For most travelers, Uzbekistan is as unknown as Kyrgyzstan or Turkmenistan, so we’ve decided to treat the area in one breath, even though there are striking differences between them.
Still, the corruption, isolation and confused ethnic mixes of these countries provide a common thread and they cover some of the most expansive and beautiful mountainous regions in the world. Nomads still live the ancient ways and the general population is still in the shock of the collapsed USSR. They’re all also being bled dry by the worst politicians in the world, which is really saying something.
Borat may have put Kazakhstan on the map with its recent social advances in allowing women to travel inside buses and homosexuals no longer having to wear blue hats, but the area is pretty wild and wooly and there’s enormous potential for adventure here.
Visas can be a bitch but remember, if you need an invitation in order to secure one, see if you can get make friends with someone there via hospitalityclub.org.