Blogs from Tajikistan, Asia


Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab November 4th 2013

PAMIR x 2! THE RETURN! Riding on the Pamir Highway from Alichur, Tajikistan, to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan. To make it short for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing... I ended up riding on the Pamir Highway again, this time with a nice tail wind (except the last day to the border) and as you can imagine, it was fantastic, with blue sky, snow capped-mountains, clear streams, turquoise lakes, peaceful camping at high altitude and serenity all over! Loved the Pamir! I had been riding with Sacha (young man from Geneva) through the Wakhan Corridor and the area around Bulunkul for 6 days when we reached Alichur. Sacha’s friends were waiting for us in a yurt outside town. When we got there, the 2 girls (Maria and Manon, both from Switzerland) informed ... read more
highest point on the Pamir Highway
hello Karakul!

Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab November 1st 2013

Cycling around Bulunkul, in the Pamirs. The area around Bulunkul is one of the loveliest in the Pamir area. Most tourists call it the Lake Area. After 5 tough days on the Wakhan Valley with Sacha, we decided to cycle the loop within a day and made it but, once again in the Pamir, it was very challenging! We expected the 35km to be smooth and easy but it was all up and down with extremely sharp up hills in sand or gravel. We were kind of lucky because it didn’t rain or it wasn’t foggy in the morning, but unfortunately no blue sky, which would have completely enhanced the colors of the lakes. Next time? The best thing about the Bulunkul Lake Area was that we were absolutely alone. After stopping for tea, bread and ... read more
exploring, enjoying, relaxing
what can you see?
pretty cool, no?

Asia » Tajikistan » Khorog October 29th 2013

Before I enlighten you about my wedding propositions I wish to wind back a few weeks to my time in Uzbekistan, where I last updated you on my cycling adventure. Leaving Khiva behind I cycled east to the famous city of Bukhara. It was here that two British Army Officers Stoddart and Conolly were beheaded in the Emir's Ark during the 1800s. British and Russian Army Officers sent out to explore the routes traversing Central Asia including the Khyber pass etc affectionately called this spying "The Great Game". The author Peter Hopkirk writes a fascinating book about the subject, where Britain and Russia competed against one another for commercial trade and Central Asia effectively became the buffer zone between the 2 powers with Russia to the north and Britain as part of the East India Company ... read more
Camping in the desert
At Madina's Hostel in Bukhara
Bukhara Ark

Asia » Tajikistan »  Ishkashim October 29th 2013

After 10 wonderful days on the plateau at 4500m of altitude, getting back into town at Khorog was very difficult. I couldn’t stand the noise, the traffic, the dust (you’d think I’d be used to such things after 7 years in China!), and the owners of the guesthouse I stayed at really irritated me. My initial plan was to go on to Dushanbe but the cyclists I met, those who had ridden from the capital city told me the road was extremely bad and bumpy, with a lot of trucks, and at the time (August) the temperatures went up above 40degrees… At the same time everyone was talking about the Wakhan Corridor, which is a dirt road following the Afghan border for 300km. Everyone warned me that the road was bad with sand, bumps, holes, gravel ... read more
I love my life!
La vraie vie!
We couldn't get any closer to the river

Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab October 25th 2013

THE PAMIR HIGHWAY IN TAJIKISTAN Bienvenue au Tajikistan! (Francais en bas de la page) The second-highest altitude international highway in the world (4,655 m). THE PHYSICAL CHALLENGE: From Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan, I climbed up to 4285m of altitude to reach the Tajik border. It was very tough. Of course I was on a dirt road, alone, and carrying heavy bags (more than 50kg) with 7 liters of water (too much since I realized I could drink the water from streams coming down from the surrounding snow-capped mountains). I had to stop every minute or so to catch my breath. I didn’t have any headache but it took me a long time to get to the summit. Many people had told me that once on the top, on the plateau, riding on Pamir Highway would be easy. ... read more
hello Pamir!


Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab June 7th 2013

The differences could not have been more stark. There are two towns within five kilometres of each other both called Ishkashim. The one in Afghanistan was dry, dusty with unpaved streets, ramshackled buildings, irregular electricity supply and the streets dominated by ambling men. In contrast, the paved roads of Ishkashim in Tajikistan were lined were elegant, tall poplar trees, neat buildings, and smartly dressed men and women were seen in numbers. The only similarity was the desire of residents to know about the Ishkashim on the other side of the border. It felt good to be back in Tajikistan. The next morning my driver, Mendibay, one of the many Kyrgyz living in the Pamir Mountains (the Pamirs), arrived at the guest house sporting metal caps on his teeth often found in the region. His Mitsubishi Pajero ... read more
Man of Murgab - Tajikistan
Trekking in the Pamirs - near Rang-kul, Tajikistan
Me admiring Yamchun Fort - Tajikistan

Asia » Tajikistan » Khorog May 27th 2013

The road journey in Tajikistan from Dushanbe to Ishkashim is largely unknown, but anyone who has traversed it will rank it as one of the great adventures of the world. If Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor are looking for another challenge to broadcast as part of their Long Way Round series, I have found the perfect candidate. The 770 kilometre journey would follow for the most part the Panj River that separates Tajikistan from Afghanistan. The genial Amzi was my driver, and our three day expedition was in a comfortable Toyota Landcruiser. Amzi’s English was basic, but easily understandable. We enjoyed sporadic conversation, often comparing Australia and Tajiksitan, and discussing sights. He carried a collection of Tajik, Pamir and Russian music, and in return I played Australian, African, and American tunes. Though hiring a vehicle for ... read more
Picturesque village near Yoged - Tajikistan
A great road journey - near Rushan, Tajikistan
Truck lies in the Panj River - near Togmay, Tajikistan

Asia » Tajikistan » Dushanbe May 25th 2013

It is impossible to visit Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, and not notice the police presence. There is at least one member of the constabulary on every block, usually busying themselves waving down cars. Those who drove the Hyundai police vehicles never used the siren or lights if they needed an unimpeded passage through the traffic, but instead, strangely pronounced their coming through loudspeakers. The law in Central Asia has a poor reputation for corruption, but I saw nothing untoward in Almaty. However, parts of Tajikistan ensured that this reputation remains strong. Dushanbe's main thoroughfare, Radaki, was a pleasant tree-lined street whose residential buildings, though of weary appearance, were visually appealing in their mostly pastel colours that bore a resemblance to edifices in Eastern Europe. There were some larger public structures and these were palatial in ... read more
Water features - Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Bag-i Rudaki - Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Flight from Almaty to Dushanbe

Asia » Tajikistan » Khojand May 19th 2013

This story begins with a little girl, a girl who, while her friends collected fuzzy bagworms on a dusty Oklahoma playground and put them into cute jars and tried to feed them grass, cowered in a corner, horrified. This girl can't tell you where or when or how it developed, but she suffered from a blinding fear of caterpillars. They haunted her waking and sleeping hours, covering floors with their writhing bodies in her nightmares, seeking her out like heat-guided missiles on family picnics, making her humiliate her coming-of-age self as she ran and screamed like a maniac to escape them. This little girl grew up, and in the process outgrew many things, but not this phobia. "Sarah, they can't hurt you!" her friends would say. "Sarah, they're cute! Sarah, they turn into butterflies!" But reasoning ... read more
So. Many. Silkworms.

Asia » Tajikistan » Khojand March 18th 2013

Walking home from the university today, I ran across these boys flying kites off of the bridge I cross daily. I envied them; all it took were twigs, their mothers' sewing thread, and plastic trash bags to make their kites. I've only ever flown storebought ones, and now I think I'd feel silly waltzing into a store buying a kite. What 30+-year-old lady buys kites? They're getting ready for the spring holiday, Navruz, a tradition that encompasses Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, just like kite flying. When I was a kid, I loved flying kites. It just seemed so miraculous: how could that thing, many colors, way up in the sky where I wanted to be, fly the way it did but still be connected to me? How was this little string in my hand doing anything ... read more
He saw me take a picture of his friend...
My university in the background

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