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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 69)

Dushanbe To Iskanderkulsky Nature Refuge

Having “most” things done in Dushanbe it was time to bail.

John who was riding a BMW F800GS was keen to ride together and go to the same places I talked of.

First off to avoid the ”Death Tunnel” we opted to take the Anzob pass which is the old road and take you up 3200 metres.

On the way up
Partly paved as well

The road was pretty good nic apart from a few rock slides and very scenic looking across at the mountains which were freshly pasted in snow.


Very staunch looking mountains
Over the top of the pass out of the wind, the previous days snow receding
John riding down the pass on the F800GS

Back down onto the main road then turn off up to Iskanderkulsky Nature Refuge to Sary-Tay where none other than the Tajikistan President has a holiday home, was gonna see if he wanted to come to the tent for a cuppa.

Pretty coul pinnacles on the road up.

Riding to the lake was nice, riding to Sary-Tay was neat and arriving at Sary-Tay was epic with the small towns vistas stunning in all directions, I can see why the big cheese has a batch (note palace) here.


Stunning lake.

We took a guest house for the night, the owner stoked to have us there bought a bottle of Vodka and helped us drink it.

Not sure what happened but I forgot to take the camera out again so I only have my random selfie I sent to Ellen

Our next mission was around to Seven Lakes.

Photo bomb 8-)

Iskanderkulsky Nature Refuge To Seven Lakes

Sary-Tay turned on a stunning morning and as with Tajikistan mobile you can’t get service in a town but you can in the middle of nowhere so I whatsapped Ellen to show her were I was.

Leaving the lake was very picturesque, our ride from there around to Seven Lake total asphalt and in good nic which was very unusual, no pictures there tho cos you all seen boring black top.

John was saying something was not right with his bike, I told him it was called traction on the asphalt

Riding up to Seven lakes is just that, the road goes up the valley through a series of small villages, we stopped around half way up and met another John (local dude) so we chatted with him and he bought me an apple which was really good of him.

On the way in, lake 5

The ride continued up through the lakes 1 by one until we reached the end of lake 6, I poked my nose up the track to lake 7, although it looked doable it would have been difficult and it was way above Johns pay grade so we decided to turn back rather than do a 4 hour hike which we were not set up for.

Up the head of Lake 6, at the head of the moraine and another big walk from there to lake 7
Looking north back down lake 6.
Small villages dotted around the valleys with green patches to go, all village built around small water supplies.

Heading back we missed the homestay I wanted to stay at, further down there was another one but they tried to stick it to us so we left.

I had a bonus of finding such a nice place for a picture in the sun before it left, when the sun leave s the temperature drops quicker than a stone.

Very nice place, need to tell the President about this one too.

Heading back we missed the homestay I wanted to stay at, further down there was another one but they tried to stick it to us so we left.

We returned to the main road and I picked a guesthouse on the GPS and headed to that, arriving at the guest house it was not a guesthouse anymore, the lady was smiling and we asked her anywhere else in town? but no, google translate did a bad job luckily the lady was a smiler and took us in her stride.

Wasn’t long and she said it doesn’t matter come in anyway and we agreed on a price for dinner, sleep and breakfast which was $10.00 each.

Her husband came back from work and took us down to the shop to get some drinks and food and it was a very nice stay indeed for a non hostel, being very cold outside we were even given an oil column heater to cuddle.

Next up is farewell to Tajikistan, something I was not keen on having absolutely loved it (apart from having the shits), more about Tajikistan in the sum up.  

Seven Lakes To Kokand - Uzbekistan

Another stunning day greeted us and a cooked breakfast to go, a total tarseal cowboy day as we farewelled Tajikistan and went to Uzbekistan to Kokand.

An uneventful ride other than typical main road arsehole drivers who will literally push you off the road, my only dislike of these stans is they all seem to be the same. 

The last fun of the day was having to lay 45 on her side so the Uzbek customs camera 

I got a sneaky shot
As did John, not allowed to take pics in customs areas but the dudes could see what was happening and let us away with these

The Uzbek customs guys were fun, they enjoyed having an interaction with us and thought it was funny having to lay the bike on the ground so their camera could read my plate, we also had some big larfs about weapons and drugs etc, although they were doing their job properly it was fun.

When asking if we carried guns and weapons I said I had a massive gun in the panniers and the look on their face was funny (noting my pannier bag tops were open for inspection already at this point), they said where the hell is it...that is when they clicked and understood Kiwi humour and it was good, I knew it was safe to have a larf with these guys, many border guards you DEFO would NOT do that or your first nights accommodation would be free and secure. 

Handshakes all round and goodbyes, welcome to Uzbekistan.   

Author of this article: Twomotokiwis