Central Asia is one of the most spectacular regions with nature that is often described as heavenly beautiful. Nevertheless, the region is the least explored and it doesn't make sense because Central Asia has so much to give and show. There are several reasons why the region is still not a popular destination and we do hope that even with restrictions and rules Central Asian countries will soon become popular touristic directions for adventure travel. Before going through the history and popular attractions of Central Asian countries it is worth getting some information about the regulations, country entries, medical issues, safety, transport, etc.
Visa Regulations in Central Asia
Visa regulations of Central Asian countries change very often and fortunately; the scheme becomes simpler. Now, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have a visa-free regime with 40 countries. Tajikistan requires E-visa. To enter Uzbekistan, you will need a date-specific visa, no Letter of Invitation is required. The most difficult visa regulation is required to enter Turkmenistan. The tourist-visa application to enter Turkmenistan requires a whole bunch of documents including information about pre-booked tours as well as the names of towns to be visited. The visa has a fixed entry date or a fixed validity date. Though Central Asia tour may be quite budget, the most expensive thing about the trip is still visa and entry permits. With the Letter of Invitation, you can get a visa upon arrival. It is always advised to check whether this rule is still applied or no.
Some strategic areas and border zones are closed and require special travel permits. Most of them are easy to obtain, the others are obtained only through a travel agency. Popular destinations that require travel permits are the regions of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan near the Chinese border (the Altay mountains), Baykonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Semipalatinsk Polygon nuclear testing zone in Kazakhstan, the Gorno-Badakhshan region in Tajikistan. To travel across Turkmenistan one needs permission for each destination.
Another obstacle that tourists face when visiting Central Asian countries is registration. Kyrgyzstan is the only country of the region that doesn’t require registration upon arrival. In Kazakhstan, instead of registration, there is a paper handed to guests upon arrival that needs to be returned before departing. Tourists are registered in a hotel during their stay. In Uzbekistan, to develop hiking, camping, and rural tourism there is a law that allows tourists to stay with a local family or camp as long as they register in a hotel.
Travel Health Tips
People with chronic diseases and medical problems are advised to make an appointment with a doctor before the trip. Central Asian countries don’t require special vaccinations. Medications, containing morphine are considered drugs are prohibited in Central Asia and can be ranked as drug trafficking.
Because of the high temperature during the summer months, there is a high risk of heat exhaustion. It is advised to plan a tour before July and take all protective measures like hats to cover the head, sunscreen products, be hydrated, etc.
Most touristic destinations and hiking routes are taking place in high altitude regions and there may be altitude sickness especially if you have lung and heart-related health issues and blood pressure. Acclimatization should be slow and gradual starting from 1500 meters above sea level.
Another health issue that may occur while traveling across Central Asia is diarrhea. The national dishes of Central Asian countries are very fatty and hearty. It is impossible to exclude local cuisine yet you can take small portions and keep medicine against diarrhea. Local water may also cause health issues so it is advised to use bottled water even for brushing teeth.
Language and Communication
Central Asian countries are all post-soviet countries where almost everyone knows Russian. For Russian-speaking tourists, it is quite comfortable traveling about Central Asia. For English-speaking tourists the communication is difficult even in the capitals so it is advised to learn some Russian lifesaving phrases.
Public safety in Central Asia includes crime rate, frequency of civil unrest, reliability of transportation, mobility of emergency services, and other factors. Taking into account all the factors there is a rating of countries according to their safety level. Check out more detailed information about travel safety in Central Asia.
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