Where are you going? Why?

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iwasz
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby iwasz » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:31 pm

Hi I'm Iwasz

This site is great, and I gained huge amount of valuable info from you guys, so thanks a lot!. I plan to go to Uzbekistan on a motorcycle through Turkey, Iran and the dreaded Turkmenistan, which gets me more and more frustrated (I wake up at night thinking I got refused). From Uzbekistan I planned to go back to EU (Poland to be strict) through Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. I have friend of mine in Uzbekistan, who happens to work there, so visiting him is the culmination or mid-point of the whole trip. But since, as for now, I have only Iranian visa (Uzbek visa is "under consideration" in MFA), everything depends on whether I get the Turkmen visa or not (I plan to apply, and collect in Berlin prior to the trip). If not, I plan to prolong my stay in Iran (originally I planned like 7 days max), and return via Turkey or via Armenia - Georgia - Russia, but I've heard that there are tensions there at the moment, so I'll research the return route if Turkmenistan would turn me down. Why I want to travel? Because such trips are like bright spots in memory in the midst of indistinguishable days in job. Or something like that :D
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steven
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby steven » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:23 am

Good to hear, Iwasz! If TM does not work out, there is always the boat from Baku, or you can drive through Russia to get to Uzbekistan.
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miaesper
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby miaesper » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:34 pm

Hi everyone

First of all let me thank you for making this incredibly informative website! I'm not sure how we would have tackled all the planning without you!

My boyfriend Brecht (Belgian) and I (Danish) are planning to travel via central Asia as part of a longer trip from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Mumbai, India. We will be driving in our own rather old Volkswagen from 1987 so some roads (like the Pamir Highway) are definitely off limits. The plan is to enter Turkmenistan (crossing fingers, arms and legs for the transit visa which we will apply for in Tehran) from Iran, drive north through the desert to Konye-Urgench, enter Uzbekistan, see Khiva and the surrounding area, Bukhara, maybe the Nuratau mountains, Samarkand (or maybe skip....is that an as insanely stupid idea as it sounds? To be on the golden road but miss Samarkand? Truth is we are not really city people and I have got the impression from some travelers that Khiva and Bukhara are more beautiful...?), from here we need to find our way to Kyrgystan, Aslanbob, Bishkek and surrounding mountains, lake Issyk Kul, Torugart Pass, Kashgar, Karakoram Highway and onward. We are incredibly excited!

Why? To visit a region of the world which most people here at home know almost nothing off seems magical in its own right. Furthermore we really love long stretches of sand and steppes and mountains, mountains, mountains.

Any comments on road conditions on our itinerary that would be impossible for a 2WD car?
If anyone is interested in sharing costs for the Torugart-Pakistan China crossing on approx. 4th-7th Nov 2016 we would be very happy to hear from you!

Mia
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby steven » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:15 am

Hi mia, I think not everyone needs to see Samarkand. You have already seen a lot of Islamic architecture by the time you have come out of Iran. Samarkand is the same. You can just drive Bukhara - Denau - Dushanbe or otherwise head straight into the Ferghana valley into Osh.

Enojy it!
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doug27
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby doug27 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:43 pm

Hey everyone, great to see so many tips and snippets of knowledge on here.
Firstly just a quick thanks to Steven, this site is amazing, and I wouldn't be anywhere near as likely to be taking this trip without it. Thanks so much.

I'm a 23 year old backpacker and I guess I'm thinking of doing this route as it was just a major part of the world I knew nothing about, and have always found the names pretty intriguing and its only developed more with looking into it. I've done quite a bit of backpacking before, but nothing like this trip, and I'm pretty nervous.

I'm thinking of a route roughly Baku-Turkmenbashi on the ferry - Ashgabat - Darvaza Craters - Ashgabat - Mary - Turkmenabat and then a less planned Samarkan - Tashkent - Dushanbe(/Bishkek) - Kashgar kind of route out. I'm travelling solo and without my own transport, so was thinking of mainly trains and buses to do this.
How does that route sound? Is it too obvious and what are the highlights that I've missed out? I cant hike much as I've got a bit of an injury so that's a blow but I'm really hoping itll still be amazing.
(Also on a side note, whats the camping situation? Is not really done unless hiking?)

Sorry for such a long message. Any help would be really really appreciated.
Thanks!!
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bwv812
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby bwv812 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:02 am

Your Turkmenistan route is too long for a 5-day transit visa, and I believe transit visas are not a good idea with the ferry since you aren't guaranteed of arriving on the day your visa starts.

For the places you're going, you will only be able to take the train in Uzbekistan (running between Bukhara, Samarkand, and Tahkent). Buses are pretty uncommon; the main forms of transportation are share taxis and marshrutkas (basically little minivans).

For many, including myself, the Pamir region is a highlight of Central Asia, so I highly recommend you take the Pamir Highway between Dushanbe and Osh.

Lots of cyclists camp. They generally do so by asking permission of a local landowner. There's no real camping inside cities, though, unless you ask a guesthouse or hostel if you can camp in their garden (if they have one).
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doug27
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby doug27 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:58 pm

Thank you bwv812! Thats really helpful.

What would you recommend for The Western part of China? I was thinking Kashgar to Urumqi and then down to Chengdu, but any stories could easily change it.
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bwv812
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby bwv812 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:00 pm

Xinjiang is another highlight of Central Asia, and for me was more "Central Asian" than the 'stans themselves. Xinjiang has more of a traditional cultural flavour, in terms of food, music, attire, architecture, etc.

From Kashgar I would definitely take a side trip to Tashkurgan, which is basically the Chinese side of the Pamirs. There are some interesting things to see in Hotan and Turpan, but Urumqi itself isn't that interesting. Personally, I think it's a region worth spending more time in, and I wish I saw more when I was there.
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.ca/2 ... ghway.html
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.ca/2 ... round.html
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.ca/2 ... iaohe.html

Obviously Chengdu is quite far from Urumqi. A couple of western, desert-style stopping points include Dunhuang, which has the famous Mogao cave paintings, as well as Jiayuguan, where the Great Wall ended.
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.ca/2 ... mogao.html
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.ca/2 ... -wall.html

I would strongly consider stopping in traditionally Tibetan areas along the way, including Xiahe and Langmusi, possibly by way of Xining and Tongren.
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.ca/2 ... ge-of.html
http://silkroadwanderings.blogspot.ca/2 ... er-of.html

There are other places to stop between Langmusi and Chengdu, but unfortunately I don't know too much about them—another area I had to miss!

I made a quick map route between Urumqi and Chengdu showing the places listed above:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Urumqi,+ ... !3e0?hl=en
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doug27
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby doug27 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:33 pm

That's fantastic, really helpful. Cant wait to read your blog as well. Thanks again!!!
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belabarenyi
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Re: Where are you going? Why?

Postby belabarenyi » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:51 am

Hello Caravanistan,

We (my girlfriend and I) started our trip in Germany in the middle of August and drive slowly to Almaty to visit my girlfriend´s family in Kazakhstan.
We entered Ukraine via Poland, spent some days in Odessa, took the ferry to Batumi and had some wonderfull 3 weeks holiday in Georgia. The way from Kazbegi to Atyrau was quickly driven, so we came to Kazakhstan some days ago.
We like the idea of getting slowly to a country and see the landscape changing. Fortunately we could afford some weeks off and decided to drive the way to Central Asia. Our 1997 Mercedes Sedan has brought us safely to Georgia that we both had on our to-do-travel list. The second part of our travel started some days ago at the Russian-Kazakh border between Astrakhan and Atyrau.
Now we continue our travel to my girlfriend´s birth place in Almaty, we'll meet her family on the way and discover the big country.
I have been always interested in Central Asia also for winter sport reasons. I love skiing and want to use this trip to get some ideas where to go next winter.

Caravanistan has helped a lot, especially when we were planing our trip. The chapter "driving in Kazakhstan", the description of the roads and also the post about how to sell your car are brilliant.

Our next stop will be Aralsk. We were just wondering if we can do the bumpy shortcut straight across the seabed to the Zhalanash ship graveyard in our normal c-class sedan or if we need to ask for taxi? Maybe you can help us with that.

Also the car sell is a topic that we are really interested in. We found out that our car is too old (or let´s say "dirty", it has EURO 2) for a legal import and a scratcher will be the easiest way. Will we find them on the car market in Almaty as well?

All best!
Felix and Lika
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