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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 47)

Russia - Rubtsovsk To The Border To Semey

An uneventful ride to the border, 15 minutes I was out of Russia, 45 minutes I was into Kazakhstan.

Very quick, very nice and an easy affair right through.

Backpedal to South Korea and the Donghae Ferry where I met Akmaral the Kazakhstan cyclist, we have stayed in touch and kept in contact and we even camped a night heading towards Mongolia. 

I messaged her on whatsapp and said I am into Kazakhstan the next day and she was online and asked which border so I told her, turns out her brother Nazarbek works for the Military and lives in Semey which I was about to ride right through, she messaged her bro and next thing I have an invite to stay.

Apart from the 9m/s head wind which saw a top speed of 76 km/hr it was an easy ride, apparently the main road to come is a shocker.

Welcome to Kazaflatistan

Anyway, outa blue sorted into Kazakhstan, he helped me sort the phone card so I can keep in contact with head office in NZ and my insurance so I really fell on my feet.

In appreciation of the above and Nazarbeks wife is down in Almaty studying I offered to take them both out for dinner then we could chat and relax, the idea was eventually accepted so we got a couple of ciders and beers and went to a steak restaurant, now I have not eaten out for a long time and I was going to on my final night in Russia but it never happened. Steak, chips and bugga all greenery other than the healthy looking apple on my cider, happy as with a great feed and company 

Nazarbek and his son

Along the main road there are cemeteries, heap of them and some of the grave are extremely elaborate, I guess the more important you were the bigger the grave etc.  

There are hundreds in each cemetary

Nazarbek organized my insurance and printed it off, there was only 6 pages of fine print which I did read LOL

Yeap read it!!

Semey To Almaty

Sunday morning, Nazarbeks son is off to school at 9.00am so not to be in their way I planned to be out the door by 8.45am so they had time, Nazarbek appreciated this.

Nazarbek cooked up eggs, bread etc with a cup of tea to set me on my way which was well cool, as per my military timing plan I was goneburger by 8.40am, the day was a cold start, start of autumn for the northern hemisphere just out of interest and on a bright note beginning of spring in NZ.

I needed to change my Russion roubles to Kazak Tenge and again local knowledge sent me straight to where I needed to be so I was completely sorted.

Now, the middle, between Semey and Almaty which is 1126km, one lake with some nice rocks for about 1 km, then you have 900 km of lumpy tar seal seal and endless roadworks and 226 or a reprieve.

It is like a 900 km long video game of avoiding potholes and bad woops in the road. 

Given there is not a lot going on there 45 and I hit it and smashed out 570 km so a little over half way, Monday will do about the same and just get there as I need to weld the mirror mount, find a water filter, change oil etc before bailing off into Kyrgyzstan.

Finish for the day it rained then a sunset came out over an industrial yard. 


A good early start I go outside and the 2 Korean bikes from Ohklon Island are parked outside, I think they were still under the sheets after arriving late.

I was on the road by 7.30 am, all was going well, in the roadworks the speed limit is 40, no-one does this speed, I am sitting in a line of traffic with 5-6 cars in front and behind and everyone is doing 70 when a police car goes past the other way, they do a u-turn and come through past the cars behind me then pull in behind me so I slow down straight away then boom on come their the traveller and pick on him.

They clock me at 66 and all the cars carry on by including all the ones in front.

They tried to really talk it up and me I was talking it down, I asked why the came in behind me and all they could say is I was speeding...but what about the cars in front I was following, nope not interest in them.

Anyway discussions ensued and they wanted $50 dollars, I said no way, they asked for Tenge and I said I have $1000 only (about $4 buck kiwi) and that was for gas and they are not getting that.

So we sat there in the car at a stalemate and in the end they could see other paying punters hooning past and knowing I wasn't gonna give them a cent so they gave me my docs back and said go, I was on my way again, a waste of half an hour for no reason other than beer money corruption which is a pissoff given I made an effort to start early.

Into Almaty I hit rush hour so not ideal, very hot and lots of traffic, straight to the outdoor shop and no water filter...I have another one to try tomorrow  



Almaty To Karakol

In Almaty it was to be my repairs and fix it stop, no other good reason to go to a big city.

I had been given the location of a good guest house so that made it easy to find, my mission was to get a water filter and get the mirror bracket welded.

The big sports shop was on my way through town so I stopped in there but no, nothing, they suggested another place which I tried and no they didn’t either but this time the girl asked in a snarky kind of way why I felt I needed a water filter for their country and I should not bother…..

W e l l … it was hot, I was hungry and I wanted to get shit done, I politely (yes politely but slightly sarcastically) said, where I have been travelling and will travel not all water flows out of a mountain streams, tap or plastic bottles, I rattled off a few places I had been and the blank look on her face explained everything, I asked her the same question…where have you travelled?, lets just say there was a better understanding at that point, the dude in the shop behind the counter giving me the big thumbs up.

I asked for a café to get a coffee, he said we have a coffee machine here free to customers, seems my performance of plugging little miss smart arse back in her socket was one that was well overdue and he gave me a coffee in reward…fun times.

I did get my mirror mount welded too however it lasted 288km of paved road so a very poor repair indeed.

Back at the guesthouse I was happy with what I had got done despite being a little out of luck but 10 points for trying, 2 Kazak guys invited me for a beer at their table which was nice, not being able to drink beer and still hot and thirsty a b-lined it to a local brewery who had 2 cold Ciders…that was it, good times they came home with me.

Apple N Roll...ok

Chatting and rehydrating I was asked if I wanted to go to town for dinner, my last night why not. I pulled out the last of my Kazak money and they refused saying their treat. A good night was had, good food and chilled cider….perfect.

S e l f i e

Kyrgyzstan, finally, the hot point on my list, I had 288km to clobber on nearly all pavement except the last 10 km.

Lunching up at the town just prior I am sitting down having a scoff when a local calls and points, Police, again, 45 was parked and they were right up her arse with the flashing lights on ….WTF?

I walked outside with my fork in hand and they said DOCUMENTS. I asked if there was a problem, DOCUMENTS they said out loud. Having had enough of the Police here I said yeap, straight after lunch and went back inside leaving them standing wondering what to do, finishing my lunch I was settled went out and is there a problem?

They kindof indicated there wasn’t, so I said again, is there a problem?, they looked at each other and said no so that was it for me, but no they wanted to see my passport, I said are you customs, they said no, then no you can not have it and I walked back inside again.

They left....get their beer money from some other sucker who is willing to play their stupid game!!!! 

Back to the normal program ...along the road it starts to get interesting you re-enter hill after being in Flatistan, yay sumpin ta look at!!! 

Nice canyon
Big brass horse overlooks the road
Yes that is a river and a bloody nice one at that, quite a change from "the middle"

Out to the border I was out of Kazakhstan in 10 minutes and into Kyrgyzstan in about 11 minutes, super relaxed border, a nice farewell from the Kazak side and an equally warm welcome to the Kyrgyzstan side with most of the time the border guards looking a my bike, the guard from the office still holding my passport and said ok no problem way you go….I said how about that stamp in my passport then and the others larfed cos he had forgotten he even had my passport, back into the office and a stamp, a handshake and on my way…very nice and friendly.      

Greeted by border guards and stunning mountains was my vision of a perfect entry into Kyrgyzstan so was a happy chappy.

The main road into Karakol...perfect, yet again the wee WR250R just laps this up

Still mindful of the Police as they seem to be the same around this region I was watchful as there are plenty of plod cars sifting around.

Karakol is only 80 km from the border and my fix it part 2 with my newly rebroken mirror mount and still no water filter.

Arriving in town was nice, I spotted a café with English on the board and asked for a hostel or hotel, right next door, nice room, old school, ensuite Kyrygie style, toilet paper, towel, shampoo …couldn’t believe it so yeap that was home.

Managed to find and Alloy welder again, try this time, no water filter yet so will try Bishkek when I get there.

Got my luggage straps sewn up, my Klim backpack strap fixed (I cleverly melted it on the exhaust) and did a general check on 45 so my entry into Kyrgyzstan has been great, I hope the Police don't undo this. Good night all.   

Weld repair No 2, hope this holds
Author of this article: Twomotokiwis