London to Kuala Lumpur (Advice Needed!)

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London to Kuala Lumpur (Advice Needed!)

Postby AzmanW » Sun May 05, 2019 3:00 am

Hi Caravanistan, I've been planning this trip for a long, long time, as you can read in the 'Where are you going? Why?' thread.

I'm Azman, born in Kuala Lumpur but I’ve been studying in London for the past 4 years. As I approach graduation, I’m preparing to go back home – the long way. I’ve put my itinerary down below as well as in an attachment for more details.

My main concern about the trip overall is that I’ve over-planned, with no leeway or opportunities to discover the place and talk and really get to know the locals; and plenty of risk of travel fatigue. Anyone have any recommendations on how to better plan? Also note that though I’ve filled in my plan, I’m open to all advice!

Another worry is money – how much to carry, where to withdraw, what currencies to bring.

There are also a few logistical and trip issues I’ve listed below, the main ones are
: Getting to Katta Langar from Shahrisabz; from Katta Langar to Qarshi
: Kyrgyzstan: what to do during Kurman Ait
: Kyrgyzstan: Naryn to Tash Rabat to Ak-Tal to Song Kul possible?
: Tajikistan: too little time in the Wakhan?

I speak some basic Russian, can read Cyrillic. I was also raised a Muslim and would like to explore the Islam of Central Asia (though that’s not my main focus). I love markets and do try to get a ‘good’ souvenir from each trip. Most important for me is to meet locals though, and just go with their flow (I understand my itinerary may not allow for that – very open to change).

I’ve got a budget of around £6000 for 4 months, including guided trips to Song Kul, Chatyr Kol, some day trips on taxis (maybe 2) and the Wakhan Valley. Hopefully I’ve over-budgeted?

Thank you for reading through and please do help! I hope to return the favour in the future!

Azman's Way to Home:

London to Istanbul (visa free); 4 days
28/05 – 01/06: London to Istanbul

Turkey (visa free); 6 days – I’ve been before so focusing on the southeast. Any reports on security concerns welcome
02/06-07/06: Istanbul, Ankara, Diyarbakir, Sanliurfa (Eid ul-Fitr), Mardin

Iraqi Kurdistan (visa required); 8 days – Any reports on security concerns welcome
08/06-15/06: Dohuk, Amadiya, Rawandiz, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah

Iran (15-days visa free); 12 days – Entering from Sulaymaniyah visa-free – hopefully possible
16/06-25/06: Uraman Takht (1 ½ days), Sanandaj (1 ½ days), Esfahan (3 days), Yazd (3 days)
26/06-27/06: Mashhad, Sarakhs (planning on taking the evening train from Mashhad to maximise time in Turkmenistan; any accommodation in Sarakhs at night?)

Turkmenistan (transit visa, hopefully); 5 days
28/06: Sarakhs, Mary (one day enough?)
29/06: Ashgabat
30/06: Ashgabat
01/07: Darvaza
02/07: Konye-Urgench, Nukus

Uzbekistan (visa free); 19 days – my dad will be joining me for 8 days
03/07: Nukus, Kungrad, Moynaq (one day enough?)
04/07: Moynaq, Kungrad, Urgench
05/07: Khiva
06/07: Urgench (how to visit the Qalas?)
07/07: Samarkand, Shahrisabz (just to see Urgut, will return later)
08/07: Katta Langar (how to get here from Shahrisabz?)
09/07: Katta Langar, Qarshi
10/07: Termez
11/07: Termez, Tangimush, Denau (supposed bazaar on Thursdays – can I combine a taxi ride of historical sites with a ride to Tangimush?)
12/07: Denau
13/07: Denau, Baysun
14/07-21/07: Tashkent (2 days), Bukhara (4 days), Samarkand (2 days) – my dad is joining me here

Flying back to London from Tashkent for my graduation; 8 days
22/07-29/07: London (my dad leaves for home here)
29/07: Tashkent (night)

Kazakhstan (visa free); 2 days
30/07: Tashkent, Shymkent
31/07: Almaty (may extend)

Kyrgyzstan (visa free); 24 days
01/08-10/08: Bishkek (2 days), Suusamyr (3 days), Kyzyl-Oi, Ming-Kush, Kochkor, Barskoon, Tamga, Bokonbayevo (Suusamyr because looking for somewhere beautiful, untouristy and isolated – recommendations welcome)
11/08-12/08: Kurman Ait – is there public transportation? Also would like to go somewhere fairly spiritual/religious/can celebrate – any ideas?
13/08: Naryn
14/08: Naryn, At-Bashi, Tash Rabat
15/08: Tash Rabat, Chatyr Kol (need permit for Chatyr Kol? worth it to go to Kol-Suu?)
16/08: Chatyr Kol
17/08: Tash Rabat, Ak-Tal (can get taxi from Tash Rabat to Ak-Tal? Can get horse and guide to Song Kul?)
18/08-19/08: En route to Song Kul
20/08: Song Kul, Ak-Tal, Kazarman (possible? Song Kul too little time?)
21/08: Kazarman
22/08: Kazarman, Jalal-Abad, Osh
23/08-24/08: Osh

Uzbekistan Fergana Valley; 5 days
25/08: Osh, Andijan, Margilan
26/08: Namangan
27/08: Namangan, Chust, Pop (how to send knives to Malaysia/United Kingdom?)
28/08: Pop, Kokand (is this enough time to get a feel of the Ferghana Valley?)
29/08: Kokand, Khujand

Tajikistan (e-visa); 21 days
30/08-31/08: Khujand, Istaravshan
01/09-03/09: no idea what to do – Yagnob Valley? I read about Khairobad, Kum and Madm – how would one get there?
04/09-06/09: Dushanbe, Kulob
07/09-08/09: Kulob, Khalai-Kum, Rushan
09/09: Rushan, Bartang Valley
10/09-12/09: Bartang Valley
13/09: Bartang Valley, Rushan, Khorog (can do in one day?0
14/09: Khorog, Ishkashem
15/09: Wakhan Valley: Namadgut, Yamchun, Yamg, Vrang
16/09: Wakhan Valley: Zong, Hisor, Langar (too rushed?)
17/09: Bulunkul, Yashikul, Alichur (can get car from Langar? Would the two ‘kul’s be repetitive? I would like to see some wildlife in Alichur – is this too little time?)
18/09: Alichur, Murghab
19/09: Murghab (budget more time to find shared car to Sary Tosh?)

Kyrgyzstan Transit; 1 day
20/09: Sary Tosh

China (hoping to get a multiple-entry visa because I’m heading there in more than 3 months’ time); 19 days – much to see but it’s close to Malaysia so next time; focus on Xinjiang
21/09-09/10: Kashgar, Yengisar, Yarkand, Hotan, Kuqa, Turpan, Urumqi, Dunhuang, Zhangye, Xi’an, Kunming
- How to send Yengisar knives to Malaysia/United Kingdom?

Vientiane to Kuala Lumpur (visa free); 4 days
10/10-13/10: Vientiane to Kuala Lumpur
The Way to Home (3) (1).jpg
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The Way to Home (2) (1).jpg
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The Way to Home (1) (1).jpg
The Way to Home (1) (1).jpg (157.31 KiB) Viewed 757 times
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Re: London to Kuala Lumpur (Advice Needed!)

Postby AreWeThereYet? » Sun May 05, 2019 8:51 pm

Mate, I think you've really over-planned it. What if you like Bukhara a lot and don't do the side trip to Gijduvon? Or what if you hit roadworks on a road and it takes you longer-than-expected to go somewhere? I, too, am partial to planning and to getting to see something I'm interested in, but a bit more flexibility wouldn't be bad. You can't factor for chaos on a 60-day-plan or, even, have unexpected adventures. Just my 2p's worth.
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Re: London to Kuala Lumpur (Advice Needed!)

Postby AzmanW » Mon May 06, 2019 10:31 pm

Thank you for the advice!

Yes I think you're definitely right. What would your advice be? Chuck it out? Follow it through but be open to making detours on the way?
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Re: London to Kuala Lumpur (Advice Needed!)

Postby steven » Tue May 07, 2019 6:00 am

AWTY makes a good point. People tend to underestimate the amount of trouble one can have along the way. Everything going according to plan in 2 months of travel - unlikely. In Central Asia? Very unlikely. Just add in some free days you can use up along the way when things go wrong, you will see it comes in handy.

Having said that, it does look like you did your homework. It's a good division for the time you have, and actually, it's quite easy to cut off a day from for instance Kashgar when you end up staying a day longer on the Pamir Highway.

So no need to change much imo, just keep in mind that things do tend to work out slightly different from the plan, generally speaking.
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Re: London to Kuala Lumpur (Advice Needed!)

Postby AreWeThereYet? » Wed May 08, 2019 5:19 am

Just put some buffers here and there, and use them to relax and take in the experience. Had I had your opportunity (jealous!) I'd definitely pepper a few extra days in specific places. And enjoy!
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Re: London to Kuala Lumpur (Advice Needed!)

Postby AzmanW » Mon May 27, 2019 1:14 pm

Thanks for the advice and reassurances, AWTY and Steven! I have a tendency to overthink, but I've calmed down a bit since (haha) and I''ll be sure to keep your advice in mind.
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