Deserts and dictators. Yurts and nomads. Silk Road cities, staggering yet underrated mountain ranges, Soviet detritus, and one of the world’s greatest road trips.
This is Central Asia. The ‘Stans. Never well understood, but absolutely worth an attempt to understand.
A glimpse of Pik Lenin (23,000+ feet) along the Pamir Highway near the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.
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If you keep up with the news, it’s hard not to notice that Thailand and Kyrgyzstan have been in the midst of political turmoil and violent protests this past week. In an effort to offer a foil to images of bloodied protesters in Bishkek, I posted a link to a series of photo essays from our visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2007. Some friends thanked us, while another also voiced what I imagine is a prevailing perception: “Great pics but isn’t it crazy how fast a country/society can turn?” Continue Reading »
We realize that we may confuse our readers occasionally. One day we’re writing about Tajikistan and the next day about Myanmar, all while traveling through Thailand.
Why so much bouncing around? Continue Reading »
From mosques and mountains to hats and limousines, the often unusual sights and scenery of the Caucasus and Central Asia always kept us guessing. If you check out the categories and keep reading, you’ll see why. Continue Reading »
No place takes the logic out of logistics, from pillar to post, like the former Soviet Union. Inspired by our own experiences, the following entries are in no logical order. Let’s dig in.
Worst Toilet: Svaneti Region of Georgia
Competition in this category was exceptionally fierce, but the nod goes to Svaneti. Although we highly recommend a visit to the region, we suggest you pack your hip waders for visits to the outhouse. Continue Reading »
Maintaining and updating a website while on the road in the Caucasus and Central Asia proved rather challenging. Internet availability and reliability in the region unfortunately has not yet begun to approach Southeast Asian standards. Continue Reading »
I thought Americans liked to travel in comfort. I don’t know why you take a marshrutka.
You should take the marshrutka. There you will meet the real people.
– Two competing local views on whether or not we should subject ourselves to long-distance rides on marshrutka minivans, the dominant form of public transport in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Continue Reading »
No one seems to know what is needed to get a visa to Tajikistan. Even the Foreign Ministry in Tajikistan had problems advising Audrey’s former Tajik colleagues at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty regarding what was required. It appears to be embassy specific and heavily dependent on the relationship between Tajikistan and the country from which you happen to be applying. In other words: Continue Reading »
Known as the most visa-friendly country in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan’s visa was a piece of cake – no Letters of Invitation (LOIs), no questioning. Just fill out an application, pay the fee in the morning and return in the afternoon for the visa. We did this in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
If you are flying into Bishkek, don’t bother to get your visa in advance. Visas on arrival are cheaper at the airport. Continue Reading »
Welcome to the first and only Golden Camel Awards, a camel’s eye view of the best and worst that Central Asia and the Caucasus have to offer!
While most people don’t travel to the Caucasus and Central Asia solely to explore the cuisine, we had our share of pleasant eating experiences there. We also occasionally felt the wrath of a post-Soviet culinary hangover. If you are interested to know what constitutes a good eating experience (heavenly bread, drinkable vodka, and elusive vegetables) or what continues to haunt our food dreams, read on. Continue Reading »