Traveling as a woman in Central Asia
When I set off to Central Asia, I didn’t know what to expect. I was going as a female solo traveler and felt a bit nervous for the first time in a long time. Since there’s not that many travelers (yet) in this part of the world, I felt like there weren’t enough information out there for me to feel safe. But I was adamant about going to Central Asia alone, so I booked my flight to Almaty and traveled around here for almost 3 months. Did I ever feel unsafe? Absolutely not. I always felt welcomed and taken care of.
It is important though to always do proper research before you enter a country. Before I left to Central Asia, I made sure to read about their culture and customs. Since the Central Asian countries are muslim, you should always bring modest clothes with you. Although they’re more open and secular than in many parts of the Middle East for example, you’ll still get a lot of glances if you walk around with shorts in some places. I made sure to pack mostly long trousers, long sleeved shirts, long skirts, etc. I brought two pair of shorts with me but only wore them when I got to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Almaty in Kazakhstan is also quite open and you can basically dress however you’d like to there. But as soon as you leave these two cities, you’ll be in more conservative places. It’s only respectful of you to bring modest clothes.
Another thing I reacted on when I traveled here was that there’s few female solo travelers. Most of the people I met were either boys or couples who were traveling around. Since there’s not that many travelers as in Southeast Asia for example, do expect to be lonely at times or to only hang out with guys. A really good thing about traveling with guys is that you’ll most likely not get harassed by men. It sounds terrible, but it’s the truth. As soon as I strayed alone, I noticed guys were more prone to stare, talk to you and ask if you have a husband. Always, always, say you have a husband at home. This’ll just save you a lot of awkward conversations with men.
Otherwise, I had no problems at all to travel alone as a woman in Central Asia. It’s such a shame that Central Asia has gotten such a bad rep because it really is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s also incredible that some of the most spectacular places I visited were not visited by one single tourist besides me. You can have places all to yourself still, which is quite rare these days. You don’t have to fight about a space, instead, you cans it back, relax and enjoy these incredible places all to yourself. But it won’t stay like this for long, so make sure that you go here before the crowds come.