After years spent as an enigma hidden behind the Iron Curtain, the now independent countries of Central Asia, the ‘Stans as they are fondly referred to, are slowly but surely reemerging into the spotlight.

For those in the know, this fabled region ignites a sense of wonder and represents a place of unparalleled adventure, rich history and the chance to experience traditions that have remained hidden for centuries.

They whisper its praises hoping to keep this wonderfully offbeat part of the world a secret for just that little bit longer.

But word is spreading quickly.

The restored splendour of ancient silk road cities that sit isolated in the windswept desert. Saw-toothed mountains and pristine lakes where nomads roam and yurts speckle the countryside. A dusty road that weaves from peak to peak and sets the scene for an epic roadtrip.

Planning Essentials

Essential tips to help you plan, budget and pack for your trip to Central Asia.

Our journey through Central Asia began in Kazakhstan, between the leafy boulevards and bustling markets of its former capital, Almaty, incidentally a perfect place to begin your own trip through the region.

After gorging on the smorgasbord of international cuisine on offer and spending a day or two exploring the mountains that encircle the city, head east toward the desert where you’ll find the gaping Charyn Canyon and the brilliant blue oasis of Kolsai Lakes and Lake Kaindy. If bright city lights are your thing, don’t miss the sparkling metropolis of Astana in the country’s north, otherwise, it’s time to hit the trails in Kyrgyzstan.

In a country that’s more than 90% mountain, prepare to be doing a lot of hiking. The popular 3-day trek to turquoise Alakol Lake and the rejuvenating hot springs at Altyn Arashan is a good place to start. For something truly off the beaten path, Jyrgalan makes an excellent jump-off point for an outdoor adventure, or stop by the ochre rockface of Jeti-Oguz and hike toward the Valley of Flowers and into the mountains.

Pamir Highway
SaThe Ultimate Packing Guide For Central Asia: All The Essentials You'll Need For Your Tripmarkand
The Ultimate Packing Guide For Central Asia: All The Essentials You'll Need For Your Trip

No trip to Central Asia would be complete without an epic road trip along the Pamir Highway.

Tulparkul Lake nestled in the shadow of Peak Lenin is an ideal starting point, and we may as well let you in on a little secret, it’s one of the most spectacular places we’ve ever seen. For those seeking a challenge, or perhaps a serious adrenaline kick, volatile Lenin Peak should be on your agenda. For the rest, the lonely road through the Pamir mountains that whips past mirror-like lakes, jagged peaks and the verdant knot of the Wakhan Valley is sure to be the trip of a lifetime.

Mountains aside, the riches of the ancient silk road await in Uzbekistan. Immaculate blue mosaics, soaring minarets and rambling alleyways unite the main cities, though each reveals a unique character of their own. While Samarkand and Bukhara are the showy crown jewels, understated and often overlooked Khiva was our favourite of the lot.

But, with so much on offer, the real question is…

A Place For The Adventurers

Central Asia has enough outdoor opportunities to satisfy even the most diehard adventurer. These were some of our favourites!

Or The Culture Lovers

Whether its Silk Road history, incredible food or nomadic culture that you crave, you’ll find it here. 

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