Why Central Asia?

Why Central Asia?

Highlights of Central Asia

Central Asia, that is Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
We offer you a number of example tours in these countries, as well as combined tours. In addition, tailor-made tours are always possible. When you send us your wishes & travel dates and we will prepare a travel proposal without obligation in consultation with you. Enjoy the highlights of Central Asia with us!

Traveling in Central Asia is becoming increasingly popular. We experience it at the Travel Fairs and in the increasing number of travel requests. Perhaps that is because people are looking for new, unknown countries and areas. The countries of Central Asia are becoming increasingly known, but they are still Terra Incognita for many, and are safe to travel. In addition, they also have a lot to offer, from mountain peaks over 7,000 meters, vast deserts and steppes, and idyllic mountain lakes. And still unspoilt.

History & culture are also very worthwhile in the region. Think of Central Asia and think of the old Silk Road, with many branches through the different countries. Or the more recent Soviet culture & architecture, followed by contemporary and sometimes megalomaniacal cultural expressions in cities such as Ashgabat and Astana (now Nursultan).

Market in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Market in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

The Five Countries

If you have sufficient time, a trip through several Central Asian countries is a good opportunity to experience the considerable differences between them.
This is what we see as the essence of the five countries:

Kazakhstan
Enormous country, lots of emptiness, large travel distances, steppe & desert, mountains on the outskirts, nomadic background, megalomaniac capital Astana (called Nursultan since March 20, 2019!), Rocket launch center Baikanoer, lots of Soviet history, cosmopolitan Almaty, many opportunities for adventure & expeditions .

Uzbekistan
Heart of the Silk Road, fastly increasing tourism since 2018 (be quick!), Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bukhara & Samarkand, beautiful buildings, delicious food, fantastic crafts, excellent & attractive guest houses, fast train connections between the cities, very safe.

Kyrgyzstan
Stunning nature, nomadic background still very visible in the summer, Lake Issyk Kul, horses & yurts, poor country, excellent homestays, great opportunities for hiking and horseback riding, relatively small distances, Son Kul lake, Tash Rabat Caravanserai.

Turkmenistan
Enigma, closed, desert, excavations, megaloman capital Ashgabat, archaeological site Merv, burning gas crater Darwaza, Silk Road site Konye Urgench, Yangikala rock formations, Turkmenbashi port city, no free travel, visa required.

Tajikstan
Pamir Highway, rugged land & mountains, lakes and hikes in the Fann Mountains, poverty in the countryside, Persian culture, peace & security after civil war in the 90s, enormous hospitality, green & spacious capital Dushanbe, possibility to safely visit Afghanistan.

Yurts in the Suusamyr valley in Kyrgyzstan

Yurts in the Suusamyr valley in Kyrgyzstan

Frequently Asked Questions about Central Asia

1. Do I need a visa for travelling in the countries of Central Asia?
This makes a difference per country, as follows:
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are visa-free for visits up to 30 days for most countries;
Tajikistan requires a visa, which you can apply for yourself electronically. On this website.
Finally, Turkmenistan requires a visa, which can be obtained at any country border. However, this is only possible with an invitation letter, which we arrange for you. This application takes about four to six weeks, please keep that in mind.

2. Are the countries of Central Asia safe to travel?
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are very safe.
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are safe.
Tajikistan is safe in principle, but the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not recommend traveling in certain parts (i.e. border areas with Afghanistan) due to threats from ISIS. Most other countries share this recommendation. However, the number of violent incidents here fortunately is very limited.

3. Do I need vaccinations to visit Central Asia?
The Dutch Health Authorities (GGD) recommend vaccinations for Hepatitis A and for DTP (Dyptheris, Tetanus en Polio). For all five countries.

Money matters

4. How can I pay in the countries of Central Asia?
That also makes difference per country.
In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan it is easy to obtain local money from ATMs. In many shops and restaurants in the larger cities you can already pay with a bank card (wireless). Credit cards are generally accepted.

In Uzbekistan, payment options have been increasing since 2018. Fortunately, nowadays you can obtain local money in banks and in larger hotels with bank cards and credit cards. In the major cities of Tajikistan there is a limited number of ATMs with which local money can be obtained. A visit to Turkmenistan requires taking cash with you, both Euro and USD are useful.

Finally, take a (small) amount of Euros with you for a trip to Central Asia! That way you will be able to change money also in smaller places and on markets.

Thermal Power in Naryn river in Kyrgyzstan

Weather & Travel Period

5. What are the best periods to travel in Central Asia?
The region has a continental climate with some differences.
Importantly, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are mountain republics. This means that (large) parts of the country are difficult to reach or even inaccessible between November and March due to snowfall.
In addition, with regard to Kyrgyzstan, for an optimal experience of the country it is recommended to travel in the summer months (June-August, or slightly before or after). Then summer nomads are moving around way and high plains are adorned with hundreds of yurts and herds of cattle!

Kazakhstan is huge and has different landscapes, from steppe & desert to high mountains. In addition, it has heavy snow fall especially around Almaty. In the northern Astana you can “enjoy” the real Siberian winter in temperatures with minus 30 degrees Celsius – plus strong steppe winds!

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have a landscape of mainly deserts and lowlands. Here it gets very hot in summer with temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and higher. A visit in the summer months is possible but keep in mind the heat. In the remainder of the year the countries are easily accessible, although cold in the winter months.

For a combination trip that includes, for example, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – a popular combination – a travel period at the beginning or end of summer is recommended. Then, do visit the mountains of Kyrgyzstan in the hottest period, and the cities of Uzbekistan in the milder period.

Why Central Asia with us?

– we have been visiting the region since 1998 and the owner (Ardjan Langedijk) has lived in Kazakhstan for three years

– various TV programs also make use of our services & knowledge, to date in Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Tajikistan (The Most Dangerous Roads in the World, 3 Op Reis, both already twice)

Horse riding in the Zhongar Mountains in Eastern Kazakhstan

– we have now built up a network of excellent guides and drivers together with our local partners

– thanks to our knowledge of the country and the region, we can help you with your customized wishes

– we are affiliated with the GGTO Guarantee Fund and also with the VvKR (a branch organization for smaller travel organizations) in The Netherlands even one of the latter’s founders in 2011.

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