In 2016 we went to Ukraine. In 2017 we went to Georgia and Armenia. In 2018 to Jordan and Israel. And in 2019 to Zimbabwe. All have in common a recent history of having been influenced (or outright conquered) by the Soviet Union.
This tour should have taken place in 2020 but then the Wuhan Flu hit and both the donors and the public voted for a trip to Sweden instead after being presented the arguments. So that’s how the Coronachan 2020 Sweden Tour happened.
Throughout 2021, Kazakhstan has kept several objectives on the list closed and the last one opened in January 2022. With that said, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have essentially dropped the panic by August 2020 and have been operating as normal ever since.
In the meantime, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have been through profound transformations, as a result of popular uprising and other tectonic shifts in their societies – which makes them even more interesting politically today, than in 2020.
So in keeping with this tradition of gathering knowledge and wisdom and then delivering it to you as stories, we submit to y’all the proposal for a Central Asia Tour. The video above (made in 2019) goes into the details about the itinerary and the minimum things we expect to get from the tour. The only thing changed in the plan is the route. There is no direct flight from Hungary to Kazakhstan anymore so I’ll go via Istanbul.
This article is focused on the financial details. Not all expenses are thoroughly detailed – only those funded through the fundraiser. I have updated the prices to account for inflation and other changes that can be documented.
The biggest changes are in transport (fuel prices going up and inflation), in visa costs (now all down to $0) and unexpected expences (pandemic BS, basically – PCR tests etc., which in that area of the world are simply bribes).
Also, to please the donors who voted for this tour in 2020, I have decided to start the fundraising from the amount proportionate to those who voted in that direction back then.
So, without further ado…
For consistency, all expenses are converted in USD at the median exchange rate for the period between March 15 and March 21, 2022. This is also because all donations are converted to USD as it’s the working currency for almost all operations of this Network.
In places where there is price variation (e.g. trains in Central Asia) – the maximal option is listed. The list represents the minimum costs.
1. Cluj Napoca – Budapest (round trip)
2. Budapest – Nur Sultan
Flight: $515 (round trip, all fares included)
Visa cost Kazakhstan: $0
3. Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan
Transport in the city: $15
4. Karaganda, Kazakhstan
Nur Sultan – Karaganda Train: $30
Transport around the area: $65
Museum and other fees: $10
Books and newspapers: $50
5. Almaty, Kazakhstan
Karaganda – Almaty train: $30
Ancient cities tour: $60
Big Lake tour: $35
6. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Almaty-Bishkek transport: $100 (round-trip)
Kyrgyzstan visa: $0
Ala-Archa national park: $15
Books and newspapers: $50 (minimum)
Museum and other fees: $20
7. Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan visa: $0
Transport Almaty-Tashkent: $75
Museums and other fees: $20
8. Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Train from Tashkent to Samarkand: $30
Museums and other fees: $20
9. Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Samarkand – Bukhara train: $30
Museum fees: $10
Trains from Samarkand to Nur-Sultan: $120
Health insurance: $40
Equipment insurance: $30
On-the-fly consumables (batteries, memory cards, etc): $80
Exchange rate fees: $100 (maximum)
Unexpected expenses: $450 (minimum)
This number represents the absolute minimum in order for the tour to take place. The total cost will be somewhere in the vicinity of $4500 which will serve as the maximal threshold for this fundraiser.
Given past experience, even in worst case scenarios, the cost goes somewhere between the two extremes. Any excess will be redirected towards fulfilling the wishlist or towards funding another project in 2022 (possibly the Independence March in Poland in November).
Minimums and deadlines
The tour is due to take place sometime between in the month of August and it will last 25 days. This means that plane tickets should be purchased no later than May 15, 2022. Update: This has happened. ✅
As such, if the fundraiser doesn’t reach to at least $1500 by May 10, 2022, the tour is cancelled and all collected funds redirected to other projects.
If the fundraiser doesn’t reach at least $2900 by July 15, 2022, the tour is cancelled and all collected funds redirected to other projects. Of course, if it will be $2790 on July 15, it will be fine. But too much leeway downwards will lead to cancellation – because by July 20, most of the housing should be booked and paid for already.
Anything beyond $4000, as well as any remaining shekel after the tour, will be redirected towards other projects or to fulfilling the wishlist.
The state of the fundraiser will be updated regularly on the main page of the website and semi-regularly on the Youtube channels.
If this convinces you, head over to the Donate page and pitch in. Every dollar counts!