Zulya Rajabova arranged a 25-day tour of the northern Silk Road. We started in Turkmenistan, then to Uzbekistan, then to China. I usually plan my own tours but was in over my head on this one, so I looked on Wendy’s guide of WOW experts and there was Zulya. Zulya knows the Silk Road like the back of her hand. She arranged a multi-city tour that included guides and drivers. The cities and towns she picked to visit were perfect – areas that hadn’t changed for 1500 years. The guides were terrific. A special benefit was that we were able to get to know the guides personally and felt so comfortable with them. The history was amazing. The people of the countries we visited were amazing, too. In fact, we had lunch with a local family in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, an experience I would never have been able to set up on our own. Our guides told us that Zulya was keeping watch over us from afar by checking in daily on how we were doing. I have no doubt that if anything had gone wrong, and nothing did, that Zulya would take care of it.
I can’t recommend Zulya and her team enough. The trip was flawless. It was an experience of a lifetime.
We had initially contacted Zulya because we were interested in going to all of the “Stans”. After speaking with her at length it became clear with our three-week time frame that was not wise if we wanted to really experience the countries. With Zulyas patient, kind, and detailed help, we narrowed it down to a short time in Turkmenistan and the bulk of our time in Uzbekistan. She put together a spectacular trip for us with fabulous guides, wonderful lodging, terrific transportation, and the most educational and culturally enriching itinerary filled with fun experiences.
The major cities we spent time in were Ashgabat, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, and Tashkent.
We can not say enough good things about Zulya and her team. She was always available, even on a Saturday, for conversation. She answered e-mails almost instantly. She held our hands without being there in person. My husband and I are rather experienced over 65 travelers, having been to more than 80 countries, but we still needed her unwavering understanding and support. We were grateful for many things, especially these: visas and meals.
She and her team seamlessly arranged for our visas by assisting us in every way possible and calming my nerves about border crossings and airport entry and departure.
My husband has serious challenges when it comes to eating due to previous illnesses. Zulya was extraordinary in her desire to understand this and convey it to our guides. We both agreed that this was the best trip for him in terms of meeting these challenges. Imagine. Traveling all over the world, and Zulya was able to keep him nourished and well in central Asia! Who would have expected that?!
Our guide in each country, Gulya, and Mashkura went above and beyond, assuring that we did what we wanted and mixed into some real-life situations such as weddings, bazaars, prayer, food shopping, to name just a few. We would never have been able to do this on our own, especially with the language barrier.
We have such wonderful photos!! Both guides were great photographers and never tired of taking our photo or stopping to capture something along the way. Each was so knowledgeable about her country and its history. We never figured we would learn so much about the Silk Road. And Mashkura even carried a folding stool for my husband to rest during our sightseeing days!
I will give you one instance of how having a WOW team makes your trip. On the day we were to arrive in Khiva the Turkmenistan President was due to visit. All the roads into town were closed. Our driver lived in Khiva so he knew all the back roads. We drove through towns that have never seen a tourist. We went over a bridge that wasn’t a bridge. And we walked to our hotel with a police escort pulling my suitcase, right across the street reserved for the motorcade! We both agreed that that was one of our favorite days of the trip.
We could tell Zulya was always watching our trip. She was in contact by email or text while we were there to ask how things were. She even exchanged our train tickets for plane tickets in one instance because the train often was delayed. On our last day, we had a night departure and Zulya arranged for a very late checkout for us at our hotel. Our guide even showed up early thinking maybe we would like to catch a bite before heading to the airport. Things you don’t expect……
We always felt like everything was under control, and everything was. What a marvelous trip!
Zulya is thoughtful, kind, knowledgeable and beyond helpful! She worked extremely hard from the very beginning to ensure the perfect trip! She was always happy to answer questions and answered promptly.
It was a tremendous pleasure working with her and I recommend her highly!
Zulya arranged for us to have lunch with her family in Bukhara. It was amazing. Her mother taught my son how to make Palov. The lunch was a true feast with about 20 family members. After lunch we all got up and danced together. It was an experience my wife, son, daughter in law and I will cherish forever.
Zulya also arranged for a wonderful guide to accompany us throughout Uzbekistan. She stayed with us day and night, shared meals and her culture and helped us navigate a very foreign language. Needless to say, Zulya also followed us during our entire stay, keeping in touch with both us and our local guide. Any problems (very minor) were immediately addressed. I would not only highly recommend Zulya to anyone planning a trip to Uzbekistan I would also recommend Uzbekistan as a travel destination.
Some ten months ago I was contacted by a relative who heard Ms. Zulya Rajabova speak about Central Asia tourism destinations. For 40 years, since studying Silk Road destinations as an art history student, I had dreamed of traveling to these exotic locations but didn’t feel comfortable with any travel planner I’d researched or contacted.
From the beginning, Zulya and her staff at Silk Road Treasure Tours engaged my curiosity, replied to all inquiries, set about attaining realistic goals and expectations and engaged me in the entire process of planning a solo (individual) tour of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. I found Zulya and her staff professional, friendly, honest and willing to go more than the extra mile to ensure my comfort and safety while making sure that my interests were met, and designing a detailed and wholly individualized itinerary.
The private guides selected were English fluent, proud citizens of their respective communities and countries, willing to share and show their customs, traditions, and aspects of Islamic secularism, arts, architecture, handicrafts and cultures. All were personable and professional, and maintained high standards for safety while traveling. The drivers who were hired to chauffeur me about various inner city and countryside regions also maintained superior safety standards.
Hotels, B&Bs and restaurants selected maintained the highest standards of cleanliness and safety. Staffs were friendly, professional and eager for me to gain the most out of my stay in their community. Breakfasts were outstanding in choice and taste as were the afternoon and evening meals.
I truly look forward to asking Zulya to assist in planning another transformative travel experience to this region. Although I am a client, I feel as though I am a member of her family. Journeys are not so much the places seen and visited, although they are certainly special, too. It’s realizing that although we have unique backgrounds, customs, languages, and traditions, we share so much through our common humanity…love, desire, dreams, passion, to have a better life for ourselves and our children and to make the world a better place. That’s why I truly believe that two people who can connect on a personal level can create a transformative experience, maybe a miracle.
Thank you Zulya for helping to allow my miracle to come true.