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.
Continue Reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »