Blogs from Karakol, Kyrgyzstan, Asia


Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol July 29th 2019

You are going on holiday where...?! I have had a niggle for a while to go and explore some of the vast mountainous terrain that I have gazed down at from 30 thousand feet while roaming around the plane like a caged tiger on day time flights back from Tokyo (why on earth aren’t there nighttime flights, so I don’t have to waste the whole day?! But I digress....). The snowy peaks below stretch for an eternity, with little evidence (from that height at least) of any habitation at all. The in-flight map indicated that the region was some of the ex-USSR countries, the “Stans”, in the middle of a part of the world I have never been anywhere near. After reading up a bit on the region, I narrowed down the best options in terms ... read more
View from the ridge, hiking near Bokonbaevo
Mountain biking near Bokonbaevo
A Kyrgyz traffic jam!

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol August 6th 2016

Ik ben aangekomen in het mooie Karakol aan het meest oostelijke puntje van Yssyk-Kul. Karakol, (ook wel Przhevalsk genoemd naar de bekende Russische ontdekker die ons de dwergpaarden heeft gebracht.) is een tamelijk troosteloze stad dat wordt opgevrolijkt door de imposante witte pieken van het Tian-Shan gebergte. De stad is een uitvalsbasis voor de vele (voor Kirgizische begrippen) toeristen die wandelingen of trektochten willen doen in de achterliggende bergen. Karakol bezit dan ook verscheidene hostels, tour operators en verhuurders van kampeer en trek spullen. Ze hebben hier zelfs een heuse tourist office inclusief engels sprekend personeel (eigenlijk spreekt iedereen hier wel een woord of drie engels.) Je kan hier dan ook niet over straat zonder een aantal ander toeristen tegen te komen. Zelfs zit ik in het Nice hostel, een vrij nieuw hostel met een nogal ... read more

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol July 29th 2016

July 29 - Woke up early this morning, around 6:45 and the internet was down. What could I even do if there was no internet? Shockingly stressful when you should have it but don't, and yet all the days I know I won't have it, it's fine. I repacked, slowly, and had breakfast at 8am. Then the internet worked, so I used it for a bit. Saw the Romanians and was hoping that our timing to go to Karakol overlapped this morning, but it didn't quite match up. I left after 9:15am to find the share taxi that would take me to Balykchny, where I would then get a marshrutka to Karakol. I had to wait a while for the first taxi to fill up, but then Gaétan, a French Canadian guy, showed up and we ... read more
Random statue on the driver
These ladies asked for their photo to be taken
Teskey Guesthouse garden

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol October 10th 2015

Eighty percent of Kyrgyzstan is mountainous. The Tien Shan mountains are truely spectacular, rising to 7,500 metres high and forming the border with China. There are no roads into these mountains, only tracks that are too rough even for our Merc truck. So we all decamp into an ancient ex-Soviet truck which grinds and rumbles it's way up a narrow gorge. At 2,500 metres, the hostel is very basic with a few dormitories and a communal kitchen/dining/living room. There is a wood burning stove and ice cold water comes continuously from a spring outside. But the setting is spectacular. Snow covered mountains rise on all sides, dotted with tall, dark firs. A day's hiking takes us above the tree line to a glacier at the end of a high plateau. Horses, sheep and cattle are grazed ... read more
Eagle hunter
Soviet truck

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol September 12th 2015

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol August 29th 2015

Yes, really. I have been making promises for a long time, years, really - yes, years - to family, friends and travelers I meet along the way to start up my blog again. No one ever really knows where I am at any given time; it seems when I get a chance to finally post on Facebook, I'm three countries away. I am still on the same journey on which I started out in October, 2006, and with careful day to day budgeting, I have managed to continue surviving and thriving, living and learning, while tailoring my lifestyle to constantly being on the move. So here I am after months and months, years and years of empty promises, starting a new chapter in this life on the road. I appreciate commentary, feedback and questions but please ... read more

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol May 22nd 2015

Day 22 - Karakol to Tamgar: We checked the coolant level in the morning to find that most of the reservoir was gone. Dave F noticed that part of the O-rings on the reservoir screw-cap were damaged, meaning that it wasn't holding pressure once the engine was switched off and so coolant bubbled out of the overflow. It didn't seem to pose any risk to the engine however, so we topped up the coolant level and set off as normal. Karakol is the 4th largest city/town in Kyrgystan with roughly 60k people and sits close to the eastern edge of Lake Issyk Kol. Our plans for the day were to explore a couple of the valleys nearby, get some supplies and then camp for the night on the shores of the lake. We'd brought all the ... read more
Camping at Issyk-Kol
Barskoon Valley
Barskoon Valley

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol May 21st 2015

Day 21 - Almaty to Karakol: On Day 21 we basically completed the challenge, and the scenery..... the scenery was just ridiculous. Words and pictures aren't enough, but I'll try. On leaving the hostel we picked up some shopping for lunch then set out east towards the Chinese border. As I mentioned in a previous post the plan was to turn south before the Chinese border and cross into Kyrgystan via the remote Karkara Valley. As a special bonus the Charyn Canyon lay on the elbow of that southward turn and is one of the main attractions in the region. Often dubbed the 'mini-grand canyon', its castles, red strata and steep sides bear a strong resemblance to its more famous American namesake. A 3km trail follows a dry riverbed down to the main river valley. It ... read more
Charyn Canyon
Karkara Valley
Karkara Valley

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol November 13th 2014

On the bus to Almaty November 13 2014 "My recommendation is that you do a two day horse trek" said Azamat at Karakol CBT. "And then you can stay at Altyn Arashan in the mountains one night". Gulp! I had never ridden a horse before! How painful would it be? But it sounded exciting getting up in mountains. And then one remembers the philosophy I always pushed on the boys 'I can, I can'. So I had no choice in the end. We knew it would be cold and Azamat helped us buy hat and gloves at an excellent outdoor store in Karakol. We stocked up on food and Azamat drove us to the meeting point where Mirlan, our guide and horse owner, met us with the horses. It was cold. I wore two T shirts, ... read more
Altyn Arashan at 2500 m
The loos
The fire and stove

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol September 2nd 2014

For run back to Bishkek, had spotted a short cut to Izzyk Kol over mountains, was this a good idea? Started bit late at 1pm for 150km jolly, nice to start with, but 4 river crossing (wet socks) and topped out on glacial moraine heap at 3800m, generally another good day. Stopped in another version of Butlins by Issyk kul, a nice salty swim in morning. Owner told me about the biggest gold mine in world, yields 20t of gold /year, just 130km away at 4000m. They say London's roads paved in gold - I don't think so just too many pot holes, but the gravel track to mine was smooth hardly a bump for 100km - what money can do!. Hairpins were steep for trucks (which had to turn 140deg, then back up 4m to ... read more
wild river
valley broadened to wide plateau
steepens at end.

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