Blogs from Almaty, East Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan, Asia

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Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty May 20th 2015

Day 20 - Almaty and around: Yet another peculiar day. We got our admin out of the way in the morning. We knew already that driving into China was impossible without taking their own examinations, and that the controlled border area was up to 100km wide in some places, passable only with a permit. Furthermore, there is little to see or do around the Khorgos border crossing into China A good compromise to show that driving to China was indeed possible but quench our need for scenery and adventure would be to cross into Kyrgystan via the Karkara valley border checkpoint and then fill ourselves to bursting with mountains and valleys going south around Isyl Kol lake. The Karkara valley crossing is one of the most remote in the world. It was closed for many years ... read more
Gansfelsen admiring the view
Dave, Dave and Definitely Not Dave
Some idiot

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty May 19th 2015

Day 19 - Balkash to Almaty: On day 19 our luck with the police ran out. From Balkhash it was a 400 mile drive to Almaty, the old capital of Kazakhstan. The route on the M36 highway hugs the shores of Lake Balkash in an anticlock arc for 250 miles, then runs due south to the city. The grassland around was quite barren but the road began to undulate a little to relieve the monotony. We zipped along nicely on a beautiful sunny day and stopped after about 60 miles at an isolated cafe to top up on caffeine. It was the only building for 40 miles in either direction, and had three cheerful ladies in the kitchen salting and battering fish caught from the lake. At one side of the room an old man in ... read more
Balkash Lake Stone Skimming Championships
a friendly wave
A long, long road

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty April 21st 2015

I flew with Air Astana to Kazakhstan. The local carrier has most of its fleet registered on our neighbouring island of Aruba, with the code “P4”. Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and the former capital with about 1.5 million people. Astana is the capital since 1997 but I did not go there because it’s the second coldest capital in the world and I’m not really friends with the cold. Even though it was early spring, the weather in Almaty wasn’t too cold! I think curiosity (as a Geography teacher) was the main reason for me to visit this country. The five “Stans” (part of the former Soviet Union) are very unknown and mysterious for most people because not so many people visit the region: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. You hardly hear anything ... read more
Charyn Canyon
Almaty
View of the Himalaya's in northeastern Pakistan, enroute from New Delhi to Almaty

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty October 25th 2014

In Almaty, I met Rinato of couchsurfing. It was that day Saturday and we decided to go out to a good bar/club. Rinato told me that he had a problem he had not received his salary. And he wanted to pay because I was a guest. He had an idea and asked me if it would be okay for me to drive for two hours as a taxi. In Kazakhstan, it is possible to use your own car for taxi. In two hours we deserved what is 2000 Kazakh tenge was reasonable enough for some beers :)) Awesome :))) practically it was a good evening and a separate experience :)) Rinato was very hospitable and his mother was also very nice and very caring I stayed a few days with them. And they invited me to ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty August 22nd 2014

I have been told much about Almaty, a city next to Himilaya mountains. Did manage to buy some gloves and knee pads from KTM (black bike trousers too hot). But spare front tyre - they must have special deal for foriginers, jumped 40% when I found 'free wheels' bike place. But other issue is numerous roads where Motorcycles are banned, ring road & road up to hills. This 'caused my first brush with law, while trying to join ring road. Pull me in shortly demand $100, accept 50, bit cross with each other for accepting bribe, but tell me was OK. One way or another, I drove up hills to south of city past 'no bike' sign, was immediately cooler, right up past place Modeo & to top of ski lift, slept out at 2500m - ... read more
Charyn Gorge
river in gorge
Gorge scenery.

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty June 12th 2014

Zharkent Our last stop in Kazakhstan. Tomorrow we do the border crossing to China. It will take Monday and Tuesday to get all the vehicle permits finished. For me it will be the last border crossing.... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty June 5th 2014

Almaty Almaty is the largest city in central Asia (or maybe Tashkent is, depending on who you believe). We are here for three days to do bike maintenance and get organized for entry to China. That will be my last border crossing. We will have one day to look around in Almaty. Almaty has some spectacular mountains to the south and lots of tree lined streets. It is pretty typical of a relatively large city pretty much anywhere in the world. ... read more

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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