Central Asia

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Eco-friendly travel guide to Central Asia advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Central Asia, Asia.

  • Air quality: 1.5 - 3 / 5
  • Bus connections: 3 - 4 / 5
  • Train connections: 2- 3 / 5
  • Hitchhiking: 1 - 2 / 5
  • National parks: 3 - 4/ 5
  • Outdoor activities: 3 - 4 / 5
  • Locals' English level: 2 - 3 / 5
  • Safety: 3 - 3.5 / 5
  • Accommodation: US$50- $300
  • Budget per day: US$100 - $400

Responsible Travel

Not much light is usually placed on Central Asia, but it is an excellent region to explore. It is one of the cheaper areas in Asia, making it appealing to tourists.

We cannot say that this region ranks high in terms of tourism. However, it comes in handy for those who desire to leave their comfort zone. You will realize that it is relaxing to visit this region.

The locals of this region love to be photographed. However, courtesy demands that you take permission before snapping them. As a responsible tourist, you should always seek consent.

Traveling responsibly to Central Asia also means that you should not engage in any act of corruption like bribery. It is rampant, and you may be tempted. However, it is best not to indulge in it.

Patronizing the locals is also a way of traveling responsibly.

Air Quality and Pollution

Some people consider the air condition in a place before traveling there. Unfortunately, we cannot say that the Central Asia region ranks high in terms of air quality.

Many factors play out in this region to affect air quality, and it becomes harmful to the health. Most times, you need to wear a nose mask or air purifier while moving around.

It is not something that the region is proud of. Central Asia is striving hard to ensure that this problem is rectified soonest. However, this should not stop you from visiting the area.

Instead, it will be best if you have your nose mask handy when heading to any Central Asian country. This ensures that you do not have any health complications from the poor air quality in the region.

Respect the Culture

Observation always comes in handy when it concerns the Central Asian region. We can say that it is a generally conservative region. Thus, engaging in a public display of affection is considered disrespectful.

It is also rude to point fingers at people when talking. If you are in a local host’s house, you should leave the food on the plate when full. Also, take off your shoes when you go to visit someone. If you are seated on the floor, ensure that your toes are not pointing towards the food.

The locals see it as disrespectful to reject their bread offering. Even if you are in a hurry, cut a bit of it and eat.

It is easy to get along with Central Asia locals, but these things should be in place.

Top 10 Places to Visit

Some of the top places to visit in this region are:

  • Medeo (Kazakhstan): Ice skating is a fun activity that many people love to do. This place is an outdoor speed skating and bandy rink on a high mountain. It is said to be the highest altitude skating rink. From this place, you get to have a great view that you cannot compare to any other. It is one of the top attractions in Central Asia.

• Kaindy (Kazakhstan): If you love to go camping, this is a great location in Central Asia. It comes off as a lake, but it is not like any typical lake. When you visit this place, you will admit that it is not something you have seen before. It has a vibrant ambiance with trails where people can go hiking. Due to its conducive environment, it gets numerous visits.

• Sulayman Mountain (Kyrgyzstan): It is one thing to visit a mountain, but it is another thing to visit one that serves as home to both a mosque and museum. This place also stands as the only World Heritage Site in Kyrgyzstan. The people who stay in this area are welcoming and usually glad that people are visiting. You will get a lush view from the top of this mountain. Thus, challenge yourself to climb to the peak.

• Barskoon Waterfall (Kyrgyzstan): Before visiting this place, you should keep in mind that the area is cold. Thus, you need to dress appropriately. It is a small waterfall that gets the attention of many people due to the atmosphere’s quietness. People visit this place when they want to get away from the usual hustle and bustle. The climb to the waterfall is usually steep, so you need to be careful. It is why we advise that you go in the company of a local.

• Hisor Fortress (Tajikistan): It is common knowledge that a fortress is a tall building. Thus, you are sure to get a pleasant view when you get to the top of the building. It is a great place to relax and have fun, especially as there is the opportunity for people to ride horses. We are sure that you will make many unforgettable memories at this place.

• Navruz Palace (Tajikistan): Asides from the fact that this is a royal building, it is also a place for entertainment. If you are looking for a fun time, it is the perfect place to visit. Bowling and watching movies are some of the activities you can indulge in at this place. The archaeological outlook of this place also gets the interest of many people. We know that you will not regret visiting it.

• Darvaza Gas Crater (Turkmenistan): This is one of the top places to visit in Central Asia as it is a natural occurrence that you will not get to see elsewhere. It is a collapsed natural gas field. Some people also call it Door to Hell or Gates of Hell. It has a fire pit that has been burning continuously since 1971 due to natural gas leaving the carter. It leaves a pleasant view that intrigues many people. Some people use this place as a campsite.

• Gonur Tepe (Turkmenistan): It is an ancient settlement in a remote desert. Interesting, it is a World Heritage Site. It is important to note that you cannot visit this place without a tour guide. You get more knowledge about the area when you have a tour guide, and we know that you will be fascinated.

• Alisher Navoï Opera (Uzbekistan): Are you a lover of operas? If yes, this is one of the perfect places to visit. You will enjoy many classical performances at this place, helping you to have fun while in Central Asia. It is also a great place to make new connections to have a swell time in the region.

• Aqsaray Palace (Uzbekistan): It is a beautiful palace that contains the ruins of famed conqueror Timur. Since it has 24 hours opening, you can visit it at any time. However, the use of cameras is prohibited at this place. You will be charged before they can let you use a camera. But you will enjoy the visit.

The Alisher Navoi Theater in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, was built by Japanese prisoners of war in 1947


You will not know what an area has to offer until you explore. It is why many people do not know that Central Asia can be a top tourist spot.

If you decide to travel to this region, you cannot have a dull moment when you explore. There are usually many exciting activities to do, especially when you get along with the locals.

These people are ready to involve you in their various activities if you indicate interest. You may be asking yourself the different activities you can do in this region. Although we will highlight some of them, you will not know everything until you start exploring.

Thus, we will say that a foreigner cannot do without exploring Central Asia when in that region.

City Parks

On our list of places that a foreigner can explore is the city parks. You can find them in different Central Asian countries. These places are usually quiet and relaxing.

Many things about city parks are usually intriguing. It could be the flowers or the atmosphere. What matters is that you will not regret exploring this place.

It is possible to have a city park wherever you are staying. Other times, you may have more than one. However, you should not leave a place without visiting its city park if there is any.

If you are a lover of picnics, a city park is the best location. It could be that you are on a romantic trip. In such a case, the city park is calling your name.

National Parks

It is safe to say that there is a national park in each Central Asian country. Thus, you have another place to explore.

Each of these national parks usually has its uniqueness. However, you cannot tell until you start exploring them. For national parks that have animal sanctuaries, there will always be a tour guide.

Some of these national parks allow people to cycle within, while others have hiking trails. It is dependent on the one that you visit. What matters is that you have activities to do while there and have a swell time.

These national parks usually stand as the pride of the country and extend to the region as well. Central Asia has a lot to offer when it concerns national parks.


We cannot say that there are many beaches in Central Asia. However, if we decide to add the lakes, we are sure that the numbers will count. After all, there are all water bodies.

The fact that the number of beaches in Central Asia is not much does not mean that you cannot have a swell time at the beach. It is a great place to make friends, and there are many activities to do.

Some of the activities include beach volleyball, snorkeling, kayaking, and much more. Exploring the various beaches in a new region is one of the favorite activities of some foreigners. This is because they get to take pictures and make memories.

We are sure that you will have fun while exploring beaches in Central Asia.


We cannot start highlight the various landmarks across Central Asia as they are a lot. If you are sacred that you cannot find a landmark in any Central Asian country, remove such a thought from your mind.

There are many landmarks in this region, so the chances of a foreigner missing their way are slim. Typically, landmarks help one in navigating a place. If you are going somewhere, the locals will give you a landmark to act as a guide.

Landmarks are buildings or statues that are either tall or outstanding. The idea is that you can see them from afar since they have the power to get your attention.

Exploring these landmarks can also be an activity for a foreigner to do while in Central Asia.


We have not seen anyone who regrets visiting a museum. A museum has the compelling power to get your attention, and people are always happy to visit one.

Thus, when mentioning the various places for people to explore in a new region, it will be wrong not to include a museum.

The curiosity of the mind usually places out when people visit a museum. At a museum, you get to learn more about the area and region. When you go back to your home city, you will have stories and information since you learned from the museum.

There are many museums in Central Asia irrespective of the country you visit. These museums also have well-informed tour guides. Thus, we know that you will be on broad smiles when you visit.


One cannot do without eating when in a new place. Before traveling, you know that you will make adjustments to the things you eat as you are going to a new region. Thus, you open yourself to trying the different traditional local choices.

Eating is a way that people bond in Central Asia. They have many tasty food options, and you will be doing yourself a great disservice if you do not try any of them.

Plov is a dish that you cannot afford not to taste in Central Asia. It is Uzbekistan’s national dish. If you are a fan of vegetables, you will enjoy this meal as it usually contains a lot of it.

It is helpful to know that the locals of Central Asia are also lovers of Kebab. Thus, you will easily find it to eat.

It is only logical that the best place to eat any local meal is traditional local restaurants. Thus, it is not surprising to see foreigners asking for these places in a new region.

We will say that it will not be challenging for those visiting Central Asia to find such restaurants as they are not hidden. They ensure that they are in an easily accessible location as they want everyone to have a taste of their amazing goodness.

There are traditional local restaurants in all Central Asian countries. All you need to do is to find one that is close to you. You will be pleased with their menu as they ensure to have numerous options so that people can pick their preferences.

Some people may argue that there is no need for a vegan restaurant in Central Asia since most of its meals are made from vegetables. However, you do not want a situation where it seems like attending to vegetarians is an afterthought of such a restaurant.

Thus, there must be unique vegan restaurants in all Central Asian countries. Luckily, vegetarians can find such restaurants, and they can get satisfying meals.

From interactions with some vegans, we see that they are usually bothered about places where they can enjoy meals that suit their preferences. For those traveling to Central Asia, we can assure you that this will not be an issue. The vegan restaurants in this region ensure that they also provide top-notch services.

If you are a junk food lover, we know that you desire to know your street food options when visiting Central Asia. We can assure you that numerous options are awaiting you to eat them.

However, it is essential to note that these options differ depending on the country you are visiting. It is possible to see an option in Kazakhstan but not find it in Tajikistan. Thus, it is sometimes hard to generalize the street foods that you can get in Central Asia. Although generalization might be problematic, we cannot fail to mention Samsa. It is the region’s equivalent of meat pie, and everyone usually enjoys it.

You can find Samsa almost everywhere in Central Asia. Since it is street food, you know that roadside vendors will sell it.


The same way there are many food options in Central Asia also applies to the drinks equivalent. You cannot lack in any aspect when you visit this region.

If you are a lover of beer, you will find it in abundance in Central Asia. Most of the countries in Central Asia produce their beer and also import. Thus, you will see different types.

For those who prefer wine, you will also get various options, especially in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Central Asia has many upcoming wineries, so you can explore them and do a wine tasting.

Kumis is another drink that you can get in this region. It is an alcoholic drink made from milk. Many people are usually hyped to try this option. There is also the local vodka of the area called Arak.


If you want to make, the number of areas with clean tap water in Central Asia is less than those with unclean tap water.

Thus, we can say that there is no portable tap water in Central Asia. For any tourist visiting this region, we usually advise that you do not drink tap water. It is also wise not to use it for brushing not to get tempted to drink it.

You can boil tap water or buy bottled water when you are in this region. If you are lucky to stay in a place that purifies their water, you can also drink it.

However, ensure that you do not drink tap water when you visit Central Asia.


We cannot say that there are numerous water bodies in Central Asia, but you can see at least one in each country. It tends to be more than that, but we want to stay on the safe side.

It will not be wrong for us to say that you can engage in some water activities to keep busy while in this region. Some of these activities are fishing and kayaking.

Where do I carry out such activities? These are the usual questions that we get from foreigners.

Well, since there are lakes and beaches in Central Asia, you have the answer to your questions. These places are perfect areas for fishing and kayaking. Interestingly, you will see locals at this place who are engaging in such activities.

There is also the option of engaging in yoga while in Central Asia. This activity’s popularity level is not yet high in the region, but it is a feasible option.

Understandably, some professionals who are visiting Central Asia may be pro yogis. Thus, they will be eager and enthusiastic to partake in this activity. If you ask questions, the locals can direct you to fellow yogis.

However, do not be surprised if the people keep a confused face when you mention yoga as it is not widespread yet. We cannot assure you that you will see many yoga studios when you walk around in the country.

There is nothing wrong if you create a space to engage in this activity and invite the locals to join you.


There are high chances that you are visiting Central Asia for the first time, and you do not know anyone in that region. It means that you need a place to stay.

We usually tell tourists not to wait until the dying minute before checking for available accommodation options wherever you are visiting. You cannot start checking today when you plan to leave tomorrow. It is always best to start your search early enough.

As you check for the various accommodation options, you get an idea of what to expect when you arrive in the region. It also helps you to plan your accommodation budget as you get an idea of the price that you will pay for each of them.

With your budget, you can pick an accommodation option.

Green Hotels

The whole of Asia has a reputation for having eco-friendly hotels. Thus, it is not surprising that there are green hotels in Central Asia.

We do not know if you have ever stayed in a green hotel before. However, you can do so in Central Asia. We can assure you that you will enjoy the experience.

It allows people to have a relaxing and comfortable stay. These hotels have amenities that support the environment. In this case, you do not fear that the things you use will harm the environment.

A responsible tourist finds ways to stay eco-friendly, and this is one of the options you have. If you see that a green hotel is within your budget, you should go for it.

Hostels and Guest Houses

For those who are traveling in a group, we know that you will all desire to stay in the same room if possible. This cannot happen in a regular hotel. However, if you are staying in a hostel or guesthouse, you might have the option.

A typical hostel or guesthouse will have bunk beds to accommodate many people in the same room.

The owners of these places in Central Asia are usually warm and welcoming. Thus, you will be happy throughout your stay. They are always ready to help out a foreigner if you encounter any challenges.

Relaxing in the living area of a hostel or guesthouse is something that many people anticipate as the locals are always ready to share intriguing stories about the area.


There is also the option of staying in an apartment when you travel to a new place. Some people do not like to talk about this option because they feel that it is more expensive.

We cannot generalize because knowing the price of an apartment usually depends on where you are staying.

We can agree that you get a certain luxurious feel when you stay in an apartment. The idea is for your accommodation to feel like home to enjoy your stay in the region.

Almost all Central Asia countries have apartments. Thus, if this is your preference, it will be easy to get one.

People say that there are no complaints about staying in an apartment. We know that you will also share the same testimony.


A foreigner can also stay in the house of a local when visiting a new place. Understandably, many people do not understand how this works. This process is called Couchsurfing.

A Couchsurfing website links you to people in the new area who are ready to accommodate you in their houses. All you need to do is to input the location. Once you see the options of the different people, you can connect with anyone you desire.

If you follow all that we highlighted about being a responsible tourist and showing respect in Central Asia, you will have no issues staying in the house of a local.

The locals of Central Asia are easy going and always love to connect with foreigners. Thus, you will have a swell time.


Many people do not know, but Central Asia has many places that quality as perfect campsites. Some of these places might not be what you have in mind for a campsite. However, it will surpass your imagination and expectations.

What matters is that it is a conducive outdoor area. As a foreigner, you should not shy away from participating in camping activities when in Central Asia. It helps you to become closer with the locals.

There is usually a lot to learn from the locals during camping as they do not hold back when relating with foreigners. It is always a perfect bonding moment.

It is easy to lose track of time when you go camping in Central Asia due to the numerous fun activities. In some cases, you might not want to go back home.



Getting There and Moving Around

It does not make sense that you want to travel somewhere and do not know how to get there. It is one of the first things you need to know once you pick a holiday destination.

Everyone would agree that being confused is never helpful when you want to travel as it leaves you destabilized. When your plans are scattered, it affects your mood, and you will not enjoy yourself.

It is essential to ask questions and know how to reach your destination from your current location. Many times, your preferred means of traveling might not be what would work.

You can ask questions from people who have gone there before or check online for anything that will give you information. For those going to Central Asia, we would highlight some of the feasible means.

It is also vital that you know how to move around once you arrive at your destination. After all, the plan is not to remove in one position throughout your stay.

We do not know your current location or home city. Thus, we cannot say if the means of moving around in Central Asia are the same as what you know at home. Even if they are not the same, you should be ready to make adjustments. Once you are on holiday, it is always ideal to expect the unexpected.

If you can figure out the various means of moving around, you will not have any issues. We will also highlight the ways of moving around in Central Asia. However, it is essential to note that knowing some local language phrases will come in handy.

One of the easiest ways of moving around anywhere is to walk. This is because you are doing it at your pace. However, it will not be feasible to walk if you are covering long distances.

Walking can be relaxing, but it gets tiring once the distance becomes long. However, walking is a feasible way of moving around in Central Asia. While walking, you will notice that some locals are eager and enthusiastic to strike up conversations. It helps to lighten the mood, and a smile will come on your face.

People usually fear walking around in some places because of crime rates. We would not say that crimes do not happen in Central Asia, but it is not as high as in some areas. It is best to be cautious as you walk around.

It is also important to note that one can move around in Central Asia using a bicycle. The locals use it as a regular means of movement.

If you can cycle, all you need to do is to rent a bicycle. You will sometimes see bicycle lanes as you move around in any Central Asia country. People also cycle within parks as a way of relaxing.

It could be that you are a solo cycler. However, you may notice that people sometimes cycle in groups in Central Anisa. For foreigners, it is their way of sticking together to ensure that no harm befalls anyone. The locals also sometimes cycle in groups for fun. If you are open to such an idea, you should also join them.

You can also rent a scooter the same way you will rent a bicycle in Central Asia. Understandably, some people may not know how to use a scooter. But it is amongst the means of moving around in the region.

If you know how to use a scooter and you prefer it, you should go for it. It adds to your available options. What matters is that you are law-abiding as you use a scooter in the region.

Ideally, foreigners should find out the traffic laws once they arrive in a new place. This helps you not to have issues with the authorities while moving around.

If you are law-abiding, we know that you will enjoy using a scooter in Central Asia.


One of the reasons why the Central Asia region is not yet famous in tourism is that it is difficult to get into the area. Once foreigners experience difficulty, they change their minds about visiting.

The countries in this region have airports. Thus, using air to reach there is a feasible option. However, they sometimes experience difficulty in getting visas. If you have your visa and clearance to visit this region, you can fly to any of its airports.

These airports usually receive international flights. However, we cannot say that the airports are in a top-notch state. All you need to do is check if an airline is flying to this region from your current location.

If there is none, check for the closest location you can get one.

You can also be lucky to get domestic flights that fly within the country. Or one that can take you from one Central Asian country to another.

We are not giving the full assurance that this is possible as it usually fluctuates. However, if you are lucky to find one, we can say that it is amongst the means of moving around.

It usually comes in handy for foreigners, especially those who are not familiar with the terrain. By using a flight to move around, you do not harbor the fears of getting lost. Since it is also a fast means of movement, you can go to different places during your stay in the region.

It is always essential to check before concluding on your movement plans.


Using a bus to Central Asia is also possible. This favors those who are already with Asia. However, it is not from every country that you can see a bus going to this region.

We know that some people prefer to use a bus when traveling. In such a case, you can see a bus going to Central Asia if you are in China.

Using a bus might take a longer time, but you can enjoy the different sceneries and note the landmarks. Some people say that a person who uses a bus will learn the terrain faster than one who flies to the region.

If you are coming into Central Asia from another continent, it is impossible to use a bus. You need to be within Asia before you can get a bus.

When it concerns moving around with Central Asian countries, you will see that using a bus is feasible. Thus, you now have a means that takes you from one point to another.

Foreigners may experience difficulty with these buses when they cannot speak the local language. This is why you need to be friends with the locals so that they can help in translating. Most times, the drivers only speak and understand the local language.

The locals will also help you know the best areas to stand or go to board a bus quickly. It is also important to note that this region’s locals find it disrespectful when a person talks loudly or shouts in a public place like on the bus. Thus, reduce your volume when talking.


There is also the option of using a train when it concerns getting to Central Asia countries. However, it works almost the same way as the bus system.

It is essential to know that using a bus depends on a railway connection between your current location and destination. Thus, it is safe to say that using this option is only feasible within Asia. It is not logical to think that you can use a train to Central Asia from another continent.

People coming from China and Russia find it easy to get trains that take them to Central Asia. If you are traveling to this region, find your way to a place in Asia where you can board a train to Central Asia.

If you are in any Central Asia country with a railway, you can be sure that using a train is amongst your options of moving around.

The same laws that apply when using a bus also apply here. You shouldn’t talk loudly so that the locals will not see you as disrespectful.

It may be hard to understand some of the instructions if it is in the local language. Thus, it will be best if you ask a local for assistance.


It is important to note that traveling from one Central Asia country to another can be difficult for foreigners. Thus, we are not sure that hitchhiking will be accessible in such a situation.

However, if you want to hitchhike within the country, all you need to do is stand on the way that leads to your destination.

There is no assurance that you will get a free ride, but there is no harm in trying as you might be lucky.


Sometimes, it is possible to see a boat that takes you to the Central Asia region. It is best not to depend on this option as it is usually irregular. The people who get to use a boat when going to this region consider themselves lucky.

It is also not everywhere that this irregular boat service operates. The people who get lucky are those going to Turkmenistan.

Traveling through a water body is sometimes fun, so you should try your luck.

Sustainable Shopping

We earlier mentioned that a way of being a responsible tourist in Central Asia is by patronizing the local vendors. There is a name for this proves, and it is called sustainable shopping.

By doing this, you are helping the vendors to promote their art and craft. The Central Asia region might not be famous in terms of tourism. However, you can help them promote tourism when you buy things from them and take them back to your home city.

By the time you visit the Central Asia region, you will agree that they have an array of tasty foods. If you have a curious mind, you will want to learn how to prepare them when you are back in your home city.

This leads foreigners to visit the food markets. Asides from food items, you can also find other things at the food market.

The act of visiting food markets to buy things from the local vendors can also be called sustainable shopping.

Some places have stores that are called second-hand stores. If the Central Asia country you visit has a second-hand store, you should also patronize.

If you have been thinking of places to get some of the local items, we are sure that you will find them at second-hand stores. The idea that someone might have used them before should not discourage you.

The vendors always ensure that things are still of quality before they put them up for sale.

Eco-fashion is also something that plays out when it concerns sustainable shopping. In some places, people use recyclable items to make clothes. This process is tagged eco-fashion.

We would not say that this process is popular yet in Central Asia. But it happens, and patronizing the locals will boost their confidence to continue in the art.

You should never doubt that eco-fashion is in vogue as you will fall in love with it once you see it.


We cannot say that recycling is famous in Central Asia. The effort or people that engage in recycling are not much.

It is one area that volunteers venture into because all hands need to be on deck to ensure a smooth recycling process.

If you can help, ensure that you play a role as it will always come in handy. We hope that recycling increases in this region as it improves waste management.


Although recycling is not yet top-notch in Central Asia, it does not play with their waste management.

As a foreigner, you should not be in a comprising situation that finds you flaunting rules that concern waste management in the country.

If you flaunt any rule relating to waste management, you might pay fines, and the locals will find it disrespectful.

Work and Study Abroad

Central Asia region is one that is liberal to its students. Thus, you can work while studying in this region.

If you desire to school in Central Asia, check for the available schooling options and if they offer the course you want. If yes, you should go ahead.

The region is conducive, and you will enjoy your stay there. People are usually bothered about working while studying, but this should not be a problem as the region allows students to work.

Exchange Student

If you plan to study in Central Asia as an exchange student, you should not be too hopeful.

There aren’t a lot of universities in Central Asia. This slims down the chances of your current university sending you there on a student exchange program. However, this does not mean that studying in Central Asia should be out of your plans.

If you desire to do an exchange program there, check if your present school allows its students. However, the chances of seeing many international students are not high.

Au Pair

An au pair is a foreigner (usually a woman) who works for a family as a helper. Sometimes they live with this family as well. They work in exchange for accommodation, food, or money.

If you desire to do this in the Central Asia region, it is possible. All you need to do is check their website for jobs in the place you are staying.

Being an au pair helps build a stronger bond with the locals, and we know that you will enjoy the experience.


There are many volunteering opportunities in Central Asia, so we would say that volunteers are welcome.

As an individual, you can help out in different ways in this region, especially in recycling. The goal is to enact a change in the region to ensure that the area appears positive.

Registering as a volunteer is usually a way to get into a region. Since getting visas to Central Asia is hard, you can try volunteering.

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