We were so happy to be back in Kazakhstan. We were trying so hard to leave Uzbekistan and finally we were out. It took us almost a week. We had a very good time, met amazing people and visited beautiful places, but we knew it was time to start moving towards China to be in Himalayas in time.

We were sad that we couldn’t go to Kyrgyzstan. We met lots of cyclist who went there through Kazakhstan or Tajikistan. We could still go through Alma-Ata. There are few borders we could cross but we decided to skip it this time and go straight to China.

The border officials in Kazakhstan were nice; they were impressed about our journey and made our crossing very smooth. We got the stamp and were only one gate away from Kazakhstan. The guards by the last gates wanted us to give them some money but we told them we didn’t have anything, they smiled and let us through.

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We got all the visas in Monday (12.7.2010); The Chinese visa in the morning and Kyrgyz one in the evening. We missed the afternoon train till Angren, which is the last town before you start ascending towards Fergana valley. We only had 3 more days left before our Uzbek visa would finish and almost 400km to go. So it was our only option to reach the border in time.

We took the train the next day. We missed the first one at 7.42 am, which left just as we came to the station. So we returned to our Korean family and spent some more time with them. They made us big lunch and gave us snack for the afternoon train.

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Samarkand, Bukhara

We arrived to Samarkand early in the morning. The train station was few km out of the old city, on the edge of the new Samarkand.

We cycled through the new city which was still under construction and looked very European. It was strange that they were building new houses in the style not fitting into the environment. But I guess this is happening all over the world. Continue reading

magical Khiva

Khiva is one of the most magical towns we saw in Central Asia. It’s located south-west of Aral Sea in the oasis on the delta of lower Amu-Darya River in ancient times called Oxus, surrounded with endless desert. In the south is Kara-Kum and in the north Kyzyl-Kum desert.

This ancient oasis turned into a beautiful natural museum under the open sky, where majestic ruins of numerous castles and fortresses, ancient settlements and traces of impressive irrigation systems can be found.

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To Nukus and the way to Khiva

Next day we woke up early in the morning, had some tea and apples, while waiting for the truck Ismail tried to arrange.

Some time passed and no cars arrived, so we decided to catch the train instead, from the train station in Qaraqalpakstan (some 25km south), or hitch a lift on the way. Before we left we promised Ismail that we would come to visit him in Urgench.

We went to say goodbye to Venera and her husband, but were not allowed to leave without coffee and breakfast.

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85km till the Uzbekistan border

We woke up in the morning still feeling tired. We slowly crawled out of the tent, made breakfast and tea and took time to enjoy it. We were thinking about the train, when it passed buy. Mirko said “We just missed it.”

It was a bit cloudy so we didn’t feel like rushing. We took water from the well, packed our bikes and start the journey towards the border. The trailer was making strange sound when the wheel was rubbing against the cart. So we tried to fix it. But it didn’t make any difference.

What we should do? I asked. We were again in the similar position like the day before; just the village was now behind us some 10km. We decided to hitch to the border. The truck passed by, but it was full so we didn’t have a chance. 30 minutes passed, than an hour and there were still no cars and no trucks to be seen from either side. Continue reading