What to bring for your trip to Mongolia & Central Asia

While planning your trip the big question what to pack always pops up at some point. The golden rule, as always, is not to pack too much but just enough to have everything. The difficulty to pack for Central Asia are the different seasons. Since most travelers visit this area in May until October, we will focus the packing list for the summer season. The summers in Central Asia can be quite hot so be prepared for some sweating. However the evenings in the mountains can be a bit chilly. Here are your recommendations for essentials.

Shoes

  • Good hiking shoes: You will need them for trekking in the Kazakh and Kyrgyz mountains
  • Sneakers: These are more comfortable to walk around in the cities
  • Flip flops: Good for the really hot days, for walking in cities and walking around in hostels or to shower

Clothes (besides the obvious)

  • Wind and water proof jacket or/and a thin down jacket: Good for the mountains and colder evenings and they don’t need much space
  • Light trekking pants: If you plan to do a lot of trekking, bring two or three pairs
  • Comfortable pants and sweaters: For the long bus rides
  • Track suit: For hanging around hostels or guesthouses
  • Swim shorts or bikini: For lakes or pools

Accessories

  • Good camera: Central Asia & Mongolia are a paradise for photographers
  • Sleeping bag: It doesn’t have to be the warmest one but in the mountains you never know if it gets cold. Even at some homestays or yurts in the mountains, you might find a sleeping bag comfortable
  • Silk travel liner: If you don’t bring a real sleeping bag at least bring a liner because some hotels/hostels don’t provide top linen
  • Wet towels: Going on the toilet on the road can be a bit of a challenge and toilet paper is usually not available
  • Microfiber towel: It doesn’t need much space and some homestays don’t provide towels
  • Travel washing powder: There are not many laundry services so you might have to do some hand washing
  • Muscle relax cream: Maybe you’ll need it after a long horseback riding
  • Phone case: To protect your phone while traveling on dusty roads
  • Portable (solar) charger: to charge all your devices on the road
  • Multi plug: Some hotels/hostels only have one plug in the rooms
  • Swiss army knife: For cutting, fixing etc.
  • Hat: the sun is really strong
  • Sunglasses (spare sunglasses), Sunscreen: Again the sun is really strong
  • Lighter
  • Head torch: For walks at night to the toilet at homestays or yurts
  • First aid kit: For scratches, wounds etc.
  • Sewing kit: For holes in your clothes
  • Hand sanitizer: after the toilet
  • Daily contact lenses
  • Water bottle
  • Insect repellent
  • (Small) Gifts for locals from your home country

Essentials especially for women

Turkmenistan and some parts of Uzbekistan are a bit more conservative than Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. But you don’t have to be fully covered. In general the big cities like Astana, Almaty and Bishkek are very liberal. You will find lots of stylish and sexy dressed women around. If you plan to stay longer in the cities and go out partying, you might want to pack some nice dresses, skirts and some heels. If your plan is to go mostly to the countryside and stay at homestays in rural villages, it is advised to show not too much skin otherwise you might feel uncomfortable.

Here is what we would bring:

  • Long scarf: It doesn’t only keeps you warm on chilly nights, it is also good to cover your head if you are visiting mosques
  • Long maxi or midi skirts: For the hot summer days the long skirts are perfect
  • Short dresses or skirts: It is good to have them for a night-out in a city
  • Shirts with sleeves that cover your shoulders: If you are in more conservative areas, these are good to wear
  • Harem pants: Very comfortable on hot days and always a good option
  • Leggings: Good to wear underneath longer shirts or skirts
  • Jeans or check shirt: Good to wear over tank tops and not too hot
  • Thank tops and shorts: In most areas thank tops and shorts are ok but in some regions you might be the top attraction when wearing them
  • Tampons – if necessary

What is your most essential item? What would you add to this list?

2 comments

  1. Rob says:

    Sunglasses/spare sunglasses; lighter(s)/knife; good camera.

    Gifts for locals – small portable things. Snuff in small round tins.

    One or two photos of home.

    Water bottle. Insect repellent.

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