Probably one of the most daunting problem when trying to plan a trip through Central Asia is the visa problem. And besides the bureaucracy and the costs which pretty high the main issue is that the rules change rather dramatically from one year to the other, and not necessarily for the better. Probably the best example is last year when during the elections in Iran it became a bit more difficult to get the Iranian visa. Perhaps sometimes it’s necessary to to bump into these problems just learn to appreciate the advantages an EU citizen has while travelling through Europe. It’s easy to get accustomed to this fact and to forget that 90% of the world doesn’t have this freedom of movement.
The first and only visa which I got before leaving is exactly the visa of the destination country, Kyrgyzstan. At first I planned to get them along the way but after finding out that the Kazakhstan embassy in Romania also issues Kyrgyzstan visas on a relatively short notice, and that they are considerably cheaper than in other embassies I thought it was worth the effort.
And thus after a couple of visa papers which I managed to fill incorrectly a number of times, after 35 euroes and after 3 days I got my first visa. The consul, a young Kazakh with Asian facial features fortunately spoke some English in order to clear up some details of the Kyrgyz visa (for example you can use it in an interval of 3 months). On the other hand if I would scale things and if this is the English which is spoken by a consul in an European country I think I’d better start learning some Russian, or at least the basic things which are needed for filling up visa forms.
Regarding visas probably the best resource for Central Asia is Caravanistan but also the information provided by Ionut and Ana from Into the World were very useful. The plan with the other visas would be to get the Iran visa in Trabzon or in Erzrum (it’s easier and you don’t need a letter of invitation), then the Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan si Tadjikistan in Iran, filling the papers in Teheran and trying to get the visas in Mashad. The biggest problem will probably be Turkmenistan which only issues a transit visa which is only 5 days long and has fixed dates and thus it’s hard to specify the exact dates until I will get close to the border. The return visas for Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia I’ll get either in Almaty or in Bishkek, but that’s at least 6 months away so I can start worrying about them a bit later on.