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 the world 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 nature and remote living nomads. Stay in a yurt at Song-Kul Lake, a tranquil blue water mirroring snowy mountains, lush grassland, and wild horses. Located 3,000 meter above sea level, it’s a change to experience all four seasons in one day.

Uzbekistan. Situated in the heart of the old Silk Road, Uzbekistan is the cultural focal point of Central Asia. The cities of Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand will mesmerize 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 fashinating in the world.

Turkmenistan. As one of the most closed countries in the world, a visit to Turkmenistan is a thrilling experience. If you are let into the country, that is. Start in Ashgabat, the capital city built entirely in white marble, and head south. Cross the Karakum Desert and find the Darvaza gas crater that never stops burning.

Kazakhstan. The vast land of Kazakhstan incapsulates a variety of fascinating places. From the ultra modern Astana in the north, to the cultural oozing Almaty in the south. Spice up the journey with a visit to the Baikanour space center, the old ski resort Medeu, and Charyn Canyon – known as little Grand Canyon.

Tajikistan. Go here and indulge traditional food on a private tapchan bed. Freshly baked naan bread with manti, the regional made 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.