Memos from Asia

The Safest Central Asian Countries to Visit in 2020

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Kazakhstan police car

Peace, security, safety, low crime rates, lack of militarisation and absence of conflicts are essential for every tourist and guest, who plans to come to Central Asia.

Hence, peace ranking of countries and situation inside the country should be carefully analysed before choosing any destination.

The Central Asian countries are introducing visa-free regimes, improving touristic infrastructure, simplifying the registration process and providing the free exchange of foreign currency for tourists. (Timesca, https://www.timesca.com/index.php/news/26-opinion-head/20533-central-asia-countries-pin-hopes-on-tourism)

Hence, the number of tourists coming to Central Asian countries has constantly increased in the last decade.

But, are these countries safe for foreigners? If yes, which of 5 countries in the region can provide the highest safety and security for visitors?

The main goal of the article is to introduce the best Central Asian countries in terms of WPI (World Peace Index), which is correlated with indicators such as security, safety, militarisation, ongoing conflicts and so on.

Overall scores of the region

In general, all 5 countries in the region, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan has a medium rank in World Peace Index.

These countries are more peaceful than the United States, Russia, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey in 2020.

The highest-ranking is Kazakhstan, the biggest country in Central Asia, while Turkmenistan holds the least score.

1. Kazakhstan

The new center of Astana capital city of Kazakhstan with landmark Baiterek tower at sunset

Kazakhstan is the most peaceful and the safest country in the region, though the ranking has dropped from 64th position in 2019 to 70th in 2020. The largest deterioration happened in safety, security, homicide rates and police rate indicators.

The majority of the tourists who visited the country tend to tell the opposite. Almost all of the visitors feel very safe in Kazakhstan.

The peace score of Kazakhstan is still very high compared to other countries in the region.

Crimes such as theft and petty crime are common but rarely involves foreigners. The locals are very welcoming and friendly. (Journal of Nomads, https://www.journalofnomads.com/is-kazakhstan-safe/)

2. Kyrgyzstan

Kyrchyn, Kyrgyzstan, 6th September 2018

Kyrgyzstan reached the highest improvement among Central Asian countries in World Peace Index in 2020.

The ranking of Kyrgyzstan increased, while all countries of Central Asia experienced deterioration except Tajikistan.

As the 2nd safest country in Central Asia after Kazakhstan, the country was placed 93rd rank in the globe.

3. Uzbekistan

Tashkent, Uzbekistan. October 30, 2019: People watch dancing fountain illuminated at night in new Tashkent City Park

Uzbekistan is located in the heart of Central Asia. Tours to Silk Road cities are becoming very popular among international tourists.

Like Kazakhstan, the score of the country has also decreased. Uzbekistan occupied 103rd position in the world ranking.

Uzbekistan has more sophisticated societal safety and security rank than Kyrgyzstan. Tashkent, the capital city of the state is very safe and secure for visitors.

4. Tajikistan

Donkeys graze near the mountain lake in the Fann Mountains, Tajikistan

Tajikistan occupied 107th place in the World Peace Index with a medium safety score.

Among Central Asian countries, Tajikistan is less safe than Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and obviously than Kazakhstan due to several factors including the neighbour country Afghanistan.

It is highly recommended to take a local guide when visiting Tajikistan. In the capital city Dushanbe, the streets become empty during the night and crime rates are higher than the average.

Therefore, think twice before going for a walk at night especially to low-lighted parks and streets.

Additional safety and security problems may include the inadequately trained police and taxi troubles.

If you are travelling with a guide and obey common safety rules, we believe that Tajikistan can become your beloved tourist destination. (WorldNomads, https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-safety/central-asia/tajikistan/tajikistan-safety-guide)

5. Turkmenistan

The fountain complex in the park. Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan.

The least visited country in Central Asia is the least peaceful and safe country based on World Peace Index. The country holds 116th position worldwide and the last rank in Central Asia.

Turkmenistan shares borders with Iran and Afghanistan. Surprisingly, it has scored a higher rank than Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the domestic and international conflict domain.

If you are planning to travel to Turkmenistan, the safest place is the capital – Ashgabat. Crimes against tourists are rare but may happen. Hence, you should try to keep your valuables and documents in safe places.

Read the full WPI report here: http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/

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