Central Asia Holidays
Central Asian countries, of which Kazajstan is by far the largest, are sparsely visited by tourists, although the region includes part of several routes are popular with backpackers. Central Asia is an area to consider by those in search of a unique holiday destination. You’ll find remote mountains and wide-open spaces, friendly locals with unusual customs, and the adventure of your lifetime.
This is a great region to really get away from it all, try trekking in pristine mountain regions, and enjoy the vast wilderness areas. There are also mountaintop temples, shrines and various sites of religious interest. This isn’t a great region for cities, but there are still several with plenty to detain you for a few days with the pick being the walled city of Khiva in Uzbekistan, a World Heritage Site.
The main reason to visit the ‘Stans’ – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan, and Tajikistan is if you’re following the Silk Road, but need to avoid the traditional caravan and travelling route through Afghanistan. These countries all used to be part of the USSR, so a basic knowledge of Russian is very useful in here.
For Central Asia as a whole, check the visa requirements well in advance, as some countries require letters of introduction. Cuisine varies across the region, but grilled meat can generally always be found. Accommodation wise, you’ll find backpacker hostels, guesthouses, and Western- and Soviet-style hotels – some tour operators can arrange for you to sleep in gers or yurts.
Central Asia figures on some Trans-Siberian and Silk Road routes.