After being tied to Barcelona for the whole summer, I have finally been let loose and am heading back on the road! As much as Barcelona is the best place to be during the summer months, I am ready to explore some different culture.
In September I visited Tunisia (which completely blew my expectations). In October I head to ‘The Stans’ to explore more of these Central Asian countries and discover more of the Silk Road.
Having been to Armenia this year I am excited about learning more about this ancient trading route which ran from Asia to Europe. For this trip I'll be travelling with another travel blogger instead of travelling solo.
The best way to explore these countries is with your own vehicle but being unable to find a company which allows you to take a car across the borders, we’ve decided to fly, take the train and local taxis.
So the itinerary will go like this:
- Back to Kazakhstan
Planning these trips are literally taking hours. Now I understand why people usually take tours for these countries. For example, there is one train a week from Uzbekistan to Kazashstan which is sold out during our trip so we’ve had to plan the trip in reverse with internal flights.
Our trip starts in Kazakhstan. If you’ve never heard of Kazakhstan, then maybe you remember the film, Borat, in which Sacha Baron Cohen played a fictional character from the country? Things to see here are the Charyn Canyon (the country’s rival to the Grand Canyon), the Nur Astana Mosque and the Buddhist rock carvings at Tamgaly Tas.
From here it’s a flight to Tajikistan, a neighbouring country to Afghanistan, known for its mountains and snow-capped peaks. This country oozes nature and the main attraction is the Pamir Highway, a road trip through the Pamir mountains near the Kyrgyzstan border. Lenin Peak is also meant to be a mecca for climbers and those looking to hike and camp in the mountains.
Tourism infrastructure seems virtually impossible in Tajikistan and not knowing any Russian is definitely going to be a challenge.
From Dushanbe, the capital, we’ll be travelling to the border to cross over into Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan looks stunning. It was once a core destination for the ancient Silk Road and has many beautiful mosques and shrines to see. This is where we’ll spend most of our time, visiting Bukhara and Samarkand. One of the most magnificent things to see here is the Registan, a stunning piece of Islamic architecture in Samarkand.
From here it’s off to Kyrgyzstan, to see Osh, an old city with a vibrant bazaar. The country is dominated by the Tian Shan mountains which are also part of the old trading route, and is one of the greenest cities within the region. Its capital, Bishkek has less than one million people and has several museums, as well as former Soviet monuments and a Monument to the Martyrs of the Revolution.
Then it’s back to Almaty before flying home.
I’ll be working with accommodations, and tour companies to see how female-friendly this part of the world is.
The trip will take 18 nights and will be a mix of internal flights, scenic train journeys, buses, and private taxis. It will definitely be an adventure. If you’ve ever wanted to explore these Central Asian countries, then I’ll be blogging about them soon.
Have you been to “The Stans?”
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