Are you a fan of being crammed into tight spaces and unable to move freely at tourist spots? No, we aren’t either. Central Asia is a beautiful place, but often goes overlooked when compared to Oriental cousins like Japan and China.
Let’s take a look at five spots in this oft-forgotten region of the continent which are worth visiting if you want to escape the crowds on your next holiday.
- Medeu – Kazakhstan
Despite being made infamous after the exploits of the Sacha Baron-Cohen creation Borat, Kazakhstan is in reality a fantastically diverse country which has plenty to offer anyone who visits.
There’s a real range of both natural and man-made attractions to check out there, but we’d recommend giving the Medeu ice rink a whirl while you’re at it.
Fun fact: the rink, which is located in the city of Almaty, is actually the highest skating venue in the world – located a whopping 1,691 metres above sea level. You learn something new every day.
- Ark of Bukhara – Uzbekistan
This sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, but in reality the ark of Bukhara is actually a huge fortress found in the city of the same name, believed to have been built around the 5th century AD.
Guided tours are now available for people to check out the ancient ruins – which have been destroyed and then reconstructed several times over the centuries.
Some of the artefacts from within the ark have been removed and can now be viewed in a nearby museum. There are over 36,000 exhibits here worth checking out.
- Lake Issyk-Kul – Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan might be the hardest country name to spell for people from the western world, but it nevertheless offers any holiday-makers intrepid enough to venture there a hearty reward.
A particular point of interest comes in the form of the Issyk-Kul Lake – a spot of serene beauty which has been largely untouched by visiting tourists for the best part of a generation.
While it was once a popular resort during the USSR era, it’s now become completely overlooked as a holiday destination. You’ll feel like you’re the only person in the world at points along the lake – something which is replicated as a whole throughout the underpopulated nation.
- Pamir Highway – Tajikistan
The M41, or as it’s more commonly referred to, the Pamir Highway, is a relatively unexplored road in Tajikistan which plays host to a series of passes which are yet to be fully charted on a map.
Dusty roadways are the call of the day on this untraveled stretch of land – with one key path carrying you straight through the middle of the region.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have the chance to hop off at any point and for a cheeky little exploration, however. Who knows what you might find?
- Door to Hell – Turkmenistan
Our last entry on the list comes in the form of one of the spookiest landmarks you could possibly visit – a literally gateway to hell.
Alright, it’s not actually an entry to the land of the dead, but an eerie glowing cavern sprouting out of the middle of a Turkmenistan desert is the closest thing you’re ever likely to see to it.
The landscape was created when soviets tried to burn out a pool of toxic gas – expecting it to be removed within a few days. Instead, it’s been burning for 40 years.
Figured there was nothing worth seeing in Central Asia? Think again. Why not try out one of these highly underrated and heavily underpopulated countries the next time you’re in the mood for a trip where you have space to breath.
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