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Central Asia Travel

Originally part of Travel in India
Here a 'stan there a 'stan - but how is it to travel there?
8 years ago, February 22nd 2011 No: 61 Msg: #129672  
Hello Hana 😊

Thanks for your private message.

I dont now how to speak Kyrgyzstani or Russian, and I got by. Well, I got by just about. Some people speak some English but getting around with speaking only English is complicated. One time a Polish guy saved me a lot of hassle by speaking Russian with a taxi driver so I got to where I wanted more easily.

Was it easy going around alone?

Well, it wasnt particularly difficult, but there are some safety issues you should be aware of. While some people are friendly and curious, others are openly hostile towards foreigners. I had everthing from gifts being given by strangers to snarling comments and stones thrown at me by other strangers. Never go out at night alone. Preferably, dont go out after dark at all. Sometimes foreigners are beaten up by gangs of drunks.

Public transport to get from town to town is in the form of shared taxis. I had no bad experiences with them, but at the same time, I would have preferred the security of taking a bus with lots of women and children rather than 4 strangers gathered by the taxi man.

But, as far as Central Asia goes, I recommend Kyrgyzstan as a first choice. If you fly there, you can get a visa on arrival, which is a real bonus when you compare it with the visa difficulties of other C Asian countries.

Another real bonus of Kyrgystan are the home stays. At first I was apprehensive of having my space invaded by an extended family, but in all the home stays I was in they pretty much left me alone and I even had most of one section of the houses to myself when there was nobody else staying there.

There was some kind of complication about money when I was there. Bring US dollars. I had Euro notes which they said they dont like and US dollars would have been more acceptable and would have saved me a minor amount of money changing hassles. They told me they are going to stop accepting Euros some time though, in one of the places I changed at.

Bring a flash light. When I was there, the electricity was off as much as it was on evey day and night.

Here is the blog I wrote about Kyrgyzstan.
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Reply to this

8 years ago, February 27th 2011 No: 62 Msg: #129992  
Thanks, Mel! I really appreciate that detailed response.

I will surely read your blog to get a clearer picture of what to expect there.

~hana Reply to this

5 years ago, April 5th 2014 No: 63 Msg: #180376  
My friends and I are going to Central Asia this summer (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan). Apparantly, Russian is essential if you wanna travel a little off the beaten path, so we decided to take a group tour with STAN Experience (with people from all over the world we don't know yet), also to save us the hassle of organizing the transportation and everything. I don't know how the border crossings there will be, so we wanted to take a tour that covers all these countries. Reply to this

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