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 the few regions in Asia still unexplored, it spans over ancient cities, remote living nomads, and unparalleled nature. Go here and get the adventure of your life.

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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”.

5 Tajikistan. Explore the raw Soviet heritage in Dushanbe, situated along the Pamir Highway, a scenic mountain road known as the ”Roof of the world”. Lay down on a private tapchan bed and indulge in traditional food, freshly baked naan bread with manti, the region’s version of dumplings. Just enough energy for a city sightseeing tour out of the ordinary.


Written by Erik Ekberger. Photography: Erik Ekberger

Copyright © 2017-2023. Travelgrapher® is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. 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.