On the surface, a Kazakh visa should have been our easiest visa to obtain. Kazakhstan is arguably the most developed of the former Soviet countries. But the bureaucratic machine still runs strong at the Kazakh Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and in Kazakhstan itself. Continue Reading »
Category Archive: Central Asia
Although it is technically possible for EU and US citizens to obtain a tourist visa to Uzbekistan without a Letter of Invitation (LOI), we recommend spending the extra $30 for the letter. It enables the process to move faster and removes some of the pain. We used Stantours for our LOIs to Uzbekistan. No tour booking was needed and we received the scanned letter by email within a couple of weeks. Continue Reading »
Several people have asked us, “How did you get into Turkmenistan? Isn’t it closed to foreigners?” Turkmenistan is a special bureaucratic animal. But, with a little bit of advanced planning and an expanded daily budget, it really isn’t all that difficult, particularly if you don’t work for a media company or human rights organization. We believe our visit there was well worth the effort and adjustments required. Continue Reading »
I just want to go home. I’m tired of all this visa stuff.
– A distressed traveler at the Kazakh embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
So what does sex have to do with Central Asian visas? Simple, really. Thinking about, planning around, and procuring visas for Central Asian countries begins to dominate one’s time and mindspace — almost to the point of obsession. We’ll leave it to you to do the rest of the comparison. Continue Reading »
Mystery vegetables are better than mystery meat.
– the mantra we adopted after eating Central Asian meals for over three months
Although we would not advise an exclusively culinary expedition to Central Asia, the region does have its appetizing moments. Surrounding those moments, you’ll primarily find a nomadic carnivore’s dream or a vegetarian’s nightmare.
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The following is a bulleted list of sites and markers along the famed Pamir Highway, all the way from Osh, Kyrgyzstan to Khorog, Tajikistan. This particular list follows the southern route (Langar to Ishkashim) along the Wakhan Valley that traces the Tajik-Afghan border. Continue Reading »
If you’ve ever wondered how to travel to the Pamir Mountains — how to get there and what transportation and accommodation options you’ll have once you get there, this is the post for you. Continue Reading »
The Pamir Highway, roughly speaking begins in Kyrgyzstan and winds its way through Tajikistan. Here’s an outline of some of the highlights of one of the world’s greatest road trips. Continue Reading »
A couple of notes, dear reader. We are headed to Myanmar and things may be quiet, or they may not. We just don’t know. If you don’t hear from us on the home page, take a look at “The Very Latest” on the left-hand sidebar. Twitter seems to have worked in most countries, even those with heavy internet controls and painfully slow connections.
We are also still catching up on Central Asia. It left an impression on us that has rendered us far behind in our writing. While we figure out Myanmar, we offer you the following: the best people, food and landscape/cityscape shots from a journey that still leaves us surprisingly nostalgic for the intensity, challenge, and people of Central Asia. Continue Reading »
When we arrive in a new location, we usually seek out the local market. This is how we orient ourselves. Markets provide an easy way to meet real people in a friendly context. They also offer an insight into local food and culture. Central Asian markets proved no different. We found ourselves frequently sampling local fruits (OK, having fruit heaped upon us by the lapful) and talking with vendors about their products. We decided that the markets, the vendors and the produce in Central Asia deserved a video. Continue Reading »