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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 – 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)

The Big Year Out-Pong Dueat Geyser

In 2013 whilst driving around the Ma Hong Son Loop we stopped off at Pong Dueat Geyser and hot springs. The geysers were not blowing very high but the hot springs were lovely and i would definatley go again! This place also offers you the hot springs with great facilities situate amid the picturesque views of the mountain forest. There are tents and bungalows offers for visitors who want to stay overnight

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:12 Archived in Thailand Tagged fog water view nature park landscape travel mountain thailand green tree fall scenery white famous garden beautiful smoke chiang mai national rock stone pool mist scenic forest spring hot geyser attraction natural geothermal thai wet ñam steam warm geology mineral outdoors mae heat background surface boil sulfur flow dang fume huai vapour Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Mount Phousi- Laos

During my travels round Laos in 2013 I visited Luang Prabang and visited Mount Phousi and enjoy the stunning views of Laos.
I hope you enjoy it too!

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:49 Archived in Laos Tagged sky architecture view mount nature park landscape culture temple religion traditional travel statue mountain town green tree river buddhism jungle city laos golden famous sun beautiful heritage wat road forest unesco religious destination sights buddhist attraction asian tradition asia southeast ancient prabang luang tourism brick landmark lao phousi horizontal spirituality Comments (0)

The Big Year Out- Live footage of the Bamboo Train Battamban

In 2013 i was in Cambodia as part of my bigger Central and SEA tour for just over a year. In Battambang I took what is fondly referred to as "The Bamboo Train", their proper name is a Norry or Nori and can get upto speeds of 50kmh. It certainly felt like it!! Norries have low fares, and are frequent and relatively fast, so they are popular despite their rudimentary design, lack of brakes, the state of the rails (often broken or warped) and the lack of any formal operating system. Its simple construction and light weight means that a norry can be easily removed from the track – if two meet on the line, the one with the lighter load is removed from the rails and carried round the other. At the end of the line the vehicle is lifted and turned.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:27 Archived in Cambodia Tagged taxi nature landscape traditional travel vacation train ride cambodia tracks green tree province jungle way countryside rural old transport transportation track plant tourist forest holidays railway attraction asian asia bamboo tourism rail railroad vintage outdoor landmark vehicle engine outdoors fast vegetation cambodian trolley wheels motion battambang nation rundown undeveloped warped 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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