Praise for JMG Tibet Tours

By: Nick & Michaele Stooke
This item appears on page 24 of the September 2017 issue.

We just read the subscriber’s letter “Critique of ’Stans & South Caucasus tours” (July ’17, pg. 24). We were not on that subscriber’s tour, so we have no personal knowledge of her experience, but for those considering traveling with JMG Tibet Tours, or JMG Tours (Lauderhill, FL; 866/548-4238,, we’d like to give our impression of the JMG “Five Stans Tour” that we took April 8-May 8, 2017.

The trip began with the pre-trip extension to Astana, Kazakhstan, and ended in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Jeff Garrett, owner of JMG Tours, accompanied our group of 15 Americans, one Canadian and one Indian, but our main guides were the local tour guides he had contracted with. All of them were exceptional — very personable and knowledgeable.

Our experience was totally positive, including the plentiful and delicious food, the sights, the lodging, the transportation and the guides’ explanations. The local people were very friendly and welcoming. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the opportunity to learn about the history of that part of the world. 

There were two things that some might consider negative, but we considered them to be part of the adventure. First, we were scheduled to take a high-speed train twice. The first train trip was a success, but the second one was canceled due to maintenance problems with the train. Plan B was to use our bus, so everything worked out fine.

The second slightly negative aspect involved the toilets. Western-style toilets were the ladies’ preference, and the guides did their best to find them for us, but it wasn’t always possible. 

Also, toilet stops were a little farther apart than on most tours because there were no toilets available. At one point, our bus made a roadside stop for a female passenger who couldn’t wait. The driver and the guide went out of their way to ensure the safety and privacy of the passenger.

We would not hesitate to use JMG Tours again. In fact, along with another couple we traveled with to the ’Stans, we’ve already booked the Caucasus trip with JMG for the fall. We were disappointed to learn, however, that Jeff has removed the night train to Svaneti, Georgia, from the tour. We had been looking forward to that as part of our adventure.