The most amazing thing about a tour around Central Asia is the sheer variety of environments you’ll find yourself in over a two-week period. From the sparse open space of the Charyn Canyon to the almost Alpine backdrop of the Kolsai Lakes, there’s few landscapes you won’t encounter during your trip.
However, it can be a worry when packing – if you might need everything, what should you bring? We always recommend that you travel light on tour, so it’s crucial that you’re practical, efficient, yet prepared for all eventualities. But don’t worry if that sounds like a lot of work! Here’s our handy list of what to pack for Central Asia.
If we could put this higher than number one, we would! Central Asia is a stunning part of the world, and it’s best explored on foot. Making sure you’ve got a sturdy (worn in!) pair of walking boots ensures that you’re able to wander to your heart’s content. You’ll be heading across all terrains, from rocky canyons to leafy, verdant forests, so having a pair of shoes that can withstand it all is an absolute must.
While many of the days in countries like Kyrgyzstan can be very hot, during the night the temperature often drops. While we always recommend bring layers, making sure that you’ve got one nice, cosy layer is always a safe bet. On Day 6 of our 15-day tour, you’ll camp overnight in a yurt – so make sure you’ve got something warm for that! One Dragon on our Adventure Advice group cleverly pointed out that a thick layer like a hoodie can also be used as a pillow on your long-distance flight.
Let’s face it – if you’re going to mountains, lakes and waterfalls (oh my!), you’re going to want to make sure you document it. Make sure you’ve got your camera ready for action – and don’t forget to bring your charger! You’ll go all the way from the beautiful city of Samarkand to the stunning Kolsai Lakes, so be sure to bring an empty SD card so that you can capture everything you want to.
If there’s one thing that Central Asia does well, it’s water. From the stunning Lake Issy Kul to the rapids and ravines of the Charyn Canyon, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take a dip – so make sure you’re prepared! It’s also a good idea to have a small, waterproof bag to put it in, in case you need to travel while it’s still damp from the day’s fun.
No matter the temperature, the sun can be deceiving. While you’re touring around, you’ll hike around some spectacular places like the Oguz-Bashi Peak and the Fairy Tale Canyon. This means that, even if it’s a breezier day, you’ll be that much more susceptible to the sun’s rays. Making sure you’ve got a good suncream (we’d recommend SPF50 to be safe) keeps you protected – and avoids later discomfort from sunburn!
First aid kit
If there’s one thing you won’t find halfway through a valley, it’s a blister plaster! Whilst our Adventure Leaders will always have a first aid kit on hand, it’s practical to have a stash of your own things. Include in this the basics, like plasters, disinfectant wipes and painkillers, but also be sure to bring any medicines that you need to take specifically. If you’re sensitive with food, you can always travel with anti-sickness tablets.
Lightweight waterproof jacket
While a heavy anorak is tough to squeeze in when you’re packing efficiently, making sure that you’ve got a waterproof layer is key to staying prepared while you’re touring Central Asia. Whether it’s the odd rain shower or the icy-cool mist of the Barskoon Waterfall, it’s always useful to keep a light protective layer on hand for your days out.