November 11th 2011: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Almaty, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 11th 2011: 240km (150 miles)

Driven distance total: 20’350km (12’640 miles)

Early in the morning we started in direction Kazakhstan! For the end of our Kyrgyzstan trip we had another small get together with our friends, the lovely, slightly corrupt cops, because the Landrover has at the moment only one headlight. Of course we had to deal a bit that they let us go (2$ and a postcard from SwitzerlandJ). At the border we had surprisingly no problems to cross and were done only 45 minutes later.

People first mentioned our very dirty car after arriving in AlmatyJ. Next, Stefan managed it, to cut badly one of the tires open at a boardwalk! After 30 minutes there was a new tire on the car! Since Almaty is quite expensive, we ended up once again in an old, big and ugly Soviet hotel. We really appreciate the family atmosphere in those hotelsJJ.


November 12th 2011: Almaty, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 12th 2011: 20km (10 miles)

Driven distance total: 20’370km (12’650 miles)

We honor todays report to Landrover-lover Alex, who helped us to get our car back in good shape. But let’s start the day at the beginning. First we had to register in Kazakhstan, so we went to the immigration office in Almaty. It only took us 45 minutes to get registered! And even for free, great!

Afterwards we went directly to the official Landrover service center to do maintenance on the car. This guy Alex started to talk to us in front of the service center, even though he wasn’t working there. We found out that he also was a proud owner of a Landrover Defender and helped founding a Landrover Club Kazakhstan. He was extremely nice and arranged quickly with the manager of the shop, that the oil change including the 2 filters was free of chargeJ. Simply for the diesel filter and some work we paid 100$. During that work, Alex and us went on a shopping tour in his Landrover. We bought some filters for the car and also tried to get a new spare tire. Even though we were driving around for quite a while, we were not able to find a new tire in the specific size! Around lunch he brought us to some other travellers close to his home who were camping there. An entire family from France with 4 kids was travelling in a standard big campervan. We were then sitting in their Camper, had a beer and exchanged experiences from the trips, was really nice. In the afternoon we went with Alex together to pick up the Landrover.

In the evening we enjoyed some live music and party in a place called Guns’n’roses.


November 13th 2011: Almaty, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 13th 2011: 20km (10 miles)

Driven distance total: 20’390km (12’660 miles)

In the afternoon we went on a sightseeing trip to a small hill called Kok-Tobe, which is a great place to overview the city. Unfortunately the view was really bad because it was very foggy. Besides small roller coasters and a zoo we liked the most the statues of the Beatles, which where built from a Kazakh fan club.


November 14th 2011: Almaty, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 14th 2011: 0km (0 miles)

Driven distance total: 20’390km (12’660 miles)

We went first to the consulate from Turkmenistan, since we still need this visa. After this, we finally have all the necessary visas besides the India visa. In the countries of central Asia it is really annoying to deal with all the regulations and visas. We then dropped off all the necessary letters, applications, copies, etc. Unfortunately we can’t get the visa faster then in 10 days, so we have to rethink our route.

Our Landrover-friend Alex picked up the repaired tire and brought us the tire into the hotel.

Since it seems, that here in Almaty are only expensive laundries (approx. 50$ for one bag), we used our bath tub in the hotel and scrubbed our clothes, somewhere you have to safe money;).

In the later afternoon we visited again the French family in the camper at the parking close to Alex. We had some beer and I even heard a Happy-Birthday songJ.


November 15th 2011: Almaty – Chilik, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 15th 2011: 170km (110 miles)

Driven distance total: 20’550km (12’770 miles)

Finally around 2PM we started to drive east, away from Almaty. On the way, in Chilik, we found a small hotel where the granny just didn’t wanted to give us the cheapest room. After 10 minutes of discussion in Russian, she laughed with her 2 remaining teeth and gave us finally the cheapest roomJ. 


November 16th 2011: Chilik – Shonzhy, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 16th 2011: 150km (90 miles)

Driven distance total: 20’700km (12’860 miles)

First we drove for quite some time through the steppe, like there are many in Kazakhstan. Then, the natural wonders of central Asia surprised us once again. The „Charyn Canyon“ is a national park with spectacular rock formations in different shapes and colors, fantastic! First we planned to sleep overnight in the park, but later on we decided not to sleep there because the freezing winds there. We put on our ski equipment (without skisJ) and cooked first a delicious soup under the sky. Since we had more then enough time we took some small back roads to the next village. Unfortunately the side road was that bad, that we decided to cross through the middle of the steppe back towards the main roadJ! First, this went quite well, but later on it got bumpier and the bushes got bigger and biggerJ. Surprised from the Landrover, quite a few steppe bunnies were hopping away quicklyJ.


November 17th 2011: Shonzhy – Kegen, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 17th 2011: 120km (70 miles)

Driven distance total: 20’820km (12’930 miles)

We crossed some camels in the middle of the street on the short way between Shonzhy and Kegen. Those were really hairy, big and funny animals. Of course we started a quick picture sessionJ! Later on in Kegen we were looking first without any success for a hotel. Everybody has sent us into a different direction and half of the people told us that there is no hotel. Also without success we tried in the next village but then finally found a hotel in Kegen, where we are now the only people in the building. Thanks to a little oven we now have 10°C (50°F)in the roomJ.


November 18th 2011: Kegen – Shonzhy, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 18th 2011: 290km (180 miles)

Driven distance total: 21’110km (13’110 miles)

Today we drove towards the Chinese border with the hope to see the high peaks of the Tien Shan mountain range. The trip was not really that exciting, and we didn’t see any peaks, so we decided to turn around, also because the view got worse and worse and it started to snow. The roads were already snow covered, so that we had to drive carefully. For a change we had once again a “Lagman” (Noodle soup)J. And of course the picture session in the restaurant with some locals was also funnyJ.


November 19th 2011: Shonzhy – Saryozek, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 19th 2011: 310km (190 miles)

Driven distance total: 21’420km (13’310 miles)

Today we didn’t do much else then driving with the car. The weather is currently also not on our side. Once again we were glad, that our Landrover has real winter tires! After an unsuccessful trial to visit a national park, we at least have seen some camels. Camels in the snow, that’s something elseJ.


November 20th 2011: Saryozek – Almaty, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 20th 2011: 310km (190 miles)

Driven distance total: 21’610km (13’430 miles)

Again with bad weather we drove to Almaty, back to our Soviet style hotelJ.

And once again we washed our clothes in the bath tubJ!


November 21st 2011: Almaty, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 21st 2011: 0km (0 miles)

Driven distance total: 21’610km (13’430 miles)

After one week of time we finally received our 5 day transit visa for Turkmenistan! In the afternoon we visited the Panfilov park, where we could see an old, colorful, Russian orthodox cathedral and some war memorials.


November 22nd 2011: Almaty – Korday, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 22nd 2011: 280km (170 miles)

Driven distance total: 21’890km (13’600 miles)

In the morning we checked out the known green market in Almaty and drove afterwards around lunchtime in direction east. Like the previous days, the weather wasn’t good. It was foggy and rainy! Around 5PM we arrived in the small border town of Korday.


November 23rd 2011: Korday – Taraz, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 23rd 2011: 360km (220 miles)

Driven distance total: 22’250km (13’830 miles)

And once again on todays schedule was only driving! Since we are a bit short on time because of the visas, we are forced to drive quickly in direction Uzbek border.


November 24th 2011: Taraz – Shimkent, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 24th 2011: 190km (120 miles)

Driven distance total: 22’440km (13’940 miles)

The trip from Taraz to Shimkent was rather annoying due to all the construction sites. And of course it was raining again, now since one week! Shimkent is a modern lively city, quite surprising.


November 25th 2011: Shimkent, Kazakhstan 

Driven distance on November 25th 2011: 0km (0 miles)

Driven distance total: 22’440km (13’940 miles)

Today we used to explore a bit the city of Shimkent. Some monuments, a shopping mall and a market were on the days plan.