A Travellerspoint blog

Kyrgyzstan

What to see in Karakol-Kyrgyzstan

Located at the crossroads of Central Asia, the city of Karakol in eastern Kyrgyzstan is a fascinating gateway to the region's diverse history, cuisine, and nature. Many unique cultures contribute to the town's culinary history and cultural heritage: Kyrgyz, Tatar, Russian, Dungan, Uighur, Kalmyk, Uzbek, and more. And with both the Tian Shan Mountains and Lake Issyk-Kul nearby, you'll discover limitless outdoor adventure .

This video will show you through some of the more "local" things and places I visited whilst there. Bearing in mind this was photographed by me back in 2012.

I hope it gives you a flavour of the place....

Posted by TheJohnsons 08:26 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains trees sky architecture water view nature park hiking landscape culture temple religion scene travel church mountain green tree river adventure scenery blue valley building panorama summer beautiful heritage wild hill national rock old scenic forest central natural asia ancient tourism historic outdoor landmark peak outdoors alpine kyrgyzstan kyrgyz karakol Comments (0)

Arslanbob to Bishkek and everything in-between

CAREC Corridor 3 (Bishkek-Osh Road)

In 2012 I had an epic journey along the Silk Route to China and beyond.

In this video you see one of my favourite countries visited at that time. Nothing can prepare you for the sheer scale and beauty of the Valleys and mountains in Kyrgyzstan.

Arslanbob- This little mountain town is beautiful nestled below the biggest walnut forest in the World! It lies directly underneath the 4000m high mountains of Babash-Ata.

Shortly before Osh, you'll enter the Fergana Valley, meaning that the mountains disappear and the grassy hills and valleys are predominant. This scenery is very different from the landscape before but no less beautiful.

Music free under creative commons licence from YouTube music library.
Title: Destination Unknown by Ugonna Onyekwe

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:01 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains sky snow traffic water view nature landscape travel mountain grass river adventure car scenery blue clouds valley summer autumn way beautiful country rural hill rock highway transport road pasture scenic sunny natural asia route tourism outdoor pass shan peak cloud environment empty kyrgyzstan tian bishkek asphalt osh steppe roadway osh-bishkek Comments (0)

Taldyk pass Kyrgyzstan

In 2012 I took the epic journey across Central Asia and into China, following Alexander the Great to the Jade Gate in China.

One of the most draw dropping journeys was in Kyrgyzstan and the Pamir Highway. Stopping at many places and looking at the Untouched Earth. The mountain Passes were stunning.

Taldyk Pass is a high mountain pass that separates the Fergana Valley from the Chon-Alai. The pass located in Osh Region, 160 kilometers south of the city of Osh.
The Taldyk Pass is one of the most popular passes in Kyrgyzstan. The height of the pass is 3,600 meters and it is a kind of gateway to one of the highest and most beautiful roads in the world – the Pamir Highway.

The northern slope of the pass is famous for its steep serpentine, from which spectacular views of the Ferghana valley are opened. The first road here was laid at the end of the XIX century and this event was an important landmark of one of the most interesting colonial confrontations of the Russian Empire and Great Britain for control of Central Asia, called the “Big Game”.

A rare feature of Taldyk is that it is open all year round, despite the high altitude. On the roadside, through the pass you can see a monument built in honor of Yuri Frantsevich Grushko, an engineer who participated in the design and construction of the road

Posted by TheJohnsons 00:11 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged sky view nature landscape travel mountain green grass scenery blue valley panorama summer beautiful aerial himalayas highway road scenic high central trip asian rocky path asia tourism outdoor windy pass himalaya alps outdoors andes dramatic valleys kyrgyzstan background pamir yaks curve graze winding curvy taldyk serpentines taldok Comments (0)

Naryn to Kashgar

As I look back at these images of my great personal journey along the Silk Route from the West to the East , I realise how much stronger it made me, how much it changed the way I am and the way I see the World and People.

I also lament how much fitter I was(lol) and hardier(stone cold bucket showers, and hot spring caves). It reminds me every time I look at the images of a "not one single regret of a 13mth journey I took" or how I managed to sell (divest myself of most of my worldly goods), and embark on my current living in SEA adventure. Sadly the mountains here are not so peaceful, too many Chinese tourists run like ants all over the places that should be calm.

Am I the only one that misses the desolate quietness of mountains ? or should I say the noise of the mountains. Wind, streams, rivers, sheep, camels, trees, grasses....

I hope you like my quick view of this section between Naryn in Kyrgyzstan and Kashgar in the Western corner of China.

All images taken with my hardy Canon 1100D

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:38 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged town road ancient #travel #tourism #tourist #art #ancient #desert #history #green #mosque #nature #china #architecture #road #city #unesco #kashgar #xinjiang #chinese #asia #kashi #muslim #old #asian #traditional #landmark #islamic #building #silk #heritage #popular #destination #islam #brick #mud #uighur #outdoor #attraction #decoration #minority #taklamakan #world #west #oriental #cultural #stall #uyghur #arch #town #district Comments (0)

Arslanbob to Bishkek and the Tuu Ashuu Pass (Kyrgyzstan)

The epic journey in Kyrgyzstan didn't finish in Arslenbob, but continued on our way to Bishkek.

Through some of the most desolately beautiful World. One of the most exciting and scary tunnel journeys I have ever done, is the main Bishkek-Osh road, which passes over a number of high mountain passes – Tuu Ashu (Flag Pass) crosses the Kyrgyz Range at 3588 meters, but a tunnel under the pass means that vehicle do not have to climb right to the summit.

The Tuu Ashu pass is kept open all year round – it is such an important route – the only route between the North and South of the country for much of the year.

Other passes over the Kyrgyz range are closed right until the height of summer .

The scenery I am sure you will agree more than makes up for it, and always I felt like an intrepid explorer doing this journey.

Posted by TheJohnsons 04:17 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains sky snow water view nature landscape scene canyon travel mountain lake grass river adventure scenery clouds valley panorama summer way no beautiful wild hill national rock road person summit scenic high land spring central rocky asia gorge tourism outdoor pass shan peak cloud outdoors silk colorful environment range kyrgyzstan background Comments (0)

Arslanbob – Wild Walnut Forest & Waterfalls

During my two month stay in Kyrgyzstan, I spent quite a few days here, and I walked up to the Walnut forest via the waterfall and back down the valley...

Arslanbob (Written and pronounced in Kyrgyz as “Arstanbap”) is one of the most famous places in Kyrgyzstan. Arslanbob (Kyrgyz: Арстанбаб – Arstanbab; Russian: Арсланбоб; Uzbek: Arslonbob) is the name of the large wild walnut (Juglans regia) forest, but is also the name of the big Uzbek village nestled right at the base of some of the most spectacular mountains in Kyrgyzstan.

In addition to the similarly named sub district, valley, and mountain range all located in the Jalal-Abad Region of Kyrgyzstan. The vast tracts of lush green woodland with nut and fruit trees in the valley of the River Arslanbob are actually the largest of their kind in the world.

This scenery combined with some of the best guesthouses in Kyrgyzstan make it one of the places not to miss on any visit to Central Asia.

The fairy-tale walnut forest of Arslanbob in southern Kyrgyzstan is a year-round destination for hiking, skiing, horse riding and food enthusiasts. The suffix ‘Bob’ is commonly used in the region meaning “a traveler and explorer”; so COME be a ‘Bob’ to Arslanbob!

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:08 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains trees sky snow view nature park hiking landscape travel vacation mountain town village green grass tree scenery blue white valley house woods holiday autumn beautiful rock road scenic forest high central natural beauty asia tourism outdoor peak peace alps silk environment alpine season altitude fresh kyrgyzstan background walnut arslanbob jalal-abad Comments (0)

Altyn Arashan valley- Kyrgyzstan 2012

Altyn Arashan valley

With 90% of the country land above 1500m in elevation, Kyrgyzstan has some amazing valleys. Altyn Arashan is one of the most famous ones for its dreamy landscape and hot springs. It is even more enjoyable that it is not so easy to reach it!

During 2012 during my journey across Central Asia and following the Silk route to China, I spent two months in Kyrgyzstan. This trip to the hot springs was a trip I shall never forget in the beaten up but bullet proof UAZ 452 (Commercial) Part minivan, a throwback to times long gone when things were made to last. The beginning of the road looked smooth but as you can see (although pictures cannot really show it), it quickly became rocky and bumpy, and sometimes unbelievably accessible!

Many times we crossed animal groups that were being moved to higher grass fields for the summer. Other old soviet vehicles, and horse riders, it is a great place if you want to get around on a horse, hacking is one of the popular activities there. We went for the hot springs and they were worth every minute, we had one to ourselves and your hut will be next to the river(well not far), a concrete pool will have all the perfectly clear,clean hot spring water you need. Afterwards we had a perfect picnic nearby and then the return teeth juddering journey back!

I hope you like my slideshow if so please subscribe, I am always working on new ones from my actually visited destinations.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:45 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains sky horses view nature park hiking landscape traditional travel mountain trekking green grass tree river adventure white valley summer beautiful wild hill national rock stone animal scenic forest cliff central sunny asia climb gorge tourism outdoor peak cloud outdoors meadow alpine kyrgyzstan background karakol arashan altyn-arashan altyn cloudscape tian-shan Comments (0)

Fairytale canyon "Skazka" Каньон "Сказка"

During my two month visit to Kyrgyzstan, a good amount of my time was spent in the beautiful Lake Issi Kul area.

Moving along the south coast of Issyk-Kul lake from Karakol town, before you reach the small village named Kadji-Sai, you have an opportunity to get into the most beautiful mountain landscapes.

The canyon was named because of its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by erosion into amazing sculptures and formations. Some formations look like The Great Wall of China and you can also find other formations that look like snakes, dragons, sleeping giants and even whole castles. From the canyon you can see a majestic panorama of Lake Issyk-Kul and snow caped mountains.

Dedicated to my dear Photographer Compatriot; Natalia Arentseva!
This would make a great place for a photo shoot!

You can see Natalia's work here ; https://www.facebook.com/photographynataliaarantseva/

Posted by TheJohnsons 20:55 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains trees sky architecture tower view nature landscape canyon travel mountain trekking lake scenery blue building woods summer beautiful red castle romantic rock old medieval scenic forest land attraction yellow natural asia gorge tourism geology german landmark orange fairy european tale bavarian bayern kyrgyzstan fantasy fairy-tale issyk-kul fairytale skazka fuessen Comments (0)

Bishkek's Stretched Limos!

Bishkek stretched Limos, Why? I hear you ask? well Bishkek is a popular place for the Kyrgz people to get married and no where is more popular than the Wedding Palace.

A restored Soviet throwback (1987) which now serves as a very kich registry office, no religion here! Primarily because of the soviet ban on religious ceremonies. Instead they agreed to a multi faith building.

A cross between a church, a castle and a Temple on the outside its brutal architectural lines belie the interior "fairytale palace" sadly on the day we visited it was closed as October is the popular month for weddings!

On wedding weekends, (rented) luxury vehicles abound: decorated stretch limos and Mercedes lead the honking wedding convoys.

During the quiet season(when we were there) we were able to walk round and see some of the stretched limos waiting for their bookings, a bit like a Limo car park. Again there are some others besides the Hummers/ Lexus/GMC/ etc that are to be seen, there is even reports of a fairytale carriage style car(which, sadly we did not see).

Bishkek is an eclectic mix of cars many from the Soviet era, and they certainly like restoring and cutting and shunting some of the modern ones.

Posted by TheJohnsons 19:04 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Comments (0)

The Big Year Out- Jeti Oguz


View The Big Year Out & Photos of us & Transport and bookings on TheJohnsons's travel map.

large_1842667_13461539308537.jpgJeti Oguz

What is Jeti Oguz? I thought to myself when I first heard it being banded about as a destination. Well I can tell you now some of the most amazing and beautiful places I have seen so far inKyrgyzstan. Our drive took us approx 20km outside Karakol [Karakol-travel-guide-1019301] before veering off to the right and entering a much rougher road than we had previously experienced in this region. As we drove through the very wide valley we saw the high mountains in the distance both sides. Stunning! We noticed as we came into the narrower part of the valley the extreme red sandstone colour of the hills around us. Much like the Red sandstone found in ranges in theUS. Our carrier stopped just around an area called the broken heart formation, for obvious reasons the two large chunks of red rock looked like a broken heart, in two pieces (pics).large_1842667_13461539311268.jpg Behind us looked like some very nice hills, in front of them by the roadside were a collection of mobile beehives and vendors selling natural honey harvested in the summer season only. Next to these were a couple of Bird of Prey “Hawkers”. These were not your real traditional Hawkers, but ones that were “hawking” on the tourists. Takai warned us that if we started taking pictures they would start asking for money. I chose along with the rest of the group to ignore them and walk after our guide who informed us that we had a quick twenty minutes to walk to a lovely vantage point where we could photograph the “broken heart” rocks and view the vista around us. He was right, the view was great and we got some lovely shots of the rocks.large_1842667_13461539314161.jpg

Onwards we went, about another 150mtrs to our main walk in this area, the Dragon back Gorge. We were altogether in this walk and I was wowed by the sheer redness of the crumbling sandstone. A small stream worked its way through with us and we passed Kyrgyz folk with their Yurt and horses. Using the natural shape of the cliff breaks to create sheep pens. Newly fallen giant boulders reminded us that we should be careful of the fragile rock walls around us. Along this bit of the valley I did see and picture some flora and fauna, but the main event was the gorge.

When we reached nearly the end of the bit we could do, our group split into two, our guide, Talai took the other group and they started to climb what looked like a very steep ascent to the hill in front of us, whilst Angela and I walked back round with Talai’s dad, who coincidently started all the tours Takai does now.large_1842667_13461539322999.jpg We got back to the vehicle after about 30mins and crossed the road to take a closer look at the raging river that banked the other side of the road. A rest was welcome for my back at this point. About 30mins after that we spotted the second group coming over the hill approx quart of a mile ahead, so got back into the car to pick them up.

We continued along the road for a few kilometres when we stopped at The Valley of flowers (no flowers now as they flower during spring and early summer). Talai walked us up to a stunning view point which was quite steep in places, but as I looked back about half way up I could see the climb was worth it. As I reached the top I could see the huge rolling Jailoo below us with a huge linear forest of pine trees planted in between two large camps of Yurts.large_1842667_13461539321717.jpgDragon Back CAnyon with our group for scale, stunning rock formations here.This was planted for Gagarin by the Russians as he used to visit this valley to help him acclimatise after his visits in space. How nice (depends on your point of view) these trees are all in rows back dropping some beautiful mountains. To the left is a huge Jailoo pasture which had several Yurt camps and plenty of horses to match and on the right of the trees is another Yurt camp with a break before the mountain where you can walk to a waterfall. We all stopped for half an hour to catch our breath and then made our way back down to the vehicle. Picnic time! Except Talai had forgotten the tomatoes and cucumber, so our salad was a bit sparse. Takai took the group off to the waterfall; I stayed behind with his dad as A. my back had had enough and B. I could see the very large black rain cloud, I think Takai could too. I spent some time taking pictures walking through the Pine forest. Sure enough I was right, after about half an hour Angela returned with the rain on her back, and it poured.

We returned through the valley to the homestay and everyone agreed that they had had a lovely day.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 23:42 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged sky desert view nature hiking landscape canyon travel mountain seven village grass tree blue valley summer beautiful hill red rock stone formation scenic central asia gorge tourism outdoor landmark shan design pattern abstract bulls range sandstone texture kyrgyzstan tian background kyrgyz kul geological karakol jeti jeti-oguz oguz issyk issyk-kul kirghizia Comments (0)

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