Our Trip Along the Silk Road Summarized

The picture is taken from the webpages of Vodkatrain who operate the tour

 

 

The Silk Road has its name from the trade of silk and other things between Asia and Europe, but the routes used were actually many. They all go through Central Asia, through changing landscape, countries and cultures. On my trip from North Korea to Turkey I made stops on the following places:

 

China: We made one stop at Urumqi, which is a city much different to East Coast China. People are friendlier, the food is like the ex-Soviet countries and most people are muslims. The city feels really Central Asian.

Khazakstan: We stayed in the capital Almaty, which had really good night life and some beautiful mountains lying next to it. The city feels quite like Moscow and more people speak Russian than Khazak.

Uzbekistan: This is the country we spent the most time in and for good reason. We visited Samarkand and Bukhara which have been capitols of one of the Worlds greatest empires where mosques, madrassas, tombs and minarets are built to be the most beautiful ever.

Turkmenistan: We visited Turkmenabat and traveled through the country to see that the capital Ashgabat had gotten all the oil money resulting in a white marble city with lots of fountains and Golden statues. The city has no soul as everything felt a bit fake/un natural, but it was so fascinating to see.

Iran: We stayed in Mashad, Isfahan and Teheran and it was a favorite even though we were tired of mosques and markets which was all there was to see in these cities. The reason being that Iran has the most warm hearted people who showed us that they welcome foreigners by inviting us to their homes, giving us small gifts and just showing genuine interest in us.

Turkey: We went to Ankara and Istanbul which both are cities with a lot of history and are good for cheap onwards flights. The food is also great and it is quite liberal making it a nice place to celebrate having completed the journey

 

Of the total 25 days we spent approximately 200 hours on the train, which I think was just as great as the stops made inbetween. The Silk Road is a trip everyone should have on their bucket list.

Crazy, funny, weird Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Ashgabat was the capitol of the Palin Dynasty around year 0 and was almost completely destroyed in an earthquake in 1948. Since the Soviet left and Turkmenistan got their independence in 1991 the city was completely rebuilt and is until today officialy the weirdest city I have ever visited.

We traveled from Turkmenabat through the whole country which was pretty much only sand, desert and a few oil pumping stations. When we arrived Asgabat it was clear where all the oil money had gone. The city was like the city I created when playing Sim City with cheats. They had built a ministry of education looking like a book, some buildings looking like those of other countries but just bigger, it was the city in the world with the most white marble, the biggest flag, the biggest carpet, the biggest indoor ferris wheel and probably the city with the most fountains and statues of the dictator who ruled until 2007, Saparmyrat Niyazov who called himself “Turkmenbashi” meaning the father of Turkmen.

Turkmenbashi was also the name that he used for the bigger harbour city, for an airport, for a mosque, for a vodkabrand and as the word for Monday. The other days of the week he called after his mother, friends and so on. Turkmenbashi, the first president to rule in Turkmenistan definately made Ashgabat what it is today. The coolest, weirdest, whitest, most empty feeling city it is today. It is like a mix of Las Vegas with any North Korean town, or like the capitol in District One of the Hunger Games. Ashgabat means the city of love, and it is easily a city to love if you are there for just a few days.

We visited the remainings of the Nusa castle, the huge Toulkuchka Bazaar, the top of the Independence tower and . We had also planned a 200$ pp camping trip to the gate to Hell in Dharvaza which was cancelled last minute, but will have to be saved for the next time I visit this crazy country.

Upcoming Travels

Travelplanning

I always have a lot of trips to look forward to, and during the next few months I will travel to the following places:

November 14.-16. Ireland: Celebrating my birthday together with my girlfriend doing christmas shopping and visiting breweries and destilleries

November 21.-30. Cuba: Sailing through the Canarreos Archipelago. A free study trip with Kilroy and G-Adventures

December-31-January 4. Turkey: Celebrating New Years in one of my favorite cities; Istanbul. Business Class tickets that I won with TK through an Instagram competition earlier this year

March 30.- April 4. Sri Lanka: Renting a motorcycle to explore remote villages of the up and coming country

April 4.-13. Maldives: Cruising through the Vadhoo Canal on a Dhoni Boat with G-Adventures. Experiencing local life on the beaches and fishing villages of Dhiggaru, Felidhoo and Enboodhoofinolhu.

April 25.-30. North Korea: Traveling from Beijing over to their mysterious neighbor in the east

May 1.-25. China, Khazakstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey: on the Silk Road with Vodkatrain

 

Have you done any of these trips and have anything to share or recommend from your own trip? Feel free to comment!