A detailed pre-trip information pack will be sent out to you when you book onto the trip, but here are the main things that you need to know.
Please note that all opiates and their derivatives are highly illegal in Central Asia, particularly Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Any products containing opiates, such as codeine or co-codamol are illegal and if you are found in possession of them you may be arrested as a drug-trafficker. If your trip goes to Uzbekistan and you are carrying prescribed medication, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office strongly recommend you also have a doctor’s prescription with you, to show that they are for medical use.
It is possible that you may require some vaccinations for your trip, depending on the areas that you are visiting. The operator recommends that you check out the fit for travel website for more travel health information or consult a reputable travel clinic or your GP for information and advice. They also suggest that you allow at least 8 weeks to get all your vaccinations.
Being vaccinated against Yellow Fever and having a valid certificate and a photocopy is deemed compulsory in some countries we visit, especially at certain borders and are needed if you are entering from an Infected country.
It is a compulsory requirement that you have adequate travel insurance before you join any Oasis Trip & at the very least are insured for all necessary medical & repatriation costs incurred.
You will be asked to provide the following details to the operator before you travel: travel insurance name, insurance policy number & insurance emergency telephone number. You will also be required to give a copy of your policy with this information to your tour leader on arrival with confirmation that the policy duration is sufficient to cover you for the entire duration of your trip. It is also wise to leave a copy of your insurance policy with a friend or relative for safe keeping.
It is very important that you are covered for all the activities that you may wish to undertake while on our trip. It is also extremely important that you check the full extent of your cover related to 24 hour Medical Emergency Assistance. In the event of you needing medical treatment you want to know that you have the best cover available to you. Your policy should include adequate Medical Emergency and Repatriation cover as well as Cancellation, Baggage and Personal Liability cover. You need to be aware of EXACTLY what activities your policy covers you for.
The operator offers Overland Adventure Travel Insurance that covers most of the adventure and sporting activities on the trips.
Visas & Passport
Your passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months after the conclusion of the expedition. You will need at least 10 pages free to complete the trip.
Most of the countries you travel through in Central Asia require a visa. Prior to departure you will be provided with full and comprehensive information that will guide you through the process and give you all the tools you need to help get your visas. Visas in South East Asia can be obtained either en route or at the border.
To acquire all the necessary visas before travelling it may be necessary to submit your passport to a number of different embassies at different times, so we recommend you remain in your home country for two months before starting your Oasis Overland trip. If you are travelling beforehand, please contact us for more guidance and we will work with you to make a different visa plan.
This summarises the visa requirements for most nationalities:
Turkey – E-visa applied for before departure
Iran – Authorisation code required through local operator or the tour operator (at extra cost) and visa to be obtained before travel
Turkmenistan – Letter of Invitation required and applied for through the operator (included in trip price). Visas issued on arrival at the border.
Uzbekistan – Visas to be obtained before travel, Letter of Invitation required in some circumstances and can be applied for through the operator (at extra cost).
Kazakhstan – Visas free and available on arrival.
Kyrgyzstan – Visas free and available on arrival.
China – Visa to be obtained before travel, Letter of Invitation required and applied for through the operator (included in trip price).
Laos – Visa on arrival
Vietnam – Visa obtained enroute
Thailand – Visa free and on arrival
Malaysia – Visa free and on arrival
Indonesia – Visa on arrival
Singapore – Visa free and on arrival
All information given pertaining to visas is given in good faith and is accurate, to the best of the operator’s knowledge. The rules and timings for obtaining each visa can vary enormously from one embassy to the next, and the processes and requirements can and often do change overnight and without prior notice. Please allow time for unexpected delays and be regularly contactable in the two months running up to your trip should any amendments be made or extra information required.
The operator will do everything they can, in liaison with their strong support network of local operators and agents, to help you get all your visas in time and with minimal inconvenience and cost. But please remember it is ultimately your own responsibility to ensure you have all the necessary valid documents for your trip and the operator cannot offer any guarantees that your applications will be successful; these decisions are ultimately in the hands of the officials in the various countries on the route.
What to pack?
The less you take the less you have to pack, wash & lug home & you can always pick up extras along the way. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much gear. Clothes washing or laundry facilities will be available at least once a week. You will be travelling in the heat & camping in the cold, so bring clothes for all climates; rough stuff is best. Pack according to season: allowing for extremes in temperature (from the constant baking heat in the dry season to the cold and occasional frost overnight in some areas)
- 4 season sleeping bag and sleep sheet
- Foam sleeping mat or thermarest (and repair kit)
- Small day-pack or small bag to carry daily items
- Soft rucksack or holdall (not rigid suitcase) – 70 – 90L in size
Remember baggage is limited to 20kg per person plus one day bag.
- One pair of trainers or boots
- Sandals / flip flops / jandals / thongs
- Underwear / socks
- T-shirts / shorts
- Shorts / swimwear
- Jeans / trousers / jog pants / leggings
- Skirt or dress
- Sweat shirt / jumper
- Jacket/fleece & waterproof jacket
It is worth bearing in mind that keeping your arms, shoulders and legs covered will go a long way to prevent causing offence and hassle to yourself. This is true for men as well as women (especially in predominantly Muslim countries). Avoid wearing tight or revealing clothing, but generally on some beaches you can wear what you like. Attitudes range from fairly liberal in such places as the Mediterranean coast, to extremely conservative in Iran and some of the small towns elsewhere.
Special note re clothing in Iran
Women – will be required to wear head scarves, long sleeves, covered shoes and either loose fitting ankle length skirt or pants. At the borders on both arrival and exit, you will also need to wear either a Manteau – which is a loose fitting trench coat that comes just below the knees, or you could wear a Chador – a loose robe that’s worn like a cloak, that covers you from head to toe. Chadors are also required when visiting religious sites, and can generally be supplied locally.
Men – Must be conservatively dressed, and at the borders will need long trousers, long sleeved shirts and covered shoes.
Note: shorts are generally not considered acceptable for males or females throughout Iran.
Toiletries – note most are available to buy on the trip
- Soap, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, antibacterial hand wash, lip balm, moisturizer
- Sun block 30+, after sun, hat & sun glasses
- Tampons (can buy in most places)
Personal medical kit
Even though the operator’s trucks are equipped with a comprehensive medical kit, the operator advises you to bring a small personal medical kit as the truck kit is not for general everyday use. It will also be your responsibility to carry your kit on included excursions and optional activities as some local operators may not have medical kits to hand.
- Antiseptic ointment / antihistamine cream & tablets
- Paracetamol / ibuprofen or equivalent pain killer (please see the notes re medications in Central Asia for restrictions on certain medications)
- Eye drops / bath
- Anti-diarrhoea treatment
- A couple of bandages (elasticated & triangular)
- Medication for personal allergies / asthma etc
- Insect repellent containing DEET
- Re-hydration sachets / vitamin tablets
- Assorted plasters
- 1-2 sterile syringes
- 1 course of malaria treatment
- Some suitable antibiotics as recommended by your doctor for infected cuts or to treat severe dysentery
- Malaria tablets
- Camera with protective case, spare batteries & memory card
- Torch & spare batteries (head torch is best)
- Alarm clock
- Travel adaptor plug / charger (for cameras and mobile phone batteries)
- Money belt
- Personal stereo – there is a stereo on the truck with CD / iPod / MP3 adaptors
- Towel &/or sarong