The world’s ninth-biggest country is the most economically advanced of the ‘stans’, thanks to its abundant reserves of oil and most other valuable minerals. The country is also the largest landlocked country. Since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the government has allowed foreign investment to flow into the country. The development of significant oil and gas reserves, particularly in the north and west, have subsequently brought a large amount of wealth to the country.
We visited Almaty in 2013 independently after our 4-week overland Central Asia trip.
Kyrgyzstan is landlocked and mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range, tall peaks, glaciers and high-altitue lakes. It is a beautiful country for hiking. Modern Kyrgyzstan was annexed by Russia in 1876 and became an independent country with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
We visited Bishkek, Arslanbob, Kochkor, Djety Oguz Valley, Issyk Kul, Altyn Arashan, and Cholpon Aata in 2013 as part of a 4-week Intrepid Travel Central Asia overland trip.
Turkmenistan is a country in South-Central Asia with a population of about 5 million, and an area around half a million square kilometers. It has a coast on the Caspian Sea, but is otherwise landlocked. Nearly 80% of the country is considered part of the Karakum Desert. Turkmenistan is a fairly poor and underdeveloped country, even though billions have been spent on modernization in Ashgabat, Turkmenbashi, and many other cities in post Soviet times.
We visited Ashgabat, Karakum Desert, and Darwasa Gas Crater in 2013 as part of a 4-week Intrepid Travel Central Asia overland trip.
Uzbekistan is rich in history and it is quite wealthy in natural resources. Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometers. It is the 56th largest country in the world by area and the 42nd by population. Uzbekistan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In terms of sights, Uzbekistan is Central Asia most popular.
We visited Khiva, Bukharazb, Nurata, Samarkand and Tashkent in 2013 as part of a 4-week Intrepid Travel Central Asia overland trip.
See next – South Asia Countries