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The Five 'Stans: The Best Places To Visit In Central Asia

Where to go and what to do in central asia.

Steven Hermans

Steven Hermans

  • In this guide

The Karakum Desert

Bukhara and khiva.

  • Need to know
  • Where to go

The Pamir Highway

The Five ‘Stans… just a handful of countries, but covering a vast swathe of Central Asia.

Where do you start an introduction to a region that stretches from China in the east, to the Caspian Sea in the west, when just one of the countries, Kazakhstan, is almost the same size as Europe?

Some definitions to get us going: the Five 'Stans consist of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and the largest, Kazakhstan. Although these five countries have much in common, they also have quite different cultures and traditions.

Their histories are endlessly fascinating: violence and conquest, mixed with the most breathtaking scientific and cultural breakthroughs, the evidence of which is with us today. Yes, Genghis Khan swept through the region with an unimaginable ruthlessness, creating an empire which has never been equalled in size. And yes, Timur (Tamburlaine) was an equally brutal warlord whose influence extended even into India thanks to his descendants.

But the architecture! The scientific advances! The enlightened education! All while Europe was a wallowing backwater. Much of this impressive legacy remains for the visitor to gaze at and admire in awe. This civilisation created buildings which are still among the most stunning to be seen anywhere in the world. Here was where Ulugh Beg built an observatory (you can still see the ruins) at which he mapped the stars and calculated the length of the year; here was the first paper factory which eventually allowed us in the west to write and to read. The (restored) cities of Samarkand and Khiva are like nowhere else on earth. It's all here, and it's criminally underrated by the world's tourism industry.

Ready to go? Here's our summary of the best places to visit in Central Asia, what to do, and how to get there.

Ashgabat Turkmenistan

Statues around the Monument of Independence in Ashgabat

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Experience the people, history and nature of the 'five stans, best places to visit in the five stans, the highlights of central asia.

The Five 'Stans are the countries at the heart of the Silk Road, along which goods travelled between China and the West. They have vast mountains, vast deserts, vast valleys, vast plains – you get the idea: everything out here is on an epic scale.

They have Soviet-style cities, true, sometimes with immense monuments to past strongmen rulers, but they also have remote villages and nomadic communities where the old traditions endure.

What's in a name?

The “stan” in the names means “land of”. So Kyrgyzstan is the land of the Kyrgyz, Uzbekistan is the land of the Uzbeks, and so on. It follows that although these five countries have much in common, they also have quite different cultures and traditions.

Uzbekistan shahizinda samarkand

Shah-i-Zinda in Samarkand

Samarkand, one of the major stops along the ancient Silk Road, is a bustling city with, at its heart, one of the world’s unmissable sights - the Registan.

Built as madrassas, or schools, they are covered in ceramic tiles that sparkle in the sun. Dating from the 15th century and restored in the 20th, they are among the finest examples of Islamic architecture anywhere.

The Registan is just one of the highlights. The Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, dating from the 11th century, is an extraordinary collection of mausoleums and shrines – more than 20 buildings of stunning beauty, packed together in a relatively small space. Legend has it that the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad is buried there.

And don’t miss the remains of the 15th century observatory on the edge of the city, built by Ulugh Beg. Here is where he mapped the stars and worked out the length of the year, among other things, with astonishing accuracy.

Visiting Samarkand

Visiting Samarkand

No place on the long and winding Silk Road captures the imagination quite like Uzbekistan's Samarkand, the beautifully-preserved 14th-century city and centre of the mighty Timurid Empire…

Aksu Zhabagly nature reserve near Shymkent and Tashkent

Aksu Zhabagly Nature Reserve near Shymkent

This busy town in the south of Kazakhstan, is one of the country’s ancient settlements. Destroyed by Genghis Khan, it recovered to become a major centre along the Silk Road, and in the 20th century developed as one of the country’s main trade and industrial hubs. It has a number of historic sights, but the main attractions are outside the city. The region is famous for its rare tulips that in spring blanket the meadows of the mountains that form a stunning backdrop to the town.

The beautiful national parks that protect the tulips and are sanctuaries for bears and snow leopards, are wonderful to explore on horseback or on a hike: The sight of wild horses roaming through the tulip fields will stay with you forever.

The nearby old oasis towns will give you an unbeatable insight into what life must have been like for the Silk Road traders, and for accommodation try a homestay to sample a genuine Kazakh welcome and the local cuisine which developed out of the traditional nomadic lifestyle.

Visiting Shymkent

Visiting Shymkent

If Almaty is the queen of Kazakhstan, Shymkent is the eager lady-in-waiting…

Almaty Kazakhstan

Park of the First President of Kazakhstan in Almaty

The biggest, Kazakh city, Almaty very pleasant and green, surrounded by mountains, with tree-lined streets and many parks – Panfilov Park in particular is well worth strolling through with colourful wooden Zenkov Cathedral and the Musical Instruments Museum.

The city is known for its cultural life. With its theatres, opera house, and museums, and outdoor cafés, restaurants and international cuisine, it has become the favoured home of Central Asia’s literati. The Arasan baths are a great place to relax. You really need to try the luxury spa experience at what is said to be one of the country’s most striking modernist buildings.

There also much to see beyond the city. The nearby mountains are great for hiking and there’s skiing and open-air ice skating on offer too. And don’t miss the spectacular Charyn Canyon - its red sedimentary rock make it a smaller version of the Grand Canyon and it’s home to a wonderful collection of flora and fauna.

Visiting Almaty: How To Get There & Things To Do

Visiting Almaty: How To Get There & Things To Do

The biggest, most vibrant Kazakh city was the capital until 1997…

Song Kul Lake

Yurt camp at Song Kul Lake

Want to get a taste of nomadic life in remote Kyrgyzstan? This is the place to head for, although it’s not an easy journey.

The lake is over 3,000m up in the Tian Shan Mountains, an area covered with snow for up to 200 days a year, and the water freezes in winter, thawing in April-May. The winters are harsh, but in spring the landscape bursts into life. Nowhere is greener than the slopes around this beautiful lake and dozens of nomadic shepherd families come here to set up camp with their flocks.

You can join them, accept their wonderful hospitality, and have the experience of a lifetime thanks to community-based tourism: Sleep in a yurt, eat and drink as the locals do, soak up the amazing beauty of the landscape, hike or ride to explore it.

It’s remote and difficult to get to, and cold even in summer. But the warmth of the welcome you’ll get will be worth it.

How To Get To Song Kul Lake

How To Get To Song Kul Lake

Central Asia’s archetypal semi-nomadic culture is alive and well in Kyrgyzstan, and nowhere is this more evident than at Lake Song Kul…

Arslanbob Kyrgyzstan

Arslanbob mountain range

Arslanbob is a village, a valley, a mountain range and even a large walnut forest, all in Kyrgyzstan.

The village is tucked away on the edge of a fairytale forest, and it is perfect if you want to spend some time away from cities and the heat of the summer, and hike in glorious surroundings.

Waterfalls and sacred lakes make this a place pilgrims are drawn to, and any visitor will find it irresistible. The walnut forest is vast and ancient. According to legend Alexander the Great took walnuts from here which led to them spreading through Europe and the rest of the world.

That may or may not be true. What is certain is that time spent here, perhaps in a delightful homestay getting to know the locals, will be unforgettable.

Visiting Arslanbob: Highlights & How To Get There

Visiting Arslanbob: Highlights & How To Get There

The fairytale walnut forest of Arslanbob in southern Kyrgyzstan is a year-round destination for visitors…

Darvaza Derweze gas crater called also The Door to Hell in Turkmenistan

The Darwaza Crater in Turkmenistan

The black sands of the Karakum spread over a vast swathe of Turkmenistan – about 70 per cent of the country. Rainfall is scarce and there are few people, but the desert is home to wildlife - lizards, snakes and turtles, foxes and gazelles.

The area was ravaged by Mongol conquests and major cities were destroyed, but there are monuments still standing to give you an idea of what was lost, and in the desert is the eerie Yangikala Canyon which was carved out 5 million years ago by the retreating sea which once covered the whole area.

And then there’s possibly the desert’s weirdest sight of all – the Darwaza Crater, popularly known as the Door to Hell. It’s large, about 70m in diameter and 20m deep, and it is on fire, constantly. It has captured the public imagination and you’ll understand why when you camp nearby and see it glowing ominously in the dark.

Visiting The Karakum Desert

Visiting The Karakum Desert

The black sands of the Karakum Desert were once the domain of roving bands of Turkmen slave raiders that terrorised the Caspian basin…

Alem Cultural and Entertainment Centre is a cultural center in Ashgabat Turkmenistan

Alem Cultural and Entertainment Centre in Ashgabat

The capital of Turkmenistan is weird and unsettling, but fascinating at the same time. It’s huge, richly decorated – and largely empty of people.

Think marble-clad tower blocks looming over wide, but empty, streets and extravagant monuments and gilded statues honouring various heroes of the country. It’s all bizarre, but still worth seeing.

But as befits a city that was founded in the 19th century, there is an old town, and some real life with the Russian bazaar where you can bargain for fruit with the locals.

There are also a number of museums, including the Turkmen Carpet Museum, Fine Arts, and the National Museum of History. There are also mosques and churches worth seeing, the highlights being Turkmenbashy Ruhy mosque and Ertugrul Gazi mosque.

How To Get To Ashgabat

How To Get To Ashgabat

Described as the city “where Las Vegas meets Pyongyang”, nothing can prepare you for the desert mirage that is Ashgabat…

Cycling the Pamir Highway

Cyclists on the Pamir Highway

Now this is probably not for the faint-hearted. Properly known as the M41, the highway connects Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan via the towering Pamir Mountains. It’s the second highest highway in the world, and it’s an epic road trip – if you dare!

The highway attracts pedal and motorcyclists, and drivers, looking for a unique adventure. For much of its length the road is mostly a rough track, but there are also ruins of ancient forts that once guarded the Silk Road trading routes.

The area is unstable, prone to landslides, earthquakes and rock falls – and it goes very close to the Afghan border. The ride is extreme and it’s challenging, but you see the most spectacular mountains, raging rivers and breathtakingly beautiful lakes.

Visiting The Pamir Highway & Mountains

Visiting The Pamir Highway & Mountains

Known locally as “the roof of the world,” the Pamir Mountains dominate with their superlatives…

Po i Kalan or Poi Kalan Bukhara Uzbekistan

Poi Kalan in Bukhara

Don’t count on seeing either of these two striking cities in a day. The history that’s waiting for you in both the ancient centres will blow you away.

Bukhara was one of the major trading posts on the Silk Road and although it has been rebuilt and restored there are many unmissable key sites, too many to list here. It’s easier simply to quote UNESCO’s view: “…the centre is unquestionably of outstanding significance as an exceptional example of a largely medieval Muslim city.”

A big bonus is that it’s easy to get to – it’s on a high-speed train line from Samarkand and Tashkent.

Khiva can be overlooked because of its distance from Bukhara, but that would be such a mistake. It too has an abundance of cultural and historical sites to visit – the old town itself has more than 50 monuments. The city is more than a thousand years old, and its inner walled town was the first site in Uzbekistan to be placed on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Visiting Bukhara And Khiva

Visiting Bukhara And Khiva

Bukhara, sited on the remains of a Buddhist monastery, was to become one of Islam’s most important places during the Middle Ages…

Historical Uzbekistan

Where and how to see uzbekistan's historical cities, about the author.

The Five 'Stans: The Best Places To Visit In Central Asia

Steven is the creator and editor of Caravanistan , an online travel guide to the Silk Road that was described by the Lonely Planet as a "peerless online travel guide to the region". He has been travelling the region since 2010, and has dedicated himself to improving tourism on the Silk Road, both for travellers and locals.

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Travel to Central Asia – Which country should you visit?

By Joan Torres 8 Comments Last updated on April 24, 2024

travel to Central Asia

I spent 5 months traveling through Central Asia and it was the trip of my lifetime.

It’s the most epic region I have ever been to, and not only because this used to be the heart of the Silk Road and has some truly legendary mountains but also because, despite being a barely visited region, it’s a very accessible, tourist-friendly destination which I would even recommend to my mom.

Central Asia, however, is pretty big, a region where you could spend months exploring and, for those who are short of time, choosing the right itinerary that fits their traveling needs can be a tough decision.

Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me at all when many readers email me asking:

I only have X weeks to travel in Central Asia, which countries would you recommend to me?

The truth is that the 5 Central Asian Republics are, on the one hand, very similar – probably because they are all former Soviet Republics, times in which Soviet leaders tried to implement homogeneity across their socialist state.

However, they are also very different, each country offering a truly unique experience.

In this blog, I wanted to give you a detailed overview of each one of the Central Asian Republics, as well as general travel tips for Central Asia.

travel to the stans

In this Central Asia travel guide you will find:

Table of Contents

  • What is Central Asia
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get in
  • How to get around
  • Is it safe?
  • Travel Insurance
  • Which country you should visit

Turkmenistan

  • More resources

our recommended travel insurance for Central Asia

With its backpacker plan, IATI Insurance is the perfect one for countries filled with adventure.

What is Central Asia?

Note: Geographically, Central Asia is composed not only of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan but also Afghanistan , northern Pakistan, and Xinjiang province in China.

However, when you think about visiting Central Asia, most travelers refer to the 5 former Soviet Republics (also known as the Stans), which is what this travel guide is referring to as well.

If you want to know more about Pakistan, read my Pakistan archives .

⛅ Best time to travel to Central Asia

Most of Central Asia has a continental climate, with utterly hot summers and extremely cold winters but, since each country has something different to offer, each one has a specific best season to come over.

How did I organize my trip across the Stans?

As I told you in the introduction, I spent 5 months traveling in the Stans and, from a timing point of view, this is how I organized my itinerary:

  • June 15th to August 15th: Kyrgyzstan
  • August 15th to September 15th: Tajikistan
  • September 15th to October 15th: Uzbekistan
  • October 15th to November 15th: Kazakhstan

It wasn’t a coincidence, but I planned it based on the following criteria:

Visiting Central Asia in summer

Summer is the ideal season for visiting the mountain regions which, in my opinion, should be the highlight of any trip to Central Asia.

However, bear in mind that anywhere outside those areas, the weather will be very hot.

Best time for

Kyrgyzstan – Plenty of nomads and the best season for trekking.

Tajikistan – Same as Kyrgyzstan. If you only have 3 weeks in August, I actually recommend you combine Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Kazakhstan – The southeastern part of Kazakhstan is a mountainous region that belongs to the Tien Shan range. In the east, you also find Katon-Karagay, but that’s very remote.

Not a good time for

Uzbekistan – The highlight of Uzbekistan is visiting cities like Khiva or Bukhara but, in summer, temperatures may reach over 40ºC, so it’s not a good time to visit them. I haven’t been in Uzbekistan during the summer months but during my journey, I met many travelers who were complaining about this.

Turkmenistan – It’s a desert country and, as such, the weather can be extremely hot in summer.

Some parts of Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan is vast and the mountain regions are just a tiny part of it, most of the country comprises endless steppe that becomes overwhelmingly hot in summer.

Moreover, bear in mind that summer is high season, which means the most popular places will be busy.

Read: tips & packing list for trekking in Central Asia

Best time to travel in Central Asia

Visiting Central Asia in spring and autumn

In my opinion, these are the best seasons to visit the Central Asian Republics: most crowds are gone, the weather is pleasant and, if you come in late spring or early autumn, the mountains are still very accessible.

Uzbekistan – The weather is pleasant and the Silk Road cities are less busy.

Turkmenistan – Turkmenistan is free of crowds all year long but, like in Uzbekistan, spring and autumn have the most pleasant weather.

Kazakhstan – Except for the mountain regions, these seasons are the best to enjoy the rest of Kazakhstan, especially the southern part, which includes the Aral Sea, Shimkyent, Turkestan, etc.

Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan – Unless you want to go trekking in very high altitudes (we got snow in the month of June), this should be the best time, as the mountains are very accessible, most backpackers are gone and nomads will still be there. By the way, the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan are best explored during this season.

If you come too early in spring or too late in autumn, you might not be able to go trekking or even camping in Kyrgyzstan , Tajikistan and Kazakhstan .

For example, I visited the mountainous region of Kazakhstan in November and had to skip any sort of trekking because it was already too cold.

travel through Central Asia

Visiting Central Asia in winter

Most of Central Asia is covered by snow but you can still enjoy it somehow.

Uzbekistan – If you don’t mind sightseeing with freezing temperatures and gray skies, it shouldn’t be a bad time to visit Uzbekistan.

Kazakhstan – Same as Uzbekistan, but you really need to wear proper clothes.

Turkmenistan – If you don’t mind the cold, it shouldn’t be that bad!

Kyrgyzstan – In Kyrgyzstan, there is a ski resort, plus you can do some winter nomad sports in the area around Issy-Kul.

From meeting nomads to trekking and wandering around the mountains, winter is not a good time for any adventurous activity which, in my opinion, is the main highlight in Kyrgyzstan , Tajikistan and also Kazakhstan .

best central asia ountry to visit

🛫 Best way to travel to Central Asia

How to travel to the stans by air.

With the region’s increase in popularity, today, traveling to the Stans is becoming easier than ever, and you can find direct flights from many cities in Europe, the Middle East , and Asia.

From Europe, the cheapest cities to travel to Central Asia is by flying to Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and Almaty (Kazakhstan), cities where you can find daily flights with Pegasus.

Dushanbe (Tajikistan) is the second easiest city to travel to. You can find budget flights too, but they don’t have as many connections.

Tashkent , in Uzbekistan, has plenty of fights as well but flights to Uzbekistan are much more expensive due to airport taxes.

The capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat , is a pretty isolated city with expensive flights.

Do you know another of my favorite regions? The Horn of Africa , which includes countries like Ethiopia, Somalia or Eritrea CHECK ALL MY GUIDES HERE

best central asian cities to visit

How to travel to the Stans by land

You can travel to the Central Asian Republics from:

Entering Central Asia from Russia

From Russia, you can enter Kazakhstan from many different entry points, both by train, bus, or even in your own vehicle.

Entering Central Asia from China

From Xinjiang province, you can enter Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. I entered Kyrgyzstan via Irkeshtam Pass and here you can read my full report .

Entering Central Asia from Afghanistan

Afghanistan shares borders with Uzbekistan (very straightforward and easy border to use), Turkmenistan (which apparently is closed), and Tajikistan (the one that leads to the Wakhan is very safe, the other one not so much).

The security situation is changing constantly. Check my guide on how to travel safely in Afghanistan

Entering Central Asia from Iran

Iran shares a border with Turkmenistan and, assuming you have a valid visa, you can cross that border, no problem. Read my Iran travel guide .

Entering Central Asia from Azerbaijan

There is no border with this country but you can take a ferry across the Caspian Sea from Baku to the Kazakh city of Aktau. Moreover, as long as you have a valid visa, you can also take it from Baku to Turkmenbashi, in Turkmenistan. Here you can learn more about the Caspian Sea ferry .

best central asian cities to visit

🛺 How to travel around Central Asia

Traveling between the stans, crossing borders.

Except for a few specific borders which can only be used by nationals, today you can travel from and to any of the Stans, assuming you have a valid visa.

Transportation between the Stans

It’s pretty easy and you can cross all borders by either train, marshrutka, or local shared taxi. The only challenging border crossings (from a transportation point of view) would be between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, for the simple reason that it is a mountainous region with very limited public transportation.

For more information, I strongly recommend you check Caravanistan border crossing reports .

Transportation in Central Asia

The coolest thing about the Stans is that traveling around on a budget, by public transportation is very easy, as you can get to pretty much anywhere around the region by:

Travel by Marshrutka in Central Asia

Marshrutka means mini-bus in Russian and it is the main way of transportation across all former Soviet Union, from Belarus to Tajikistan. They go pretty much anywhere and leave once they are full.

Travel by a local shared taxi in Central Asia

Sometimes, the locals travel in shared taxis because they are faster than marshrutkas, or to reach faraway places where marshrutkas don’t go.

Travel by train in Central Asia

The train is a beautiful way to travel around Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is not very convenient.

best central asian cities to visit

⚠️ Is it safe to travel to Central Asia?

Fact: The Central Asian Republics are one of the safest places I have ever been to, no kidding.

I know that this is a difficult thing to prove with just words but the fact is that during my 5-month trip, I never had a single issue and, other than a few drunk men bothering me, everybody was pretty cool.

Moreover, the Stans is a region where you see a lot of solo female travelers, most of them claiming had a great experience with very few incidents.

Nicole has written a guide about it .

The dangers in Central Asia, however, are more related to the adventurous stuff.

In fact, I had a pretty bad horse accident in Tash Rabat , in which I hurt my back pretty badly and had to stay in bed for 2 weeks. It’s the only serious incident I have ever had when traveling.

Therefore, you must travel in Central Asia with proper travel insurance . More on that below.

🚑 Travel insurance for Central Asia

For traveling around Central Asia, you should get travel insurance with at least the following features and benefits:

  • Covers adventure activities, including trekking in high altitudes
  • Covers multi-country trips for up to 3 months, good for overlanding across the Stans

And, for that, I recommend IATI Insurance . It has budget plans too and readers of this blog get a 5% discount

The best country to travel in Central Asia – Which one should you visit?

Here’s a quick, but complete, overview of all the Stans.

Central Asia travel tip Many of you have emailed me saying that you will only have 3 weeks for traveling in Central Asia, yet you plan to visit at least 3 countries in such a short period of time. While the idea of visiting many countries might sound appealing, the only thing you will achieve with this is seeing nothing. Central Asia is a region made not to rush: spending a few days with nomads or enjoying the mountains are activities one should take easy, besides that moving from one place to another takes a lot of time. If you only have 3 weeks, I recommend you visit a maximum of 2 countries, preferably 1.

best country to travel in Central Asia

Visa for Kyrgyzstan – Most nationalities can get a 2-month free visa on arrival.

In my experience, this was the best country to visit in Central Asia

Lush green meadows, 7,000m-high snow-capped peaks, remote nomadic camps, and the land of horses.

Kyrgyzstan is the ultimate destination for mountain lovers and adventurous travelers, a country composed of some of the most epic mountains I have ever seen, some of them being highly accessible, while others being only suitable for real experts.

Moreover, Kyrgyzstan is a surprisingly easy and cheap country to travel to, with great tourist infrastructure.

In my experience, this was my favorite country to visit in Central Asia.

best places to travel Central Asia

Top 5 experiences in Kyrgyzstan

Trekking in the Tien Shan range – The main reason you come to Kyrgyzstan. Just real epicness.

Staying with real nomads in a yurt camp – Kyrgyzstan is home to the most accessible nomadic culture ever. They are everywhere and, for very little money, you can stay in their yurts.

Trekking on the back of a horse – This is the land of horses and going over a mountain pass on a horse is a must.

Hanging out in Bishkek – The capital of Kyrgyzstan is surprisingly Westernized and a great city to take a couple-of-days-break.

Going to the Alay Valley and Lenin Peak base camp – My most favorite natural site in the country, bordering Tajikistan, this is the most impressive mountain region.

Kyrgyzstan is good for:

Trekking (all types of trekking)

Getting immersed in the nomadic culture

All Central Asia is cheap, but Kyrgyzstan is definitely the cheapest

Further reading:

  • Kyrgyzstan, 1-month itinerary
  • Tips for traveling to Kyrgyzstan
  • A beginner’s guide to trekking in Kyrgyzstan

how to travel around Central Asia

Visa for Tajikistan – Most nationalities can get a free visa on arrival but you’ll need a special permit to visit the GBAO region. Read this visa section for more information.

Far less visited than its neighbor Kyrgyzstan but equally epic, perhaps even more, Tajikistan is another mountain destination, the heart of the Pamir range and home to the Pamir Highway, one of the most celebrated and exciting roads in the world to drive along.

The mountains of Tajikistan are less green and cute than Kyrgyzstan, but that’s because they are wilder, more remote, which means that the tourist infrastructure is also poorer, so, if you are seeking a real off the beaten track experience and can’t decide between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, I definitely recommend Tajikistan.

Prices are quite similar, just slightly more expensive but, since some areas are very remote and not suitable for independent backpackers, the total cost can be considerably higher, especially if you travel the Pamir Highway.

trekking in Central Asia

5 Top experiences in Tajikistan

Driving the Pamir Highway – One of the most stunning roads in the world, if not the most.

Trekking in the Pamirs – Some of the wildest and most stunning treks ever but keep in mind that those mountains are tough.

Wandering along the Afghan border in the Wakhan Valley – An ancient Silk Road route that goes along the Afghan border and filled with epic fortresses and landscapes.

Discovering remote mountain villages in the Fann Mountains – The more accessible Fann Mountains are also home to unspotted rural villages and settlements.

Explore the millennial city of Khujand – One of the oldest cities in Central Asia is Khujand, a traditional city in its purest Tajik form.

Tajikistan is good for:

Epic road trips

Super remote, offbeat landscapes

  • Tajikistan travel tips
  • Pamir Highway travel guide
  • A guide to the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan

people central asia

Visa for Uzbekistan – Some nationalities get a visa on arrival, but others need to apply for an e-visa- Read this visa guide for more information.

Once one of the most hermetic countries in Asia, with very strict visa policies for foreigners, Uzbekistan is today, the most tourist-friendly country to visit in Central Asia, and the only one where you already see some mass tourism evidence, even though – and to be fair – the vast majority of it is concentrated in just 3 cities, the rest of the country remaining quite unexplored.

Uzbekistan has opened its borders to show the rest of the world the majesty of what used to be the heart of the ancient Silk Road, a country filled with absolutely jaw-dropping mosques, shrines and old cities.

However, if you thought the Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva are the only reason to travel to Uzbekistan you would be very wrong, because here you also find some off the beaten track gems, ranging from the dried-out Aral Sea to the less-visited Fergana Valley.

I loved Uzbekistan but, to be honest with you, it’s my least favorite country to travel in Central Asia but this is just my very subjective opinion, as when I travel, I prefer mountains and rural life over visiting cities.

travel guide to Central Asia

Top 5 experiences in Uzbekistan

Checking out the mind-blowing mosques and madrassas – They are absolutely stunning, and the reason number one to come to Uzbekistan.

Traveling back to the Silk Road times – Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva were some of the 3 most important cities on the Silk Road.

Visit the Aral Sea – The planet’s worst environmental disaster and you can visit a city with a harbor and no sea named Moynaq.

Visiting the Fergana Valley – A real off the beaten track region and the heart of Islam in Central Asia.

Walking among Soviet buildings in Tashkent – The capital of Uzbekistan is an old Soviet-planned city and a fun place to wander around for a few days.

Uzbekistan is good for:

Silk Road monuments & architecture

The best bazaars

A bit of off the beaten track stuff

  • Travel tips for Uzbekistan
  • Uzbekistan backpacking itinerary
  • A guide to visit the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan

travel Central Asian republics

Visa for Kazakhstan – Most nationalities can get a visa on arrival valid for 30 days.

If you like visiting weird things and, at the same time, visiting the most Westernized city in Asia or checking out some drop-dead mountains, you are going to love Kazakhstan.

On the one hand, Kazakhstan is a huge country, the 9th largest country in the world and, in order to feel this vastness, I strongly recommend you cross the whole country on a Soviet train, from west to east.

On the other hand, this is home to some of the most off the beaten track attractions in Central Asia, ranging from the forbidden city of Baikonur to a former testing place for atomic bombs, the main city in the dried-out Aral Sea and Nur-Sultan (former Astana), the capital and a city that has quite a few peculiar and extravagant buildings to check out.

Moreover, the old capital Almaty is the most European-like city in all Asia and the mountains in the southeastern part of the country are just gorgeous, even though I couldn’t really enjoy them because I was there in November, but I did enjoy a lot traveling by train, the traditional Kazakh life in Shymkient, the Aral Sea and Baikonur.

how to travel to Central Asia

Top experiences in Kazakhstan

Travel in a Soviet train through the steppe – Epic multi-day journeys through endless Kazakh steppe.

Discover the gorgeous mountains of southeastern Kazakhstan – Unbelievable scenery filled with alpine lakes and canyons.

Hang out in Almaty – The most European city in Asia, a city where I would not mind living for a while.

Visit the Aral Sea – The worst environmental disaster caused by humans and in Kazakhstan, you find the largest city, today mainly composed of a harbor without a sea.

Kazakhstan is good for:

Trekking (all types)

Train travel

Best city (Almaty)

Weird, offbeat stuff

  • Kazakhstan travel tips
  • Kazakhstan, 1-month itinerary
  • Train travel in Kazakhstan

Asia best places to visit

Visa – There are two types of visa: 1 ) Transit visa , which is a 5-day visa that you can only apply for if you enter overland and exit overland through two different countries. For example, Uzbekistan -> Turkmenistan -> Iran – 2) Tourist visa : You can get a longer, normal visa if you book a full tour with a valid tour operator.

Welcome to one of the most secretive countries in the world .

Along with Eritrea and North Korea, Turkmenistan is, sadly, one of the most repressive countries on Earth, the reason why this is also the most difficult destination to travel to in Central Asia (in fact, the only difficult one).

Actually, this is the only country in Central Asia I haven’t visited, basically because they denied me a visa when I applied from Tashkent . It is very high on my list and I am sure I will travel there soon.

Infamous for being ruled by an egocentric leader who spends billions in building nonsensical, and absolutely strange buildings to worship himself, Turkmenistan is the offbeat capital of Central Asia, but these weird things are not the only reason for visiting the country, but this is also home to some Silk Road wonders such as the city of Merv, and wonderful desert landscapes.

5 Top experiences in Turkmenistan

Exploring Ashgabat – A city made of marble and ridiculous monuments built with the sole purpose of satisfying the leader’s needless caprices.

Visiting Konye-Urgench – Minarets and turquoise-tiled mosques, like in Uzbekistan, but without souvenir shops.

Camping next to Darvaza crater – A living gas crater that has been burning for ages in the middle of the desert.

Checking out Merv – Probably, the most famous archeological site in Central Asia.

Wandering around Yangykala Canyon – Unique shapes, patterns, and colors, this desert is definitely worth to pay a visit.

Turkmenistan is good for:

Silk Road archaeological sites, cities and monuments

Desert landscapes

  • Turkmenistan, 1 week itinerary
  • Turkmenistan travel tips

best central asian cities to visit

📚 Best books about Central Asia and the Silk Road

These are just my top 5 books.

For more options, read: Best books on the Silk Road

Sovietistan, by Erika Fatland

A solo female traveler who travels across the 5 Stans, unveiling and discovering the darkest and most offbeat secrets in Central Asia.

best central asian cities to visit

Dictators without borders, by Alexander A. Cooley Ph.D. and John Heathershaw

International politics and the influence of Central Asia in the Western world, and how Western Governments have been involved in plenty of dirty businesses with Central Asian dictators.

best central asian cities to visit

Turkestan solo, by Ella Maillart

A solo female traveler who traveled in Central Asia in the 30s, so this travelogue will help you understand what was it like to travel in Central Asia during the Soviet Union times.

best central asian cities to visit

The Silent steppe, by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov

The story about the forced displacement that millions of Kazakh nomads suffered during Stalin’s regime, and the author is a survivor who tells the struggles that he and his family had to go through.

best central asian cities to visit

Murder in Samarkand, by Craig Murray

The human rights abuse in Uzbekistan during the regime from the previous president Islam Karimov, who ruled the country from its independence until 2016.

best central asian cities to visit

❗ More resources for traveling in the Stans

📢 In my Travel Resources Page you can find the list of all the sites and services I use to book hotels, tours, travel insurance and more.

For everything related to visas, updated information on border crossings, etc., your best source is going to be Caravanistan .

Guidebooks for backpacking in Central Asia

Central asia travel guide by lonely planet.

If you are traveling to several countries in the region, you may want to get the LP, the most complete travel guide to Central Asia. Since they talk about 5 countries in one single book, however, the information is a bit limited.

best central asian cities to visit

Central Asia travel guides by Bradt

If you want to get deeper in each one of the countries, I strongly recommend you get Bradt guides, as they have one separate book for each country.

Bradt is my favorite brand when it comes to guidebooks because their information is always so insightful and they put a focus on off-the-beaten-track places.

  • Kyrgyzstan Bradt Guide
  • Tajikistan Bradt Guide
  • Kazakhstan Bradt Guide
  • Uzbekistan Bradt Guide
  • Turkmenistan Bradt Guide

You may also want to get a Kindle, so you don’t carry so many books with you.

travel to the Central Asian Republics

Hi Joan i read your interview on superblogging.com. It was very insightful. I am looking at starting a blog in 2 languages, I am just a bit confused, so you create the same post in 2 languages, but how do you add the flag feature that changes the language. Thanks Devyani

Hi Devyani, The ”flag” feature is just an option available in WPML, and it’s optional. The reason I have it is that it can be good for SEO purposes, since you are directly telling Google that there’s a translation available for that specific post.

I was disappointed to read your article. If you didn’t want to travel to Uzbekistan, why did you come? What you write is your right. but it is necessary to treat that country and its people with a little respect

what are you talking about dude

Hi Joan I am thinking on travelling to Central Asia this summer, in August or September, for 3 weeks. At the beginning I was thinking on visiting Uzbekistan but then, because maybe it will be hot, and also because I have read many articles here, I am thinking on Kyrgyzstan (and possibly Tajikistan too, or probably not). My doubt is, if I do it as a solo traveller, I think that maybe all the hiking alone could be boring and even dangerous. I am learning a bit of Russian and I think I will be able to communicate with locals, but not too much. So probably Uzbekistan being more a city travel will be better for a solo trip. I would like to know your opinion, thank you so much in advance.

Hello Antonio! I like traveling to countries during the right season and basically, August is not a good season for Uzbekistan, with temperatures in cities being over 40ºC. On the other hand, August is the best season for hiking in Kyrgyzstan. Go to Karakol and do stay in a hostel. Many people go there just for trekking, and you’re likely to meet other travelers you could share the hike with, not to mention that some trails might be busy with other travelers too.

Thank you so much for your answer Joan!!

Central Asia is a captivating region to explore, and this comprehensive guide provides valuable insights for travelers. The author’s personal experience and recommendations make it even more enticing. The information on visas, best times to visit, transportation options, and safety is particularly helpful. The description of Kyrgyzstan as a paradise for mountain lovers and adventurous travelers adds to the allure. Overall, this guide is a fantastic resource for anyone planning a trip to Central Asia.

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22 Top Tourist Places to Visit in Central Asia

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22 Top Tourist Places to Visit in Central Asia

Central Asia consists of 5 stans mainly. These 5 countries are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. These are land locked countries. Central Asia a beautiful land of mountains, rivers, lakes and deserts. At the same time modern cities like Almaty, Tashkent, Astana, Bishkek and Samarkand are a tourist place with absolute modern infrastructure and amenities. In recent times tourists flow in Central Asian countries have increased substantially. There are many wonderful Tourist Places in Central Asia which you can visit on your trip to these countries and cities. For you we are bringing Top 22 Tourist Places to Visit in Central Asia. B est Tourist Places & Attractions in Central Asia:

Issyk Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

Issyk-Kul Lake in the north-eastern Tian Shan is the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan and the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca. Issyk Kul is one of the prime tourist spots in Kyrgyzstan. This lake never freezes. This is a beautiful lake and you must be here to have a wonderful experience of seeing the water of the lake and experience simply sitting on the shore of it. Issyk Kul Lake is quite close to the capital city Bishkek and this is also a reason why it simply gets in the itineraries of visitors. A beach holiday is quite popular at Issyk Kul Lake. For the visitors there are resorts, boarding houses and vacation homes. Cholpon Ata on the northern side of Issyk Kuk Lake is the best known town to the lake. You can enjoy a good time in the town. Issyk Kul Lake is surrounded by such beauty that once you see the entire panoramic view you surely will never forget it.

Read More: Issyk Kul Lake and Its Nearby Tourist Spots in Kyrgyzstan

Chimgan Mountain, Uzbekistan

Chimgan Mountain ski resort is a wonderful place to be at especially in the summers when it is hot in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. You should be here when you are on a Tashkent trip with an Uzbekistan Tour Package or a Tashkent Tour Package. You can reach Chimgan in 2 hours ride from Tashkent. This is also one of the best places to be during winters. Chimgan is at the height of 1600 meters in the western Tien Shan Mountain surrounding Tashkent from the east. There is a snow blanket covering Tien Shan Mountain at the top and snow slips down to the downside of mountain in winters which makes entire space a heavenly one. Chimgan is also popularly known as ‘Uzbek Switzerland’. Slopes here are covered with relict-fir tree woods and Mountain River sails through mountain and hills. Chimgan has been developed as a recreational zone and tourist place. You get the best of amenities here as there are many rise buildings, hotels, cottages, cable rail roads, shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. You also have recreation zones, sana tourism and summer camps here.

Read More: Chimgan Mountain, Tashkent

Must Read: 5 Tashkent Facts

Registan Square, Samarkand

Registan Square is located in Samarkand , Uzbekistan. Registan represents Timurid period in Uzbekistan. In those days it was the heart of ancient Samarkand of Timurid dynasty. Meaning of word Registan in Persian language is a desert or sandy place. Registan square happened when craftsmen and builders from across the empire of Timurid period came along in the late 14th century and build this beautiful Registan Square. Samarkand city is said to be a place where people from different lands came and lived. It had wonderful Islamic Architectures and it was a great learning center. All of this you can feel together in Registan Square which represents all three aspects of Samarkand.

Attractions in Samarkand: Gur e Amir & Shah-I-Zinda

Must Read: Classical Islamic Architectures in Central Asia

Big Almaty Lake, Kazakhstan

Big Almaty Lake as the name suggests is in Almaty, Kazakhstan or 25 KM drive from Almaty to be precise. This is located at an altitude of 2511 m, Lake is 1.6 km long, little under 1 km wide, and up to 40 m deep and located at the altitude of 2511 m. Big Almaty Lake is surrounded by three majestic mountain peaks, Soviet (4317m), Ozerniy (4110m) and Turist(3954m). Unique thing about the lake is that it changes its colour in different times of the day, month and year. Water of the lake reflects the magnum opus of nature that surrounds the lake on its surface.

Big Almaty Lake is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world . This is definitely the second most popular lake in entire Central Asia after Issyk Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan. The lake is surrounded by mountains and giant Tien Shan firs and among these you would find Big Almaty Lake a scenic beauty. You can visit the lake during May-June which is considered the best time to visit the lake for tourists.

Read More: Big Almaty Lake - Kazakhstan

Attractions: Tourist Attractions in Kazakhstan

Charvak Reservoir, Uzbekistan

Charvak Reservoir or lake is a water reservoir. This is located in Bostanliq district in northern part of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Today Charvak Reservoir is one of the best recreational areas in Tashkent for those coming here on Tashket Tour . It is quite easy to get there because it is located only 60 KM away from Tashkent. The coastline of the reservoir goes up to 100 KM and the reservoir is surrounded by green slopes of mountains, and snows topped. Charvak Reservoir was built in 1970. There are lot of recreational zones, boarding houses and summer camps within this area. Lake Charvak Resort here attracts huge number of visitors and tourists from and outside Uzbekistan.

You can indulge in some interesting activities here like swimming, hiking along nearby hills and mountains. Adventure lovers can also go for paragliding or ride on water. Others can simply enjoy the peaceful environment, views of pure blue colored water and fresh air. Not just the reservoir but surroundings sites are also quite beautiful to watch. If possible don’t forget to witness sunrise and sunsets here which are unforgettable once they set into your eyes.

Read More: Charvak Reservoir - Tashkent

Places to Visit: Tashkent Tourist Places

Medeu Skating

Medeu is a world Known ice skating rink. It is located at the altitude of 1,691.2 meters above sea level in a mountain valley on the south-eastern outskirts of Almaty. As of now the rink is artificially converted rink. In this ice surfaced rink many sports contests are conducted which include skating, hockey and figure skating. High mountain skating has gained lot of popularity in the world in last few years and this makes Medeu quite a popular place. Medeu has witnessed many world records in all the speed skating distances. Medeu continues to be one of the best-known tourist locations in Kazakhstan .

Read More: Medeu in Almaty

Chimbulak Ski Resort Almaty

Shymbulak or Chimbulak is a ski resort in the beautiful mountains near Almaty in Kazakhstan. You have to be at Chimbulak Ski Resort when you are in Almaty. The skiing journey up the road is quite amazing as one see snowy slopes and Tien Shan firs all over your left, right and ahead. And on the slopes is Chimbulak Ski resort welcoming the visitors. Chimbulak area offers you the snowy alps, gardens, forests, Tien Shan spruces and crystal clear water of the mountain Malaya Almatinka river to admire.

Read More: Chimbulak Ski Resort in Almaty

Must Read: Places You Must See in Kazakhstan

Kok Tobe Mountain

Kok Tobe is the highest point in Almaty . So visitors go up there and experience amazing view from the top. It is truly a hilarious experience. On a Almaty trip with Almaty Package , Kok Tobe is one of the main landmark points of Almaty. On top of Kok Tobe there is recreational area with many amusement parks type attractions and on the foot of is another attraction, TV tower. Food lovers can enjoy cuisine of lot of restaurants located here offering variety of food. The TV tower is one of the highest towers in the world and is unique in a way that the entire tower is built of steel. One can have panoramic view from the top of the Kok Tobe Mountain and see Almaty in all directions. One can get to Kok Tobe top through cable car and this little journey is also quite interesting. You go through some of the oldest part of Almaty city. Evening is the best time for those who would love to see city bathing in lights.

Read More: Kok Tobe Mountain, Almaty

Karakul Lake Kyrgyzstan

Karakul Lake is located at the height of 3914 m adorning the highest part of Pamir Highways . This is in a village with the same name Karakul. Karakul means Black so Karakul Lake is translated as Black Lake. Pamir Highway is just few hundreds meters away from the Karakul Lake and you can enjoy the view of this beautiful lake for 40 KM. The lake is quite beautiful and the bright blue colored water makes it even more charming.  You should be here with the Best Kyrgyzstan Travel Packages .

Picturesque landscape of snow-capped peaks of Pamir gets reflected in waters of the Karakul Lake and this is absolutely great view for the visitors. When you reach the lake you can feel much closer and is deep in color. Night is special time because you can enjoy bright light of Milky Way.

Know More: Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide

Falcon Show, Almaty

Falconry is a sport of hunting with birds of prey like eagle. This sport has a long history. Hunting with golden eagles has been a tradition dating back thousands of years on the Eurasian steppe. Currently it is still practiced in U.S., U.K., Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan and in China.

Hunting with birds has been an art practiced in Kazakhstan for long. Hunters take a lethal bird of prey from its mother, nurse it until it has a wingspan larger than most humans, and then train it to attack fast-moving prey from the air and hand it over to them, their masters. Now tradition of Kazak people hunting with eagles for centuries is being revived as competitive sport in the country. This tradition of falconry is getting lot of attention lately. There is an eagle hunting museum in the small town of Nura, two hours east of Almaty. You can see the falcon show in Almaty and admire the most beautiful birds of prey, learn about their biological characteristics. In the falcon show you can see the trained birds demonstrating how to hunt with a bird, how the birds gather food from the water, and more. You can truly experience the tradition and history of falconry during the spectacular performance with the free-flying birds of prey.  

Read More: Falconry in Kazakhstan

Must Read: Tourism in Kazakhstan

Karakol Ski Base, Kyrgyzstan

Karakol Ski Resort is the best ski resort in not just in Karakol town, Kyrgyzstan but entire Central Asia region. The Karakol Ski resort is the best place for skiing. It is surrounded by pine forest and is an absolute delight for both beginners and experienced skiers. Those not interested in skiing can enjoy the the view around which is so spectacular over Issyk Kul Lake and the wider Tien Shan Range . Snow blanket above 1 m over the mountain is quite normal to be seen. On your skill base you can choose to go for easy, intermediate and difficult skiing. The weather changes frequently, so the opening times are provided by the Ski resort of Karakol and it may vary which is dependent on external conditions, day and time, school holidays and other public holidays.

Equipment for skiing are available on rent on the site itself. Accommodation and food is available here however they are not in plenty. The pine forests and a mild climate combined together make this skiing place highly attractive for winter holidays. Temperature rarely foes below -5 degree here in winter season and snow cover goes up to 2.5 meters. In the summers also one can enjoy horse riding, hiking or take off road routes for adventure activities.

Read More: Karakol Ski Base

Tashkent - Samarkand Bullet Train

Tashkent-Samarkand Bullet Train covers 344 KM connecting two largest cities of Uzbekistan. The train passes through Tashkent, Sirdaryo, Jizzakh and Samarkand. The Bullet train runs for all 7 days of a week under the brand name Afrosiyob. So one looking to travel from Tashkent to Samarkand or from Samarkand to Tashkent can buy tickets and board the bullet train for a 2.30 hours journey. Yes, the train runs at maximum speed of 250 KM/H and takes 2.30 hours to complete one way journey. You should also enjoy this high speed bullet train travel experience when you are in Uzbekistan on your Uzbekistan Trip .

Read More: Train Journey in Uzbekistan

The Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan

Charyn Canyon is Kazakhstan’s supreme rift. This canyon is cracked open and enlarged by a river with the same name. When you have visited the plains of Almaty in plenty then you will find Charyn Canyon as a grand surprise. The canyon has happened over millions of years and today you can find a fantastic shapes and shadows here. You can take a day trip to Charyn Canyon from Almaty and enjoy walking, rafting off-road jeep touring and simply immerse in beautiful nature. Simple 4 hours drive from Almaty Charyn Canyon is a must see place in Kazakhstan.

Today the Canyon stretches up to approximately 150 km, and, in places up to 300 meters deep. The canyon features a dramatic landscape with beautiful red sand and formidable rock formations. This is a great place for rafting, hiking, climbing or nature appreciation.

Read More: The Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan

Historical Sites: World Heritage Sites of Kazakhstan

The Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan has plenty of gas fields. Gates of hell is also part of one of those. This is in karakum desert in Turkmenistan. This is basically a natural gas field which is known as Door to hell or Gates to hell. This is a natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan. This had collapsed into an underground cavern in 1971, which became a natural gas crater. At present this is not just a crater but also quite an attraction for tourists. In the past five years more than 50,000 tourists have visited this Gate of hell.  The gas crater has a total area of 5,350 m square, which is equal to the size of an American football field. The surrounding area is also popular for wild desert camping.

Book this Package Now! : Turkmenistan Tour Packages

Places to Visit: Turkmenistan Attractions

Know more about the " Turkmenistan Tourism "!

The Pamir Highway, Tajikistan

Pamir Highway is second highest highway in the world located in Tajikistan. This is also one of the most dangerous and adventurous route in the world. This highway is paved and unpaved both. Travelling on unpaved parts is more dangerous. In the past this highway has been used as one of the old silk routes for trades. Pamir highway runs from Khorog in Tajikistan to Osh in Kyrgyzstan. Landslides and rock fall incidents happen quite regularly here. Unpredictable weather on top makes it even more adventurous.

Historically it was called Pamir Highway and now it is officially called M41. Most of the Pamir Highway is located in Tajikistan, but the highway also goes through Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. Most part of the highway is still unpaved and the road is heavily damaged in many places caused by erosion, earthquakes, landslides and avalanches. The Pamir highway leads from the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, through Tajikistan (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Khorug, Dushanbe), via the eastern part of Uzbekistan, to Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan. All the adventure lovers challenge themselves to walk the Pamir highway.

Read More: Pamir Highway - An Epic Adventure

Know More: About Tajikistan

8 Lakes Resort Almaty

Located just 30 min drive from Almaty, 8 Lakes Resort is a unique complex. You get largest pool complex, fine dining choices and many outdoor activities here. You love to have great time at resorts and 8 lakes resort offers you variety of recreational facilities. This simply means that the 8 lake resort is a perfect place to be for families on a holiday or people on a business trip. When you go to a trip you look for home away from home. 8 lakes resort is such a place where you get the comfort of home. You can enjoy your stay here when in Almaty with Almaty Tour Package for that perfect rejuvenation and relaxation that you are looking for.

8 Lakes Almaty - Map

Must Read: Reasons Why You Should Visit Almaty & 5 Natural Attractions in Almaty

Tau Spa Resort, Almaty

Just 15 minute drive from Almaty Tau Spa Resort is located at the foothills of Zailisky Alatau in natural boundaries of the magnificent gorge of Almarasan. In Tau Spa resort you get everything you expected. There are several pools in the fresh air with hills. There are indoor pools as well. Both children and adults can enjoy the swimming in pools of the resort. You also have choices of entertainment and restaurants which offer Kazakh, Russian, European and Georgian meals. In the resort there is Tau Spa center along with many restaurants and clubs. You will for sure have a great time here. The prices of rooms are economical and features are excellent.

Attractions in Almaty: Central Mosque & Sunkar International Ski Jumping Complex

Hammams in Uzbekistan

Bath houses of medieval time are called Hammams in Central Asia . This form of architecture shows the town planning and development of the region. There were numbers of Hammams in Uzbekistan . Bukhara had 16, Tashkent had 11 by the middle of 19 th century and Samarkand had 8 at the beginning of 20 th century. Depending on the locations baths were divided into 2 types. One was located in the bazaar and another one was located in blocks. For better conveniences, many hammams were built at a crossroads of streets, closer to other public buildings. Such Hammams in Bukhara and Samarkand were called “ Hammom Kundjak ”, which means a “ corner bath ”. One of such baths is still functional near Kalyan Minaret in Bukhara .

These Hammams represented civil architecture of Central Asia and many of these still functions successfully. In Bukhara particularly two Hammams Bozori Kord and Kundjak Hammam are still active and you can go there to experience the atmosphere of the medieval east.

Know more " About Uzbekistan At a Glance "!

Camel Ride in the Kizilkum Desert, Uzbekistan

Kizikulam Desert is the 16 th largest desert in the world. The desert is located in doab region in Central Asia between Amu Darya and Syr Darya. The desert is divided between Uzbekistan, Kazakhtan and Turkmenistan. In the desert camel riding is a great tourist activity. Camel riding is a wonderful experience anyway. And in the Kizilkum desert in Uzbekistan, camel ride is an exotic outdoor activity. You will get to see bactrian camels (two-humped) in the Kyzyl-Kum Desert. You can ride these camels which are very interesting and informative. There are camel camps in the Kizilkum desert among the dunes. For rest, stay and sleep there are tents. You can opt for camel riding for a single day or for days.

Places to Visit: Uzbekistan Tourist Attractions

Historical Sites: World Heritage Sites of Uzbekistan

Iskanderkul, Tajikistan

Iskanderkul is a Mountain Lake in Tajikistan . The lake is 2.5 KM long and 1 KM wide with depth of 72 m at the deepest part of it. Iskanderkul is located at the height of 2,255 m above sea level. Not just locals of Tajikistan but people from all over the world now come to see Iskanderkul and you should also visit this beautiful lake with best Tajikistan Tour Package .

Turquoise, calm and surrounded by giant ranges of Fann mountains Iskander is a popular tourist place far beyond Tajikistan borders. Fann Mountain around the lake creates the most spectacular and picturesque places. However because of high concentration of minerals there is almost no aquatic life in the lake and only small loach can be found in the waters of the lake.

Read More: Iskanderkul Lake – Tajikistan

Attractions: Top Tajikistan Tourist Attractions

Chorsu Bazaar - Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Chorsu Bazaar is in Tashkent, capital city of Uzbekistan. It is located in in the old town of Tashkent. Chorsu Bazaar is a traditional Bazaar which is hundreds years old. Chorsu Bazaar is quite colorful. This bazaar is the biggest and one of the oldest in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia. Located across the street from Chorsu Station of the Tashkent metro near Kukeldosh Madrasah , you will get all daily necessities available. Tashkent has been a trade center where from good came into and went out of Tashkent. So a fair was set up where goods came into and went out eastward, westward, southward and northward caravan routes. This was called as Chorsu which means crossroad. Since then this oriental bazar has lived through in Tashkent city. Market has always been alive and a place where people gathered, talked, shared their lives. So chorus bazaar is not just a market place to buy goods when you are in Tashkent with Tashkent Tour Package but it enjoys great flavor of the orient as well.

Must Read: Famous Tashkent Bazaars & Markets

Zelyony Bazaar Almaty

Are you an old school type who loved to go to markets for shopping and not the newly built malls. If yes then in Almaty you can head towards Zelyony Bazaar located near Paniflov Park. This is also known as Green Market. This is a market where you can buy everything like clothes, furniture, spices, meats and fruits. And on top of that you can bargain hard here.

On your Almaty tour package you can visit the market. You will be delighted to see the atmosphere and variety of goods available in the market. For different items there are different sections and at each section you will be amazed to see variety of items being sold in the Zelyony Bazaar .

Osh Bazaar Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Osh Bazaar is oldest Bazaar of Kyrgyzstan and one of the oldest in entire Central Asia. It is one of the largest Bazaars in Bishkek as well. You get everything in Osh Bazaar like food products, any household items, clothes, souvenirs, musical instruments or any other item. Osh Bazaar is one of the main attractions of Bishkek and must visit place while on a Bishkek trip with Bishkek Tour Package . In this chaotic Bazaar you can buy souvenirs, clothes and everything else under the sun. You can witness the local life and culture through this Bazaar where on top of it you can buy anything you wish to.

Osh Bazaar , the shopping center of Bishkek was a key stop on the ancient Silk Road through Central Asia. The smell of spices, the crowd leaving little space to move, haggling of smiling vendors and much more gives you a vibe of multicultural intensity of the Bazaar.

Top Bishkek Markets: Dordoy Bazaar in Bishkek

Things To Do: Kyrgyzstan Tourist Attractions

Central Asia Highlights

Central Asia Travel Guide & Highlights:

So all above are the Major Central Asia Attractions which you can visit on your tour to Central Asia countries and cities. You can ask to your tour operator to add-on some of the above places in tour itinerary on your trip to Central Asia.

Dook Dossier: Hera is a complete CIS and Central Asia Tour & Travel Guide for Travellers, Travel Agents and Tour Operators. Dook International covered everything in their dossier about CIS countries such as Tourism overview, Cheat sheet, Penny wise of travel items, Itinerary highlights, Interesting facts, Visa information, Flight route, Major attractions, Optional activities, Fashion, Food, Restaurants, etc. Check out now! Dook Dossier 2017-18

Here are some more articles published by Dook International which help you to know more about Central Asia like Tourist Destinations & Things to Do in Central Asia, Facts about Central Asia Tours, Central Asia Travel Information.

  • 8 Lakes Resort
  • Zelyony Bazaar
  • Big Almaty Lake
  • Camel Ride in the Kizilkum Desert
  • Central Asia Attractions
  • Central Asia Tourist Places
  • Charvak Reservoir
  • Charyn Canyon
  • Chimgan Mountains
  • Chorsu Bazaar
  • Falcon Show
  • Iskanderkul
  • Issyk Kul Lake
  • Kok Tobe Mountain Almaty
  • Registan Square
  • Tashkent - Samarkand Bullet Train
  • The Gates of Hell
  • The Pamir Highway
  • Tourist sites in Central Asia

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10 Extraordinary Places to Visit in Central Asia

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Often referred to collectively as Central Asia, the countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan contain a diverse array of cultures and landscapes worth experiencing in person. Cultural landmarks along the Silk Road, like the 11th century Burana Tower, showcase the ancient architectural ingenuity found within the region, while majestic wonders like Charyn Canyon and Iskanderkul Lake reveal its stunning natural beauty.

Here are 10 extraordinary places in Central Asia worth exploring.

Pamir Highway

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Formally known by its Soviet road number M-41, the colloquially known Pamir Highway follows part of the ancient Silk Road trade route through the rugged Pamir Mountains. The famous road was paved mostly by the Soviets in the 1930s and has little in the way of signage or formal routing. The Pamir Highway passes through Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan, along scenic mountain terrain, across rivers, and through parts of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as well—making it one of the best ways to see the region up close.

Kaindy Lake

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Situated within Kolsay Lakes National Park in southern Kazakhstan, Kaindy Lake was formed in 1911 when a limestone landslide dammed up a gorge and it was filled with water from a mountain river. The beautiful lake, which reaches 1,300 feet long and 98 feet deep, has a blueish-green hue due to the deposit of limestone in the water. Kaindy Lake is also notable for the Asian spruce trunks rising above its surface, giving it the nickname “sunken forest.”

Mo'ynoq

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In the sands of western Uzbekistan lies the former fishing town of Mo'ynoq. The once populous community has dwindled by the thousands since its heyday in the 1980s, when the Aral Sea still lapped up against the shores there. Over time, destructive irrigation practices of nearby cotton farms depleted the water to such an extent that it eventually evaporated altogether. Today, the fishing, the sea, and most of the people who once lived there are gone, leaving only the rusting remnants of the former beachfront stuck alone in the sand. Visitors to Mo'ynoq can take Jeep tours of what's left of the former seaside village and see the city museum, which details what life was once like there.

Burana Tower

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In the Chuy Valley of northern Kyrgyzstan, the 82-foot-tall Burana Tower stands as the last remaining vestige of the ancient city of Balasagun. Built by the Karakhanids in the 11th century, the structure is what’s known as a minaret—a tower built near mosques often used in the Muslim call to prayer. Burana Tower is made of brick and features an external staircase to the top, as well as a staircase on the inside. Although the tower is one of the oldest standing structures in Central Asia, it is not in its original state, having been reduced over the years from the height of 148 feet by earthquakes.

Door to Hell

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A collapsed natural gas reservoir in a Turkmenistan cavern known as the Darvaza gas crater has been burning for decades and is often referred to as the Door to Hell. Although the specific dates are disputed, the story goes that Soviet engineers discovered the gas field sometime in the 1970s, and when they tried to assess the viability of the site and set up a rig, the reservoir collapsed. In an attempt to keep poisonous gases from the nearby village of Darvaza, the engineers set fire to the site and it has been burning ever since. Today, the Door to Hell has become a popular tourist attraction, with visitors pitching tents to camp in the desert sand close by.

Charyn Canyon

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Part of Charyn National Park in Kazakhstan, Charyn Canyon is a mesmerizing natural wonder that runs 56 miles along the Charyn River. Beautiful rock sculptures formed by water and wind erosion can be found along the stunning two-mile-long Valley of Castles. The colorful and intricate red sandstone patterns adorning the walls throughout the canyon can be observed from a variety of hiking trails or from a white water raft or canoe in the river below.

Registan Square

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Registan, or “sandy place” in Persian, was the center of the ancient city of Samarkand in modern day Uzbekistan, and stands today as an impressive remnant of the Timurid Empire. The highlight of Registan Square are the three "madrassas," Arabic for “schools,” that border the square. The first one built, Ulugh Beg Madrasa, was constructed from 1417 to 1420 by the grandson of the first Timurid ruler, Timur, and features a large, vaulted hall called an iwan, with two towering minarets on either side. The other two madrassas, Sher-Dor Madrasa and Tilya-Kori Madrasa, were built centuries later in the early and mid-17th century.

Iskanderkul Lake

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Roughly 7,000 feet up in the Fann Mountains of the Sughd Province of Tajikistan lies the greenish-blue waters of Iskanderkul. The glacial lake was formed by a landslide that blocked the Saratogh River and is named after Alexander the Great, who passed through Tajikistan during his conquests. Along with the forests, rivers, and meadows surrounding it, the lake has been designated as a nature reserve and is popular tourist attraction due to its close proximity to the country’s capital, Dushanbe. Iskanderkul and the nature reserve that it’s a part of are home to a wide variety of birds—from sulphur-bellied warblers and white-winged snow finches to Himalayan rubythroats and fire-fronted serins.

Tomb of Ahmad Sanjar

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Located within the medieval city of Merv in modern-day Turkmenistan, the Tomb of Ahmad Sanjar stands as a stunning example of 12th century architecture in the region. The structure is built from stucco, brick, terra cotta, and plaster, and features 46-foot-high walls in the shape of a cube with a large dome on top if it. Originally built in 1157, the mausoleum was made in honor of the recently deceased Seljuk ruler Ahmad Sanjar and was destroyed by the Mongols in 1221. The tomb was rebuilt several times over the centuries by a variety of groups, however, and today it's a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the rest of the ancient city of Merv.

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The alpine lake of Song Kul sits 9,895 feet high in the mountainous northern region of the Naryn Province in Kyrgyzstan. The 167-square-mile lake is the largest freshwater lake in Kyrgyzstan and is nestled between the Moldo Too mountains to the south and the Songkul Too ridge to the north. Song Kul and the grassy fields surrounding it are especially popular among travelers in the summertime. Visitors to the beautiful mountain lake enjoy swimming, hiking, camping, and horseback riding at the scenic alpine getaway.

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Top 10 Places to See in Central Asia

Top ten places to see in central asia:.

Central Asia travel

#1 The cities of Uzbekistan’s ancient Silk Road – Samarkand , Bukhara , Khiva

#2 song kul – an alpine lake surrounded by lush summer pasture in kyrgyzstan, #3 the pamir highway traversing tajikistan, #4 darvaza – the gas crater also known as the “gate of hell”, turkmenistan, #5 issyk kul –  mountain lake located in kyrgyzstan, #6 astana- the modern capital of kazakhstan, #7 the turquoise lakes and world-class trekking in tajikistan’s fann mountains , #8 charyn canyon in kazakhstan, #9  ashgabat in turkmenistan – home to several guinness records for architectural achievements, #10 the tian shan mountains in kyrgyzstan.

To see the top 10 places in three weeks take a look at our Best of Central Asia Tour .

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20 experiences you must have in Central Asia

Central Asia is a mix of cultures, traditions, food, architecture and natural beauty – and it’s filled with incredible experiences.

From being captivated by beautiful mosques and shimmering blue lakes, sleeping in a yurt, or exploring ancient cities across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, check out 20 of the must do experiences on your Central Asian adventure.

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1.                   Sleep in a yurt

You can’t visit Central Asia without getting a taste of the traditional nomadic life.

Yurts are large tents lined with felt and you’ll find them scattered throughout Central Asian countries.

One of the best yurt experiences you can have is on the shores of Song Kul (Song Lake) in central Kyrgyzstan. During the summer months, nomadic families live on the lake and you can stay in one of the yurt camps.

The experience includes sleeping in a yurt that is warmed with a cow dung fuelled stove, and eat like the locals do and dine on soups and rice filled with horse or yak meat.

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Kyrgyzstan_Song Kul Yurts Row

2.                   Down a shot of kumis

Kumis is fermented mare’s milk – an alcoholic drink traditional to Central Asian countries.

It’s loved by locals in this part of the world but the taste is not for everyone. But when in the Stans….

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Tajikistan_4WD View Hills

3.                   Take a road trip on the Pamir Highway

The Pamir Highway is the world’s second highest highway and it runs through Tajikistan.

You can hire a driver for the trip or tackle the highway in your own hire car. Along the way, you’ll witness azure lakes, towering snow-capped mountains, colourful valleys and spectacular panoramic vistas along the winding (and bumpy) dirt highway.

Most people traverse the Pamir Highway from Dushanbe to Osh in Kyrgyzstan (you can start from either end). Stops include the Tajik towns of Murghab, Khorog and Langar. The latter sits on the Afghanistan border and you’ll look into Afghanistan as well as see Pakistan’s biggest peaks.

Along the way you can also swim in hot springs and explore fort ruins.

4.          Step inside the Registan

The Registan is located in the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

The Registan square is flanked by two colourful and intricately detailed madrasahs (Islamic schools).

This magnificent square was built between 1370 and 1500 – and has been restored over the years since in the wake of earthquakes in the region. In its heyday, the square was used for public executions, and to announce royal news.

The buildings of the Registan features wonderful mosaics, illuminated ceilings, towering minarets, and relaxing courtyards – and you can spend hours wandering this beautiful location.

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Uzbekistan_Samarkand_Registan Arch

5.                   Hike up to the desert fortresses of Khorezm

Did you know that you visit a handful of ancient desert fortresses in Uzbekistan?

The fortresses of Ancient Khorezm lie scattered across the steppe near the town of Urgench, located in western Uzbekistan.

You can hire a driver to reach them and then it’s a short walk up the sandy hills to reach each fortress.

6.                   See a ship graveyard

In the far west of Uzbekistan, you’ll find a ship graveyard.

Muynak used to be home to a thriving fishing industry on the banks of the Aral Sea. Due to the waters being diverted to irrigate crops in the 1960s, the Aral Sea eventually receded, leaving behind a handful of ships. The abandoned ships now sit rusting on the flat steppe.

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Kyrgyzstan_Hiking River Mountain View

7.                   Go hiking in the mountains

No visit to Central Asia is complete without a hike – or two, or three. Central Asia has many hiking opportunities, ranging from multi-day adventures up to bright blue lakes and high altitude mountain passes, or hiking alongside bubbling rivers and through green valleys.

The best hiking destinations in Central Asia are near Karakol in Kyrgyzstan or the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan.

From Karakol, the must do hike is the 3-day trek to Ala Kul (Ala Lake) via the village of Altyn Arashan.

8.                   Roam the Fairytale Canyon

The unique Fairytale (Skazka) Canyon is a colourful canyon filled with eroded rock formations. The canyon is located on the southern shore of Issyk Kul (Issyk Lake).

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Kyrgyzstan_Fairytale Canyon Hiking Girls

9.                   Drink tea

Drinking green tea is a traditional part of the Central Asia culture. You’ll be offered green tea for breakfast, lunch and dinner and any time you are welcomed inside someone’s home.

Tea is often served in decorative teapots, accompanied by a bowl of bread.

10.               Go shopping at local bazaars

When in Central Asia, you’ll find much of your fresh food shopping takes place in the bazaar. Here you can find an assortment of local products such as cheese, bread, meat, fruit and nuts.

Among the best bazaars in the region are the Green Bazaar in Almaty (Kazakhstan), Osh Bazaar in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and bazaars in Samarkand and Bukhara (Uzbekistan).

The bazaars are also a chance to practice your bartering skills.

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Uzbekistan_Bukhara Cafe View

11.               Tour the open air museum of Bukhara

Bukhara was located on the ancient Silk Road route and is one of Uzbekistan’s most beautiful towns. It’s often described as an open air museum with its minarets, madrasahs, mosques and squares.

Must see sights include the Ark Fortress, Po-i-Kalyan Mosque and the Lyabi-Kauz square.

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Uzbekistan_Khiva Sunset Tower

12.               Visit Old Khiva at sunset

Old Khiva is another beautiful city in Uzbekistan and the best time to see it is during the golden light of sunset. The Old City of Khiva is contained within some impressive fortified city walls, and inside you’ll find beautiful minarets, stairs leading up to the old city walls, and narrow alleys which are a photographer’s dream at sunset.

You can’t miss the beautiful azure Kalta Minor Minaret as you enter the city from the West Gate. The minaret is particularly unique as it was unfinished – due to the man who ordered its construction passing away before it was completed.

For spectacular views of Old Khiva, climb the north-western section of the city walls for free or the Kuhna Ark Watchtower.

13.               See one of the world’s biggest canyons

Kazakhstan’s Charyn Canyon is located east of Almaty and is one of the world’s largest canyons.

You can take a day trip to the canyon from Almaty with an organised tour or hire a driver.

The most accessible and famous part of the canyon is the Valley of Castles section.

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Kazakhstan_Charyn Canyon Panorama

14.               Take a train ride along the steppe

Uzbekistan offers modern public transport, in addition to shared taxis and marshrutkas. Train is an efficient way to get around Uzbekistan and get a view of the steppe as you roll along the tracks.

Trains regularly run between Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. You can also take a night train between Taskhent and Urgench to reach Khiva.

15.               Bathe in hot springs

Tajikistan is home to a number of naturally occurring hot springs. You’ll find them in between Langar and Khorog. They range from springs inside caves to public bathhouses with water almost too hot to dip your big toe in.

You must enter the water without any clothes on. Hot springs are segregated by gender.

CoverMore_Lisa_Owen_Kyrgyzstan_Food

16.               Eat like a local 

Food is a big part of Central Asian culture and you’ll find many delicious  traditional offerings.

One must try offering is ayran. It has a similar consistency to yoghurt and is made from cow or yak’s milk and mixed with salt. It’s a savoury dish that can be served as a drink or in a bowl as an accompaniment to bread or meat.

You’ll also come across a lot of traditional dishes filled with horse or yak meat when travelling through Central Asia. Dishes such as dumplings, soups, stews and lagman are all served with horse or yak meat.

17. Get around in a marshrutka

Travels like the locals do and get around in a marshrutka. Marshrutka are mini buses that depart from bus stations when they are full. I won’t sugarcoat it here – they can be uncomfortable and often hot – but they are cheap and often the most convenient way to get around. And it’s always an adventure as you meet locals and get exposed to the local culture.

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18. Take a cable car

Kazakhstan loves their cable cars and you can’t visit Almaty without finding yourself on one. Choose from the Kok-Tobe Cable Car in the centre of Almaty to reach a viewpoint, or head into the mountains at Shymbulak.

The Shymbulak Mountain Resort is located at 2,260 metres above sea level and you can take a cable car there from the Medeo ice skating rink. From the resort, you can take another cable car up to 3,200 metres above sea level.

19.               Tour the metro stations of Tashkent

Uzbekistan’s capital of Tashkent is a modern, developed city with an efficient metro system. The metro stations are like an art museum and each station features a different theme honouring famous Russians or Uzbeks.

20.               Check out beautiful madrasahs

No matter how many madrassahs (Islamic schools) you see in Uzbekistan, you’re sure to be impressed. You’ll find them across the cities of Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara.

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Owen Morton

written by Owen Morton

updated 07.10.2020

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It hasn’t been long since the fantastic sights of Central Asia were hidden behind a barricade of expensive and convoluted visa-application procedures, compounded by a general perception that these were difficult and even dangerous countries in which to travel. In recent years, however, the local authorities have sought to open up to tourists, visas have been simplified – or even abolished – and word is spreading of the rewards of travelling to this relatively unexplored region.

Best for architecture and history: Uzbekistan

Best for culture: kyrgyzstan, best for hiking: tajikistan, best for the bizarre: turkmenistan, best all-rounder: kazakhstan.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the top sights of each ’stan – that’s Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan , Kyrgyzstan , Tajikistan and Turkmenistan – and working out which of these fascinating ex-Soviet republics would suit your travel style best.

Travel ideas for Kazakhstan, created by local experts

Highlights of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

10 days  / from 1450 USD

Highlights of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Discover the highlights of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on this compact trip. Explore part of the Uzbek Golden Triangle with Bukhara and Samarkand before heading to the cosmopolitan city of Almaty. The Kazakh capital awaits with plenty of adventures in the surroundings.

Along The Great Silk Road

21 days  / from 3955 USD

Along The Great Silk Road

Explore all the highlights of Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan await you in this 3 weeks trip. Learn about the history, enjoy breathtaking nature and experience local traditions and culture. It's time to discover the Silk Road with an expert guide!

If there’s such a thing as a popular perception of Central Asia, it’s probably Uzbekistan – and more specifically, the Registan in the Silk Road city of Samarkand. Described in the 19th century by Lord Curzon as “the noblest public square in the world”, the beautiful ensemble of madrassahs in Samarkand – bedecked with intricate tilework, blue domes gleaming in the sunlight – takes the undisputed number one position in any list of Uzbekistan’s top sights.

Samarkand is an ancient city – it was already perhaps half a millennium old when it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Its golden age came in the 14th century, when it became the capital of the empire-builder Tamerlane, who awarded himself the immodest title Conqueror of the World. Tamerlane and his successors transformed the city, building the Registan and many other stunning landmarks, including the Bibi Khanum Mosque, the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, and Tamerlane’s own mausoleum, the elegant Gur Amir.

Elsewhere in the country – particularly Bukhara and Khiva – you’ll find further examples of gorgeous Islamic buildings, largely restored to their former glories by the Soviets and well-maintained by the current government. With this wealth of world-beating mosques, madrassahs and mausoleums , Uzbekistan is a strong choice for Central Asian leader in architecture and history.

Gur-E Amir Mausoleum, the tomb of the Asian conqueror Tamerlane, Samarkand, Uzbekistan © NICOLA MESSANA PHOTOS/Shutterstock

Gur-E Amir Mausoleum, the tomb of the Asian conqueror Tamerlane, Samarkand, Uzbekistan © NICOLA MESSANA PHOTOS/Shutterstock

The first of the ’stans to embrace tourism, Kyrgyzstan is a largely mountainous republic known for its welcoming people. The Kyrgyz have a strong nomadic tradition , and visitors to the country are advised to familiarize themselves with this remarkable culture by spending a night or two in a yurt camp . These iconic circular tents are surprisingly spacious, as well as being both sturdy and warm – essentials when high up in the Tian Shan or Pamir mountains .

Staying in a yurt camp, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a number of nomadic traditions: this will certainly include horse-riding, but may also extend to traditional music performances or witnessing a game of kokburu – essentially polo played with a goat carcass. In the evening, you can try delicious Kyrgyz dishes such as manty (mutton dumplings) or besh barmak (noodles and mutton in sauce) – all washed down with koumiss, a fizzy drink made from fermented mare’s milk. When in Rome…

Kyrgyzstan’s nomadic culture is an undoubted highlight of a trip to Central Asia, and makes for a unique and hugely memorable experience. If you’re looking for somewhere to immerse yourself in a whole new way of life, Kyrgyzstan is definitely the country for you.

Yurts in a nomad village in Tash-Rabat in Kyrgyzstan

Yurts in a nomad village in Tash-Rabat in Kyrgyzstan © Nomad1988/Shutterstock

Tajikistan’s transition from Soviet republic to independence was marred by a civil war, which rendered the country unsafe for much of the 1990s. Perhaps as a result, tourism remains in its infancy here – though much progress has been made in recent years, and Tajikistan is now regarded as an emerging destination. The country certainly has much to offer: visitors can explore the ruins of Penjikent , an ancient city destroyed by Arab invaders in the 8th century, or marvel at the magnificent Kok Gumbaz Madrassah in the town of Istaravshan .

But where Tajikistan truly dominates is in its trekking opportunities : being home to two mountain ranges – the Pamirs and the Fann – there are trails here for all abilities, amid stunning and unspoilt scenery. Those wanting a reasonably short (but still spectacular) hike should consider the Seven Lakes region in the gorgeous Fann Mountains, while trekkers in search of multi-day adventures need look no further than the starkly beautiful Pamirs.

Still largely undiscovered by tourists , yet stunningly scenic, Tajikistan’s mountain ranges offer by far the best trekking to be found in Central Asia. If you’re itching to get your hiking boots on, you’ll find few better destinations.

Fann mountains in Pamir, Tajikistan

Fann mountains in Pamir, Tajikistan © Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

The dark horse of the ’stans – literally. Turkmenistan is famed for its horses , particularly the hardy Akhal-Tepe breed that has adapted to the country’s harsh desert conditions. These remarkable creatures take pride of place on Turkmenistan’s coat of arms; there’s a glitzy golden statue of a horse in the capital city, Ashgabat; and the country celebrates National Horse Day every April. The president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, considers himself a master jockey and regularly competes in races. Quelle surprise, he usually wins, and if he doesn’t, it’s not unknown for him to make it illegal to watch footage of his defeat.

So far, so eccentric, but Turkmenistan doesn’t stop there. Its post-Soviet history has seen it follow an isolationist path, led by megalomaniacal dictators who have embarked on extravagant building projects which have converted Ashgabat into a gleaming city of white marble and gold, punctuated by elaborate sculptures and statues of historic Turkmen heroes. Meanwhile, outside the capital, the country is mostly covered by the Karakum Desert – in the middle of which sits the Darvaza Crater , a continually burning gas field which has been dubbed the Gateway to Hell.

If an enormous white city and the world’s biggest fire pit aren’t enough to entice you, other options to add to the mix include Kugitang Nature Reserve (where you’ll find the world’s longest trail of dinosaur footprints ) and the Kow Ata Cave (which is 200m underground and is home to both an enormous bat colony and a sulphurous lake regarded as a great place for swimming). With all this and more, Turkmenistan is without question the most offbeat destination in Central Asia – and perhaps the world.

best central asian cities to visit

Statues around monument of independence in Ashgabat, capital city of Turkmenistan © Michal Knitl/Shutterstock

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fruits-market-almaty-kazakhstan-shutterstock_1197816523

Kazakhstan may be the ninth-largest country in the world, but it keeps something of a low profile – it’s perhaps best known as the alleged home country of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat character. That’s a shame, as it has a great deal to offer the visitor, especially one who wishes to gain a taste of the all-round flavour of Central Asia.

Those interested in the magnificent Islamic architecture and culture popularized by Uzbekistan should pay a visit to the gorgeous Khoja Ahmad Yasawi Mausoleum in the town of Turkestan , while the futuristic architecture of the capital city of Nur-Sultan is a worthy companion to that of Turkmenistan’s Ashgabat. Ethnically, Kazakhs are closely related to Kyrgyz and they share a nomadic tradition, so it’s possible here to experience this fascinating culture; and for those who wish to get their hiking boots on, Kazakhstan is home to mountain scenery just as inspiring as that in Tajikistan – try routes around the Turquoise Lake in the Tien Shan mountains .

But don’t go thinking Kazakhstan has nothing of its own to offer: the former capital of Almaty is a great place to experience the region’s Russian legacy , as well as being temptingly close to the largest ski resort in Central Asia. Further afield, the Charyn Canyon is an impressive, if smaller-scale, take on the Grand Canyon; and if you venture far into Kazakhstan’s remote west, it’s possible to visit Baikonur Cosmodrome – the launch site of Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight.

Encapsulating the best of Central Asia in one tidy if vast package, Kazakhstan is a great choice for travellers looking for a diverse introduction to this fascinating region.

best central asian cities to visit

Charyn Canyon in South East Kazakhstan © Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock

So… have you decided which ‘stan is for you?

Top image: Ancient town of Itchan Kala. Khiva, Uzbekistan © Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

Owen Morton is never happier than when exploring new places, with a particular fondness for wandering the former Soviet world and the Middle East. He is the author of the upcoming Rough Guide to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and has written for Rough Guides' Make the Most of Your Time on Earth compilation, as well as regular contributions to the Rough Guides and Insight Guides blogs. When not exploring the world, he entertains himself by writing a blog about 1980s cartoons. His favourite animal is the wonderfully expressive and permanently furious manul. Follow him on Instagram at @owenmortonmanul .

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The Best Places To Visit In Central Asia

With its beautiful scenery, incredible architecture, fascinating history and epic journeys along ancient silk routes, Central Asia has something for everyone. The hardest thing can be choosing which of the diverse countries to visit. Below we help you decide the best places to visit in Central Asia, based on your preferences. Wild Frontiers have years of experience at arranging group tours and  tailor made holidays throughout the region.

Best for breathtaking scenery

Kyrgyzstan best place to visit in Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan is hard to beat in terms of breathtaking scenery. The lush Mountains of Heaven stretch across its breadth, and the landscapes of grassy steppe, primal forests and turquoise lakes make it a favourite with our travellers. Lake Son Kul, in the centre of the country, is a classic blue glacial lake, where semi nomadic people camp along the banks in the summer. 

Kyrgyzstan has several mountains over 7000 metres, as well as glaciers, deserts, alpine forests, and a third of the country is permanently covered in snow. For our money this is the most beautiful of the Central Asian countries.

The warm and hospitable locals are a real highlight, and Wild Frontiers has built up strong relationships with local people in over ten years of running holidays to Kyrgyzstan. Stay in a mixture of homestays and traditional yurts, and meet with semi nomadic people and eagle hunters on our group tour or book a tailor made holiday.The natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan can also be combined with the cultural cities of Uzbekistan on our Wild Mountains, Fabled Towns tour.

Best for culture vultures

Places to visit in Central Asia  Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is home to the region's finest Silk Road cities - Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva offer stunning Islamic architecture and a rich history. Conquerors from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, from Huns to Turks and Arabs have held sway here over Uzbekistan's long and fascinating history and this is reflected in the wide range of influences in the region. The people here have always been more settled than nomadic, marking it out as different from its surrounding neighbours.

A key point on the ancient silk route connecting China with Western Europe, Uzbekistan's cities are home to some splendid architecture, featuring elaborately tiled mosques and minarets, fortresses and palaces. The country's golden age was under Tamerlane, who made Samarkand his capital in the 14th century and you can see his legacy in the city's impressive monuments, in particular in Registan Square. If you are a lover of culture, history and architecture, Uzbekistan is the Central Asian country for you.

Best for epic journeys: 

Visit China in Central Asia

The Chinese were the first civilisation to master the production of silk and when it became one of the world’s most valuable commodities the first “silk routes” sprang up. 

From as early as 200 BC merchants from the west travelled on a hazardous journey from Kashgar across the Taklamakan Desert to Xian to trade their goods for silk, which they would bring back to the bustling markets of Kashgar, which can still be witnessed today every Sunday. Incidentally, the monopoly of China’s silk production was finally broken by monks smuggling silkworm eggs out of the country in the 6th century.

Over the years the silk road facilitated the exchange of not only goods, but also ideas, politics, religion and architecture. On our Chinese Silk Road tour explore the origins of the silk road, travelling from Xian, home to the Terracotta Warriors, to the Westernmost point of the Great Wall in Jiayaguan, where traitors were once pushed off the edge to fend for themselves in the badlands beyond the Chinese empire, through the Taklamakan Desert, visiting oasis towns, Tibetan monasteries and ancient ruins before finishing at the great trading point of Kashgar, where east meets west. This is an epic and romantic journey steeped in history and adventure.

Best for escaping the modern world 

best central asian cities to visit

For the adventurous traveller, the Persian-speaking country of Tajikistan offers a true chance to escape the modern world; landlocked in the heart of the ‘stans’, this remote country was pretty much closed to the West for 100 years after Francis Younghusband was expelled during the Great Game in 1891. 

With very little traditional tourist infrastructure, accommodation is largely with local families in guesthouses and homestays, and you can forget any thoughts of wifi or mobile phone coverage. Throw in the epic scenery of the Pamir Mountain range, the Wakhan Valley and verdant valleys and you have the perfect destination to escape the modern world.

Wild Frontiers’ Lucy travelled to Tajikistan recently: “ In one village I stayed they just had one telephone, which had been broken for a month, and in another of my homestays I had to unplug the light from a car battery when I went to bed. But homestays are a brilliant way to get to know the local culture and understand the people. The mountain scenery is harsh, but then you get the contrasting splashes of bright green of the farmers’ fields in the fertile valleys .” For a true adventure amongst stunning scenery and away from the stresses of the modern world, it’s hard to beat Tajikistan.

Turkmenistan

Best for lovers of the bizarre: 

Visit Turkmenistan in Central Asia

Gas-rich Turkmenistan has one of the world's most bizarre capitals, Ashgabat being awash with marble-clad buildings and ostentatious monuments to its leader. Outside the capital there is a chance to see a more traditional semi-nomadic way of life in the smaller villages and close to the Iran border. The scenery ranges from desert to mountains, and there are some stunning canyons and unusual rock formations to the west.

The country is also home to the fascinating ancient silk road city of Merv, once one of the world's grandest cities until it was razed to the ground by Genghis Khan. Here you can see the remains of caravanserai and ruins dating back to the 11th century. The Darvaza Gas Crater is also one of the world's most unusual tourist destinations.

Afghanistan

Best for challenging perceptions

Fields around Panj River, Afghanistan

Afghanistan is arguably the most important country on the Silk Road, sitting at a pivotal geographical position through which all routes had to travel. As such Afghanistan was home to some of the most impressive and important silk road cities such as Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul, and over time developed as a melting pot for a myriad of cultures and creeds. 

Modern Afghanistan has of course formed the basis of many a front page headline but behind those stories lies a fascinating country emerging slowly from three decades of war and instability, representing one of the most diverse and fascinating countries in the region.

Wild Frontiers offers tours to the far north east of the country, accessing through Tajikistan and into the Wakhan Corridor, as well as tours taking in the cultural side of the country, including Herat, Mazar, the Panchi Valley and Bamiyan. As the divide between the Hindu Kush and the Pamir Mountains the Wakhan Corridor is an exceptionally beautiful and peaceful region that has never been affected by the recent troubles. 

This place represents a blank page as far as adventure tourism is concerned. Typically our groups will stay in small guesthouses, interacting with friendly and welcoming locals, with whom you will sit and have tea, share in picnics and observe village life on a series of guided walks.

No visit to a place like this is without risk and anyone thinking of going there should discuss with us and others the particulars of the security situation surrounding their trip. However, for those with a true sense of adventure who want to get behind the headlines of one of the most important locations in geo politics today, Afghanistan is a must.

Harry Foskett

Harry Foskett

View harry foskett's latest blog posts, related tours.

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Best places to visit in asia.

From megacities to remote islands, Asia's top travel spots offer a hearty dose of adventure, ancient history and culture. And with most Asian destinations now fully open after years of pandemic restrictions, there has never been a better time to plan a trip. After considering local prices, accessibility and the variety of attractions in each destination, along with traveler feedback, U.S. News ranked the best places to visit in Asia. Contribute to next year's list by casting your vote below.

Sagarmatha National Park

Railay beach, guilin and lijiang river national park.

best central asian cities to visit

If your dream vacation involves posting up on a postcard-worthy beach, the Maldives is for you. This far-flung destination, which is located about 370 miles from civilization in the Indian Ocean, is made up of more than 1,100 idyllic islands (roughly 200 of which are inhabited). The Maldives feature lush tropical landscapes, unparalleled white sand beaches, crystal-clear ocean waters and coral reefs that prompt extensive exploration. The best way to experience this slice of paradise? Stay in one of many overwater bungalows , of course.

best central asian cities to visit

Tokyo is as fast-paced as cities come – it's the most populated city in the world, after all. Japan's capital features neon-lit skyscrapers and crowded streets that novice visitors may find dizzying, but its one-of-a-kind offerings can't be missed. Spend days touring quirky museums, exploring fascinating architecture or visiting Odaiba for its premier shopping scene. Or, take in some quieter, more peaceful moments at a holy site like the Meiji Shrine or Sensoji Temple. Tokyo's unrivaled gastronomic landscape (think: sushi, ramen, sky-high cocktail bars and more Michelin darlings than you could hope to visit) also makes it a bucket list destination for foodies.

best central asian cities to visit

Phuket, Thailand's elongated beaches and cerulean waters embody a paradise that few other Asian destinations can rival. Besides swimming and relaxing on the beach, visitors can take traditional, wooden longtail boat tours to James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay to see the surreal limestone rock formations that rise from the sea. The towering Big Buddha statue is also a top attraction, while Phuket's buzzing beach clubs and nightlife options hold appeal for those looking to let loose. What's more, like most destinations in Thailand, travelers can find relatively affordable lodging options here.

best central asian cities to visit

This Nepalese national park is famous for housing the behemoth that is Mount Everest, the highest point on earth, and promises a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. However, it is important to know that Sagarmatha is not just Everest. The UNESCO-listed park also offers several other sky-high Himalayan peaks, as well as sweeping valleys, scenic glaciers, deep gorges and incredible wildlife, including snow leopards and red pandas. Just note, seeing the park's top attractions typically requires at least two weeks of trekking, and due to Sagarmatha's high elevation and rocky, steep terrain, a trip here isn't for the faint of heart.

best central asian cities to visit

A British colony until 1997, Hong Kong's strong Western influence sets it apart from China's mainland metropolises. Beyond Hong Kong's sleek, towering skyscrapers (best admired from Victoria Peak), visitors can find natural and cultural gems on the more than 250 outlying islands, such as Lantau Island, or shop the city's bustling street markets. Dim sum is a must, but Hong Kong's robust dining scene also offers everything from street food to Michelin-starred fine dining. And when the sun goes down, watch the Symphony of Lights laser show dazzle the skyline along Victoria Harbor.

best central asian cities to visit

Tucked among lush mountains in northwest Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a sized-down version of Bangkok's buzz paired with a tranquil culture and natural beauty. Your urban itinerary should include tuk-tuk rides, tours of breathtaking temples like Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara and Wat Phra Singh, trips to night markets and a cooking class to try your hand at pad Thai. Then, step outside of the city walls to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary or two and a wander through beautiful Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.

best central asian cities to visit

History lovers and Instagrammers alike will revel in the sites of Kyoto. The city, which used to be Japan's capital until imperial times, is awash with centuries-old shrines and temples, including the gilded Kinkakuji and Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shrine that dates back to A.D. 711. In addition to saving time for religious sites, be sure to visit the famous Philosopher's Path, preferably during cherry blossom season, and the mystical Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. When hunger strikes, treat yourself to kaiseki: a traditional multicourse meal native to Japan. For another essential Japanese experience, stay at one of the many ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) in Kyoto. 

best central asian cities to visit

From the moment you touchdown at Singapore Changi Airport (a tourist destination in itself), Singapore shows off its futuristic embellishment. But this Southeast Asia jewel is also unique for its amalgamation of cultures. This fusion takes form in the city's colorful neighborhoods, eclectic culinary scene and overall modern atmosphere. After shopping on flashy Orchard Road and chowing down in cultural enclaves like Little India or Chinatown, head downtown to take in the towering skyscrapers from Merlion Park, the Singapore Flyer or the sky-high Gardens by the Bay.

best central asian cities to visit

The island nation of Sri Lanka, located off the southern tip of India, boasts rainforests, beaches and ruins without the tourist crowds of other popular Asian destinations. Despite its small footprint, Sri Lanka features 26 national parks, many of which are ideal for a safari excursion to encounter elephants, leopards and sloth bears. Meanwhile, ancient sites like Sigiriya, a 600-foot-high fortress, and the temples of Polonnaruwa hold their own appeal, and the palm-fringed golden beaches that line the shores are never too far away for those seeking a more laid-back vacation.

best central asian cities to visit

Hanoi is perfect for first-time Vietnam visitors, with tranquil lakes offsetting its fast-paced bustle and darting motorbikes. The country's capital offers plenty in the way of history, culture, shopping, dining and natural splendor. Start your day off with a Vietnamese coffee, then head to Hanoi's central Old Quarter for a stroll through the many narrow, colorful streets and a taste of mouthwatering street food. After that, check out one of the city's many temples, including the ancient Temple of Literature, which dates back to the 11th century, or head to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a must-visit for history buffs.

best central asian cities to visit

Bali's natural beauty is so profound, travelers have been known to refer to the Indonesian destination as "heaven on Earth." Here, lush rainforests, picturesque mountains, sweeping valleys and scenic beaches all sit side by side. You'll also find a handful of serene temples in this Southeast Asia hot spot, including Uluwatu and Tanah Lot temples – both excellent places to catch a sunset. And no first-time trip to Bali would be complete without on a visit to Ubud, Bali's cultural capital and home of the region's famous rice terraces.

best central asian cities to visit

Whether you visit in spring (for cherry blossoms), summer (for climbing), autumn (for foliage) or winter (for nearby ski resorts), Japan's highest peak and imposing attraction is sure to capture your attention. Mount Fuji lies about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, perfect for a daytrip from the city or a glimpse from a train ride, but this active volcano is also worthy of deeper exploration. Base yourself in the Fuji Five Lakes area to enjoy picture-perfect views at Arakurayama Sengen Park or from one of Lake Kawaguchiko's onsens (hot springs), and don't leave without sampling local hoto noodles.  

best central asian cities to visit

If you only have time to go to one beach in Thailand, make it Railay Beach, one of the world's most beautiful beaches . Located in the country's Krabi province, Railay Beach features glistening white sands and is surrounded by limestone rock formations (covered in leafy green vegetation) that jut out from the sea. If you're feeling adventurous, explore the area's natural wonders with a rock climbing excursion or go for a nighttime kayak trip to see bioluminescent plankton. As if this beach destination couldn't get more alluring, you're only able to reach it by boat. Daytrips from nearby Ao Nang are popular among travelers.

best central asian cities to visit

Siem Reap is the home of Angkor Wat, an ornate Buddhist temple built in the 12th century that is believed to be the largest religious monument in the world. The impressive landmark is just one of many must-sees within Cambodia's UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor. The complex also includes the equally detailed Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm Temple. Because of the immense popularity of Angkor (the site receives millions of visitors per year), you may want to travel during a shoulder month like March or November to avoid bumping elbows with fellow travelers.

best central asian cities to visit

Travel to the capital of Indian state Rajasthan to marvel at the "Pink City's" incredible architecture. Hawa Mahal, a pink sandstone palace that was modeled after Hindu god Krishna's crown, is Jaipur's biggest claim to fame. The property's astounding 953 honeycomb-patterned windows allowed the original ladies of the royal family to view the comings and goings of the Indian city without being seen. Other structures worth seeing are the Jaigarh Fort, Panna Meena ka Kund and Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that displays larger-than-life astronomical instruments.

best central asian cities to visit

Thailand's capital city is filled to the brim with eye-catching Hindu sites, nonstop nightlife and incredible Thai cuisine. Sacred sites like Wat Arun and Wat Pho are pockets of calm amidst Bangkok's skyscrapers. Shoppers can enjoy the Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the world's largest street markets, or venture to one of the floating markets located outside the city. While in Bangkok, grab as much grub as possible from the street stalls, and at night, you won't want to miss the lofty views from one of the many rooftop bars.

best central asian cities to visit

This national park is so loved and respected, its image is featured on China's paper currency. Guilin and Lijiang River National Park is located in the Guangxi region in the southeastern part of China. The Lijiang River runs about 50 miles from Guilin to Yangshuo, passing stunning landscapes and towering green karsts (eroded limestone) along the way. The best way to take in the otherworldly scenery is by boat cruise, though you may want to splurge on a luxury option since the trip can take up to five hours. Tourists who prefer to travel on their own time can also hike or bike along the river.

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27 Best Places To Visit In Asia In June (2024)

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Nicole

June is one of the best times to visit Asia, if you know where to go. You want excellent weather without life threatening heat or torrential downpours, explore interesting and beautiful places without being overwhelmed by tourists, and opportunities to lounge on stunning beaches or discover nature without blowing your budget. So where should you go for a June holiday in Asia? Here are 27 fantastic places to visit in June that include beautiful beaches, exciting big and small cities, breathtaking mountains, nature escapes for outdoor enthusiasts, and charming small towns.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means that I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you buy something through my site. This helps me run my website and produce the articles that I hope you find helpful.

Other Destinations In June

If you are keen to travel in June, but are curious about other destinations, please see below some recommendations.

  • 21 Best Places To Visit In June In The USA ;
  • 28 Best Places To Visit In The UK In June ;
  • 25 Best Places To Visit in June In Europe ; and
  • 27 Best Beaches To Visit In Europe In June .

Best June Vacations In Asia

Here are some of the best Asian destinations for a June getaway. I include cities, towns, mountain ranges, and beaches all over Asia.

In the following article, I supply the best things to do in each destination, as well as how best to get there. In addition, I set out the expected weather so you can arrive prepared.

If there is a fantastic hotel or other  accommodation  available for this June trip, it will be included, as well as any remarkable special annual events or festivals.

best places to visit in Asia in June

Komodo National Park, Indonesia

One of the best places to visit in June in Asia is the  Komodo National Park in Indonesia . Made up of 3 big islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar islands) and 26 smaller ones, this National Park is a perfect June getaway if you love natural wonders, discovering wildlife, beach time or snorkeling and diving.

Chances are you’ve heard of it, since it is home to arguably the most famous lizard alive: the Komodo dragon! You can find Komodo dragons by hiking in Komodo and Rinca islands. This must be done with experienced guides that know where to find them and how to protect you from them.

The marine life of this region is one of the most diverse and awe-inspiring in the world. The coral reefs in Komodo National Park are very healthy and offer shelter to many species of sea animals, including turtles, giant mantas, reef sharks, thousands of species of colorful fish and even dolphins. You can snorkel or dive at many amazing locations in Komodo National Park.

The landscapes on the islands in Komodo National Park are equally mesmerizing. Don’t miss out on watching the most amazing sunrise from the summit at Padar Island, then sunbathing at one of its pink, white or black sand beaches.

June is the best time to visit Komodo National Park because the weather is great. Also, the Komodo dragons are much more active before their mating season in July and August, so you’ll have better chances to spot them!

best June vacations in Asia

Expect tropical weather with average lows and highs from 72°F to 90ºF in June. There is very little rainfall but there will be humidity almost everyday.

Best Way To Reach Destination

It is relatively easy to get to Komodo National Park. You fly from Bali to Labuan Bajo on Flores Island which serves as the gateway to the Park.

Best Place To Stay

Guillem from Feast of Travel says, “There’s no shortage of hotels and hostels in Labuan Bajo for any budget. However, the best way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Komodo National Park is to join a multi-day boat expedition to explore the more remote areas of the park! I had a great time with Wanua Adventure and can really recommend their Flores to Lombok expedition”

When I went, we stayed at the gorgeous Komodo Resort on the deserted island of Sebayur. It is located just outside of Komodo National Park and offers a tropical island escape with easy access to all the islands in Komodo National Park. For more information about our stay there, please see The Unbelievable Wonders of Komodo National Park .”

I also have wrote about our time in Komodo National Park. From discovering hidden pink beaches, swimming with giant manta rays, hiking with Komodo dragons, watching flying foxes while the sunsets , and other adventures, we loved every moment of our time there. If interested, please see Padar Island, Pink Beaches, and Komodo Dragons: An Epic Experience .

We spent a total of 17 days exploring Indonesia. In addition to Komodo National Park, we also hiked to watch the sunset on top of Kelimutu Volcano on Flores Island, trekked to find organutans in the wild in Borneo, and explored Borobudur (the biggest Buddhist Temple in the world) on Java. For more information about our itinerary, please see A Mind Blowing 17 Day Indonesian Adventure Itinerary .

best June holidays in Asia

Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo, the capital of the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, offers an amazing June vacation in Asia. With pleasant weather, stunning natural landscapes, and exciting cultural events, this city has something for everyone. 

When in Sapporo, make sure to visit Odori Park. Stretching 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) through downtown Sapporo, the Park hosts various events throughout the year, with the Sapporo Lilac Festival happening in June. Visitors can admire the over 400 blooming lilac trees while also enjoying concerts, tea ceremonies, art exhibitions, and food stalls. This makes for the perfect setting for a picturesque stroll or a leisurely picnic. 

Another must-see is the Hokkaido Shrine. This quintessential Japanese experience is located in Maruyama Park. In June, locals celebrate the arrival of summer by enjoying the lush greenery surrounding the shrine.

The Sapporo TV Tower, also found in Odori Park, is another attraction that offers visitors breathtaking panoramic views of the city. The observation deck takes visitors up 300 feet (90 meters) for views of Odori Park, Mount Ōkura, and Maruyama. 

In addition to the Lilac Festival, many events are held in Sapporo during June.

The Hokkaido Shrine Festival celebrates the foundation of Hokkaido’s indigenous culture. This event features traditional performances, parades with portable shrines (mikoshi), and exciting rituals at the historic Hokkaido Shrine.

Known as one of Japan’s largest dance festivals, the Yosakoi Soran Festival takes place in late June. Teams from all over Japan gather to perform dances combining traditional Japanese movements with modern music.

And finally, in mid-June, Sapporo hosts an International Fireworks Competition that attracts pyrotechnic enthusiasts from around the world. Spectators can witness breathtaking firework displays synchronized to music at venues like Moerenuma Park or along Toyohira River. 

In June, Sapporo experiences pleasant weather that is a great escape from the heat and humidity of other destinations in Japan. The average low and high temperature range from 53°F to 69°F with a warm sun and occasional cool breezes.

Travelers can expect occasional drizzles or short-lived showers (2.2 inches over 7 days). There is no humidity.

The most convenient way to reach Sapporo is by flying into New Chitose Airport (CTS), which serves both domestic and some international flights. For those flying from North America, Europe, or Oceania, most visitors will connect via Tokyo’s airports (Haneda and Narita). The flight from Tokyo takes less than 2 hours.

From the airport, you can reach the city center by train, bus, or car. The Rapid train is the fastest mode at 35 minutes. The bus service will take over an hour.

It’s also possible to take the train to Sapporo from other major cities in Japan using the extensive railway network. The journey offers scenic views, but will take much longer than air travel (about 8 hours travel time, not including train transfers, from Tokyo) and will usually be more expensive. 

Mckenzie from A Wandering Scribbler says, “Consider staying in Susukino or Odori Park areas as they offer easy access to various tourist spots. Hotels like the Keio Plaza Hotel or Sapporo Grand Hotel are both great options.

For a more authentic and unique experience, try staying in a traditional Japanese Ryokan like the Onsen Ryokan Yuen Sapporo .”

best June holidays in Asia

Cappadocia, Turkey

Turkey’s Cappadocia region is one of the best June holiday destinations in Asia. This beautiful area is an outdoor playground, and June is the perfect month to hike and explore the famous fairy chimneys.

One of the best things to do in Cappadocia is take a hot air balloon ride. In June, hot air balloons take off at sunrise and sunset, giving visitors the most splendid views of the valley.

Cappadocia is also home to some of the most  famous landmarks in Turkey , such as the Byzantine rock churches of the Goreme Open Air Museum. These churches, carved into the soft limestone fairy chimneys, are adorned with colorful frescoes that have been preserved for centuries.

Of course, hiking is also a must while visiting Cappadocia. Love Valley is a popular hiking area and famous for its phallic-shaped rock formations.

In June, the region hosts the annual Cappadocia festival, a celebration of culture, music, food, and art. This outdoor festival started in 2015 and has been delighting visitors from near and far ever since.

June is a pleasant month in Cappadocia, with average highs of 78 F. Nights cool down significantly with lows of 50 F. This desert environment is dry, with big temperature shifts from day to night. Be sure to pack layers, even in June.

There will be very little rain and no humidity.

Cappadocia is serviced by two airports, Nevsehir and Kayseri Airports. While Nevsehir Airport is closer to the main tourist hub of the region, it is also more expensive to fly into. Kayseri Airport is serviced by more flights and easier to get to.

From both airports, you will need to book a transfer to your hotel or rent a car. Driving in this part of Turkey is safe and easy.

Tamar from World From Weekend says, “Goreme is the main tourist center in Cappadocia and a great place to base yourself during your travels. For a unique experience, stay in a cave hotel. I recommend Aydinli Cave Hotel , a wonderful family-run establishment that has comfortable rooms and a phenomenal breakfast buffet with views over the valley.”

best June getaways in Asia

Manali, India

Manali is a hill station in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India . During British rule in India, the British developed these “hill stations”, which were picturesque cities in the hills, in order to escape the scorching heat in the rest of the country. It is one of the best June getaways in Asia.

Not only does Manali have many things to offer to visitors, it also has a fun vibe. If possible, try and spend at least  3 days in Manali .

On the first day, you can cover the Manu temple in Old Manali, Hadimba Devi temple, Vashisht village which is famous for its hot springs , and Jog falls – a majestic tall waterfall which can be reached via a hike.

The next day, take a cab to the Rohtang pass. At 13058 feet, this mountain pass connects Manali to the rest of the Spiti valley. On the way to Rohtang lies the Solang valley, a popular place for activities like paragliding, zorbing and snowboarding (during winter).

Use the third day to take a day trip to Naggar, a mountain village with a waterfall, a traditional wooden castle and old-world vibes.

Alternatively, for those who enjoy a hippie vibe, you can head to Kasol which is a place along the Parvati river popular for Israeli cafés, hippie culture and products, and backpacker hostels.  

The average lows and high temperatures are between 82F and 96 F. There is very little rain (2 inches over 6 days) but lots of humidity.

The best way to get into Manali would be to take a comfortable overnight air-conditioned semi-sleeper bus from Delhi.

Alternatively, one can fly into the Dharamsala airport, visit that city for a while and then drive to Manali, which would take around 8 hours. 

Soujanya from The Spicy Journey says, “Base yourself in Old Manali which is where all young people and travellers prefer to stay due to the incredible cafes with live music, lots of stores, tattoo studios, and an overall great vibe.

Zostel in Old Manali is a friendly high-rated hostel with a garden and hammocks, a courtyard with benches, hang-out spots and dorm as well as private rooms.”

best June trips in Asia

Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Ninh Binh is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the northern region of Vietnam and one of the best places to visit in Asia in June. It offers plenty of things to do for those looking for some outdoor activities. In addition, if offers beautiful nature, which ranges from endless rice fields to towering karst mountains.

While Ninh Binh can be visited year-round, June stands out as an ideal time to explore its breathtaking scenery. The weather is fantastic and at the beginning of June, the yellow-golden rice fields of Ninh Binh are at their most beautiful in contrast to the karst mountains.

The best way to see this magnificent view is to take the  Tam Coc boat tour , which allows you to row between the rice fields. There are also a few viewpoints from where you can view the fields from above. 

Another must-try experience in Ninh Binh is taking a sampan boat ride in the Trang An Scenic Complex. These boats will row you through a maze of limestone caves and peaceful waterways, allowing you to see the stunning landscapes up close.

Aside from the boat rides and viewpoints, you can also visit a few temples and pagodas in Ninh Binh, including the impressive Bai Dinh Pagoda. This pagoda is the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, and it can take a whole day to discover them. 

The weather in June is tropical with mostly sunny and clear skies. You can expect an average temperature of 87 °F during this month, with the highest temperature at 95°F and the lowest at 81°F.

In addition, there will be around 5 inches of rain over 12 days and lots of humidity.

If you’re arriving from an international destination, Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi is the nearest airport.

The most convenient way to reach Ninh Binh from Hanoi is by van transfer, which takes about 2 hours. There are daily vans departing from the airport and the old quarter of Hanoi for an affordable price. 

Karla from Colorful Journeys says, “When it comes to accommodation, Ninh Binh offers two main areas to choose from: Tam Coc and Trang An.

Staying in Tam Coc places you within walking distance of numerous restaurants and bars, while opting for Trang An offers quieter accommodations in the middle of the rice fields and karst mountains.

For a highly recommended stay, book Muong Village , located in the Trang An area. This hotel offers comfortable cabins and friendly staff who can provide recommendations for local attractions and activities. To top it off, the location cannot be beaten, with a pool to cool off after a day of discovering Ninh Binh.”

best June beach holidays in Asia

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has no shortage of charming seaside towns. One of them is  Trincomalee, a lovely beach town on Sri Lanka’s Eastern Coast . A lot quieter than the country’s Southern resorts but equally relaxing and picturesque, Trincomalee has a lot to keep you busy and happy on a June beach vacation in Asia.

One of the highlights of Trincomalee is Fort Fredrick. Built at the tip of a narrow peninsula, the fort offers some of the best views in Trincomalee and it’s the ideal place for a stroll and a snack. While there, don’t miss the chance to step inside an impressive Hindu temple, the colourful Koneswaram Temple.

Another essential stop in Trincomalee is the gorgeous Nilaveli Beach. While this beach feels like a piece of heaven on earth any time of the day, true magic happens at sunrise when the warm colours of the sun perfectly frame the unforgettable image of the local fishermen dragging their fishing nets out of the ocean.

Last but not least, no trip to Trincomalee is complete without a short trip to the nearby Kanniya Hot Springs, a cultural landmark that takes mingling with locals to a whole new level.

June is one of the best months to plan a trip to Trincomalee. This is because the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka – where Trincomalee is located – is safe from monsoons from April to September.

Typical temperatures range between 76°F to 94°F. June is also one of the driest months with practically no rain. You can expect tropical weather with humidity every day.

To get to Trincomalee, you have to fly to Colombo International Airport. From there, you have several options to reach Trincomalee, depending on your budget and preferred travel style.

The cheapest way is the overnight train and the public buses. The journey on either lasts about eight hours.

However, the best way to travel to Trincomalee is to rent a car or hire a car with a professional driver in case you’d rather not drive yourself. The drive to Trincomalee takes about six hours, past spectacular natural landscapes and countless villages.

Maria & Katerina from It’s All Trip To Me say, “One of the best areas to stay in Trincomalee is the stunning Nilaveli Beach. Nothing beats waking up to the sound of the waves and dipping your toes in the thick white sand before anyone else does. One of the best hotels “to live the island life” in Trincomalee is Moon Isle Beach Bungalow. “

best cities to visit in Asia in June

Singapore, Singapore

Located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is a sunny city-state home to stunning architectural marvels, beautiful scenery, rich heritage, and scrumptious local cuisines. Despite its small total area of 729 km², Singapore has lots to offer to international visitors and one of the best Asian cities to visit in June.  

Among the top attractions that you must visit on this tropical island is Gardens by The Bay. This award-winning attraction features Supertree Grove, a whopping 165 feet (50-meter) giant man-made tree structure that will definitely leave you in awe. It is a top place to visit in Singapore at night , thanks to the twice-daily dazzling light and sound shows. 

While you are at Gardens by The Bay, you can also explore the Flower Dome, the largest glass greenhouse in the world, and the Cloud Forest, a misty mountain filled with exotic plants and waterfalls.

Of course, you cannot miss out on trying a variety of affordable mouth-watering food at the various hawker centers while you are in Singapore! Thanks to the diverse culture, you can sample foods from around the world at the same time, such as Hainanese chicken rice, Satays (skewered and grilled meat), Briyani, and Thosai.

If you are a shopaholic looking to score big discounts for a shopping haul, then June is the best month to visit Singapore. That’s because Great Singapore Sale commences! This huge annual event attracts visitors from around the world, offering discounts of up to 70% on major brands.

June is a great time to visit Singapore due to the sunny weather. The average temperature can go as high as 88°F during the day whereas the average low temperature wavers around 78°F. You can also expect occasional rain showers in June (4.7 inches over 11 days) and lots of humidity.

To get to Singapore, you will need to fly into the world-class Changi Airport. Depending on your budget and preference, you can take a taxi, a bus, or the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) to reach your hotel.

The MRT is a cheap and efficient way to get to the city. It takes 1 hour to 1.5 hours to reach the city center.

Sam from Sam Lee Travels says, “Being one of the popular tourist destinations in Asia, Singapore offers a wide range of accommodation options. If you are looking for a luxurious stay, consider staying at Marina Bay Sands Hotel . This iconic ship-shaped hotel features a magnificent rooftop infinity pool and gorgeous views of the city skyline.”

best places to visit in june in asia

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Situated in the heart of Java island in Indonesia, Yogyakarta has gained its status as a special region for a few particular reasons and a spectacular choice for a June trip in Asia. 

Yogyakarta is the only province in Indonesia that is still ruled by a monarchy. The Sultan of Yogyakarta currently serves as both the ceremonial head of the region and the governor.

The people in Yogyakarta are known for their warm and welcoming hospitality, but it’s not the only reason why the city is worth visiting. On top of being rich in history, the city is also a hub for arts and crafts, and you can explore local art galleries or join various arts and handicrafts workshops, like batik at the Batik village in Imogiri or silversmith course in Kotagede. 

Yogyakarta is also home to various ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples. Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and can be reached with just an hour’s drive from Yogyakarta. Built in the 8th and 9th centures, it features hundreds of Buddha statues, decorative relief sculptures, and stories from the life and teachings of Buddha.

But it’s not the only UNESCO World Heritage Site near the city, as two of Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple compounds are also located in the region: the Prambanan and Ratu Boko temples.

Prambanan also hosts the annual jazz festival, which is regularly held in either June or July. Depending on the time of the year, you may be lucky enough to attend the Prambanan Jazz Festival and also join the country’s Buddhist population in the Lantern Festival during Vesak Day in Borobudur. 

In June, Yogyakarta experiences warm and mostly sunny weather with occasional rainfall. Expect an average high temperature of 86°F and average low of 74°F, so make sure to pack light with comfortable clothing.

There are around 3.4 inches of rain over 7 days during the month. These showers are typically short-lived which will allow you to make the most of your visit to Yogyakarta.

In addition, the weather is tropical with humidity every day.

Traveling to Yogyakarta is pretty easy, since you can fly to Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) in Kulon Progo from various cities in Indonesia. The airport also caters to international flights from countries like Singapore and Malaysia. 

From Yogyakarta International Airport, you can take the train to Tugu train station in Yogyakarta. The train station is located in the city center near the central street of Malioboro.

Marya from The Beau Traveler says, “ Grand Zuri Malioboro is a perfect choice for accommodation in Yogyakarta, as it’s well-located in the heart of Malioboro where you can easily walk around the area and visit the night bazaar nearby. It is budget-friendly with adequate facilities to ensure a convenient stay in Yogyakarta.”

When we went to Yogyakarta, we stayed at Phoenix Hotel , a stunning luxury hotel. It was set in a 1918 Colonial building with style and furnishings consistent with that timeframe, blending Asian and European decor effortlessly. The public areas also combined indoor and outdoor living with gorgeous fountains, plants and decor. It offered excellent food and you are a mere 10 minute walk to Malioboro Street.”

We spent a few days exploring Yogyakarta and the surrounding areas. We did an amazing food tour, and ate at some remarkable restaurants. For more information about our time in Yogyakarta, please see Yogyakarta: An Insider’s Guide to Food, Dress, And Where To Stay .

best Asian vacations in June

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Far away from the spotlight, one of only two double-landlocked countries in the world – Uzbekistan – hides an impressive capital city. Tashkent, literally meaning Stone Town, is one of the most fascinating blends of old and new in Central Asia. It is also one of the best places to visit in June in Asia.

Unfortunately, Tashkent suffered a devastating 5.2 earthquake in 1966 which destroyed almost everything. Afterwards, the Soviet occupiers saw Tashkent as an opportunity to build a model socialist city.

In Tashkent today, you can see one of the tallest towers in the world, a reliable and gorgeously decorated metro system (Soviet cities are known for impressive subways), and grand brutalist-style performance halls next to medieval Madrasahs (Islamic schools), authentic bazaars and old mosques.

In the religious heart of Tashkent, you shouldn’t miss the Kukeldash Madrasah, dated from 1570, which miraculously survived the 1966 earthquake.

About a 20-minute walk from it is The Khast Imam Complex of impressive Madrasahs and mosques. It suffered greatly in the earthquake but was recently renovated completely bringing back its old charm in a shiny new way. It claims to hold the world’s oldest Quran – the Uthman Quran.

Make a short lunch stop at the Plov Center (Besh Qozon) to see how cooks make Uzbekistan’s national dish –  plov  – in massive cauldrons called  qazans.  Plov is traditionally made up of long grain rice, chunks of lamb, onions, and carrots. Make sure you eat some too!

Speaking of food, an awesome reason to visit Tashkent in June is the Tashkent Food Fest which takes place near the National Library. Vendors really up their game by offering over 10 different variations of plov!

From the contemporary Soviet period, consider visiting Sailgokh Street (called Broadway by the locals) where you can buy street food snacks and meet friends. Independence Square and Amir Temur Square also provide a good overview of what Tashkent is all about – grandeur in a humble Uzbek style.

There are many other  things to do in Tashkent including impressive museums, well-kept parks, and even a circus.

June is the beginning of summer in Tashkent and the weather is perfect. Temperatures range between 65 and 93 Fahrenheit. On average, there’s just one rainy day for the whole month and no humidity.

Tashkent has a relatively big international airport with regular daily flights from Istanbul, Dubai, and Seoul to name a few.

From the airport, you can reach the center of Tashkent by cheap public bus or take a taxi for a few dollars. Tashkent is one of the cheapest destinations in the world!

Simon from Backpack Moments says, “If you want to stay somewhere nice in Tashkent, consider the Soviet beauty, Hotel Uzbekistan . It has managed to transition into the market economy surprisingly well, becoming the top hotel in Uzbekistan. It is known for its luxury and impeccable service. Book early as it gets filled quickly despite the 254 rooms!”

best destinations to visit in June in Asia

Xingping, China

Xingping (also called Xingping Ancient Town) is a small village near Guilin that boasts stunning karst and river scenery. It’s less popular than nearby Guilin, and you’ll be able to experience more of a small village vibe in Xingping Ancient Town. Unless visiting on a day tour from Guilin, I’d recommend staying here for at least 3 days for one of the best Asian vacations in June.

One of the best things to do in Xingping is to hop on a bamboo raft and ride down the river so you can get a closer look at the karsts. Another thing you can do is take a day to walk to nearby villages and lookouts. Take plenty of water and try to get a map from your hotel. Google maps is not that great in China, so either a physical map or the  maps.me  app will keep you on track.

If you’re a photographer, you may also wish to do an evening photography tour where you can get those iconic pictures with fishermen throwing nets from their boats. It can feel a bit touristy, but the photos look great.

Tip: Be aware that there is another town named Xingping in central China, so double check that you have the right one when you’re booking hotels, tours and transport.

In June, Xingping is warm and you can expect temperatures around 26 C / 78 F, cooling down in the evenings to 53 F.

Early to mid June is the best time to visit. Near the end of June, the chance of rain is higher although still minimal overall (2 inches over 7 days in June) and the weather starts to get hotter. There is no humidity.

As it is summer, make sure your  packing list  for China includes sunscreen, breathable fabrics such as linen, and a hat. 

To get to Xingping, it’s best to fly into Guilin, then catch a bus from the Guilin train station to Xingping (2 hours).

Alternatively, if you want to stop in Yangshuo first for a night, you can also catch a bullet train or bus from Guilin to Yangshuo which takes 25 minutes (train) or 2 hours (bus).

Once in Yangshuo, it’s a 45 minute bus ride to the Xingping scenic area. There’s multiple buses to Xingping from Yangshuo each hour.

Another popular way to get there is to hop on a tour or river cruise from Guilin. This can be a better option if you don’t want to figure out the local buses on your own.

Lexi from Stylish Packing Lists says, “ Yangshuo Xingping This Old Place Li-River Inn in Xingping is a great place to stay. It is technically a hostel but there are a number of private rooms, and it’s really close to where the river is.”

best Asian destinations to visit in June

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu is the kind of city that will leave you awe-struck due to the vibrant colors, loud honking, and bustling crowds. It is an amazing Asian city to visit in June.

Check out the Monkey Temple, where hundreds of monkeys roam the grounds. The ancient temple is said to be one of the holiest Hindu temples in Nepal, and it provides a great opportunity for visitors to observe the locals in worship (and the monkeys) up close.

The busy streets of Thamel are known for vibrant marketplaces and eateries. From traditional Nepalese food to inexpensive clothing shops, there’s a lot to see. On weekends, Thamel becomes a popular place for hanging out at outdoor bars or indoor clubs.

While planning your trip, plan for a minimum of three days in the city to ensure that you have enough time to explore.

June sits right before monsoon season in Nepal. So while the weather is usually great, you’ll want to carefully plan  what to wear in Nepal . Pack both warm summer clothes as well as a nice rain jacket just in case! Note that more rainfall occurs in the later days of the month.

Nepal also offers tourists value for money, and it is considered a budget-friendly destination, with accommodations and food costs being easy on the wallet.

June is an ideal time to visit. The weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging between 71.6-86°F that provide the perfect temperatures for exploring the city’s many temples and monuments.

You can expect 4.3 inches of rain over 13 days and around 18 days of humidity.

Visitors will fly into Kathmandu’s international airport and will need to take a taxi or bus to the city center.

Monica from This Rare Earth says, “Many tourists choose to stay in Thamel for easy access to restaurants and temples. Check out the Kathmandu Eco Hotel for a great stay.”

best Asian vacations to take in June

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan is a magical Asian holiday destination in June that every traveler should consider. The ancient city of Kyoto, with its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty, becomes an enchanting destination during this time of year.

The lush greenery of Kyoto’s gardens and parks is in full bloom, creating a vibrant and refreshing atmosphere. The iconic cherry blossoms may have faded by June, but they are replaced by colorful hydrangea blooms, transforming the city into a sea of blue and purple hues.

These beautiful hydrangea displays can be found in various temples and gardens, including the renowned Mimuroto-ji Temple and the Hase-dera Temple, providing excellent opportunities for photography and peaceful strolls.

You’ll also find the iconic Fushimi Inari temple surrounded by lush green forests during June.

Popular sites like Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion), Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove have fewer visitors in June when compared to the spring season, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in their historical and spiritual significance. You’ll have a chance to savor the tranquility and charm of these places without the hustle and bustle of large tourist crowds.

The city hosts various traditional festivals and events throughout June. One notable festival is the To-ji Temple Flea Market, where you can shop for antiques, local crafts, and delicious street food.

Another highlight is the Gion Matsuri, one of Japan’s most famous festivals, featuring colorful parades, traditional performances, and a lively atmosphere.

June marks the beginning of the summer season in Kyoto. The weather is warm and pleasant, making it an ideal time to explore the city’s outdoor attractions. Average high is about 79 degrees with a low of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Expect 7 inches of rain over 12 days and 11 days of humidity.

Located southeast of Tokyo, Kyoto is a historical center of Japan. Most people  visit Kyoto  by flying into either Osaka or Tokyo airports and taking the shinkansen (bullet train). The train from Osaka is only 50 minutes while the train from Tokyo is 2 hours 15 minutes.

Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler says, “The Hotel Resol Kyoto Kawaramachi Sanjo is located in the heart of Kyoto and is great for exploring this wonderful city.”

best beach vacation to take in June in Asia

Sanur, Indonesia (Bali)

Sanur is a quiet coastal town located on the southeastern coast of Bali, Indonesia. It offers a more laid-back and tranquil atmosphere compared to the bustling tourist hubs like Kuta and Seminyak. Sanur is known for its beautiful beaches, and a relaxed lifestyle that makes it the perfect Asian beach destination in June for those seeking a quieter side of Bali.

Sanur is all about the beach and the promenade along Sanur Beach. There is a nearly 3.7 miles (6 kilometres) long trail. The main section for tourists is between the Mercure Hotel in the South to near Sanur Harbour in the north.

First, take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the Sanur Beach Promenade. This scenic path offers stunning views of the ocean, local fishing boats, and the distant silhouette of Mount Agung. It’s a peaceful way to start or end your day, and the sunrise here is particularly unforgettable .

Along the beach path you will find many of the 5* hotels, restaurants bars and local Warungs. Many people enjoy walking, stopping, grabbing a drink or food and moving along again to another place to eat and drink. It’s like an all day pub crawl on the beach with an older crowd. 

Another remarkable experience is visiting the Le Mayeur Museum, dedicated to the works of Belgian artist Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur. Set in the artist’s former home, this museum showcases his impressionist paintings inspired by Bali’s landscapes and people.

Jalan Danu Tamblingan is the main street of Sanur and it’s here where you will find shopping in Sanur with a wide variety of local stores selling Balinese wares. Look out for leather goods and local art.

June is an excellent time to visit Sanur because it coincides with the annual Sanur Village Festival. This vibrant event celebrates the local culture and traditions of Bali through art, music, dance performances, and culinary delights. 

Sanur, Bali, experiences a tropical climate with a dry season from May to September. Expect average highs and lows from 75°F to 88°F with only 4 days of rain. It will be tropical and humid most days.

To reach Sanur, you’ll need to fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Denpasar, Bali’s capital city. Sanur is located 20-minutes from the airport. You can choose to take a taxi, arrange a private transfer, or use ride-sharing services to reach your destination. 

Mark from Things To Do In Sanur says, “When it comes to accommodation and staying in Sanur , there’s a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference. You will find big names like Intercontinental, Hyatt and Andaz on the beach. You can stay in small hotels and homestays just back from the beach from around $30 USD a night, or stay beachside in a 5* resort for hundreds of dollars a night.

For budget stays, we recommend Hotel Jati Sanur , mid price look at Swiss-Belresort Watu Jimbar and luxury we recommend the Maya Resort and Spa .

Sanur offers numerous vacation rentals and villas for those seeking a more private and spacious stay. No matter your choice, you’ll have easy access to the beach, restaurants, and shops, ensuring a memorable visit to this tranquil Balinese gem.”

best beach getaway to take in Asia in June

Palwan, Philippines

Palawan, often voted as one of the world’s most beautiful islands, is a true gem in Asia. This slice of paradise in the Philippines boasts stunning landscapes, pristine waters, and a vibrant marine ecosystem. While Palawan is a year-round attraction, June holds a special allure and is one of the best beach getaways in Asia in June.

June brings something unique to Palawan—it marks the beginning of the typhoon season in the Philippines. Surprisingly, Palawan remains typhoon-free, making June an ideal time to visit without the usual crowds.

Most Palawan itineraries revolve around two must-visit spots: Coron and El Nido.

Coron is famous for its serene lakes surrounded by stunning rock formations and a breathtaking underwater world with vibrant coral reefs and sunken Japanese warships from World War II.

El Nido offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement. Known for its lively nightlife and pristine beaches, you can explore hidden lagoons, and towering limestone cliffs, and enjoy beachfront bars that come alive after sunset.

For those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Busuanga is a hidden gem . With its secluded beaches, lush forests, and  beautiful safari park, it’s the place to unwind, connect with nature, and discover the wild side of Palawan.

Palawan hosts the Baragatan Festival in June, celebrating the province’s founding anniversary. This event commemorates the establishment of Palawan’s first civil government after the Philippine-American War. Expect fairs, garden shows, parades, and captivating cultural performances.

June in Palawan marks the onset of the rainy season, bringing an average of 6 inches of rain over 17 days. However, the days remain mostly sunny, with tropical weather and average lows and highs ranging from 77°F to 88°F. It is humid most of the time.

Plan at least 4 days and check for the weather forecast before booking. If done right, you’ll experience this famous island with great weather and without the crowds.

To reach Palawan, fly into one of the Philippines’ international airports – Manila, Clark, or Cebu. Then,  book a flight to the main entry point, Puerto Princesa International Airport in Palawan.

If you’re headed to El Nido, take a six-hour bus ride or go for a convenient private car transfer. For Coron, you need to take a 17-hour ferry from Puerto Princesa.

Alternatively, you can book direct flights from Manila to El Nido or Coron for a faster journey.

Gladis from Happiness On The Way says, “If you’re opting for Busuanga and crave a tranquil escape with breathtaking ocean views, check out OcamOcam Azur Inn . This hilltop sanctuary offers serenity and seclusion, far from the hustle and bustle. However, its remote location can affect Wi-Fi connectivity, making it the best of places or worst of places, depending on your needs.”

best Asian cities to visit in June

Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

Do you want fun, amazing food, and beautiful views, then look no further than Kuala Lumpur. This capital city has everything you need to enjoy  exploring Asia and is one of the best places to visit in Asia in June.

June is a special month in Malayasia with the Floria (Night Flower Parade). It is held in Putrajaya, 15 minutes south of Kuala Lampur, and one of the most popular festivals in the country. This event attracts more than half a million people to see the best of native Malaysian horticulture.

While in Kuala Lumpur, you must visit Saloma Link Bridge (at night) to see the Petronas Twin Towers, the world’s tallest twin skyscrapers, light up behind the bridge. It’s an amazing sight and represents the connection between the bustling downtown area and the people.

Another can’t miss place is the Kuala Lampur Tower. From this tower you get an amazing view of the city, and even have the chance to take pictures in a glass Sky Box over the ledge of the building. At over 300 meters (980 ft), it’s a phenomenal view of the entire area.

The final place you must visit before leaving Kuala Lumpur are the Batu Caves. Although it’s a hike to the top, it’s certainly worth it to experience the peace and tranquility inside the caves. For those of you who are spiritual, learning more about the background (Hindu) will give this experience more meaning.

Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city full of nice people, amazing food, and just the right amount of modernization. They are trying to balance the new world, while not forgetting their history and their people.

Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid all year around. In June, you can expect temperatures between 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. The evenings are cooler with temperatures falling between 72- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

June also has the lowest rainy days of the year (4.6 inches over 10 days), so you can get out and enjoy the city.

Kuala Lumpur is a major hub with hundreds of flights per day leaving its’ two international airports. The airports are almost an hour from the city, but there are plenty of taxis and a high-speed train that will get you to the city in less than 45 minutes.

best Asian holidays to take in June

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia is a colorful city, renowned for its beautiful temples, lively nightlife, and affordable prices.

It’s best known for Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious structure, sprawling some 400 acres across the surrounding jungles. The vast complex was originally built in the 12th century, as a Hindu temple, with incredible bas-relief sculptures of deities carved into its walls. Shortly thereafter, though, the temples were dedicated to Buddhism, which is still observed there today.

You could spend weeks exploring the complex’s many intricate temples, but if you have just one day in Angkor Wat , be sure to budget time to see the sun rise over the main temple, as well as explore some of its best gems, like Ta Prohm, which was featured in the movie Tomb Raider.  

After a contemplative day exploring the temples, switch gears and check out Pub Street, a raucous, backpacker-friendly section of the city that’s a hodgepodge of restaurants, cheap bars, and massage parlors.

Consider getting a unique foot massage from one of the many parlors by submerging your feet into a tank of water with dozens of Garra rufa, a tiny fish that feasts on dead skin cells (don’t worry—it just tickles a little!).

If that’s a bit too adventurous for your taste, try local dishes, like amok or Khmer curry instead, at one of the many Cambodian cafes, like the aptly-named Khmer Family Restaurant.  

The city is typically quite hot and humid in June, with temperatures ranging from 26-33℃ (79-91℉). While the weather is also rainy (6.6 inches of rain over about 19 days), downpours typically last for just a few hours at a time, keeping the air feeling cool and the surrounding jungle impossibly lush.

Given the unpredictable weather, you may get to enjoy Siem Reap’s attractions mostly to yourself—and snag good deals on Cambodia’s already incredibly affordable accommodations and tours!

Siem Reap has its own international airport where it’s a breeze to grab a tuk tuk or taxi into town.

Jessica from The Uprooted Traveler says, “As your home base during your travels, consider the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor , an upscale resort with old world charm, a magnificent pool to cool down in, and affordable rates for its caliber of accommodations.”

One of my most favorite hotels ever was the Angkor Rural Boutique Resort . It was located about a 15 minute drive from the tourist center of Siem Reap, nestled amongst farm land and rice paddy fields. We had our own large luxurious bungalow. The food was unbelievable and we got the use of a tuk-tuk and driver every night so we could go into town, eat dinner, and explore at our leisure. We loved it!

For more information about the Angkor Rural Boutique Resort and the amazing activities that we did while in Siem Reap, please see Uncovering Siem Reap’s Secrets: A Cambodian Adventure .

best Asian beach destinations in June

Koh Phangan, Thailand

The  Thai paradise of Koh Phangan  is one of those postcard worthy island destinations. This island deserves a spot right at the top of your bucket list, especially when considering an Asian holiday in June.

Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand and equipped with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Koh Phangan offers something for everyone. 

June is the perfect time to visit Koh Phangan being in the shoulder season. You can expect smaller crowds while still having a buzzing social scene. You can also enjoy cheaper prices for accommodations and activities.

Koh Phangan offers a vibrant party scene with its world famous Full Moon Parties. This beach party happens monthly and is the perfect mix of fire shows, glow sticks, and electronic music.

If your party days are behind you, this island paradise also has a contrasting zen vibe with wellness and yoga retreats that rival Bali. 

There are so many great things to do in Koh Phangan, probably the most noteworthy of which is the pristine beaches. For those looking for more of a happening scene, check out Haad Rin.

On the contrary, if you want more of a serene experience with some epic scuba diving and snorkeling, then head to Salad Beach. 

The island is also covered in some lush jungle which is great for those who enjoy hiking or hunting for some amazing waterfalls to jump into. If you’re looking for the best spot check out Nam Tok Phaeng. You’ll have tons of great hiking trails to choose from and can take a nice refreshing dip in the waterfall to cool off when you’re done! 

The weather sits comfortably between 82-89℉ and is mostly sunny. You can expect around 6 inches of rain over 18 days with lots of humidity.

You have a couple of different ways to get to Koh Phangan. The closest international airport is on the nearby island of Koh Samui (Koh Samui International Airport). From here you can take a quick 30 minute ferry ride to Koh Phangan. 

If you are coming from Bangkok, you can either take a train or bus to Surat Thani. You will then pick up a ferry to Koh Phangan. This trip will take between 10-12 hours. 

Samara from FC World Travel says, “If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Koh Phangan, you will be spoiled for choice. Whether you’re looking for cheap hostels, charming beachfront bungalows, or modern hotels, you’ll find it here.

One of the best places to stay on the island is Bluerama , an adult’s only resort. The rooms are comfortable, the food is delicious and the views from their infinity pool are worth every single penny.”

As mentioned above, Koh Pha-Ngan is a quick 30 minute ferry ride from Koh Samui. Many people often wonder whether they should take their vacation in Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. Luckily, I have been to both and wrote an article setting out their differences and who might be better suited for each island. If interested, please see Koh Phangan vs. Koh Samui: Which Island Is Better?

best Asian getaway in June

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv is the cosmopolitan cultural capital of  Israel, a Middle Eastern country  bordering the Mediterranean. Visiting Tel Aviv in June is the perfect time to experience the city before the harsh summer heat sets in.

One of the best things to do in Tel Aviv is explore Old Jaffa, the ancient heart of the city. Today this neighborhood is filled with artist galleries and collectives, giving it a bohemian feel. 

Shuk Carmel , aka Carmel Market, is also a must. Enjoy walking past the various stalls selling fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Grab a plate of hummus and some  limonana  (lemonade with mint) to refresh yourself before returning to the hot sun.

Of course, no trip to Tel Aviv is complete without heading to the beach, and June is a great time to lay out on the sand and swim in the blue waters of the Mediterranean.

June hosts the annual Gay Pride Week in Tel Aviv. As the most progressive and secular city in the country, it’s also the de facto gay capital of Israel. If visiting during pride week, expect lots of crowds, high hotel prices, and rainbows.

Tel Aviv weather in June is hot and humid, with average high temperatures of 83 F, rarely dropping below 64 F. There is around 16 days of humidity, but no rainfall in June.

To get to Tel Aviv, fly into Ben Gurion airport, then take a train or taxi into the city. The train takes approximately twenty minutes, depositing you at the Tel Aviv Savidor Center. Taxis take longer, around thirty minutes, but will deliver you directly to your hotel.

Tamar from World By Weekend says, “When visiting Tel Aviv, I recommend staying near the beach but also central to Carmel Market. The luxurious  Royal Beach Hotel  has plenty of amenities, including hotel rooms with balconies overlooking the sea and the city. It’s also within walking distance of many restaurants, coffee shops, and the trendy Neve Tzedek neighborhood.”

best Asian trip to take in June

Munnar, India

Munnar is a former British hill station located in the South Indian state of Kerala. The town is known for its rolling green hills and seemingly endless tea plantations. These are also called the southern tea gardens of India, and the tea grown here is of the same quality as the one grown and picked in the more famous Darjeeling and Assam districts in the North-east of the country. 

At the center of the area is Munnar, situated at an elevation of 5000 feet altitude. It is a fantastic spot for an Asian getaway in June. As a visitor, you should make a stop at the tea museum in Munnar, where you will learn about the different types of tea and the Indian tea culture.

Make sure that you take a drive to appreciate the beauty of the green hills from above as well as below in the valleys. The roads are in great shape and you will see plenty of waterfalls on the way. The daily fog adds a mystic feel to the area.

Stop at small tea places on the way and enjoy the purest tea experience with stunning views of the surrounding tea plantations. 

Nature lovers should head to the Eravikulam National Park. The Park is home to endangered animals of the Western Ghats (tiger, leopard, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr, Asian elephant, Nilgiri langur and gaur). Arrive early because it can get busy in June.

Kerala is known for its martial arts, Kalaripayattu, and for its classical Indian dance drama, Kathakali. Special evening shows are organized in Munnar in June and should part of your itinerary.

Munnar will help you reconnect with nature and enjoy the simpler things in life. Don’t forget to buy some tea as a souvenir. A favorite is the Kundaly Orthodox Organic Kanan Devan Hills tea.

June is one of the hottest months in India, and the best way to enjoy this colorful country in June is to go to places in the mountains, such as Munnar.

Most days you will see fog, especially in the evening hours. The fog moves from the lower valleys upwards to Munnar and with that come cooler temperatures.

Expect average lows and highs between 59°F to 71°F with lots of rain (10 inches over 17 days). It will also be humid around 21 days of the month. 

To reach Munnar, you have to fly into Kochi and arrange for a private transfer or take a local regional bus. By car or rickshaw, it’s a 3 1/2 to 4-hour ride from Kochi and by bus, it can take up to 6 hours to get to Munnar. 

Paul from Paulmarina says, “One of the most prestigious places to stay is the Blanket hotel & Spa , as it is known for its peaceful location and stunning views.”

best places to visit in Asia in June

Lombok, Indonesia

Next door neighbors to the famous Bali, Lombok is another stunning Indonesian island paradise that caters more to the adventurous. With volcanic landscapes, pristine beaches, and strong Balinese culture, Lombok is a perfect Asian escape in June for those searching for something off the beaten path. 

In addition, June is the ideal time to visit Lombok, as it marks the start of the dry season. Enjoy wonderful weather while exploring the beaches of Kuta Lombok, hiking through jungle trails, and discovering waterfalls, all without worrying about rain, like in many other Southeast Asian destinations.

Gili Trawangan is perhaps the most famous destination on a  Lombok itinerary , celebrated for its festival-like vibe with raging parties every day and incredible snorkeling opportunities with sea turtles just off the coast. 

Be amazed by the breathtaking Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfall, an impressive pair of cascades in the foothills of Mount Rinjani. For the daring, there’s the option to summit the arduous volcano on a challenging 2-day, 1-night hike.

Lombok experiences warm and tropical weather all year round, but in June, the expected highs are at 88°F (31°C) while the nights are generally cooler, with lows at 72°F (21°C).

While June is considered part of the dry season, there may be a few scattered showers over 3 days during the month.

To get to Lombok, you can either fly into Lombok International Airport, take a speedboat, or use the public ferry from Bali.

The airport is situated around 30 kilometers south of Mataram, the capital city of Lombok. Once you reach Lombok International Airport, it usually takes about 1-2 hours to travel to popular tourist destinations like Senggigi or Kuta Beach. 

If you prefer traveling by boat, most speedboats operate from the northern harbor near Senggigi and the Gili Islands.

Catherine from Nomadicated says, “Lombok has everything from luxurious beachfront resorts to cozy boutique hotels and budget-friendly guesthouses. For a beachfront experience near one of the best beaches on the island, stay at Dome Lombok in Kuta.”

best places to visit in Asia in June

Tokyo, Japan

There are so many  beautiful places to visit in Japan , but if you’re able to visit Tokyo in June you’re sure to skip the huge crowds of spring and autumn. While Japan’s capital is obviously one of the most popular cities to visit, tourists tend to avoid June as this heralds in a micro-season of rainy summer weather… But don’t let that put you off!

With futuristic bullet trains and robots contrasting against traditional architecture, Tokyo blends the old and new seamlessly while celebrating each season.

In June, hydrangeas burst into pastel hues throughout the city, alongside their rich purple iris counterparts.

Even-numbered years see the Sanno Matsuri Festival of Hie Shine held in the streets, which is one of Tokyo’s top 3 festivals.

June is also your chance to enjoy the city’s most beloved temple with fewer crowds. Attracting almost 30 million visitors annually, Senso-ji Temple can be enjoyed in a more relaxed way while other tourists avoid it.

Indoor activities such as teamLab Planets, countless museums, themed cafes and underground shopping malls will keep you dry and busy. 

Expect highs of 26C/78F during the day and 19C/66F at night, with an average of 6 inches of rain over 11 days. There is 10 days of humidity.

Tokyo has two main airports with access to its city centre, Haneda (20mins) and Narita (1 hour). You can take the local trains, monorail or high-speed Narita Express.

Alyse from The Invisible Tourist says, “The Shinjuku area is a favoured location for tourists to stay, with the Keio Plaza Hotel a popular choice. Teeming with restaurants, activities and nightlife within walking distance, it’s easy to see why!”

best June vacation to take in Asia

Danang, Vietnam

June is not the best month to visit all parts of Vietnam. But the weather in Central Vietnam is perfect. If you are thinking of a beach vacation in Asia in June with cultural immersion, think no further than Da Nang in Vietnam.

There are multiple  things to do in Danang . Apart from spending time on the beach, you can take a day trip to the imperial city of Hue. Hue was the former capital of Nguyen emperors from 1802 to 1945. Most tourists visit Hue to see the Citadel, this is a vast complex of palaces, temples and other structures. 

The charming town of Hoi An is not far off from Danang and makes for a pleasing day trip. This is a car-free town and it is pleasant to stroll around in the evenings. You see many Chinese temples and Japanese merchant houses here. It has a fantastic culinary scene, and there are several boutiques, restaurants and cafes to be enjoyed.

The Dragon Bridge, the longest in Vietnam, is one of the top attractions in Danang. A recent attraction, made hugely popular on Instagram, is the Ba Na Hills. It is a long bridge with huge concrete hands seemingly holding it up.

There are activities for the fit as well. You can take a cycling tour to view some rural vistas from Danang.

In addition, you can visit the Marble Mountains for epic views and hikes all over the area. These mountains are full of Buddhist shrines, caves and tunnels.

For marine life lovers, there is Cham Island with great snorkelling.

You can expect a high of 93 degree Fahrenheit (35 degree Celsius) and a low of 79 degree Fahrenheit (26 degree Celsius). There is very little rain (2.5 inches over 7 days) which makes it a great time for sightseeing and time on the beach.

Danang has its own international airport. There are domestic flight options from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Plus, a network of buses and trains connect Danang to other cities in Vietnam.

Shweta from Zest In A Tote says, “Danang has multiple beach resorts scattered along the oceanfront with private white sandy beaches. There are budget hotel options as well.

We stayed at the beautiful Nam Hai in Danang , now taken over by the Four Season chain. The private sandy beach, the villa with its own deck and back garden, the pool area, the multiple restaurants and the kids’ club all make it a top luxury choice for families.”

best June holiday to take in Asia

Ubud, Indonesia (Bali)

Situated in the heart of the island, Ubud is one of the best places to stay in Bali to experience the island’s authentic culture, and one of the best places to visit in Asia in June.

While there are many things to do in Ubud, there are 3 that you shouldn’t miss.

Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest, where cheeky macaques roam freely within the park boundaries. If you’re brave enough, it’s a unique chance to observe monkeys in their natural habitat.

From there, head to the Pura Tirta Empul water temple to immerse yourself in Balinese culture. Participate in a purification ceremony by submerging your head under a series of water faucets.

Finally, rise and shine early for a trek through the picturesque and UNESCO-acclaimed Tegalalang Rice Fields. If walking isn’t your thing, head over to Alas Harum, a day club where you can admire the paddies floating in an infinity pool. 

While June doesn’t boast any specific, grand-scale festivals, you’re likely to stumble upon local ceremonies or temple festivals, also known as “Odalan,” no matter when you visit. While these aren’t publicised events, visitors are often welcomed as long as they respect the customs and wear appropriate attire (usually a sarong).

June falls within Bali’s dry season, making it a fantastic time to explore Ubud. Expect around 1.5 inches (50 mm) of rainfall spread over four days. Practically, this means the chances of encountering a rainy day in June are minimal.

Average temperatures range from a daytime high of 88°F to a comfortable 72°F at night with lots of humidity.

Flying into Bali is easy since the island has its own international airport located in Denpasar in the south of the island.

The drive from the airport to Ubud takes just over an hour, and you can either book a private or shared transfer or simply grab a taxi. There are also ride sharing options offering a more affordable alternative to taxis. 

Robin from Where To Stay Bali says, “Stay at Ayuterra Resort , which boasts luxurious private pool suites overlooking a river valley. And for more affordable accommodation, stay at the Anumana Ubud Hotel .”

best June holiday to take in Asia

Kanazawa, Japan

Located close to the Japanese Alps in the Hokuriku region of Japan, Kanazawa is an off-the-beaten-path city that can rival Kyoto in terms of traditional charm. This Ishikawa Prefecture capital boasts a rich heritage, cozy  traditional onsen ryokans , tranquil natural scenery, and scrumptious local cuisine, for a fantastic Asian trip in June.

You can not miss out on exploring Kenrokuen Garden. Named as one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in the country, Kenrokuen Garden is a great place to stroll around and soak in the zen vibes while admiring the beautiful scenery.

Since the massive garden is planted with a variety of flowering trees, Kenrokuen Garden offers different yet captivating views to the visitors as the season changes. In the summer months starting in June, you will get to see a variety of flowers, such as bright pink azaleas and purple irises, along with plenty of greenery.

If you are a history buff and looking for a free thing to do in Kanazawa, then head over to Kanazawa Castle. Kanazawa Castle belonged to the powerful Maeda Clan during Japan’s feudal period. Though the main castle was burnt in 1881 and has not been rebuilt, you can still stroll around its castle grounds and check out the reconstructed castle structures. 

The castle also comes with a small Japanese garden named Gyokusen Inmaru Garden, featuring a central pond, circular walking path, and a teahouse.

Kanazawa hosts its biggest festival in the first week of June, attracting participants locally and internationally. Held every year over three days, the vibrant   Hyakumangoku Matsuri  features warrior parades, lion dance, taiko drum performances, and other rituals that have been carried out since the Kaga domain era (1583 to 1869). 

Though it is summer in Japan in June, the weather in Kanazawa is still bearable and mild to explore the castle city. Its’ average high temperature is 77°F while the low is about 64°F. 

Rainy days are more prevalent at the end of June. Overall, there is an average of 5.7 inches over 11 days in June. There is only 10 days of humidity.

Depending on your preference and budget, you can get to Kanazawa in several ways. Of course, the most convenient way to get to Kanazawa is by train. 

If you are traveling from Tokyo, you can take the Kagayaki train on Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kanazawa and enjoy the magnificent lush greenery along the way. Since it is convenient, this 2.5-hour train ride can be very expensive.

Once in Kanazawa, you can buy the 1-day  Kanazawa Loop Bus  pass for unlimited rides for a reasonable amount to get to the main attractions in Kanazawa fuss-free.

Sam from Sam Lee Travel says, “For those who prefer to stay in the city center, consider staying at  Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel . Aside from having spacious air-conditioned rooms, this 5-stay hotel comes with a Japanese restaurant bar, spa facilities, and parking space.”

best June getaway to take in Asia

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi in Central Thailand is only 93 miles (150km) from the Thai capital of Bangkok. It is a fantastic contrast to the bustling pace of Bangkok with beautiful natural landscapes and plenty of riverside accommodation perfect for a relaxing short break in Asia in June. 

The biggest draw to Kanchanaburi is the Bridge over the River Kwai made famous by the movie of the same name. This railway was built under the rule of the Japanese army by Allied prisoners of war and Burmese locals who were forced labourers. They also worked on a railway to join Thailand to Burma, designed to give easier access to Japanese troops. This incredible feat cost many men their lives.

You can walk across the bridge or ride a train out to Nam Tok to the highly recommended Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail. 

For a change of pace make sure you put aside half a day to visit the stunningly beautiful Erawan Falls. This seven level waterfall is a must see while you are in the area. You can hike all seven tiers with a reasonable level of fitness and can swim in most of them. Get there as early as you can and make your way straight to level 3 or 5 for the best chance of having a pool to yourself. 

Kanchanaburi also has some amazing temples. Be sure to add the Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple) to your list. Don’t worry! This is not actually a place to see captive tigers but rather a large temple featuring a 18 metre high Buddha and stunning views over the surrounding landscape.  

June is a fantastic time to explore Kanchanaburi as the weather is not too hot and there is usually plenty of water in the waterfalls for which the area is famous. There has been enough rain to make the waterfalls impressive without the rain getting in the way of your sightseeing. Temperatures are warm and perfect for swimming without the high humidity that hits between August and October. 

Over this month, there is about 4 inches of rain over 14 days but this usually means rain in the early morning or later in the afternoon rather than steady rain all day. The average daily temperature is 85.1°F with highs of 94.5°F and lows around 76°F. There is humidity every day.

There are a number of  ways to get to Kanchanaburi . You fly into Bangkok and then take a train or mini bus, or book a private driver. The trip from town takes about 90 minutes.

Paula from Thailand Awaits says, “When choosing your accommodation, many visitors choose to stay in one of the unique floating cabins that line the River Kwai. Many of these are located north west of town but we chose to stay in a quieter location about 12km south-east of the city centre at the Cross River Kwai Resort .

Cross River Kwai Resort has lux cabins, float cabins and the very deluxe Falling Waters villas with private pools. All look out over the River Kwai and this serene location makes a great place to come back to after a busy day of sightseeing. It also allows you to enjoy kayaking or floating on the river which is particularly beautiful at sunrise.”

best june trip to take in Asia

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (Borneo)

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and divided into three different countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and The Kingdom of Brunei. It is a beautiful island and one of the offbeat spots that not everyone has on their radar.

Kota Kinabalu is one of the main cities on the Malaysian side of Borneo and it has access to some of the best parts of the coast line that the island has to offer.

One of the numerous things to do in Kota Kinabalu is to head to the famous Mount Kinabalu which the city is named after. It is the largest peak in the region and scaling it is an adrenaline junkies dream.

That’s not all that the city has to offer. It also provides an access point for the Tunku Abdul Rehman Park which houses some of the best islands for snorkeling, swimming and diving. June is the best time to visit these!

The city also has some of the best food that you can find all over the world. There are loads of  places to eat in Kota Kinabalu  and your pick can change depending on your price range. 

For great street food, head to the night market or to Gaya street. There is lots of grilled seafood caught fresh that day that is cheap and delicious.

For many the city is just a stop on their journey through Borneo. The lucky ones spend a few days here and indulge in the many things that Kota Kinabalu has to offer.

Expect average lows and average highs ranging from 76°F to 90°F. There is 8.5 inches of rain over 12 days and tropical humidity each day.

Generally speaking, getting to the city is super easy because it has an airport located in it. Many people also choose to cross over from Brunei which is right next door.

Ubers are typically the best way to get around because they are relatively cheap and easy to get.

  Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu  is a stunning luxurious 100 metres from the Kota Kinabalu Waterfront and Night Food Market. You can spend your days exploring the city, then retreat to the beautiful pool and poolside cabanas.

On the Indonesia side of Borneo, you can trek for Orangutans in the wild. We did this and had one of the most unbelievable wildlife experiences that we have ever had (and we have had A LOT!). For more information about this extraordinary experience, please see these three articles: Borneo Orangutans: A Day Of Thrilling Discoveries ; Tanjung Punting National Park: A Superb Planning Guide ; and Indonesia: The Magic of Lightning Bugs In the Rainforest

There are many wonderful places to visit in Asia in June. From beach destinations, city escapes, mountain retreats, and cultural hot spots, you will have your choice of amazing June holiday getaways.

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Central Asia’s 8 famous attractions to visit

Priya Srivastava , TIMESOFINDIA.COM , TRAVEL TRENDS , WORLD Created : Jun 30, 2023, 10:00 IST

best central asian cities to visit

Central Asia is made up of countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. These nations are gorgeous but due to political upheavals, these nations are not as famous among tourists as the ones in South Asia.

However, these countries with their unique cultures and stunning landscapes lure offbeat travellers. Let’s have a look at some of the prominent Central Asian attractions worth visiting.

Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

This is one of the most interesting as well as astonishing places to visit in Central Asia. Also known as the Darvaza gas crater, this collapsed natural gas reservoir has been burning for over decades now. It is also referred to as the Door to Hell or the Gates to Hell. The place is a popular tourist attraction and attracts curious visitors from across the globe.

Registan Square, Uzbekistan

Registan, meaning sandy place in Persian, used to be a famous city of Samarkand (modern-day Uzbekistan). This remarkable palace is a remnant of the Timurid Empire.

Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Song Kul is a stunning alpine lake set 9895 ft up in the mountainous terrains of the Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan. It is also the largest freshwater lake in the country surrounded by grassy fields. Visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking and horseback riding here.

Tomb of Ahmad Sanjar, Turkmenistan

Set in Merv, the modern-day Turkmenistan, the Tomb of Ahmad Sanjar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a beautiful example of 12th century architecture made from terra cotta, brick, stucco, and plaster.

Iskanderkul Lake, Tajikistan

Counted among the stunning glacial lakes in Central Asia, Iskanderkul Lake is set some 7000 ft up in the Fann Mountains of the Sughd Province, Tajikistan. The water of this lake is greenish-blue and looks spectacular.

Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan

Charyn Canyon is a gorgeous natural wonder in Kazakhstan set along the Charyn River. You’ll be surprised to see some remarkable rock sculptures here, which are formed by water and wind erosion.

Burana Tower, Kyrgyzstan

Set in the Chuy Valley of Kyrgyzstan, Burana is an 82-foot-tall tower. This 11th century tower was built by the Karakhanids. This was built near mosques for the call of prayer. It is also among the oldest surviving structures in Central Asia.

Pamir Highway

Pamir Highway is a part of the ancient Silk Road, which was the famous trade route in the bygone era. The highway goes through Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan, offering breathtaking mountain and river views. The highway also covers parts of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

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Central Asia’s 8 famous attractions to visit

Central Asia is made up of countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. These nations are gorgeous but due to political upheavals, these nations are not as famous a...

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When is the Best Time to Visit Central Asia? A Seasonal Guide by Minzifa Travel

Tours to Uzbekistan with a family

Spring in Central Asia

Spring, from March to May, is an excellent time to visit Central Asia . The weather is mild and pleasant, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the cities. The flowers and trees are in full bloom, adding a touch of beauty to the landscape. During this season, you can also witness several traditional festivals such as Navruz, which celebrates the Persian New Year.

Summer in Central Asia

Summer, from June to August, is the peak tourist season in Central Asia. The weather is hot and dry, with long sunny days perfect for sightseeing. This season is also a great time for outdoor activities like trekking and camping in the mountains. The famous Silk Road Festival takes place in July, which is a great opportunity to experience the region’s cultural heritage.

Autumn in Central Asia

Autumn, from September to November, is another excellent time to visit Central Asia. The weather is mild and comfortable, making it an ideal season for exploring the region’s natural beauty. The colorful autumn foliage adds a stunning visual touch to the landscape. During this season, you can witness several cultural events, such as the Almaty Marathon and the Golden Autumn Festival.

Winter in Central Asia

Winter, from December to February, can be extremely cold in Central Asia. However, this season offers its unique charm and attractions, such as skiing in the mountains, ice-skating on frozen lakes, and experiencing the traditional winter festivals. The famous Shab-e-Yalda festival, which celebrates the winter solstice, is a must-see event in Iran.

In conclusion, the best time to visit Central Asia depends on your preference and interests. Each season offers its unique attractions, whether it’s exploring the cities and historical sites, enjoying outdoor activities, or experiencing cultural events and festivals. Contact Minzifa Travel to plan your next Central Asian adventure and make the most of your trip!

The 10 best places to visit in Vietnam in 2024

Joe Bindloss

Feb 24, 2024 • 8 min read

best central asian cities to visit

Experience the best of Vietnam with these top places to visit © hadynyah / Getty Images

With its rolling emerald landscapes, perfect beaches and energetic cities, Vietnam is unsurprisingly a magnet for visitors in search of an incredible travel experience.

This country is teeming with attractions, so it pays to plan your trip around the places you absolutely can't miss. Where you want to go will influence whether you fly into cultured Hanoi in the north or energetic Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in the south, or whether you bypass these two megacities for the laid-back beaches of tropical Phu Quoc.

Start your travel to-do list now with our ten favorite places to visit in Vietnam.

People splash around in the turquoise water of a beautiful island

1. Phu Quoc

Best for beach lovers

About as far south as you can get from Hanoi without splashing into the Gulf of Thailand, the island of Phu Quoc is where beach worshippers come to pray. Lapped by jewel-blue waters and edged by fine sandy beaches, this is a place to slip into low gear, reaching for a cocktail as the ember-colored sun dips into the bay.

But it's far from undiscovered – local tourists come in droves for theme park thrills at VinWonders and giddying views over the sea from the world's longest over-sea cable car. Phu Quoc is a popular stop for families, and if you fancy a change from the tourist scene, there are dense jungles to explore inland from the sand.

Planning tip: If you're bound for Phu Quoc, there's no need to go via Hanoi and HCMC; numerous Asian airlines offer flights from hubs such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul, connecting with long-haul flights further afield.

Best for city slickers

Every trip has to start somewhere, and the ideal point of arrival for first-timers is Vietnam's historic capital. As well as easy infrastructure, inexpensive accommodation, world-class dining and more history than you'll ever have time to take in, Hanoi is the leaping-off point for the islands and outcrops around Halong Bay and the forest-draped trails of the mountainous northwest. Give yourself time to graze through Vietnam's catalog of street food treats  and pause to soak up the atmosphere in cozy cafes in the Old Quarter as well as rush around the sights.

Planning tip: To enjoy Hanoi nightlife on a budget, swing by the streetside bia hoi (draft beer) stalls at busy Bia Hoi Junction on the drinking strip of P Ta Hein.

A woman in a kayak holds her oar above her head as she floats along in a peaceful bay

3. Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay

Best for iconic photos

The crowds mob Halong Bay , but for our money, the shimmering bays to the north and south have a slight edge over Vietnam's most famous collection of outcrops and islands. While trips to Halong Bay are highly commercialized, with motorized luxury junks blowing diesel fumes around the eroded karst islands, Lan Ha Bay  and Bai Tu Long Bay  are a bit more laid-back, and you won't have quite so many cruise ships in your photos. Try kayaking between the outcrops, explore the tropical trails on Cat Ba Island – gateway to Lan Ha Bay – or kick back on the sand on Bai Tu Long's idyllic Co To Island.

Planning tip: If you visit Cat Ba Island, take time to explore the trails around Cat Ba National Park – if you trek with your own guide, it's easy to leave the crowds behind.

4. Ho Chi Minh City

Best for a sense of the past

Cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the southern counterweight to Hanoi in the north, taking its cultural cues from the Mekong Delta and neighboring Cambodia . It's fast-paced, frenetic and fun, particularly after dark, when the pavements transform into a mobile buffet of street food stalls and roadside bars.

A little of the frontier feel of the war years lives on in HCMC, and you can learn more about this violent period at sites such as the War Remnants Museum . The ghosts of French Indochina linger too – set aside some time to wander past the city's colonial-era landmarks, then settle into a coffee shop with a drip-brewed ca phi .

Planning tip: For a break from the city crush, swing out to nearby Tay Ninh, where the Cao Dai Holy See offers a fascinating introduction to the all-embracing Cao Dai religion.

A handful of yellow and red tents can be seen erected on a sand bar near the entrance to a cave

5. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Best for unique experiences

Vietnam's biggest natural attraction – literally – is Hang Son Doong Cave, the largest cavern in the world by volume and a true wonder. An entire New York City block could fit inside its vast main passage, but this monster cavern is only accessible on expensive guided treks.

The good news is that  Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park  is pockmarked with caverns that you can clamber, crawl, boat or zipline through for a fraction of the cost. Trips to the Tu Lan, Phong Nha and Paradise caves are possible on a shoestring budget; more cash will buy access to Hang En, where trekkers set up tents on an underground beach, illuminated by shafts of natural light.

Best for history

A stay in harmonious Hoi An is a journey into Vietnam's lavish, layered past. This was once one of the most important ports in Asia, and traders from as far afield as Japan, Spain and North America filled the pockets of its merchants with gold. Locals used their money wisely, packing the Old Town with teetering shophouses, tea warehouses, fanciful covered bridges, elaborate Chinese guildhalls, and colorful Confucian and Buddhist pagodas. History is only the beginning – many travelers stay for days, learning to make white rose dumplings and summer rolls on chef-led cooking courses, and ordering made-to-measure suits and gowns from the city's modestly priced tailors' shops.

Planning tip: For a change of pace, head inland from Hoi An and spend a night in a friendly community homestay in the Co Tu minority village of Bho Hoong.

An aerial view of the beach of Nha Trang. The beach runs right alongside the city, with a number of skyscrapers and modern buildings visible just behind the golden sands.

7. The Central Beaches

Best for sun-seekers

Sandy bays stud Vietnam's central coastline, but the mood varies widely from beach to beach. Package tourists flock to high-rise Danang  and Nha Trang – famed as military R&R stops during the American War – but we rate the calmer beaches along the coast, where a little of Vietnam's old seaside charm still endures. To the south of Nha Trang, Mui Ne is a lively kitesurfing hub following a string of sandy coves, while Doc Let Beach to the north serves up 18km (11 miles) of sand, surf and seafood. For a quieter experience, hit the coast between Hue and Danang – Thuan An is the gateway to a string of serene and sandy beaches flanking a lagoon-backed barrier island.

Best for imperial history

The former capital of the Nguyen dynasty – which ruled over large parts of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 19th and 20th centuries – drips with imperial history, despite the ravages of US bombers during the American War. Much was lost in Hue , but the grandeur of dynastic Vietnam lives on in the Citadel and Imperial Enclosure , housing the emperor's residence, temples, palaces and court. At one time, entering without permission would bring instant death. Just outside town are the tombs of Vietnam's greatest emperors, resting serenely in green compounds beside the Perfume River. Another relic of royal rule is Hue's imperial cuisine – arguably the finest in the country – try a spicy bowl of bun bo Hue (vermicelli noodle soup) or a crispy banh khoai pancake, and you'll see what we mean.

Planning tip: To stay one step ahead of the crowds at Hue's imperial tombs and rent a motorcycle or scooter to explore; don't miss the Thien Mu Pagoda on your way out of the city.

An empty boat floats along in Ba Be National Park. Beyond the boat the shimmering still waters of the lake is visible, which is backed by numerous mountains, most of which are covered in forest.

9. Ba Be National Park

Best for lake and forest scenery

Vietnam has more than 30 national parks , taking in everything from coastal swamps to mountain jungles, but some are firmly on the tourist trail, and the crowds can be an impediment to spotting wildlife. That's less of a problem in lovely Ba Be National Park , where trails weave between the limestone peaks to Hmong, Tay and Dzao villages, and boat and kayak trips cross serene lakes hemmed in by forested ridges, creating scenes worthy of a medieval woodcut. The park is a haven for everything from macaques and langur monkeys to rare black bears, scaly pangolins and the spectacular crested serpent eagle.

Planning tip: Comfy accommodation in village homes completes the sense of stepping off the mainstream tourist circuit. For an intimate homestay experience, check out the family-run guesthouses in Pac Ngoi village, accessible by bus from Hanoi, via the village of Cho Don.

10. Ha Giang

Best for mountain views

Trekking to the minority villages in the hills around Sapa  is one of Vietnam's top draws, but the country's trekking capital feels rather commercialized these days. Hikers have to walk further every year to find the rural idyll that first drew people to the northwest.

For scenic countryside without the company, remote Ha Giang  province is Vietnam's new frontier. Staying in simple village homestays, you can hike out to minority villages and rice terraces tucked between the soaring limestone peaks, and motor (or pedal) over some of Vietnam's most spectacular passes. You'll want to take plenty of photos on the winding mountain road between Ha Giang town, Dong Van and Meo Vac.

Planning tip: If you're confident in the saddle, motorcycles can easily be rented in Ha Giang town – just ride slowly and be ready for rainy conditions!

This article was first published Apr 13, 2021 and updated Feb 24, 2024.

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Why 2024 is the prime time to discover Kazakhstan

Direct flight routes, festivals with nomadic flair and millennia-old natural beauty are drawing travellers to the Kazakh Steppe this year. Here's how to explore the best of the country's landscapes, culture and events in 2024.

best central asian cities to visit

Stretching far out into the horizon, the vast grass seas of the Great Steppe roll across Central Asia in a rugged and dramatic fashion. Though occasionally roamed by the rare horse rider or lone nomad, the plains of Kazakhstan are largely unexplored by the majority of travellers. But this beautiful, remote region is increasingly showing its modern identity to the world through its cities, events and transport hubs. Thanks to a number of direct flight routes from London and 30-day visa-free access for UK visitors, it's now easier than ever to experience Kazakhstan’s distinctive culture and landscapes. Here’s how to do it.

Most visitors will enter Kazakhstan from the forest-swathed southeast, landing in Almaty . Divided by dense thickets of pine and birch, the city’s surrounding green mountain peaks conceal vast lakes and twisting horse-back trails. In Kolsai Lakes National Park, Lake Kaindy’s cerulean waters draw the most attention. Here, a landslide triggered by an earthquake formed a natural dam and submerged a spruce forest beneath the surface of the lake. It’s now surrounded by picturesque hiking trails and secluded accommodation options. For equally dramatic yet drastically different scenery, travel from Almaty to Charyn Canyon. Easily traversable, this vast red and golden gorge is cut through by a walkable or driveable (in a 4x4) trail guiding visitors to dizzying desert viewpoints.

Red rock mountains

Those keen to venture deeper into central Kazakhstan can take the train into the region of Turkistan and the historic Silk Road city of Shymkent . Life has persevered here since the fourth century, with the city playing host to Sufi sheikhs and Mongol leaders, and becoming a centre of Islamic learning under the Timurids. Hop over low-lying mud-brick walls and stroll between the turquoise-tiled domes that cap mausoleums around the city, or roam the battlement ridges of the protective outer wall. The city’s Uzbek architecture and Persian designs were conserved under Soviet rule, making it an ideal stop for those curious about the history of the Turkic Steppe and a great base for further exploration of the Turkistan Region.

When in the west, the port city of Aktau and its Caspian shores offer easy access to the otherworldly plateaus that characterise the Mangystau Region. Laced with lines of ochre rock and amber streaks, here colourful geology enshrouds labyrinthine desert trails and dramatic gorges. Sharp jutting ridges and undulating rock formations shadow clear traces of 50 million years of life existing in its canyons — palaeontologists regularly unearth new evidence of animal life in the Ustyurt Nature Reserve. From large Tyrannosaurus rex and mammoths to giant fish fossilised within the Paleozoic seas, the fauna of the region has been millennia in the making.  

All these landscapes have been navigated for centuries by the nomadic people of the steppe, whose ancient traditions you can witness today. Observe displays of horse riding or falconers flying their hunting eagles before settling down to try beshbarmak , a platter of boiled meat and innards served with a glass of fermented milk to settle the stomach. Alternatively, order qurt , a cheese made from goat’s or camel’s milk that’s stored in saddlebags and churned by the galloping motion of the nomads’ horses.

Two men on horseback wrestling

How to travel to Kazakhstan in 2024  

Why now? In September 2024, competitors from all over the Eurasian Steppe will converge in Astana for the fifth World Nomad Games . Athletes participate in events like mounted archery, falconry, goat pulling and horseback wrestling.

Where to stay? Visitors from the UK should base themselves in either Aktau or Almaty, both of which are accessible via direct flights from London Heathrow with Air Astana up to four times a week. These cosmopolitan hubs serve as gateways to the country’s best natural and cultural experiences. To catch the World Nomad Games, take a domestic flight to the country’s capital, Astana.

When to travel? Seasons are an intense affair in Kazakhstan as temperatures can range from 40C to -20C. The best time to visit is during the spring or autumn, when the climate is more moderate. In winter, head to Almaty, where ski areas are accessed via cable-car.  

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Breaking news, best places to travel solo: 14 top destinations, per an expert.

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Why wait? The world is calling you now!

When it comes to traveling, one of the most stressful parts can be the planning, making sure each member of your family or friend group is in agreement on the itinerary, hotel, spending and more. Want to avoid all of that?

We recommend a solo trip!

Traveling on your own can seem scary, but with the proper preparation and a good head on your shoulders, the world is ready for you to explore it right now. Going it solo, there are a few less things to worry about like a hotel room size (you just need one bed!) and group flights, but there also some nuances to make note of.

That’s why we interviewed a professional solo traveler, who now helps others get outside of their comfort zone and off into the great unknown.

We chatted with Jen Tenzer, founder of The Soloist , a luxury solo travel advisory site with all the tips and tricks you could need when going it alone. She let us in on some insider tips, plus mapped out where the best places to venture solo are, from the Americas to Asia, Europe and beyond.

The best places to solo travel in America

The best places to solo travel in south and central america, the best places to solo travel in europe, the best places to solo travel in asia, the best places to solo travel in the rest of the world.

Plus, read on for tips and tricks for who should travel solo

  • Solo travel FAQ

A man with a backpack exploring a canyon and hiking in southwestern America

What our experts say: “Sedona, Austin, and New York City — These cities are very concentrated and accessible, with tons of activities to keep solo travelers busy. Consider a wellness hotel in Sedona, a foodie walking tour in Austin, or a solo museum visit in NYC,” said Tenzer.

What our editors say: What can I say — since New York City is on the expert list and I totally agree. As cliché as it may be, the Big Apple has endless options for solo travelers, from watching a Broadway show to seeing landmarks or just exploring the many museums and parks the five boroughs have to offer.

Sedona, Arizona: If you’re in need of a wellness moment, go it solo to the southwest and head to Sedona, Arizona. For an actual retreat, check out the Sedona Mago Center for a SunTao spa. If you prefer solo excursions, head here for hikes and tours to do solo.

Austin, Texas: For a true blue Texas trip, consider going alone to Austin. This is the best place to catch a live show and vibe with likeminded people, or, as our expert recommended, join a food tour and leave full of BBQ and great memories.

New York City, New York: What can’t you do in New York? Our expert first recommended a Broadway show, and we couldn’t agree more. Find tickets here and then plan the rest of your trip, with tours designed for solo travelers like you.

Couple dressed in ponchos watching the ruins of Machu Picchu

What our experts say: “Costa Rica and Peru — Same as above! These destinations are safe for solo travelers, have a well-established tourism infrastructure, and most people interacting with tourists will speak English,” said Tenzer. “I love the idea of a wellness-focused surf and yoga retreat in Costa Rica or joining a group trek to Machu Picchu!”

What our editors say: I need to add Brazil to this list, since I did take a trip there myself. For a more friendly and party atmosphere where you are bound to meet other backpackers and solo travelers, Rio de Janeiro would be a great home base. I also took a solo trip into the Amazon Rainforest, which was a crazy adventure, but when done right, was a life-changing and introspective trip to do on my own.

Costa Rica: Per our expert, unwind and relax with a yoga retreat, staying at the Pura Vida Retreat & Spa . You can also book surf lessons to stay active or book a multi-day tour here so you don’t have to make your own itinerary.

Peru: Machu Picchu is a top bucket list destination for many, so why wait for a group to go? Instead, join an EF tour that also takes you to Lima and Cuzco, and even the Amazon Rainforest should you opt to extend. If you’d rather explore on your own, book a highly-rated hostel for budget lodging, sorted by city.

Brazil: Brazil is a huge country, so we advise you to pick a few places or spend a long time exploring. For a true cultural explosion, Rio is the place to be and you can take daily tours of Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and more. For the more adventurous, take a flight to Manaus and enter the Amazon Rainforest. We did it in spring 2022 and took our tour here.

Female tourist visiting beautiful town in Cinque Terre coast, Italy

What our experts say: “England, Portugal, Italy… I could go on and on! European cities in general make for perfect for solo trips because everything is walkable, there’s tons of activities to keep you busy, and the expansive European train network makes it easy to transfer between cities,” said Tenzer.

What our editors say: I added two countries to our expert list: Spain and Switzerland. Spain is a great one to tack on to the end of any European adventure, as it is super closely connected to Portugal and Italy from the list. You can go from the northern Basque country to the south of Valencia and see a huge range of culture, food and architecture in just one country.

England: To start, flights from the US to England aren’t too hard to find, and savvy travelers can use Skyscanner to find the best deals. Once you’ve arrived, rent a cottage for a relaxing stay in a town of your choice or head into the thick of it and go to London for a full itinerary of solo things to see and do.

Portugal: Portugal is a great country to explore solo, with Lisbon and Porto as standouts for a great combo of nature and city life. If you like to be solo but also experience a place as the locals do, consider a tour or activity with a local guide , like a cooking class or a walking tour.

Italy: Italy may seem like a place of romance, but it can also be a place of self-love for the solo traveler. Use the railroads to book trains throughout the country so you can see it all, from Rome to Florence to Venice and beyond to see the country for yourself. You can also book a solo tour through EF and not worry about making your own itinerary.

Spain: Architecture, food and culture blend seamlessly together in Spain. See it for yourself, with a trip through the country. We personally started in Barcelona and then headed to Madrid and Valencia, all via train or bus. Then load your days with museums, walking tours or even dance classes to fully immerse yourself in the Spanish lifestyle.

Bali, Indonesia, traveler on tree house at Diamond Beach in Nusa Penida Island.

What our experts say: “Thailand, Bali, and Vietnam — These destinations are safe for solo travelers, have a well-established tourism infrastructure, and most people interacting with tourists will speak English. There’s so much to see and explore here,” said Tenzer.

What our editors say: I have to agree 100% with Thailand, as I lived there on my own for six months. The country is easy to explore via public transit, cabs and even short flights, inexpensive to travel in and has some of the best food, nature and culture I have been exposed to.

Thailand: What can I say about Thailand? I personally lived there for six months and still never ran out of things to do alone, and also ran into plenty of other solo travelers and backpackers throughout the country. If you want some guidance, consider a tour with an itinerary. If not, be sure to keep your wits about you and make sure to visit Bangkok , with a trip north to Chiang Mai and a trip south to the islands of Krabi or Phuket for the full Thailand picture.

Bali, Indonesia: Once you’ve booked your ticket to Bali, the rest of the trip is all about relaxing, unwinding and taking in the incredible nature. It is also a surfing hot spot, should you like to take a lesson from just $14. Bali is also famous for yoga, so why not stay at a spa and yoga retreat to charge up for your next adventure?

Vietnam: There are plenty of things to do in Vietnam, making it another hot spot for backpackers and solo travelers who want to explore Asia . Built on the water, be sure to take some tours down Halong Bay and the Mekong River, or take an island day trip to get all the sun and sand you need.

"Eastern Caribbean Sea - February 8, 2010:  A luxury cruise ship anchors in the water as passengers are taken by ferry to the local tropical island for a day of sun and fun."

What our expert says: “Another less-obvious way to travel solo is by joining a group retreat or cruise ! You’re still traveling alone to a new destination and surrounding yourself with strangers, but there’s a comfort in knowing that you’re not  truly  alone in an emergency. It also takes some of the stress out of things when everything is pre-planned for you. Group travel experiences are a great way to tiptoe into solo travel,” said Tenzer.

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Solo travel FAQ with an expert:

What is the appeal of traveling alone? “Solo travel offers a rare opportunity to disconnect from everyday life and reconnect with your core wants and needs,” said Tenzer. Solo travel enables you to explore wherever and whenever you want, stick to a tight budget or truly treat yourself and fill your days with whatever activities light you up! It’s a newfound freedom that allows you to return from vacation actually refreshed.  You’ll return re-motivated to show up for everyone in your life as your best self!”

What are some benefits of solo travel? “Solo travel is incredibly empowering,” said Tenzer. “You don’t know how capable you truly are until you’ve pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. Solo trips always come with the added benefit of a self-confidence boost. Solo travel is also a fantastic way to meet like-minded new friends. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I’ve met infinitely more people traveling solo than when traveling with a companion.”

Who should solo travel? “There’s a bit of cliché around solo travel; that it’s best suited for 20-something single backpackers on a gap year,” said Tenzer. “In reality, there are all sorts of reasons why someone may choose to travel alone: A major life transition like a breakup, career change or the loss of a loved one. Maybe they’re feeling burnt out and craving a personal recharge, or maybe they’re just sick of waiting for other people’s travel schedules and budgets to perfectly align. I’ve had solo travel clients in their 20s and in their 70s. The common tie amongst solo travelers isn’t a certain demographic, it’s a certain state of mind — ready to shake things up and have an adventure.”

How long do I need to solo travel for? “Solo travel doesn’t have to mean an intimidating 2-week trip to some far flung destination. The same solo travel benefits can be obtained from a weekend away to a nearby city you’ve always wanted to explore,” said Tenzer. “I always recommend starting small in your own city. Try visiting a museum on your own or dining out alone. Or, if you’re traveling with family, maybe you spend some time alone during the day and meet up with everyone else at dinner.”

When choosing lodging, what are some tips and tricks for solo travelers? “It’s important to pick a hotel that’s centrally-located in the heart of your destination,” suggested Tenzer. “This is not the time to pick a budget hotel located outside the city in a remote area. Ideally, your hotel is walkable to all of the major sights and attractions, so that you have the freedom to come and go as you please without being reliant on taxis. I also don’t recommend Airbnb’s for a first big solo trip, and prefer the support and safety that comes from a front desk staff who can help in a pinch. 

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Discover 6 of europe’s best food markets in these cities.

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Here’s where to find the tastiest food and the best value for money.

Food markets and dining halls have been a staple of European culture for centuries. While vendors have been selling delicacies on the streets since the days of Ancient Greece, the ornate covered markets and grand food halls we know today are a 19th-century phenomenon.

These culinary institutions, from London’s Borough Market to Amsterdam’s Cuyp Market, have become sources of municipal pride, as well as a cultural melting pot where international cuisines from the cities’ immigrant communities take center stage. They are also a vital part of Europe’s food and drinks industry, which turned over €1.1 trillion ($1.2 trillion) in 2023.

Luggage storage site Radical Storage has analyzed more than 300,000 Google reviews and almost 1,100 establishments to determine which cities markets lovers should visit. Here’s where to find the tastiest food and the best value for money.

London is Europe’s best city for food markets

London takes the crown as Europe’s best food market city with 33 markets and an average rating of 4.5 stars. The British capital is a world-renowned food destination, with the city’s distinct international culture playing host to cuisines from across the UK and all over the world.

This is Borough Market, a traditional food market which is a popular tourist attraction in London.

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London’s food and market halls are also essential visits in their own right, from trendy upscale Camden to the city’s oldest space—Borough Market. In the latter, you’ll find vendors that have been selling on the site for generations, like Nana Fanny’s Salt Beef and Richard Haward’s Oysters.

Stop by Islington’s Junction Market and Southwark’s Tabard Street Market—both rated at 4.7 stars—which represent London’s independent street food scene.

Spain is the top European country for food markets

Four Spanish cities—Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valencia—all feature in the top 10, making Spain a must-visit destination if you’re looking for great street food.

Valencia’s Mercat Central is one of the five best markets in Europe. (Photo by: Rosie Irene ... [+] Betancourt/Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The country’s capital Madrid has a thriving culinary scene. The lesser-known Understreet Market (4.8 star Google rating) comes out as the pick of the bunch with its mix of home-grown stalwarts and globally-inspired food vendors.

Valencia’s Mercat Central is one of the five best markets in Europe. Its iconic early 20th-century Art Nouveau canopy covers one of Europe’s largest food markets. It is also home to some of the city’s best tapas bars.

Cologne is home to Europe’s highest-rated food market

Germany is an icon when it comes to street food: currywurst, Döner Kebabs, Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes). While its Christmas markets are world-famous, it is also home to six of Europe’s 20 highest-rated food markets.

Cologne’s Markthalle Körnerstraße, an independent street food market located in the lively Ehrenfeld suburb of the city, is the highest-rated of them all. Körnerstraße is famed for its kebab Wednesdays, which regularly see locals queuing around the block for its rotisserie meat.

Copenhagen is Europe’s priciest street food city

Analyzing the average price of a main meal, a beer, and a soft drink, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Food Hall came out as the most expensive market in Europe. The average visit will cost nearly €50 ($54). Denmark’s high-tax, high-income economy makes the capital a notoriously expensive city for foreign tourists.

Hamburg’s Street Food Session market is the second-most expensive. Located in the famous St Pauli neighbourhood of the city, the weekly “Straßenmampf” market on Thursdays is a hit with commuters stopping by the food trucks after work.

Valencia’s Mercat Central is Europe’s cheapest major market

Valencia’s picturesque Mercat Central is also the cheapest major food market on the continent, according to Radical Storage. The average dining experience will cost just €8.42 ($9.10).

Five UK markets also feature among the 10 cheapest in Europe. Glasgow’s Dockyard Social offers high value for money, with its 4.6-star rating making it one of the UK’s best. A meal there will cost an average of just €14 ($15).

Rebecca Ann Hughes

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Irish city ranks among top 20 in Europe for art lovers

The emerald isle has a great deal to offer any art lover..

A couple look at paintings in a gallery.

A new study has revealed the best European cities for art lovers, with Dublin ranking in the 11th spot.

‘Art tourism’ has become an increasingly popular reason to travel, and whether you're a creative looking for inspiration or a tourist who enjoys looking at new art, these European cities will never leave you wanting!

Ubuy , a global e-commerce platform, has undertaken new research to find which of Europe’s capital cities offers the most opportunities to see art. The study investigated the number of art galleries, art galleries that offer free entry, statues and monuments and pieces of street art in each capital city.  The cities were then ranked on each of these four factors, to earn a score out of 172. 

“We really enjoyed putting together this research on the best places to see art in Europe. It was important to us to include street art and public art like statues as well as more traditional gallery spaces - it’s a totally different way of seeing art, when you explore the city looking for it, taking in all the sights as you go by! And when the city itself is your canvas you can play with size and scale a lot more," says Faizan Khan at Ubuy.

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“There are also lots of amazing pieces of street art by artists whose work you might not be able to find in galleries, although there are definitely a lot of artists who have crossover appeal like Bansky and the Portuguese street artist Vhils. Vhils’ outdoor work involves chiseling huge portraits into walls, but you can also find his work on display in galleries around the world as he’s become more popular.”

Dublin ranked 11th on the list with a total of 111 points, according to the study's metric. Ireland's capital city has 51 galleries, with 10 of these offering free entry. The city also has 77 monuments and statues and 15 works of street art.

In joint first place on the list are London and Paris, with both cities scoring 166 points, London had an impressively high number of galleries at 259, with 29 of these offering free entry. Meanwhile, Paris has a very high number of monuments and statues at 796, as well as being home to the most-visited art gallery in the world, the Louvre. 

In second place, is Prague with a score of 155. The Czech capital has 236 galleries, including The National Gallery Prague which is Europe’s second oldest art gallery. 

Berlin followed in third place, scoring 152. It has 618 places where you can see works of street art, with one of the most notable locations being the East Side Gallery, a mile-long stretch of the Berlin Wall. 

Any of these cities would have a great deal to offer any art lover. See below for the complete top 20 list. 

best central asian cities to visit

Every one of these capital cities has a thriving art scene where you can see work by the country’s best new artists. However, each city also has a strong sense of its artistic heritage, with national galleries where you can see beautiful examples of paintings, sculptures, photographs and works in other art forms that have been created in the country over the centuries. 

The full study can be found here .

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