Blogs from Kazakhstan, Asia

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Asia » Kazakhstan » Southern Kazakhstan » Shymkent December 31st 2013

Kazakhstan..Lovely Kazakhstan... FIRST and foremost..The blogs I have read and maybe you as well if you planned to go to Uzbekistan were not my experience at all...it was quite pleasant actually. There were no babushkas shoving and throwing elbows at all leaving Uzbekistan. The immigration process at the border is pretty straight forward as you must fill out the immigration paper again ( the one you arrived with) and stand in line where a drug sniffing cocker spaniel will lay down and want to play lol. Then you get to 2 gentleman on computers you give them you documents and they look through your stamps, fascinated almost and they give you your passport then go around the barrier and put your bags, jacket etc etc on a scanner and walk through getting wanded in the process. ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » Southern Kazakhstan » Shymkent December 20th 2013

Cycling from Taraz – Shymkent – Saryagash (Tashkent border) I expected Southern Kazakhstan to be flat and easy but it turned to be pretty hilly and windy… Surprise! The first thing I noticed after entering Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan was the gas stations. They were to be found every 2 or 3km. They all looked very new and flashy, with great colorful billboards announcing them. The second thing that caught my eye was that there was always a pipeline along any road I took until I entered the city of Taraz. If you’ve looked at my last blog (from Bishkek to Taraz) on the mountains of Western Kyrgyzstan, you may have seen a picture of smog hanging above Taraz. Well, the city was surrounded by power plants and all kinds of industries. Coming from the quiet and ... read more
by the road in Southern Kazakhstan
Big new mosque in Taraz, Kazakhstan
Salam Muhammed!

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty December 11th 2013

Let me know if you agree... Beautiful architecture, nice cafes and fancy restaurants, lots of parks, elegant women, the opera and people who love French literature... Almaty is a great city! I left my bike in Bishkek and crossed the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border to spend 4 days in Almaty. I hadn’t planned on visiting Kazakhstan on this trip. It’s such a huge country, I thought I would eventually make it there someday and spend a month traveling from Astana to Almaty in the future. But in October, I needed to get the transit visa for Turkmenistan, and there is no Turkmen Consulate in Bishkek. My only option was to go to Almaty or wait until Tashkent to get it. I chose Almaty because I didn’t want to be stuck for a week or more in Tashkent and ... read more
Zenkov Cathedral
City Hall
Saint Nicholas' Cathedral in Almaty

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty August 29th 2013

Arrived in China this morning at the border crossing in Khorgas, but I was soon turned back because I did not have proper documentation for the vehicle. I am now back in Kazakhstan to sort out the paper work for the car. From Georgia I headed north to Russia and then from Russia I entered Kazakhstan to pick up the silk road south of Kazakhstan near the border with Uzbekistan. I chose this route to avoid visas for the 'stan countries. Looks like the silk road journey may end here in Almaty. I am in good health and the car is running very smoothly. More updates later.... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty August 22nd 2013

We have a nice and easy going flight from Tbilisi to Almaty. During our time on board we can see the Caspian Sea, the long never ending Kysylkum Desert and the remains of the Aral Lake. The distance is around 3000km and the flight only takes three and a half hours. Looking at the map it´s amusing to realize that we have just spent the last five months covering the same distance overland. Before arriving in Almaty we had found a Couch surfing host Veronica, a friendly Kazakh girl who actually grew up in Mexico, lived the last 10 years in Dubai and has come back to live where she originally comes from. She is living in a very impressive penthouse apartment with a lovely view of the lake, the mountains that surround Almaty and the ... read more
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Asia » Kazakhstan » Astana June 21st 2013

I doubt that there has been a more dramatic transformation of a city in modern times than Astana. In 1997, after a declaration from President Nursultan Nazarbaev three years earlier, Astana replaced Almaty as Kazakhstan’s capital, and since that time a building project of monumental proportions has been undertaken. Based on the grand design of Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, everything is planned – the symmetry of streets, parks, squares and even buildings all align in perfect harmony. The city’s architecture is extraordinary, something that easily matches other places with modern, futuristic architecture such as Dubai. There were also classical designs, like the opera house, whose facade could have been lifted from the streets of Europe. Astana’s desire to become a cultural centre was obvious, for there were many theatres and concert halls with more under construction. ... read more
Hazrat Sultan Mosque at dusk - Kazakhstan
Evening street scene of Astana - Kazakhstan
Khan Shatyr shopping mall - Astana, Kazakhstan

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty May 21st 2013

There is no denying the feeling that regularly visits me prior to travel to a new destination. As I slouch in my couch, I gaze at the fully loaded backpack leaning comfortably against the wall, and that feeling fills me again. Regardless of how many countries my travels have taken me or the combined length of my journeys, I am always beset by apprehension the night before again launching into unknown lands. Not so when returning to a country or visiting a previously travelled region, but always with the first country in a region. No surprise as I prepare once again to travel alone and independently to a place where I understand not the language, nor the culture, and where every face is unfamiliar. Pre-travel concerns are actually a positive for without that anxiety prior to ... read more
Zenkov Cathedral within Panfilov Park - Almaty, Kazakhstan
View from Kok-Tobe - Almaty, Kazakhstan
Bridge in Kok-Tobe - Almaty, Kazakhstan

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty October 26th 2012

In the year 2002 when Kazakhstan had just enjoyed 10 years of independance, i was there. The country was still building itself and creating an identity. I happened to live in Almaty but visited for weekly trips to Astana and Atyrau. There are Russians and Kazakhs who dominate the population but in Almaty you can find a lot of Uzbeks and few Afghans. A mix of islam and christianity and pagans and tatars. I did not see any conservative people in the cities, maybe there are some in the villages. A very cold country where people are hard working and lots of night life and open culture.... read more
Core Network team
Core Network team
Core Network team


Hello again! I know it has been a while since my last entry and I have a lot to update you with this time. Currently I am in Bishkek and the internet is awful and they charge by the kilobyte, so I can't upload pictures now. I will do so when I get back to China (after 5-6 days I think). Let me start by sharing my experiences at Aksu-Zhababyly Nature Reserve in Southern Kazakhstan. I arrived in the mid-afternoon at the small town near the park entrance. There is a place mentioned in the Lonely Planet that has guides and other services. So I went to see about the "other services" i.e. lodging. So they drove me up to their little camp (they charge to drive you 8km to stay at THEIR hotel. That is ... read more
Hotel
Sunset
The first snow

Asia » Kazakhstan » Taraz » East Kazakhstan August 5th 2012

Hi everyone! I have a pretty fast internet cafe here in Shymkent, Kazakhstan so I can update the ol' blog. I think I am the oldest person here by several years. The average age has to be under 15. No pictures today unfortunately; I forgot my SD card adapter for my camera. So, I left Almaty a couple days ago via sleeper train. I must say, I am very impressed with the quality of the Kazakh sleeper train. It was a long journey of about 20 hours or so from Almaty to Turkistan (Turkistan is not a country, but a town). The train car had a room with just two beds and a big window; you can shut the door and open the window. I think I had my head out the whole time. Once again, ... read more
Open Spaces
Turkistan
Khoja Akhmet Yassawi




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