Connect with us

Adventure Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Through Central Asia: Tips and Itineraries

Backpacking central asia

What to Pack

You’re going to be on the road for a while, so you’ll want to pack light. If you’re planning on staying in hostels, there’s no need to bring more than one outfit per day–you can just wash it at night and wear it again in the morning.
If you’re planning on camping or staying with locals, make sure your clothes are durable enough for rough conditions (think lots of mud). Pack plenty of socks and underwear as these tend to get worn out quickly when hiking or doing outdoor activities like rafting down rivers!
When choosing what clothes to bring along with you make sure they are versatile enough so that they can be worn together as an outfit without looking silly (i.e., don’t bring two different pairs of shorts).


  • Lightweight and breathable shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes
  • Sandals or flip-flops (optional)
  • A light jacket or fleece (essential)
    Clothing is an essential part of any trip, but it can be difficult to pack for Central Asia. The climate varies greatly depending on what time of year you travel and which region you visit. Some areas are extremely hot while others are cold enough to require a warm coat at night. In general, however, we recommend packing clothing that’s lightweight, breathable and comfortable enough for long days spent walking around cities as well as hikes through nature reserves or national parks.


  • Backpack: You’ll be carrying your gear in a backpack, so make sure it’s comfortable and fits well. A good option is the Osprey Farpoint 55, which has plenty of space for everything you need on the road, but isn’t too heavy or bulky.
  • Travel towel: A quick-drying microfiber towel is essential for drying off after a shower or dip in the pool (or whatever else). We recommend this one from REI because it’s lightweight and compact enough to fit inside your pack without taking up too much space–but big enough that it’s still useful when you’re out camping or backpacking!
  • Water bottle or hydration system: Make sure you’ve got something to drink from during long days spent walking around cities like Bishkek and Ulaanbaatar! Our favorite brands include Hydro Flask bottles because they keep drinks cold all day long without leaking any condensation onto our bags; however there are many other options available depending on how much money you want to spend on them as well as where exactly in Central Asia (or elsewhere) you plan on traveling next year…


When it comes to technology, there are a few things you’ll want to bring along. First and foremost, your smartphone is essential. You can use it for everything from booking flights and accommodations to translating basic phrases in Russian or Tajik (and even Chinese!). If you plan on doing any photography or video recording while traveling through Central Asia, consider bringing along a camera as well; most smartphones these days have decent cameras built into them but if yours doesn’t then consider buying one that does before setting off on your journey.

You should also pack some extra memory cards and batteries so that when they run out of power during shooting sessions at remote locations without electricity access (or if someone steals the charger), then at least those photos won’t go down with them! Also make sure not only do you have enough storage space available on each card but also enough battery life left in whatever device needs charging before heading out somewhere remote where there may not be any outlets nearby either.”

Tips for Packing Light

  • Make a packing list.
  • Choose multi-functional items.
  • Bring items that are easy to wash.
  • Pack only what you need, and roll your clothes to save space in your bag!
  • Utilize all available pockets on your backpack and/or daypack (you’ll have one for each).

Safety Tips

  • Research the region and its political climate. Central Asia is an area that’s often overlooked by travelers, but it’s worth doing your research before you go. The region has been embroiled in conflict for decades, and many countries are still recovering from the Soviet era.
  • Use caution when taking photos of military installations or security personnel. It’s not uncommon for tourists to be detained or questioned if they’re seen taking pictures at sensitive sites such as airports or military bases–even if those places are open to the public! Be sure to ask permission first before snapping any photos if there’s any doubt about whether or not it might be okay; otherwise just keep your camera stowed away until you’re out of harm’s way.
  • Be aware of cultural norms when interacting with locals (and vice versa). Many people from Central Asia grew up under Soviet rule, so they may be more reserved than Westerners when it comes to personal space and physical contact between strangers (i.e., don’t try hugging someone unless they initiate first!). It might also help if you learn some basic phrases in their language beforehand so that everyone feels comfortable communicating with each other during your trip together!

Itinerary Ideas

  • Hike to the top of the Tian Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Explore the bustling cities of Tashkent and Samarkand.
  • Visit the ancient ruins of Khiva, Bukhara and Khorezm (formerly Chorasmia).
  • Experience the stunning scenery of the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan/Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan region – one of Central Asia’s most popular backpacking routes! This route is also known as “The Road Of Bones” because so many died building it during Stalin’s rule in Soviet Russia… but today it’s considered one of Central Asia’s best drives because it offers breathtaking views over beautiful mountain ranges like those found here at Tian Chi Lake near Osh city where you can swim or hike around this lake depending on how much time you have left before needing to leave town again 🙂


Accommodations are an important part of any trip, but especially so when you’re traveling in Central Asia. There are many different types of accommodations available to travelers, each with their own pros and cons. Here’s an overview:

  • Hotels – Hotels are usually the most expensive option but also offer more amenities than other types of accommodation such as private bathrooms and air conditioning. They’re great if you just want to relax after a long day exploring the city or country you’re visiting!
  • Hostels – Hostels tend to be cheaper than hotels but still have some basic facilities like showers and toilets shared between multiple rooms (or even floors). Most hostels also offer free WiFi which is great for checking out maps on your phone before heading out into unfamiliar territory!
  • Guesthouses – These places fall somewhere between hotels/hostels in terms of price range; some may provide more services than others depending on what kind of traveler they cater toward (backpackers vs families). Either way though expect clean rooms without any frills like TVs or minibars since those things aren’t really necessary when backpacking around Central Asia anyway 🙂


  • Airplane
    Flying is the fastest way to get from one place to another, and it’s also the most expensive. If you’re traveling with a group of people who have their own money and want to spend as little time in transit as possible, this is your best bet.
  • Train
    Trains are a great option if you’re on a budget or traveling with multiple other people who can split costs (trains are often cheaper than buses). They’re also more comfortable than buses because they tend not to be overcrowded; however, they can take longer than other forms of transportation because there aren’t any highways through mountains or deserts where trains would go faster than cars or buses would go on paved roads.* BusBuses are usually cheaper than trains but slower; however, if your destination is near an interstate highway then buses may be faster than trains depending on traffic conditions at certain times during day/night hours.* CarYou should only rent a car if it’s absolutely necessary–for example: if there isn’t any public transportation available between two major cities within reasonable distance from each other (e.g., Almaty vs Bishkek). In general though I wouldn’t recommend renting cars because traffic accidents happen frequently in Central Asia due mostly due poor driving habits among locals so unless someone else has insurance coverage then there could potentially be huge financial losses involved here too!

Food and Drink

Food and drink is a big part of the Central Asian travel experience. The region has its own culinary traditions, from Uzbek plov (a rice dish) to Kazakh shashlik (shish kebab). Street food is also popular, with vendors selling everything from grilled meat skewers to fresh fruit juices.

Central Asia’s restaurant scene is evolving quickly as more travelers discover this part of the world–and with good reason! From traditional Russian cuisine at Moscow Restaurant in Tashkent to BBQ ribs at Alisher’s Grill in Bishkek, there are plenty of options for eating out. If you’re looking for something more casual or just want to try some local fare without having to pay too much money for it, head over toward one of Central Asia’s many markets where you can pick up an assortment of snacks such as nuts and dried fruits while enjoying some freshly brewed tea or coffee at one of their outdoor cafes.

Continue Reading