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Martin Malik

My name is Martin and this is my story. I travel because it is fun and a great way to continue self-education which enriches the worldview and opens my eyes to unnoticeable things, both in the distant countries and the closest ones. Let's get to know other cultures but let's also respect and defend our own.


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Whilst travelling from the Christian remains of Constantinople and the ancient sands of Persia, through the Himalayas, the Great Wall of China and the dense jungles of Borneo, I realized that the world must have its order. Therefore despite my beautiful adventures and experiences I always remembered which culture I myself belonged to, and I also appreciated the beauty and values of our beautiful - White Christian civilization.

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Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010

By: Martin Malik
All travel reports are translated electronically although minor improvements are sometimes made.

Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010


Expedition to Kyrgyzstan is an adventure for those who love mountain hikes, rapid streams, blue lakes in the mountains, and close contact with nature. In Kyrgyzstan I slept in yurts, and in the morning I was woken up by grazing sheep on green pastures, among the mountains. Kyrgyzstan also has its national games, shyrdak carpets, and adventurous hitchhiking. 


Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010 – travel report

Travel route: Lake Issyk-Köl, Cholpon-Ata, Karakol, Trip to Altyn Arashan, horseback riding to the Ala-Köl lake, Jeti-Oghüz, Tamga, Sarymbulak, Song- Köl, description of the national games of Kyrgyzstan, Naryn, Karkor, Sarlasas green hills, Bishkek, Korgon Bazaar, Arslanbob, Jalal-Abad, Osh. What is the Pamir Highway, Sara Tash, Bor Döbo and transport to the border with Tajikistan. In addition, this report includes many “road journals”, interesting practical information and other descriptions.

My travel report about crossing the Pamir Highway is in my journal about Tajikistan.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide


Bishkek and surroundings


I got to Kyrgyzstan through the land border with Kazakhstan in Korday. This transition is well organized and stress free. After entering a stamp on my visa, I got into a bus and a couple of poor som (currency of Kyrgyzstan) I got to Bishkek.


(Ala-Too Square, Lenin Museum and Monument, Frunze Museum, Panfilova and Dubovy Park, pro-democracy propaganda, Erkindik, police problem, plov-glory of culinary Kyrgyzstan, sheep skewers, Monument to World War II)

After arriving to the capital I felt quite insecure because a few months ago there was an ethnic civil war.This was the biggest problem so far between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbek. The more I was nervous because in a few days it was supposed to be here Monika, my dear travel companion, which I had previously carried out by many other countries. She had to arrive two days after my arrival, so I first settled on a cheap hostel, got off the ground and planned a further trip. The first two days passed quickly. I went to Ala-Too Square, I ate skewers, I was at Lenin’s monument and then picked up Monica from the airport. She was frightened as usual and she first asked if she was safe. I hugged her, arranged a hitchhike at the hostel itself and bought her dinner and the next day we started exploring Bishkek. (On the plus side is that I usually pick Monica at the airport somewhere at the end of the world, sometimes in countries that she did not know before.) So she promised another beautiful adventure.

We stayed in the center, right at the German embassy, ​​so we first went to see Ala-Too square as it was only a 10 minute walk from us.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

As for the post-Soviet country, this square was called the Lenin Square until 1991. The monument of this companion was also in the center of the square but in 2003 it “lost its popularity” and moved it to another place. Ala-Too Square is a great mass of concrete that still shines like cheap marble. In addition, at the central point is the great statue of Erkindik, a woman symbolizing freedom, in the hand holding the yurt top of the sun. In other words, it is a motif from Kyrgyzstan’s flag. In addition, Ala-Too Square is a meeting place for families, bridesmaids, sellers and photographers. Erkindik’s circle is also a high mast with the flag of Kyrgyzstan and next to a guard that stands motionless for hours. In the square there are also recently planted flowers and there are several fountains. We do not expect here, however, the monuments of Rome. These are rectangular pits full of concrete with faucets arranged in different directions.

Behind the Erkindik monument there is a great and unfortunately not-to-be-missed State Historical Museum,which is quite a recent Lenin Museum . It is a huge post-Soviet block with walls probably so thick that it would be suitable for shelter. Inside I expected to find out about the history of Kyrgyzstan as the name implies. But it was primarily a “temple for worship of Lenin” with propaganda so heavy to digest and naive at the same time that I lacked words. On the other hand, the museum is a great experience. Inside I found Lenin’s statues in various positions, but especially in that when he spoke to the Soviet people and people from all social classes were looking at him as if Jesus Christ was revealed. There are also many paintings on the walls, such as: Nazi Germany is depicted as a menacing black bear and the American president is wearing a skull while being a bomb wheel. The story of the museum is immediately known as Russia is portrayed as a beautiful woman holding a white dove in her hand. It is clearly shown how Russia educates people and fights for world peace. Nonsense, nonsense, but nicely presented. There is also a clear photo of a young, smiling Stalin. On the margins there are also some Kyrgyz exhibits, such as yurt, carpets and old armor but not much.

Behind the museum is a monument to Lenin with a hand drawn to the people and a few reliefs with his participation. On the west side of the square is a large government building called the White House . Next is Panfilova Park , a meeting place where you can find an amusement park with a few rusty attractions. On the east side of Ala-Too Square, near the cinema, there is a gallery of paintings on the street and the Dubovy Park with the Erkindik statue.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Erkindik – the symbol of Kyrgyzstan.

The overall impression of Ala-Too Square and its immediate surroundings is: it is nice to see something new and surely every tourist will see it but it is certainly not the greatest asset of this country.

The next day in Bishkek, I invited Monica to dinner. We ate a couple of rams and good salads here, but the service was slow and it was definitely a service without a smile, which is typical of the post-Soviet republics. Then on the way to the Tsum department store, the police stopped us, searched my backpack and all the pockets. They did it because they were bored and were curious about how much money we had. Fortunately I have always had such a safe box that they did not find. Finally they handed me a hand and said they had such a job. Of course this is not true and as an iron rule in traveling to Central Asia I would advise you to simply avoid any contact with the police . They certainly do not solve any problems and they can create a lot.

The next place we visited was the Frunze Museum . Frunze was a former communist activist, whose name was once called Bishkek. The museum contains photographs of the then Bolshevik leader, flags, decorations and photographs from work and family. There was also a picture of Frunze and Lenin. I think the most interesting was a furnished house from the beginning of XXh in which Frunze lived. Besides, Mikhail Vasilevich Frunze survived Lenin’s death and some unexplained, probably directed “car accidents”.In 1925 Stalin had to undergo a gastric surgery that he had not survived.

Strolling on Bishkek, eating fruit from time to time, we went to a small pub to eat one of the national delicacies of Kyrgyzstan, or plov . In short it is cooked rice with meat and carrots although depending on the region and the republic there are many variants of this dish. Many of them float in fat, it is also good to drink hot tea.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Another interesting object is the Monument to the Second World War , which resembles the shape of a yurt. In addition, it is lined with marble or similar stone, there is a candle and several monuments of soldiers wearing guns. Next to it is a circus in the shape of a UFO ship, which the years of glory has already clearly behind.

The last days of our tour of Bishkek we spent on skewers, fruit, another walk on Ala-Too Square and a long conversation with other travelers.

Ala Archa

(A few words about the place, get yourself out of Bishkek, the beauty of the Ala-Arch landscape, dinner and dancing with the Kyrgyz, night in the tent far from everything, return through the beautiful plenary and nap along the river)

In my opinion, the mountain paradise of Al-Arch is the easiest and most beautiful part of Kyrgyzstan near Bishkek. It is a mountainous country where you can sit by the waterfall, walk the mountains, jump through small streams crossing the road or go for a more ambitious hike to the glacier. In either case, the first contact with the Kyrgyz nature begins, within the canyon of the same name.

By car, you can get there quickly but with a mix of local buses, waiting for them and hitchhiking it took us about 1.5h – although the park gate is only 30km from the city. From Moskovskaya street I took a bus to Osh Bazaar . Here we bought watermelon and some other snacks and we boarded bus 365, which drove us to the park gate (vorota zapoviednika). On the way the driver had to drink with other drivers in the village of Kashka-Suu, so we had a forced break and an interesting conversation with local people. We also tried some local specialties. Finally we reached the gate where we managed to slip for free although they wanted to take us for a tent at night. So I said that I would sleep under a tree without a tent and we walked for only 30 somers per person. From the gate we tried to catch the hitchhiking but unfortunately we were unlucky and had to go all 12km to the Alplager resort where it started getting closer to nature. The whole area was beautiful. We walked along the river to sit on the rocks and eat our supplies. We also met tourists from Kyrgyzstan who offered us food and wanted to dance with us so I sent Monika to do the job. We jumped through small streams crossing a stony road and just enjoyed a close contact with nature. As we approached, we passed through a wooden, swirling bridge over a fiery river and then we walked in front.The road was interesting because we saw the glacier before us, and we had big boulders around us, lying unevenly on the road. As we approached the darkness we set up the tent, we dressed warmly and went to bed. We slept at about 2300m asl without mats or quilts and it was so cold we got up at five in the morning.I folded my wet tent from the dew and went in the direction of return. We walked through the beautiful mountain lodges and waited for the sun to warm up a bit. On that day, the river also poured some water from the trough and it was raining, which resulted in a little flooding and we had to jump far to get wet even more. Upon arriving at Alplager we went to the hotel where we spread out our lunch and asked for a kettle of hot water. I poured my tea there and then poured bread with kirgiski bread, we started to recover and found that I wanted to go back to Al-Arch . Around midnight it got very hot so we had to take a little break. We set up our backpacks and set off on a 12km road to the park gate. I tried to make it a nice walk.We often stopped to sit by the river. I filled my bottle with water, washed in it, and at the end we slept at the rushing stream. It was a beautiful morning. After leaving the park we were waiting for an empty stop, and contrary to what was showing the timetable, in a short time came the “route”. After a short trip we stopped for lunch because the driver took a break and then returned to Bishkek.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Tyoplye Kluchi

(Click on words about the natural beauty of this place, get there, our adventures)

Tyoplye Kluchi is translating to Polish hot springs. 40km for Bishkek, on the opposite side of the Ala-Arch canyon is the Alamedin Canyon. This beautiful mountain region is not part of the national park, but it is worth to visit because of its magnificent views. On each side there are of course mountains and yurt and grazing animals. This is a traditional Kyrgyz landscape.

Getting to the place is to some extent even easy, but then depends on luck as it often happens in this country. We took bus No. 145 from the Alamedin Bazaar and after about an hour we reached the village of Koy-Tash. From here you either have to go 14km to Toplye Kluchi or catch a hitch. We succeeded as I set my “blondinette” on the road and after ten minutes from the empty road stopped a high-end four-wheel drive. It was a young couple who could not officially be together because parents did not agree to their marriage. She was a Cossack and he was a Uighur but lived and was born in the Soviet Union in what is today Kyrgyzstan. They were so nice that they brought us to the hot springs but unfortunately they were closed due to renovations. I thought we were going to stay there for the night or spread the tent somewhere and we’d fall asleep. Monika was not impressed with this idea so our colleague was extremely nice. He took us to a nearby tavern Kaminov for a delicious dinner consisting of roast ram and baked potatoes. This tavern was beautifully situated in the mountains, so that the terrace with tables was on the bridge over the river. It was a great treat but still not enough. Our friend hired a luxury wooden house and invited many friends for a nice evening. We talked about Kyrgyzstan and Europe, I took pictures of them, we had snacks and enjoyed what we were given. There were two rooms in the cottage so we could sleep in one.

In the morning we went out to admire the scenery. We were sitting by the river, walking the mountains and taking pictures of horses, rams and yurts against the background of the picturesque panorama of Kyrgyzstan. At the end our friend drove us all the way to Bishkek to our hostel. We thanked him warmly and after returning to England I sent him many photos. Around the canyon of Alamedin I heartily recommend.Like the rest of Kyrgyzstan, this corner is also exceptionally beautiful.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Lake District of Issyk-Köl

A few words about the Issyk-Köl lake

This lake is the national pride of Kyrgyzstan and also the second largest mountain lake in the world (after Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia). It is clean like a tear, never freezes, and is constantly being fed to about 50 sources of water from the glaciers around it. In other words, the lake is a huge hole in the land to which a multitude of rivers flow, but it does not flow. It has a diameter of about 170km at 70km. The locals say that the water is warm but probably only because they were not in Sri Lanka.

Getting to the lake from Biszkek is very easy. Generally, there are only two roads: the north and south.


(Description of lake and town, museum, petroglyphs, good food)

Cholpon-Ata is one of the most popular villages on the Issyk-Köl lake and the whole town is very well prepared for tourists. Basically every house has rooms for rent and there are plenty of cheap pubs in the lake area where you can eat at will.

As soon as we got out of the bus, we were asked if we had a place to spend the night. So we went with one lady who took us to the guest house. It was free for three nights and for the people I paid only $ 24 and the house was 5 minutes walk from the lake. We spent the next day of course over the water. Monika wished but she did not want to bathe because the name of the warm lake was quite cold. But I did bathe many times, though I admit that it is better to enter fast. On the day you could also take a camel and the beach vendors were carrying dumplings of all kinds of ice cream. This way we spent three days here. We slept by the lake and ate at a nearby street where you could dress up in the menu. Everything was pretty cheap and good. In the meantime, however, I had enough laziness and that is why I wanted to go to the local museum and for an interesting walk to the petroglyphs.

The Issyk-Köl Museum was devoted to the lake of course, but also to the archeology and ethnography of the region. At the entrance was a map of the lake and there were graves, jewels, several petroglyphs and paintings and kiddos (national kyrgyskie rugs).

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Issyk-Köl lake, Kyrgyzstan.

The most interesting thing about this region was the petroglyphs located over 2km from the town to the north. As guides we had two local boys who pointed us not only the road but also a beautiful view from the mountain to Issyk-Köl. Petroglyphs are otherwise boulders with engraved paintings on them. One was deer and the other was irish. Most of them came from the 13th century BC to around Iw ne. In addition, there were carved gravestones with the faces of the people. There was a small brook in the field, and the surrounding area was another charming landscape with Issyk-Köl lake.

Cholpon-Ata is a very pleasant place and good for rest before heavy trips around Karakol. I strongly recommend though on the other hand I do not advise to use the internet here because it is incomparably expensive to Bishkek or Karakol.


(Description of the city, its monuments, our hotel, Kazan Kebab)

Karakol is one of the larger cities of Kyrgyzstan which means that it basically consists of only a few streets.There is an interesting architecture from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, although the city is undoubtedly the starting point for trips to the mountains. Karakol is also the administrative center of the province of Issyk-Köl.

When we got to Karakol I was not impressed. At 60 som we reached the center, passing the post-Soviet blocks of plates and a roundabout, which has not seen the paint for a long time. We unloaded our luggage at Neofit Hotel where I wanted to delete 800 som for two people in one room but I paid only 500s and they were happy. Hotel Neofit was well organized because it had clean rooms and clean linen, hot showers and a central location.

First we went to the tourist information to help us organize the trip and although they gave me some advice, as usual I organized everything myself. Then we saw a Chinese mosque that looks like a Buddhist monastery but is actually a mosque. It was completed in 1910, then closed by the Bolsheviks in the 1930s and then again became a sacred object. In my opinion, being in Karakol will not hurt to see this mosque because it is close and it is another interesting object, but after visiting Uzbekistan or Tibet will certainly not delight us.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

In Karakol there are also many colonial buildings , which over the centuries belonged mainly to Russian intellectuals. In such a building there is, for example, a local museum, a radio and television office and a pedagogical school. Not all are unfortunately in good condition but I think many streets still reflect the style and character of those times. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, built of wood, is also interesting, which also has a cursed history associated with the Bolsheviks. Although the restoration works on this very atmospheric place were carried out several times, it is still clear that the church still needs serious investment. This was one of my favorite places in Karakol. After visiting and shopping we went to a nearby restaurant and would gladly advise that if someone plays in Karakol it is a must try the food called “Kazan kebab” . These are finely chopped and well seasoned beef cuts with rice and salad. Especially before going to the mountains I advise to eat the whole portion and then rest. However, we went to see another place that unfortunately had a Soviet character. It was Pushkin Park, where nature was less than mediocre, but after entering through a hole in the fence, a pedestal stood on the pedestal and the collective grave of the Red Army.

In the morning the next day we went to the local bazaar to reserve a trip to the mountains. In the meantime, we did laundry at the Neofit Hotel and left unused luggage for a few days. Then we went back to Karakol to rest after the expedition, eat Kazan kebab and set off for another expedition.

(Karakol Valley) – Expedition to Altyn Arashan

(What is Altyn Arashan, course of the trip to Altyn Arashan, Valentin’s house, mushroom diet, beauty of nature)

The trip to Altyn Arashan is one of the most popular expeditions of Karakol. A great feature of Araunan is its beautiful mountain scenery, although there are also hot springs, which are a kind of reward after the hard work of reaching the place. Altyn Arashan lies at an altitude of 3000m above sea level with Peak Palatka (4260m) visible in good weather. Besides, there is clean air, a clean, swamp river and herds of rams grazing on green pastures. Apparently Arashan, which is part of the nature reserve, is also home to 20 irises. But seeing them is a chance as one to a million.

Most tourists only go to the hostel in Altyn Arashan and then back to Karakol. But we went for a big step forward because we also went to the lake Ala-Köl (peak at 3860m). The least people make a full pentle and return to Karakol by camp Sirota. As usual in these conditions you need good weather, good and sober guide and good horse, or just strong legs and spine.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

In my opinion, the Karakol section → Altyn Arashan can be done by yourself as the travel agency obviously discourages. With Karakol jeep (provided that it is not in repair) can let you Valentin, a man who spend the whole season in Altyn Arashan. This is about $ 25, although I think the transport here is a lot of adventure.

After leaving the hotel we stopped on the road where I stopped bus 358 going to the Ak-Suu Sanatorium or otherwise to the Ak-Suu Resort. Monika took a seat and was squeezed between ducks and a bucket of apples, while I stood there looking good around the area. After about 10min we reached the crossroads at the entrance to the valley. This place was called a resort but only by name.

Since then we have been waiting for a 16km hiking trail. Once was easy, another time more steep, but after a while it got very hard. We carried our backpacks, which we had enough, though sometimes tourists, who were twice as large. Of course, the scenery of this place was getting better and better with advancing. We were surrounded by mountains, beside the swift river and the rams. The road was very uneven and winding, stoned out of it and here and there it was crossed by streams. From time to time we sit down by the river, under the trees, and have a meal break. It was also good because the watermelon we were carrying was heavy and eating it made us lighter. On that day we got bad weather because it was raining and in the final stages of the walk we were all wet and we had enough. For the last few kilometers, the road has become increasingly steep, but it is also dirty, wet, and slippery. Finally, after about six hours, a beautiful valley with several houses appeared before our eyes. I just hoped that someone would accept us because especially today I did not want to set up a tent in the rain. Fortunately, Valentin “got a tip” from his office in Karakol and knew that two tourists wanted to make the trip that day. We walked into his hut, sat down at the stove and then slowly began to undress and hang up the laundry by the fireplace. We were finished but especially Monika. Quite soon we got a plov but cold and that is why my belly ached. We slept in the living room on the shelves converted to beds because all the rooms were occupied. It did not bother us that people were talking around us, playing chess and cards. We just went to bed.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

The next day we got up smiling because we were susi, though still not rested. We still felt our 16km march up the previous day. We got breakfast consisting mainly of pasta and some mushrooms as Valentin was eating rather cheaply. The diet was based on pasta or rice and on mushrooms. They were always there in abundance, especially after the rain. Besides, Valentin liked to gather. Also part of his house was a rainwater conservatory where the hammock stood and he could sleep on the platform under the windows.We were in a beautiful green valley, on either side of the sheep and sheep pasture, in front of us in the yard were the horses, next to the clear river and Peak Peak hiding behind the mist. We sat together by the river and enjoyed nature.

Expedition to the high alpine lake Ala-Köl (3530m asl)

(Description of the beauty of my trip, gorgeous lake, horse riding, climbing and return to Altyn Arashan and to Karakol, hot springs)

I know that maybe we should have stayed at Altyn Arashan and rested, but a group of Russians living in Bishkek, who wanted to go on a horseback to Lake Ala-Köl. Of course, we joined in and I was happy to do it even though it did not happen without complications. It was difficult for us to get a guide because noone who had horses did not want to get up because of a blast. After our efforts we finally set off after two hours.The second problem was my brave “adventure traveler”, who was afraid of horses and complained of leg and back pain. But there was no time to worry. We went on another great adventure.

We got on the horses and went on the road. First we crossed the river and then climbed for some time.Horses were good advice but were a little lazy and stubborn. All the time we had beautiful views of the mountains, the green pastures, the river and overall it was a great adventure. In some places we also stopped for a meal with our cheerful companion. We ate local bread (leeks) and sausage and cucumbers.After a few hours we started to hurt our butt and we had a little bit because the one way trip was supposed to take us only four hours and took six. All because nature was so beautiful that we took more time to enjoy it. Finally we reached the place where it was too steep for the horses to climb so we had to. We went up about 200m high and often had to climb on all fours because it was so steep and slippery. One lot was covered with gravel, from which it was easy to emerge and the other was covered with eternal snow. After about 30 minutes we managed to climb to the top though Monika was the first. The view from above was of course wonderful. On one side I saw the mountains and wide valley, cut across the river and on the other I had glaciers and crystal clear blue Ala-Köl lake.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

At that moment I felt that all the heavy moments of this trip were just to stand on this mountain and have that view.

Lake Ala-Köl and the trip to it was one of the most successful and fascinating mountain experiences of my life. Another such experience was the journey to Mount Everest.

The journey back to Altyn Arashan was difficult because we had a delay and for three hours we went in the dark. The horses were tired and lazy and one was shaking and I had to drive him. Once I went down the steep mountain very slowly and another time we entered the wetland area and a colleague on another horse had to come up from behind, who was scared by the gallop running up the hill. Monika was tired because it was dark night, she was scared and she was cold. Of course, I received a small bundle of vulgarity on her part, but the next day when she was already full of sleep, she decided that it was a beautiful expedition. Besides, the first one reached the summit.

An important part of this expedition was also the hot springs to which we went at two in the morning despite the fatigue. It was a fantastic experience without which I do not think Altyn Arashan should be left alone . It was warm, pleasant and we were able to relax. Then we warmed up and went down to the river, slipping in the mud. I lay down in it because it was warm enough that I did not feel cold yet. We returned all through the valley around four in the morning with only light from the phone.

Late the next morning we went back to Karakol. It was again 16km on foot but this time it went faster because it was down hill. As usual we had beautiful views and this time it did not rain. When I got to Ak-Suu Resort I got a hitch, which meant that Karakol arrived in eight people in one car.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Ala-Köl lake. Kyrgyzstan.

Jeti – Oghüz

(Pearl of Kyrgyz nature from red sandstone)

Upon our return to Karakol we returned to our hotel to simply relax. All day long we had to sleep and eat because we were so finished. I did not want to leave Karakol, however, because about 25km west of the town was Jeti-Oghüz, a beautiful rock formations of red sandstone. We got a taxi from the bazaar near the Neofit Hotel. The place I was interested in was the Jeti-Oghüz Sanatorium because there were just red cliffs. One of them is Broken Heart and another set of rocks is Seven Bulls . Each of them has its own legend. The views here were wonderful and also very different than I have seen before. Out of the green pasture of goats and small farms grew large, beautiful, cliff-shaped cliffs as described above. Many tourists only take photos from the bottom but I climbed to the top to touch the bulls . Unfortunately, Monica, who was very lazy and did not want to go to another mountain, did not want to be alone. Luckily, the dogs around her chewed on her (and rightly so) that she finally entered. The entrance was not difficult. Monika was complaining all the time because she was still struggling with the previous trip, but I noticed that the more she complained the less she was because the views were so beautiful.

The highlight was getting to the top to touch the red bull sandstone and watching the bulls and the whole area from the top. Then we went down and spent time on the river and among the countryside, horses and rams. We just enjoyed the scenic view and the silence. Then after visiting the local bar and eating mante (Central Asian asian dumplings with ramen meat) we went to Broken Heart . We spent several hours sitting by the river, against the red rocks and talking to the kirgisk family inside the yurt. Monika wanted to go back to the center of the village because at 6:00 pm she shared a taxi, but I thought it would be better if we donated organized transport and return to Karakol on the basis of luck. So we walked about half an hour on the asphalt road. I was happy and Monika was worried because she is very good at it. Finally I stopped hitchhiking and got to the main road where we spent time with honey sellers. From there I grabbed another hitch and happily returned to Karakol after another beautiful day.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Jeti-Oghüz in my opinion is a must for those who are in Karakol. Bypassing this place is a very serious loss of unique experiences.

Transport from Karakol to Tamga

(And how to get to the right “train station” in Karakol.) Without the directions below it can be very annoying)

It is very important to remember that there are two stations in Karakol or rather places where buses are parked. These are the “north” and “south” stations, and this name owes them to the shore of Issyk-Köl Lake.Tamga is located on the southern shore of the lake so to get to the right train station in Karakol, after leaving the hotel Neofit (street running to Pushkin Park) turn left and reach a tragic gas station. This is the train station.

The ride to Tamga passed quietly and I had nice views. It lasted more than 3 hours.


Tamga in my opinion is a beautiful stop over Issyk-Köl lake and at the same time a wonderful rest before quite demanding Central Kyrgyzstan.

As soon as we got off the empty road, a blue panorama of the lake appeared before us, and on the other side were the rocks and the uphill road. The local kids took us to the hotel near the gas station but it was very expensive here. So we went to the bridge where the Russian family rented the rooms. We had a nice place in the fruit orchard and it was so good that we stayed three nights and had only one stay. We were on the beach, “we ducked” into the water and we peeled off the apricots from the trees. It was great. I felt once again close contact with nature, especially as the cows grazed on the beach.

There was never a hitchhiking here, so we drove up to the main town for meals and stocking a few times.

Tamga was a nice, lazy and quiet rest in the mountain hardships.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Central Kyrgyzstan

Horse riding to Song-Köl lake

(Travel through beautiful Kyrgyzstan, reliable hitchhiking, the tragic settlement of Sarymbulak , 40-year-old Moscow mountaineering, herd of yaks, another hitch, reaching the place with a few wrecks and patience)

As usual it happens during my travels and this time we stood on an empty road waiting for a hitch. After a few minutes, old and heavily battered Toyota. We dropped our luggage and left, but after a few minutes the American (Peter) joined us, which we also grabbed from the empty road. The trip was very nice. We all admired the scenic plenary and made good contact with our new companion. As always in Kyrgyzstan we traveled between the mountains, picturesque valleys, lakes and rivers. The views were amazingly beautiful.

After some time our driver threw us out at the crossroads because he was going in another direction, so I stopped another car. I have noticed that many drivers in Kyrgyzstan often become tourist because it is a petrol charge. As a rule, they do not try to draw big sums. They take as much as a “mare” for the same distance and the comfort and speed of the ride is much better. As before the views were wonderful.Unfortunately, this driver had to divert our route and therefore threw us in the village of Sarymbulak .

I thought that Sarymbulak is not a village anyway. This is just a very hollow road that the donkey stumbles on, and on which the springs in Kyrgyz cars spoil. On one side there are long wooden barracks that once could have been carriages although I’m not sure. In front of them are women with grilled fish, drinks and a “kurtem”, which is filled with squeezed beef balls. On the other side is the ( luxury note !!! ) brick house where the restaurant is located. We walked in here with the three of us paying attention to all the people and we were given a thick menu. It contained a rich list of dishes but on that day there was only stewed pork, eggs and tea. So much for happiness, given that Kyrgyzstan is not a country for those who like to gossip. Well, there was a suturing with a “toilet”. When someone wanted to use, just as a little boy emerged from the ground, who led me and showed the built-in holes in the ground – for only 2 somers!

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

After the “sumptuous” dinner and the “wonderful toilet” came the time to arrange transportation. Long time I had a problem with the agreed price with a few drivers because by nature I am not withdrawn. Finally, 40-year-old Moskvich, who was really cheap, did not guarantee that we would come to the place. When I started to see the donkeys standing back to croaks, but important that we were on the road. We climbed uphill and the views were obviously getting better, but Moswicz was having a hard time. From time to time we became cooler and moved again. In the end, however, he gave up winning. So we got off and, for our luck, were driving four-wheel-drive all-terrain cars. They stopped there no problem and since then we have been driving without hindrance. Fortunately, they took us because rain began to rain and blow strong wind. Several times we also stopped to watch the flocks of yams and plants I have not seen before.

We finally reached Song-Köl lake. I say, however, that I have described here only my own, case-based way to this lake. The roads to Song-Köl are many, more or less testing the patience and strength of character.

Lake Song-Köl (3016m)

(Description of the site, national festival of Kyrgyz culture, national games of Kyrgyzstan, held on that day)

Lake Song-Köl is one of the most charming places in Central Kyrgyzstan. There are open green pastures and a wonderful landscape. In the high season there are many yurts and tourists are welcome to help local families. There are also festivals for tourists, where you can get acquainted with local culture and take part in the national games of Kyrgyzstan. (I have described it in details in the same title). The lake itself is a good place to fish, although as I have heard from the locals, there is not much fish there once.

After getting to the place we were in the first yurt, we ate dinner and slept. I had already slept in the yurts in Mongolia but for Monika it was the first time. For dinner we got natural yogurt, jam, bread and potatoes with sauce. Being so high was unfortunately cold and windy so the hostess gave us many quilts. In my opinion there was also a tragedy. When I asked why they cut off the dog’s ears and the two donkeys, they said they would hear better. Well … I was here for the beauty of natural and certain things I was not able to change and if I could probably do it first in my country.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Yurt in Kyrgyzstan.

The next day we went to the Kyrgyz festival the next morning. In the big yurt there were tables with mostly candy, though they gave us some ram and soup – also rams. The weather was cruel but yet everyone was having fun. There was, among other things, a demonstration of the yurt setting and a demonstration of loading the complex yurt into a camel. Besides, Song-Köl was the place where I actually learned to gallop on horseback and even jump over small streams. It was raining heavily and it was cold, but I was having fun. I also took part in horse races and unfortunately I lost because I had too late start.

What I experienced at Lake Song-Köl is unforgettable for me. It is a pity that getting here is such a big challenge, though it is an inherent part of every trip in Central Asia.

The national games of Kyrgyzstan that took place that day:

Traveling to Central Asia, I noticed the games in Kyrgyzstan, which are very specific and closely related to the culture of Kyrgyzstan. I had fun trying on a few of them but they are difficult because they are all related to good riding skills.

The first game is called Ulak-Tartysh , which is a combination of polo and rugby though “the equipment is more varied. There are two teams and the players are trying to snatch a dead goat, which has a cut head and legs to his knees. Carcasses of goats are to be brought to the blood-marked goat of the target. From the point of view, it looks interesting when a group of men on horseback fight for the body of a goat without head. From unofficial sources I learned that the winning team eats a goat.

Another interesting game is Kyz Kuumai . This is because a man on a horse chases a girl (also on horseback) and tries to kiss her in a gallop. If he kisses-wins. If he does not succeed, the girl can chase him.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

It was also interesting to know that Tyin Emmei raised the coins from the ground in full gallop. Today, however, coins have replaced banknotes.

There is also the Oodarysh, or simply the wrestling of horses. The person who drops the opponent from the horse wins.

There are also many horse races on different distances in which I myself participated. When I was at one of the festivals organized on the cool and windy lake of Song-Köl, there was also a demonstration of the yurt spreading and packing his camel skeleton.

I have only discussed some of the Kyrgyz games, but in general, to be good in them, you have to ride a horse well, be strong and not fear. More interested I recommend my article. ” National Games of Kyrgyzstan “.

Driving from Song-Köl Lake to Kochi

(Once again the beauty of Kyrgyzstan, successful transport, indecision of a nice woman-driver)

Our further transport was based on luck and this time we were exceptional. We traveled the whole route with a couple from Europe, who worked in Kyrgyzstan, although there were also hard times. The driver was a very nice and helpful lady but to the last minute we were also very hesitant where we had to go and in which village we had to sleep. I did not have anything to talk about, because her car in this part of the country was probably the only means of transportation. Once we got to the village where we had to spend the night but the conditions did not match her. However, I must admit that we have included the beautiful scenes of Kyrgyzstan together. As we drove down from Song-Köl Lake, we moved around the picturesque stream and down below I saw picturesque valleys full of rams, horses and yurts. Even riding the usual road was great because the mountain scenery combined with the wild river and the children on the donkeys gave very special memories.

Eventually we had to pay some money for the transport but they “entertained” us. We spent the night together in the cities of Naryn and then Koczkor where we parted.


(Description of the city, the night of the adventure and the rattlesnake)

Naryn is one of the major cities in Kyrgyzstan that did not impress me. In short, it is the government of post-Soviet, shabby blocks from the plates and in the middle lies an asphalt road with lots of holes. We got there in the evening and as usual got the room in the cheapest place possible. We slept for the money at the Kerme-Too Hotel but did not fall asleep right away. The mazes made noise and knocked the windows out of our room, in the end they were robbed by the police. As I mentioned earlier it was cheap and then I understood why.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Shyrdaks – the carpets of Kyrgyzstan.

But even in such a rat hole as Naryn is good. This is the starting point for the Song-Köl lake and Tash Rabat caravanserai and transport can be arranged in the CBT tourist office. In the same office is also the slowest internet in the world (maybe in Uzbekistan) and a shop with national products. Here I recommend caps, slippers, scarves and, above all, kiddos, or Kyrgyz national carpets from goat wool. I bought one because of a very bargain price. I also point out that if someone wants to buy a shredder is not advisable to buy in Bishkek because the prices are so high that when paying is the blood of the nose. Besides, all the shredders are also imported from Naryn and Koczor.


(City description, the rug factory, stew)

In contrast to Naryna, Koczor is a pleasant city, surrounded by mountains and small houses. The driver picked us up at CBT where we were directed to a private host, where we stayed for a couple of nights. Kochi has a very nice and well stocked bazaar, shops and pubs. CBT takes care of trips in the immediate vicinity and the time spent here has been very pleasant. At the house of the host was a beautiful orchard, from which I and Monika went out some apricots and apples and the lady of the house prepared us a Russian banana shower. In Kochor, there is a local quarry factory located in a private house where you can also buy first hand. The selection was very rich and the place I recommend especially for the sake of getting to know the Kyrgyz art.

There was also a recurring, unfortunately happy element of our stay. We went to the pub where we got a thick menu. It turned out, however, that the day was only a stew. After a few minutes, all the people in the pub ate the same dish. It was also funny how customers ordered and the waitress said there was not.There is also this and that unfortunately unfortunately not. Finally, with a confused smile, he declares that he is recommending a stew. Guess what we ordered ………

Sarlasas (green hills)

(Description of a beautiful region, or goat rearing pays ?, meal and conversation with Kyrgyz family)

One of the most beautiful trips was to go to the green hills Sarlasas , which is located approximately 53km for Koczkor. Transport organized in this place there is no reason I took the car with CBT. You can still talk with the drivers on the main street but not always give a good effect. To Sarlasas drove about an hour and of course the views were beautiful. With time we deviated from the main road and drove through a clearing in a beautiful valley. Car crossed the river and once even so, that flooded the chassis and the driver had to wait until repair. On reaching the place zarzymaliśmy at the typical Kyrgyz family pastoral. They had a herd of goats and horses on which he rode. They lived in a caravan, which was once a wagon next to the yurt stood still.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

We talked about how to live in Europe and in Kyrgyzstan and about the goat farming pays off. Of course, in Kyrgyzstan it is the most lucrative job, right after work in government. The host said that money problems arises when you have to spend a son or daughter for a wife. Then the only solution is to sell part of the herd, which then multiply and so. They gave us yogurt and homemade jam and lepioszką round bread that is baked in the oven.

Then he rode the horses, flocks of animals walked and admired the views of the green hills and peaks ośnierzonych.

Sarlasas was another very successful trip.

Back to Bishkek and farewell my travel companion

We returned to Bishkek shared taxi from Koczkor. The journey passed very quickly and well. The views were beautiful as usual.

In Bishkek unfortunately I had to say goodbye to my traveling companion for the elements of the expedition proved to be very heavy and that made a bit of trouble. This day we passed on organizational matters. We went to the Osh Bazaar to buy a suitcase and a department store Tsum after souvenirs. Then I drove her to the airport Manas and flew away. She thanked me for making it through another interesting adventure country but on the other hand, had had enough.

In the evening, I had an interesting discussion with fellow travelers about routes Pamirian and Tajikistan because it was my next destination.

Southern Kyrgyzstan

At a time when the country was heading south in Kyrgyzstan it was still a feeling of uncertainty about the safety of the Valley of Fergana . A few months earlier here there was a civil war on ethnic grounds. For the second time in 10 years Kirgizowie and Uzbeks began to fight which resulted in a tragedy especially in cities such as uzgen , Jalal-Abad and Osh . For the last two I was just the way still not sure what to safety. Southern Kyrgyzstan is also more conservative and is often described as the “other country” by Kyrgyz from the north. It is especially a few differences between the northern custom. And the south.

Below I will discuss all the places that I visited during this part of my trip, and that the open-air section of Bishkek-Osh have a lot to offer. In this part of the expedition also I describe my journey through the Kyrgyz section of Route Pamirian .

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

The road from Bishkek to Osh

(TOR-Ashuu (3586m above sea level), Ala-Bel (3184m above sea level), the reservoir Toktogul, Bazar-Korgon, the way to Arslanbob)

When I got to the station in Bishkek I told that no buses, and therefore the only form of transport was a shared taxi. Place cost me 1,000 som. Of course I had to wait two hours for a set of passengers, but in the end we left.

This route is worth a visit because of the beautiful views. Of course, there are green pastures and yurt along the way, but it is worth noting that the “climbing” car, almost like a flat wall. An important part of this trip is the Tör-Ashuu crossing (3586m asl), which is the highest part of the expedition. At this point I traveled through several long tunnels, the largest of which was 2.6 km long. The next high point of the trip is the Ala-Bel passage (3184m asl). Then there were green pastures, a yurt and, of course, a fast river, but also booths with kumys and honey on the road. In these areas we got to the pub where the open air and sitting at low tables, we ate chicken with onion and green tea. The setting was beautiful. Another interesting point of our drive was the reservoir Toktogul – a huge, picturesquely located water reservoir. Then we started climbing a little and we rode along a beautiful, green river, in the canyon. I think it was just the nicest part of the trip, especially since I was driving a long streamer and I could watch the river and the environment from many points. Shortly afterwards we reached the suburb of Korgon Bazaar where the driver was nice enough to find a cheap and pleasant hotel.

I did not go directly to Osh because I had a few places to visit on the way.

From the Korgon Bazaar, a drunkard with a golden heart stuck to me, who put me in a little Tico, bought me juice for the road and sent me to Arlslanbob (for the transport I paid 80 som). The road was obviously beautiful as usual in Kyrgyzstan. I saw wooden, hanging bridges over the dry river bed, my beloved donkeys and cottages built of rocks.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide


(Description of the beauty of the town and its nice people)

It is a lovely mountain village, flowing from a huge peanut forest (60,000 hectares). Each year the harvest of nuts reaches 150,000 tons and 5,000 tons of apples, plums and pistachios. In my opinion Arslanbob is an unbelievably picturesque place, good for hiking not only in the forest but also in the waterfalls. The presence here is an oasis of peace and serenity for the soul. It is further added that the town is mostly inhabited by Uzbeks.

As soon as I came to the main market, a CBT employee came to me, who took me to the office and asked what I have plans for. He pointed me to the nearby accommodations and then led me to a Uzbek family where I had accommodation and meals. Overall, they were very nice people and I had a nice time with them.

I did two tours here. The first was my walk to the 80m waterfall. I walked through the main street between the houses and when I was almost at the end I was invited to tea by a Uzbek family. Of course it was very nice. I was sitting in the open air and enjoying the views and finally gave me some kumys. Then more interesting part of the walk began as I was walking near the river with a very fast current. I jumped from stone to stone until I reached the place where I had to climb. It was the heaviest part because I was walking on small stones and unfortunately I slipped and clutched the bushes. At the top was a beautiful view. I saw 80m waterfall on the other side of the whole area. At this point, the pieces of material that had come from the Islamic period were tied to the trees. It was beautiful – nothing to add, nothing to put up.

On the way back I had a minor problem because I was walking on the wrong side of the river and to get to the other side I had to take off my shoes. The water was freezing and deep enough that I also drenched my trousers in which the effect was extinguished by the local children. When I got home, I changed my clothes first and then went to the center. There I saw the tomb of Arslan Bab-Ata, after which the town of Arslanbob was named. I also went here for dinner in a cheap pub and with little gourmet food but with a nice view of the river.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

The second trip was also interesting. Curving up the hill and accompanying the 84-year-old who crossed the route every day, after about 40 minutes we reached the souvenir stands. Around this place appeared a small, 23m waterfall to which I also went down. I went further where in the company of two donkeys I crossed over another river and appeared in front of me peanut forest.

I thought this was the end of my impressions of this place but I was wrong. When I arrived in the center of Arslanbob in the evening I met a 92-year-old grandfather who invited me to my home. I sat down with his family on the terrace where we drank green tea and talked about everyday life. They were very nice. They gave me a meal, apples and they wanted me to even spend the night with them. Of course, from the goodness of the heart. There was, in my opinion, a tragic moment when Grandpa showed me his medals with Lenin and the Soviet Union. He also had a military ID card with the same inscription he proudly held in his hands.

He was a poor, old, ripped man with only memories left. Sad………….

Then I went home where I had a quarters. I talked with the host, I was offered homemade yogurt and went to bed.

Arslanbob will always be mentioned as a quiet, quiet place with a great natural charm and nice people.

Transportation to Jalal-Abad

(Seven people in the Deawoo Tico and two goats on the roof)

My trip was very adventurous but a bit cramped. According to the text, we were driving under the title in a great embankment all the way to Korgan’s Bazaar. There I was able to breathe because I took a shared taxi and after about two hours I reached Jalal-Abad. I was still not sure if it was safe but I had no choice. I wanted to ride the Pamirska Route starting with the Osh.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide


(City description after the war, sanatorium)

When I reached the city I saw debris after the war. The driver who was Kyrgyz laughed that the most burnt and broken in the ruins were the Uzbek houses. The views were not pleasant although the driver assured that it was safe. When I got out of the car I went to the internet first and then to the Hotel Möl-Möl. It was quite cheap but clean and decent, very close to the center of Jalal-Abad. There at the reception she warned me not to go out in the dark because sometimes they shoot. Actually what may belong to the interests of the tourist, is very close together. I mean several parks with many interesting sculptures.Unfortunately, one statue I did not want to see anyone else saw was Lenin’s other monument.

In my opinion, the best thing to do in Jalalabad is to go to the sanatorium which is about a 10 minute taxi ride uphill. It is located high in the park, in which there is a sanatorium, a well drinking water well and another monument of Lenin. Anyway, for warming me up in the water at 40 ° C and for a half hour hot stone massage and more, I paid around £ 3.5. (Kyrgyzstan is, however, a country of fantastic prices). Then I walked in the park and went to have a drink of medicinal water. At last I sat down on a wooden bed in the park (cajah), drank green tea and snacked a little bit. It was another very successful day of “Master Master” (I was actually him, but at this point I wanted to joke about it). In the evening at the Hotel Möl-Möl I went to the restaurant for a great meal. It was a “curly roulette” for only 120 som (about £ 1.8) with buckwheat and salad. Especially after eating rams for almost a month was a good culinary experience for another, absurdly low price.

Jalalabad is classified as a nice place to visit on the way to Osh. The two best things are the sanatorium and the “roulette”.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide


(Description of the city after the war, handling of transport to the Kyrgyz part of the Pamirska Route)

My first moments after entering Osh were shocking. Jalal-Abad was destroyed but Osh looked like after the bombardment. Many long streets were completely destroyed with rubble swept on the shoulder. Only skeletons of houses were left behind. At the entrance of the main roundabout I saw that one particular place was surrounded by armed police. The driver told me it was because the Uzbeks live there. I felt that I did not want to go around town that day, but that did not work out because I had to get transported. First, I went to a pub for breakfast, from which I had a very good view of the famous Solon Solon . It is a high rock with many other objects and museums on it, seen from many parts of Osh and which is the most interesting tourist attraction. At this point, I did not think about climbing another mountain and seeing another mosque.

I went to the very lively Jayma Bazaar, which is a great place to shop and in the vicinity I would advise to buy cash – both kirgiska and Tajik (although this stage is not yet necessary). Behind the Bazar Jayma are taxi stands, also with four-wheel drive vehicles, that is, prepared for the Pamir Route . The bargaining process was easy because at this stage of my trip I was speaking better in Russian. At first they thought I was from America so the price for going to Sara Tash would cost me 5000 som. When I started talking about broken russian km and introduced myself as a Pole they wanted 2000 but eventually I paid 1000. I think I doubly overpayed but it was difficult. I was at that moment absorbed in the Pamirska Trajectory and it was most important to me. Departure from Osh was very sluggish because we had to pick up people who ordered transport on the city. This meant we had to circulate among the rubble of the houses and then wait until they packed all their luggage.

Finally we left Osh and I left with the thought of another great adventure.

The Pamir Highway

(What is the Pamirska Route, history and general information about the Pamirska Route, tourist attractions, Marco Polo traveler and his travel experiences in this area)

Before going to my adventure story with such a very special place for all travelers, I would first like to explain what the Pamir Highway is all about.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

The Pamir highway.

The Pamir highway , which is a stretch between Osh (Kyrgyzstan) and Khorog (Tajikistan), is 728 km long.This route, also known as M41, was built by Soviet military engineers in 1931-1934 to facilitate the transport of troops and weapons into this very remote corner of the Russian Empire. Unfortunately today it is also one of the main drug routes and the traffic on the road is small. Usually there are several Chinese trucks that go with the goods from / to Kashgar. The Pamirski section was also one of many transport parts on the Silk Road .

Pamirska is also a very attractive tourist area as the road runs through picturesque mountain scenery of over four thousand meters above sea level. The views are magnificent as there are desert areas, mountains, lakes, hot springs, glaciers, views resembling Tibetan heights and small Pamirian villages with their hospitable locals. The road itself is very incomplete because of earthquakes, erosion, earthquakes and avalanches. Asphalt in some places no longer exists and in others it is torn off with the surface of the earth, which of course gives an extra impression of the journey. In the lower sections of the route (the stretch from Jelanda to Khorog) the elevation is reduced so nature is changing and it is still beautiful. You can see a swift river, huge rocks on the sides, vegetation and more villages and people. In this area there are also two seven-thousandths with rather tragic names: they are Pik Lenin (7134m asl) and Peak Kommunizma (7495m asl).

Pamirska route was known many centuries ago because it was a famous Venetian traveler Marco Polo. In his ” Describing the World, ” he wrote that for a 12-day non-stop he rode through a plateau called Pamier where he saw only an empty tent without any vegetation and even flying birds. He wrote that the fire did not give him much heat and light as he expected because of the great cold.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Pamirska trail is still a great challenge for travelers and equally great adventure to be prepared well. I went to her wandering quite insignificant though everything I did and so successful. Undoubtedly, the biggest problem here is transportation, which is considered a luxury. You can stand many days with a frozen finger on an empty road. You also need to take food, a tent and anything we will need. Equally well, all this equipment may prove unnecessary because much depends on the transport.

In the Autonomous Region of Badakhshan (Tajikistan) there is also the beautiful Wachan Valley , which I will tell about in my country reportage.

My journey through the Kyrgyz part of the Pamir Highway

Transport from Osh to Sary Tash

My first trip on the Pamir Route was interesting and fun. I had Kyrgyz going to Dushanbe by Karamyk, so we had to part in Sara Tash. On the way the road was not the best but it was part of my experience. In the vicinity of the village of Gulcza we stopped for a small meal and an additional exchange of money in the local bar. Here unfortunately the course is weaker than in Osz and the overdue snickersy more expensive.At the end of our drive we passed Taldyk Hill (3615m) and finally we reached Sarah Sash.

Sary Tash (3600m above sea level)

(Some facts about this particular town and my experiences)

Sara Tash is a very popular meeting place for truck drivers because of its very convenient location. It is located at the intersection of two main directions. One is the Osh (Kyrgyzstan) route to Murgab (Tajikistan), part of the Pamir Route (M41) and the other is from Kashgar (China-Syngiang Ujgur Province), through the border crossing of Irkutsk, straight to Dushanbe (Tajikistan). That is why there are several guesthouses in Sara Tash and many cattle farmers also invite you home for a small fee. Traffic by Sara Tash came to life after opening the transport road on the Irkutsk border, which also has a positive impact on tourism. Due to the high altitude and the cool climate, there is no agriculture here, so it is popular here to work on the border and cattle grazing. Sara Tas also enjoys bad reputation. It is because of its location it is a convenient place for smugglers opium and hashish from Afghanistan through Tajikistan, to Kyrgyzstan.

After arriving at Sara Tasz the driver immediately arranged for me a place in the worst class of the hotel.Anyway, after the appearance of the town, it was easy to see that the foundations of all comforts were foreign. Since I spoke Russian I paid only 150 som and the Canadian, which I met here at 600 som. A nice meal was included but after that I did my wagon shop at the local shop.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Sarah, in my opinion, is a small, uninteresting hole surrounded by mountains where there is nothing to do except just walking. There are only two streets where I have seen cows more than cars, homes are in terrible condition and people are very poor. In the evening it was so dark and cold that it was only possible to go to bed. Fortunately, the housekeeper provided electricity, bread, tea and butter jams. Being here I realized that I was in the wilderness, in the last human settlement within a radius of about 100km. I also point out that the next settlement in Karakul (Tajikistan) was to be even smaller, isolated and poorer. I felt my wonderful adventure just started.

Road from Sary Tahz to the border in Bor Döbo

(Emptiness on the road, cheerful finale of my trip to the border)

When I got up on the empty road in Sara Tash in the morning, there was obviously no transport. One local wanted to take me to the border but for 1000 som, so I refused. So without any choice “I went for a walk” through another section of the Pamir Highway counting on luck. I walked about two hours through an empty highway and after a while I started asking myself if it was not worth paying 1000 som. It was a great time for me to think about the success of this expedition and of conversations with invisible people whom I probably wanted to see. After some time, the 40-year-old Volga showed up on the horizon, which unfortunately went in the opposite direction. When the car stopped, I saw a drunken driver and an even more drunken passenger with a rare tooth behind them, sat there frozen and dusty kids. They suggested they could take me to the border for 500 som and though I tried to bargain, nothing came out. I have to admit that the road to the border I was very happy. From the radio were flying love songs from the 80’s and everyone was dancing. This atmosphere gave me a bit of strength and gave energy to the next expedition, and all for only 500 som.

Bor Döbo

(Description of the Kyrgyz border and ride to the Tajik border)

Bor Döbo is one of the highest situated and one of the most beautifully located borders in the world, as it offers a scenic view of Pamir from here and from its surroundings.

My accidental driver dropped me off at the border, then made a commemorative photo and headed for the gate. The guard looked at my passport carefully and asked many questions, staring at me intently, then sent back to his commander. Here I spoke with a few soldiers who were nice enough to let me sit down and give me tea. We spent time talking about what I liked about their country and about my alleged cosmic earnings. Unfortunately, everyone is always very curious how much I earn, and I have to choose the most out of this situation.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

Martin Malik – a lonely traveller on the Pamir Highway, in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

The leader of the group and at the same time the one who sticks the stamps had a lot of time so I had to politely wait about half an hour until my passport was returned. My waiting was worth it, because in the same place I met the Japanese, who were driving their paid four wheel drive car. I was lucky because I got a free ride to the Tajik border, which is about 20km from Kyrgyzstan. So I really wanted to go with them, but for now I forgave myself about this subject. My moments on “no man’s land” (as it’s called here) have been very nice to me. I would like to remind you that the distance of 20 km of informal “no man’s land” is Kyrgyzstan and that the boundaries of both countries are just such distance from each other. (I’m reaching for the border between Tibet and Nepal at the moment) The views of Pamir were delightfully beautiful and just before the next border we stopped for an alfresco meal. We ate bread with yoghurt with family and family with yogurt. The only thing that was more important to me was the presence here, in such a beautiful nature. Pamir was wonderful.

The summary of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan was a great adventure, primarily in close contact with nature. The beauty of this country I tried to show the best in my rich gallery, but of course no pictures will make a trip after him. In the country covered in 94% by the mountains there are many challenges and I have been here for almost a month I completed a few of them. Issyk-Köl lake was beautiful although I liked the trip to Altyn-Arashan and then horseback riding to the high alpine lake Ala-Köl. I had a great time riding on the Song-Köl Lake, although I admit that in Kyrgyzstan even the very passing of this country without much aim already gives the opportunity of beautiful views. Kyrgyzstan also covers part of the Pamirian Route, which is another advantage of this beautiful country. Scenic landscapes are here and it would be hard to replace them all.Due to the transport and mountainous areas, I believe that a month is enough to see Kyrgyzstan, not including ambitious mountain hikes.

, Expedition to Kyrgyzstan 2010, Compass Travel Guide

1 Comment
  1. Reply


    12 March 2013

    You’re an expert traveller. When planning my trip to Bishkek, I had you travel report in my hand.


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