Blogs from Kyrgyzstan, Asia

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Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Yssyk Kol September 1st 2019

A couple of friends I made on the Africa trip and I decided to do a nice weekend trip. This was coming soon after my trip to the US, but it was Islamic New Year and expected to be a three day weekend - for most, it turned out that they did not get the day off, but two of us did. We won't go into too much detail about me joining a friend for drinks before my flight.... almost missing said flight and losing my camera enroute. I'm still devastated about the camera. Friday Anyway, I made the 10:45pm flight, slept fairly well and felt ok when we arrived early in the morning at the Bishkek airport. Anita and Rej and I were joined by three others and our extremely adorable guide, Merriam, along with ... read more
Burana Tower headstones
Burana Tower
Group photo with iconic top of yurt

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 January 2nd 2018

FACES OF KYRGYZSTAN- Mr Zee pulls up at the Tajikistan/ Kyrgyzstan border post and I run down the Tajik side for one last look...a river of grey moraine winding down a mountain of maroon, pink, orange and green...white meringue snow from the head of the peak hovering behind...the giant horned goat preparing to leap...my heart not sure whether I'm needing more oxygen at high altitude or just more time. Wave beckoning me come now...half running up the hill...panting for eternity as armed border guards contemplate whether they will commence to process our entry or continue chatting among themselves...spitting every few minutes as if spittle was another sentence. After an hour of spitting and lounging they let us through...not before grilling me whether I got my wrist watch in China...and what was I doing there anyway...the drug-sniffing ... read more
Zamanbek aka Mr Zee
Horse Fighting
Dancing with donkeys

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek August 23rd 2017

Our driver was 10 minutes early, which was a pleasant surprise as usually our drivers are 10 minutes late. He was a young guy, as well groomed as his car, which we figured by the tortuously slow speed we headed off down the gravel roads, was his pride and joy. We tried to relax and enjoy the scenery but with quite a bit of travelling to do to get to Bishkek we kinda wanted him to put his foot down a bit. Also his windows didn't work so we had to stop and delay the journey further if we wanted to take photos. We passed through beautiful mountains and valleys but only stopped to photograph a huge herd of yak in a valley. When we came off the mountains we hit the perfect seal of the ... read more
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Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 22nd 2017

The driver who brought us to Kazarman swung by before dinner and we did a deal with him to take us to Song-Kul Lake the next morning. Our routine in the Pamirs had been to breakfast at 7:30 and leave at 8, so that has become our default but he suggested 7, which was fine by us, the earlier you hit the road the more of the day you have when you get there. We couldn't budge him on the hefty price, but drivers have the negotiating power because they know you're effectively stuck. When the next morning over a quarter of the fare went into the fuel tank it felt less hefty. He asked to bring a friend along for the drive back, we knew it was going to take between 4-5 hours and he ... read more
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Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Jalal-Abad August 20th 2017

It's ambitious to not long have changed country and then attempt to take 3 buses (4 if you count the marshrutka we took to the bus station) to get to somewhere in the country, but with a few words of Kyrgyz and Russian (Emma) and the village we were heading to being a common part of the traveller trail we figured we'd make it. There is a direct bus but it doesn't leave until mid-afternoon, arriving early evening so we'd effectively lose the day. Besides where was the fun in that?! We got lucky and didn't have to wait more than 10 minutes for any bus. Each one had to stop for fuel but it was a quick affair as the engine is left running so it is simply a case of sticking the hose in ... read more
Our first bus driver of the day
Happy chappy
Arslanbob

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Jalal-Abad August 20th 2017

When we weren't eating dinner and talking to the 3 other guests, we spent the evening in Arslanbob doing some planning, as we hadn't got anything more than a very rough idea of how we are going to get to Bishkek from Arslanbob and we couldn't put off any longer getting a plan. The guidebook says "beware although maps show a road across Kyrgyzstan...the central cross-mountain section...is an unpaved, seasonal affair. It can become impassable after mudslides and closes altogether from October to late June." "With barely 2 vehicles an hour passing through even in summer." We looked it up on the map and noticed it went over a 3000+m pass. We asked the CBT coordinator in Arslanbob. Bad road he said "very rough". That sealed it and it became our Plan A - to get ... read more
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Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Osh » Sary Mogol August 18th 2017

The road less traveled has allowed for some interesting tales as we continued our road trip out of Tajikistan into Kyrgyzstan. While our journey took us through much of Tajikistan and a small portion of Kyrgyzstan; from the border to Osh, we found these countries to be somewhat similar. Perhaps Kyrgyzstan is more developed and the roads we experienced were in much better shape. But as we said, the bulk of our travels were in Tajikistan. Flat Tire….. No Surprise Toward the end of day two of our trip we were beginning to feel a bit road weary. Even though our driver Zamanbek was firmly in control, riding in a 4X4 over what could be best described as the most basic roads proved a bit tiring when riding many hours each day. At one point, we ... read more
Shane Dallas
Yurt Village
Majestic Mountains

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Osh August 18th 2017

As much as anything Osh is a functional stop to give us chance to regather before we head off on the next leg - we need a couple of consecutive hot showers to steam the dust off, good internet so we can get some of the videos uploaded, to do the laundry that has been backing up since we left the heat of the Wakhan Valley, and to switch the alarm clock off for a day. We also haven't got past the stage of only having a very loose plan for the rest of our trip because our pre-trip reading/planning focussed mainly on the Pamir Highway and we were too social at the homestays to have got any more reading done. With a bit of internet at the hotel in Sary-Tash we'd looked up and found ... read more
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Asia » Kyrgyzstan August 17th 2017

It was 100km or so from Karakul Lake, Tajikistan to Sary Tash, the first town over the border in Kyrgyzstan. With the border crossing it took us around 4 hours to get to the Sary Mogol, the next village over. We left at the same time as the other bloggers from our homestay, so for the first little while we were basically a convoy of 3 vehicles of travel bloggers, which was fun. Not so fun was the slightly gurgly stomach and persistent stomach ache I'd had after eating for the last couple of days decided to turn productive and we were in a flat landscape. So we nearly completed Tajikistan and the Pamir Highway without either of us getting sick, but not quite. Luckily it was just mild and once my stomach was empty I ... read more
A convoy of bloggers
Approaching the border
Sary Moghol




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