Category Archives: Silk Route 2014

Turkmenistan

For the last week we have been riding across the desert of Turkmenistan. This country is 86% desert! It has been really hot, and not all that interesting. I have a few photos, but this internet cafe won’t let me plug anything into the computer to upload them, so you’ll have to wait!

When I find a place that will let me share the photos, I’ll tell you more about this country.

We are heading into Iran tomorrow!

Uzbekistan

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We have been in Uzbekistan for about two weeks. We had two rest days in Samarkand, a beautiful ancient city. I spent most of my time there sleeping and eating, but I did see the Registan, a square surrounded by three Madrasahs.

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We are now in Bukhara, another ancient city. It is so hot here that I haven’t gone to see any of the historical buildings, but the entire area that we are in is pretty beautiful.

In two days we’ll be crossing into Turkmenistan for just over a week before we go to Iran.

The Silk Route talent show

A couple of weeks ago, somewhere between Kulyab and Dushanbe, Tajikistan, we had a talent show.

It included track-side coverage of a horse race featuring the riders as horses. The Australians in our group sang a song about Vegemite, and we even got to try some! It wasn’t as gross as I was expecting.

Kashgar, China to Kulyab, Tajikistan

We have done a lot in the last two weeks – too much to describe here in detail. So here is a summary, with photos!

We rode from Kashgar across the border into Kyrgyzstan.

We rode for four days through beautiful green fields surrounded by mountains, before moving on to Tajikistan.

In Tajikistan, we crossed several high mountain passes, including the highest point of our tour at over 4,600m.

Then we descended to Khorog, where we camped outside of a nice hotel, and celebrated the birthday of our Tour Leader, Sharita.

For the next nine days we biked along the Pamir Highway, following the Panj River which is also the Afghanistan/Tajikistan border. We now have another two days of riding to get to Dushanbe, and we are over half way through the entire tour!

Khorog, Tajikistan

We are at the Serena Hotel in Khorog, Tajikistan. The hotel only has six rooms, so we’re camping next to the river. The opposite shore is Afghanistan!

The internet here barely works, so I’ll have to wait post everything from the last several days.

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Going offline

Tomorrow morning we’re riding West from Kashgar towards our first border crossing, into Kyrgyzstan. We have been told that there will most likely not be any phone or internet service for the next three weeks. So don’t expect any updates!

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Shipton’s Arch, Kashgar

We have arrived in Kashgar, our last stop in China. After a few more days of riding we will cross into Kyrgyzstan!

Today I went on a tour to Shipton’s Arch, the world’s tallest natural arch.

It was quite beautiful, and I enjoyed hiking up to the arch from where the bus dropped us off.

At the arch, I volunteered to take photos of people in front of the amazing view.

The walk back down to the bus was also quite nice.

Salt Camp

Last night we camped next to a (mostly) dried up salt lake. Some people even set up their tents among the salt! I went for higher ground, fearing that it might rain during the night.


Click here to see the PhotoSphere if you’re using a smartphone!

As we move further west the daylight hours are shifting, since China has only one time zone. This morning everyone was using their headlamps to pack up since it was still dark.

And more desert

We are now resting in Kuqa, before five long riding days to Kashgar, our last rest stop in China.

We spent one night camping in a nice spot in the mountains. I climbed up one of the big gravelly hills next to our camp to take some photos.

I have not been taking many photos lately, since we have just been riding along the highway. Desert (camels!) on one side, mountains on the other. Two nights ago I slept outside under the stars.

Our hotel has a very typical Chinese scenic view: beautiful mountains with a big power plant right in the city.

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Riding to Turpan

We made it to Turpan! The region is known for its grapes and wine, and the street our hotel is on is covered in grape vines.

It has been very hot the last few days, although they keep telling us that Turkmenistan will be much hotter. Turpan is in a giant hole in the earth, going down to about 200m below sea level. For us it means that the next few days we will be riding uphill! Also, I saw two camels on the side of the road.