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Asia

Bishkek is not a typical tourist city. Most people will spend some time here to arrange travel onwards through Kyrgyzstan, but it is not a place they seek out for its tourist attractions. Yet, the city has more to offer than one would think at first glance. We certainly had a lot of fun during the days we spent here.…

Uzbekistan

“So what is there to do in Tashkent?” my friend asked. I looked up from my guidebook and shrugged. “Not much at first glance. But enough to keep us occupied for a day.”

Sooner or later, every traveller along the Uzbek Silk Road will end up in Tashkent. It is a necessary stop on the way to Kazakhstan, it has a major airport and it is unavoidable if you want to see the Fergana Valley. And while it is true that there isn’t much to do in Tashkent, we quickly found out that there is enough to keep you occupied for a day or two.…

Uzbekistan

It is always hard to choose a single favourite place when travelling through a country, but when it comes to Uzbekistan, Samarkand is one of the candidates. Stunning architecture, ancient history, what’s not to love about the most famous Silk Road city?

Sure, these days the sights are spread out all over the city, with many modern buildings in between. But I think it’s that mixture of modern and old that makes Samarkand so special and so interesting to explore. And while walking around, just think about what it must have looked like in the times of Marco Polo, when he tried to make his way to China.

To give you a taste of what to expect, let me show you some of Samarkand’s highlights:…

Uzbekistan

“Samarkand is my favourite city in the world,” the man told me as he passed me a bowl of dried cheese balls. We were sitting next to the hotel pool where he had come to celebrate his friend’s birthday. “It is a very beautiful city and we have good weather for most of the year.”

I nodded in agreement. Samarkand is indeed a stunning city. No other Silk Road city evokes as many images and legends as Samarkand, none has been written about as much.

But Uzbekistan is not only about Samarkand. Dive deeper and you will find out that there are many more things to discover in this country.…

Asia

Imagine the following scenario: It is the year 2200. The world has been destroyed by us humans. Nothing is left besides the desert you are driving through. Suddenly, rising out of the ashes, white marble buildings appear at the horizon.

You have arrived in Ashgabat.

We are not living in the year 2200. The desert surrounding Ashgabat is natural and does not result from some humankind disaster. Nevertheless, while visiting the capital of Turkmenistan, I constantly felt as if I had arrived in the middle of a dystopian novel. I walked along eight-lane boulevards on which I didn’t see cars. I strolled through empty parks where I spotted only one lonely employee who cut the bushes with small scissors. From my bus window, I watched people clean the sidewalks with tiny brushes.…

Turkmenistan

Out of all the countries I have been to, Turkmenistan is the weirdest one.

It is one of the least visited countries in the world and only receives a couple thousands of tourists each year. If you are going here, it means that you have managed to get one of the few tourist visas that the government gives out. Either that, or you are an expat who has come to work in Ashgabat. But either way, you now have the chance to explore one of the least visited countries in the world, one that pretends to be open to tourism but shuts itself off from the rest of the world as much as possible.

“Dictators do not want tourists,” our guide said.…

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