INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL GUIDE
Planning a trip undeniably comes along with the feeling of excitement for the trip yet to be experienced. Contrarily, apprehensions also stick up to the mind, while thinking about an impeccably planned and perfectly experienced trip. Planning a memorable trip, especially an international one, demands your major investment in doing homework for the worth-visiting locations you plan to visit, the financial budget requirements to be fulfilled along with the visa process, and the calculation of sufficient time to be spared for the trip in the most suitable time of the year. Doing so pays off in big ways by making you experience a lifetime memorable trip but the undeniable fact about it is that it is the most time-consuming contribution while planning a trip and can be a reason- you postpone when going on a trip. Isn’t it so? But not anymore, as TripKarao, the most reliable travel companion, has come up with a reliable and detailed international travel guide that provides all the relevant information ‘you’ would be needing for an amazing international trip.
Central Asia is the most epic region because it can be considered the heart of the Silk Road and has some truly legendary mountains. Central Asia despite being a barely visited region, it’s a very accessible, tourist-friendly destination. With its beautiful scenery, incredible architecture, fascinating history, and epic journeys along ancient silk routes, Central Asia has something for everyone. The hardest thing can be choosing which of the diverse countries to visit. Below we help you decide the best places to visit in Central Asia, based on your preferences. Wild Frontiers have years of experience in arranging group tours and tailor-made holidays throughout the region. Central Asia, is a pretty big region that one could spend months exploring. And for those who are short of time, choosing the right itinerary that fits their traveling needs can be a tough decision, but not when TripKarao gets to be your traveling agent.
Kyrgyzstan is the ultimate destination for mountain lovers and adventurous travelers, a country composed of some of the most epic mountains I have ever seen, some of them being highly accessible, while others being only suitable for real experts. Moreover, Kyrgyzstan is a surprisingly easy and cheap country to travel to, with great tourist infrastructure. Kyrgyzstan is hard to beat in terms of breathtaking scenery. The lush Mountains of Heaven stretch across its breadth, and the landscapes of grassy steppe, primal forests, and turquoise lakes make it a favorite with our travelers. Lake Son Kul, in the center of the country, is a classic blue glacial lake, where semi-nomadic people camp along the banks in the summer.
Kyrgyzstan has several mountains over 7000 meters, as well as glaciers, deserts, and alpine forests, and a third of the country is permanently covered in snow. For our money, this is the most beautiful of the Central Asian countries. The warm and hospitable locals are a real highlight, and Wild Frontiers has built up strong relationships with local people in over ten years of running holidays to Kyrgyzstan. Stay in a mixture of homestays and traditional yurts, and meet with semi-nomadic people and eagle hunters on our group tour, or book a tailor-made holiday. The natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan can also be combined with the cultural cities of Uzbekistan on our Wild Mountains Fabled Towns tour.
Samarkand is one of the most remarkable places to visit in Uzbekistan and a gem of the Silk Road. Founded in the 7th century BC, many different cultures made their way into this city throughout the course of its history — from Turks and Mongols to Greeks and Persians. The ideal amount of time to spend in Samarkand is 3 days, although 2 days is also enough to cover the essentials. Some of the top places to visit in this city are Registan, Shah-i-Zinda, Gur-e-Amir, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Siyob Bazaar, and Ulugh Beg Observatory. There is also a traditional Uzbek concert inside Registan Square during the warmer months, local culture through the musical and dance performances, and the breathtaking backdrop of Registan lit up at night is an unforgettable sight
Uzbekistan has opened its borders to show the rest of the world the majesty of what used to be the heart of the ancient Silk Road, a country filled with absolutely jaw-dropping mosques, shrines, and old cities. Uzbekistan is home to the region’s finest Silk Road cities – Bukhara, Samarkand, and Khiva offer stunning Islamic architecture and rich history. Conquerors from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, from Huns to Turks and Arabs have held sway here over Uzbekistan’s long and fascinating history and this is reflected in the wide range of influences in the region.
The people here have always been more settled than nomadic, marking it out as different from its surrounding neighbors. A key point on the ancient silk route connecting China with Western Europe, Uzbekistan’s cities are home to some splendid architecture, featuring elaborately tiled mosques and minarets, fortresses, and palaces. The country’s golden age was under Tamerlane, who made Samarkand his capital in the 14th century and you can see his legacy in the city’s impressive monuments, in particular in Registan Square. If you are a lover of culture, history, and architecture, Uzbekistan is the Central Asian country for you.
The Chinese were the first civilization to master the production of silk and when it became one of the world’s most valuable commodities the first “silk routes” sprang up. From as early as 200 BC merchants from the west traveled on a hazardous journey from Kashgar across the Taklamakan Desert to Xian to trade their goods for silk, which they would bring back to the bustling markets of Kashgar, which can still be witnessed today every Sunday. Incidentally, the monopoly of China’s silk production was finally broken by monks smuggling silkworm eggs out of the country in the 6th century.
Over the years the silk road facilitated the exchange of not only goods but also ideas, politics, religion, and architecture. On our Chinese Silk Road tour explore the origins of the silk road, traveling from Xian, home to the Terracotta Warriors, to the Westernmost point of the Great Wall in Jiayaguan, where traitors were once pushed off the edge to fend for themselves in the badlands beyond the Chinese empire, through the Taklamakan Desert, visiting oasis towns, Tibetan monasteries, and ancient ruins before finishing at the great trading point of Kashgar, where east meets west. This is an epic and romantic journey steeped in history and adventure.
For the adventurous traveler, the Persian-speaking country of Tajikistan offers a true chance to escape the modern world; landlocked in the heart of the ‘stans’, this remote country was pretty much closed to the West for 100 years after Francis Younghusband was expelled during the Great Game in 1891. With very little traditional tourist infrastructure, accommodation is large with local families in guesthouses and homestays, and you can forget any thoughts of wifi or mobile phone coverage.
Throw in the epic scenery of the Pamir Mountain range, the Wakhan Valley, and verdant valleys and you have the perfect destination to escape the modern world. Wild Frontiers’ Lucy traveled to Tajikistan recently: “In one village I stayed they just had one telephone, which had been broken for a month, and in another of my homestays I had to unplug the light from a car battery when I went to bed. But homestays are a brilliant way to get to know the local culture and understand the people. The mountain scenery is harsh, but then you get the contrasting splashes of the bright green of the farmers’ fields in the fertile valleys.” For a true adventure amongst stunning scenery and away from the stresses of the modern world, it’s hard to beat Tajikistan.
Gas-rich Turkmenistan has one of the world’s most bizarre capitals, Ashgabat being awash with marble-clad buildings and ostentatious monuments to its leader. Outside the capital, there is a chance to see a more traditional semi-nomadic way of life in the smaller villages and close to the Iran border. The scenery ranges from desert to mountains, and there are some stunning canyons and unusual rock formations to the west. The country is also home to the fascinating ancient silk road city of Merv, once one of the world’s grandest cities until it was razed to the ground by Genghis Khan. Here you can see the remains of caravanserai and ruins dating back to the 11th century. The Darvaza Gas Crater is also one of the world’s most unusual tourist destinations.
Afghanistan is arguably the most important country on the Silk Road, sitting at a pivotal geographical position through which all routes had to travel. As such Afghanistan was home to some of the most impressive and important silk roads cities such as Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Kabul, and over time developed as a melting pot for a myriad of cultures and creeds. Modern Afghanistan has of course formed the basis of many a front page headline but behind those stories lies a fascinating country emerging slowly from three decades of war and instability, representing one of the most diverse and fascinating countries in the region.
Wild Frontiers offers tours to the far northeast of the country, accessing through Tajikistan and into the Wakhan Corridor, as well as tours taking in the cultural side of the country, including Herat, Mazar, the Panchi Valley, and Bamiyan. As the divide between the Hindu Kush and the Pamir Mountains the Wakhan Corridor is an exceptionally beautiful and peaceful region that has never been affected by the recent troubles. This place represents a blank page as far as adventure tourism is concerned. Typically our groups will stay in small guesthouses, interacting with friendly and welcoming locals, with whom you will sit and have tea, share in picnics and observe village life on a series of guided walks. No visit to a place like this is without risk and anyone thinking of going there should discuss with us and others the particulars of the security situation surrounding their trip. However, for those with a true sense of adventure who want to get behind the headlines of one of the most important locations in geopolitics today, Afghanistan is a must.
Written By: Aleen Tariq