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Off the Beaten Path Experiences in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan

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I am very attracted and curious to see the countries people don't normally go to. I don't know many people who have ventured here but I really want to be one of them. Although not as traveled as the popular destinations, their beauty is called by some, heaven.
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Khorog, Tajikistan
The Pamir high way is the one of the world’s highest altitude roads at more than 4000 meters, connecting cargo, animals and travelers from Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan. This trip on one of the rooftops of the world was full of ups and downs. Though...
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Wakhan, Afghanistan
Sadly, few people at present refer to Pakistan and Afghanistan as heaven. But during my time in Tajikistan's Wakhan Valley on the top of the old fort Yanchuu, with the setting sun as my backdrop, the valley and mountains bordering these nations...
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Central Asia
I have had my fill of adventure traveling: corrupt officials, motor bike bus chases and the odd pack of wild dogs are all situations I have met and survived. But for whatever reason, when it comes to heights, the hurdle is always that much harder...
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Wakhan, Afghanistan
One of the major highlights of the Pamir Highway is the various valleys and villages that are just waiting to be explored. Since many of these valleys get such a low volume of tourists, no guidebook can prepare you for the adventure ahead. One of...
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Shahrtuz, Tajikistan
Go check out the strange mix of variously soured milk product at the local bazaar. Most vendors won't speak English but the universal language of commerce with friendly undertones should get you a taste of what this beautiful country has to offer....
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Ak-Su, Kyrgyzstan
Explore Kyrgyzstan’s remote Tien Shan Mountains with 40 Tribes, an outfitter that partners with local guides. Tours start with a village homestay and continue to a network of yurts. From $1,800 for four days. (303) 552-6034.
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Naryn, Kyrgyzstan
I decided a few weeks back to head to the city of Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. Unlike the other Silk Road countries, Kyrgyzstan is famous for nomads and nature, meaning it does not share the beautiful Silk Road cities with its neighbour Uzbekistan. With...
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Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
One of my favourite aspects of traveling is the food! In Kyrgyzstan some may joke the main food groups are meat, grease and as little veggies as possible. But after you're here a while you start to realize that if you want to be pleasantly...
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Song-Kul, Kyrgyzstan
As I got off the plane and entered the dark Soviet city fear gripped me as a KGB officer approached....OK I’m kidding, but this is what I thought my first experience in the post USSR republic of Central Asia was going to be. Instead my time in the...
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Kyrgyzstan
I don’t consider myself an outdoors man. I love to travel, but I usually stick to cities and beginner trails so when I decided to do a 9 hour horse trek to the glacial lake Kul-Ukok near the small city of Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan; I was biting off a...
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Central Asia
It took us two days to arrive in China from Kyrgyzstan. We partnered up with three other people: two Finnish travelers from a very small town in southeastern Finland, and Mr. Pilkington, an elderly gentleman who was a dead ringer for John...
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Tong, Kyrgyzstan
Visit the towns on the south side of Lake Issyk Kul to find the One Village One Product group who are experienced in their handmade wet felted items made with the wool from the sheep in their region. Beautiful purses, toys, bags, and more are...
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Central Asia
There is no public transport between Osh and Bishkek apart from air travel, and with that one completely misses out on the spectacular landscapes that MAKE this country. We ended up taking a taxi and sharing it with another woman and her two kids,...
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Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan
The best collection of Balbals ever, sitting scattered in the Kyrgyz fields.
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Birinchi May District, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Local Bishkek artisan Sarbaev Dokturbek and others practice the ancient art of mini sculptures of animals and heros carved in animal horns found in the woods.
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Karakol, Kyrgyzstan
Last August we did a 4-day trek to the Ala Kol lake in Kyrgyzstan. The first day starts as a relaxed walk up the beautiful Karakol valley. For a while we follow the dirt road next to the river that meanders down the valley. But after the wooden...
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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
I traveled to Turkmenistan this year and visited the capital city of Ashgabat. One of the highlights of any stay in Ashgabat is a stop at the famous Tolkuchka Bazaar. The bazaar used to be located in Ashgabat but recently moved to the outskirts of...
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Mary, Turkmenistan
While walking to the Animal Market in Merv, Turkmenistan, I was delighted to see this colorful Baluch couple. They graciously agreed to have their photo taken before entering the market.
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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
If you are planning a trip to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, you must include a visit to perhaps the most spectacular market in all of Central Asia. The famous Tolkuchka Bazaar is a sprawling complex of shopping halls in the desert suburbs of the...
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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
You really can buy anything you want at the famous Tolkuchka Bazaar in the suburbs of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The sprawling shopping complex takes up acres and is arguably the most famous market in Central Asia. I saw these decorative shoes at the...
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Ghonchi, Tajikistan
When I lived in Uzbekistan, most of my food shopping was done at outdoor markets. I really came to appreciate the social interaction and feel of community at these markets where each vendor specializes in selling only one or two types of products....
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Nukus, Uzbekistan
The city of Nukus is located in the Karakalpak desert of western Uzbekistan and is the gateway to the famous shrinking Aral Sea and the graveyard of ships stranded in the sand. Once controlled by the Soviet Empire, Uzbekistan has a history of...
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Urtayap, Uzbekistan
I visited Central Asia in 2011 and had a two-day stay in the historic city of Khiva, Uzbekistan. Khiva has a long history as a side branch of the Silk Road. Today it is a well preserved city full of wonderful mosques, tombs, palaces, alleys and...
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Language gaffes are frequent when traveling, even when you know a fair bit of the language. Sometimes you can't manage to say the simplest things and end up relying on embarrassing pantomime to get your point across. After trial and error at...
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Samarkand, Uzbekistan
I will say a hundred times over, my experiences in Uzbekistan were less then ideal. I guess the great Silk Road cities had been built up so much in my mind that reality could never be satisfactory. In response to this feeling, I spent a lot of...
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Khiva, Uzbekistan
On a trip to Uzbekistan, I visited the historic city of Khiva. The old part of the city is a charming place to spend a day. It is a walled city that was part of the Silk Road. You can wander through this very walkable town admiring the historic...
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Khodja Nurobobod Str., Buxoro, Uzbekistan
If you wander off the main paths in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, and explore the labyrinth of narrow winding streets, you may be fortunate to find this monument symbolizing world unity. This madrassah or monastery is called Chor Minor, meaning the four...
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If you ever find yourself hungry in Tashkent and want a wonderful sit-down dining experience, go to The Caravan. The food is classic Uzbek: Lagman, Norin, Beshbarmak, and Manti, and it is very good. But the dining experience at Caravan goes beyond...
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Kasansay, Uzbekistan
Few travelers get to the Ferghana region of Uzbekistan and fewer still manage to get to Kasansay. There's an exquisite mosque there featuring the corrugated, bulbous domes that are characteristic of the area's Islamic architecture.
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Khiva, Uzbekistan
Khiva must have been one tough place in centuries past when it was a town on the Silk Road and a slave trading center. Inside the walled city is this walled enclave, the Khan’s home or Kunya Ark (Old Fortress). Outside this gate, in the vast...
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Termez, Uzbekistan
The Surkhandarya region in southern Uzbekistan (right across the Amu Darya- nee Oxus River- from Afghanistan) is way off the beaten path even for those who've traveled in the Uzbek republic. It does, however, have a fascination all its own with...
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73, Bakhouddin Nakshbandi street, Buxoro 200100, Uzbekistan
If you ever decide to go to Bukhara, I highly suggest the Amulet Hotel which is located in the center of the old town, in an old Madrassah that has been converted into a bed and breakfast. We became particularly close with a younger fellow who...
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Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Local artisans like Khoni Ghil Meros has revived the ancient art of Samarkand paper making from Medieval times.