Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 6th August 2013, 19:37   #61
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 298
Thanked: 837 Times
Default Day 5: Almaty - Bishkek & around

An overland border crossing

After a good night’s sleep in the yurt, we got up around 7 am, got ready, and were at the breakfast table at 8. Madina had again laid out a lavish spread for us - pancakes, porridge, eggs, tea, sausages, different kinds of cheese, nutella, and several other delicious things. We ate to our heart’s content as we knew that we would get a late lunch.

We left the campsite around 9:15 am. Madina drove us to the point in Almaty where long-distance taxis stand. There, she found a taxi for us till Bishkek for KZT 10,000 (INR 4000). That was okay for us, but we asked her to ask the cabbie if he would lower the price if we took one more person with us. To this he said yes, and found a guy who also wanted to go to Bishkek. Thus, we ended us closing the deal at KZT 7500 (INR 3000), which was a pretty sweet deal.

Even though we had effectively only spent a day with Madina, we felt sad while saying our thank yous and goodbyes. She is a very warm and friendly person, and we wished we could have spent more time with her. Well anyway, we did make a new friend, and we were glad for that.


Routemap: From Almaty to Bishkek
Name:  001  Almaty to Bishkek.jpg
Views: 4329
Size:  179.5 KB

All ready to load the luggage in Madina's Pajero
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0139001.jpg

We left the taxi stand around 10:45 am in a rundown Audi which had neither conditioning (that’s what the Kazakhs call air conditioning) nor would its rear windows open. The cabbie was grumpy and kept mumbling to himself, and our co-passenger went off to sleep as soon as the drive began. So we settled in for a hot, uncomfortable 240 km long drive. There are hardly any villages or towns as one goes west from Almaty, nothing but vast emptiness for miles at a stretch. The road was fantastic and the aged Audi was doing 160 kmph without breaking a sweat, only to slow down occasionally for speed guns. The distance took us barely 2.5 hrs to cover and before we knew it we were standing in front of our first overland border crossing.

The procedure to cross over was actually pretty simple - one has to leave one’s taxi and walk with all their luggage into the customs area of Kazakhstan. If you are traveling with non-trolley suitcases, do not worry, there are many porters who would gladly ferry your luggage for you. The process was exactly as it happens on airports - you hand over your passport and the immigration stamp to the officer, he takes a customary glance, asks a few customary questions and off one goes towards the Kyrgyz customs. On the other side, the tourist friendly country had a separate counter for foreigners making the process even quicker. Once outside the Kyrgyz part of the customs, one is greeted by many taxi drivers jibbering in Russian, Kyrgyz and broken English and clamouring for one’s attention. We thankfully met a very helpful guy, Bayestan, who negotiated with them on our behalf and gave very clear instructions to the taxi guy to drop us at the guest house at which we were booked at a pre-negotiated rate. He managed to bring down the fare from 1000 SOM (1200 INR) to 500 SOM for the 25km ride to Bishkek.


Sitting at the back of the taxi, moving towards Bishkek


Approaching the Kyrgyz border, the vast plains open up


On the Kazakhstan side of the border
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0154_stitch001.jpg

Chui river, which forms the natural boundary between Kazakh and Kyrgyz for many kilometers
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0157001.jpg

Aarti had booked us at the Crocus Guest House which, as usual, was located a little away from the center. The approach to the guest house was scary as it seemed to be in a very shady part of town. It was only later that we realized that all residential areas in Kyrgyzstan wore the same dishevelled look, much unlike Almaty. We had half a mind of running away since there was no advance payment done. All our negativity and apprehensions were shooed away when we reached the guest house. The room was impeccably clean and so was the bathroom. The air conditioner was already switched on so that we could enter into a comfortable room. Every minute detail was well taken care of. After a quick refreshing shower, we sat down with our hostess, Zoya, for a cup of coffee. She had 5 rooms to rent out on the first floor, while she lives with her family on the ground floor. She was happy to see Indians as guests at her place and mentioned that we were the second group of Indians she had hosted this year. The first group of two boys were already on their biking trip from Bishkek to London. Gentlemen named Gagandeep & Kumar. We later googled Gagan and found his blog here. It is people like these who inspire us to do something crazier everyday . After finishing off our coffee, Zoya arranged a taxi for us to go to the center of town. It was relatively cheap at 100 SOM (INR 120) for about 7 km.

The first objective was to meet up with the Advantour fellows to confirm all bookings in person. We met up with Marat, our contact person there, and he assured us that everything was in order and that the car would be ready by the next morning for us to pick up. The border permits were ready for which we paid $80 in cash. The car rental company was located near the center and went by the name of Evi Auto Center. I guess if we had approached them directly, the rental might have been cheaper.

If one is staying in any of these countries for more than 4 days, they have to get themselves registered with the immigration police within 96 hours of their arrival. Their office timings are between 10am - 5pm and of course they do not work on weekends. At Bishkek, Marat had promised to get this done for us for a charge of 25 USD per person. We paid Marat for that as well, and deposited our passports with him so that he could get us registered. We kept copies of our passports just in case we needed them. Marat assured us that we would get our passports back the next afternoon with the registration stamp. At Almaty, the hotel (Sarai shik) had charged us 3200 INR per person for the same task.

It was already 5:00 pm now, and we had forgotten all about lunch. After a quick bite at a nondescript restaurant, we decided to visit a few souvenir shops to kill some time in an air-conditioned environment. A couple of hours were well spent at a coffee shop and some souvenir shops and by 7:30 pm the sun had gone down a bit and it was comfortable to walk around again. Our next destination was Bishkek’s central square, the Ala-Too square.

The square is in front of a history museum where a change of guard happens every hour. One can see snow clad mountains too on the south side from there. We spent the sunset there, observing locals and clicking pictures. There were many who were out for a general stroll and there were others who had come out with their kids on bicycles and prams. Again we were requested for more photo-ops to which we succumbed.


All souvenirs bought, no more shopping tension on the trip
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0162001.jpg

Well a bit more shopping won't hurt anyone
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0164001.jpg

Public telephones dot the city
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0168001.jpg

The Kyrgyz Parliament
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0174001.jpg

A monument near Ala Too square
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0181001.jpg

Manas, a very revered mythological character. His statute can be found in every corner of the country.
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0184a001.jpg

We thought he was made of wax, until we saw him blink
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0186a001.jpg

Funky dresses on kids
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0187a001.jpg

People gather around the museum much like they gather around India Gate in the evening
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0187b001.jpg

The Museum at Ala Too square
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0189001.jpg

A portrait of Manas, taking on the Ala-Too range south of Bishkek
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0189d001.jpg

Sibling love
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day05_0199b001.jpg

Drunken March anyone?


We had had a late lunch and then a snack at the coffee shop, so we decided to skip dinner. We caught a taxi from the central square for Crocus, and crashed as soon as we reached our room. We were all ready and excited to begin our road-trip the next day. Little did we know that fate had other plans in store for us...

Last edited by Rehaan : 8th August 2013 at 17:45. Reason: Removing link at the end which showed up due to copy-pasting. Thanks.
vardhan.harsh is offline   (15) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2013, 07:33   #62
BHPian
 
yogibear007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 146
Thanked: 54 Times
Default Re: Day 5: Almaty - Bishkek & around

Quote:
Originally Posted by vardhan.harsh View Post
An overland border crossing

Great continuation Harsh. You guys had a hell of a time. Hats off to both of you. Fantastic adventure and a suitable blog to boot. Please continue. Waiting for more.
PS: There seems to be no receiver/headpiece in the public telephone booth. Things really are similar to India. Left on its own, the public surely seems to be a similar quick decision maker like crowds back home .
yogibear007 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2013, 10:37   #63
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: London
Posts: 425
Thanked: 484 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Amazing Travelogue. Its fascinating to see and read when people travel to countries which are not frequented by regular tourists.

Excellent photos and very well narrated.

When ever I used fly over these countries on my way to Europe and US East Coast, I used to look at those snow capped mountains & deserts with imagination as to how it would be to travel in these countries. You have showed the reality.. thanks

Waiting for more

Regards
chandrda is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2013, 13:20   #64
Distinguished - BHPian
 
saket77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Ranchi
Posts: 3,191
Thanked: 4,242 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Great travelogue there Harsh. Really nice to read about the place which is not on everyone's travel radar. And very crisp & beautiful pictures too.

Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
Saket
saket77 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2013, 14:48   #65
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 298
Thanked: 837 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oranger View Post
One should have the guts to chalk out such a plan and make it a huge success & that too accompanied by the better half
I have been lucky with my better half being as adventurous as me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
I've read a lot of ride reports on ADVRider about these countries and it is wonderful to see that you guys made a trip there.
Now, to plan a ride there. But would be super-expensive....
I have searched for logs or any information I could find on T-bhp during the planning stages but could not find any info. Can you PM me the report by ADVRider? It would be an interesting read.

Regarding the prices, I think we splurged quite a lot and a lot of corners can be cut pulling the cost down to 2.0 - 2.5 lakhs for such a journey. I will shed more light on this at the end of the report, when I give a detailed expenses breakup and possibilities to reduce further. Sadly for me, I had little inputs from anyone thus had to make some decisions in a haste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogibear007 View Post
PS: There seems to be no receiver/headpiece in the public telephone booth. Things really are similar to India. Left on its own, the public surely seems to be a similar quick decision maker like crowds back home .
A keen eye yogi! A very keen eye indeed. True, wherever the incomes are low, people do get discontent and resort to vandalism and petty theft. Kyrgyzstan is no different on that front as compared to India. The economy has really taken a hit ever since they got independent from USSR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chandrda View Post
When ever I used fly over these countries on my way to Europe and US East Coast, I used to look at those snow capped mountains & deserts with imagination as to how it would be to travel in these countries.
I think those flights are more over Paksitan, Afghanistan and Tajiskistan. I don't think they fly over Kyrgyz and Kazakh. From what I've read the landscapes in the above mentioned 3 countries is quite different from the places we've been to.
vardhan.harsh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2013, 17:50   #66
BHPian
 
Oranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Pune
Posts: 62
Thanked: 67 Times
Default Re: Day 5: Almaty - Bishkek & around

Quote:
Originally Posted by vardhan.harsh View Post
An overland border crossing




On the Kazakhstan side of the border
Attachment 1122406
That's a Tempo/Force Traveller in one of your pictures near the border. but indeed pleased to see some indian influence.
Oranger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2013, 18:37   #67
Distinguished - BHPian
 
smartcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 2,973
Thanked: 11,919 Times
Default Re: Day 5: Almaty - Bishkek & around

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oranger View Post
That's a Tempo/Force Traveller in one of your pictures near the border. but indeed pleased to see some indian influence.
That is the Mercedes Benz TN Van
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_TN

We call it the Tempo Traveller!
smartcat is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th August 2013, 12:33   #68
BHPian
 
YanTra Makto's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: India
Posts: 136
Thanked: 378 Times
Thumbs up Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Wow,

Rated this as five star. One epic journey it must have been. Cannot wait for the rest to unfold.

Some courage you guys have to pick a couple of central Asian countries as your first ever foreign trip. That too when neither of you knows Russian!

That photo of the statue of Manas overlooking the low faraway snow capped peaks is just awesome. Cant get tired of looking at it.

Well amidst all these pluses, there is one disappointment, I waited and waited and searched and searched, but could not find any photo of the hot receptionist. Am sure you must be having one, but better sense with respect to better half must be prevailing.

Waiting eagerly for more...
YanTra Makto is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 08:33   #69
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 298
Thanked: 837 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oranger View Post
That's a Tempo/Force Traveller in one of your pictures near the border. but indeed pleased to see some indian influence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
That is the Mercedes Benz TN Van
We call it the Tempo Traveller!
I was a bit perplexed Oranger when I saw your comment, as I could not remember the Force Motors logo on any van in these countries And yes Mr. cat is correct - they were all Mercedes make.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YanTra Makto View Post

Some courage you guys have to pick a couple of central Asian countries as your first ever foreign trip. That too when neither of you knows Russian!

Well amidst all these pluses, there is one disappointment, I waited and waited and searched and searched, but could not find any photo of the hot receptionist. Am sure you must be having one, but better sense with respect to better half must be prevailing.

Waiting eagerly for more...
Well, it was not our first foreign trip. We had individually traveled abroad (work-related) but never had done so together. Thus making the choice for Central Asia easier. Neither of us are too big a fan of Europe for now, and US was just too expensive.

With regards to the hottie, my better half also wanted to click her, but we never had a situation wherein it could have been done. And she knew she was hot. You just have to visit that hotel soon, to see her ;-).
vardhan.harsh is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 08:42   #70
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 298
Thanked: 837 Times
Default Day 6: Around Bishkek - Ala Archa National park (40km)

A sudden change of plans

We had to meet Marat at 10:00 am sharp at the Evi Auto Center to pick up our rental car. Zoya, our hostess, had prepared an exquisite breakfast, one of the most satisfying of the trip. Maybe it was the aroma of that fresh coffee or maybe it was just her warmth that made that breakfast lovely. While Aarti was busy enjoying her breakfast, I was getting anxiety attacks. I was honestly as nervous as I had been the last time I was renting a vehicle outside india. While I was jumping around like Jeetendra, Aarti was calm as a cucumber. The fear of driving a vehicle as wide as a Land Cruiser in the wild traffic of Bishkek on the wrong side of the road (wrong for us!) was getting to me. Despite this, the excitement of actually beginning our road trip was palpable.

We promised Zoya to be back before 12:00 pm to check out. We were at the auto center bang on time, and quickly got the formalities done. It included signing the contract agreement, which was thankfully in English, paying the full amount upfront and a $1000 security deposit. We went down to pick up the car and the head mechanic started giving me instructions on operating the car in Russian! Thankfully, Marat was there to translate and I understood most of the things he was trying to tell. It included a quick overview of the control panel, the tool box, the puncture kit and the spare tyre. Since it was an automatic, I asked him to patiently explain its functioning, especially the 4x4 part. The mechanic was trying to explain in Russian but Marat could not translate properly. This resulted in a slight miscommunication which led me to an incorrect conclusion that the vehicle was a part time 4WD.

The vehicle had two gear levers - one was a normal shift for any automatic car, having P, N, R, D, 2, L marked on it; and another lever which had H, N, L marked on it. Although I could not understand what 2 and L were for, I could make out what P, N, R, D meant (Park, Neutral, Reverse, Drive). The other shift was also clear, H should have been 4 High, N for 2WD & L for 4 Low. There were also some strange buttons on the console, one which seemed to engage the central differential manually, another had ‘PW St’ written on it, one more button mentioned something call ‘O/D’, another by the name of ‘2nd’, and a totally separate lever for cruise control. It was all just too perplexing, and to make matters worse, they did not have any manual which I could refer to.


The route plan for the day. The hike began at C and went pure south from there for about 3kms.
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0000.jpg

The bylanes of Bishkek, ridden by potholes
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0001.jpg

The train engine looked familiar
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0002.jpg

Aah there it is, reversing out of the garage.
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0005.jpg

An intense training session given in Russian translated by Marat (the man in red)
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0006.jpg

And here is the behind of the beast.
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0009.jpg

While driving back to Zoya’s place, I noticed that the vehicle was engaged in 4H mode and immediately pulled over to shift to N as keeping it in 4H mode would have wound up the transmission, or so I thought. However, the vehicle would not budge. I drove on to the guest house in the 4H mode, praying all the way. In the meanwhile, I made desperate calls to Tanveer & Harjeev - the first being a general expert in all things to do with vehicles, the other the only person I knew who owned a Land Cruiser. I connected with Harjeev in time to find out that he had limited knowledge about an automatic transmission. But he promised to connect me with a friend of his, Sanjay Madan. Obviously anyone who is active on forums or has a passion for the road would have heard this name before, the Sanjay Madan of the Nano expedition fame.

Back at the guest house with internet connectivity, it was easy to find an English owner’s manual of the car and hence I got some theoretical clarity on the vehicle’s operations. I was relieved to know that the vehicle was a full time 4WD and hence the N mode on the lever must have been for Neutral. The world made more sense now. A couple of hours later, Sanjay also called up and explained at length on how to optimally use the controls in various off-the-road and on-the-road situations. This helped me alot with my confidence to take the off-roads of Kyrgyzstan head-on. Thanks a ton to all you guys, specially Sanjay, without your consultancy it would have been an extremely difficult journey.

With the car sorted out, we planned to head back to the city to grab some lunch, pick up our passports and begin the much awaited ride out into the countryside. Lunch was at a food court in some nondescript mall as the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed for renovation. We also took out time to get a local SIM card, get some currency exchanged assuming that the interiors would have an expensive exchange rate and stocked on some supplies like snacks, ready-to-cook items and bottled drinking water. It made sense to stock up on cheaper 5L bottles than to buy expensive 1L ones.

A bolt came from the blue when Marat called up to inform that he would not be able to give our passports back that day. He mentioned that there had been some unexpected delays at the immigration office and we would be getting our passports back only the next day post-lunch. This was a bummer! We were left with no choice but to stay back at or near Bishkek. It took us a couple of minutes to re-plan our itinerary, after which we decide to head towards the Ala Archa National Park in the Ala-Too range south of Bishkek. The park is situated at a stone’s throw distance from the city and is a trekker’s paradise. One can easily reach towering peaks and huge glaciers by hiking just a day into this lovely park. The park also boasts of the highest peak in this region. The peaks here are snow-covered for most part of the year and one can find snow deposits at lower altitudes as well. If we were to stay near Bishkek, it made sense to try our luck at the only hotel inside the national park and stay in the mountains rather than the city.

The road to Ala Archa moves south from Bishkek and as soon as one gets out of the city, one is in wide open fields with mountains looming ahead. The park entrance is probably 25 km from the center of the city and one needs to pay about 500 SOM to take a vehicle inside plus 20 SOM per person. The hotel itself is right at the end of the road about 15 km deep inside the park, next to the Ala Archa river. There were many locals out for a picnic but everyone left as the sun went down. After I got over my anxiety of driving the massive car, Aarti also tried her hands and got comfortable driving it outside the city. It was her first experience driving on the other side of the road and in fact fared much better than me as she did it without the anxiety attack.


This was all we found in the name of an Indian restaurant, and it was deserted
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0010.jpg

The drive out of Bishkek
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0015.jpg

And towards Ala Archa
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0021.jpg

The colorful fields
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0022.jpg

The entrance to the park
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0023.jpg

The road narrows inside the park but remains tarred
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0027.jpg

The Ala Archa river meanders below
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0035.jpg

At the “A frame lodge”, as the guidebooks describe the only hotel inside Ala Archa NP, we had a tough time communicating with the lady at the reception. Despite this, we managed to bargain and got a room at 2000 SOM (2400 INR) for the night. The room was not spectacularly clean, nor was the view that great, but the location was fantastic. We went out for a stroll in the evening till the end of the track. Although it was a motorable road, vehicles are not allowed beyond the hotel. In fact, the track goes much deeper for about 16 odd kms, and turns into a 4x4 track, but of course that too is not allowed. Our short evening hike took us about 3 kms inside the park where we stopped at a shack and had a nice cup of apricot tea. We then strolled back before the weather turned for the worse. The locals were out having fun, and there were two gentlemen who were skinny-dipping in the freezing river below.


The hike begins
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0038.jpg

Very unlike Kyrgyzstan, the trails were properly marked and that too in English
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0040.jpg

The clouds kissed the ground
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0043.jpg

Two gentlemen enjoying skinny dipping
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0046.jpg

An old couple walks ahead of us
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0048.jpg

The river was quite fast
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0075.jpg

The end of the hike, a 4x4 track runs parallel to the river to the glacier from where it begins
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0090.jpg

The tea shack at the end of the hike
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0093.jpg

Tea was served with what kind only be called a 'poori'
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0095.jpg

The A-frame lodge where we were put up
Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan-day06_0098.jpg

Dinner was simple and consisted of bread and mutton soup which was delicious for a carnivore like me but Aarti was not too amused. We crashed as soon as the sun went down hoping to begin our road-trip tomorrow... Thankfully, it did and we also got a preview of what off-roading in Kyrgyzstan means early the next morning.
vardhan.harsh is offline   (15) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 11:43   #71
BHPian
 
Porschefire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 370
Thanked: 825 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

This is by far the most unique,awesome and the best travelogue i've read on TBhp!!! And i'm hungry for more!!!!
Kudos to you guys for undertaking such an expedition!!!The writing was truly magnificent and the pictures,BEAUTIFUL !!!May i say i've become a fan of Harsh & Aarthi!!!

What makes this travelogue special for me is that,i work in Azerbaijan and i can relate to everything that you've mentioned in the thread. The Russian monologues,people requesting to take pictures with them,the "jimi jimi",raj kapoor, mithun da, the warmth of the people,the rudeness - everything!!!The sad part of my job is that it does not permit me to travel and explore the country(i work on rotations-35 days continuously here in AZ and then i head back to India) so i haven't seen much apart from a few places in the capital,Baku.
So, the next time you plan on exploring Central Asia,come to AZ and you can do Armenia,Georgia,Turkey and Moscow all at once!!!

Waiting for the rest of your story!!!

Last edited by Porschefire : 13th August 2013 at 11:45. Reason: punctuations
Porschefire is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 12:37   #72
An1
BHPian
 
An1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Leeds / New Delhi
Posts: 53
Thanked: 4 Times
Default

Awesome thread.. Respect mate for attempting this travel to a former USSR country..which is not so well travelled and has a completely different language.


But I must say, you're quite cruel to your fellow TBPians.. A number of times in your thread I find reference to beautiful encounters from the region, but even after trawling the thread multiple times I just could not find their pictures mate.
My additional motivation to travel to CIS countries !!

Any chance you will be uploading the pictures soon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vardhan.harsh View Post
Finally it begins!

We then proceeded to our Hotel - Sarai shik. Aarti and I agreed on three things immediately,
  • The hotel was expensive
  • But it was very good
  • The receptionist was hot!
Beautiful encounters.. I meant this.

I feel now I must have to visit the CIS countries soon..

Just the other day I was reading a blog on 'ADV Rider' forums the travel blogs of 3 guys who travelled the BAM road, an almost Non-existent road in Russia on their bikes crossing rivers and ready-to-go-down bridges. That was EPIC !!!

& now your blog on travel through KZ & KG.. Man, I am so inspired now to plan a travel to Central Asia.

That place is raw beauty..one that you would want to explore off the beaten path. & people I have read are generally very warm and friendly.

I would wish to do this on a Bike though.. Wonder if it will be feasible to get permits within reason!!

Last edited by bblost : 13th August 2013 at 21:58. Reason: Back 2 back and more than 2 smileys.
An1 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 13:21   #73
Senior - BHPian
 
amtak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Mumbai - The city of Sea Link!!!
Posts: 2,782
Thanked: 342 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Quote:
Originally Posted by vardhan.harsh View Post
Weird graffitti on the wall

This picture just reminded me of our beloved Yeti. RIP Sam. I never had a chance to meet you but promise to meet you in heaven whenever I am there.

Harsh, a wonderful travelougue and nice pictures. Thank you for showing us the unseen
amtak is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 17:02   #74
BHPian
 
@tombum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ahmedabad
Posts: 66
Thanked: 17 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

This is getting very exciting. I mean, it's not only difficult to imagine travelling in a place like this but it's super exotic. Wow!
@tombum is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 19:48   #75
Senior - BHPian
 
R2D2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Punya Nagari
Posts: 1,894
Thanked: 1,137 Times
Default Re: Central Asian Diaries - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Rated 5 stars!

If a journey and travelogue could be called 'Off the beaten track' this is it. I'd say this is an adventure very few in India would have embarked upon.

Thanks so much for sharing!
R2D2 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal Dodge_Viper Travelogues 13 20th April 2016 09:00
Alto'ed: Dooar Diaries (Coronation Bridge, Mal Bazaar, Chalsa, Samsing & More) YanTra Makto Travelogues 18 30th April 2014 21:49
Alto Xcite - Upgrade Manual Central Locking to Remote Central locking Laxminarayan Technical Stuff 1 28th December 2009 15:02
Owning a car in developed Asian countries Ram The International Automotive Scene 18 24th January 2006 20:09


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 05:16.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks