MONGOLIA, CHINA, KIRGIZYSTAN, KAZAKISTAN
TOUR HANDBOOK

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

  •   VISA INFORMATION

         WATER

  • TOUR SIGN UP

         SHOPPING

  • CANCELLATION

         CREDIT CARDS

         TELEPHONES

         WHAT TO WEAR

         POWER SUPPLY

         GIFTS TO BRING

         POSTAL SERVICE

         BOOKS TO READ

How to sign up for the tour:
Please fax MELITOUR or e mail the sign up sheet.
Click here for the sign up sheet

Melitour fax No: 011 90 232 2447410
                          011 90 256 614 6554

Melitour phone number on scype: melitour2
Phone number : 01190 532 345 9987

What other documents do we need for sign up:
When you sign up for the tour please send MELITOUR the following information.

  • DATE OF PASSPORT ISSUE
  • DATE OF PASSPORT EXPIRATION
  •  CITIZENSHIP
  • PASSPORT NUMBER
  • NAME AS SEEN ON YOUR PASSPORT
  • DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH
  • ADDRESS
  • PHONE  & FAX NUMBER ( FAX OPTIONAL)
  • OCCUPATION

Payment & Cancellation
Payments can be made by credit card (Visa or Master Card) or Bank Transfer

         If you are making a payment with credit card please give MELITOUR your VISA or MASTERCARD  card number,
expration date & the last three digits of the number in the back of your card. You can give us your phone number we
 can get the card info on the phone or you can fax it to us

         If you prefer to deposit to our Bank of America account in the USA, please ask for bank account number

Deposit :        

US$250

Non Refundable
Paid at sign Up

2nd Payment:March 04, 2009

US$ 2000

in case of cancellation until the next payment 70% of your payment will      be returned to you

3rd Payment: May 04, 2009

US$ 2000

in case of cancellation until the next payment 50% of your total payment will be returned to you

4th Payment: June 04, 2009

Rest of your payment  

in case of cancellation there will be no refund

We strongly recommend you to buy a trip cancellation insurance.

If MELITOUR cancels the tour what you paid will be refunded to you 100% including the deposit.

VISA INFORMATION
THE PROCEDURE OF GETTING A VISA
Mongolia does not require visa for the USA citizens. Citizens of all the other countries require to get visa
All of the countries that we will visit will issue visas when you apply them individually.

  • However we need a visa support letter from China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
  • After EVERY TOUR MEMBER give us the passport information (above)
  • MELITOUR will send the information to the consecutive countries.
  • When we MELITOUR receives the necessary documents, we will e mail you the documents
         1. Visa support letter
         2. flight documents for China
         3. hotel reservation confirmations
  • The visas are issued only 2 months before the arrival date so please do not send your passports into the consulates earlier than 2 months before the entry date
  • Please call the embassies /consulates listed below and get information and file your papers for visa.
    The visa application forms ask for the date of arrival and date of departure.
    Below you can find the list of arrival and departure dates to each country.
    If you are arriving via Beijing, China please remember that you need to get a double entry visa.

The visa application  form will also ask you  the name of the travel agency in each country.
Please do NOT say MELITOUR.
The name and address of the local travel Agencies are listed below


MONGOLIA

Visa is not required for USA citizens.

CHINA
Passports need to be taken to the consulate personally. It can be a visa agent, a friend or your self.
After you give your info and passport to the Consulate you receive your visa on the same day
The visa charges are subject to change, so please check the web page of the
Chinese Consulate
 
KIRGYZISTAN AND KAZAKISTAN
Both of these countries accepted visa application through mail.

IMPORTANT NOTES

1.      Make sure they give the visa for the   correct dates
        One tour member did not check the dates on her visa and she almost could not 
        go in Kirgyzistan.
        SO WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR PASSPORT BACK FROM THE EMBASSY
         MAKE SURE THE FIRST DATE ON YOUR VISA MATCHES THE DATE
         OF ENTRY TO THAT PARTICULAR COUNTRY.

                            These are the visa sites  for our visa applications on this tour

EMBASSY/CONSULATE INFO

VISA FORM

Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China http://sf.chinaconsulatesf.org/index1.htm 
 

China   http://sf.chinaconsulatesf.org/visa/pdf/visappform.PDF

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan: http://www.kazconsulny.org/English/index.htm
 

Kazakhstan
 http://www.kazconsulny.org/English/visa.pdf

Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic:            http://www.kyrgyzstan.org/

Kyrgyz Republic
http://www.kyrgyzstan.org/Consulate/visa.pdf

You will need this info for the visa application Form : The Inviting Party  in each country

COUNTRY

NAME OF THE INVITING COMPANY

ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER

Mongolia

STEPPE NOMAD TRAVEL AND TOURS CO LTD

ULAAN BAATAR,MONGOLIA
Office: 976 113 27865

China

ABDULLAH  KHALIK
Xinjiang Silk Road
Adventures
ilyar@mail.xj.cninfo.net
ilyar@china.com

10th Floor No 8 Jianshe Road
Urumchi,Xinjiang China 830002
URUMCHI CHINA
Fax : 0086 991 2831 587 phone:00869912308318

Kyrgyz Republic

CATS Ltd. (CENTRAL ASIAN TRAVEL SERVICE)

CENTRAL ASIAN TRAVEL SYSTEM
116/21, GOGOL STR., BISHKEK, 720011, KYRGYZSTAN
TEL/ FAX: (996 - 312) 66-69-32, 28-83-47;

Kazakhstan

CATS Ltd. (CENTRAL ASIAN TRAVEL SERVICE)
 

CENTRAL ASIAN TRAVEL SYSTEM
116/21, GOGOL STR., BISHKEK, 720011, KYRGYZSTAN
TEL/ FAX: (996 - 312) 66-69-32, 28-83-47;

VISA APPLICATION FORM INFO
The visa forms ask the day of arrival and day of departure. for your convenience this is the information:
 

Mongolia Arrival ? your day of arrival   Departure   Wednesday Aug.19 , 2009
China Arrival  Wednesday Aug .19, 2006 Departure   Tuesday      Aug. 25, 2006 7 Days
Kyrgyzstan Arrival Tuesday    Aug. 25, 2006 Departure    Friday       Sept.28, 2006    4 Days
Kazakhstan Arrival Friday        Sept. 28, 2006 Departure    Monday     Sept. 31, 2006  4 Days

 ( If you are staying in Alma Aty longer please, put your personal departure date)
 


CANCELLATION INSURANCE
Please buy a trip insurance if you might cancel the tour then trip insurance can pay you back all the non refundables of the tour quotation there are probably many insurance companies which will offer you the cancellation insurance but this one had worked well for many tour members http://www.tripinsuranceusa.com/index.html 

POSTAL SERVICE
IN CHINA
Lobby counters of  hotels provide guests with postal services which includes a post box. 
They sell stamps  and accept postcards ,letters and parcels. Post offices in various places providee EMS and  24-hour telecommunications. Business hours of post offuces are 08:00-19:00.

MONGOLIAYou won't find  letter boxes on the streets .In most casses you will have to post  your letters from from the post  office. You can buy your stamps in post office (from top-end hotels) in Ulan Batoor and Aimag ; else where, stamps are in short supply. But we will make sure you have enough stamps in Ulaan Batoor

TELEPHONES
International telephone cards work from most of the hotels that we stay in
The tour members have been using their own cell phones sucessfully

IN CHINA
Sometimes  visitors have to pay for  city telephones  in hotels. Use of a public telephone costs 0.3 yuan Renminbi. Long distance  calls can be  made  from street telephone kiosks, railway stations or telephone bureaus by using cads or paying  in  cash.

MONGOLIA In Ulan  Batoor  it is easy to    make international or  domestic calls. Out side of Ulan Batoor making calls is difficult : no one will understand you unless you speak  resonable Mongolian or Russian, and the telephones  may not work  any way. Ulaan Bataar  now has  a few  card phones  are available in post   and   telecom offices. 
For emergency please make sure you leave MELITOUR phone and e mail back at home. Meli will have her cellular phone for emergency contact. 
KIRGYZISTAN The hotels will have e mail access but it is terribly expensive. The telephones at the hotels are just as expensive.There are INTERNET cafes available in Bishkek
KAZAKISTAN
The hotels will have e mail access but it is terribly expensive. The telephones at the hotels are just as expensive.There are INTERNET cafes available in Alma Aty.

POWER SUPPLY

IN CHINA 220 Volt  AC current.  Many middle and high classes hotel washrooms have transformers plugs for electric shavers and dryers , but it is better to be prepered with an adapter plug.
IN
MONGOLIA, KIRGYZISTAN & KAZAKISTAN    Electric power is  220 Valt, 50 Hz.

WATER

IN CHINA Only in some high class hotels tap water is potable. Tourist should ask hotels if the tap water is drinkable. If not, use the thermos flask water provided by hotels. In China, botteled mineral water is  popular.   

MONGOLIA Mongolians insists  that the tap water is safe to drink in Ulan Bataar and most other places-Indeed  we never had any problems drinking tap water in the larger cities. However,  there can be occasions  in late summer  when the water level in the cities  rises as a result of heavy  storms  and the water becomes unsafe to drink- in this case, be  careful of the water if  you don't know for certain that the water is safe, assume the worst.
Bottles of water are available in Ulaan  Baatar (not in the country side).  
KIRGYZISTAN & KAZAKISTAN 
We will make sure the agencies in these countries supply us with bottled water.

SHOPPING
China is a kingdom of silk. Embroideries and brocades and silk woven handcrafts w'll not take too much space. Calligraphy and painting will be also tempting. Ceramics, traditional medicins, carving and sculpture , filigree enamel might become good Christmas presents. Traditional stationeries and baskets will make inexpensive but excellent gifts. Kashkar Market will probably use up a lot of your film.

Bright paintings and cashmere sweater, local ethnic dresses, chess sets make almost the complete list of shopping in
Mongolia

WHAT TO WEAR
The temperature will vary between the evening and the day. The change in the altitude will also make the temperature variation quite big. We recommend you to check the weather page . For the Plains of Mongolia and for Kirgyzistan make sure you have a warm jacket. Shorts are OK. Since some of the bathroom stops where the bathroom is nothing more than a hole in the ground will be a memorable experience, skirts for the ladies will be best.

BRING 
  * Your own TP
  * Snacks
 
* more film than you plan to use 
  * batteries for your camera
  * With the digital cameras from our experiences 1GB cards are not sufficient to capture the whole tour
     be prepared for down loading your card several times on the tour or bring more cards.

MONEY
Bring LOTS of US $ cash , five dollars and tens...they prefer that but cannot make much change if larger bills. Practically impossible to change traveler's checks anywhere (despite what the travel books say) as hotels do not want them and stores  won't accept them nor will individuals.
More and more places accept credit cards in these countries but we will stay away from most of the tourist shopping areas so you better NOT count on your credit card. 
Changing US$ to the local currencies is easy. You do not need to buy the local currencies in the USA.

GIFTS TO BRING
On MELITOUR tours we DO  NOT LIKE   giving little trinkets to the children not to create beggers out of them. We do ,however, like to give gifts to the schools that we visit. Few simple school supplies will be appreciated. They like maps, deflatable globes.
The school supplies you bring will be delivered to a school in Kirgyzistan.

In our previous experiences with the children, we have seen that the kids enjoy breaking the ice with the visitors by drawing pictures or blowing bubbles. If you want to bring little play items such as a little puppet, crayon and paper to draw pictures or a bottle or two of bubble , you can have a lot of fun and you can easly become center of attention among the local children.

Pictures of your home and your family  is another good way of connecting with the people

LIST OF BOOKS TO READ 

Setting the East Ablaze:
Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia

 by Peter Hopkirk


Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: 
The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia
 

by Peter Hopkirk
T
his is probably the best book for this trip as it has quite a bit to 
do with western
China and Mongolia

Like Hidden Fire:
 The Plot to Bring Down the British Empire
 

by Peter Hopkirk
Not as exciting as the other Hopkirk books, this is about art and cultural piracy in western China.  Are we going to be the next foreign devils?

Great Game: 
The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia

by Peter Hopkirk
A fantastic book - a bit more Caucasus/central Asia than Setting the East Ablaze.  Your jaw will drop when you appreciate the intricacy of the issues then and how they are echoed today.

Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia


by Karl E. Meyer  Shareen Blair Brysac  Shareen Blair Brysac
I wish I had read this book before the Central Asia Trip. Still the best of all of them.If you can only read th's one this is it.  Or, read this first then the Setting the East... next.

Dragon Lady: 
The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China 

by Sterling Sea


The Private Life of Chairman Mao 


by Li Zhisui 
Offers some amazing
insights into the hidden world behind the great walls of Zhongnanhai, China's so-called 'new For- bidden City'. 

  Twilight in the Forbidden City 


by Reginald F Johnston;
a British colonial official who tutored China's last emperor
from 1919 to 1924, 
Hard to find but worth tracking down (at least in libraries)

The Lion and the Dragon  


by Aubrey Singe
The Story of the First British
Embassy to the Court of the Emperor Qianiong in Peking
1792-1794 

Old Madam Yin 


by Ida Pruitt. 
Memoir of Peking Life, 1926-1938


'THE SILK ROAD:  A MUSICAL CARAVAN' 2-CD SET ON APRIL 23 for more info click here

SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS RECORDINGS TO RELEASE
mail order at 800.410.9815 or at www.folkways.si.edu

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