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Entries about adventure

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)

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)

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)

The Fann Mountains

During my Silk Route trip across Central Asia I spent some of the best time I had in Tajikistan. In the North there are the Fann mountains and the seven lakes of shing, which are stunning. Here in this show you will see my view of these awesome mountains form my stop in an unmapped village called Sargob. Breathtaking views ans stunning blue skies (yes they really are that blue!) are worth the effort. Unlike most of the mountain ranges in Central Asia, the Fann showcases a unique blend of barren and verdant outlooks. Nestled amidst high mountains you will come across traditional villages and picturesque green meadows, turquoise lakes, gurgling rivers, and scenic valleys. Tajikistan is a paradise for mountain lovers, and as the Fann range is only a few hours driving from the Tajikistan capital, Dushanbe, you can combine trekking with an immerse cultural experience. On a footnote the music entitled "fond memories" was a perfect match and did remind me along with the images of "fond memories" of my time there.

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:40 Archived in Tajikistan Tagged mountains sky snow water view nature park hiking landscape scene travel vacation mountain trekking lake green adventure sport scenery blue panorama summer beautiful top national rock stone road scenic high central destination reflection natural asia tourism recreation outdoor peak extreme tajikistan background pamir tranquil mountaineering terrain fann Comments (0)

The Big Year Out -Hotan Nr. Taklamakan Desert


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

large_1842667_1348816681770.jpgIn the Peoples sq. Mao with local heroHotan- please note that there is more to come on Hotan [Hotan-travel-guide-221834]!!!!Just posting what I can when I can as internet is so hard to access in the western side.

Our 6hr bus journey from Yarkand [Yarkand-travel-guide-1335370] to Hotan was pretty uneventful. We got onto our bus at the Yarkand bus terminal, again helped by friendly local terminal staff. Same routine, bags away and seated we found ourselves on a bus full of mostly young people on their way back to College/University in Hotan. This journey was to skirt the southern side of theTaklamakanDesert. Only stops we experienced were the obligatory police check points, where everybody had to get off the bus to have their ID checked, as soon as they saw our passports we were waved through.large_1842667_13488166816540.jpgsome of the first modernity we saw!How nice, as I had visions of having to take out all our bags and empty everything and have passport details filled out in triplicate in Chinese and then having to sign it or something. Nope, just waved straight through. The second one was a very punctual and on the dot for three hour wee stop. Most of the young men seemed to use it primarily as a smoke stop. I followed two of the girls to the “facilities”, which were the usual drop toilets. Not the best, but hey! When you gotta go, you gotta go!

The scenery on the way to Hotan started with lots of green, mostly maize and sunflowers, lined with trees. Then we hit Desert, Long and very flat and very very barren desert. Sometimes just for fun you would see a giant Chinese cement factory stuck in the middle of nowhere billowing out dust and smoke, surrounded by small very harsh looking settlements for workers.large_1842667_13488166828771.jpgPeoples park is very busy with families and , People in the evenings, such a nice atmosphereFollowed by even more dramatic flatlands with small scrub, again temperatures were hot I guess they must have been in the high eighties and I was glad of the air con on the bus.

We arrived in Hotan around5.45pmand this time we did our homework on the Binguans. Our choice was right next to the bus station. Jiaotong Binguan, registered to take tourists, clean and cheap, well within our budget anyway, we paid 160rb for a twin room with own bathroom, western WC and shower.

It was time to get bearings on this larger town, so out we went in search of “Marcos” as per LP. I know I said I wouldn’t do that, but we did. After a very interesting walk through the markets and down thoughtfully placed subways (traffic here is not for the feint hearted) we found Marcos, we had read in LP that the staff spoke good English and this time LP got it right and they did! We were welcomed in and served very tasty food along with some help with our plans for our visits around Hotan.large_1842667_1348816682511.jpgDesert is so close to Hotan, just 20mins drive away.(See review). After our meal we walked to the peoples park, where there is a huge statue of Mao with a local Uighar man who had journeyed to se him and was honoured as this is one of only three statues of Mao with anyone else (see pics) the friezes were stunning around the base too. The park was full of people of all ages, mostly families enjoying themselves with their children and so many playing volleyball type games or just encouraging their very young ones to play too. I did comment to Angela how there seemed to be so many red paper lanterns around the edge of the park, I suppose I thought that sort of thing was just for tourists, but as we had not seen one other single tourist so far, I wasn’t sure.

We walked back to our hotel by the bus station, we needed to plan our net couple of days and already knew we were going to the Bazaar the following morning, well lunchtime as no one gets up early on a Sunday.

Bazaar day!

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Posted by TheJohnsons 23:42 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture desert nature landscape history travel mountain adventure fall scenery china blue golden a sand no day one west wilderness old scenic northwest dune yellow natural dry asia gold tourism horizon clean outdoor dust gobi extreme pure xinjiang wide background level dunhuang terrain gansu unmanned transparent taklamakan barren boundless Comments (0)

The Big Year Out- Karakol


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

large_1842667_1346155130923.jpgKarakol

We arrived in Karakol [Karakol-travel-guide-1019301] from Tamchy on Saturday lunchtime (well about2.00pmto be precise). We got the driver from our taxi to drop us off outside the CBT office which I cannily spotted on the way into the town. Well outside door open but inside door shut! Across the road we crossed to the Tourist Information office which also has great English speaking staff, success! We were asked how close to town? How much did we want to pay? Toilet inside or outside? Etc. We got directed to Teskeys (under hotel reviews). We also asked about getting about the town and we were offered a great town map which at the time of writing was 100com, which really was great value and invaluable for buses and sights, names of streets (rare here).large_1842667_13461551302629.jpgDungan Mosque, it's hard to believe that this was built using NO nails!Our other enquires were aimed at trips out to Jeti Oguz [Jeti-Oguz-travel-guide-1354514] and Altyn Arashan, the first one for the scenery and the valley of the flowers and Altyn for the natural hot springs that we had heard about. The young woman (all of the tourist info office is manned by volunteer University students) at the TIO told us all the ways we could get there by buses, or shared taxis, or private taxi, oooor taxi with guide. All with their appropriate prices. No hard sell, great. We decided that we would discuss and get back to her if needed. We walked to our homestay/guesthouse it was hot, and the side streets are not so good for pulling trolley holdalls! We found it and Takai was kind enough to come out and help us in with our bags and show us to a lovely cool room.large_1842667_13461551318986.jpg

Our first night’s meal we went to a restaurant called Kench, just a couple of streets away and mentioned in LP. Takai also gave it his endorsement so off we went. Angela had a lovely fish dish and I had a Chicken and sweet pepper dish common here inKyrgyzstan. Real “ice tea” made from cold tea and lemon wedges…so much more refreshing than tins or plastic bottled variety you commonly get everywhere in CA.

We had already decided that we wanted to go to Jeti Oguz & Altyn Arashan; we spoke with Takai as we noticed he had lots of info about tours that he arranged himself for Jeti Oguz and the surrounding area. We were clear that we were not fit enough for tough hiking; Takai said “no worries”. We spent the next day doing a town tour by ourselves.large_1842667_13461551329009.jpg We visited the mosque made with “no nails” no not a squishy caulk used for fixing skirting boards, but no nails were used in it’s construction, Dungan in style it is still a working mosque so headscarves were donned. My first taste of Chinese architecture this side ofChina!

I was particularly on the hunt for local Architecture so our next stop round town was the Russian Orthodox Church (always an interest to me as my mother is Greek Orthodox,and although I am not religious,I am aware that the two churches share many similarities). This one had originally been made of stone but destroyed by earthquake and replace with a totally timber offering. Looking at it I could see how much loving work had gone into it’s the carving and decoration (on the outside).large_1842667_13461554866487.jpgLook No Nails!Inside the Dungan Mosque, which really does not look like a mosque as we know it.I spent quite a lot of time walking round the outside and taking pics of different angles. Inside was beautiful too, with the typical saints on display and candle turns for prayers and worship. The dome had some very clear and almost new looking paintings with various saints and of course Jesus. No pics were allowed indoors as is usual with very much working orthodox churches in this region.

We left the grounds of the Orthodox Church to be greeted outside the front gate by an old colonial building, now a pedagogical society building. Very grand and with quite a nice large front garden area which seemed to be a good dropping off point for the mini buses that were stopping to let the Russian tourists get off. Further along the road behind the church, we found further examples of colonial buildings, windows ornate and many of them on the sides of these huge buildings.large_1842667_13461554863377.jpg One in particular, a wealthy merchant’s house was a very good example of Soviet style Architectural colonialism. Now a Youth Volunteer organisations training centre, you could see its former glory even in it’s so very poor and sad state. Alongside it on both sides of the street were more single storey buildings of the same era, no doubt lesser minions lived in these. We made our way back into the town centre to eat a well earned lunch with the thought of taking it easy after lunch and meandering back to the guest house, picking up money from the numerous ATMs in Karakol and some meds from the also many, Aptekas, or pharmacy.

Next day started at eight with breakfast with a set off at nine. We were being joined by four other tourists, a French couple and a Belgian couple, both in not so dissimilar age’s group to ourselves. Good company as we had all got chatting nicely the evening before. Takai’s dad was also coming with us for us slow coaches! A Mitsubishi people carrier met our eyes on the front drive; we all piled in on our first trip Jeti Oguz.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 23:41 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged sky snow architecture horses view nature landscape religion scene travel church mountain lake green grass river adventure blue valley building panorama summer cathedral hill old resort animal tourist scenic forest high central asia gorge tourism orthodox dome outdoor landmark shan alpine range wooden kyrgyzstan christianity tian kyrgyz kul karakol issyk-kul Comments (0)

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