Coronavirus – Central Asia

Travel Information & Tips
Posted on: 2 May 2021

Coronavirus – Central Asia

If you are planning a trip to Central Asia or have already booked a tour, you’ll likely have some questions about the impact coronavirus (COVID-19) may have on your plans. At Kalpak Travel, our priority is the safety and well-being of our travelers and staff; therefore, we will try to help you understand more about how the spread of coronavirus may or may not affect your travels in Central Asia. Below, we explain changes to our Booking Terms & Conditions due to the coronavirus. In addition, we strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor and check government advisories for more advice and information.

We are making some changes to our general Booking Terms and  Conditions due to the coronavirus, which has impacted travel plans for individuals around the world. For this year’s bookings, we apply no change fee. If you will decide to postpone a trip you can do it free of charge.

Please note, we have already published all small-group tour dates for 2022: https://kalpak-travel.com/search-tour/. All departures are guaranteed and the maximum group size is 12 people – unless specified otherwise. If you decide to switch from 2020 to 2021 or 2022 departure we have decided to keep the prices the same as for 2020.

 

New Bookings — Deposit and Full Payment

To confirm the booking, you are required to pay a non-refundable 500 EUR per person deposit. The payment of the trip price balance is due 15 days before the departure date.

We highly recommend getting good insurance that covers repatriation and medical costs, as well as cancellations of the trip and flights.

 

Cancellation by You

  • If you cancel your trip up to 16 days before the departure, we will hold the deposit you have paid as a credit towards an alternative trip in the future with Kalpak Travel (no expiration date). No refund of the deposit is possible. If you have paid already more than the deposit more than 15 days prior to your trip, you may choose to use this amount as credit towards a future trip or to get it refunded.
  • If you have paid in full and cancel 15 days or fewer prior to departure, we will charge the deposit as a cancellation fee and hold the remaining amount as credit towards any future trip with Kalpak Travel

 

Cancellation by Us

If we cancel your trip booking, you can choose to transfer 100% of the money paid for any future trip with Kalpak Travel. The alternative option is to receive a refund of payment, minus the deposit to allow for unrecoverable costs.

The amount paid can be also transferred to another person as a credit towards any future trip with Kalpak Travel.

How does Kalpak Travel determine whether or not to cancel a trip?

Your safety is our number one priority. We consult all travel advisories of the countries where our travelers are from as well as updates from the World Health Organization. We are also constantly in touch with our local partners in each Central Asian country and monitor closely the situation on the ground. If you are affected by a cancellation we will directly get in touch with you.

 

Important Terms & Conditions that apply to the above

Unrecoverable Costs
The coronavirus pandemic became a worldwide “force majeure event,” which is an event that is outside of the reasonable control of either party to a contract. In circumstances like this, in which a force majeure event results in the cancellation of your trip, we suffer unrecoverable losses. Therefore, if we cancel your trip and you select a refund, we will deduct the deposit from any refund issued to you to cover these losses.

 

Overview of the situation in Central Asia as of May 2, 2021:

General update: After a decrease in numbers of infections until early March, numbers are rising again the last couple of months, although still on a relatively low level (except for Kazakhstan, where numbers are high). At the same time most measures to contain the spread of the virus are no longer in effect (again, except for Kazakhstan where there is a lockdown). Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are already partly open for tourism, except for a few nationalities and land borders. With the rising numbers, it is now difficult to predict whether the countries will stay open or start introducing new entry restrictions again. Kazakhstan has prolonged visa-free suspension for 57 countries until 31 December 2021, and Turkmenistan is likely the last country in Central Asia to reopen for tourism. We have successfully operated our first private trips to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. However, it’s difficult to make any predictions about the 2021 season. We recommend booking on short notice for 2021 or – if you want to be safe – booking for 2022 right away.

Kazakhstan – 43,198 confirmed active cases of coronavirus – almost double the amount of one month ago. In fact, this number has never been so high – it’s a new record. The number of new cases per day is stagnating at just below 3,000 – up from around 700 at the beginning of March. Border restrictions are still in effect: Most foreign nationals, including those from the UK, USA, Australia, are currently prevented from traveling to Kazakhstan. Nationals of the following countries are allowed to travel to Kazakhstan, provided they have a valid visa and PCR test issued at most 3 days before arrival to Kazakhstan: Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates. The visa-free entry has been suspended for 57 countries until December 31, 2021. Please check entry & exit information. Mass vaccinations have started in Kazakhstan with the Sputnik V vaccine produced in Kazakhstan. However, only a small portion of the population is fully vaccinated at the moment.

Kyrgyzstan – 4,722 confirmed active cases of coronavirus. The peak was reached on July 19, 2020 (13,201 active cases). Between 300-500 new infections per day on average in the last few days – up from about 50 at the beginning of March (down from more than 1000 nine months ago). The numbers are increasing day by day, but life has returned to normal in the country. Entry restrictions have been lifted on December 4, 2020, for arrivals through international airports in Bishkek, Osh, or Issyk-Kul as well as the land border with Uzbekistan. Most nationalities can enter Kyrgyzstan visa-free and others can get an electronic visa online. No travel restrictions inside the country. Please check entry & exit information. Mass vaccinations for the general public have already started with Chinese vaccine Sinopharm.

Tajikistan – Zero confirmed active cases of coronavirus. The peak was reached on May 30, 2020 (1,895 active cases). No new cases per day since January 10, 2021. However, due to limited testing, there may still be a few cases in the country. It is possible to enter the country by air – with a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours OR a Covid-19 vaccination certification, which is at least one month old. Most nationalities can get an electronic visa. Land borders are still closed but supposed to open soon. No restrictions inside the country. please check further entry & exit information. Mass vaccinations have not yet started.

Turkmenistan – There were never any confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Turkmenistan. All borders are closed until further notice. It is not known yet when borders will open again and regular flights will resume. Visas are not being processed currently. Covid-related restrictions inside the country are being eased, which might be a good sign that the border may open in a few months as well. Please check entry & exit information.

Uzbekistan – 3,363 confirmed active cases of coronavirus. The peak was reached on July 29, 2020 (9,517 active cases). About 400 new infections per day on average during the last few days (up from less than 50 two months ago). It is now possible to visit Uzbekistan with a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken at most 72 hours prior to arrival in Uzbekistan. Land borders are also open. Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Uzbekistan. The ones, who need a visa – for example US citizens – can get an electronic visa online. Please check further entry & exit information.

 

Travel Advisories

Entry requirements and travel advisories are changing fast and frequently. Please check your government’s travel advice before you decide to proceed with a trip. Below, we have compiled links to some of the larger government travel advisories:

Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map powered by Timatic on the IATA website

Switzerland

World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus situation reports

Australia: Smart Traveller

Canada: Travel Advice and Advisories

New Zealand: SafeTravel

United Kingdom: Foreign Travel Advice

United States: US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs

 

Questions – Contact us

The best way to contact us is via email – info@kalpak-travel.com, WhatsApp – +41786572701, or Skype – Kalpak Travel.

These are extraordinary times and we are trying to be as accommodating as possible. We are happy to discuss each case individually and provide suggestions.