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Naryn to Kashgar

As I look back at these images of my great personal journey along the Silk Route from the West to the East , I realise how much stronger it made me, how much it changed the way I am and the way I see the World and People.

I also lament how much fitter I was(lol) and hardier(stone cold bucket showers, and hot spring caves). It reminds me every time I look at the images of a "not one single regret of a 13mth journey I took" or how I managed to sell (divest myself of most of my worldly goods), and embark on my current living in SEA adventure. Sadly the mountains here are not so peaceful, too many Chinese tourists run like ants all over the places that should be calm.

Am I the only one that misses the desolate quietness of mountains ? or should I say the noise of the mountains. Wind, streams, rivers, sheep, camels, trees, grasses....

I hope you like my quick view of this section between Naryn in Kyrgyzstan and Kashgar in the Western corner of China.

All images taken with my hardy Canon 1100D

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:38 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged town road ancient #travel #tourism #tourist #art #ancient #desert #history #green #mosque #nature #china #architecture #road #city #unesco #kashgar #xinjiang #chinese #asia #kashi #muslim #old #asian #traditional #landmark #islamic #building #silk #heritage #popular #destination #islam #brick #mud #uighur #outdoor #attraction #decoration #minority #taklamakan #world #west #oriental #cultural #stall #uyghur #arch #town #district 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)

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 Big Year Out-Ashgabhat The White City

Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan. It’s known for its white marble buildings and grandiose national monuments.
From my visit in 2012

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:55 Archived in Turkmenistan Tagged art sky night architecture tower view park landscape monument religion street travel statue town grass urban city blue white building world beautiful road skyline central capital cityscape destination evening attraction asia gold tourism wheel landmark design outdoors ferris modern marble symbol independence original turkmenistan photographic guardian ashgabat turkmen neutrality 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-Anau Fort Turkmenistan

During my journey along the Silk Route in 2012-2013 I visited Turkmenistan, here are my pictures from the Anau Fort just before we entered the Karakum desert. Both stunning places that I had to share

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:40 Archived in Turkmenistan Tagged architecture mosque monument culture religion history travel fort town city building famous house day castle stone old historical muslim medieval wall east asia middle ancient architectural historic fortress outdoor landmark oriental ages archeology syria syrian islam ruin arabic fortification orient citadel turkmenistan complex aleppo past islamic monumental 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-Graffitti and Street Art Singapore

In 2013 I was in the amazing city of Singapore where I sought and found some of the wonderful street art you will see here in this slideshow

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:35 Archived in Singapore Tagged art architecture home view landscape singapore culture traditional street travel town thailand malaysia urban city new china white building house heritage window light red old festival wall asian beauty asia antique tourism shop style chinese vintage outdoor landmark design decoration colorful classic symbol exterior facade background draw vector illustration peranakan Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Ipoh

Historical Walk Round Ipoh
The amazing Heritage walk round one of my favourite Malay towns of Ipoh where the food is amazing too! The heritage walk is about 4 miles long covering most of the historically important places and might take approx. 2 hours to complete all the places. In fact I am so keen for you to find out about Ipoh, I am attaching links for free heritage walk maps and info on Ipoh. Yep FREE!! Below the Video

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Posted by TheJohnsons 21:18 Archived in Malaysia Tagged sky architecture sunset view nature park landscape culture street travel mountain train town square green malaysia urban city blue white building famous holiday summer beautiful heritage rock stone old road historical skyline tourist scenic station cityscape railway attraction sunny asian natural asia tourism historic vintage landmark majestic background perak ipoh Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Wenmiao Temple & Dayun Si - Wuwei

During my journey across the Silk route into China, we travelled to the ancient city of Wuwei, here we visited the Wenmaio Temple . Beautifully ornate and spread over a large area. The ancient Bell tower Dayun Si built during the Ming dynasty, also in the city of Wuwei . Houses a Tang dynasty bronze bell, which I had the pleasure of striking! The pictures speak better for themselves. Info taken from:https://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/gansu/wuwei/confucian-temple.htm The Confucius Temple is known also as the Wenmiao Temple in Chinese, and is situated in the southeast of Wuwei City. This ancient complex dates from the Ming Dynasty having been established in 1439 on instructions from the reigning emperor and with the strong backing of public subscription. The construction of the original temple took just two years but various extensions have been added over succeeding centuries. The complex covers an area of a little over 1,500 square meters and is the largest and best-preserved temple dedicated to Confucius in Gansu Province

Posted by TheJohnsons 21:06 Archived in China Tagged trees architecture view leaves landscape culture temple scene history travel town green grass plants province scenery city china map building garden south beautiful country old historical beijing land site capital tradition asia image shrine tourism chinese united state outdoor gate department landmark republic geography area decorations perspective political gansu illustration wuwei eps Comments (0)

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