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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 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)

Tajikistan


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

Tajikistan-Introduction

Well to be honest we ummed and awed about going to Tajikistan, If I remember rightly we spent three days in Tashkent(over a weekend) deciding what direction we wanted to go into next!(we always knew Tashkent was a bit of a crossroads for us)I know you are wondering why we had not planned all our trip from start to finish, the idea was that we had a date pretty fixed (Turkmenistan’s fault) up to that point, and as we all know visas are not so flexible, they all want a start and finish date, and either a “where are you going next?” or a “Have you got an exit?” paperwork first. We knew we wanted to go Kyrgyzstan try and get through to China and we had to get our Kyrgz visa and Tajik in Tashkent if we were (see visa section). What we wanted at this point was a degree of flexibility. Well reasons debated were – Visa & its cost, cost, our own physical abilities, what we wanted to see etc.

Well I just want to say I am so glad we did, it’s a “no brainer” really! On all counts,Tajikistan meets all our concerns and then some. We have been absolutely wowed by the North, the SevenLakesof Shing, or their official name the Margozar Lakes, the stunning FanMountains, which no one should miss if they have time in their itinerary.

The first part of our stay in Tajikistan we did independently from Khojand [Khojand-travel-guide-1358665] –Istavarashan-Pendjikent. We booked our Northern,Fan Mountain trip through ZDTA in Penjikent, who managed to organise us transport and a guide in one hour. Be aware that we ended up with a private car and NOT a 4x4 as advertised, which did prove to come up short on more than one occasion. If you do book with them (yes we did email in advance but got no reply) be firm and insist on a 4x4. Their guide was superb and a credit to the company and gets paid way to little compared to other guides.

We visited six out of the seven lakes, stayed in some lovely homestay with some genuine and very hospitable peoples. They will be reviewed separately.

We stayed at Hamsafar Homestay/Guesthouse in Dushanbe, we arranged this through ZDTA, but had already had it in our sites of places to stay when we were researching Tajikistan. A creditworthy stopover for any traveller.

We had also decided that we would like to travel through the Wakhan corridor, down to the Afghan market at Ishkashim(which the Taliban managed to scupper), and through the Pamirs, we started in Dushanbe-Kala-I Khum-Khorog-Wakhan Valley-Bibbi Fatima Springs-Langar-Alichur, before finding that Angela did actually suffer from altitude sickness which hit her at 4,200mtrs, and having to make a hasty detour to Murghab(yes we had already stayed at 3,600mtrs at Alichur [Alichur-travel-guide-1193157] without incident), but remember at the higher altitudes smaller hundreds of mtrs makes a big difference to the body. So Murghab it was and Angela recovered well enough for us to spend two nights here before our progress onto Osh.

We booked this part of our journey through Pamir Guides with a Mitsubishi Pajero, more than man enough for the terrain we encountered. We delighted in the hot spring at Bibbi Fatima and thoroughly enjoyed our first stay in a Yurt at Alichur, where we enjoyed Yak Yoghurt and cream,(unpasteurised) and yes it is lovely, saw Yaks being milked etc. The scenery of the Wakhan and Pamirs is stunning, waterfalls, Snow topped mountains of the Hindu Kush, coupled along with desert environments, Geysers and abundance of wildlife made this a fascinating place to journey through. That is why I am only doing this short section of Blog; I will upload the pictures will I know will speak for themselves! I will add short editorials to accompany some of them.

Posted by TheJohnsons 00:11 Archived in Tajikistan Tagged mountains sky architecture sunset view nature park landscape monument culture history traditional travel mountain trekking town lake city soviet building famous panorama holiday summer beautiful country hill top national stone skyline tourist scenic central destinations evening asia tourism historic state landmark peak wallpaper structure freedom government symbol tajikistan dushanbe pamir 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-Gaochang

Gaochang

Here from my epic journey on the silk route in 2012/13 is my look at Gaochang in China. It was one of the highlights for me of the trip, I am a bit into ancient sites, I have a great connection with them, and I don't know why? Anyway I hope you get a taste for what out there and how the Chinese are trying to restore it!

Located 30 kilometres south-east of Turpan City, Gaochang, is an ancient city built on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert and to the south of the Flaming Mountains. Built in the 1st century BC, Gaochang, was an important area along the Silk Road. It was burnt down and destroyed in the 14th century due to increased warfare. The old palace and city ruins can be seen today as they've been well-preserved.

Gaochang was once a fertile and prosperous city serving as capital for three western states in ancient times. The location of Gaochang was ideal as it was located in the middle of the Turpan Basin and the city’s layout was designed with high walls and deep moats, making it a significant military fortress for the Western Region for centuries. With an area of about 2 million square meters, the Ancient Ruins contain the outer and inner cities, along with a palace.

The layout of the city is similar to that of Chang’an (capital of the Tang Dynasty at that time, today’s Xi’an). It is said that, “If you want to learn about the prosperity of the Tang Dynasty, Gaochang Ancient Ruins will show you.” The outer city is surrounded by 11-meter high and 12-meter wide mud walls and nine city gates. The inner city is a 3-kilometer long rectangle that shares its southern wall with the Palace in the northern part of the inner city. A pagoda called, “The Castle of Khan” (meaning “Imperial Palace”) stands on a high stage there. With a history of about 1,300 years, Gaochang, has witnessed many ups and downs in the Turpan region. These delicate ancient ruins have been listed as precious cultural relics under state protection.

Posted by TheJohnsons 20:37 Archived in China Tagged architecture desert culture temple history travel ruins vacation fort mountain city china building cave sand place national stone old road bc destination buddhist attraction wall asian asia first antique ancient tourism historic chinese landmark cultural hall outdoors key silk century khan ruin basin protection relics xinjiang floor heat past lecture turpan units gentleman uyghur gaochang jiaohe tripitaka taklamakan tamrin Comments (0)

The Big Year Out- Yardang National GeoPark 2

Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark is sited in China's Gansu Province, 108 kilometers (67 miles) to the northwest of Dunhuang city. It extends 25 kilometers (15 miles) from east to west and 13 kilometers (8 miles) from north to south. The park is well-known for Yardang landscape, which is a typical wind erosion landform. Yardang in Uygur language means a small mound with steep walls. The area contains 77 ruins and huge rocks formations in sculpted shapes. These images are from my visit in 2012 on my silk route journey, which finished at the Jade Gate in China. Music credits to:Intentions Anno Domini Beats free under creative commons licence and from You tube music library

Posted by TheJohnsons 01:22 Archived in China Tagged sky desert sunset nature park landscape travel mountain china blue summer sun beautiful light national west rock land northwest destination yellow natural far gold tourism chinese geology erosion outdoor landmark cloud orange geography outdoors surreal gobi vast dramatic isolated dunhuang landform gansu stunning geological geopark yardang barren yadan landforms Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Dunhuang Yardang National GeoPark

Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark is sited in China's Gansu Province, 108 kilometers (67 miles) to the northwest of Dunhuang city. It extends 25 kilometers (15 miles) from east to west and 13 kilometers (8 miles) from north to south. The park is well-known for Yardang landscape, which is a typical wind erosion landform. Yardang in Uygur language means a small mound with steep walls. The area contains 77 ruins and huge rocks formations in sculpted shapes. These images are from my visit in 2012 on my silk route journey, which finished at the Jade Gate in China.

_MG_0046-2-Edit.jpg_MG_0045-2-Edit.jpgIMG_0094-2.jpgIMG_0117-2.jpgIMG_0079-2.jpgIMG_0107-2.jpg_MG_0043-2.jpgIMG_0081-2.jpgIMG_0083-2.jpgIMG_0122-2.jpgIMG_0095-2.jpgIMG_0068-2.jpgIMG_0077-2.jpgIMG_0084-2.jpgIMG_0121-2.jpgIMG_0102-2.jpgIMG_0066-2.jpgIMG_0074-2.jpgIMG_0085-2.jpgIMG_0076-2.jpg

Posted by TheJohnsons 21:18 Archived in China Tagged sky desert sunset nature park landscape travel mountain china blue summer sun beautiful light national west rock land northwest destination yellow natural far gold tourism chinese geology erosion outdoor landmark cloud orange geography outdoors surreal gobi vast dramatic isolated dunhuang landform gansu stunning geological geopark yardang barren yadan landforms 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-Bokor Hill Station and the Abandoned Casino

Please hit the subscribe button after viewing! Bokor Hill Station in Preah Monivong National Park, Cambodia was built in the 1920s by French colonists wanting to escape the heat and humidity of the capital Phnom Penh. The main feature of the resort was the Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino. Because of the remote mountain location, building the resort was labour intensive and nearly 900 people lost their lives during construction. Besides the Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino there was a post office, shops, church and royal apartments. At the time of its operation it was known for its luxury and grandeur and was one of the crown jewels of France’s South East Asian colonies.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:36 Archived in Cambodia Tagged sky architecture park landscape religion history travel hotel church mountain town cambodia kampot green blue building famous hill down lonely national old french station rouge asian asia war ancient tourism ghost outdoor landmark structure cloud khmer post rust ruin zone cambodian phnom bokor exterior rusty abandoned decay combat crumbling Comments (0)

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