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Aug 2016

Mongol Rally 2016

During my stay at Samarkand it was a coming and going of Mongol Rally 2016 Teams. Not all where at the same guest house, but it was the same corner of the city. Teams from all over the world - USA, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, Italy.... you name it. According to the teams about 300 teams started in London. The goal is to drive by any means and with a used old car to Mongolia, stop in Ulaanbaatar and then finish in Uladn-Ude, Russia.

Had a few lovely nights and also meet the team from escaperally.no. They are recording the trip for a six part TV show in Norway. Lovely bunch, Rockstars...

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Samarkand

I heard many horror stories lately about the Usbekistan border crossing and how picky they can be (medicine especially, thats why I stored mine in Bishkek). But this one was actually a comparable straight forward one. Car inspection was easy, even the IT inspection and they did not see my drone at all.

Even after the crossing itself, the checkpoints on the way where very easy and the soldiers, policeman’s and inspectors were very friendly - smiles and thumbs up all the way. Wasn’t expecting that. I had to stop on the way to Tashkent and get the insurance for the car (a must). The police said about where to get one, but I had to ask. Well, just by doing so I was invited to eat with the family. So sweet, so friendly. And they wished me all the best for the rest of the journey and as a present they gave me a large jar of homemade strawberry jam, would say about 1L in size.

After a stop in Tashkent for the night, I reached Samarkand late afternoon. The city is as beautiful as ever, but its is hot - about 40° and no change for the next few days.

I went for all the classics tourist destinations - the registan square, the basar, the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, Shah-I-Zinda ensemble, Gor Amir Mosque. Off course I bought some stuff as well.

And during my stay at Samarkand this was also stage for the Mongol Rally 2016. See next post.


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M41 Bishkek to Osh

Well, I did not expect that much from my drive down to OSH for the next day border crossing, but this road is very nice to drive and scenery is beautiful all around. Basically there every 1000m opportunities for photo stops - so much to look at and the best thing, I have to drive this road twice.

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Bishkek

Its about a 5hrs drive including the boarder crossing, which in itself is very straight forward, to Bishkek - the capital of Kirgisistan. I’ve been here a few years ago and really nothing has changed. It’s still a lively city, but not up to scratch in regards cityscape standards. Had stroll around the main city centre and actually wanted to visit the national history museum again (it’s a nice one), but its closed fro renovation works (why??). The basar is for the next time after the short Usbekistan visit.

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Outside Almaty

Affen a few days and a lovely night out with Joseph and Yeldos in Almaty I went to the close-by mountains. First, the Medeo Ice Skating arena and then the ILE Nationalpark at about 3200m.

The Ice Skating arena is actually a very old one - 1951 - from the Soviet Area and about 1700m above sea level. Many Ice Speed Skating records were established here. However, the glory times are over since the late eighties and now its is only used as a Bandy Game arena.

Next, I went cup the cableway at roughly 3200m and had a few hours to stroll around. The glaciers around are shrinking as well and now a long way from the last station, but you still can see a glimpse of them .


And finally i set up a nice camp site.
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Almaty

Just had a stroll around Almaty today. While I was here already 3-4 years ago I wasn't really aware how green the city is. Trees are lining the streets all the time and parks from small to large are everywhere. And also it's actually a very quiet city, really relaxed and laid back, i.e. compared to Astana. Streets feel empty....

Wenn to the green bazar - finally a lively place as you would imagine alongside the silk road. Spices, meats, fish, herbes, dried fruits, nuts, and fresh fresh fruits and vegetables.

Went also to the Ascension Cathedral. It’s a really lovely one, probable the most beautiful off the whole journey.

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Arrived in Almaty

First stop was as recommended by Amy Cannon the Landy Shop. Lovely little place. They have done useful parts at stock - but not what I needed. Highly recommended, very friendly staff.

Next stop was at the official Land Rover Service. A quick inspection before I had one. Everything looked very good not a single item to point at. They were really sukriced with the conditions as they have seen others. The looked at the under body, the lies, the bearings, the brakes... That's a good sign as from now on until India there isn't really a Landy Service Station. And its was also for free

Went to ARB and bought two shackles and a recovery strap which were nicked from our accident recovery. Very good place. A must stop for parts.

Now, a nice hotel. Tomorrow is a touristy sightseeing day

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Fake Silk Road Movie Set

This Fake Movie Set is located north west of Kapchagay just beside the River Ili. This set was used for the film Nomad, but since has been also used for other films. It is not in the best shape and restorations are still ongoing but it's still a cool place to visit.



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Charyn Canyon Nationalpark

This is breathtakingly beautiful. The canyon has many walkways, a track alongside on the top and a track straight through for 4x4s. At the end nod there is beautiful campsite. It's just a problem that in order to get there, there is a height limit of about 2.2m - so not for our beloved 4x4 with a roof tent on top. But it's still worth it to drive the track (or walk it).

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Charyn River

Toady I took a small road alongside the Charyn river and the canyon it's forming before the river is heading to the main attraction, the Charyn Canyon National Park. Already stunningly beautiful. It's worth the visit as it’s a detour from the main road to Almaty.

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Back in Kazakhstan

First stop was Semey. Stayed in Hotel Nomad for two nights - its real the only good one around. Next, tried to get my iPhone repaired but they fucked it up completely. They said they could repair the screen, removed the screen but actually didn't had the spare part - went from working to dead.

Stayed the second night with two overlander couples from Germany (both had an iveco daily 4x4). Had a lovely night out.

Below are some of the crossing down to Kapchagay... It's about 1000km of boredom......

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Altai Russia

Just left Mongolia and I’m now on my way back to Kazakhstan, done the road before but its still a very beautiful one. Some impressions from the crossing below.

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Overland Blog:

Our GPS Trail:




The Map:




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