It takes a lot of work and head ache to plan travels in the central Asian countries. The most confusing thing ought to be all the visas you need and where and how you are able to get them. Here are some things that might help you get started,
If you are planning to travel in central Asia, there are two sites you definitely need to visit before doing anything else:
http://www.stantours.com – Contact David at Stantours for visa assistance and questions. He helped us with several visas and LOI:s (letter of invitation) and general info. He is honest and his prices are reasonable. We met up with him in Almaty for a chat and a lunch. Very nice guy.
http://www.caravanistan.com – A site where you can read updated info on visas, border crossing, embassy reports and a lot more. There is also a forum where you can discuss whatever topics you want about travelling in central Asia. This site was very useful to us, we highly recommend it.
We needed six different visas for our journey, here is how we got them:
Azerbaijan – We got the LOI from azerbaijan24.com and the visa at the Azeri embassy in Stockholm.Turkmenistan – A tourist visa to Turkmenistan is very expensive and difficult to get as you need to book tours and have a guide throughout all your stay. So we applied for a five day transit visa at the Turkmen embassy in Berlin. We applied by mail and then collected the visa personally on the way. (In the end, we got deported from Turkmenistan for overstaying the visa one day, due to the ferry from Baku being three days late).
Uzbekistan – We got the LOI from Stantours, and applied for the visa by mail at the Uzbek embassy in Berlin before we left.
Tajikistan – No LOI needed, applied for the visa at the embassy in Tasjkent, Uzbekistan. Took three working days to recieve.
(Kyrgyzstan – No visa needed)
Kazakhstan – No LOI needed, we applied for the visa at the Kazakh embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Took three working days to recieve.
Russia – Got the LOI from Stantours, collected the visa at the general counsulate in Gothenburg.
One thing that really helped us is that we have two passports each. That lets you handle two visa applications at a time, which is very handy because it is a very time consuming business. It is allowed in Sweden to have double passports if you have legitimate reasons and obviously going travelling in central Asia is.