Get up to 20% off
in our Mega May Sale >
Traditional yurt in Kyrgyzstan

Central Asia Travel Guide

Central Asia is an alluring region steeped in ancient history and rugged landscapes. Explore the Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan, adorned with intricate Islamic architecture and bustling bazaars. Journey through the vast steppes of Kazakhstan, where nomadic traditions thrive alongside modern cities like Nur-Sultan. Discover the enchanting mountains of Kyrgyzstan, offering breathtaking hikes and encounters with nomadic communities. From the ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara to the stunning landscapes of the Tian Shan Mountains, Central Asia offers a unique blend of cultural immersion and natural beauty.

Travelling through Central Asia also means embracing the region's rich traditions and hospitality. Experience the warmth of Uzbek hospitality as you stay in traditional guesthouses and savour flavorful regional cuisines like plov and shashlik. Engage with local nomads in Kyrgyzstan, learning about their way of life and participating in traditional activities like horseback riding. Central Asia's unique blend of history, culture, and awe-inspiring landscapes creates an unforgettable travel experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for this lesser-explored corner of the world.

Key Facts

Time Zone

Varies by country


Varies by country

Dialing Code

Varies by country

  • Off the beaten path: Whilst this isn't the destination for your typical beach-bumming, this is a destination unlike any other. You won't be following in the footsteps of many backpackers before you when heading to one of these lesser-discovered areas. So whilst the travel may be more challenging, it also affords intrepid travellers a chance to really get to know the areas being travelled through and interact with the local communities to a greater extent.
  • Food: The region is rich in hearty dishes. Test your limits with some more adventurous elements and Central Asian cuisine and have stories to tell for a lifetime! 
  • Diversity: With not many people being very familiar with the region as a tourist destination, it is easy to think of this region as one big area with similar characteristics, however, this couldn't be further from the truth! The region has marked cultural differences, from the cuisine, the climate, the scenery and social customs.
  • The great outdoors: Trekking, road trips, camping, and horse riding are some of the more popular past times in the high lakes of Kyrgyzstan and the canyons of Kazakstan. Whilst the cities are great hubs with lots to see and do, the region is best seen from the countryside, if just for the spectacular scenery and bemused local people wondering what brings you to their corner of the world.

Kazakhstan – Nur-Sultan (known as Astana)
Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek
Uzbekistan – Tashkent

  • Visit the majestic, azure mosaic-filled Registan in Samarkand (Uzbekistan)
  • Explore the town-within-a-town at the Ark, Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
  • Camp in the jaw-dropping scenery of the Charyn Canyon (Kazakhstan)
  • Swim in the alpine-esque Kolsai lakes (Kyrgyzstan)
  • Sleep in a traditional yurt and learn about the local nomadic way of life (Kyrgyzstan)

There isn't much hype about Central Asian food and in all honesty, you don't travel to Central Asia purely for the culinary experience. Much of Central Asia have nomadic roots; therefore, the staples tend to be what people cultivate themselves - meat from sheep, cows and horses and their by-products (yoghurt and cheese) and roots vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and onions and rice. Bread is considered sacred in some parts of Central Asia and will be served with all meals (usually in a round loaf). Bread should never touch the ground or be thrown away.

Central Asia has a continental climate. Summers tend to be hot and dry and winters can be cool/cold, especially in the higher altitude regions where temperatures can drop to below freezing.


Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company


Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

Here are the official languages of each country, although Russian is commonly understood and used as an unofficial second language by many. English is not widely known, especially outside of the main cities or among older generations.

Kazakhstan: Kazakh

Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyz

Uzbekistan: Uzbek

There’s a lot of variation in plug sockets across the region and sometimes even within one country! Sometimes they’re 2-pin, sometimes 3, sometimes round pin, sometimes flat. Your best bet is to bring a compact universal adaptor.

With so many different countries and regions in the area (even from town to town differences occur) it can be difficult to know all the cultural norms, however as an area that is well known for its excellent hospitality, local people will readily forgive any faux pas.

Greetings: Men tend to greet each other with a smile and a handshake. Some men also place their right hand on their heart and drop their head slightly. Women generally don't shake hands.

Personal space: There tends to be less personal space in Central Asia than what we are used to. It is not considered rude for someone to bustle past you and touch you in a crowded place and not apologise. Also, the notion of forming queues isn't widely done and people will often crowd around a counter in order to get served. Public displays of affection are not often seen and are discouraged, however, you will often see men and women walking down the road holding hands with a person of the same gender and this is considered normal friend behaviour.

Blowing your nose: It is considered impolite to blow your nose in public, best to go somewhere private to do this.