Cycling Central Asia

A Kyrgyz familyCentral Asia is one of the few places in the world still firmly off the backpacker trail.

On a bicycle, you’ll feel even more as if you’re a great explorer, tackling uncharted waters and exploring an area caught between a host of cultures – Soviet, Middle Eastern and Asian. If you’re a history buff, tracing the ancient Silk Road will be a real highlight.

Let’s be honest. To get there, you’ll probably have to get out a map first. The whole region is a blank space in many people’s minds but the countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan offer an incredible chance for cultural immersion. And that’s not all; don’t forget quiet Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as western China.

The only cluster of tourists is around the Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Samarqand, and the market in Kashgar, China. Elsewhere, you’re more likely to be the only foreigner in town than see a tour group walk by.

Andrew in front of the mosqueYou’ll relish the solitude when you’re taking in incredible mountain views. You may find it less endearing when spending the night in a crumbling hotel. The breakup of the Soviet Union and low visitor numbers means that most infrastructure in Central Asia is in desperate need of repair. Don’t come here if you need those little luxuries like a hot shower.

Need to know more? Read on…

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