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Entries about silk

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)

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-Hotan Bazaar

Hotan Sunday Market
Hotan’ s bazaar is also called The Sunday market. Local people call it Chukubaza (meaning is low location market) located in the north-eastern corner of Hotan city. It is one of the biggest markets in southern Xinjiang. It has many special sections for the market. The Bazaar in Hotan is active every day, but the Sunday is special day, when it gets flooded by hundreds and thousands of people on Sunday. The kind of people who come to the market are people from seven counties of Hotan and some other prefecture of Xinjiang. They sell all kinds of special local Hotan such as beautiful styled dresses can be seen or bought and many sweet fruits and delicious dishes as well as snacks can be tasted. Minority Products and Souvenirs local made carpets and roll jade. local people say that it is possible to find everything accept Chicken milk, cows egg in Europeans style.
While you are in the market, please remember the word “posh” that means get out of the way in Uyghur language, as soon as you hear this word, please watch yourself. The best time to go to the market is after 8:30 AM Xinjian time.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 21:15 Archived in China Tagged sky sea oasis desert view park landscape monument ruins fort the of china white death sand door hill pagoda road bush black land moon asian dry out asia quiet relax chinese alone peace silk calm jade ruin basin tibetan xinjiang archeological awesome nur lop asiatic hotan solitary slowly tarim grit taklamakan karakax uigur yurungkash rawak Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Dunhuang Movie Set

Between our journey from Dunhuang to the Jade gate and the Yardang Geopark , we were taken to this movie Set, also the entrance gate of Dunhuang Movie Set known as Modelled Shazhou Town of Song Dynasty (960-1279), is about 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) south west of the city. The town, covering an area of 12,700 square meters (3.1 acres) was originally designed for the setting of the historical film Dunhuang in 1987. The film was made in cooperation with Japan and the set reproduced the layout and construction on a part of the famous scroll painting Qingming Shanghe Tu (The Outing at Bian River on Qingming Festival).

Dunhuang Movie Set presents its majestic appearance in the vast Gobi bearing a rich flavor of the west regions of China. Fully representing the military importance of the western regions in the Tang (618-907) and Song Dynasties, the complex here can give one an impression that the clock has turned backwards to ancient times. Gates are erected on the east, south and west sides of the town. The five main streets, namely the Gaochang, Dunhuang, Ganzhou, Xingqing and Bianliang, criss-cross each other inside the town. Various constructions with distinct characteristics of the Song Dynasty are scattered along the streets, housing arcades, temples, hockshops, warehouses, pothouses, restaurants, dwelling houses and so on.

Taking full advantage of its uniqueness for making movies with a military theme, Dunhuang Movie Set has become the biggest set for shooting movies in northwest China. More than twenty films and television series have been produced here, apart from the movie Dunhuang so far. You might be surprised to recognize the familiar scenes from one of your favorite movies when you are strolling around the town. So be prepared for the unexpected!

This scenic spot is very interesting both for its historical value for putting the vision of the ancient west China into perspective and for its important role in movie-making industry.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 21:06 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture oasis desert tower view nature park landscape monument culture history travel mountain lake buddhism province scenery china building famous sand sun hill pagoda old road scenic land moon spring dune asian natural dry asia camel amazing ancient tourism chinese outdoor landmark crescent silk gobi background dunhuang gansu Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Han Dynasty Great Wall

Or what's left of it!

The Great Wall of the Han Dynasty was functioned as a prevention tool to prevent the invasion of the Huns. History of the Great Wall of China in Han Dynasty also proved its significance in the warring time.

This section is part of a new discovery of the Han Dynasty Great Wall has been discovered in a desert in Gansu Province. This Han Dynasty constructed 24-kilometre Great Wall section has contributed to the length of the Han dynasty Great Wall site in Jinta County, now totals 320 kilometres. With wind and rain lasting about 2,000 years, the overall shape and style of the wall are still clear, and half of the Great Wall section is well preserved.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 20:45 Archived in China Tagged buildings and desert landmarks tower nature landscape culture history travel fort the plants monuments scenery china world famous sites sand beautiful hill great old road historical beijing scenic tourists wall asian wonder border ancient spots tourism chinese brick fortress outdoor landmark oriental silk dynasty protection weed miracle attic defense han dunhuang gansu fortifications natural. Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Yumen Pass or The Jade Gate

In 2012 I took the minivans that do the trip out to the Jade Gate on the historic Silk route. Everyone had to go through here to access either China or the Central Asia continent and beyond into Europe. This is where my Silk Route Journey finished and my South East Asia Trip began.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 20:35 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture water desert tower view nature landscape history travel vacation province scenery china blue building famous sand heritage hill castle rock stone old road historical scenic yellow sunny wall dry antique ancient tourism historic chinese outdoor gate landmark pass silk dynasty jade ruin gobi han dunhuang gansu yumen fangpa Comments (0)

The Big Year Out- Zeravshan Valleyand 7 Lakes of Shing

During my trip across Central Asia I journeyed to this amazing area of Northern Tajikistan. I will let the images speak for themselves. Yes the sky is that blue and yes the lakes are that colour! and glacial cold too! The Zeravshan Valley (also Zarafshan or Zarafshon) is situated in northern Tajikistan, embedded between the impressive mountain ranges of the western Pamir-Alai massive.“Zeravshan” – which means “Golden River” in Tajik –is the main stream which crosses the valley and which supplies its inhabitants with a most precious resource: water. The area is famous for its unique mountain landscapes and its beautiful lakes: the Alauddin lakes, the Kulikalon lakes, Iskanderkul Lake, the seven lakes of Shing among many others. While being an important tourism and recreation destination during the Soviet era of dispatch tourism, it is now an insiders' tip among those interested in mountain trekking, alpinism and the little travelled branches of the silk road

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:23 Archived in Tajikistan Tagged mountains buildings architecture landscape culture temple travel ruins mountain river province scenery valley famous heritage rural hill old road historical medieval central destination tradition asia ancient tourism fortress archaeological journey outdoors civilization sunlight silk remote citadel discover location tajikistan magnificent pre-islamic zeravshan zoroastrianism sogdiana clay-bricks pendjikent proto-urban sughd panjakent sarazm geographical soghdians Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-The Registan

After having travelled through Turkey, Iran, and Turkmenistan, we entered our fourth country on our journey along the Silk Route, Uzbekistan. I recall it being a very dry and dusty country, or maybe that’s because most of my destinations in Uzbekistan were like this. It just seemed that Tashkent (the capitol) was the only place to have full and free flowing water and grass and trees. Outside of Tashkent it seemed like time had stood still and you could still get a feel of the days of the Caravansary that used to dot the country along the Silk route. Here a slide show of one of the most beautiful and iconic places in Uzbekistan, The Registan, in Samarkand. Yes it really is that blue. Thankfully the Russians although supressing any kind of Religion during their occupation, did have the foresight of restoring after many earthquakes much of the Registan as you see it today. Working as recently as 1987, twenty years of hard work and money and people with patience and the eye for the historical detail have made The Registan great again!

Posted by TheJohnsons 21:11 Archived in Uzbekistan Tagged art sky night architecture mosque sunset monument culture temple religion history traditional travel square eastern city building heritage dusk mosaic old road muslim medieval central asia ancient tourism historic dome landmark decoration pattern silk islam ceramic illuminated ornament tile exterior facade uzbekistan minaret samarkand complex islamic madrasa registan madrasah samarqand sher-dor Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Yarkand the deep south, not!


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

large_1842667_13488163008352.jpgYarkand

Yarkand is not really a hot place to stay, well maybe if you count the temperature, but other than that it might not be worth a stop. We decided that we would do the southern loop round to Hotan [Hotan-travel-guide-221834] and the look at either completing it or cutting across the Taklamakan Desert to Kuqe. As we had no experience of Chinese buses and wanted to find out what they were like we thought we would break up the journey by doing a short trip (3hours) from Kashgar [Kashgar-travel-guide-1315664] to Yarkand first.

Well buying a bus ticket was easy, into the bus station at Kashgar and helped by the nice “Official” managing the ques we were able to make it clear that we wanted two seats to Yarkand.large_1842667_13488163012314.jpg Then once again kindly helped by another bus “Official” we were shown to our bus out in the Station (sounds likeIranexperience doesn’t it?). Bags stowed away under the bus luggage compartment and seated in clearly numbered seats (English numbers everywhere so far) we congratulated ourselves in getting this far through the system. Bear in mind this is our first ever trip throughChinaand language is completely different to anything we have encountered so far.

Comfy seats and a swift three hours saw us to the Yarkand bus terminal. We arrived around3.00pmand it was hot! We had read in LP that the Subiyi Aletun Hotel would take foreign tourists, WRONG! No they don’t, well not anymore, after a 10rb taxi ride to said Hotel we were told “no Tourists” in Chinese and hand signals….large_1842667_13488163011114.jpg .oh no, and we don’t speak English and they don’t speak Chinese. After much discussion and gesturing we managed to get them to understand that we needed to stay somewhere! I hit upon the idea of ringing our English/Chinese speaking tour operator we used for the border crossing fromKyrgyzstantoChinato help out. He advised us that he only knew of the “Yarkand” Binguan (hotel) that accepted foreign visitors there. So with some basic words and a bit of help from the manager at the Subiyi Aletun we got another Taxi to take us up the road back toward the bus terminal and drop us off outside the Hotel. At last, we booked in, funny how the price of this Hotel managed to be more expensive than the one we just left. Never mind, double room with air con, western loo and breakfast did us.large_1842667_13488163021337.jpg We had after all only wanted to stop for one night to A. break up the journey and B. visit a couple of sights we knew were there.

Thankfully nothing shuts early hear inChinaand once we had dumped our bags we were off out and back towards the sights were had come to break up the journey with. First stop the Mausoleum of Ammanisahan a Uighar Queen, revered musician and famed for her work collecting the Uighar muquam. Her Tomb was stunning; they obviously loved her very much as great effort had gone into its placement and construction with surrounding garden for her (see pics). A few meters away is the Mazaar cemetery where members of Yarkand Royal family from 16th& 17thCentury lie. Calm and slightly restored we saw maybe 30 tombs with intricate stone carving (see pics) with the main man (Sulitan Saidyidhans) centralised in the cemetery (also have pics of this).large_1842667_13488163033508.jpg Right next door to this Cemetery is the Altun Mosque Complex this one is an open style mosque and was built in 1533A.D. by Sulitan Abdureshidhan, another Royal member of Yarkand. It also was a cool and calm place and even though it was Friday we were able to walk round and take pictures, although I did run into afternoon prayer time so left a little earlier than I would have liked. We paid 15rb each to get into all three sights which I thought was reasonable considering how much I enjoyed it and how many sights we got for our entrance fee.

Tired, hungry & hot we decided that the next task was to find food, and edible food. There really is only so much shashlik a girl can eat. LP was pretty useless and it seemed that anything LP suggests turns out to be pretty expensive and quite a disappointment.large_1842667_13488163035508.jpg We decided to trust our instincts and let me follow my nose and eyes on the locals. Sure enough on the main road back to our Hotel we found a restaurant whose name I couldn’t read let alone pronounce, but I do know it was number 161 on the street. We walked in with other customers and followed the way they did things. Seated we looked around at what other patrons were eating which gave us a good idea of the kind of food they served. Great! Food at last, the obligatory pot of chai was brought to us and we basically pointed at what other people were eating and said “one of those please”. The staff was really friendly and brought us two Thali like plates with an assortment of chicken, beef (small pieces), some peppers and aubergine with cooked onions, and a decent portion of plain white rice.large_1842667_13488163036035.jpg Yum! At last a lovely spicy, filling meal. We were stuffed, we left after paying a whole 15rb for the two of us and this is what we had been looking forward to. We walked back to our hotel as we had already purchased our next day’s bus ticket to Hotan and wanted to make sure we had ourselves packed up and ready to go the next morning. Not the most exciting place inChina, but then again my view is it’s what you make it; it gave us a good introduction to Chinese buses and local “foreign tourist registered only” hotels and definitely a taste of good local food. Hotan here we come!

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Posted by TheJohnsons 23:42 Archived in China Tagged sky desert nature culture travel town china map wild red portrait macro asia marker marked deer geography countries silk business push badlands hair corridor close-up tajikistan background bukhara afghanistan panj pamir fur pin antlers riparian badakhshan yarkand thumbtack cartography pushpin grazer bactrian wapiti lowland bokhara yarkant corridors herbivore chordata vakhan Comments (0)

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