Travelling to this part of the world can be difficult and time consuming, given the relative paucity of tourists to the region. Two of the countries (Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) have rather onerous visa application processes, and a lack of diplomatic representation worldwide can deter even the most motivated of travellers.
As a result, when we decided to travel here, we decided that a tour would be the easiest and safest option. Many operators from the West seem to charge a significant premium (one other tour group we encountered had 3 guides!) and so Anur provides a very good alternative.
Anur Tours is a local tour agency based out of Tashkent. They have extensive links with operators in the other Central Asian countries (including Owadan, one of the largest operators in Turkmenistan).
Our itinerary was a multi-country tour taking in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
From the get go, the main contact person, Aziza, was extremely helpful and quick in replying to our multitude of questions. The application for the Turkmen/Uzbek Letter of Invitations (to get out visas in country) was done without any hassles and received in a timely manner.
As our tour was multi-country, we essentially had 3 separate country tours with the same guide for the whole time in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan and individual guides in Uzbekistan for each of the cities.
The co-ordination in terms of start to end was almost seamless, with someone always awaiting us as we passed through the plethora of hotels and boarding crossings (both land and airport). Indeed, at Tashkent airport we were expedited through the the very long customs queue!
Mumin is the managing director of Anur Tours, and interestingly, sometimes will be the one picking you up from the hotel/airport as he 'gets bored sitting at desk'! Indeed, he was the one to collect us from Tashkent airport and drop as at the train station for our train to Samarkand.
There were some hiccups with a view extra activities we tried to organise (albeit a bit last minute) but we think this may have been due to some miscommunication.
Overall, we can't recommend Anur Tours enough for your holiday in Central Asia! Many thanks to Aziza for all her help and advice.