent who handled the booking with Sitara - are there any advantages of doing this instead of booking directly myself?

Apologies for sounding a little paranoid or naive, but this is the first time I've ever booked a holiday "off the beaten track" so it's all new to me.

Thanks in advance.

Scunthorpe, United...
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6. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Our trip was a seven week haul which included four countries. All our arrangements were made with the UK agent to whom we made payment. The UK agent used a different incoming agent in each of the four countries.

The fact that our agent uses Sitara suggests to me that they are a reputable business and probably one of the best in the area.

However your concern about the position you find yourself in is understandable as by booking outside UK you will be without protection you would get when booking with a travel firm here.

Sorry I can't give any helpful advice.

Bermondsey
5 posts
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7. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

wasleys

Cheers for your reply, it's helpful that you've clarified the position.

I think I might give Audley Travel a ring to get some reassurance and find out how they pay for any bookings they do through Sitara.

All the best

Scunthorpe, United...
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8. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

I think Audley would, quite reasonably, expect you to book through them rather than just use them to get a reference.

One other thing I thought was that you might care to get the advice of your bank before paying.

Moscow
2 posts
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9. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

Sitara is Uzbekistan based company, so they deal thru partner companies all around central asia. As a rule direct bookings with Kazakh or Kyrgyz company would be a bit cheaper. Celestial Mountains is a good choice, try Fantastic Asia too.

Kharkiv
3 posts
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10. Re: Recommend a good tour operator pls!

hi

there is KyrgyzConcept agency, they do good