Author Topic: Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?  (Read 5936 times)

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sexualhelon

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Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?
« on: February 28, 2017, 05:15:48 AM »
The lady and I are planning a year long/work remotely trip. We're hoping to do as much of it by land starting in Europe going all the way over to Southeast Asia then back. For part of it we want to do the Middle East / Central Asia AKA "the Stans" so I'm wondering if any of you guys have been there? Tips on places to go, avoid, visas, etc...? We're not too worried if we can't get wifi somewhere but it'd be nice to know. Thanks dudes!

Owen

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Re: Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 10:56:35 PM »
've been to the Middle East a few times and have always had a great time. It's a really interesting part of the world and contrary to the constant negative press, the locals are typically very friendly and welcoming.

I love the mix of ancient culture and present day. There's amazing historical sites and the food is some of the best I've ever eaten.

Maybe specify what countries in the Middle East you're considering going to and I'll provide info as needed. I've previously been to Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Syria (pre civil war).

Obviously avoid the areas where there is actual war happening i.e Iraq, Syria, Yemen etc (unless you have contacts and a considerable amount of experience in being in conflict zones).

I've found it to be mostly safe and haven't had any major issues whilst there. However like anywhere, it is well worth staying informed of local news/issues as things can change quickly.

I'm looking at doing a similar trip later this year and am keen to check out Iran and Central Asia. I am considering doing a camping trip through Central Asia with a company called Oasis Overland. I've never been on a tour before but given the assumed logistical difficulties of Central Asia, it looks like a decent option.

sexualhelon

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Re: Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 07:59:45 AM »
My trip's a little ways away but I can go ahead and fill you in on the routes. I haven't decided which route we'll start with but since it will be winter I'm thinking the main connecting Silk Road route with perhaps a little variation. We'll go from Vienna to Turkey - perhaps pop into Tehran but relations aren't looking too good for travel there me being American. Fortunately, I've already had the chance to visit there before. Being this We'll probably go up to Azerbaijan, ferry across the Caspian sea, then venture around the Stans - Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and head back down into India. Would like to go through Afganistan and Pakistan if possible. Circle around India then trek up and over to get into Thailand or just fly over and go up. From there we'll roam around and trek up and east to make our way back to Berlin.

Let me know what you think - also curious how you'd feel about bringing a board with you on a trip like this? You may have seen my post about the best travel bag for a skateboard. Basically debating between those options or just keeping a pair of trucks/wheels/hardware and buying a deck when I'm somewhere I can actually skate. Posted the routes below.



Roisto

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Re: Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2017, 02:27:24 PM »
Turkmenistan is apparently really tricky to get into as a tourist and if you do you're accompanied 24/7 with a "guide" and you can only do what the guide allows and I can bet that doesn't include skating. Ashgabat especially has tons of plazas with perfect marble ledges and they seem to be pretty much empty all the time. I was there for work some years ago but I didn't skate then so I can't say how the place is for skating but I do think they wouldn't be cool with it as they're so totalitarian (kinda).

sexualhelon

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Re: Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2017, 02:43:12 PM »
Yeah, I figure I may come across issues such as this - still on the research end of things for some of these countries. If it's a huge bitch to get a Visa and/or super expensive I may skip said countries. I'm also not too keen on the guide thing because it's usually expensive. If I have to get a guide I'd usually opt for some sort of trekking group. Also wouldn't allow me to keep traveling in an onwards direction.

How did you enjoy traveling in those countries though? Would you go back?

Roisto

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Re: Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2017, 02:57:32 PM »
I liked Turkmenistan, but I like pretty much any place that is "real". Only places that I've been that I've disliked are tourist traps. Turkmenistan was so much nicer for us than tourists as we were working there, so we were much more free to move around the city and even go other places without too much hassle. People there in general were really friendly.

I've been considering going back at some point, but it's not high up in my things to do. I did spend around three months there, mostly in Ashgabat so I got to see what the city has to offer quite well. It's a weird ass place for sure. Everything recent is built out of white marble and they have so much fancy buildings all over the place that are apparently mostly just empty, just built to show. It's no wonder it has gotten the nickname Absurdistan.

Owen

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Re: Anyone ever traveled through Central Asia/Middle East?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 12:43:54 AM »
My trip's a little ways away but I can go ahead and fill you in on the routes. I haven't decided which route we'll start with but since it will be winter I'm thinking the main connecting Silk Road route with perhaps a little variation. We'll go from Vienna to Turkey - perhaps pop into Tehran but relations aren't looking too good for travel there me being American. Fortunately, I've already had the chance to visit there before. Being this We'll probably go up to Azerbaijan, ferry across the Caspian sea, then venture around the Stans - Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and head back down into India. Would like to go through Afganistan and Pakistan if possible. Circle around India then trek up and over to get into Thailand or just fly over and go up. From there we'll roam around and trek up and east to make our way back to Berlin.

Let me know what you think - also curious how you'd feel about bringing a board with you on a trip like this? You may have seen my post about the best travel bag for a skateboard. Basically debating between those options or just keeping a pair of trucks/wheels/hardware and buying a deck when I'm somewhere I can actually skate. Posted the routes below.




Unfortunately I haven't been to many places on your route so can't provide that much insight or recommendation. Egirdir in Turkey is a great place that I really enjoyed.

There's a great doco series that was made by a Japanese TV channel in the 1980's called The Silk Road. It's on YouTube but in fairly low quality resolution. If you can make it through it, it is an invaluable resource.

As for taking a board, it's hard to say. Most places you go won't be great for skating but it's a great way to do some physical exercise and meet locals.  Maybe check some Patrik Wallner films to get some inspiration.