11 things to wear on your head in Central Asia

Soldiers of Turkmenistan

If I was to give you one tip about travelling in Central Asia, it would be expect the unexpected.

Everything about the region is surprising; the extraordinary landscapes, fascinating history, intriguing culture and the warm welcome you’ll receive from friendly locals.

North and Central Asia is weird, wonderful and quirky on steroids, as I think you can see in my photo album of things you can wear on your head…

opera in Xian China

Xi’an, China – these guys are extras in a Chinese historical opera and taking a break on set.

men at Kashgar market China

Kashgar, China – the ‘doppa, or skullcaps, are worn by the local Uyghur men and the markets in Xinjiang province are a sea of these hats. Photo by Boris Sirota.

Hui muslim boys in Gansu province China

Gansu Province, China – Hui Muslim boys wear their embroidered skull caps.

sunflower head on silk road china

Silk Road – not really worn on your head, but these sunflower heads are as big as your head (and a great portable snack on the Silk Road).

yao woman with long hair in longji china

Longji, China – Yao women take so much pride in their long hair that they sometimes add extensions.

baby with Olympic rings haircut in China

Olympic fever hit China in 2008 and even turned up in haircuts!

school girls in Central Asia

Central Asia – a throwback to the traditions of the Soviet days, little girls still dress up on the first day of school. Photo by Rhona Voegele.

men in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan – men wearing kolpaks are revered as community elders. My brother on the left, not so much!

Tajikistan women wearing colourful headscarves

Tajikistan – women wear colourful headscarves throughout much of Central Asia.

Soviet military caps for sale in Bukhara Uzbekistan

Bukhara, Uzbekistan – Soviet military caps for sale in the market.

soldiers in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan – the reason not all these soldiers look happy could be because it was 40+ degrees that day and their traditional headwear is made from half a sheep.

To find out more about the wonderful things you’ll discover in North and Central Asia, please visit our website and start browsing through our range of fantastic small group adventures.

About the author

Tara Kennaway - Tara’s favourite countries are any that end with -stan. She’s spent time as a tour leader on the Trans-Siberian railway, taught English near the China-Russia border and managed to sneak into competition venues at the Beijing Olympics by wearing a 'Russia' t-shirt and saying ni hao. Tara currently manages the North Asia Product Team at the Intrepid Group head office in Melbourne.

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Great! Please, start a webpage on your website where travelers can upload THEIR photos of strange hats…

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