Miao Minority Village, Leishan Country, Guizhou, China

North & Central Asia

The cultures and landscapes of North and Central Asia are both spectacular and fascinating and include the largest country in the world, Russia.

North and Central Asia offers epic landscapes, ancient cultures and legendary archaeological remains.

Terrain ranges from the black beaches of far eastern Russia’s Kamchatka to the monster mountains and ice blue lakes of Kyrgyzstan and the open steppes of Mongolia. For ancient history  and culture look no further than the silk road cities of Uzbekistan, the dynastic history or China or the temples, gardens and geisha of Japan.

Chinese man painting a panda.
Chinese artist

North Asia

China’s ancient riches are complemented by modern marvels of architecture, and in Tibet, a country that offers such traditional cultures, you can be transformed into a different world. The open steppes of Mongolia record their history in song and monuments while Japan offers the visitor the latest technology alongside some of the worlds most ancient cultures. In the far north, Russia, the worlds largest country, where the Trans-Siberian railway wends it way and volcanic landscapes pepper the dramatic Kamchatka region.

Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan
Pamir mountains, Tajikistan

Central Asia

The goliath state of Kazakhstan is a mystery for intrepid travellers while Kyrgyzstan’s mountains and lakes dominate 90% of the country. The main attraction of Tajikistan is the Pamir Mountains and for Turkmenistan, it is the great Garagum desert, whilst Uzbekistan encompasses the legendary Silk Road, cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

Need Inspiration? Browse our North & Central Asia holiday ideas.

Get a head start on your perfect holiday to North and Central Asia and search through these holiday ideas created by our experts. Once your plans are in place, we will make them happen.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Aman Tokyo £££££

  • Japan
  • City

Aman Tokyo occupies the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower from where one can enjoy panoramic views of the sprawling metropolis below. The 82 rooms including 32 suites combine traditional materials with a clean, bright, contemporary feel and most overlook the Imperial Palace and gardens, as well as Mt Fuji in the distance on a clear day. The Aman spa and 30-metre pool also make the most of the wonderful views.

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Banyan Tree Yangshuo £££££

  • China

Located alongside the Li River with a spectacular backdrop of mountains and karst limestone peaks, Banyan Tree Yangshuo is built in a local style to sympathetically blend in with the remarkable surroundings. The 142 suites and villas offer views of the central pagoda lake, the river or the mountains and some have a private balcony or terrace. The outdoor swimming pool occupies a superb location overlooking the Li River and the choice of restaurants serve a wonderful array of regional specialities.

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Songtsam Lodge, Shangri-La £££££

  • China

Songtsam Shangri-La is housed in a traditional Tibetan dwelling and situated next to Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. The 75 rooms and suites have all been decorated in a traditional style using antique furniture, Tibetan carpets and hand-made features.

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Three Camel Lodge £££££

  • Mongolia
  • Tented Camps

Arriving at Three Camel Lodge you are met by a line of broad, smiling young Mongolian faces. They don’t need warning – they can see your vehicle from miles and miles away, with nothing else to clutter up the uninterrupted view apart from a few sheep, yaks and ponies. The forty-individual handmade gers are large and comfortable, featuring traditional furniture, a wood-burning stove, camel hair blankets for additional warmth and artwork from around the country.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

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  • 1 800 571 2985

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

Talk with our experts
  • 1 800 571 2985

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