The Five Stans are back!
on 24 Mar 2023
Sapphire lakes, sheer peaks capped with snow, wild nomadic frontiers, cobalt architecture and a tangle of fascinating history - these remote and diverse nations provide travellers with some of the most incredible and fresh travel experiences on our planet.
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan make up the five ‘stans’ of Central Asia and in mid March 2023, the fifth 'Stan', Turkmenistan, finally re-opened allowing travellers to once again complete their Silk Road bucket list journey
A true exploration into a bygone era as you uncover time frozen cultures, travellers can expect a jumble of soviet and Persian history as they traverse Silk Road trade routes and absorb jaw dropping beauty unlike anywhere else. From barren deserts, crystal rivers and glistening glaciers juxtaposed with grand white marble cities and urbane metropolises - the muddle of tradition and modern sleek cities entwines at the Silk Road cross roads.
What can you expect from each of the five Stans?
Uzbekistan is dusted in eye-popping cobalts, cyans and sapphires. Home to a wrangle of history to unravel and hidden sites to uncover. From its former Persian rule and key location along the famed Silk Road, to which is owes much of its grand architecture and culture, to a short period under Soviet rule, this jumble of traditions is a treasure trove waiting to be cracked open. Stay in hidden villages, live with locals and embrace the stunning scenery. Spend an evening under the stars in a yurt, deep in the Kyzyl Kum desert where the night sky will be one of the clearest and most spectacular star gazing experiences you may ever have.
Tajikistan, the land of mountains, dotted with sapphire lakes and snow-capped peaks. Stone villages scatter through the valleys, urging you to explore this landscape of sheer beauty. Travelling through Tajikistan is not easy. Roads are poor, hot water is a rarity and the locals are only just starting to warm to travellers. A destination that offers a true glimpse to a rare and remote way of life, Tajikistan’s serene beauty will not disappoint.
Kyrgyzstan, mingle with nomads in a land defined by its natural beauty. Soak in joyously unspoilt mountainscapes, stark craggy ridges and rolling jailoos (summer pastures) which are brought to life by semi-nomadic, yurt-dwelling shepherds. Learn about the tradition of Alaa Kacchu (bride kidnapping) and witness the nomadic game of Kok Buro, headless goat polo.
Kazakhstan is the most economically developed of the five Stans due to its oil reserves. Home to glossy centres and hedonistic nightlife in its larger cities, but it's beyond the cities that you'll find the greatest travel adventures. Explore high mountains, alpine lakes and rolling green valleys, underground mosques, western deserts and unique wildlife. Welcoming hospitality, cosy guesthouses and breath-taking canyons.
Turkmenistan is elusive and mysterious which also makes it the least visited of the five Stans. Known due to its truly bizarre dictatorship, this little-known republic is littered with gold monuments and grandiose monuments of the former leader. Seen by many as a sort of totalitarian theme park, but beyond its quirkiness is an ancient land of great spirituality, tradition and natural beauty. Ancient cities inspire visions of caravans plodding along the ancient Silk Road, while the haunting beauty of the Karakum desert and other quirky natural phenomena are equally mesmerising.
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