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When to travel in Central Asia

Central Asia stretches east from China to the Caspian Sea, and south from Russia to Afghanistan. The countries of this diverse region are often referred to as “the ‘stans” because of the Persian suffix “stan” meaning “land of”.

The five nations are former Soviet republics and are historically tied to the ancient Silk Road. If you’re visiting Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan or Tajikistan then be prepared for a magical adventure and fluctuations in weather.

Winter: November – March

Bukhara in winter

Temperatures range from cool to cold, with occasional snowfall in high-elevation areas. If your intention is to head into the mountains, you’ll need proper equipment and experience, and you may find some trails, roads and passes are closed. Winter features occasional rain but for the most part, things are dry. As it’s the low season, many hotels close – so if you’re planning on extending your travel independently, be sure to book accommodation in advance.

Spring: April - June

Wahiba sands, Oman

Comfortable temperatures throughout with a greater chance of rain in April followed quickly by the dry season. Spring and Autumn are considered the high season, with most people choosing to travel as mild temperatures offer up long days for exploring and open up the desert regions without melting under a blazing sun.

Summer: July – August

Kolsay Lake, Kazakhstan

Summer is hot and dry. Sizzle in the lowlands under a dusty desert sun or head to the cooler mountain regions, it’s an ideal time to enjoy fresh alpine adventures. If heat is not your thing, fill your mornings and afternoons with exploring and cool down by shaded oases during the midday sun.

Autumn: Sept - Oct

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

September marks the end of the dry season. Hot, dry land and a potential for strong winds can whip up the occasional dust storm. October into November marks a must needed change, rainfall rehydrates the arid landscapes and the production of fresh fruit and veg is at an all-time high. Markets become a thrumming mirage reflecting what these Silk Road cities might have been like in their heydey.