Help with my itinerary (Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, Kazakhstan)

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elynego
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Help with my itinerary (Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, Kazakhstan)

Postby elynego » Fri May 19, 2017 6:58 pm

I'm planning on my trip in September/October and I have 1 month to 1.5 months time. I'm a Chinese passport holder.

Almaty (maybe a day trip or two) - illi (day trip to Sayram lake? Or go directly to the lake from the border, then to illi afterwards) - Urumqi - Turpan - Kashgar (train) (day trip to Tashkurgan or side trip to Khotan) - Osh (via Irkeshtam pass) - Arslanbob - Bishkek

or the other way around

Bishkek - Arslanbob - Osh (via Irkeshtam pass) - Kashgar (day trip to Tashkurgan or side trip to Khotan) - Turpan - Urumqi - illi - Sayram lake - Almaty (maybe a day trip or two)

Do you think it's doable within 1.5 months? I would like to check more nature instead of the cities.
And do these two routes have any difference, concerning the border crossing?

Thanks in advance
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bwv812
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Re: Help with my itinerary (Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, Kazakhstan)

Postby bwv812 » Mon May 22, 2017 7:29 am

That's definitely possible in 1 or 1.5 months.

I think it will be interesting to hear of your experience and impressions as (I assume) a Han Chinese in Xinjiang. In the experience of most foreigners, Uyghurs are perhaps more friendly than Han, while their relations with Han are obviously much more strained.

Anyway, I am of the firm belief that Uyghur culture in Xinjiang is more stereotypically "Central Asian" than the Russian-influenced culture in the 'stans, and that will be particularly the case for your trip given that the traditionally-nomadic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz practice a very flexible form of Islam, and Russian influence has remained extremely strong in Kazakhstan. Of the places listed on your itinerary, Osh and Arslanbob are both Uzbek-majority areas, and while Uzbeks are more conservative than Kyrgyz, they still pale in comparison to much of Xinjiang.

So in many ways I think Xinjiang will feel the most alien and foreign for you, which may also make it the most interesting. Obviously Urumqi (and the Northern Kazakh/Mongolian areas) would be the gentlest introduction to Xinjiang, while if you travel in the opposite direction Osh will serve a similar purpose. For a Westerner Osh is probably more familiar, while as a Han you'll probably find Urumqi more familiar.

If you're interested primarily in nature, then you might want to consider adding a trip to Kanas (extremely popular with Han, but you can also get away from the crowds) and a trip to Tashkurgan is pretty essential, especially since you're not going to Tajikistan and the Pamirs. I don't think you have to sacrifice Hotan in order to see Tashkurgan.

My suggestion would be to cross the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border at Kegen, which would allow you to visit the Issyk-kul area as well as Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan.
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elynego
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:46 pm

Re: Help with my itinerary (Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, Kazakhstan)

Postby elynego » Tue May 23, 2017 2:36 pm

bwv812 wrote:That's definitely possible in 1 or 1.5 months.

I think it will be interesting to hear of your experience and impressions as (I assume) a Han Chinese in Xinjiang. In the experience of most foreigners, Uyghurs are perhaps more friendly than Han, while their relations with Han are obviously much more strained.

Anyway, I am of the firm belief that Uyghur culture in Xinjiang is more stereotypically "Central Asian" than the Russian-influenced culture in the 'stans, and that will be particularly the case for your trip given that the traditionally-nomadic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz practice a very flexible form of Islam, and Russian influence has remained extremely strong in Kazakhstan. Of the places listed on your itinerary, Osh and Arslanbob are both Uzbek-majority areas, and while Uzbeks are more conservative than Kyrgyz, they still pale in comparison to much of Xinjiang.

So in many ways I think Xinjiang will feel the most alien and foreign for you, which may also make it the most interesting. Obviously Urumqi (and the Northern Kazakh/Mongolian areas) would be the gentlest introduction to Xinjiang, while if you travel in the opposite direction Osh will serve a similar purpose. For a Westerner Osh is probably more familiar, while as a Han you'll probably find Urumqi more familiar.

If you're interested primarily in nature, then you might want to consider adding a trip to Kanas (extremely popular with Han, but you can also get away from the crowds) and a trip to Tashkurgan is pretty essential, especially since you're not going to Tajikistan and the Pamirs. I don't think you have to sacrifice Hotan in order to see Tashkurgan.

My suggestion would be to cross the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border at Kegen, which would allow you to visit the Issyk-kul area as well as Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan.


Thanks! I've been to Urumqi back in 2012. Back then I took a train from Shanghai and met a lot of nice people on the sleeper train. I think Uyghurs are quite friendly. So this time I can skip Urumqi and see more the nature.

I've thought of Kanas but is it easier to go to Kanas from Astana? I haven't booked my tickets yet, I'll fly from Europe as Wizz air has some cheap flight to Astana but the region around doesn't seem that scenic.

I would like to include Issyk-kul but then it seem impossible to make a loop? I'm very interested in Pamir area too, I'll leave that to a bigger trip in a few years.
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bwv812
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Re: Help with my itinerary (Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, Kazakhstan)

Postby bwv812 » Tue May 23, 2017 11:16 pm

Well, I think you need a visa for Kazakhstan, so going to Kanas from Astana would require a double-entry if you want to then go to Almaty. And I think it's going to be a lot easier to arrange transport from Urumqi than Astana, since it is popular with Chinese and not so much with Kazakhs.

Astana-Almaty-Charyn Canyon-Kegen-Karakol-Bishkek-Arslanbob-Ozgen-Osh-Kashgar-Tashkurgan-Hotan-Kuche-Turpan-Urumqi-Kanas is a possible circuit.
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