After spending some time in the hustle and bustle of the urban areas comes a moment when you want to lose yourself somewhere peaceful. The tranquillity of rural areas usually offers a slower pace and relaxed vacation. Here you can find some of the cozy villages in Central Asia with a bit of a touch of nature, culture, spirituality, etc.
Arslanbob is a village in a big wild walnut forest, which bears the same name. It is in the Jalal-Abad region between Fergana Valley and Chatkal Mountains. During summer and springtime, the main attraction of the village along with the big walnut forest are two beautiful waterfalls. They are believed to have spiritual and magical powers. Trekking is also a popular activity in the area. During winter skiing also became possible in the nearest mountains.
However, the best time to visit the village is autumn- the harvest time (especially if you like walnuts). Collecting the nuts is not only work but also a social activity bringing locals together. The arslanbob walnut is famous not only in Kyrgyzstan but also in other parts of the world. In fact, it was the country’s first export to Europe.
Saty is a small village in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan, 66 km far from the village of Kegen. It is 282 km far from Almaty, which makes it quite a long way to get there. Saty is the nearest village to Kolsai lakes and Kaindy, which are considered natural treasures of Kazakhstan. Kolsai lakes are 3 picturesque lakes considered the pearls of the Tian-Shan. The village became popular due to the lakes and may guesthouses were opened. You can walk around, ride a horse, pick mountain berries, enjoy the fresh air and of course hike to the lakes.
Kyzyl-Oi is another mountainous village in Kyrgyzstan, which being one of the oldest villages in the country kept its Central Asian character. Clay reddish houses from the 1900s can be still spotted on the banks of the Kokomeren river. For nomadic people, houses of this age are rare, because they usually didn’t settle down in one area. The color of the houses can be explained by the red color of the nearest mountains, where the red stones came from. This is the reason that the village is called Kyzyl-Oi, as it is translated as “red bowl”. Although nowadays you will find the valley more greenish filled with poplar trees. In the summertime, the green Kokomeren valley is filled with birdsongs, the sounds of the river bubbling over rocks and branches. This makes a perfectly relaxing atmosphere.
The village is situated on the road from Suusamyr valley to Kochkor. It is a remote village nestled in the mountains, far away from other settlements. The area is perfect for hiking or horseback riding. In the late summer, rafting is possible in the Kokomeren river. Fishing is also a popular activity among locals.
Nokhur is a small village situated in the Kopet Dag mountains. This is the place for you if you want to discover a new lifestyle of people, old traditions, a lot of legends and sacred places. So this is the cozy and mysterious type of village that you’re looking for.
The village is a 1-hour drive from the road to Turkmenbashi from Ashgabat near the border with Iran. Situated in the valley at the height of 1000 meters the village remained relatively untouched. Some locals believe that the name Nohur comes from the name of Noah (many places in the region have Biblical origins). However, others claim that it is connected with the Persian legend of the Peri and the name “no hur” is translated as “nine peri”.
The main sight of the village is the cemetery of Nokhur, where the graves are topped with the horns of mountain goats. These burial rites are present in pre-Islamic beliefs such as animism and Zoroastrianism. Nokhurli people are different from other Turkmens, their religion and dialect are also different. The mountainous village is full of mystical places including the “Dev’s house” cave, “Gyz Bibi Cave” and the highest point of Kopet Dag- “The three wells”.
Bokonbaevo is a village in the south shore of the lake Issyk-Kul right next to the blue waters of the lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It’s the center of the Tong District in the Issyk-Kul region and the largest village along the south shore of the Lake Issyk-Kul. Bokonbaevo also serves as one of the main trekking hubs in the region. If you happen to be travelling here in August you can also visit the Birds of Prey Festival, which is organized by the CBT (Community Based Tourism) of Bokonbaevo. The festival gathers the local eagle hunters who compete with each other. It also includes traditional music and dances, yurt construction, exhibitions, traditional horse games, etc. They also organize the “Horse Games” festival where traditional Kyrgyz games on horses are demonstrated. You will also find yurts in the surrounding area and hot springs. Public transport is available from Bishkek, Karakol, Balakchy, etc.
You will find settlements named Langar in many Asian countries. But probably the famous one among them is the Langar village in Uzbekistan. Langar is situated near the city of Shahrisabz. So the easiest way to get there is through Shahrisabz. The place became famous because of the mausoleum of Muhammed Sodik, who was one of the most influential Sufis in the world. The very nature of the village Langar is conducive to solitude, reflection and meditation. The surrounding hills protect the peace of the village from the bustle of the cities. It seems you can still feel the spirit of the great Sufis. So this is a place of high spirituality and wisdom.
Have you ever had the thought of visiting one of the coldest inhabited places in the world? If no, now you have both the thought and the location. The tiny village of Bulunkul in Tajikistan, where the record of the minimum temperature was -63 degrees Celcius. This is a place of extremes, where beauty is wild and ragged. There are two big lakes near the village- Bulunkul and Yashilkul. Trekking, horse-riding, fishing are popular activities here.
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