From sophisticated cities you never knew existed to mountainous kingdoms that are Mother Nature’s works of art, try these Central Asian travel ideas for your next holiday.
Almaty might have passed on its crown as the former capital of Kazakhstan, but its sophistication hasn’t been lost – think glitzy shopping malls, swanky restaurants and bars.
Or, take a trip back in time at popular religious sites like the Ascension Cathedral, a stunning Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Fun fact: it’s probably the only wooden cathedral in the world, and was built without any nails.
NEXT: Trans-Ili Alatau, Kazakhstan →
Or, past the city, you’ll enter the mountainous kingdom of Trans-Ili Alatau, a mountain range stretching about 350km across Central Asia.
The mountains along the border of Kazakhstan and Kyrgzstan make for excellent ski resorts in the winter, with powdery snow and beautiful scenery to boot.
NEXT: Bukhara, Uzbekistan →
Once an integral part of the Silk Roads, Bukhara remains as culturally and socially rich today.
For one, the Museum of Carpets is way more interesting than it sounds – it even crowns the town’s holiest spot, along with magnificent religious sites like the Maghoki-Attar, Central Asia’s oldest surviving mosque (since the 9th century!)
NEXT: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan →
Ashgabat is also dubbed the “City of White Marble”, and it’s not hard to see why. Gleaming marble palaces and monoliths are peppered across the city, a testament to Turkmenistan’s ravishing oil and gas revenues, upon which the city is almost entirely built.
Which also means it’s no short of lavish living options for a super extravagant holiday. We’re in!
NEXT: Tashkent, Uzbekistan →
The capital city of Uzbekistan is known for its brilliant blend of age-old culture and modern creature comforts – alongside Soviet-era architecture, you’ll find modern hotels and, most notably, the distinguished Tashkent Tower, which offers dashing views of the spawling cityscape from its observation deck.
NEXT: Band-e Amir, Afghanistan →
Band-e Amir National Park, Mother Nature’s work of art, takes the form of a series of azure blue lakes connected by waterfalls, sprawled across the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan. Too pretty!
NEXT: Pamir Highway →
One for the road-trippers: one of the world’s most magnificent highways, the Pamir Highway snakes through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrzystan, flanked by dramatic lakes, valleys and scenic bays.
For the complete Central Asian tourist experience, stay in yurt camps while on your vacay.
NEXT: Almaty, Kazakhstan →
By Pinky Chng, February 2017
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