Cosmic Treehouse ==> no never stayed with such a family... Although, maybe yes, but not in a muslim country... It was in India in the northeast, in Nagaland I stayed in a little village, I think the family I stayed with was polygamous....
Mell ==> Yeah I stayed in Shiraz, but I didn't like it as much as Esfahan and Yazd or actually most of the other Iranian cities... But that was because I couldn't find any inexpensive place to stay and met a really creepy guy while browsing around the bazar... But it is a nice city and of course you have Persepolis nearby...
I'd like to go to Central Asia as soon as my contract here finishes. I love the idea of staying in a yurt, the scenery and fresh air, and as I speak Russian I'll find it a bit easier than the other brave travellers who go there.
Does anyone have any information on Kyrgyzstan tourism? Or even Turkmenistan, as it's closer to the place I'm in now.
Where to put your underpants on the way to the Golden Gates.
There is actually a Lonely Planet Guide available for Central Asia Jonathan.
U have to be careful to go to Kyrgyzstan during Summer time. Winter is very cold and many of the roads are closed and the yurts have been taken down. Also be careful about exactly when u go in Summertime. It gets very hot. Maybe May or September would be best times to go. There is a program called CBT(community based tourism) which has offices around kyr... and can set u up with homestays, horse riding trips etc.
Thanks for the comments Ralf.
Vinovat ==> Turkmenistan used to have a very restrictive visa regime... You could only get a 5 day transit visa, and you would have to have a visa for the next country you go to or a return ticket to get one... This was during the former dictator, he died last year, I think his son took over... Don't know what the rules are now... Should be a fascinating country though from what i've heard from those who have been there... Complete with revolving golden statues of the former president (so that his face was always turned towards the sun) and names of month named after his mother...
As for Kyrgyzstan, I don't think you will have to much trouble finding information about that... Check the LP, or use Google or something like that... You will find loads of info... You can also just look at the travelblogs here, I am sure there are quite a few people who have travelled there and written blogs about it...
i had never really heard much about kyrgyzstan until i read a book a few years ago called "wheres Wallis" by Brian Thacker - the book was about travelling to countries with wierd names that people might not know much about.
Anyway humourous travel type book, fun to read, I enjoyed the few chapters about kyrgyzstan... just an idea if you can get it.. I think he is british, well the book is available here in Australia so I assume it will be in most places. He stayed with locals etc.
I have been to the Stans. Well, not Afghanistan......yet.
Kyrgyzstan was interesting and Kazahkstan just unbelievable large. Turkmenistan was weird as their President was a bit of a nut-case, it appears. Uzbekistan was the most beautiful and a great time. When are you planning on going? What are you going to be doing? Any places in particular spark your interest? I have quite a bit of information on the area. It's easier for you to ask me that for me just to ramble on and on and on and on........
Did u meet many women travelling in those countries Brian?
I am going to Kyrgyzstan first because I read it is the least sexist. But I am planning to venture to the others in the not too distant future.
I did meet some women in these places, local and foreign. In Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan it's more liberal but in the outlying regions it is more traditional and rural. I didn't think that the women were repressed or treated like they would be in Iran or Saudi Arabia, for example.
Being a single male traveller, I was often approached by waiters, etc, asking me if I wanted a girl that night. So, their treatment of women isn't that much more sophisticated than in the West. As you probably know it's a very poor country and consequently prostitution has become a source of income. I was only in Kazahkstan for a couple days and spent most of that time just travelling through the country. Turkmenistan was surreal. I had a couple women follow me around one day. It turns out they were members of the security forces and it was normal for the state to spy on everyone. For the first few hours I was there my guide thought I was sent to spy on him by his own government.
The Fergana Valley is probably the region where you may encounter traditional Islamic attitudes towards women. The Uzbek government has clamped down on Islamist movements but you should have no problems travelling around in that country if you take the usual precautions and I am sure you are familiar with those. In Uzbekistan I met women who owned their own businesses, drove their own cars, worked as guides, dressed in Western dress, etc. There were also more female travellers in Uzbekistan. Matter of fact, there were more travellers there, period. Probably because it's easier to get there from Europe. There were Italians, Spanish, Germans, French.
Although Uzbekistan is in reality a police-state, it still provided some of the highlights of the entire trip, despite the attempted shakedown from one border guard looking for a bribe and another who thought I was a terrorist trying to sneak across the border from Afghanistan. He had a great laugh about it at the time. I didn't laugh until later. Much later.
Thanks Brian 😊
At least people asking if I want a girl for the night wont be something I will have to put up with. :D
Where did u get your visa for Kyrgyzstan from? I am hoping to get my visa at the airport in Bishkek when I arrive. Kyr... has around 5 consulates here in Germany and none of them ever answer their phones. I was advised to contact the Russian consulate instead for info about Kry.... or other former Soviet places. :D
No, you probably won't be asked if you want a girl for the night. Then again, you may be asked to BE the girl for the night.
I got my visa from the Embassy in Washington. It was a bit of a logistical nightmare. They didn't answer phones readily and once I had sent them my passport they didn't seem to know whether or not they had received it. Not a very comforting thought since it was my passport! I couldn't really go to Washington in person; it would be about a 4-hour drive and 2 plane rides from where I live. I think it's easier now to get visas. And if I am not mistaken you can fly directly to Tashkent, Bishkek or Almaty from Germany. I don't know about contacting the Russian consulate. That might be more trouble than dealing with the country's representative directly. Also, check your passport for Israeli visas. I don't think they would let you in if there was evidence of you being in Israel. I think that's for Tajikistan or Turkmenistan though. The rules they have are nuts!
It's no problem having an Israeli visa... In fact I have met a few Israeli's who have travelled in Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan and Kazachstan... Don't know about Turkmenistan, but I would think it is no different than the other stans..
I will have a new passport soon so I will have no visas for anyone to get suspicious about. :D
I have a few hours stop over in Moscow on the way to Kyr.... Maybe one can get a direct flight if one pays more but paying more is what I dont want to do.
I think I will try to get a visa on arrival. I dont fancy a consulate I cant even call having my passport for weeks on end.
Good plan. I think the flights from Germany may have stopped over in Yerevan or Baku en route to the stans anyway. Are you going to Issyk-Kul?
I am going to Kochkor and whatever is close by.
Apparently it is a sleepy little village so should give me an example of rural life in Kyrgyzstan. I will only be in Kyr.... for 9 days unfortunately so have to choose one spot to hit.
Right now I am living in Uzbekistan and planning to visit Kyrgyzstan too. Kyrgyzstan is less developed, but if people are hospital as here in Uzbekistam it should be intersting travel.
Agne, what are you doing in Uzbekistan?
I am studying here as Erasmus Mundus exchange student in Westminster International University in Tashkent. 😊
I have been advised that I should take several photo copies of my passport and visa in case people in Central Asia claiming to be the police ask for my passport. Apparently a lot of them are fake police who want to steal passports.
Did anyone who travelled in C. Asia have police asking to see their doccuments in the street. If so, what did u do about it? Did they accept a photo copy and then go away? I have been told that if they are persistent to tell them I want to call my consulate and this will get rid of
Agne, I dont know that name but if u are female what do u advise for women travelling in Uzbekistan? What can we expect it to be like? Is it safe? Is there much sexual harassment? I would like to go there. I dont know when yet but it is on my list of want to go theres.
Yes, take several copies. Keep them in different places, as I suspect you are used to. Do not give a policeman on the street your passport. You may never see it again! I met people while in Kyrgyzstan who had suffered such a fate. They had to go to consulates and get copies sent from North America and validated and it was a complete bureacucratic mess. You may get away with showing them a copy. Threatening to go to your consulate with them if they are persistent sounds like a good idea.
I almost forgot..........there have been reports of tuberculosis in parts of Kyrgyzstan. Just for your information.