Exploring the Silk Road in Central Asia
Check out my travel stories from the Silk Road
One of my lifelong dreams has been to backpack in Central Asia, on routes that ancient caravans took along the Silk Road, travelling along paths carved through desolate deserts, vast grasslands, and soaring mountains, places where the Western civilizations met the Eastern. Last summer I made it there and spent almost 2 months, travelling through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.
The region is geographically very diverse, dotted with architectural sites, and a cultural mishmash of numerous tribes. Overall a fantastic place for photo opportunities.
Things to do
Tour of the big ticket places on the Silk Route, such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and the Wakhan Corridor.
Flying over the region in an airplane, what spectacular sights!
Life in the little villages and nomadic yurts.
Central Asia has lots to offer, including delicious food that has influences from China and Persia and India. Check out some of the delicious laghman, plov, kebabs, shashlyk, beshbarmak, kurdak, soups, and salads.
Tons of hiking and outdoor adventure options, particularly in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The region is dotted with World Heritage inscriptions and I visited a total of seven places (four cities, and three regions).
Forget silk caravans; how does it feel to travel in Central Asia today?
Places to See
This ancient city is full of larger-than-life technicolour monuments that have been beautifully restored.
Bukhara is one of silk road’s oldest centres of trade, scholarship, culture and religion.
This old city of slave traders and caravans is now a chic revitalized site with memorable architecture.
The Pamir highway leading up to the Wakhan corridor, travelling between Osh (Kyrgyzstan) and Khorog (Tajikistan).
Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), and Almaty (Kazakhstan – former capital city)
Shared between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, this is the heart of Uzbek culture and home to a number of Kyrgyz and Tajik ethnicity as well.