оҳиста суст, жай жай...Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan - The Plan

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August 20th 2018
Published: April 19th 2019
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This trip came about when a friend (Terry, met in Iran in 2014) sent me photos of his trip incorporating the "Stans", specifically Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It only took about 5 minutes to once again shelve Mongolia and completely switch destinations. I knew nothing at all, in any shape or form, about Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan, I'm not so sure that I'd even heard of them before. Immediately I took to scouring blog sites (like this- Shane the Travelling Camel, Dancing Dave and Dave and Merry Jo in particular), independent blogs (The Adventures of Lill Nicki), info boards, forums, TA, IndyGuide, Caravanistan and Lonely Planet (etc, etc, etc.....) to construct an itinerary. It was a tough one as there were absolutely endless places to see, mountains to climb and things to do in these 2 incredible countries. Group or solo? No brainer- I absolutely knew that I wanted to go solo again but with some structure. Then a little side plan emerged- my French friend (Stephane, met in Nepal in 2012), said he wanted to join me in Kyrgyzstan for the end of the trip (specifically for the Tian Shan Mountains). I was definitely keen for that. Geoff was very keen for
that- it meant that for 12 days he wasn't going to be worried about me out in the wilderness alone... He's a very good husband, very tolerant of these trips I go off and do but he always imagines the worst... whilst I absolutely do not (although I've got to admit the murder of the cyclists on the Pamir Highway a couple of weeks before I left played on my mind a little. Interestingly it didn't make the news here and Geoff knew nothing of it until after I got back). I had 7-8 weeks off from work so eventually came up with:

• Perth-Dubai-Dushanbe with Emirates/Fly Dubai
• 3 nights Dushanbe (Marian's Guesthouse)
• 23 days with Pamir Guides Company hiking in the Fann Mountains, Bartang Valley and Gunt Valley and travelling the Pamir Highway with a driver and guide and just me (https://indy-guide.com/en/listings/5973-trek…) ending up in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. It took a long time and a lot of emails with several companies and independent drivers to finally book the trip through IndyGuide (paid deposit through Paypal and balance in USD in cash in TJ). There were massive price variations between offers and ultimately the one I booked was the most
competitive with the most inclusions for a solo traveller. It gave me a huge amount of flexibility and i was able to speak to Mirzo (the principal) at IndyGuide to work out a couple of concerns that I had before I signed up. Mostly I was worried that if it was just me and the guide for over 3 weeks it might be too intense. Saidali, the owner at Pamir Guides, was really open with communication and was able to accomodate my concerns and my dates without any issue- absolutely flexible- it was great (just how great it was will all be revealed!):

Day 1 Dushanbe - ZIMTUT

Day 2 ZIMTUT – Kuli Kalon tent

Day 3 Kuli kalon - tent

Day 4 Alaudin lake Vertikal alpinist camp - Marguzor/Tent

Day 5 Sarotok - Iskender kul - Dushanbe

Day 6 Dushanbe – Kalaikum - 380 km – 9/10 hrs. / drive

Day 7 Khalaikum – Gizeiv (Bartang valley)- 200 km - 7 hrs. / drive & 2.5 h walking

Day 8 Gizeiv – Khorog – 2 hrs. / walking and 2 hrs. / drive.

Day 9 Khorog - Yamg
- 207 km - 6 hrs. / drive

Day 10 Yamg – Langar – Bachor - 270 km - 7 hrs. / drive

Day 11 Gunt Valley Trek – 5 hrs. / walking

Day 12 Gunt Valley Trek – 5/6 hrs. / walking

Day 13 Gunt Valley Trek– 5 hrs. / walking & 1 h / drive

Day 14 Alichor – Bashgumboz - Ak Zoo lake - 35 km - 1 hrs. / drive & 3/4 hrs yak riding

Day 15 Ak zoo Lake – Kengshiber - 35 km - 1 hrs. / drive & 3/4 hrs yak riding

Day 16 Kengshiber – Zorkul Lake Area – 5/6 hrs. / walking

Day 17 Zor Kul – Kara Jilga – 5/6 hrs. / walking

Day 18 Kara Jylga - Jarty Gumbez – 4 hrs. / walking

Day 19 Jarty Gumbez - Shaimak village - 135 km - 4 hrs. / drive

Day 20 Shaimak – Murgab - 170 km - 5 hrs. / drive

Day 21 Murgab - Kara Kul - 135 km – 2.5 hrs. / drive

Day 22 Kara kul – Sary Mogol – Tulpar kul
lake - 170 km - 6 hrs. / drive

Day 23 Sary Mogol - Osh - 260 km – 4/5 hrs. / drive

• 1 night Osh (TBA)
• Fly to Bishkek to meet Stephane, 2 nights Bishkek (Bugu Hotel)

All of that I organised pre-departure. The following (up until the flights and Dubai) we worked out while in Bishkek:

• Karakol 1 night (Matsunoki Guest House)
• Trek 5 day/4 nights Jeti Oguz, Teleity Pass, Karakol Valley, Ala kul Pass, Altyn Arashan, Aksu
• Karakol 1 night (Matsunoki Guest House)
• 4 day/3 night drive back to Bishkek via Issy Kul, Kochkor, Naryn, Tash Rabat and Son-Kol Lake
• 4 nights Bishkek (1 with Stephane and 3 solo) (Bugu Hotel)
• Dubai 3 nights (pre-organised hote-XVA Art Hotel) with the primary intention of visiting The Louvre and the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
• Dubai-Perth (Fly Dubai/Qantas/Emirates Codeshare)

Visa for TJ was easily organised online pre departure, didn't need one for Kyrgyzstan.

Enjoy the pics- they are a teaser for what is to come!

Let the journey begin....

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


18th November 2019

The Plan
I see the weirdest pic I've ever seen on front page and go "What's that?" Click...open...still don't know what it is...a word "gillg" and "Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan"...got my interest...gotta find...found "The Plan" and what a plan. Gotta find out more. How come I didn't know about this? Then a plane...a 4am arrival in Dushanbe...a pic of "my room'' and then the lights went out and I end up in Pakistan!!!! I'm breathless for Murghab and Kara Kul and the exhilarating air of the Fann Mountains and the High Pamir. Please turn on the light.
19th November 2019

Trying To Turn On The Light
Thanks for the comment Dave, I promise I will get back to the write up on this trip! Whenever I do an extended period of "writing" I manage to stir up a nagging hip/buttock/piriformis issue aka "sitting at the computer for hours on end" pain! I am intrigued as to which pic was on the front page?

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