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The brand new, luxury Yuldyz Hotel in Ashgabad
Wow, 5 countries in 4 weeks! This fall I managed to sweep through all five of the 'Central Asia Stans in an exciting, exhilarating month of fun. I've traveled to these countries many times over the last 25 years taking diplomats, clients, colleagues, family, and friends to many of the top sites and unexplored corners. Keeping up with changes in Central Asia is a full-time job with rapidly expanding tourism and the growing popularity of the experiences available here. Top priorities for me included checking on border crossings, reviewing new hotels, meeting Central Asia host families for homestays and connecting with my Silk Road Treasure Tours' team of local operators and guides.
Kyrgyzstan: Chilly winds up in the land of the elusive snow leopard…for now, this statue will have to suffice
This time I went to new heights, literally, in the Tiyan Shan Mountains and the Pamirs of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In early fall, when summer is drawing to a close in the US, the cold winds from the north bring early snows to the mountains in Central Asia. This is the habitat of the curly-horned Marco Polo sheep and the endangered snow leopard, and the hunting grounds of the golden eagle. Used by traditional Kyrgyz and Kazakh hunters, there's a fierce bond between the handlers and their birds. Holding one of these birds is not for the faint of heart! There's an incredible, wild power in their enormous talons and huge wings and we want to give Silk Road travelers these same fabulous experiences.
A little further down the slopes I I explored serene Iskandar Kul in Tajikistan - the lake named after Alexander the Great and then visited the horse breeders in Turkmenistan who offer our clients first-hand experiences with the legendary Akhal-Teke horses of the region. Such beautiful animals! The golden coated variety is spectacular. I also had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a few other equine buddies on a horseback trek with local nomad guides and their sturdy ponies in Djety-Orguz Gorge near Lake Issyk-kul in Kyrgyzstan. Stunningly beautiful, what a pleasure to explore this region with our long-time travel partners on their preferred mode of transportation! For the adventure seeker and intrepid nomad, we offer unique access to heli-skiing, trekking, hiking, and rafting trips through these unspoiled landscapes.
Stopping to chat with a jewelry vendor in the Altyn Asr Bazaar, Ashgabad
I'll be back in Central Asia as we celebrate our 10th
year anniversary of US based Silk Road Treasure Tours in 2018 with our valued customers and team.
Watch for our 10-year anniversary tour specials, our Ambassador program for returning clients, and discounts for booking tours with us at the annual New York Times Travel Show January 26th
See all our Central Asia Tours