The Scythians, Mongols and Turks were all amongst the nomadic empires who laid a claim on the region now known as Central Asia. These influences still remain to this day and nomadic culture still plays an integral role in modern society. Nomads required their goods and wealth to be portable so the symbols of wealth were both opulent and practical. You can still see the expertly covered carpets, ornate belts, purses and vessels along with the intricately designed decor within yurts. Our Central Asia budget tour showcases the nomadic sports which have carried on, to this day. Kok-boru is a traditional game played on horseback where the competitors attempt to steer a goat’s carcass into the goal. The referees are community elders who ensure the game’s integrity is retained and it’s a regular feature at the World Nomad Games. Where better to witness this sport than the home of the world champions: Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz national team beat their Uzbek rivals by 32-9 in 2018.
The Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, are often considered the biggest draw of the region and a must for any Uzbekistan tour. Their impressibly preserved architecture tends to form the headline images for tourism to the region. There’s a good reason for this with a history that dates back to the 8th century BC. Samarkand has been promoted by millions ever since and it’s first ever travel influencer was Alexander the Great who commented that”everything I have heard is true, except that’s it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined.” It’s easy to relate to this whilst wondering through the myriad of mosaics, medressas and majolica in the Registan. These vital stops along the old Silk Road hosted Turks, Arabs, Persians, Karakhanids and Mongolian Karakitay between the 6th and 13th centuries. Samarkand’s real moment in the sun came in the 14th and 15th century when it became the centre of intellectualism in the region. The beauty of Bukhara’s old town still imbues a sense of history and it’s easy to feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you amble along steps shared by generations.
Central Asia is an instagrammer’s/photographer’s dream with a constant backdrop of sweeping panoramas that never fail to enthrall. The Charyn Canyon is Asia’s answer to the Grand Canyon and offers stunning red-rock formations in the form of The Valley of the Castles. The scale of this place has to been seen to be believed and it’s vast, sparse but striking beauty is the highlight of any Kazakhstan tour. Kyrgyzstan is also a nature lover’s paradise with a countryside that offers beauty in abundance. The Jeti-Oguz area is a hiker’s paradise with a range of routes all offering unparalleled views. You can do a series of multi-day hikes in the region and really get out into the true wilderness. One guarantee with Central Asia travel is that you’ll never be short of a photo opportunity!
In all the countries on our Central Asia trip, we visit a local bathhouse or spa. These have been centres of relaxation, in the region, for centuries and they all showcase an aspect of local culture and are an integral part of Central Asia travel. From the hamman in Bukhara, the Banya in Karakol to the famous Arasan Baths in Almaty- these centres of the community offer a chance to unwind from the stresses of modern life in time-honoured traditions. Our favourite is the relatively modern Arasan Baths- it was built in the Soviet era and it’s been beautifully restored. You can access a whole range of services including ordering vodka to your bath and part of the magic is simply staring at the splendour of the surroundings. There’s a variety of rooms to wander through and you can remove toxins by using the venik provided- a mix of oak leaves and dried birch.
Central Asian cuisine doesn’t get the press it deserves and we try and put this right by enabling our travellers to sample the full variety of local dishes as well as learning how to make it themselves. You haven’t experienced Central Asia travel until you’ve tried Plov. Plov is a traditional delicacy in Uzbekistan and it’s cooked in a broth with a series of spices, vegetables and meats. At the Central Asian Plov Centre you can witness vast cauldrons of the stuff and experience the passions of the Uzbeks for their national dish. Nomadic food tends to be hearty but delicious. You’ll also notice a range of fermented dairy products and you can sample fermented camel’s milk as well as some of the heavenly fresh yoghurt for breakfast. Our Karakol food tour also gives the chance to try such delicacies as ashlan-fu, pirozhki, tatar azuu, oromo and laghman. To discover what they are all are- visit Kyrgyzstan with The Dragon Trip!
Ready to explore Central Asia? Take a look at our tour here, visiting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Or browse our other adventure travel tours. Drop us a message in the chat box below or send us an email at email@example.com to find out more!
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