While pedaling between valleys, I saw someone was moving with a red flag.
And then so many horses and cows were walking slowly with nomads on the road. It was almost the end of September and I could still see nomads moving.
The valley had beautiful scenery.
There was no any guest house on the way that I decided to do wild camping. I found a small road to down valley and I felt like it was the end of the road that it would be safe. So I put my tent beside the river.
I didn’t have enough water for cooking that I took it from the mountain.
I just put anything I had into the pot.
Cars kept passing at the middle of the mountain under stars.
I hung garbage behind and I was ready to start. I looked across the river and I found some house. I was not sure people living there.
It was beginning to cloud over and then it started to keep raining. I had to reach one pass today but it looked like I would have rain all day.
Actually, I was wrong. I didn’t have not only rain, but snow as well. The more I went higher, the more there was snow. I had rain from morning so my clothes were wet. The most painful parts were fingers. It was worse pain in my trip. I tried to touch my belly under clothes with my fingers to melt. But it was not warm because of wet shirt. I must stop to change clothes and jacket.
After I wore new clothes, I felt better. I could melt my frozen fingers under dry clothes. I didn’t have proper winter gloves that I just used water proof (dish-washing) gloves with thin wet gloves. Definitely Yellow is the best color in my world! And yeah here YELLOW THUMB!
I stepped on the pass after crazy painful frozen fingers.
Local people handed me vodka and bread. I didn’t drink and drive usually. But this time I made an exception because I wanted to make my body warm.
Vodka on the pass.. what a memory!
It was wet snow with strong wind, which made cycle difficult. To go downhill was usually awesome. But it was not possible to enjoy at this time because my fingers were painful on the downhill.
I was happy when downhill was finished. It was less cold.
I found a good hotel. Heater didn’t work, but still it was way better than sleeping at the outside. I tried to dry my wet gears at the room.
At the next day, I had to choose the route at a junction. One was heading to the capital. The other was heading to the biggest lake in Kyrgyzstan, Issyk-Kul. I had nothing to do in the capital that I chose to go directly to the lake.
Once I cycled into a small road, I saw so many people passing on horses.
And people started playing. I felt so lucky and excited to see it because it was traditional sport which was called Buzkashi. They had to carry dead goat at some place to win. I only heard about it from other people but I didn’t expect that I would have the chance to see them.
They ran to get a dead goat. This was really amazing to see.
There were two ways to Issyk-Kul. The one I took was mixed with pavement and dirt road with few cars. It rained in the afternoon.
Kyrgyzstan had guest houses even in a small village. Usually, I could see the symbol of Kyrgyzstan’s Guest House Organization at the inside and outside of the house. It seemed the organization supported village people to run guest house.
I had to pay for dinner. I had spaghetti with meat and potatoes and soup. Especially snacks on the table were really tasty.
When I woke up in the morning, I could see the white snow on the top of the mountain. It was really peaceful morning.
Again there were not many cars passing on the road that it was a really quiet road.
The weather was quite good in the morning. But in the afternoon, it was cloudy and started to rain with strong wind, which made me nervous. Then I saw three kids riding a horse together.
They were smiling and showing v to me who was afraid of this road. In some country, it is illegal to let children leave alone. I was wondering what they would think if they saw it. In my views, I felt like I was seeing animation movie about children’s adventure.
After having heavy rain, I got out of the mountain and looked at back where I was. I was sure that children went back home safely as I came out to this road without any problem.
It was already October. The scenery was really colorful with white, green, and brown nature. It was just like a beautiful painting.
In Kyrgyzstan, they had a very special culture that they had a tombstone with a picture and they built a small building. Sometimes it was really beautiful building.
I was about to enter a small village to look for a guest house. Then one guy on a horse was moving in zigzag. He looked very drunk. I tried to be careful to avoid him. When I got to the village, I could see drunk people sleeping on the road. It was quite cold that I was worried about them. Unfortunately, many people had a problem with alcohol in the former soviet union, former communist country, and cold country. I watched the interview of North Korean defector on Youtube. He said that he had to change the food which they got from the government to alcohol by his father’s order. Sometimes he was beaten violently by father when he broke the bottle of alcohol after dropping on the ground on the way and lost all alcohol. I had realized North Korea had the same problem with alcohol like other former soviet union countries. Dutch couple traveling car whom I had met was attacked by drunk people at the middle of the night in Kyrgyzstan. It needed more caution to travel in the country which had a problem with the alcoholic.
I found really cozy nice guest house. It had so warm heater that I could dry my wet clothes and have so sweet dream.
At the next morning, my toes and fingers were so cold while cycling. I wanted to buy winter gears but there was no place I could buy. I reached to one small mountain and see beautiful view after freezing cold morning.
Cycling in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were really amazing that it was one of the best places I’ve been.
Kyrgyz girls had so cute hairs always when they went to school.
The road to pass was really beautiful.
I was really hungry when I reached the pass. There were some containers beside the road. I expected that I could buy some cookies there.
As soon as I opened the door, I could smell strong fish and hear frying sound.
Two ladies were frying fish endlessly. They went out with a tray with full of fish when cars stopped.
It was really best fish in my life. I couldn’t believe how come it was so delicious. They told me fish was from Song Kol Lake. It was a big lake which was popular to travelers. But I didn’t go there because it was getting colder and colder that I wanted to cross the border before heavy snow coming. Luckily I had Song Kol fish at least.
I had very strong fish smell all around me because I touched my clothes and others with my smelly hands after eating fried fish with my fingers. But I was so happy ever that it was fine.
I could see men wearing a traditional white hat everywhere. I really liked to see local people wearing local clothes because it gave me special traveling feeling.
Cute girl.. I felt like I was seeing Korean girl.
I was satisfied that I chose Issyk-Kul lake route cause it was really pretty. I was sure there would be many cyclists passing one month ago. But I rarely saw other travelers when I cycled there because it was beginning of October that most of them already moved to China or opposite direction. I was usually slow at everything so I was used to left behind.
I slept at local people’s house one night and I was thankful to learn about their life.
I hiked around Karakol which was located at the end of Issy Kul lake. Actually, I didn’t hike on my trip much before. I didn’t know why I didn’t have much experience of hiking although I loved the mountain. I guessed because I didn’t have a backpack and I traveled alone so I didn’t search for hiking info.
The guest house had a spa but it was too hot to stay longer. After one night at the guest house, I went down to the town.
Surprise! I met all of my friends again on the mountain. I thought I could not see them again. So it was such a big gift for me to see them. I had seen Dutch couple and Polish guy over one month. We kept meeting on the road each other and sometimes we traveled together. But sadly this was real last time to see each other because we really had to go all different ways. After having farewell with them, I really didn’t meet any travelers.
I felt yellow leaf flying by wind telling me “You have to move before we are all gone. Hurry before the snow catch you.”
Friendship didn’t need they had to be the same. We just met and hung around together although we were different. And when there was a time coming to say goodbye, we had to let it go.
I didn’t meet traveler or people again after farewell usually. So I felt lonely about it. But yeah every people had different life. I just tried to satisfy with what I have. Although I cannot see anyone again, I had to be okay. That’s part of my life and I should accept that I cannot do what other people can do.
I tried to learn the language with Korean on papers.
In Kyrgyzstan, these were very traditional thing, hat, Kyrgyzstan symbol, and Yurt.
Yurt was saying goodbye to me at the end of the village.
I set up my tent at local people’s house for a night.
I was invited to dinner. In Tajikistan, there were not many things to eat except lamb on the road. On the contrary, in Kyrgyzstan, I could have so many different things to eat. But I had never eaten what the local lady was making.
She made dough thin, fold, and cut.
Then she put them on the top of vegetable and meat.
It turned to a good dinner. Actually, it was the really weird night. The father of the house was drunk that he kept talking to me with big motion. Then three kids of him were blocking his father’s hands trying to reach me. There was one kid sit between him and me to block him. They made sure he stayed away from me. At some moment, his hand touched my waist to talk something maybe. But then Children tried to push him away harder while sitting together. Actually, kids kept like punching and pushing his father with laughing. I guessed that at least their father would not cause violence because children knew how to deal with their father.
At the next morning, they had nice uniform to go to school.
I took the picture and printed for them. His father was ready to leave for driving goat to field, children wore school uniform to go to school, and I prepared to leave to the border. The left guy on the picture was their neighbor.
The children tried to give me paper notebook and pen. I said thank but it is fine. But they kept wanting to give me. So I took them and said thank you so much.
(Actually I have still used them over two years. I sincerely thank to them 🙂 )
Today again I saw small child riding horse alone. This was totally different from the world I knew in my country or other countries. There were so many ways to live. Maybe it looked too dangerous to people from other society. But it was their life here.
Today I had to have another pass. But it was really too steep and slippery. I stopped at every step.
The scenery after pass was like Window background. I meant it was really beautiful.
I found some good place for camping. But it was too open place just near the road. So I kept moving to the border.
The weather got worse in the afternoon.
I couldn’t see really anything and actually there were only few cars passing.
People have asked me;
‘Do you like a small road or big main road?’
‘I like a small road. But actually, it is scary to cycle when there was no car passing. Especially when the weather is really bad or it gets dark soon. ‘
Going through all foggy roads, I arrived at the border. I heard the border usually closed before heavy snow coming. So I was worried about it. If the border close, I had to go back all the way to the capital. I had asked at tourist information centers about it. I heard usually they closed beginning of October. But this time they opened a bit until late.
Finally, it was time to finish my Pamir highway trip. Actually, some part was not Pamir Highway. But I wanted to call all the road in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as Pamir Highway. I must say Pamir Highway was the best route in my trip cause I met amazing friends at beautiful high mountains.
I highly wanted to recommend cyclists Pamir Highway for their vacation. This was the place every cyclist should pass if they love adventure and have a good friendship with other travelers.
Now Time to say goodbye. Thank everything in Pamir! Now I would cross Kazakhstan border.
Route in Kyrgyzstan.
Days in Kyrgyzstan = 41 Days
Distance of cycling in Kyrgyzstan = 1,210.6 km (752.23 mi)
Expenditure in Kyrgyzstan = $695
($1= 68 Som)