Five ’Stans with JMG

By: Peggy Zimmerman
This item appears on page 29 of the April 2018 issue.

During the 4-week “5 Stans Tour” that my husband, Bob, and I took with Jeff Garrett of JMG Tibet Tours (Lauderhill, FL; 866/548-4238, www.jmgtibettours.com), April 10-May 7, 2017, we visited a part of the world I knew almost nothing about.

The five countries — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — all were different, and we enjoyed them all. We met very few English-speaking tourists and only one other English-speaking tour group.

The cities and countryside were clean, and the people were extremely friendly. They were excited about having their pictures taken, often with us, and they never gave any indication that they expected money.

One incident sticks out in my mind. We had stopped at one of the many mosques we would visit on the tour. My husband and I were the first to go inside. The lights were off, but we were able to get some pictures. Almost immediately, the imam came out and started turning on lights so we could actually see the beautiful interior.

We paid approximately $6,695 per person, which included internal flights, transfers, all hotels, meals, entrance fees and bottled water every day. Not included were international air (which, for us, was $5,836 per person in business class from Houston, Texas, to Astana, Kazakhstan, with return to Houston from Ashgebat, Turkmenistan), visas, alcoholic drinks or tips to local guides. 

Although our guides spoke very good English, they didn’t always comprehend our questions.

Jeff, who advertises in ITN, did an excellent job of organizing our tour, even with the glitches to be expected in an area with few tourists. There are several other companies offering similar tours, but I’m glad we chose JMG because of the personal touch. There were 16 in our group, and Jeff accommodated everyone’s needs.

I can definitely recommend this tour.

PEGGY ZIMMERMAN

Austin, TX