NomadXpress’ top 20 + 1 experiences in Central Asia


In respect of our NomadXpress’ tradition, after the Balkans and Middle East “Best of”, here you have our personal list of tops in Central Asia, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

The list is not exhaustive nor following any specific ranking. It is only the spontaneous outcome of our free memory and imagination across these timeless countries still peripheral (luckily) for the mass tourism

Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are definitely amazing for their riveting urban symbols: Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Almaty and Astana. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, instead, charmingly offer a more sauvage, countryside experience. All together they make an essential tile in our ongoing Silk Road adventure.

1. KHIVA (Uzbekistan), and its still faultlessly preserved ancient town.

Ancient town, Khiva
Old city

2. YODGORLIK SILK FACTORY in MARGILON (Fergana Valley – Uzbekistan), to get guided through the timeless Silk production cycle.

Silk Factory in Margilan
Woman working on the silk cocoon

3. ASTANA (Kazakhstan), where the futuristic buildings offer a unique style in all Central Asia.

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Astana
Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center

4. KARAKUL LAKE (Tajikistan), the highest navigable lake in the world, almost 4000 m above the sea level.

Karakul Lake, Tajikistan

5. SAMARKAND (Uzbekistan) a city remarkable for its impressive Timurid architecture.

Registan Square, Samarkand
Registan Square

6. WAKHAN VALLEY (Tajikistan), closely separating two distant countries: Tajikistan and Afghanistan. A lunar landscape at edge of the world !!

View of Afghanistan from the Tajik side

7. BUKHARA (Uzbekistan), a truly magic city with many nuanced contrasts inside…and the perfect place for buying souvenirs in one of the several bazaars situated in its old town.

Bazaar in Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Bazaar in Bukhara

8. ALMATY (Kazakhstan), a vibrant city with lots of exciting views and activities!

Ascension Cathedral, Almaty
Ascension Cathedral

9. Savitsky Museum in NUKUS (Uzbekistan), hosting a huge “prohibited” collection of Soviet Art.

Savitsky Museum, Nukus
Main square in Nukus with the Savitsky Museum in the background

10. BULUNKUL (Tajikistan), an out-of-the-world hamlet encased within the grandiose Pamir mountains. Perfect base to hike to the stunning Yashil-kul Lake.

Yashil-Kul Lake
Yashil-Kul Lake

11. 25 hours SOVIET TRAIN from Aktau to Kungrad (Uzbekistan), enjoying the desert landscape while crossing from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan.

Train from Aktau to Kungrad

12. HITCHHIKING along the Pamir Highway (Tajikistan) … and getting rescued by merry truck drivers.

HITCHHIKING along the Pamir Highway
Waiting for the kind driver to give us a lift : )

13. Getting invited by a local for a cup of ever-present çay (tea) and “unfresh”sweets.

Central asia traditions

14. Getting fed up with manti and plov, among the Central Asia most common dishes which you will find everywhere.

Street stall selling traditional Plov, Almaty
Street stall selling traditional Plov

15. Spending a quiet night in a HOMESTAY in the remote and authentic Sarytag (Tajikistan), surrounded by the imposing Fan Mountains.

Homestay in Tajikistan
Typical homestay in Tajikistan

16. Staying in a yurt with a local shepherd and his family along the shore of Song-Köl Lake (Kyrgyzstan).

Son Kul, Kyrgyzstan

17. Crossing the Bartang Valley (Tajikistan) by jeep while gazing at dramatic places in the middle of nowhere.

Bartang Valley by Jeep

18. Enjoying a typical horse ride in Kyrgyzstan.

Horse riding in Kyrgyzstan

19. Trekking during 4 exhausting days around Arslanbob (Kyrgyzstan), overcoming strenuous mountain passes and slippery rocky paths…and getting rewarded by the awesome views of green pastures, pristine waterfalls and turquoise, alpine lakes.

Holy Lake, Arslanbob
Holy Lake view

20. Eating delicious shashlyk with locals at Osh Bazar in Tashkent (Uzbekistan).

Delicious shashlik !
Savoury shashlyks !

21. Living the stirring NIGHT LIFE in the Central Asia top cities: Tashkent, Dushanbe, Almaty and Samarkand.

Dushanbe from a roof bar in the "Twin Towers"
View of Dushanbe from the roof bar on the “Twin Towers”

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2 thoughts on “NomadXpress’ top 20 + 1 experiences in Central Asia

  1. steven says:

    Great to read you had a nice time! Will steal some of your info on the Astana-Olgii bus. Thanks for contributing to the forum – enjoy your trip and hope it brings what you are searching for.

    Steven (a fellow 9 to 5 hater)

    1. nomadXpress says:

      Thank you Steven, we try to share our limited knowledge as much as possible!

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