Are you planning a trip along the Great Silk Road? Traveling through countries like China, India, Iran and the Central Asian countries is exhilarating to be sure, but when you’re figuring out logistics, can be a bit tricky. Where do I start? Where can I get all my visas? What safety risks do I need to be aware of? And the list goes on. Allow me to recommend an extremely convenient, low-cost way to start your Silk Road journey to lighten your load.
KYRGYZSTAN: AN IDEAL BASE OF OPERATIONS
Kick off your Silk Road adventure by taking a trip to Kyrgyzstan, a country that is strategically located for Silk Road journeys as well as easy and cheap to enter. Kyrgyzstan sits just south of Kazakhstan and west of China and is often used as a springboard for visiting the surrounding Silk Road countries. Citizens of 44 countries (including Canada, the USA, and most of the European Union) can travel in Kyrgyzstan visa-free for up to 60 days on a tourist visa (www.dcsmfa.kg). Travelers can set up camp here and apply for regional visas to countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, and the list goes on.
EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES IN KYRGYZSTAN
Kyrgyzstan currently has 22 embassies and 20 consulates, almost all of them located within the capital city of Bishkek. It’s extremely easy to run around and apply for all the regional visas you’ll need in order to visit all the Silk Road countries you’d like to see. Here’s a list:
- Embassies in Kyrgyzstan: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea (Republic), Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan
- Consulates in Kyrgyzstan: Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
While you’re waiting for your visas to come through, get in touch with travel companies in Kyrgyzstan and take your first Silk Road tour to start off your adventure! Travel companies in Kyrgyzstan reflect the hospitable nature of the Kyrgyz people in their services and provide a welcoming, exciting way to travel Kyrgyzstan safely.
DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT KYRGYZSTAN?
When it comes to travel info, Kyrgyzstan doesn’t have a large Internet presence. That’s because this gorgeous, quiet Central Asian country does little to attract attention from the outside world. The country is extremely peaceful and even surreal-feeling in its tranquility. Wars don’t rage here and the people genuinely enjoy meeting foreigners, so as you travel Kyrgyzstan safety isn’t something you have to lose sleep over. The country is covered in mountains and glaciers (over 90%) and is saturated in pure, unadulterated beauty; lush gorges, vast canyons, high mountain pastures, pristine alpine lakes, picturesque waterfalls, untamed rivers, blue skies, and billowing clouds are all common, everyday sights in this undiscovered diamond in the rough in Central Asia.
FUN FACTS ABOUT KYRGYZSTAN
2. The Tien Shan Mountains that cover most of Kyrgyzstan are considered one of the top 10 most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.
3. Horses can be seen roaming almost everywhere you go in Kyrgyzstan’s mountains.
4. Seventy percent of Kyrgyzstan’s roads are dirt or two-track.
5. Kyrgyzstan houses the world’s second largest alpine lake, Lake Issyk Kul, as well as the largest naturally growing walnut forests in the world.
So as you plan your Silk Road vacation tours in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, China, etc., start it off right with a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Its rich Silk Road history, friendly people, and stunning scenery will provide the perfect start to your journey along the Silk Road as well as give you a wide variety of outdoor activities to take advantage of (white water rafting, horseback riding, trekking, cycling, mountaineering, off-roading, diving, parasailing, skiing, etc.) and the opportunity to get set up for the rest of your trip on the Silk Road. With all that Kyrgyzstan has to offer Silk Road travelers, it’s the ideal place to begin your adventure in Asia.
Picture by Kallisto08, picture by Daniel Korzhonov, picture from source www.mountpix.livejournal.com, picture by Natasha-von-Geldern