The region of Central Asia, often known colloquially as the 'Stans', comprises the nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and is considered to be one one of the last-remaining truly adventurous travel destinations on the planet. For many, conjuring up an image of Central Asia brings to mind desolate landscapes with harsh and unforgiving seasons or scrupulous communities living under some of the world's last true dictatorships. Whilst this remains largely true in many ways (and especially the latter), the reputation of this former-Soviet bloc of countries is somewhat undeserved: the region offers so much more.
Central Asia is a land of surprises; as well as the vast expanse of yellow-coloured steppe which makes up the great Kazakh and Uzbek plains, the region is also home to some of the most lush and untouched mountain ranges found on Planet Earth, flourishing with nature. You'll also find unexpected cosmopolitanism in some of the region's largest cities; with groundbreaking and pioneering architecture nestled alongside traditional nomadic dwellings and friendly hospitable locals. And speaking of tradition, let's not forget Central Asia is home to some of the finest and most iconic Islamic art the world has to offer, by way of the network of ancient Silk Road cities, including Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.
The majority of the 'Stans' over the last few years have also significantly eased their entry requirements for travelers; making this fascinating region more accessible than ever before. Don't be fooled, however, Central Asia is still a highly challenging area to traverse, but the rewards for those intrepid travelers are truly worth it. Don't believe us? Just take a look at our themed collection of images. 🇰🇿 🇰🇬 🇹🇯 🇹🇲 🇺🇿