The Stans – An odyssey through Central Asia

The countries of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, are referred to as “the Stans”. As one of few regions in Asia still unexplored, it spans over ancient cities, remote living nomads, and unparalleled nature. Go there and get the adventure of your life.

Kyrgyzstan. There is nature and there is nature. Then there is Kyrgyzstan. Head south of Bishkek and enter a world of untouched environment and remote living nomads. Stay in a yurt at Song-Kul, a tranquil blue lake mirroring snowy mountains, lush grassland, and wild horses. Located at 3,000 meter above sea level, the highland climate gives you the chance to experience all four seasons in only one day.

Uzbekistan. Situated in the heart of the old Silk Road, Uzbekistan is the cultural center of Central Asia. The cities of Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand will mesmerize even the most sophisticated traveler. Expand your perspectives with a visit to the dried out Aral Sea or go for a ride in the Tashkent metro system, one of the most spectacular in the world. For a full in-depth article about Uzbekistan, click here.

Turkmenistan. As one of the most closed countries in the world, visiting Turkmenistan is a thrilling experience. Start in Ashgabat, the capital city built entirely in white shining Carrara marble. Continue to Nisa, an ancient desert fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cross the Karakum Desert and find the Darvaza gas crater that never stops burning. For a full in-depth article about Turkmenistan, click here.

Kazakhstan. The vast land of Kazakhstan spans over a variety of interesting places. From the ultra modern capital city Astana in the north, to the cultural oozing Almaty in the south. Spice up your journey with a visit to Baikanour space center, Medeu ski resort, or Charyn Canyon – known as the “little Grand Canyon”.

Tajikistan. Go here to indulge traditional food on a private tapchan bed – freshly baked naan bread with manti, the region’s version of dumplings. Explore the raw Soviet heritage in Dushanbe and travel along the Pamir Highway, a scenic mountain road known as the ”Roof of the world”.

All images © 2020 Erik Ekberger. supports a democratic, gender-equal, peaceful and inclusive society where equitable health, human rights and the rule of law are respected and people’s vulnerability to crises and disasters is reduced.