Discovering Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

What is it about travelling that makes people happy?

Is it leaving the familiar behind to explore something new? Is it the photos and gifts we bring back as memories? Or is it meeting new people, while seeing new sights along the way? Travelling allows you to see new traditions and cultures, and can also change your mindset about a place or group of people.  Central Asia, the ‘Stans in particular, might not be the first place in mind when it comes to vacation. Maybe this is why it is one of the lesser touristy areas as compared to other parts of Asia.

 

Central Asia is just the opposite of being an unfit holiday destination. Between the landscape, architecture, and people, Wendy Wu Tours can give you the opportunity to explore some of these mysterious countries such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

 

From the busy bazaars to the Naratau Nature Reserve, there is something for everyone in Uzbekistan.

Spend a day shopping among the local community in the heart of the city of Tashkent at Chorsu Bazaar. Here you can find all sorts of handicrafts, fresh fruit, dried fruit, or some yummy lepeshka (toasted bread). After having your fill, enjoy the beauty of the Barak Khana Seminary or the Tillya Sheikh Mosque. You may also visit Tashkent Metro, a train station which could be mistaken for an underground palace, with its grand marble and granite decor.

 

If nature is more to your liking, the Narutau Nature Reserve is just the place for you. Here you will be able to see a wide variety of landscapes and animals, and with just a short hike through the mountains, there is a local mosque, ruins of an ancient fortress, and petroglyphs of the Bronze Age. If you are lucky, maybe you will catch a sight of a rare breed of wild ram, the Severtsev’s sheep. Uzbekistan also is home to Aydarkul Lake. This lake is a considered a geographical miracle, formed in a waterless desert and surrounded by a variety of flora and fauna.

 

If you have ever seen the movie Borat, it might have sparked your interest in Kazakhstan!

However, you may be surprised to find out that it is really nothing like the movie portrays. Kazakhstan has beautiful landscapes, architecture, and people. Find your joy in the capital city of Astana at the Temple of Peace and Accord, a large glass pyramid where diversity becomes unified inside. While in Astana, you cannot miss the Khan Shatyr, a giant futuristic architectural tent. This ‘tent’ contains not only a shopping centre and different entertainment venues but also an indoor beach!

 

After seeing the extraordinary architecture, travel to the city of Almaty and meet a local family in the village of Nura who breed golden eagles. As you learn more about the local culture, take a journey up a winding mountain road to Kok-tobe and see the highest television tower in the world. Almaty doesn’t just have the highest television tower in the world, but they also have the largest speed skating rink in the world in the picturesque valley of Medeo.

 

Kyrgyzstan is the perfect place to really immerse yourself into the local culture.

Here you may be faced with a slower-paced travel time. But this traffic is not the kind to give you road rage! It’s probably due to the shepherds going up the mountain with their sheep or goats to escape the summer heat. Kyrgyzstan is bordered by a large system of mountain ranges called the Tian Shan Heavenly Mountains. As you cross the border from China into Kyrgyzstan, you may feel as if you’re in heaven going through the clouds. Walk in the foothills of the mountains, take in the local way of life in the Ashu Village, or head to Kochkor Village, and watch a shyrdak demonstration where you will learn how the Kyrgyz people make wool carpets. In the Bokonbayevo Village on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, watch the local people show off their hunting skills with eagles.

 

This country is not all mountains and countryside. The nation’s capital, Bishkek, is a city of wide boulevards, museums, churches, and monuments. Here you can visit Ala-Too Square and Oak Park, home to the State Historical Museum of Kyrgyzstan. As well as the Museum of Sculptures, St Nicholas Church, and the People’s Friendship Monument. In the centre, there is a 10-meter bronze statue of the national epic hero, Manas.

 

Travelling to Central Asia can be a life-changing experience. The ‘Stans are places of natural beauty, history, and stunning architecture. On these different tours that we offer, you can see everything. From Samarkand, the most notable name in the Silk Road history; Bukhara, Central Asia’s holiest city; two world record holding sights; and an enormous amount of unique cultural traditions. Happiness can come from experiences like these will leave a lasting impression on you.

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