What is the cost of the trip?

Section 1 USD$ 9250 (based on twin-share)  USD$2450 (single room supplement)

Section 2 USD$ 12530 (based on twin-share)USD$2980 (single room supplement)

Section 3 USD$ 9030 (based on twin-share)USD$1980 (single room supplement)

Section 4USD$ 10920 (based on twin-share)USD$2730 (single room supplement)                            

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What's included in the payment?

- 4WD vehicle throughout the journey (3-4 people per vehicle).
- Petrol charges, toll fees, maintenance and repair of the vehicle.
- Leadership of experienced Group Leaders including mechanical support.
- Local sightseeing with entrance fees (sometimes via chartered coach).
- Accommodation: 4 & 5-star hotels in major cities, best available in remote areas and camping facilities.
- Hotel taxes and service charges.
- All meals.
- Arrival and departure transfers.
- All cross-border handling.
- Banquets, parties and special events.
- Travel manual and educational materials.
- Use of travel accessories (i.e., GPS, maps, GMRS Radio Walkie-Talkie, tools, general emergency kit)

What is not included?
- International airfare (from home city to Istanbul and from Beijing to home city)
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
- Visa fees
- Expenses of personal nature such as beverages, laundry, telephone/internet fees, etc.

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Why is there a cash payment?
Your cash payment will cover all gratuities and incidentals. In the countries we travel through, tipping is a common practise. Your guides, the hotel staff, restaurant staff, bus drivers, people who operate boats, wash and service cars, etc., are all to be tipped. Our group leader will collect 500 EUR or 700 USD cash payment from each participant at the group’s departure meeting in Istanbul and this cash payment will cover gratuities of all mentioned above.

How & when to register?
“Drive the Silk Road:  from Istanbul to Beijing” is planned for a maximum of 16 travellers. Therefore it is recommended to register early to secure your place on the trip. If you are in the USA or Canada, the quickest way to make a reservation is to call us at 1-866-564-1226. If you are in Europe, please contact one of our partner tour companies (shown on the back of this brochure). You may also mail or fax in the reservation form (reservation form can be downloaded by clicking on the registration Button below ). We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express, cheque or wire transfer for the initial deposit. The balance of the land cost must be paid by cheque or wire transfer.
Early reservations are recommended, since group size is limited and the trip requires extra preparation time.

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How will I know when the trip is confirmed?
Total seats available: 16. Minimum number of passengers for a guaranteed departure: 8. 
This trip is based upon a minimum of 8 registrants. Should we receive less than 8 people, we reserve the right to cancel the trip, or apply a surcharge as in our experience most participants usually prefer to pay an additional cost rather than have their trip cancelled. You will be notified as early as possible should this situation arise.
Final confirmation date (should the minimum number of travellers not be reached earlier): 90 days prior to departure.

What happens after I pay my deposit?
Upon receiving your reservation form and deposit, we will hold your space and send you a notice confirming receipt. The minimum number of passengers on this trip is 8.  Once we receive bookings from this number of people, the departure will be confirmed, and we will send you a trip information kit. 
The trip information kit contains general and practical information on the countries you will be visiting, a suggested reading list and packing list; as well as a medical information disclosure form and liability waiver form, which you need to fill out, sign and return to us.
Your trip dossier will be sent out approximately 3 weeks prior to departure. The trip dossier contains more detailed information related to many aspects of the journey such as detailed itineraries, local contact numbers and group meeting locations, maps, etc - all of which are useful in the final planning of your journey.

Do I need to get visas for this trip?
It is safe to assume that visa will be required for all countries on this trip. Many of these visas will require an invitation letter from the local tour operator or an official visa authorization confirmation from the government. We will obtain these documents on your behalf.
It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a passport (with at least six months validity from the date of return at the end of the trip) and any visas necessary to enter the countries involved in the journey.

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How challenging is this trip?
While this trip is not extremely strenuous, there are periods when the driving times are long and the conditions basic. All participants should be in relatively good health and be prepared to experience long days on the road travelling over varying types of terrain. A willingness to be involved, a positive and flexible approach to travel and an understanding of the particular demands of this trip will ensure your enjoyment on one of the greatest travel adventures of your life. In addition, this is a driving adventure program. You will be required to drive a 4x4 vehicle provided by us. Currently, what we provide you is Land Rover Discovery II with automatic transmission. You need to send us a copy of your driver's license (an electronic scan via email will be OK). So far, an international driver’s license has not been required by any country's authority, if the situation changes, we will inform you or your agent. We should receive your driver's license copy at least 90 days prior to departure since in certain countries, it takes time to get you a local driving permit.

When and where will I meet the group?
You will find the start and end dates on the itinerary page. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in Istanbul on or before the start date, where you will be met at the airport by our local representative. Similarly our services will end with a transfer to the airport in Beijing for your departure home. Should you require extra pre or post-tour accommodation please contact our office and we will be pleased to assist you.

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Are sightseeing and activities all pre-arranged and included?
Yes! Our sightseeing activities are specifically arranged for this program and will vary according to the local conditions. ‘Scheduled Sightseeing’ is part of the itinerary inclusions and is generally by minibus or coach but occasionally we will use the Land Rovers. All sightseeing programs include transportation, entrance fees and English-speaking local guides.
Please note that there are only two activities are not included and it is totally up to you to decide if you would like to participate in or not. One is the hot-air-balloon ride in Cappadocia, Central Turkey. The other one is the camel ride over the Singing Sand Dune in Dunhuang, China. These activities may not be for everyone and also their operation depends on the local weather condition. Therefore we didn't include the cost in the total price.

How should I pack for the trip?
Due to the nature of this trip space will be limited. Each Land Rover will need to carry essential supplies and it is therefore strongly recommended that all participants limit their luggage to one main piece per person. We recommend bringing a single backpack or soft bag for the journey. A moderate sized suitcase with retractable handle and wheels is also acceptable. Please do not bring oversized suitcases or bags. You should also carry a small day-pack for personal items used during the day (camera, water, snacks etc.). A hidden money belt for carrying valuables is also useful.

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Will there be changes to the itinerary?
We will take every measure to ensure the accuracy of itineraries and promotional literature. However, circumstances beyond our control may necessitate changes to our route, accommodation, date and activity.  In the case of program change, you should refer to the daily itinerary included with your final documents package as it may have been updated since you booked your trip. In the case of a shift in dates, we will notify you as early as possible of such changes so that necessary adjustments can be made. Changing conditions in the field may also necessitate itinerary modifications after the trip has departed. Participants may be asked to share any increased costs associated with the changes. We also reserve the right to change hotels with properties of similar standard when necessary.
Please note that we are travelling through some of the most remote regions of the world: the trip could be delayed because of weather, road conditions, political conflicts, sickness or other contingencies for which we cannot reasonably make provision.  The cost of the delay and/or trip interruption is not included in your payment.
In consideration of, and in part payment of, the right to participate in the trip, you will fully assume all risk of the above hazards and hereby release and discharge us and our agents from all actions, claims or demands resulting from your willing participation in the trip.

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What is your Cancellation Policy?

Cancellations or revisions must be made in writing and your right to a refund if you cancel your trip is as follows:
Cancellation Made (days before departure)   Cancellation Penalty
More than 90 days prior                         Loss of deposit
89 - 60 days                                       50% of your payment            
59 - 0 days                                        100% of your payment

There are no refunds for no-shows or any unused portion of the trip. Cancellation fees will apply and are non-refundable for any reason whatsoever. In the event that the tour price increases by more than 7% from the time of booking by the passenger, the participant has the right to cancel the contract for travel and obtain a full refund of payment(s) made to us by providing written notice at any time after a payment has been made up to and including the date of departure as set out in this brochure, unless the increase in the tour price is as a result of government taxation or a fuel surcharge permitted by the National Transportation Agency with respect to charter air travel services, as may be applicable.

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Tell me more about the organizer of the trip, AAST Inc.
AAST Inc. (Asia Adventures & Study Tours) is based in Toronto, Canada. We have been offering unique cultural adventures to Asia since 1990. AAST is committed to expert advice and planning and have a strong and knowledgeable team working to ensure that your trip runs smoothly and that you return from your journey with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the peoples and lands you have visited. We are constantly travelling to the region and our staff are available to answer any of your questions. Each group is accompanied by a leader, chosen for their experience, personal qualities and passion for our style of travel. The leader takes care of all the transport, accommodation and paperwork necessary en route.

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What other important information do I need to know?
Pre-arranged Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is mandatory for this trip. Policies must provide adequate coverage for the loss of personal items and any potential medical expenses. You will be required to provide your medical insurance provider’s contact details and your policy number in case of emergency.

Health & Government Travel Advisories
It is your sole responsibility to inform yourself of the prevailing travel advisories issued by the government of your country regarding the risks and associated precautions (including health) related to travel to the countries and regions visited on this trip. Health advice is available from travel health specialists and international bodies such as the World Health Organization. AAST Inc. will not be responsible for advising you of such travel advisories or of any changes that occur to such travel advisories prior to departure of the trip

Health & Fitness
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are have a suitable level of fitness to undertake this journey and that you have received the required vaccinations. We recommend that you consult with your doctor or travel health specialist regarding the specific health recommendations for travel to the countries and regions visited en route. You must inform AAST Inc. of any medical condition that may prevent your full participation in the trip. Should you fail to do this and AAST Inc. or your group leader find that you are medically unfit to participate in the trip or should your medical condition deteriorate during the trip, to an extent where you are no longer able to fully participate in the trip, you will be required to leave the trip. No refund will be made for any unused services in such an event. AAST Inc. and their agents reserve the right to withhold or withdraw tour participation for anyone whose inappropriate behaviour ormedical condition is likely to affect the smooth operation of the trip or adversely affect the safety or enjoyment of other travellers on the trip. As well, AAST Inc. reserves the right at any time to insist on a current medical certificate stating that you are fit to travel, and may refuse your participation if a satisfactory certificate is not supplied. Any decision to exclude a passenger for any reason will be made by AAST Inc. without any further recourse. When joining Drive The Silk Road you accept the authority of the Group Leader.

In case there are political crisis or military conflicts taking place while we are in the region...During the past few years, we haven't experienced any political crisis or military action throughout the Silk Road trip and our driving adventure was never interupted or re-schduled. This doesn't mean that we are not placing the precautions and safety/security issues on the very top of our list. We are fully aware of what is happening within the countries that we will drive through and keep close contact with our local operators, guides, friends and associations to make sure our information is up-to-date. We also prepared two alternative routes, one is going through the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan) after Turkey and around Iran; the other one is going through Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia into Inner Mongolia of China. We have our support teams in these places in case there are difficulties for us to enter Iran or Western China