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Returning to London – The End Of The Expedition (Sat 1 Feb 2014)

Read the original post and follow Big Os Adventures's overland adventures on their website: Big O's Adventures.


Departure Day – 13 April 2013
Hi Folks,
Nearly 10 months after departing from London we are finally set to return. Today I will depart from Grenoble (France) heading to Paris and finally back to London. There is not long to go now. Check out this link to follow my progress Where Am I Now
I will be arriving back at the gates…

Is that the Bosphorus Straits? It sure is!! – Leg 4 is complete!!

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Is that the Bosphorus Straits? It sure is!!
(Istanbul, Turkey)
Hi All,
Boris, Kiwi Ted and I arrived in Istanbul safely. We crossed the Bosphorus Straits on Saturday to complete Leg 4 of The Great Game Expedition in unconventional style. Due to Boris’ gearbox problems we covered the last 4000 kms on the back of a range of trucks and…

Reminiscing About Leg 2 – The Turkmenistan to Kyrgyzstan Photo Gallery

Read the original post and follow Big Os Adventures's overland adventures on their website: Big O's Adventures.


While I’ve been stuck in Tehran (Iran) over the last couple of weeks I’ve had the chance to reminisce about previous sections of the journey. Leg 2 from Turkmenistan to Kyrgyzstan was a fast paced, exciting race against the clock though some of the most beautiful and scenic countries along the Silk Road. At the time I thought this was the…

In Search of the Aral Sea – From Khiva to Moynaq, Uzbekistan

Read the original post and follow Helen's Take On....'s overland adventures on their website: Helen's Take On....


Rather than retrace the direct route to the main road via Urgench, cycled along the smaller roads for a short cut towards Nukus. Riding through small towns and farmland. Uninspiring. But I was quite happy just pootling along. No particular rush. I thought again how this countryside reminded me of Norfolk.
Dusk arrived too fast. The days are short now…

Photos of Khiva

Read the original post and follow Helen's Take On....'s overland adventures on their website: Helen's Take On....


I pushed on towards Khiva, rather than camp – it would have been the crap kind of camping. Where you have to hide and make no noise and try not to be seen. There were simply too many houses and people from the main road to Khiva. Nothing like the desert the day before. Besides, I thought I could beat…

Elliq Qala – A tour of the 50 Fortresses (well, 6 to be exact)

Read the original post and follow Helen's Take On....'s overland adventures on their website: Helen's Take On....


Because it had taken three hours for the taxi driver to find 3 other passengers, it was well after dark when I arrived in Tortkul. So rather than cycling out of town and camping, I found a place to stay.

Toprak Qala

From here I was going to start a mini tour of the crumbling ruins of the Elliq Qala,…

Photos of Bukhara

Read the original post and follow Helen's Take On....'s overland adventures on their website: Helen's Take On....


After Samarkand, came Bukhara. On the route I’m cycling west, at least. It was the same for those merchants from the East trading along the Silk Road so many centuries ago, millennia even.

Well-preserved

Another central Asian city that has changed hands almost as often as I wash my clothes. First it was a vassal state of the Persian Empire,…

Photos of Samarkand

Read the original post and follow Helen's Take On....'s overland adventures on their website: Helen's Take On....


Samarkand was founded around 700BC by the Sogdians. It became one of the greatest cities in the world at the time due to it’s central location on the Silk Road, connecting China with the East.

The Registan – centre of old Samarkand

Later it became a centre of learning for Islam.

Ulugbek Observatory

In 1220, Chinggis Khan swept through and…

The Golden Road to Samarkand

Read the original post and follow Helen's Take On....'s overland adventures on their website: Helen's Take On....


Time is flying by. I have so much I could write about, but too little time to do it justice. That has been the trouble with this trip… not enough time to simply sit back and relax. Now I’m in Central Asia and no longer need to rush against the wintery weather, the 30 day tourist visa to Uzbekistan just…

Get On With It – Getting to Dushanbe and Visa Woes

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So this was the plan… cycle through the Pamirs and on to Dushanbe, pick up my Uzbek visa and be on my way to Uzbekistan to see the Silk Road cities, make a brief detour to the remains of the Aral Sea and cycle on into Kazakhstan and fly home in time for Christmas. It didn’t leave much time for…

That’s What It’s All About, People

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Two months from today, on January 11th 2014 I will arrive back in London. As my journey starts to reach the final phase it’s a good time to celebrate the people and places I’ve seen so far on this amazing journey.
From April to August 2013 I travelled from London to Malaysia, visiting 18 countries on the outward journey of…

India in Summary – 100 Miles Per Hour to Very Very Slowly Slowly

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Cricket in the Park
(Kolkata, India)
India is a country of such wide-ranging contrasts. From the many cultural highs and lows, to areas of great beauty and places of such filth. If you want a country to challenge your senses then India is it. It’s a classic love it or hate it country, with most people in one camp or…

Riding the Pamir Highway – The Wakhan Valley – from Langar to Khorog

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It was a struggle leaving Langar. After a night in a bed (=mattress on floor), I was more tired than usual. Not much energy either (soup and bread for dinner is not enough calories for a cycle-tourer, even after you wake in the night and eat a Snickers bar).

Wakhan valley village

So I lingered over breakfast and finally got…

Riding the Pamir Highway – Into Wakhan Valley – Murghab to Langar

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I woke up in my dim unlit room in Murghab, went to the window and pulled back the curtains. White light blinded me. I blinked and rubbed my eyes and pressed my face to the window and watched my breath steam up the glass. Beyond, snow was falling gently and the world outside was all white…
Today will be a…

Riding the Pamir Highway – The Cold Way – Sary Tash to Murghab

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My legs and busting lungs screamed for a day off in Sary Tash (that’s what you get when you sit on a horse for a month). But the clear skies were too good to spend indoors. You never know when the winds will change and blow a dastardly-blizzardy-storm your way.
When I finally decided I would go, the lady at…

Osh and Up to the Roof of the World in Photos

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Having lingered long enough in Bishkek while arranging onward visas, I took a bus straight to Osh. From there, it would be back on the bike. In at the deep end – unfit after a 6-week break while horse-riding, I knew the legs would suffer with the endless uphill towards the Pamir Mountains, known since Victorian times as ‘The Roof…

Horse-Riding Kyrgyzstan – Part 4 Photos Song Kul to Sale of Sarala

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After a couple of days rest at Song Kul, it was time to get back in the saddle and leave this chilly, windy plateau. Return to the valley where the sun shines and summer still smiles.

Sarala at Sunset

The ride over and down the Chil-Bel Pass was steep. We had company. Many families were moving back to their villages…

Horse-Riding Kyrgyzstan – Part 3 Photos from Family Stay at Song Kul

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It had been a long day to reach Song Kul. As soon as I found some puddles of water in the dried-up riverbeds, we stopped to camp for the night. It took some further searching to find fresh enough water that Sarala would actually drink. Who’d have thought a horse could be so fussy. I just took the puddle water…

Horse-Riding Kyrgyzstan – Part 2 Photos of Naryn to Song Kul Lake

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There is so much to tell from the last month horse-riding here. It has been a refreshing change to travel at a(n even) slower speed. It means more time spent camping in the hills besides rivers and a chance to see all the little details that you simply fly by on a bike. It’s good to travel like the locals…

Tajikistan and the Pamir Highway – Dushanbe to Khorog

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


If Western Kazakhstan made us feel like “We’ve come on holiday by mistake”, and Uzbekistan made us feel like package tourists, then Tajikistan made us feel like pioneering adventurers – exploring the beautifully remote and dangerous corners of foreign mountain lands.  Tajikistan really was a highlight of the whole trip and now, even just two months later (as I write…

From Termis to Dushanbe

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


Travelling South towards Termis and the Afghan border

From the relative security of the UK, our planning stages had involved sharp intakes of breath if ever our proposed route came within two time zones of Afghanistan.We had chosen routes far to the North of the border regions, forsaking main roads and some beautiful areas of the Pamir Highway – most…

Bukhara – the last of the Uzbek trinity

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


Frazzled by the heat of the desert and the long drive from Khiva we were looking forward to our return to the profusion of decent, cheap accommodation options in Bukhara.Previously we had stayed at the New Moon Hotel, not yet in any of the guidebooks and a recent addition to Booking.com.
They had also won our approval and heartfelt thanks,…

Horse-Riding Kyrgyzstan – Part 1 Photo Preview

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For those who didn’t know, I’ve temporarily left the bike in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. And I have bought a horse. He’s called Sarala. He’s a very cool, chilled-out dude who doesn’t make any demands except for grass. But he does that often, and noisily. But that’s OK.

Sarala

Anyway, I bought him from a quiet chap from a village called…

Khivan Forts

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


Lonely Planet, from Hell’s heart, I stab at thee… for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee…

Stuffed to bursting with the delights of old Khiva we planned another early start to head back to Bukhara and some boutique hotel loveliness.Lonely Planet (I love you) recommended a diversionary stop off to admire some millenia old forts an hour…

State of the Union (& Khiva)

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


I….I….I’m not very well….

For just over forty years the collection of matter that constitutes the entity that is Mark Bowen has existed in a state union of reasonable peace and security.  All that was to change – after a night out in Bukhara for a plate of Plov and a couple of cheeky beers…A secessionist movement of rebels based in…

Uzbekistan – and the hunt for Dizel

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


Typically long queue for petrol

Warning: 
This blog is intended for those intending to travel to Uzbekistan and wishing to understand the fuel situation.
For everyone else, seriously, save yourself the bother and don’t read this.
It really is quite dull…
The road South from Samarkand towards Bukhara gave us the first opportunity to indulge in one of the trials…

Uzbekistan – Samarkand

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


Border formalities finally completed in 7+ hours, we gained an hour of that back with a strange time change in the “wrong” direction – but one which benefitted our busy schedule that day.
With an extra hour of daylight now available to us we pushed on towards Samarkand, avoiding the section of direct road that crosses briefly back into Kazakhstan…

Bucurii colaterale

Read the original post and follow IntoTheWorld's overland adventures on their website: Into The World.


Sunt motociclista incepatoare. Cand am plecat din Bucuresti, acum mai putin de doua luni, abia facusem 600 km pe motor. La volanul unei masini am facut chiar mai putin, poate vreo 100 km, si aia acum mai bine de o decada in urma. In mai aveam zero experienta in trafic si chiar si pe micuta mea Suzuki ma simteam un…

Dushambe, un cuibusor tadjik

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Cica nu exista rau fara bine. Pentru calatori, a fi cu ochii in patru e musai: atentie si la pericole, dar si la oportunitati efemere (vocea unei femei care rasuna in fundul alei poate vesti o petrecere, un claxon de bicicleta poate semnala baiatul cu paine calda… si tot asa). In unele cazuri e o chestiune de “nas”, in altele…

Crossing into Uzbekistan

Read the original post and follow Scarlet 4x4's overland adventures on their website: The Adventures of the Scarlet 4x4 - Blog.


This was the border crossing we had been dreading, for a number of reasons.
Medications:
First on our list of worries was the strict Uzbek rules regarding the carriage of medicines. There are a number of horror stories on travellers websites and blogs from people who have unintentionally transgressed these rules and been subject to hotel arrest or prison awaiting trial.http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/northern-asia/uzbekistan-medical-kits-warning-57823…