This natural wonder spans 90km in length and reaches depths of 300m. It’s Kazakhstan’s answer to the Grand Canyon. Part of the area is made up of towering red rocks earning it the name of the Valley of Castles – it’s here that you’ll get some of the best pictures. A short day trip to the canyon is impressive but, to fully appreciate it, we’d recommend a hike with overnight camping.
All over the ‘Stans you’ll see plenty of lakes. Ranking as a must visit is Kazakhstan’s Kolsai Lakes National Park. Located on the slope of the Tian Shan Mountains and surrounded by forests, these lakes are framed with the natural beauty of the region. As you might expect, this is another location that’s one you need to hike around. There are plenty of pre-planned routes you can take, suited to the length of how you long you want to spend there.
This striking rock formation lies amidst the forests and open spaces of the Kyrgyz countryside. While it is the defining (and most impressive) feature of the area, we like this one a lot as it’s in such a pretty location. Depending on season, you can walk to the nearby Valley of the Flowers. This becomes flooded with poppies in spring and summer and adds a stunning blanket of red to the meadows as far as the eye can see.
A little like Charyn Canyon, this one is impressive on size alone. Lake Issyk Kul covers an area of over 6,000 km² and is the tenth largest lake in the entire world. We’d recommend just taking some time to soak this one in. Going for a swim or taking a boat ride are both great ways to make the most of it. As you might expect sunsets behind this lake are magnificent. If you fancy a little more exploring, take a trip out to the nearby Barskoon Waterfall.
It’s the only sight that isn’t natural beauty on our Central Asia list, but we just had to get this one in. The ancient Silk Road city, located in Uzbekistan, is full of stunning historic architecture that is guaranteed to take your breath away. From Registan Square to the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum (to name a couple), the buildings in this city will captivate you regardless of whether you’re interested in history. Their Islamic style is one that is rarer to see for Western travellers and adds a unique feel to the buildings. If you’re left looking for more of these to visit, pay a visit to the Uzbek city of Bukhara home to even more stunning architecture.
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