Mad drive thru the Stans (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, …)

… Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan (incl. Karakalpakastan), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan

Drove from Bishkek over beautiful Tian Shan Mountains to Osh. Circling around Uzbek exclaves to Tajikistan via Batken and Isfara. Slept in Hotel Sughd, named after Alexander the Great’s Sogdia Province. Big and clean town. Drove over Pamir, climbing two big passes, to Dushanbe. Flight to Tashkent. Drove via Samarkand to Termez. Met German military for a chat. Entered Afghanistan just up to Mazar-i-Sharif to play it safe. Back into Uzbekistan all the way to Nukus, capital of Karakalpakastan Province. Into Turkmenistan at beautiful and mystique Konye-Urgench. Then past the amazing burning gas crater at Derveze to Ashgabat. An amazing modern mixture between Dubai, Las Vegas and Pyongyang.

Best Hotel in Bishkek: Hyatt Regency *****, Alternative: Hotel Jannat *****

Best Hotel in Osh: Hotel de Luxe **

Best Hotel in Khujand: Hotel Sughd ***

Best Hotel in Dushanbe: Hyatt Regency *****, Alternative: Hotel Tojikistan *****

Best Hotel in Mazar-i-Sharif: Hotel Renaissance (ex-Royal Oak) *

Best Hotel in Termez: Hotel Meridian ***

Best Hotel in Tashkent: Intercontinental *****, Alternative: Hotel Tashkent Palace (ex-Le Meridien) *****

Best Hotel in Ashgabat: Hotel Prezident *****

Tajikistan Pamir Crossing ...

Tajikistan Pamir Crossing …

... in a Ssangyong Musso taxi ... over several high pass "perevals"

… in a Ssangyong Musso taxi … over several high pass “perevals”

Curing backpain at the brandnew Hyatt Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Source: Wikipedia)

Curing backpain at the brandnew Hyatt Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Source: Wikipedia)

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, monument to Ahmad Shah Massoud

Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, monument to Ahmad Shah Massoud

Mazar - A war zone

Mazar – A war zone

Check In Hotel Renaissance, (former Royal Oak), Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

Check In Hotel Renaissance, (former Royal Oak), Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

Mazar - Our "bullet-riddled" taxi back to the Uzbek border

Mazar – Our “bullet-riddled” taxi back to the Uzbek border

Raided our Uzbekistan taxi from its driver. Speeding over the Silk Road near Bukhara.

Raided our Uzbekistan taxi from its driver. Speeding over the Silk Road near Bukhara.

Great team. "24 Hours of Le Stans" non-stop, 1.500km from Termez via Nukus to Ashgabat.

Great team. “24 Hours of Le Stans” non-stop, 1.500km from Termez via Nukus to Ashgabat.

Karakalpakastan Gate

Karakalpakastan Gate

City of the Dead, Mizdakhan Necropole, near Nukus, Karakalpakastan,  Uzbekistan (former Khwarezmia)

City of the Dead, Mizdakhan Necropole, near Nukus, Karakalpakastan, Uzbekistan (former Khwarezmia)

"Don't pay the ferryman ..." Approaching the hole to hell in an old Russian GAZ 4x4.

“Don’t pay the ferryman …” Approaching the hole to hell in an old Russian GAZ 4×4.

Derveze Gas Crater, Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan, burning since 1971

Derveze Gas Crater, Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan, burning since 1971

View from Hotel Prezident over Ashgabat

View from Hotel Prezident over Ashgabat

Amazing Ashgabat: Former President "Turkmenbashi" Niyazov's Golden Statue rotates with the Sun

Amazing Ashgabat: Former President “Turkmenbashi” Niyazov’s Golden Statue rotates with the Sun

Book: "The Great Game - On Secret Service in High Asia"

Book: “The Great Game – On Secret Service in High Asia”

Interesting foto story about motorbike trip to Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor (Click here)


Nice songs to travel through ex-Soviet Union (repeatedly played by our taxi driver):
Alla Pugacheva – Million Roses (Link to youtube)

Jurij Shatunov – Belye Rozy (Link to youtube)

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