We here at Loser Travels ‘stan’ Central Asia. Hilarious, we know. Central Asia is an area of the world that you should ‘stan’ as well. Not known for being a hugely popular tourist destination or budding backpacking destination, Central Asia boasts some incredible places to visit, stunning nature, delicious food to devour and fun hats (hiya the Kyrgyzstan Kalpak). For many, the thought of visiting Central Asia and indulging in what it has to offer may be rather alien to a lot of humanoids, but after reading this list of the top 5 places to visit in Central Asia, you will be loading Skyscanner up faster than you can spell Kyrgyzstan.
Quick shoutout to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan who doesn’t make it on this list purely from how difficult it is and expensive it is to be able to visit this Guinness World Record-holding city, but holy fuck is The Gate to Hell in Turkmenistan something you’d adore to see if the batshit crazy dictator didn’t make it so hard to visit.
The city that changes names more than a teenager goes through fazes, Kazakhstan’s capital city Nur-Sultan is a sight to behold. Formerly known as Akmol and Astana, and will most likely change its name to Oldhaz the Futuristic Looking City of Fancy Buildings within the next decade. Nur-Sultan is a must-see when visiting Kazakhstan and Central Asia. With some stunning architecture from the high-rise buildings adorned with blue tinted windows, to the incredible Nur-Sultan The Grand Mosque, and the iconic Bayterek tower, Nur-Sultan is an architecture lovers wet dream. Only becoming the country’s capital in 1997, you can see the amount of money pumped into the city to make it into this futuristic metropolis and the premier modern city of Central Asia. Kazakhstan’s capital may not be comparable to the gorgeous scenery you will encounter on a trip to Kazakhstan but Nur-Sultan is most definitely one of the Top 5 Places to visit in Central Asia.
Ala-Archa National Park
Located only an hours drive outside of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, Ala-Archa National Park is the most accessible and one of the most breathtaking places to visit in Central Asia. A hikers paradise with many paths to different gorgeous sights including a beautiful waterfall and a glacier, you are spoiled for choice on what to stare at as you grasp for breath and think about how a chair lift wouldn’t go a miss at that moment in time. A national park and a top 5 place to visit in Central Asia that you can easily day trip, extending your stay to an overnight trip is also possible. There are rooms at the hotel right at the entrance or you can take the trusty ol’ tent and camp up close to the glacier with the other members of the cool camping crew.
Uzbekistan’s second biggest city is arguably more pivotal of a landmark than the capital Tashkent. What differentiates the two lovely places is Tashkent may have a lot of cultures mixed with modern buildings and way of life, Samarkand boats Islamic and Uzbekistan culture with the volume of gorgeous Islamic structures. One of the oldest cities in Central Asia that continuously have been inhabited, Samarkand is certainly up there in places to visit in Central Asia. The beauty and charm of the city that sounds like a really good theme park name is the number of Islamic buildings from Mosques, Madrasas and Shrines dedicated to the religion. Essentially there is more gorgeous religious architecture to see than pie has decimal points. Split into the old town and new town, there is something for everyone in this Southern Uzbekistan city.
Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan
Probably the cover girl of Kyrgyzstan travel, Issyk Kul and its big beefy boy of a lake is an absolute world beater of a lake. If there was a royal rumble of all the world’s most gorgeous lakes, you wouldn’t be a squid to chuck some cash on Issyk Kul reigning victorious. With Kyrgyzstan as a country not being a hot spot for tourism, our sexy pal Lake Issyk Kul isn’t over-swamped with tourists keeping it as persevered as that expensive bottle of whiskey you inherited that you’re too scared to touch. Genuinely one of Central Asias’ most beautiful natural landmarks and one of the Top 5 in the region of the world you will be mesmerised by Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan and jealous that you can’t be as pretty as it, sorry gal.
Iskanderkul Lake, Tajikistan
Out of all the Stans, Tajikistan is completely forgotten about by many, but for those who go visit this gorgeous nation, it’s typically their favourite. The pristine nature and jaw-dropping sites left right and centre is what makes Tajikistan the place to be, none more jaw-dropping than Iskanderkul Lake located in the east of the country, 4 hours drive from Samarkand, Uzbekistan. This mountain lake of glacier origin is situated amongst the northern part Fann Mountains in the Gissar Range and fuck it is a place to visit and a half. An alpine lake that you’d also not be a squid for putting money on in the royal rumble of lakes, Iskanderkul Lake is surrounded by some beautiful yet unique natural sculptured rocky peaks and some pristine turquoise waters. A no-brainer on any top 5 places to visit in Central Asia list, any trip in Tajikistan has to include Iskanderkul Lake.