Blogs from Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, Asia


Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan January 4th 2020

Mixed feelings about Uzbekistan. We’d saved it until last, partly to allow temperatures to drop into September (and so that we got higher temperatures in Kyrgyzstan by going there in August which we needed in the high mountains), and partly because we expected it to be the highlight of Central Asia. In some ways it was; many of the ancient Silk Road cities are beautiful and the people were extremely hospitable. However, most tourists are retirees on coach tours and tourism in Uzbekistan seems to be entirely geared towards them. Uzbekistan shows off some of humanities greatest constructions in the wonderful madrasahs, mosques and mausoleums of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Uzbekistan also shows off some of humanities most shameful endeavours when you contemplate the rusting ships within sandy plains that were once the Aral Sea. We ... read more
Ship Cemetery in former Aral Sea at Moynaq
Registan, Samarkand
Long clawed ground squirrel at Ayaz Qala

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan July 31st 2016

I didn't made up the name Karakalpakstan. This is a true region, even a former republic. The place had been part of Russian empire in the past, but it's now part of Uzbekistan! As would say a drunk man in the street of Kungrad at 3pm...welcome to Karakalpakstan, we do have the Titanic here....welcome to the Aral Sea! I have to admit, I've reached a less traveled place on this blog. The train from Beyneu was packed, but I was happy to have a decent least I could sleep....if only for a very short night. An hour after we left Beyneu, it was already time to cross to Uzbekistan. The train is full of migrant workers, most of them working in wealthier Kazakhstan but coming from Uzbekistan. Just crossing the border took us a good ... read more
This is market rate...
Train from Beyneu to Kungrad...a pretty entertaining affair!
Aral Sea disaster!

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan » Moynaq May 9th 2016

Day 101 Thursday 28th April 2016 – Khiva to Nukus Leaving about 9.00am today so up at a reasonable time, thank goodness because our room’s window opens onto the balcony where breakfast is served and the tour group got out there just before the start of breakfast and rearranged tables and started singing and laughing - lucky we were awake. Our taxi driver to Nukus was really nice and gave us a bit of a rundown on the countryside as we went through. The only odd thing was when he filled up with gas we had to wait outside a brick wall with other passengers, only the drivers could enter, not sure why, it is the first time this has happened. About 80% of the cars here run on gas so just about every ... read more
Aral Sea
Ship Graveyard
Aral Sea

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan » Moynaq September 14th 2015

We'd envisaged Moynaq being a dying, decaying ghost town but the reality was quite different. The population was bigger and younger than we'd expected and whilst there were quite a few abandoned buildings and not that many shops, restaurants etc there was plenty of activity. There are programmes underway to increase the number of newly created lakes and wetlands around the town and to offset some of the environmental problems caused by dust and sand from the dried up seabed. It's unlikely to ever again be the thriving place it once was but things look to be on the up. It was a pleasant surprise. The film, exhibits, and photos we were shown in the small museum really brought home the enormous changes that have happened to the Aral Sea over the last 50 years. Our ... read more
Town Sign
Ship Graveyard
Ship Graveyard

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan » Nukus September 28th 2014

Sept 22-23 Khorezm Forts, Nukus Come Monday morning, and we departed Khiva and headed out into the Khyzlkum desert to explore the ruins of the ancient forts called Elliq-Qala (fifty fortress). Our destination was the Ayaz Kala desert Yurt camp on the edge of the desert. On the way, we visited two forts, Guldurson-Qala - a huge 1stC fort and Koy Krylgan-Qala - a 4thC circular fort that was a pagan temple and observatory. Both had the city walls intact to varying degrees, and some evidence of houses and buildings. Eventually arrived at the Yurt Camp, settled in, had lunch, and then set off to explore the huge 6thC Ayaz-Qala over the road -almost complete mud walls, it is actually three forts all connected. We were able to walk all over these historic sites at will, ... read more
Cotton picking Uzbekistan
Ayaz Kala
Cotton pickers

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan » Nukus October 1st 2010

Als letzte Station in Usbekistan fuhren wir nach Nukus. Die Fahrt von Urgentsch nach Nukus wollten wir ursprünglich im Bus antreten. Aber wohl durch die staatlich organisierte Baumwollernte (von der Polizei eskortierte Bus-Kolonnen mit den Pflückerinnen) hatte es nur einen Buskurs früh am Morgen. Wohl oder übel mussten wir uns also auf einen Taxifahrer einlassen. Wir hatten uns maximal 50 USD für uns beide vorgenommen und erreichten diesen Preis. Allerdings ging es betrügerisch weiter. Mit dem Taxifahrer fuhren wir vom Busbahnhof zum Basar. Dort wurden unsere Koffer zweimal umgeladen. Ein anderer Taxifahrer versicherte mir, dass wir zum ausgemachten Preis fahren würden. Dieser Taxifahrer erhielt uns für den Preis von ca. 10 USD, da ihm der erste Taxifahrer angab, wir kämen von Chiwa. Als Andreas während der Fahrt schliesslich den Fahrer aufklärte, dass wir nicht von Chiwa ... read more
Pontonbrücke über den Amu Darja
Ödnis wo früher dichter Wald war
Zapfhahn oben: hier wird Benzin verkauft

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan May 2nd 2008

One nice day in Tashkent we were in a big hurry to go to train leaving for Urgench. Why such a hurry? Well, trip was planned long time before, but plans changes and the final decision to go on a trip which will last about a week was made a day before. But we were able to come in time to train station and buy first class ticket (“we” means me, my Uzbek friend Bekzod and my Czech friend Roman). So that’s how it started. First of all we had to survive 20 hours on train, which did not seem too hard being in the first class, just us three in whole cabin. But unexpected things do happen and while enjoying our first class comfort we saw an Uzbek lady, about 50 years old, and her, ... read more
Lake near Aral Sea
Us in Aral Sea
Bottom of Sea...

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan » Aralskoye More August 1st 2005

Monday morning, and our last excursion into the wilderness is at hand. Having covered the area west of Moynaq we will now travel to Jyltarbas lake and the nearby plantations on the eastern side. But first we need to get our tickets for tomorrow's flight to Tashkent. We drive to the national bank office which is situated at the local municipal buildings just a block away from the hotel. We stand around patiently waiting for them to open up the office. Otabek cleverly makes use of my foreign looks to sneak us past the waiting crowd outside, past the guards and inside the bank building. It still won't help much because the women at the exchange office are out of CYM. Now, where have I heard that one before? Not to panic though, apparently one of ... read more
Passing through small towns along the way
End of paved road
Salty sand traps

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan » Nukus July 31st 2005

Picking up the pieces from last night we're quite happy to return to Nukus. We load up the car but before leaving we head downtown to the local Aral Sea museum, since the caretakers have opened it especially for us. It is a small hall with various regional memorabilia, paintings of fishermen, models of fishing vessels made by school children, photographs from the old canning factories, stuffed animals from the region and so on. Paging through a binder with old photographs I suddenly come across a photograph that captures my interest. It depicts some ships and a special tractor with a crane that I recognize from one of the photos I originally found on the Internet months ago. On this photo the tractor can be seen with around ten grounded vessel in the desert and I ... read more
Leaving for the final time
MAZ trucks at a Nukus scrapyard
I have begun my malaria prevention treatment

Asia » Uzbekistan » Karakalpakstan » Aralskoye More July 30th 2005

It is a beautiful morning. Seven a.m. and the sun is shining on the plains. Birds are chirping in the brush, and dirty flies are sitting on my face. I wake up and feel intensely relaxed. Before the others get up I quickly sneak out to take some pictures of the slumbering station. Soon we are sitting on a blanket in the shadow offered by the car having our token noodle, tea and bread breakfast, spiced up with some canned meat and tomatoes. We head out into the plains for the final leg to the coastline and I am beginning to get a bit plagued by the heat again. There is not a single cloud about and already and the car is turning into a sauna. The trail turns to gravel and we head down from ... read more
The weather station
Familiar breakfast tradition
Bread and noodles, refugee-style

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