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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)

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-Xieng Khuan Buddha Park Laos

I visited this weird and quirky place in 2012 when spending time in Laos near vientiane. It caught my imagination, I hope it does yours! Buddha Park is more curious than spectacular – which makes for a curious spectacle. A rogue monk is said to have attempted to reconsolidate Buddhism and Hinduism into his own brand of mysticism through a prolific collection of sculptures depicting various deities and scenes from both religions. The information provided at the park is less dramatic, simply stating that Bunleua Sulilat constructed this sculpture garden in 1958 before fleeing across the Mekong to Thailand in 1978 and building a sister park across the river in Nong Khai

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:31 Archived in Laos Tagged art sky architecture park landscape monument culture temple religion travel statue thailand tree buddhism city laos building famous vientiane heritage sculpture wat paradise buddha stone tropical tourist sacred religious buddhist attraction asia southeast amazing ancient xieng tourism god landmark palm exotic outdoors monster worship spiritual mythology mysterious figures wisdom khuan 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- Jeti Oguz


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

large_1842667_13461539308537.jpgJeti Oguz

What is Jeti Oguz? I thought to myself when I first heard it being banded about as a destination. Well I can tell you now some of the most amazing and beautiful places I have seen so far inKyrgyzstan. Our drive took us approx 20km outside Karakol [Karakol-travel-guide-1019301] before veering off to the right and entering a much rougher road than we had previously experienced in this region. As we drove through the very wide valley we saw the high mountains in the distance both sides. Stunning! We noticed as we came into the narrower part of the valley the extreme red sandstone colour of the hills around us. Much like the Red sandstone found in ranges in theUS. Our carrier stopped just around an area called the broken heart formation, for obvious reasons the two large chunks of red rock looked like a broken heart, in two pieces (pics).large_1842667_13461539311268.jpg Behind us looked like some very nice hills, in front of them by the roadside were a collection of mobile beehives and vendors selling natural honey harvested in the summer season only. Next to these were a couple of Bird of Prey “Hawkers”. These were not your real traditional Hawkers, but ones that were “hawking” on the tourists. Takai warned us that if we started taking pictures they would start asking for money. I chose along with the rest of the group to ignore them and walk after our guide who informed us that we had a quick twenty minutes to walk to a lovely vantage point where we could photograph the “broken heart” rocks and view the vista around us. He was right, the view was great and we got some lovely shots of the rocks.large_1842667_13461539314161.jpg

Onwards we went, about another 150mtrs to our main walk in this area, the Dragon back Gorge. We were altogether in this walk and I was wowed by the sheer redness of the crumbling sandstone. A small stream worked its way through with us and we passed Kyrgyz folk with their Yurt and horses. Using the natural shape of the cliff breaks to create sheep pens. Newly fallen giant boulders reminded us that we should be careful of the fragile rock walls around us. Along this bit of the valley I did see and picture some flora and fauna, but the main event was the gorge.

When we reached nearly the end of the bit we could do, our group split into two, our guide, Talai took the other group and they started to climb what looked like a very steep ascent to the hill in front of us, whilst Angela and I walked back round with Talai’s dad, who coincidently started all the tours Takai does now.large_1842667_13461539322999.jpg We got back to the vehicle after about 30mins and crossed the road to take a closer look at the raging river that banked the other side of the road. A rest was welcome for my back at this point. About 30mins after that we spotted the second group coming over the hill approx quart of a mile ahead, so got back into the car to pick them up.

We continued along the road for a few kilometres when we stopped at The Valley of flowers (no flowers now as they flower during spring and early summer). Talai walked us up to a stunning view point which was quite steep in places, but as I looked back about half way up I could see the climb was worth it. As I reached the top I could see the huge rolling Jailoo below us with a huge linear forest of pine trees planted in between two large camps of Yurts.large_1842667_13461539321717.jpgDragon Back CAnyon with our group for scale, stunning rock formations here.This was planted for Gagarin by the Russians as he used to visit this valley to help him acclimatise after his visits in space. How nice (depends on your point of view) these trees are all in rows back dropping some beautiful mountains. To the left is a huge Jailoo pasture which had several Yurt camps and plenty of horses to match and on the right of the trees is another Yurt camp with a break before the mountain where you can walk to a waterfall. We all stopped for half an hour to catch our breath and then made our way back down to the vehicle. Picnic time! Except Talai had forgotten the tomatoes and cucumber, so our salad was a bit sparse. Takai took the group off to the waterfall; I stayed behind with his dad as A. my back had had enough and B. I could see the very large black rain cloud, I think Takai could too. I spent some time taking pictures walking through the Pine forest. Sure enough I was right, after about half an hour Angela returned with the rain on her back, and it poured.

We returned through the valley to the homestay and everyone agreed that they had had a lovely day.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 23:42 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged sky desert view nature hiking landscape canyon travel mountain seven village grass tree blue valley summer beautiful hill red rock stone formation scenic central asia gorge tourism outdoor landmark shan design pattern abstract bulls range sandstone texture kyrgyzstan tian background kyrgyz kul geological karakol jeti jeti-oguz oguz issyk issyk-kul kirghizia Comments (0)

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