Central Asia

From Wikitravel
Revision as of 23:56, 26 October 2004 by Professorbiscuit (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search
Central Asia

Default Banner.jpg

Map of Central Asia


In addition to these former Soviet republics, two other places are considered to be part of Central Asia. These are:


Central Asia is an area that was, until recently, inaccessible for independent travellers. That has all changed, although the traveller will still often come up against a wall of Soviet-style bureaucracy. Despite this, Central Asia is definitely increasing in popularity amongst travellers who want to experience one of the world's last great frontier lands.

Historically rich and geographically diverse, Central Asia is an interesting region. As a bridge between Europe and Asia, the region was the home of the Silk Road, the ancient trading routes between the two continents in the first centuries of the common era. The following millennia saw much upheaval and conflict, from the expansion of Islam, the period of Mongol domination and the 'Great Game' between imperial Britain and imperial Russia in the 19th century.

After a traumatic break-up from the USSR, Central Asian countries are beginning to find their feet and offer good travelling options. There are parts of Central Asia that will have hardly seen a traveller before, and there are many wild and beautiful landscapes to be explored. That is not to say the region is bereft of problems, chiefly lack of infrastructure and stifling bureaucracy.

Get In

By plane

The hub for the region is Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which the most flights to destinations outside Central Asia. Unfortunately, it also has a reputation for being unpleasant, and it is best to avoid flights which arrive here late at night.

There are also increasingly good options for flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan. You can fly here directly from London, Frankfurt, Beijing, Seoul, Moscow and various others.

Other Central Asia cities generally involve a change in one of these hubs, but British Mediterranean link Bishkek with London.


From Russia

Trains going to Central Asia leave from Moscow Kazansky station. Trains go to Tashkent (56 hours/US$80), Almaty (78 hours/US$120), Bishkek (75 hours/US$70), Samarkand (85 hours/US$100), and others.

From China

There is a line from Urumqi, China to Almaty, but the bus is quicker. An interesting option is the challenging crossing to Kyrgyzstan through the [[Torugart Pass].

From Iran

The border is closed to foreigners, but there are buses running between Mashhad and Ashghabat, Turkmenistan.

By boat

There is an irregular service between Baku, Azerbaijan and Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan.

This article is still a stub and needs your attention. It does not have a template. Please plunge forward and help it grow!