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Tajikistan


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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 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)

The Big Year Out-Kellies Castle

In 2013, I visited Malaysia for two months, here in Perak one of my favourite provinces, on being so close to Ipoh , I visited kellies Castle. An amazing concept that never quite got finished, a shame as I suspect it would have been stunning even today! Overlooking the picturesque view of Batu Gajah, Perak, is the unfinished castle of William Kellie Smith, better known as Kellie’s Castle. The brainchild of the Scottish rubber plantation owner to celebrate his child’s birth, the castle and surrounding ruins bear signs of Smith’s grand vision for his family home. Originally, the castle would have boasted a 6-storey tower, an indoor tennis court, an entertainment area on the rooftop, a wine cellar, plus what would have been Malaya’s (later Malaysia) first elevator. It was designed in a Moorish and Indo-Saracenic Revival style with top quality craftsmanship in mind. To realise his dream home, Smith brought in 70 workers and imported bricks and marbles from India as well as exquisite tiles from Italy. Besides its beautiful exterior, Smith had also instructed the construction of secret exit tunnels speculated to be utilised in case of emergencies. There is also a small secluded room near the wine cellar which people have dubbed as a secret room though it was reportedly planned to be a photography room. Construction was halted however when Smith suddenly passed away at the age of 56 from pneumonia while he was on his way to Lisbon to pick up his elevator. His grief stricken wife, Agnes, sold the castle to Harrisons and Crosfield and the castle was left abandoned before being made into a tourist attraction years later

Posted by TheJohnsons 21:07 Archived in Malaysia Tagged sky architecture home view nature park history travel ruins palace green grass malaysia room building heritage window castle rock stone old historical arch tourist balcony british attraction wall asia ancient tourism historic vintage brick construction landmark design structure sunlight batu mansion rustic abandoned moorish background aged hallway perak ipoh kellie Comments (0)

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