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I'm planning my leave for this year, and would really like to find a good hike to do in Central or Eastern Asia.

Specifically, I'm hoping to find:

  1. Something with a company that takes small groups - I'm usually a solo traveler and don't want to hike trips like this alone. I don't need to be looked after too much, happy to carry my own gear.

  2. Something with not too many people - I prefer hikes where we are not constantly passing other tourists on the route (I like a bit of a sense of isolation).

  3. I love my travel photography, so ideally good views - for me this probably means mountains. To give you a feel, I loved hiking in both Patagonia and the Andes in South America.

  4. Not too easy - a physical challenge is appreciated - altitude is not something that would deter me.

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

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Hi Chris, and welcome to Travel.SE. If you have a chance, please read the faq. You'll find we have rules about questions being too open and broad. Therefore, asking questions about a hike in Asia/Africa/NZ/Indonesia is REALLLY broad. We try to ask questions that can solicit a definitive answer for you to accept. If you could please tighten your criteria, it'll stand a better chance - currently it's running the risk of the community closing it. Remember, there are a couple of dozen countries in Asia alone, and 53 in Africa! –  Mark Mayo Jan 4 '13 at 4:54
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Thanks for the tip Mark - I've tightened the question to Central / Eastern Asia - I know this still leaves a fairly large area, but hopefully the other criteria in the question give enough of a feel for what I am looking for? –  Chris Jan 4 '13 at 5:02
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Hopefully. I'm not much of a hiker/climber so not too sure, although I could probably give some advice on Tajikistan. Might do if I get a chance later. But I did know that 4 continents was too broad ;) Thanks for updating! –  Mark Mayo Jan 4 '13 at 5:46
    
Indonesia is in South East Asia ( not covered in Eastern Asia ), do you want to also consider South East Asia also? –  Rudy Gunawan Jan 4 '13 at 6:10
    
No, I think I'll keep this question focused on Central and East, thanks tho :) –  Chris Jan 5 '13 at 1:01
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I spent a while in Central Asia in summer 2011.

While backpackers were few and far between, there were actually more cyclists than regular backpackers - seems to be a bottleneck point for the trans-Asia cycling groups, I did meet a lot of people doing hikes - in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Tajikistan is basically a country on top of mountains. It's spectacular. Like nothing you've seen.

Kyrgyzstan has one of the highest alpine lakes in the world, and lots of mountains as well.

Between the two is the Pamir Highway, a spectacular plateau made famous by Marco Polo all those years ago when he was investigating trade routes along the Silk Road and exploring the region.

The road is ... spectacular and ... interesting...very interesting:

Pamir Highway between Dushanbe and Khorog

but the scenery is unforgettable.

I would suggest a trip that includes hikes around the Pamirs. I'm not a big hiker myself, but all those I met doing it just raved about it.

For some extra interest and photos I'd suggest checking out Trekking The Pamirs.

Hiking groups were either doing it themselves, or connecting up with others in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan or more likely, Dushanbe or Khorog in Tajikistan.

You'll need an extra stamp on your Tajik visa for the Pamirs, but it's like $10 and you just ask for it, but you will need it before you enter. And you WILL get checked - checkpoints everywhere!

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Fantastic, thanks for the answer :) –  Chris Jan 8 '13 at 22:54
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I have two suggestions for you:

Iran

Damavand

enter image description here

picture from hikr.org

You could climb the highest mountain in Iran and in the whole middle east. It can be done in 4 days, but it shouldn't be any problem to find a tour to do it in 5 or more days. But be aware, the mountain is quite high (5671m) and you should be aware of altitude sickness. Here you can find a description and some pictures. The text is in German, but you will get a first impression of the mountain. As you can see, the mountain is very prominent, similar to the Kilimanjaro in Africa. Depending on the weather, you should be able to walk up to this mountain, even though there may be a couple of situations where you also have to use your hands.

Kyrgyzstan

Ala-Kol

enter image description here picture from hikr.org

You could do a small trekking tour from Karakol to Altyn Arashan as described in this post. It is an easier tour than the first one, but on the other hand, the mountains are not that high. And it is probably also more complicated to organize, since the starting point is not the destination.

Generally, I would recommend to check out the tours reported at hikr.org. It is a platform where hikers from all over the world report their tours, describe and rate them. You will also find a lot of beautiful pictures that give you an impression of the area. Additionally, there is a convenient search function that allows you to search tours in specific regions (in your case e.g. the countries in Central Asia) and also limit the search results to a lot of specific parameters, e.g. the difficulty or the distance.

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Interesting resources - some good info for me there to start digging into. Thanks! –  Chris Jan 8 '13 at 22:55
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