If ancient history, Silk Road caravanserai, detailed mosaics, and impressive mosques are what you are looking for, a plan to travel to Central Asia should be high on your list. Wonder about these Central Asia countries? Search no more: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakstan.

With unique attractions like the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, the mosques of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, the burning crater of Turkmenistan, the vast expanse of the Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, and the Sharyn Canyon in Kazakhstan, your travel in Central Asia will be full of stunning landscape and ancient history.

Travel to Central Asia

Familiarly called “The Stans,” all the names of these Central Asia countries end with “stan,” a Persian word that means “land.” The region featured centuries of pre-Islamic and Islamic history, mostly influenced by Iranian as the suffix shows. Recent decades saw the impact of the Communist era still visible today in these former Soviet Republics. An interesting mix to say the least.

Silk Road Travel

The countries of Central Asia were indeed essential stops along the Silk Road, as nomadic people, merchants, and good transitted from East Asia to Europe. Under the Turkic people expansion around the 8th to 12th centuries, many Turkic ethnic tribes moved in, and Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, and Turkmen brought their nomadic culture and traditions to form the countries of the same names.

Central Asia on a Map

 

Pick Your Central Asian Countries

We listed the top attractions for these countries in Central Asia to help you decide which destination to visit.

Tajikistan Travel

  • Top Things to do in Tajikistan: Drive along the Pamir highway, explore the capital Dushanbe, visit
  • How Long to Stay in Tajikistan: 5 to 10 days in the Pamir, about one week around Dushanbe
  • Tajikistan Visa: An easy process through an official website

 

Uzbekistan Travel

  • Must-see in Uzbekistan: Samarkand, Khiva, Bukhara, and the Aral Sea
  • How Long to Stay in Tajikistan: 2 to 3 weeks
  • Uzbekistan Visa: 30-day visa-free for most Western citizens
Why You Should Travel to Central Asia: Countries Top Attractions // Lake Sudochie by the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan

Lake Sudochie by the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan

Turkmenistan Travel

  • Top attractions: Derveze Gates of Hell Turkmenistan, Merv, Nisa
  • Five days minimum!
  • Visa to Turkmenistan: one of the hardest visa to get! Independent travelers can apply to a 5-day transit visa, or go on a regular tour for a more extended regular tourist visa.
Why You Should Travel to Central Asia: Countries Top Attractions // Darvaza Crater Gates of Hell Turkmenistan

Darvaza Crater Gates of Hell Turkmenistan

Kyrgyzstan Travel

  • Best Things to See in Kyrgyzstan: Lake Issyk-Kul, Osh, Sary-Chelek
  • How long to stay in Kyrgyzstan: 2 to 3 weeks
  • Visa to Kyrgyzstan: 30-day visa-free for most Western citizens
Why You Should Travel to Central Asia: Countries Top Attractions // Sugar in Osh Bazaar Kyrgyzstan

Sugar in Osh Bazaar Kyrgyzstan

Kazakhstan Travel

  • Top Attractions in Kazakhstan: Big Almaty Lake, Sharyn Canyon, Wild Horses
  • How long to stay in Kazakhstan: 2 to 3 weeks
  • Kazakhstan Visa: 30-day visa-free for most Western citizens

Best Time to Visit Central Asia

The summer months from July to August are the most popular when the temperatures are warm. However, traveling in the shoulder seasons from April to June, or September to October will have the same incredible views but with way fewer people.

Note that the temperatures can be rather high and potentially too hot in Turkmenistan in summer. On the other end, the later months of October and November can bring snow in the higher mountains and passes of the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan.

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