Monday, May 27, 2013

Fast Train to Tashkent

On a recent episode of Globe Trekker (,) one of my favourite shows, I was surprised to learn that you can now take a fast train between Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, and Samarkand, an ancient Silk Road city of more interest to tourists. Best of all, the train costs only about $30 for a trip of about two and a half hours.

In fact, you can travel through much of Uzbekistan and other parts of Central Asia by train. It is also possible to travel from Moscow to Tashkent by rail, but the trip takes 65 hours and passes through Khazakstan, so you need a transit visa for that country. Another interesting route might be Novosibirsk to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan and reported to lie in a beautiful setting surrounded by mountains.

The Website has a lot of interesting information about travelling through the Stans by train. It is good to know that independent travel in this part of the world is possible (though not easy.) You don't need to take an expensive tour unless you want to. With some time and patience and a lot of advance planning, it should be possible to see a lot on your own and have the adventure of meeting locals, not just other tourists and tour guides.


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