Blogs from Khiva, Uzbekistan, Asia


Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 12th 2015

The drive west to Khiva let us see the development taking place here in Uzbekistan, but also highlighted some of the challenges. Although it's not finished yet there are now a few hundred km of smooth concrete road through the desert which makes a massive difference to the journey (concrete is used because it doesn't melt in the heat). Our driver told us that for one section of ~100km the journey time has been reduced from a bit under 4 hours to about 1 hour, but then when we needed to fill up with gas - most cars, minibuses and vans run on methane or propane as Uzbekistan has it's own gas fields – the only station for kilometres was closed. We were lucky as he had some petrol but we saw others who'd run out. ... read more
Kalta Minor Minaret
View from Islom Hoja Minaret

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva August 16th 2015

The border from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan turned out to be the worst experience of the trip! It's just as well today has been one of the best. The border ended up taking 19 hours in total and for no apparent reason. It could have been longer too, but the fact we were tourists seemed to get us to the front of some of the queues (a bit embarrassingly). We got through the Kazak side relatively quickly, and then pretty much spent the whole night camping in no mans land in a pen in between the two countries. When morning came around we managed to get through the Uzbek border after a few car and bag searches. We then spent the whole day driving to Khiva, a small mud walled town I'd been really looking forward to. ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 26th 2014

Sept 19-21 Khiva Sept 19th. Over 1000kms of train ride from Tashkent to Urgench through mostly barren empty desert, few camels, bit of dry tussock, but mostly just nothing. Eventually arrived in Urgench, where we negotiated a short taxi ride to Khiva for 20,000 Soms discovering the weird nature of the Uzbek currency - at about 3,000 Soms to the dollar. Changing a $100 note into Soms results in a huge 'brick' of notes as the dominant note is just 1,000 Soms (about 30c). So everyone is walking around with huge lumps of cash - much too large to fit in a wallet ! Paying for anything is a real exercise in lengthy counting ! Ancient Khiva had a reputation for barbaric cruelty, slave caravans, and terrible journeys across inhospitable deserts. The historic heart of Khiva ... read more
Juma mosque and minaret
The unfinished Kala Minaret

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva May 27th 2014

Khiva After hours of useless bureaucracy and searches to get out of Turkmenistan, we got to Uzbekistan, my primary reason to take this trip. Crossing the border led to an amazing change. All of a sudden there were people along the road, farmers working their fields, kids on bicycles, and lots of traffic, much of it donkey carts hauling produce. Uzbekistan is much poorer than Turkmenistan, but the people seem much happier. We got to Khiva, one of the main Silk Road cities, fairly late. Much of the town is contained inside the old wall. Some things have been rebuilt, but lots of old mud brick houses are still occupied, and many have deteriorated into piles of rubble. Khiva has a huge open air market with lots of food and just about any thing else you ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva March 12th 2014

My road ended in Khiva, in between the 2 Kyzylkum and Karakum deserts, right at the border with Turkmenistan. I didn’t expect it to end there. That wasn’t the plan at all. This is my last blog about Uzbekistan and Central Asia. This 8-month adventure is over but it is without any doubt calling for other journeys. I have made the choice to go back to China to be with Jiang Xin. She couldn’t stand the distance anymore and this affected me. I hate it when people say you can’t have everything… maybe I can have it all… later. I know I want to hit the road again to discover new places and make new friends the way I did in Khiva, my last stage on a 6-month bike journey. I left my bike in Bukhara ... read more
crossing the Kyzylkum Desert
Hello from Khiva!
invited in their home

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 30th 2013

And so after eventually obtaining all our visas we headed down to the "Ferry" terminal. I call it a ferry in inverted commas, as it doesn't follow any timetable, doesn't look like a conventional ferry and it is always hit or miss whether you get to sail on one day or the next. We turned up at 10 am and were promptly told to return at 1 pm. At 1 pm we were eventually sold tickets, by a Russian Lady who has a reputation for being miserable but I managed to make her smile by using some of my old Naval Officer's charm. With tickets firmly in hand, we then proceeded to an outdoor waiting area where we were told to wait until called forward for passport control and customs. Hours went by and we kept ... read more
Preparing to leave the city of Baku, Azerbaijan
Waiting for the Baku to Aktau Ferry
Derek with whom I cycled for part of the way

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva April 22nd 2013

This part of the journey is beginnning to wind down . Two days ago we did the 10 hour bus trip from Bukhara to Khiva and a more desolate landscape would be hard to find . It is desert and it has thousands of sage bushes about which will be eaten by the animals in the next few months. The shepards and their families will live in yurts and use the mudstraw structures as their kitchens . It is an unforgiving land . Mind you on our nature stops we have managed to find the spring flowers blooming in the shade of the sage and they are small but quite beautiful .Yura tells us this will only last for a few weeks and everything will begin to dry up .There is not a lot of wealth ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 29th 2010

Für unseren Ausflug zu den Überresten der Festungen des alten Choresmien Ayaz Kala, Toprak Kala und Koj Krylgan Kala haben wir gleich einen Taxifahrer gemietet, der uns durch die Wüste und zu den Festungen kutschierte. Die Taxifahrt führte uns von der Oase Choresm (in der Chiwa liegt) über den Fluss Amudarja (mit der Fähre) bis zu den Festungen in der Wüste. Der Höhepunkt dieses Ausflugs war eine Übernachtung im Jurtencamp Ayaz Kala in der Wüste. Die spektakuläre Wüstenlandschaft im Abendlicht wird ein unvergessliches Erlebnis bleiben….. Andreas konnte den Aufenthalt in der Wüste leider nicht so geniessen, weil er Magendarmgrippe erwischt hatte. ... read more
so wird die Fähre gezogen
Auf der Fähre
Unser Taxi auf der Fähre

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 28th 2010

Viele Reisende, die wir bis jetzt getroffen hatten, haben uns von Chiwa vorgeschwärmt… Und so waren wir also schon sehr gespannt, was uns hier erwarten würde. Die Taxifahrt von Buchara nach Chiwa durch die Wüste war abenteuerlich und es war vor allem sehr mühsam, einen Taxifahrer aufzutreiben, der uns einen einigermassen anständigen Preis nach Chiwa fahren wollte. Die Taxifahrer haben leider das Geschäft mit den Touristen entdeckt und verlangen einen x-fachen Touristenpreis vom üblichen lokalen Preis für Einheimische. In Chiwa ist die Zeit stehen geblieben. Die Lehmhäuser der Stadt sind gut restauriert und in standgehalten und man fühlt sich mehr den je in einem Märchen aus Tausenduneinernacht. Wenn man gegen die Sonne blinzelt, kann man fast die Karawanen sehen, die hier ein- und ausgegangen sind…. Hier kann man sich einfach treiben lassen und in diese orientalische ... read more
Palast Toshxauli
..ein weiteres Stadttor

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 4th 2010

Khiva was the first city that we came to in Uzbekistan. The old city still had the walls around it. It’s quite a charming place as it’s the best preserved old city in Uzbekistan. We enjoyed wondering the streets and watching people. When we arrived in Khiva we were surprised to find that the country is quite well set up for tourism and there are large amounts of French tourists traveling around Uzbekistan. It seems that this is a big destination for older French tourists. Many of the vendors speak to us in French; as do the kids (bonbon, etc.) The currency in Uzbekistan is fun to deal with. The largest note is valued at approximately $0.50 US. So when we go out for the day we each have a thick stack of notes in our ... read more
Khiva 2
Khiva 3
Khiva 4

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