Traveling the Torugart Pass: 7 Incomparable Highlights in the Remote Tien Shan

Traveling the Torugart Pass: 7 Incomparable Highlights in the Remote Tien Shan

MIR’s Jake Smith, Director of Special Projects, has lived and worked in Central Asia for years, gathering first-hand knowledge of this part of the world. Enjoy his insider’s guide to some of the most stunning stops along the route through the Tien Shan Mountains – from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Kashgar, China. Read More


Penjikent: Sogdian Citadels, Mountain Mausoleums, and Valley Views in Tajikistan

Penjikent: Sogdian Citadels, Mountain Mausoleums, and Valley Views in Tajikistan

Jake Smith joined MIR after several years of living and working in Tajikistan. Having visited many times, the small town of Penjikent remains one of his favorite places to hang out. As Jake points out, Tajikistan has an abundance of treasures to offer a traveler. Here he shares a list of seven attractions that he recommends each visitor see while in Penjikent. Read More



A Traveler’s Tale: Baku, Azerbaijan and the Shores of the Caspian Sea

A Traveler’s Tale: Baku, Azerbaijan and the Shores of the Caspian Sea

MIR’s Jake Smith recently traveled through Azerbaijan and its highlight, Baku. In his tour diary and photo gallery, discover his favorite finds in this historic city that features both old town charm and modern marvels. Read More



Top 10 Places to Discover in Tajikistan: Undiscovered, Remote, Incredible

Top 10 Places to Discover in Tajikistan: Undiscovered, Remote, Incredible

Tajikistan is different, remote, adventurous, and undiscovered to this day. Very few travelers go there. Flights in and out are limited, and border crossings and the drives they entail are often arduous. In general, comfort can be difficult to find outside of a few hotels in the capital, but that same lack of infrastructure and the absence of any significant tourism means that authentic adventure and genuine cultural exchange are easy to find (in fact, difficult to avoid). Here's my list of 10 places (in no special offer) I recommend to travelers who want to experience this special, and undiscovered, destination: Read More