Central Asia packing list
Depending on where you travel in Central Asia, your packing list can be slightly different. For example, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are very hot in the summer and temperatures can get to 40°C with practically no rain. If you go to the high mountainous regions of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, it can get quite cold. So here are 13 things to keep in mind, while packing for your trip to Central Asia. You can also download our general PDF packing checklist for Central Asia.
1. Travel documents
Before you go, make sure that your passport does not expire within 6 months from the end of your travels.
- Make sure that you have the right visa, for the right period of time, and a number of entries.
- Take your insurance and medical prescription from your doctor.
- If you plan to drive in Central Asia, do not forget to take your driving license.
- Make photocopies of important documents like passports, visas, tickets and insurance. Keep them separately from the original documents.
- Have a digital copy of your important documents on your phone and in your email box.
2. Cash and payment cards
- Take enough cash for your trip and possibly even an emergency fund, but make sure to hide it separately from your main funds.
- Have the contact number of your bank to block your cards in case of loss or theft.
- USD is the best choice of currency for taking cash to Central Asia since it can be exchanged everywhere. Euros are also okay, but it is not widely accepted in souvenir shops for example or counted at the same rate as USD.
- To keep all your money safe, we recommend using a money belt during the whole journey.
3. First aid kit and necessary medicines
- Take all your prescribed medicine with you.
- Take your prescription from a doctor – necessary to show on the border. (There is a list of prohibited drugs in Central Asia, for a full list – research or contact us. Basically, any drug containing morphine is prohibited or can be imported in a limited amount.)
- Pack a full personal medical kit after consulting with your doctor.
- Always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after using the toilet, touching pets and before eating. Hand sanitizer containing 70% alcohol kills about 90% of the germs and helps to prevent diarrhea. Of course, most of the people traveling after the pandemic keep hand sanitizer nearby, and we encourage our local staff and partners to keep up with the latest sanitary norms.
- Insect bite cream is also very practical to pack for your trip, especially in the evenings.
4. Electronic devices and entertainment on the way
- Central Asia is very photogenic so take your camera, enough memory cards, as well as batteries and chargers.
- Charger plugs are the same as in the EU. In many hotel rooms, there might only be one or two sockets, so taking an outlet with several sockets can be very useful, especially if you’re sharing the room.
- It’s always nice to share your socket with other travelers at airports or guesthouses where sockets can be scarce.
- Solar chargers are ideal for wilderness hiking and camping.
Travel in Central Asia involves long drives and long intercity transfers.
- Prepare good music, movies, and audiobooks to listen to during long car rides. Audio entertainment can be a better choice for Central Asia, rather than reading books as it is not very convenient to read on a shaky road for several hours.
- Do not forget good earplugs.
- Interesting books for trains and leisure times.
- Take a notebook to write down your travel memories along the way.
- Light travel games are also fun to play with other travelers and help to shorten long trips.
Before packing clothes think of the length of your trip and if you will need to do laundry during the trip:
- Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan’s climate requires light and easy clothing so pack enough t-shirts, shirts, comfortable light pants, and shorts.
- Hiking pants that can transform into shorts are the best as in the mountains it can be hot during the day and cool in the evenings.
- Dressing in layers is very practical for outdoor activities since it can get cool in the early mornings or evenings as well.
- Try to avoid over-packing and take high-quality, comfortable clothes. In bazaars you can get a variety of cheap clothes, however, quality clothing might be more difficult to find and can be slightly more expensive than you would get at home.
- Take a good rain/wind/fleece jacket with you to the mountains, along with a warm sweater and good shoes.Central Asia has a continental climate and generally has cold winters with hot summers. In the mountainous regions of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan it can get quite cold, even in summer. In Kyrgyzstan, at altitudes higher than 3000 meters, there can be snow even in July. In Tajikistan it is a bit warmer at a similar altitude, however, it is still advised to pack warm things if you are going on hiking tours at a high altitude or planning to stay in the base camps of the summits.
- It is best to take a water/windproof jacket, and a down/fleece jacket for these hikes.
- Pack swimwear as you will encounter some hotels with pools and swimmable lakes.
- Try to pack in packing cubes, they are awesome to keep your luggage organized.
- Hotels generally offer laundry service, however, it can end up being expensive since it costs around 1-3 USD per item. You might want to take compact washing powder, soap, and a washing line to hang out your clothes. However, in desert cities like Bukhara, small hotels kindly ask to avoid individual laundry to save water and offer affordable laundry service.
- Preferably take light clothes that are easy to wash and dry.
- A sewing kit might also be handy for repairing well-loved clothes.
- Flip flops or other rubber shoes are perfect for hot weather, swimming, and showering in guesthouses.
- Light trainer shoes or flats are generally good for walking in cities and for going out to eat.
- Good hiking shoes are essential for outdoor activities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
- Slippers are awesome to wear indoors in guesthouses, yurts, and hostels, as you need to take off shoes entering the house.
7. for visiting religious places
In religious places, women and men are expected to cover their shoulders and legs.
- Bring a scarf. For women, it is necessary to cover head.
- Wear pants or a long skirt.
- As you will need to take off your shoes, it is handy to have a pair of socks in your bag.
8. Daypack or a light bag
Daypacks, light backpacks and bags are perfect for day trips, city tours, and hiking with porters.
9. Hats, sunscreen, and good sunglasses
All Central Asian cities get very hot in the summer, so be aware of heatstroke. Take headwear and sunglasses with the best UV protection. Also, pack sunscreen with at least 30 SPF as well as a lip balm with SPF protection. Summers in Central Asia are very dry and using creams and balms are recommended.
10. Solar flashlight and head torch
Solar flashlights and head torches are very helpful when staying in yurts (portable, round tent covered with felt and used as a dwelling by Central Asian nomads) and homestays outside cities. There can be occasional power cuts or no lights at all, therefore the solar flashlights that you can hang on your backpack during the day are perfect for the trip.
11. hanging toiletry bag
- Cosmetics, creams, and hygiene articles that you need. Most of the hotels however provide shampoos and soaps.
- Hanging toiletry bags are very convenient and take less time to pack when moving on the next day.
- All-purpose small plastic bags or ziplock for hygiene articles.
- Sleeping bag liners are good for sleeping at any guesthouse and yurts.
- Taking a blow-up pillow with you is great for trains, flights, and transfers.
You will meet lots of local people and other travelers who will be interested where you come from, thus postcards can be a nice way to share your story and give a little souvenir.
Extra packing tips for ladies
- Take a scarf to cover your shoulders or head when entering religious places, you can also use them as a blanket during long rides and flights. However, Central Asia is full of beautiful scarves so you might want to buy one there, especially a silk one as a souvenir from the Silk Road!
- Pack enough of your cosmetic products and hygiene articles.
- Loose harem pants are perfect for all occasions while traveling in Central Asia; anything from city tours to hiking.
Most local women living outside bigger cities dress pretty conservatively, whereas, in cities, especially Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, women dress fancier. As a tourist, you can wear everywhere the normal clothes that you feel most comfortable in, not being obliged to follow local dress style.
This packing list is good for travelers visiting all 5 Central Asian countries in one tour. For travelers visiting only Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan have a look at our Uzbekistan Packing Tips. Let us know if you have any further questions or if you would like to add some items to the list. Just drop a line in our live chat or send us an email.