Prepare for a bit of everything in Central Asia when it comes to dressing for the weather.
Even in summer, it’s not uncommon to run into hailstorms, snow or cold rain in the mountains so you won’t regret packing a waterproof jacket and a warm layer of clothing.
At the other extreme, temperatures can easily soar above 40C on a sunny day in the flat grasslands and there may be little or no shade for relief. Make sure you’ve got something to cover your head with and consider bringing lightweight, long clothing you can cycle in to protect your skin from sun damage.
Strong sunscreen – at least 40 SPF – is a must. Even when it feels cool, you can easily burn at high altitude. Don’t count on finding sunscreen in Central Asia. Everything is imported so if supplies run out they aren’t quickly restocked. You might find what you need on the ground but prices will be high.
There’s also a modesty factor to consider. Most Central Asians are Muslims. It’s true that few of them practice the faith with the same strictness you’d see in the Middle East – drinking alcohol is common – but the dress code still tends to be conservative. You can wear bicycle shorts and t-shirts but a pair of long pants is a good idea for walking around villages. Modest dress is also imperative for visiting mosques.