Driving in the land of Yurts & Horses - Kyrgyzstan

Woman Motorist Me

Well-Known Member
Day 11: Return to Bishkek with a slight detour (day tour :p)

Today, we had planned to return back to Bishkek. On seeing the map, we realized that it might be possible to squeeze in a day picnic to Song Köl, another popular high altitude lake here. So we dropped in at Kubat Tours again & got the directions of another longer route which was more scenic. Also there was a broken bridge which would need a detour to circumambulate.

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Green route is the normal road to Bishkek. We had to take the red route to avoid the broken bridge.​


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We drove past the University of Central Asia: the world’s first internationally chartered institution of higher education. It was founded in 2000 by the governments of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, and His Highness the Aga Khan.​


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Leaving Naryn behind.​


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The road signs are extremely helpful out here :p.​


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A beekeeper tending to his bees. I love the pastel colors!!!​


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This strange procedure of tying sheep wool behind a car or a horse and dragging it to make it smooth is a small part of an extremely laborious procedure to make a Shyrdak (felt carpet). Naryn is the place to experience this tradition which sees hand-made carpets being made. These are passed on from mother to daughter as a gift on her marriage ... or hung in their yurts to protect them from the cold winds here.​

Though we didn't manage to find the time to see a Shyrdak being made, we did buy one from a shop attached to the Khan Tengri guest house in Naryn.
In the entire trip, we saw these Shyrdaks in many places ...

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Shyrdaks hanging in the Asia mall in Bishkek ...​


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A painting depicting Kyrgyz women making a Shyrdak.​


Back to the journey ...

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To avoid the broken bridge, we had to take a 3 hour detour to get to the other side.​


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The landscapes on this route were quite scenic making it worth the effort!​


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The gravel road had hardly any cars passing by and absolutely no sign boards.​


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Pretty villages along the way.​


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Hay there!​


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We soon realized we were truly lost ... with no one to ask directions to.​


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We couldn't capture the scale of this place!​


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Finally we found someone. I got down & started asking for the route to Song Köl & the reply came 'Baa' #-o. I realized I was talking to the sheep sitting in the back seat :eek:. Going on the other side, I finally managed to wake up the sleeping guy and he told us that we were on the right road ...​


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We soon reached the base of the mountain from where the ascend to the lake starts. It struck me how insignificant we humans are in the grand scheme of things!​


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The vegetation changes ...​


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I love those twisties :p.​


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Finally the first glimpse of the lake! This lake is at an elevation of nearly 10,000 ft asl.​


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The place is dotted with a lot of Yurt accommodation. This is a very small section of the lake which is quite huge.​


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Check out the location!​


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Testing the waters. It was absolutely freezing!​


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We got the car here to protect us from the wind and did a late lunch picnic.​


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The meadows around the lake are home to lot of nomads with their livestock & yurts. They descent to lower altitudes once the harsh winter sets in & freezes the lake.​


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We were quite taken by the place so we spent a couple of hours just sitting ... the horses were grazing and we were gazing :cool:.​


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Finally in the late evening, we bid good-bye to this wonderful place! I'm really glad we came here!​

Once it became dark, we started driving towards Bishkek. The return route hardly had any sharp turns & was quite easy though the road was corrugated resulting in teeth-clattering drive. Once we joined the highway though, the road was butter smooth ... with the mandatory speed-gun toting cops stopping us 3 more times along the way. We managed to talk our way out each time & reached our Bishkek apartment at 1 am.
 
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Woman Motorist Me

Well-Known Member
Day 12 - 15: Exploring Bishkek

We returned our car the next morning & chose to explore Bishkek by taxis. Very reasonable & convenient.

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Diamond City apartment that we booked through booking.com.

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Our apartment was on the 11th floor.

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It was excellent in every way. A special note of thanks to Datka, the extremely helpful & informative owner.​

Though Bishkek is a big city, we still had trouble finding vegetarian food on the menu of most restaurants we visited.

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Chinatown: We actually found a full page of vegetarian options here!!!​


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It's huge inside!

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We had these 2 vegetables with fried rice. The reason I'm putting up this photo is if anyone can figure out what the vegetable on the left is! The server who knew a bit of English said it's white asparagus but we couldn't find anything that looks like it on the net!!!​


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The Ala-Too square!​

In Bishkek we went shopping, cafe hopping, dessert hunting and just absorbed their general city life.

Well that's all folks!!! :).
 

Hulbatte

Member
Superb travel log with beautiful photos. It would be nice if you can share the financials as you had mentioned earlier, so people can think/plan on visiting this beautiful country.
 
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