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Five Stans Adventure Tour - your unforgettable tours in Uzbekistan, Central Asia and along Silk Road. The multilingual personnel of Five Stans Adventure Tour command excellent knowledge of professional tourist services and practice individual approach to each of their clients. Five Stans Adventure Tour has reliable partners throughout the whole Central Asia. With Five Stans Adventure Tour you can discover Uzbekistan and Central Asia in the most exciting and original way. Central Asia, Silk Road Tours. Uzbekistan Tours, Visa and Hotels

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Most often, this is the first question people think of after they’ve decided to visit Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and/or Turkmenistan. Each country, or taken collectively as a region, presents the traveler with a cornucopia of choices and decisions to make before they go. Once those decisions are made, then we come to the best time to travel.

At Five Stans Adventure, we take this question very seriously because the comforts of our clients are our top priority when they visit Central Asia. The geography of the region is highly diverse, possessing high mountain peaks and hot deserts. Equally, the temperatures – which are the most important gauge to a comfortable tour – can be torturously hot to ice age cold. Additionally, much will depend on what type of tour you are planning to do.

For most travelers, the best time to travel in Central Asia is in the spring (March – May) or fall (September – November) months. The chart below will help to explain things a little better:


Avg. High

Avg. Low


Avg. Precip.





2.20 in/55.9 mm





1.90 in/48.3 mm





2.80 in/71.1 mm





2.50 in/63.5 mm





1.30 in/33.0 mm





0.30 in/7.6 mm





0.20 in/5.1 mm





0.10 in/2.5 mm





0.20 in/5.1 mm





1.30 in/33.0 mm





1.80 in/45.7 mm





2.10 in/53.3 mm

A quick scan of the data confirms what I pointed out earlier as far as the best months to travel. Of course, it’s always helpful to know when the major holidays take place which could effect your plans, particularly Ramadan, which varies from year to year. In 2017, the tentative dates are May 27 – June 24, so this year it happens right at the tail end of the travel season.

Follow Five Stans Adventure on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin for the latest news in tourism in Central Asia!

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Next morning, rest day over, we decided to travel to Samarkand.  I was not due in Tashkent until the Sunday night and so we had all of Saturday free to reach our destination.  Another colleague had already recommended an inexpensive bed and breakfast in Samarkand and so we were set.  I asked again about a map at this point.  Umar told me that you couldn't buy a map of Uzbekistan in Tajikistan, which I suppose I had already guessed, but one often lives in hope.  But he felt sure he knew the way as he was there twenty years ago and most probably it hadn't moved.

The open border crossing with Uzbekistan, is not far from Khujand and was a surprisingly smooth crossing, all things being considered. I was impressed how all officials met us politely and appeared to make the necessary bureaucratic processes and checks as trouble free as possible.  I suppose it helped that we were the only car crossing and a diplomatic one at that and so the vehicle registration and other formalities were a little easier than for others.

Once on the open road in Uzbekistan we seemed to make good early progress towards Samarkand.  I still felt uneasy not having a map, but Umar reeled off the names of towns and villages we should pass through, which indeed we did and so all was well.  We had the latest 'Now That's What I Call Uzbek Music' on loudly in the car as we enjoyed the relatively empty roads and tucked into tasty fruits picked up from a roadside stall overflowing with autumnal mellow fruitfulness.  Thirty minutes later and things changed.  The road which runs from Tashkent to Samarkand disappeared. And then from the depths of my memory I recalled reading that part of Kazakhstan jutted into Uzbekistan and that the original main road, which we were looking for, had been diverted some years back after some dispute or other over the  border.  I made a note to research the story later, but in the mean time we needed to re-join the permanent diversion needed to avoid crossing the blocked Kazakh quasi-isthmus.  After 10 minutes of swearing at google maps on an iphone we sought the help of some men working by the roadside.  As is customary in most parts of the world, in my experience, the answer to the question 'which direction?' is usually 'straight ahead!', but fortunately in this instance it was to be right. Soon we were back on track and hurtling past cotton fields alive with weekend cotton pickers and dancing storks. 

After Tajikistan the Uzbek landscape at this easterly end of that country is quite uneventful and without dramatic feature, consisting mostly of either arid plain or cotton fields. But this doesn't matter and in fact makes the arrival in Samarkand all the more special.  Interesting old buildings, the buzz of city life and soviet style tree line boulevards almost appear from nowhere.  Travelling deeper into Samarkand in search of our budget guesthouse, we passed the Registan, Bibi Khanym Mosque and the Shrines of the Zakhi Zinda complex.  I was already drawing a mental note of my walking tour for later.

Guest house found, safely checked in and refreshed, we ventured out in the late afternoon heat.  Even the autumn can still be warm during the day in southern Central Asia.  I was keen to get an early feel for the size and grandeur of the Registan square and attendant mosque and madrassa buildings.  I was not disappointed.  There are those who are sniffy about the reconstruction and improvement which are often made to such ancient sites in order to satisfy tourists brought up on CGI and theme parks, but in this case, at least, I believe it works well.  I would rank this place among one of my favourite ancient sites. 

We spent an enjoyable 24 hours in Samarkand.  Umar and an old school chum, now living in Samarkand, showed me around the city and introduced me to the bazaars.  I am not ordinarily a keen shopper for souvenirs, but the atmosphere and earnest bargaining in the bazaars was exciting and persuaded me to part with my money.  Suzani embroidery, atlas and adras fabric and colourful ceramics are all tempting here.  And had I had more time I would like to have dug deeper for other markets offering antiques and collectibles – my nose for these things told me they were out there - somewhere.

After a tasty Samarkand plov lunch in the Stolovaya attached to the main Bazaar, Umar and I bade farewell to our Samarkand friends (several by now) and set out for Tashkent.  We made good time on the road and this time remembered the Kazakhstan detour!  We were in Tashkent by teatime and well in time for the beginning of the next part of my official programme.  As we sat eating Naryn (a bit like a horse meat spag bol as far as I could see) that evening in a Tashkent canteen we talked about the political issues holding back full intra-regional integration in Central Asia.  However, in an odd way, I had been glad that closed borders and a lack of direct flights had allowed us to see and experience so much more than an hour long flight would have delivered.  Strangely we were already looking forward to our return journey, wondering what new experiences it might afford us.  But for now we satisfied ourselves with the tasty naryn and looked forward to a very comfortable Tashkent hotel.

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While some caravanserais were built in remote and mountainous spots like the Tash Rabat in Kyrgyzstan (see our blog post here: and others were located in the desert like the Rabati Malik in Uzbekistan (see our blog post here:, other caravanserais have seen entire cities spring from them. There are a number of examples of caranvanserais that became cities, but one of the more poignant ones is Kazakhstan’s Shymkent.

Shymkent was originally founded in the 12th century during the heyday of the Great Silk Road. Unlike most caravanserais, this one was tasked with a dual purpose: the allow travelers a place to rest and recuperate; and provide protection for the town of Sayram. This town was located 10 km to the east of present day Shymkent. However, it wasn’t too long until this outpost was smothered by Genghis Khan and his armies and by other nomadic tribes numerous times. Much like other Great Silk Road cities, only the strong survived and Shymkent proved that it was up to the task. Destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, it passed from empire to empire; from the Golden Hordes, to the Bukharans, to the Kokandians, to the Russians, and today to Kazakhstan. While Shymkent’s population is 64% Kazakh, interestingly the city has a strong Uzbek influence to the point where many of the restaurants serve only Uzbek food. Given the city’s close proximity to the Ferghana Valley, you can be assured that you’ll find the world’s best produce!

Today, Shymkent it is one of the most vibrant cities in Central Asia. Home to over 600,000 people (mainly Kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks), this city has become an industrial center and today houses an oil refinery and food processing plants. More importantly it is the home of Kazakhstan’s best beer, “Shymkentskoe Pivo.” So be sure to have a glass while you’re here! There are two large shopping centers to find a few bargains and to witness the local economy in action.

While there’s nothing left of the caravanserai that started it all in Shymkent, the Regional Museum of History and Anthropology will provide you with a number of interesting exhibits that highlight the important heritage of this Great Silk Road town.

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Caravanserai: A roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day’s journey.

By the looks of this definition you might think we were describing a motel! In a few ways there are some similarities, but for the most part the differences were significant. The role that the caravanserais played was a crucial necessity to the survival of the Great Silk Road and its travelers. While it wasn’t unusual for travelers to sleep on the side of the road, it certainly wasn’t a comfortable place being exposed to the elements and potential attacks from thieves. We’re fairly certain that many of them would have preferred to travel from one caravanserai to the next and avoid sleeping outside. To bridge this necessity enterprising entrepreneurs from countries throughout the vast Great Silk Road network built them, and a few have survived to this day.

For the most part the caravanserai had a simple, but practical, architectural design. They were square or rectangular in shape with a single entrance that was large enough to allow camels to enter. The central area, or courtyard, was an uncovered and open space that allowed travelers to maneuver their livestock and merchandise. Inside the walls of the caravanserai were stalls to accommodate the traveler and his goods. While they lacked an ice machine the caravanserai provided water for drinking, bathing, and cleaning, the most precious commodity on the Great Silk Road. Additionally, supplies were made available for purchase, like fodder for the animals or other useful tools that a caravan could use.

While there are a large number of caravanserais in the world, one of the most famous is in Navoi, Uzbekistan. The Rabati Malik was built between 1068 – 1080 A.D. and originally occupied 8,277 sq. m. Inspired by Iranian architectural design, the portal is arch-shaped and complete with Arabic inscriptions. Unfortunately, an earthquake in 1968 demolished what had remained of this beautiful caravanserai. However, many photographs were found which will allow future restoration projects to remain true to its original design.

On January 18, 2008 the Rabati Malik was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List (Tentative).

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Let's keep this as simple and direct as possible.

All visitors to Turkmenistan must obtain a visa. To complete the process, an application must be submitted that includes a 3x5 cm photo that is glued in the appropriate location. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of arrival in Turkmenistan and be sure to include a copy of the biographical page. It is required to submit an alternative form of identification (e.g. driver’s license or other personal ID). You will need to submit a letter from Five Stans Adventure that outlines your itinerary and duration of stay, too. A 10-day single-entry visa costs $35 and 10-day multiple entry visa costs $75, and only money orders are accepted. For more information and an application please go to their website at

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Before your arrival in Tajikistan you will need to have a visa. In exceptional cases a tourist visa can be purchased at the Dushanbe International Airport, but this service is highly unreliable and could result in significant delays or worse, refusal – something you don’t want while on tour. If you are a citizen of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Jordan, Russia, or Ukraine, you can stay up to 90 days without a visa. For the rest of us, visas may be purchased in the following countries where a Tajik embassy is located:

  • Afghanistan (Kabul and Mazari Sharif)
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Germany
  • India
  • Iran
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Uzbekistan

To apply for a tourist visa you will need to submit two (2) visa applications, travel itinerary, two (2) passport photos (3x4 cm), a letter from Five Stans Adventure that explains your itinerary, a photocopy of the biographical page of your passport, along with the actual passport. If you are traveling to GBAO you will need a permit, which can be obtained at the embassy for approximately $20 (USD). A copy of the application can be found here: A 1-week visa costs approximately $50 (USD) and a 2-week visa costs $60 (USD).

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There have rumblings coming from Kyrgyzstan that they might reconsider their current visa policy. While the government has stated that it will not being changing it, Five Stans Adventure will continue to monitor the situation closely. For the time being, this is the latest information to help you gain a better understanding of how things work.

This country has a very liberal visa policy and many tourists will find they will not need one to visit. If you are a citizen of one of 45 countries, you can visit Kyrgyzstan for 60 days without a visa. The list of qualifying countries is:


  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Vatican

If your country is not on this list, you will need to apply for a visa, but the good news is you can obtain a visa at Manas International Airport upon your arrival if you are a citizen of one of these countries:

  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Cyprus
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Macedonia
  • Mexico
  • Montenegro
  • Oman
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Venezuela

If you plan on staying beyond 60 days, you will need to apply for a visa. For more information about obtaining a Kyrgyz visa, please visit their website:

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