From Aktau to Bishkek

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Aleksi
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Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:29 am

From Aktau to Bishkek

Postby Aleksi » Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:00 am

Hello fellow travellers!

My friend and myself will start hitchhiking from Istanbul to Bishkek in a few days, for a month-long journey.

From Baku, we will take the Caspian see ferry to Aktau, south-western Kazakhstan. We initially planned to travel all along Uzbekistan to Tashkent, before heading towards almaty and finally Bishkek. However, uzbek visa is super expensive (150 dollars for 7 days when LOI and consular fees combined!) and I can't really afford it...

Is it realistic to hitchhikefrom Aktau to Almaty by just staying in Kazakhstan? There is no direct road, it twines instead in the desert for thousands of kilometers as you can see from the map below...

https://www.google.fr/maps/dir/Aktaou,+Manguistaou,+Kazakhstan/Almaty,+Oblys+d'Almaty,+Kazakhstan/@43.9893421,66.3917468,5.08z/am=t/data=!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x41b4321732bc75d7:0x7614e1e6630a7769!2m2!1d51.1985113!2d43.6410973!1m5!1m1!1s0x38836e7d16c5cbab:0x3d44668fad986d76!2m2!1d76.8512485!2d43.2220146

That's why I'm wondering the following:
1. How interesting is western Kazakhstan interesting according to you? It could be funny to hitchhike through a desert the first day but I'm afraid of spending days and days in empty areas. Most of your itineraries and highlights focus on southeastern part of the country instead...
2. How do Kazakh roads look like? How fast can cars drive on them? It's pretty important in order to evaluate our hitchhiking timing.
3. Are there (night) trains covering this Aktaou-Almaty route, at least some tracks, so that we could cross western Kazakhstan a bit faster? Eg Up to Aralsk or even Turkestan? Can plane be an option?
4. Or do you think it is REALLY worth investing in this Uzbek visa?...

Thank you so much for this amazing blog!

Cheers,

aleksi
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steven
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Re: From Aktau to Bishkek

Postby steven » Tue May 29, 2018 1:19 pm

There is indeed no direct road Aqtau-Kyzylorda, it goes up towards Aqtobe before coming down. The train follows the same route, but it's pretty cheap.

1. It's pretty interesting but the main sights are all offroad except for Beket-Ata. Very difficult place to hitchhike in other words.
2. See https://caravanistan.com/transport/driving/kazakhstan
3. Yes, see https://caravanistan.com/transport/train/kazakhstan.
4. Plenty of people have hitched this road before. You can easily get a 1000km-ride. Taking the train is also much cheaper than an Uzbek visa. If you do not want to visit Uzbekistan, there is no need to.
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