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IslamiCity > Travel > 2004 Program to Uzbekistan FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

  • What is IslamiCity’s travel study program?
    The program provides adult Muslims (young adults/students and older, life-long learners alike) an opportunity to travel and learn about their Islamic heritage, as well as interact with their Muslim brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. The program is supervised and expects proper Islamic adab (behavior) of all participants. Please note that this is not a deen-intensive or intensive Arabic/religious studies program. The focus is on history, culture and society, relying on the insights and knowledge of local expert guides and the lived experience of Muslims in Uzbekistan.
  • Who is the program designed for?
    The program is specifically designed for adult Muslims over the age of 18, and teenagers 14 yrs. old and over who are accompanied by a parent or older relative. The program seeks to strengthen bonds of brotherhood / sisterhood between participants and their peers in the country visited. Of the earlier tours organized by IslamiCity the youngest participant was 12 years old and the life-long learner was 78 years old.
  • Why should I participate in this particular tour?
    There are two distinct reasons why you should participate in IslamiCity Tours. (1) Tours organized by IslamiCity are always educational and fun in an Islamic environment and context. They are supervised by Muslim experts of the area. (2) IslamiCity tours are reasonably priced compared to other tours. We invite you to call a Tour Operator and ask them to quote you for a comparable tour (Islamic & with a bilingual Muslim guide) to surprise yourself.
  • How much does the program cost and what does it include?
    There are two different cost models. One without and the other with (international) airfare. Both packages will offer the same services with the exception of roundtrip airfare from US to the touring country. All participants will stay in comfortable 3/4 star hotels (double occupancy) for the duration of the tour, and there will be ground transportation throughout the tour. Daily Halal meals, entrance fees to all monuments & museums will also be included. Both package price excludes (a) tips to the Guide(s) & Driver(s), (b) airport taxes.
  • When should I deposit & what are the payment terms?
    You should deposit a non-refundable deposit of US$200 to reserve your space as soon as possible and no later than May 31, 2004. The balance amount must be paid by June 20, 2004. This allows us to do the necessary arrangements. For further details on this, please read Terms section.
  • Why such a heavy penalty?
    Primarily this is to offset the liabilities that IslamiCity will be liable to the service providers; hotels, airlines & the local tour operators. Finding a bilingual tour operator during in itself is a challenge & for IslamiCity it is even more challenging because we look for Muslim bilingual guides & during the peak summer season.
  • Who is conducting the program?
    Shakeel Syed of IslamiCity will oversee the program and will accompany the tour. He successfully led the 2002 tour to China and references about him and the tour are available upon request. Please email to travel@islamicity.com.
  • How many cities will we visit?
    We will visit 5 major places - Tashkent - Samarqand - Bukhara - Khiva - Fergana Valley. Within each city, we will visit many other areas. These cities are carefully picked from the famous and historical Silk Route. 
  • Will we interact with local Muslims?
    Of course, Yes. We will be visiting many Muslim communities and will meet Muslims from all walks of life. We will also meet community leaders and members for several informal gatherings so that you may ask questions about the life there as a Muslim.
  • What are the arrangements for daily prayers?
    You can pray Fajr in your hotel room. The daily itinerary will have dedicated time allocated for congregation (Qasr) prayers for Duhr/Asr and Maghrib/Isha. Friday prayers are scheduled to be prayed in congregation in one of the local Mosques. In most cases, we will try to arrange a meeting with the Imam and the local leadership after Friday prayers.
  • What will the accommodations be like?
    We will be staying in good quality hotels. Accommodations will be clean, pleasant and comfortable. All rooms will have two beds, one for each person in the room. These hotels are 4 Stars with all the amenities that are available anywhere else per international hotel guidelines. We will not be staying in 4 star hotels in Khiva and Fergana Valley as there are no 4 star hotels there. However arrangements are made to stay at the best hotel in town at both of these cities. Most of these hotels will have internet access but generally expensive. A short walk or taxi ride in the evening to an internet cafe will be worth of a saving.
  • What is the meal deal?
    All meals all the time will be Halal. Breakfast will be at the hotel. Lunch will be a snack on the bus or wherever. Dinner will be at a restaurant or in a traditional Uzbek home. We will do our very best to provide the best food. You can order your preferences outside the prescribed menu at your own expense. Uzbek hospitality is exceptionally lavish.
  • What should I pack?
    It does get hot during summer in Uabekistan. We suggest you pack light clothes. Few pairs of jeans with bunch of T-Shirts would in fact do. Remember that you can bring back some very good & inexpensive gifts. Make sure you've a good pair of sneakers & sun glasses. Make sure your favorite toothpaste flavor and a bottle of over-the-counter drugs, such as Tylenol, Malox etc. is handy. A good camera with lots of picture rolls, preferably 36 exposures or better yet a digital camera to avoid all the hassles. Make sure that you bring along your USB interface if you do decide to download it on your laptop &/or upload them for your family back home from the internet cafes there. A journal diary is highly recommended. Visit your local library and read stuff about Uzbekistan in general and in particular the places that are listed in the itinerary. Alternatively, go to any search engine and look up by these names & you'll find tons of info. If you need any assistance, drop us a line at travel@islamicity.com & we will be delighted to assist you. Hard case suitcases are highly recommended. Coffee drinkers are recommended to bring along coffee candies ... coffee is though not that difficult to get but expensive as locals drink tea.
  • What happens when I get late & everyone is waiting for me in the bus going to wherever?
    Unless there's a (provable) legitimate reason others will not forgive you ... We suggest you try to be respectful & value the time of other participants. Bring along lots of patience, traveling is not as much fun without it!
  • Would I stay with my best friend in the hotel?
    Chances are, yes. But if you don't for any reason, please don't sweat. Take it easy. You'll be staying with Muslim friends. It is in fact encouraged to sometimes stay with a person you don't know. This way you will make new friends and get to know other people while acquiring or sharpening the skills of traveling and living with others.
  • What happens if & when a planned flight is changed to train?
    In fact this happened during the 2002 China tour. Reason was some Government agency came in and grabbed X number of seats and so happened that those seats were ours. Of course most of us were fuming but there's zero recourse. We realized we were in China and not US, although it's not much different in US these days. Zero recourse there and almost zero due process here! If and when something similar happens, we will make every effort to ensure that we get an equivalent alternative. During the China tour, when all the 20 people could not fly, 12 participants volunteered to travel by air-conditioned first class train. When both parties met & exchanged their info the following morning, it seemed the group traveled by train enjoyed the most. So keep it cool and things will work out. No one is deliberately out there to con you. IslamiCity feels greatly indebted to every single member of the 2002 tour for their exceptional support and flexible nature that made the tour so much more enjoyable. Alhamduillah.
  • What travel arrangements need to be made? Do I need a visa?
    Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements from their points of origin to and from New York. Click here to learn all about Visa requirements for Uzbekistan or contact the nearest Uzbekistan Consular Office. Visitors of all nationalities need a visa to Uzbekistan.
 
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