It was really hard to cycle in the middle of the winter. Sometimes I had to cycle in the snow. I was cycling around the desert area that the distance between cities was quite far. So I had to cycle until late sometimes to get to a hotel.
I wore all the clothes I had when it got really cold.
When I cycled in Finland in the winter, everywhere was covered by the snow. But I saw the desert more often than the snow in western north China. Sometimes the view was blocked by the strong sandstorm. There was nothing to do except keeping cycling to my destination.
I couldn’t believe that I got the flat tire with my new Schwalbe tire!! I only used two weeks, but how come I had already a problem??? Schwalbe was the strongest tire that every traveler used it. This time I tried a different product. I used Schwalbe Marathon before and it was super strong. But this time I bought the different one, Schwalbe Mondial and I was having the problem already after two weeks. Usually, people got only one or two times flat tire when they used Schwalbe tire. I hoped it was really bad luck and it didn’t happen again for one year.
I was heading to Dunhuang, a desert city. I thought if I cycled harder, I could arrive at Dunhuang in one day cause the road was flat. But there was strong wind and I got the flat tire. So I had to cycle until the late night. I was really hungry but it was a desert area that everything was far to reach. I had a very late dinner at a small restaurant.
It was a new record. I cycled from 9 am to 2:30 am that I was on the road for over seventeen and a half hours. Then I made 216 km (134 mi). I thought this record would be never broken on my trip that it would remain as the longest distance in one day cause it was only possible in west China. There was the highway that I didn’t need to stop by a traffic light. Also, it was an empty area that there was no big city to stop or to tour.
To be honest, it was a useless record cause the next day I couldn’t do anything. I was too tired to go out. When I spent too much energy for a long distance like 17 hours cycling, I couldn’t’ sleep deeply and at the next day, I cannot do really much thing cause I got too exhausted. So actually if I cycled this distance in two days, it would be better. haha.
After having enough rest day, I had an amazing desert tour.
I really loved the desert so much. Desert was my favorite scenery in nature.
At the one side of the desert, I could see Crescent Moon Pool. It was quite interesting to see the temple in the desert.
Mogao Caves was a very important place to visit. It was really different from the cave around Turpan that it was 100 times more impressing. Mogao Caves was a bit far from the city that I took the bus. There were only a few times a day for the tour that I had to check the time before going there.
When we started having the tour, we watched 3D first to understand the history. 3D Movie was very detailed that I felt like I was in the cave. So I took the picture cause I knew I couldn’t take the picture in the cave.
The cave was really dark and I must need a guide. I was the only foreigner that I had my own guide. My guide told me she could speak Korean. But it was quite difficult to understand. I was wondering if I have a guide speaking English, it would be better.
The guide had a lantern to point to the wall and she explained many things about the cave and Buddhism. I had seen only Christianity and Islam for a long time on my trip. So it was really interesting to see different religion.
The entrance of the main building was a bit far from the cave that we had to take the tour bus to get there together.
This food was really spicy that my stomach was too sore.
This was typical Dunhuang food. It was donkey meat. The taste was good and I didn’t feel any weird thing from the meat.
On the way to get out of Dunhuang, I couldn’t believe that I had a flat tire again. French cyclist I had met in Turpan told me he had a problem with Schwalbe Mondial as well. Some traveler told me he didn’t have the problem with this tire. I felt like this product was really not good cause Schwalbe was selling faulty one and good one mixed together.
Later I sent the company email to ask a new one cause I got a faulty one. But they just ignored me that I didn’t get any answer back. I was very disappointed by this German Schwalbe company.
After Dunhuang, there was a really interesting lake that I was wondering how this kind of ice was made.
Sometimes I slept at a gas station cause the next city was too far. The place where I pitch my tent was a resting area. But the staff turned off the light in the night so it was kind of my own place.
I got scared when there was the sandstorm. My worry was if cars couldn’t see me, they just could hit me. Also to have the balance with the strong wind was difficult.
Although I was in a remote area, I kept connecting to the world. There was a big news that Korean National Assembly approved the presidential impeachment motion. I was so happy that finally, we won against the wrong thing. When she became a president four years ago, I cried so hard since I knew she was a very wrong corrupted person. I was more upset that how come people voted for her. Now many Korean people knew she was not a good person
Many times things happened with the reason to teach us. Park, the ex-president, opened many people’s eye that people had learned they always had to watch politicians and choose the right person.
Democracy never came for free. So many young Korean people died and missed from 40’s to 80’s after fighting against the dictatorship. Also, more than 2 million people stood on the street to impeach Park. Although South Korea still has so many corruption’s problems, S.Korea is the most democratic country in the whole of Asia. Big respect for the people who always fight to bring the freedom and justice. They were my big inspiration.
After watching the amazing news, I kept cycling. But I was really hungry that I wanted to eat warm food. I couldn’t find any restaurant. Then I opened my magic food. I found it in a grocery shop. Someone would complain that it had too many plastics. But I was really starving and I did want to have warm food. This was a huge gift for me.
There was transparent water and I poured this into some product inside. Then suddenly it made heat. So I could eat warm food.
CHINESE INSTANT FOOD. NO NEED HOT WATER OR BOILING (En CC) - YouTube
(I made the video of how to eat.)
In China, it was not possible to use Google map. I had to turn on VPN to use google map. VPN is the program to change IP address. It was very uncomfortable to use it. Maps.me, offline map app, was not accurate.
The map showed I could go into the city with this road. But the reality was just like the picture that it was blocked. I didn’t want to cycle in the night that I just lift all my bags and bicycle to go over.
I used Baidu map in China. Baidu was like Google in China and they had so many services. Actually, when I tried to use Baidu map for the first time, I gave up because I couldn’t understand Chinese characters well and there was no English menu. Then I found Google map and Maps.me were too bad to use. Then I installed it again and tried to use a few times. At some point, I realized I didn’t need to understand any letter there cause map didn’t need many functions. It was just about touching a few different things on the screen to find a route or hotel.
It was really freezing cold that the lake in the city was frozen.
But my passion about crossing China couldn’t get frozen that I kept cycling.
I cycled really hard in this cold winter in the desert area.
I had visited the end of the Great Wall of China.
This was a very unique thing in the park in China. They wrote with the water and it was gone quickly.
Later I visited so beautiful place. It was called Rainbow mountains in Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park. It was 35 km (21 mi) far from the city. I cycled to go there cause the bus looked complicating. I had to cycle 35 km (21 mi) to come back to the city as well. So it was quite a long distance.
Around the sunset, it made the Rainbow Mountains more beautiful. But I would be honest that I added more color on my camera and editing program because to take the picture was the art to me. I liked to emphasize some color to express the most important thing on that moment. For example, I made redder when I took the picture of sunset or sunrise. To take the picture is a similar thing as to paint. To put more color at the thing I like is just skill of the art. Although I added more color, this place itself was beautiful still that it was really worth to cycle a long distance in this cold weather.
After the sunset, the color became a bit darker. To drive a personal car or ride a bicycle were forbidden that I had my own driver which was included at the ticket price and he dropped me at the important place.
It was one of the most impressing places I’ve visited in China.
After touring, my cold cycling started again. -9.1 (15.62f)!!!! It was really freezing!! I used my thermos very well which I bought in Urumqi last month.
When there was a strong wind, I felt colder.
I was really hungry but I couldn’t find a restaurant. I must stop to give some food on my belly.
But first, this mask was really uncomfortable.
There were a few challenges at cycling in the winter. The first thing was my fingers and toes were frozen all the time. The second thing was to keep the heat on my body. The third thing would be a running nose all day!!!!!!!! Seriously my nose was running for like 10 hours to 12 hours when I cycled. I couldn’t blow my nose every 10 minutes while pedaling. I didn’t want to eat my nose. So it was a really annoying uncomfortable thing. Sometimes I had a headache after too much a running nose.
I had a tea to melt this coldness. Having snack and tea, I kept one side of glove between a leg so that I could keep the heat when I wore again.
Late afternoon, I found a very small restaurant running by a family.
Before sitting on a chair, I must put my wet mask, gloves, and others on the heater. One hard thing to cycle in the winter was everything getting wet. Whenever I got the chance to have a heater, I must dry my wet clothes.
I was really hungry that I was so happy to get some food. As soon as I tasted, I was very disappointed that it was lamb meat. I was sensitive at the smell that I really didn’t like the meat of goat or sheep. I had the meat of goat and sheep quite often in Central Asia. So, when I came to China, I was happy to run away from lamb meat. But soon I realized I still had to eat lamb cause someplace was Muslim area in west China. I just tried to breathe with the only mouth to avoid the smell.
Sometimes a small village had a beautiful scenery.
Mostly it was semi-desert and lonely road though.
I really liked Chinese foods. Definitely, the best food is Korean food for me cause I am Korean. Except Korean food, I felt that Chinese foods are the best in the world. Their foods were quite different from Korea that it was really interesting to try.
But this best food was sold in uncomfortable places so many times. Chinese restaurant was very chaotic for me. People made a huge sound when they ate cause they didn’t close their mouth. Also, they kept spitting. And they smoked at the inside of the restaurant. They had a strong accent that it was very loud when they talked. People threw garbage on the table and on the floor that everywhere there was garbage in the restaurant. And all those things were mixed always in one place. It really happened at one time together people smoking, spitting, throwing garbage everywhere, making big noise for eating, speaking loud, ….Sometimes I felt too chaotic to eat at the restaurant that I asked to take away to eat in the hotel room. But it was not possible to run away from the sound of spitting. People spit endlessly that even I heard at the hotel room while eating.
When I was in Latin America, I had to hear boys making a kissing sound at me all the time. In China, I had to hear spitting sound all the time. The difference was Chinese spit just for themselves, not at me.
One time in the hostel, I saw a young Korean traveler eating with making a big sound. And I was thinking Korean would be similar to Chinese. I was sure I made a big sound during eating when I was in Korea. But I had learned at some point that to make a noise during eating was not the good manner in many countries. So I tried to eat quietly. Then now the sound people making during eating was bothering me. Weird..
When I was worried about where to sleep, I found this hotel in a very small village. The toilet was outside but it was a quite warm place to sleep.
Chinese Nomad wore a green long coat and it looked very cool(I mean awesome).
Sometimes I paid like $15 for a good hotel. But if I couldn’t reach to the hotel, I used to sleep around the gas station. It was a small gas station in a village. I asked to pitch my tent around the gas station. They told me it was so cold that I should sleep on the inside.
Although China had a big population, I had felt it was empty cause the density was not that high. Many times I felt like I was passing a ghost town cause they closed shops so early like 9 or 10 pm. It was Christmas Eve but all the restaurant was already closed that I bought my dinner from a grocery shop. Yes, this was my Christmas Eve Dinner.
And this was my Christmas Eve free hotel. I could sleep at the next heater that it was a quite good place.
At Christmas day, I was cycling to the east. China was Buddhist country that they didn’t care about Christmas, which was good for me who was staying alone that I didn’t need to feel lonely. When I bought some emergency foods at the gas station, they gave me an apple. I heard they usually gave an apple as Christmas gift. But I didn’t know I would get it. So it was a surprising gift to me.
I hoped everybody had A Merry Christmas.
This was quite interesting!
There were many minorities in China. So, I could see suddenly different hat or clothes.
A farmer was preparing the winter.
I got always scared when I saw a car accident. I wished nothing happened to me when I saw this kind of thing. But my wish didn’t last long.
There were many trucks and they dropped sands. And the edge of the road became muddy. I had to cycle on this black side cause I couldn’t cycle in the middle of the road. At some point, suddenly the road became like the ice that it was too slippery because trucks kept moving and pressuring the side road and it made the road very slippery like the ice. I couldn’t control the balance that I was hitting the road too strongly. I couldn’t stand up although my bicycle and bags were in the middle of the road. If there was a car moving very fast just behind me, I could be hit, which would be always the worst thing. But there was no any car that I was fine. But it was too painful that I couldn’t feel anything on my knees that I just lay down on the road. Other cars went over me slowly. Then local people came and collected all my things to the side of the road and helped me to move to the side. After 10 minutes, I could feel my knee. Then the people from the garage call me to wash with hot water at their place cause my clothes became very dirty from the mud.
From central China, there was always dust on the road and I used to see this kind of mud road sometimes, which made me too scared.
After the big accident, I started cycling again. Yes, it was really painful. But this was my life on the road. I was sick, but I had to keep moving because I didn’t have any home near.
I really wanted to get to Xian on that day. I went to the highway because it looked like there was no such a small road. But at the tollgate, they didn’t let me go. Always small roads were more dangerous, but they didn’t agree. So I had to go around and went to up this one mountain
It was not much difficult to get out of Urumqi although it was a big city. Usually to enter into a big city is difficult, but to get out of the city is easier. I saw many people dancing together with the music at the park in the morning and I thought they had so healthy life.
Before the dark, I stopped at a tollgate and asked a police officer for the place to sleep around. Then he said he was not authorized here. So he introduced me to the charger of the tollgate. To set up a tent in the empty room was not possible that he suggested me to sleep in the forest which was at the next. The ground level was not flat for the sleeping and it was really cold. So I decided to keep cycling. Then the police car followed me behind and told me there is no place to sleep around that I should sleep around the police station, 3 km (1.8 mi) far away. And then they followed me by their car the behind.
It was freezing cold night that they suggested me to sleep inside of the office. I was really happy that I could sleep warmly.
Camping at Chinese Police Station (English CC) - YouTube
There was a cafeteria for police officers and they let me had dinner. It was my first time to try Chinese flower bun. It didn’t have any taste. But the food was really spicy so it was good to neutralize the spicy taste.
At the next morning, I dressed warmly. The heat usually goes out from the top of the head. One time there was a picture that a baseball player dropped cabbage from his cap while throwing a ball. The reason he had that was to reduce the heat. In the winter, it is important to cover something on the head to keep the heat. I tried a hat and others but it pressed too much when I wore together with a helmet. So my favorite thing to wear was this thin red rain jacket’s hood. It prevented the wind, kept the heat, and looked cool like Superman.
Along the road, there was a cemetery. It seemed it belonged to Chinese Muslim for there was Arabic on the tombstone. It would sound weird if I say “Many tombs are very interesting all over the world.” Anyhow, it would be interesting if there is a picture collection of the world’s tomb cause the tomb represented their nature, culture, and human.
I had spent much money on winter gear recently in Urumqi. But it was not warm enough. My fingers and toes were still suffering. This was my second time to cycle in the winter. The first time was in Russia, Finland, and Poland for five months. This time was in Kazakhstan and China. This winter was the same as the previous winter that I had to fight against having frozen fingers and toes.
To cycle on a winter morning was really painful. But still, I loved the morning. The morning was the best time of the life and thankfully I had it every day. I became free from the pain in the afternoon as the temperature went up.
There were many wind powers on the way to Turpan, the next city. This place was known for strong wind. Luckily I didn’t have strong wind.
Before the city, I saw many people planting and I realized a really weird thing. There was no any single plant around. Whether semi-desert or red desert dune, I saw always plants. But this place didn’t have any life on the ground. I had a question that it was my first time to see the land without any plant. I wondered that how this place would be changed after a few years.
Approaching the city, suddenly I saw many trees and grasses. It was surprising that Chinese city’s road was a bit similar to Duch road. There were very good paved cyclist roads many times next to the road. Chinese usually rode an electric bicycle, motor bicycle, and scooter.
I had met Chinese travelers at the hostel while registering. They were drinking a very strong one. They gave me a small amount but I couldn’t finish it. My throat was just burning!
Strongest Drink in my life (English sub) - YouTube
The dog and cat got along well. The cat was really friendly that she crawled to my bed in the morning. To start the morning with the cat meant lucky day.
Chinese travelers and I would have the tour together to visit ruins. Before going there, we had a nice lunch. It was called Dapanji which made of the chicken, potatoes, peppers, and vegetable. It was Xinjiang province’s cuisine. This was not the food I can order only for myself cause it was a big dish. I was happy that there were Chinese friends to eat together.
We walked around the ruins. To be honest, it was difficult to guess what this was in the past. I needed more imagination.
We had a hotpot for dinner. It was not my first time to have it. When I was looking for a restaurant with the traveler in Urumqi, we walked in conveyor-belt hotpot restaurant. I had never been coveyor-belt sushi even before. So I was really excited at that time. I had my own pot in front of me on an electric stove and there were skewers with meat and vegetable going around. At that time I didn’t know the food I had was called hotpot.
Now I knew hotpot was very popular food to have with friends and family in China. This time we shared the pot together. One side was spicy soup and the other side was non-spicy one. The soup was good from the beginning. After soaking so many vegetable and meat, the soup turned to fantastic taste. I did love so much hotpot while traveling in China. I really liked to eat with people though. To have a hotpot was like eating Korean bbq (Samgyupsal).
It looked like I had so many skewers. But trust me it was just distortion of wide angle lens.
Chinese beer was really weak that usually, it was only 2.5~3.2%??. I really didn’t feel the alcohol. Later I got one tip. If I drank so fast Chinese beer, then I could have a similar experience of having 5% beer.
On the way back, we saw bbq fish. It looked interesting that we ordered it. I liked it but Chinese travelers told me it was too simple. The way of bbq reminded me of Masai having bbq on the street. It looked quite similar.
When I came back to the hostel, I found there were two traveling bicycles. At the next morning, I met them while having breakfast. They were brothers from France and headed to Shanghai (or Beijing? cannot remember exactly) I went out for the tour with these two cyclists cause Chinese travelers wanted to go other places. Before we were heading, we had lunch on the street.
The boy was wearing special Chinese pants that there was a big hole in the middle so that he could easily poop or pee anytime he wanted. I thought it was really good to wear it than to use chemical diaper if he only wears at his house. But if he wears in the city, then um…
I saw sometimes kids just pooping and peeing in the middle of the city because these pants gave them freedom. Usually, it happened in a small city more than a big city though. My travel friend told me she saw a kid pooping while she was eating the food at the restaurant.
We were about to head to Flaming Mountains but it was really difficult to go. Nobody spoke English and google translator or map didn’t help to communicate. After taking several buses, we just gave up and visited a historic site around the city. This was similar to what I saw in Uzbekistan. The inside was quite simple but the entrance was $10. I thought it was too expensive compared to what I saw.
I bought their traditional bread which was similar to Central Asia. I had seen this stove since Armenia.
I had found Chinese bread from the grocery shop were too sweet. I heard Asian eat very sweet bread. European bread spoiled me to hate sweet bread that I really liked the bread like above the picture which didn’t have sweet taste.
Finally, I got a package!!!!! I had a long story about it. My tire was broken at the side, which kept making a flat tire. I bought a tire for $3 as an emergency. Then I ordered a new tire, rim tape, and a bicycle computer through online to German friend. And then he sent to Dushanbe’s hostel from Germany with DHL. But I didn’t get it in Dushanbe after a while. I went to the post office and they told me it was sent back because the name of a receiver was different so they kept it for two weeks at the office and then just sent back without any notification to me or him. The problem was the guest houses in Dushanbe didn’t put any signboard outside, so it looked like just someone’s house. Luckily(?) German friend got the package back at his house.
This time I asked him to send to the hostel of Turpan, China. But it didn’t arrive again. The problem was the hostel was about to close for the winter season. I asked the hostel’s owner to call DHL. Then she said it just arrived in the office but they didn’t know when it would send to the hostel. So I asked her to tell them I would go there to pick it up. When I went there, I couldn’t communicate. They said I cannot go in. But then someone helped me with the paper which hostel’s owner wrote for me. After waiting outside without knowing what’s going on, finally, I got the package from some worker. I felt so lucky to have it. If the delivery guy found the hostel closed at the next day, they would send back to Germany again.
I couldn’t believe this $3 cheap tube was so strong at a dirt road in Pamir Highway. It was like my life. Who knew I could travel around the world with this weak body. haha. By the way, it was really difficult to take away because the rubber was very tough. Maybe that’s the reason it lasted long enough although it was too cheap.
My chain kept jumping these days that it was quite dangerous to cycle. For example, at the corner or crossing road, I started pedaling with thinking a car was coming a bit far from that it was enough time to cross. But then my chain was jumping and I was stuck middle of the road. In this case, the car could hit me.
I tried to fix it by myself but it was difficult that French guy helped me. I cut one chain out. But he told me it would keep jumping until I just change to a new chain. I would buy a chain, cassette, and crankset in the next big city.
Why bus drivers don't take us? (English sub) - YouTube
Vlog of Turpan. I don’t have vlog anymore cause I lost all my videos which I kept on my portable hard drive cause it was broken.
It was the last day of the hostel. If I came here in spring or autumn, it would be so good. But when I was there, it was really cold. The toilet was outside. At least there was hot water to take shower. But before the shower or after the shower it was super cold. Especially in the morning, to brush teeth and wash the face with the cold water at the basin was challenging. I understood why the hostel closed it in the winter.
By the way, people shouldn’t visit here in the summer because Turpan is one of the hottest places in the world.
I was sure that French cyclists would go very fast that I said goodbye to them and started at my own speed.
This was the place where French guys and I tried to come by bus the day before. But actually, it didn’t need to come by bus because it was on our way to the next city. It was a touristic spot because it was said the place looked like lava flowing. I was not sure it was worth to visit by complicating bus. At this time I didn’t need to buy the ticket cause I could just see from far away. Around this place, there was a really strong wind that it was difficult to cycle.
I was about to visit Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves cause the name sounded very interesting. But the way to the attraction was really amazing like the heaven, just fantastic!!
I thought there were thousand caves. In reality, the picture was all and even some of the room were closed. The entrance fee was $13. I had noticed that the entrance fees were very expensive in China whether it was simple or amazing.
In many countries, the government gave local people a big discount for the entrance fee of the historic place. Many travelers have told me it was unfair that foreigners had to pay a lot more than local people. I had a different opinion that I agree with their policy because local people were the one who maintained this all ruins and they paid tax all their life for the country.
But in China, there is no any discount for local people and even the entrance is very expensive. I heard that some Chinese people shared how to sneak in some places on the internet.
(At the beginning of the trip in China, I had visited many attractions. But later I gave up because I had realized I spent much money on the entrance fee. Sometimes it was worth, sometimes it wasn’t. Later I only visited if it is the really important place. )
After touring, I saw French guys again. They were already finishing tour caves and sand dune. They told me they saw me arriving from the top of the dune. After taking the picture together, they left and I climbed to the sand dune.
The scenery was really amazing. I really wanted to recommend any cyclist to visit this route. But I doubted about paying $13 to see a few rooms in Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
(The next pictures are about the toilet. Please scroll down quickly with looking through half-closed eyes if you are eating something.)
I wanted to use the toilet. But when I went there, I got shocked. This was the toilet I saw only on the internet. I had paid $13 for the entrance. But this was what I got back. Fortunately, big tour groups all left. So I could have some privacy.
There was one weird thing that in China, people didn’t close the door in the public toilet sometimes. I got surprised when I entered the toilet cause I had to see people peeing and pooping. I understood the door could be broken sometimes and they hurried that they couldn’t hold the broken door. But sometimes they opened the door even it was not broken. Actually, they didn’t not only open the toilet door but also hotel’s room door too. It was not that cheap hotel, but around $15 with modern design. But still, people opened their door sometimes. So the noise from TV and talk went around the corridor and other rooms. And I felt weird to pass someone’s room opened.
This was another unique toilet in the west north China. There was a long connecting tunnel under the toilet. So sometimes I pee while someone’s pee was flowing. As you know, poop cannot flow. So usually it was stuck there like the above picture. If it was a bit good toilet, the water was flowing automatically every some time from the end.
There was one weird thing that Malaysia had a similar thing. When I took the shower at the hostel, I found the tunnel was connected on one side. For example, those silver tunnel on the picture was much smaller on the one side corner and it was connected to all bathrooms. So I had to see someone’s water flowing while taking shower and I added my shower water on that. You know girls could have a period while they travel. Imagine someone’s blood is flowing in front of you while you talking shower at the hostel. I had a chance to go to a very nice gym in the capital of Malaysia for free. Even there was a tunnel at the side that I saw people’s water flowing in front while having the shower. I was not sure why Malaysia had public bathrooms like this. While writing this post, I have realized maybe it was from Chinse immigrants. (In Malaysia, there are local Malay, Chinese Malaysian, and Indian Malaysian) Now I am confused Korean have this shared tunnel drain system, too. I was away from home for a long time that I cannot remember.
I wondered all this area would be turned to the sand dune in the future.
After the beautiful desert area, I passed a very pretty village. They had unique paintings on the wall. While looking for a restaurant, I met French guys again.
They were already invited by local people while looking for a restaurant as well. We got the bread, raisins, and tea. After farewell, they left first and I cycled with my slow speed.
The next village had a cultural painting as well.
I decided to stop at the next village that I asked local people to set up my tent in their yard. But local lady suggested me to sleep inside. She was starting cooking that I helped her. The oven was connected to the room that she could heat the room while cooking.
She had two beautiful kids. She showed me the video of some ceremony in the village. The way they greeted was really interesting in the video.
A lady put my head scarf later. Late night it seemed she was picking lice from her daughter’s hair. So, I guessed she was worried that I would get some lice? Or she was sincerely Muslim that she thought I should cover when her husband arrived. I just thought that she was just worried about me having lice.
Crossing Khorgos border, I arrived in Chinese immigration at the dark. As I heard, they would close the border after the dark. But thankfully they were still working. Actually, I was the only customer there. It seemed that Kazakhstan and China border connected the system so that they can wait for the person who just crossed the border. The immigration officer asked me many things and I had realized she was just so curious about my traveling. Once I left immigration’s property, suddenly many guys exchanging money came to me. Thanks to them, I could exchange left Kazakhstan money to Chinese money.
Cycling on the Chinese main road, I was just so touched, moved, and impressed by the fact that I was back to the continent where I was belonged to. I left home in 2010 and I lived in Canada for a year with a working holiday visa. And then I had cycled over five years through North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia without going back home. I am not from China, but Korea. But still, I was so excited that I was back in Asia! I was not sure what kind of feeling I would have when I am back in my country, Korea.
The road was well paved and so clean. My first image of China was “Clean and Tidy” at the border town. But it was weird that it was like a ghost city that there were not many cars or people.
I had realized suddenly two hour was different from Kazakhstan. China is a huge country but they have only one-time zone. For example, the country like the U.S or Brazil had different time zones at the inside of the country. However, China only followed one-time zone. In the past, they used different time zones as well. But they decided to use only one-time zone to unify the country as a communist. I heard the western Chinese followed their own time zone. But in reality, they followed mostly Beijing Time zone. So I decided to follow also Beijing Time zone to not be confused.
Actually, it was a big benefit for me, a cyclist traveler. For example, I started cycling at like 10 am. When the sun goes up at 7 am and goes down at 5 pm, I could cycle only for seven hours (cycling from 10 am to 5 pm). But when the sun goes up at 9 am and goes down at 7 pm, I could cycle for nine hours (10 am to 7 pm). So as a person depending on the sunlight, it was super awesome that the sun goes up at 9 am in this area.
I was already in the city that it would be difficult for camping. So I was looking for a hotel, but all the hotels were expensive maybe it is because of the border city. Luckily I found the hotel for $15. It had a bit bad mold smell and the paint on the wall came off. But I was still happy that I had a safe and warm place to sleep.
It was just around 10 pm, but the street was really quiet and most of restaurants were already closed. Thankfully there was one restaurant opened. And this was my FIRST MEAL IN CHINA!!!!
It was hilarious that to use chopsticks was so challenging. I kept missing noodles. I had only few times to meet Korean or have Korean food last a few years. But I guessed the main problem was the material. It was very thick and slippery and noodle itself was slippery too. Korean chopsticks were metal and very thin. Someone told me Koreans were only Asian using metal chopsticks. I searched for it and the reason Korean use stainless chopsticks were that King was afraid of getting poison in the past. So when they use silver chopsticks, they can see it is poisoned or not. But silver is very expensive so normal people who wanted to live like a king used stainless chopsticks. It was said stainless chopsticks is cleaner and more hygienic. But I heard Korean chopsticks were more difficult for foreigners. But for me, Chinese chopsticks were too hard. Even I had the pain on my hand that I tried stretching my hand while eating. By the way, the taste was really amazing that I was so happy to find this restaurant.
Crossing Chinese Border-Travel vlog in China (Around the world by bicycle) - YouTube
At that time, I made several vlogs. This was the video about crossing the border.
I was about to buy a simcard before leaving the city. But it was difficult to communicate that I used google translator. There were three main telecom companies in China. As I heard, it could require lock phone or local address. So I decided to use China Unicom. But WOW! This was the most complicating sim card I’ve ever used that I could never understand how it worked. When I wanted to have top up, they said I had to make a new sim card. So I made a new one, but then I found I could have top up later. But then I could have only the same amount as first. But then next time I could top up different, but then other time I couldn’t and so on. Every time I had serious challenge to charge money.
To buy a simcard meant connecting to the world for me. So I was relaxed after having the simcard and I cycled to get out of the city. It was interesting to see the traffic board that they used two different languages.
I had a very clean hotel with the same money I paid for an old hotel in the border town. They just opened the hotel, so everything was clean. But there was one weird thing. The hotel’s owner asked me to close curtain after the dark cause the police can see it. I was thinking maybe they didn’t have a license to accept the foreigners.
First day of Cycling in China-Travel vlog (Around the world by bicycle) - YouTube
Vlog about my first day cycling in China.
I had stayed two days more at the hotel. At the next day, I walked around the small town. Usually, for one or two weeks at the country I just entered, I felt like I was walking around Disneyland because everything was new to me that I was super excited to see them.
Xinjiang Chinese Street Food -Travel vlog in China (Around the world by bicycle) - YouTube
Video about my first Chinese Street Food
Having some street snacks, I wanted to have a proper meal that I went to a restaurant. I didn’t know how to choose the food, so I asked for the same food as other people eating. It looked similar to Lagman, Central Asian food.
He showed me how to it. Somehow it was very different from Central Asian one. They served noodle and sauces separately. It was juicier and chewy with lots of vegetables and meat. I really loved it so much. I must stay this was one of the best noodles I had. (I want to go back one day to eat this noodle.)
Next day the hotel’s owner asked me to join the wedding ceremony. They ordered lots of food and introduced me. But I couldn’t see the wedding that it seemed it would start very late. While having lunch with them, I had learned how to count the number with a hand because Chinese counted the number very different way with the hand. I was very confused that I didn’t know how long it would take time to remember. There was one funny thing that I watched North Korean defector counted the number with Chinese way on YouTube. The reason was they usually waited in China three to four years to make money to go to South Korea. So they were used to Chinese way to count the number with the hand. But I was curious that North Korean people in their land used Chinese way or just normal way.
It was the end of October, but everything was already covered by the snow. The landscape was very beautiful but I was a bit worried about cycling.
Although I came to a new country, I still saw a yurt which I saw from Central Asia.
Definitely, the best scenery was the snow for me.
I was not sure when they had all this snow. My favorite car was a snowplow in the winter. I loved you so much and I thanked you so much ever!
I was hungry and cold. So I stopped to wear one more layer of socks and a jacket and to eat some cookies
It seemed I had to cycle on that bridge. But how?
In the first year, I didn’t like raining or cycling on the mountain. As time went, I was used to it. But I had never liked a tunnel on my trip. When a car passed, the sound is too loud and echoing. It was like the monster chasing me to kill. I was too nervous that I fell off. Luckily there was no any car behind, so I stood up quickly.
The worst part of the tunnel was when a car honked a horn. It was like the Grim Reaper shouting “Yo What’s up. I am here to take you!” THE HELL SOUND TOO LOUD!
Unbelievable! I couldn’t believe that I was on the bridge after the tunnel. Sometimes we already got there without knowing how to get there.
WOW CHINA! This was a really long bridge! They didn’t want to make the road on the mountain, so just built the long long bridge.
Oh my goodness. Again tunnel?
After the tunnel, this time the stunning scenery surprised me.
I was not sure where to sleep tonight. There were some yurts. I didn’t want to set up my tent on the snow and I didn’t want to crash their house. But the next town was too far to reach today. So I decided to go back near to the tunnel because I saw some building there.
It was like a small old hotel. There was no electricity, running water, and a toilet inside. But the room was $30. It was too much. But thanks that I could set up my tent at the inside of the building after paying $5. Setting my tent, I realized that I forgot one pole at Kyrgyzstan local people’s house last time. However, I could still use my tent with only two poles. The inside of the building was still very cold. But it was better than outside with the snow. The best part of today was I could buy a nice hot meal.
One of hardest day with long tunnels and snow(한글자막) travel vlog in China/Around the world by bicycle - YouTube
Vlog (I found this video was a bit more interesting than other vlogs)
I wore layers to start cycling.
Fingers were really cold that I covered the hand with my rain jacket to protect from the wind. I wanted to buy special gloves which I can install like a winter glove for a scooter. But I was not sure where to buy.
The scenery was so beautiful that it was such a big morning gift.
I had lunch at the restaurant just next to the road. But the meat was a bit different. When I was about to pay, they asked me almost two times more money than the usual meal. I thought they were cheating me and I got annoyed. But then they pointed their finger at a horse picture. I realized it was expensive meat. Even if they cheated on me, I shouldn’t be angry or upset much. I thought the lack of thing on my trip or maybe in my life was patience. I wish I am more tolerant.
Having self-reflection on a nice paved road, I saw some weird creature.
It looked a bit horse somehow. But it was the Bactrian camel, living in Central Asia and North Asia.
“Wow you look so weird!”
“You too! You looked very weird too. You have a very short neck! Can you see well around?”
“Yeah it is okay. But wow you have so many furs on your neck”
“Hell! You don’t have any fur?? Aren’t you cold?”
“Yeah it is freezing cold. So I wore many clothes.”
“Never mind. Take care!”
“You ugliest, take care too!”
It was really long downhill that my fingers were frozen. I cycled over 130 km (80 mi) until 10 pm because it was too cold to do camping and the hotel was really far away.
My fingers are frozen!! - travel vlog in China (Around the world by bicycle) - YouTube
Vlog of the day.
At the next day, there were endless cotton farms with the sand.
It seemed it was a very dry place?
Cotton was stuck on the ground for so many km endlessly. I thought it was waste.
I was about to buy petrol for my stove at a gas station, but they denied. There were many restaurants near so I went to one of them. I did love it so much. It was so yummy.
Again I was struggling with Chinese chopsticks. Then the owner gave me the fork although I didn’t ask. It seemed they even could see I was having a problem. haha.
It was a bit warmer than the day before so I wanted to have wild camping. But I really didn’t know how I could do it because there was a guardrail next to the road and then there was a fence as well. I could lift all my bags and bicycle to go over a guardrail, but it was impossible to go further because of the fence.
The next city was too far that I decided to put my tent around exit because a car cannot see me easily. I moved all my bags and bicycle to down road and set up my tent.
Sleeping Just Next Road Alone??? -Travel vlog in China (Around the world by bicycle) - YouTube
At the next day, I succeeded to get the petrol. The staff asked me why I needed it. I explained it was for cooking by using a translator. Then he went out to the entrance and put his social id or driver card(?) on the machine. Then he put his card again on the machine when he put petrol on my stove’s bottle. It seemed it was not simple to give petrol. That’s why I was denied at the other day.
I was really hungry but there was no near restaurant that I just had snacks at the gas station. Thankfully they gave me soya milk and orange as a gift.
When I was about to the enter the city, I saw the truck tip over. I did remember this car because when the car was passing me, cotton was flying around like flowers flying in the air. I did hope everybody was okay and the car was okay too.
Passing Truck tip over - Travel vlog in China - YouTube
At the next morning, I had a big problem that I couldn’t take any money from ATM because it was empty. There was no other bank I could use with my foreigner card. I had only $1 left. I went to a market and bought a tomato, onion, mushroom, and rice for 75 cents, which I would use for a dinner.
On the way back to my bicycle, I saw people playing a traditional board game. I knew how to play because I had learned it from my grandfather.
I kept seeing people picking cotton.
But I saw this big machine to collect cotton. Then why people picking with their hands?? I was not sure why it was like this.
There was no doubt that cotton was very unique, beautiful, and useful plan.
I was not sure where to set up my tent tonight. Then I saw some broken fence. So I tried to go far away from the main road. I cooked my dinner with what I bought on the day. I added soya sauce and salt. The juice from the vegetable made the meal so yummy that I did enjoy my dinner at my tent.
No money on ATM. What can I buy with $1 in china? (En CC/한글자막) - YouTube
It was a really cold night that I wore more clothes during the night.
There was frost because of the cold night. One of the hardest things to sleep on the tent in the winter was to go out from a sleeping bag in the morning. It was just so painful.
It was difficult to find a restaurant that I had a very late lunch. It was so yummy that I was so happy after the meal.
While I was cycling happily, I saw one adult picking cotton with a child wearing cute clothes. I knew I shouldn’t judge people with just what I saw. But suddenly I thought so many things. I didn’t work hard for a long time. I just updated my blogs and did small things to look for small money and I had traveled for so many years and had such an easy life. I didn’t really struggle for money much. So when I saw people working too hard like just next to a street or foreigner worker such as in Dubai working Monday to Sunday without such a human right, I felt very shame about my life.
I did know the life is not fair because we started differently and chose different thing. But this was really shame to see people working hard while I just enjoyed my easy life. Someone told me we all are different that I didn’t need to feel shame, but enjoy my life cause my job was to share the story with people. Yeah,..
UNIQUE Myanmar STREET FOOD TOUR in Yangon - YouTube
Here are five dishes you must try if you go to Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar Foods are really delicious. It seems Myanmar people really cook well. Two things seriously you must try is Pickled Tea Leaf Salad and Mohinga. Specially Pickled Tea Leaf Salad can go really well with beer.
1. Pickled Tea Leaf Salad (Lahpet)
It is a very unique food because they use the tea leaf as a salad. Myanmar is one of a few countries which eat the tea as the food in the world. Fermented Pickled Tea with nuts and vegetables has the very unique taste. Especially this is really good with the beer.
Location in Yangon: https://goo.gl/maps/4NKN8B6wHiS2
2. A typical Myanmar meal
If you order the main dish like meat or fish, you would get side dishes like salad, soup, and vegetables for free. You can have it for lunch or dinner. Usually, Myanmar people cook well that always it has good taste.
Location in Yangon: https://goo.gl/maps/USDnf3xG1KA2
3. Noodle Salad
It is served with salad, vegetable, and a few different seasonings. This dish is good for a snack cause it is a light meal.
Location in Yangon:https://goo.gl/maps/qptauzd7nHJ2
4. Pork Offal Skewers (Wet Thar Dote Htoe)
It is pork offal on a stick in light soy sauce. The meat placed on the stick includes the internal organs of the pig including its intestine, liver, kidney, spleen, heart, lungs, tongue and even the skin and cartilage. The soup has really deep flavor. At first, you dip the stick into the soup and then dip into chili sauce.
Location in Yangon: https://goo.gl/maps/RzqYL1r1y3n
It is a rice noodle and fish soup. It is the national dish you must try if you go to Myanmar. Usually, it is eaten for breakfast. Every region cooks the different way that if you travel whole Myanmar, you can taste different Mohinga.
Location in Yangon: https://goo.gl/maps/LhLnNZCBEAF2
To enter into Osh, the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan was chaotic to me because I didn’t see the big city for one month. Also, the weather was suddenly too hot that it was totally opposite from high land.
Tes hostel was a popular place for people traveling by bicycle, camping car or motorcycle. At the entrance, I met Dutch Couple again whom I had met in Tajikistan two times. They had made even the cake to celebrate my fifth years of the trip in Tajikistan. I wanted to stay with everybody at the hostel, but it was full with some group having a conference. So I just went to another hostel, which was 5 km (3.1 mi) far. There was a lovely dog around Tes hostel that I was playing with the dog while discussing how we should meet again in the night to have a party.
In the night, we gathered together at a bar and had the party. The red bottle was a local vodka.
Just a few days ago, I had to take the water from the river and there was nothing on the road. It was unbelievable that suddenly I had everything here.
In Pamir highway, it was really fun to see the same traveler again and again. I have met all of them in Tajikistan except Szymon, the guy holding vodka at the end.
The bar changed to the club later and I had so much fun. It was not that nice place but I really liked because it was surprising to be in civilization suddenly with people I liked.
In Osh, I went to an animal market with Szimon, Marleen, and Roderick.
The market was held only one time a week. I had never been the place like full of people and animals that it was such a new thing to me.
I could see local people and their culture that it was such a good experience.
Sheep’s butt was so fluffy with a heart shape that it looked so cute to watch always.
They didn’t trade only animal, but also equipment.
At the corner, there was restaurant and people had fresh bread from the stone oven. In Kyrgyzstan, males wore a white hat.
People traded sheep, goat, cow, yak, and horse. I could try to ride horse thank to local people.
Thanks to horse and owner for kindness.
People touched a few different parts of the animal before buying. Then when they liked, they paid to local people.
They carried animal to their car. The traffic was crazy with animals, people, and cars.
Actually, it was a bit bitter to watch local people dragging cows and other animals on the way to their car although I appreciated to them that thank to them I could eat meat. One time was enough to have a new experience that I didn’t want to visit animal market anymore.
I went to Lenin Peak’s base camp with Szymon, Mrleen, and Roderick.
Lenin Peak was near Kyrgyzstan border. When I stayed one night near the border on my way to Osh, I wanted to go to Lenin Peak, but a tour was expensive and I didn’t want to cycle and sleep there alone. But they said they would go there and let’s go together from Osh. Francesco was sick that he didn’t go. And actually, I had to hurry to China before winter coming so I was not sure going or leaving to the next city. But it was the place I wanted to go that I decided to join them. Lenin Peak was at 7.134 m (23,405 ft) above sea level and the base camp we would go was at 3,500 m (11,482 ft) above sea level.
To go from Osh to Lenin Peak’s base camp meant I had to go back to the border where I came from. I traveled by camping car with German guys in the U.S. So it was the second time to travel like this.
In my eyes, they had everything like the egg, cheese, butter, jam and more in their fridge. It was a different way to travel from me that I enjoyed.
The way to Lenin Peak was really beautiful and quiet that there was no any house near base camp. Osh was at 963 m (3,159 ft) above sea level but I didn’t have any problem with altitude sickness. Maybe the reason was I was used to high altitude after one month cycling.
We tried to find wood but there was not much around. I tried to make big wood to small peace but it was not easy with a small ax.
We started with Irish alcohol coffee.
And having camping fire
They had an amp that we had very loud weird music.
We were having so much fun with red local vodka, other alcohol, dancing, and loud music. There was no any people or house around that it was our own party place.
At the next day, we had the hangover that the morning was slow. Dutch couple had an oven that we had a nice breakfast.
Once we got better from the hangover, we started hiking.
I was surprised at Szymon because he brought his drone all the way to Central Asia. I had a drone too but I sold before coming to Central Asia. All countries in Central Asia had very strict control that I didn’t want to be in trouble with a drone. He said Uzbek immigration opened his drone’s box, but it was no problem because they thought it was just a toy.
There was strong wind on the top that we couldn’t fly it.
We found a very nice spot to watch high mountain. I had seen many high mountains, but unfortunately I had never been at the top of any peak. But still, I really liked to see the high mountain with the snow.
I guessed that there were yurts around white rocks at the season. It was the middle of Sept that nomad people were moving. So, I saw many empty grounds like it often.
The good thing to travel with other friends was I didn’t feel lonely anymore. But there was no time for myself. So, I asked them to go first to enjoy hiking alone at the last part.
Once I walked alone, I could see and feel more nature and mountain. I thought it would be no problem to travel with many people if I can have my own time like this.
After hiking, the night came. We were a bit tired from last night party that we had chat and cooked dinner together quietly.
The next morning was so clear that I could see the mountain better. It was so relax morning that I enjoyed breakfast with them. Once I got off from my bicycle, things became so easy and relax. I liked this kind of balance between adventure and easy travel.
On the way back to Osh, I saw a solo female cyclist. She was from Malaysia and she had slept on the mountain around four days. I asked her it was not scary. She said people were always nice and everything was fine. Whenever I met a solo female cyclist like her who was not afraid of wild camping, I took my hat off to them because I had too much fear than anyone.
I met Malaysian girl again in Osh and we went to Sushi restaurant together.
I felt like I drank every day in Osh because of good friends I met. One night we went to Korean restaurant together.
There was one thing make me shocked. There were menus in Korean and Kyrgyz with English. In Korean menu, I found dog meat which was not in Kyrgyz Menu. In Korea, dog meat was not popular that people could have it in only specific restaurant. I didn’t have any friend or family eating dog meat, so it was shocking to see for the first time.
Actually, I never like people asking or treating me eating dog because it made the mistake of hasty generalization. However, I was not against people eating dog because I ate cow, pig, and other animals. The pig was one of smartest animals and I saw cow crying. So if I was against people eating dog, I would be a hypocrite. It sounded always the weird topic, so I didn’t like to talk about it. But I could not stop people making fun of me because I was Korean. To meet people from the world meant I had to be patient with all kind of jokes, the mistake of hasty generalization. People always tried to make fun of me with North Korea, Dog Meat, and Chinese words (Many people thought there was only one country, China in Asia and they treated me Chinese all the time). I had never liked this kind of jokes that I always wish I become more patient person.
Anyway after culture shocking, we ordered many Korean different dish and shared together (of course, not dog meat). It meant I could have all different kind of Korean dish! We ordered Korean alcohol which was called Soju, 18%. But we were used to drink Kyrgyz vodka 45% that Korean Soju was weak drink to us. So later we ordered local vodka and had chat until late.
Norwegian guy I was cycling together to Osh met his parents who brought new tire. So he gave me one of his old tire. I was cycling with very cheap 3$ tire and carried extra $10 tire. His tire was old one but it was way better than my extra new tire that I was happy to get his one. I decided to sell my other tire because I didn’t feel I needed extra tire. There was no any bicycle shop except street market. I sold my extra tire for 2$ and bought some other stuff I needed.
I had carried all kind of thing which I didn’t use. But when I had cycled with other cyclists on Wakhan valley, it was so useful for everyone. I carried extra part for pannier as well. When Francesco’s pannier was broken, I could give my extra part. But this time I got help from Francesco. He was also about to meet his parents in Osh that I could ask earlier his parents to get the same jacket from Decathlon shop.
I had dinner with him and his parents later and got my winter jacket. I didn’t need to worry about winter jacket anymore. They were so sweet that they gave me chocolate, jerked ham, and cheese to me. I told them I would share it with other friends.
After 10 days around Osh, I was about to cycle again. But I was too shocked in the morning because there was a dog waiting for me. It was the dog I stroked at the first day in front of the hostel in Osh. My hostel was 5 km (3.01 mi) far and actually I didn’t see the dog again after the first day although I went there quite often to hang out with other friends. I sent the picture of the dog to Dutch couple to ask and they told me it was the dog staying around the hostel. I was so happy to see the dog before leaving. What a surprise!
But there was something happened. It was unbelievable that the dog was following me. I couldn’t understand because I didn’t feed when we met first. I just said hello and stroked. I was happy to have a friend but on the other hand, I was a bit afraid because there were many cars to get out of the city. I thought that the dog would go back at some point.
Once I got out of the city, the road became quiet. But the problem was dog kept following me. I felt bad for the dog because it looked hard.
When I stopped, the dog went to ditch to have water. I was worried about the dog because the dog didn’t go back to the hostel. It would be nice to have the dog as a friend, but for sure I cannot be responsible of the dog for the whole time. I didn’t want to have a dog for fun and throw away later. For the dog, the hostel would be the best place to stay for the safety. So I threw stones and shouted to scare the dog. Then the dog stopped to follow me. I thought the dog went away. But once I looked at back, the dog was following me again. I had to be bad at the dog and cycle fast. Then I didn’t see the dog again. I hoped it went back to the hostel safely.
Around the sunset, I was thinking where to set up my tent. I decided to go to the next city where I might find the guest house.
When I got into the city and there was a cheap hotel.
Aslanbob was a small village which was known for walnut trees. I met Dutch couple and Polish guy traveling by camping car again.
It was so interesting to see walnut tree because I had never seen it. It was a sedate village with walnut. There were everywhere walnuts on the forest. Fresh walnut had similar taste to chestnut that I really liked fresh walnut more than dry walnut.
The village looked so peaceful and quiet that I really enjoyed hiking. But ironically I heard Max and Tex, Belgium cyclist friends got robbed at the village while having wild camping. To make a long story short, they went to mosques to ask people giving their stuff back at the next day. At the next day morning, they got a few of them back in front of their tent. One of them told me being robbed made them actually go back home earlier with some reasons.
There were people staying at every walnut farm for taking care. So when I walked around, I had chances and talked to them.
We went to the market to have bbq later. The boy made face like “If you touch my sister, I am going to kick you”
Again I had the fun night with these European friends. We were in the village, so we didn’t play any music but only had a chat.
At the entrance of the village, there was an information center and we saw horse riding. It was not expensive at all that I wanted to try. It was whole day tour on the mountain.
I tried to ride a horse in Mexico a bit for the first time and in Central Asia for two hours riding. But this was definitely the best because we were riding on a beautiful mountain for all day. Actually, I felt like I was heroine on a fairy tail because of pretty scenery.
Sometimes we had to ride very steep uphill or crossed the river.
It was a really amazing experience that I wanted to travel for a few days with horse and other friends without a guide.
I really enjoyed traveling with those European friends that we had many good memories together.
I could see and feel the autumn.
We visited one lake and saw local people having the time to take the picture. It was interesting to see a guy wearing a traditional hat.
There was tombstone near the lake. It was their unique culture that they put a black and white picture. I had seen it since Uzbekistan that I could feel they shared some culture although it was a different tribe. I guessed because they had cultural exchange a long time ago.
Finally, I shared chocolate, jerked ham, and cheese which I got in Osh. It reminded me of Canadian lake I had been because it was so calm and large.
It was time to say goodbye to them. We shared the picture and write the letter to each other.
One picture was at Polish guy’s car.
It was the end of September that I felt like I had to hurry. All cyclists I met in Pamir already went to China that I was only one still staying in Pamir. But I really enjoyed traveling with them. Sometimes the important thing can be changed. This time the important thing was to travel and have fun with good friends than cycling fast on the road.
My plan was to be in China at the end of September. But the plan was changed. From now I would move to China.
My Kyrgyzstan travel started from the top of the mountain. But wait a minute! Where was an immigration? There was only Marco polo sheep welcomed.
There was long downhill from the border but it was crazy steep and bumpy. I couldn’t believe that some people had to cycle on this road to go to Tajikistan, which must be extremely difficult uphill. I guessed that it must be the hardest part of whole Pamir Highway. But for me, it was downhill that I just tried to be careful to go down.
I was cycling with Norwegian guy whom I met before Tajikistan border. The road was still bumpy after the steep downhill.
I had to decide to push my bicycle or cycle on the river. I chose adventure and luckily I didn’t fall off.
I saw the animal very often which I saw sometimes around Tajikistan border.
Actually, after the border, the scenery was suddenly changed. It was more colorful and had more grass.
Kyrgyzstan border was around 18 km (11mi) far from the Tajikistan border. Tajik border was at 4,200 m (13,779 ft) above sea level. But Kyrgyz border was at 3,400 m (11,154 ft). It meant altitude was suddenly changed. The scenery was beautiful that I really enjoyed.
The road to a small town, Sary Tash was pretty and easy.
I could guess the size of the town when I was about to close to the town. It looked very small town.
But! On My Goodness!! I got shocked when I found the guesthouse.
How Come!! It was crazy nice!
The guest house did have HOT WATER!!!!!!!!!!
Toilet was on the inside of house!!!!!!!!!!!
And even they had electricity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Finally, I ate other kinds of meat than just lamb meat!!!!
THIS IS JUST HEAVEN!!!!!!!!
There was no such a good accommodation since I left the capital of Tajikistan. There were some hotels in two cities on my way. But it was not that nice compared to this guest house.
If I counted right, I was having take shower after four days, and it was just so cozy lovely shower after 22 days in Pamir Highway.
I couldn’t believe that I could have so comfortable place in such a small village in Pamir Highway.
Just until today morning, I was taking the water from the river. But suddenly I could use water endlessly and even it was hot. I felt weird to have everything suddenly.
It was the room of the guesthouse. Although the picture didn’t look nice, it was really cozy, clean, and nice. They had coal heater. The room was so hot that even I had to open the window in the middle of the night. The price was $16 included dinner and breakfast. The popular guest house thank to lonely planet in Tajikistan was $20 for the night and dinner without running water. Same price, but here I got everything.
Pamir Highway was one of most beautiful places that anyone could take an amazing picture anywhere. The scenery was just in front of the guest house.
Let’s start another exciting day!
I needed money but the rate of exchange was really bad at a gas station in the town. But I needed only money for a few days because I could take money from ATM in a big city. Actually, I thanked that I could exchange money.
I went a grocery shop to buy emergency food and I got shocked again. They had so many different kinds of things compared to Tajikistan.
My lovely exciting morning didn’t last long because there was steep uphill waiting for me. While going up, there was a car with much luggage. It was like just circus.
After uphill, yes! Yes! YES! There was amazing downhill! Another shocking thing was the road was well paved that I did enjoy so much downhill.
I just realized that Grocery shop was everywhere that I didn’t need to carry emergency food lot.
It was time to fill energy into my body. I was not tired of Lagman although I ate it for a few months often. Every restaurant and country had a bit different taste.
The road was so smooth that I was impressed after toughest road in Tajikistan. Today was just easy day because altitude was going down.
The scenery was so beautiful.
I entered at Kyrgyzstan at the beginning of September. There were lots of livestock were moving by nomads. I was not sure why they were everywhere on the road. Was it for the season moving or daily route?
I was curious where they headed, when they stopped, and where they slept.
If you see the picture well, you would notice that the road was covered by full of poop and pee. So there was one serious reason I must drive carefully. If I fell off, I would say literally “Oh, this is shit.”
It was amazing to see so many horses, cows, sheep, and lambs moving together. Especially I really liked horse moving.
Kyrgyz people looked similar to Mongolia. Compared to Tajik kid, they were more smiling that I really liked them.
Tonight we decided to stay at the guest house again. It was another nice one. The owner of the guest house was so kind that she let me look around yurt at her yard.
It was cleaner than Tajik Yurt where I slept. But there were a common thing that they used exactly same symbol for decorating and built as the same way.
Today we cycled from 3,400 m (11,154 ft) above sea level and we reached to 1,500 m (4,921 ft) after cycling 100 km (328 mi). So, the weather was quite warm. After having a shower, I had beer and sunflower seeds with my new cycling partner, Norwegian guy. This was just another heaven. It was because suddenly the weather was warm that I felt way more relaxed.
The guest house provided big dinner and breakfast.
I looked at phone’s offline map and I was guiding my cycling partner. This road was one of the parts I chose. I didn’t know that the bridge would be an old one.
There were some broken parts and wider parts on the bridge. But it looked everybody using. It meant that it was enough safe to use.
What lazy horses!!!! They were tired of walking that they waited for a bus!! As the laziest person, I felt them.
Today there was another beautiful uphill in the morning.
NO!! NO WAY!! OH MY GOODNESS!! WHO IS THIS!? YEAH! Francesco! He was one of the guys cycling together around Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan. I was really happy to see him again. He was cycling one day later than me but he caught me. He told me other guys went to China from Sary Tash. I felt kind of sad that I couldn’t see them again. But at least here I met Francesco again. He was heading to Osh to meet his parents.
Unfortunately, he had very bad flu that he coughed a lot.
I was heading to Osh, the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan with Francesco and Norwegian guy. There were endlessly nomads people moving on the road that I enjoyed to share the road. I felt like I was a nomad too like trying to find a warm place.
Today the pass was about 2,400 m (7,874 ft) above sea level and we reached to 900 m (2,952 ft). The weather was really hot and the road became busy with so many cars and people. Tajikistan was a really tough place for cycling, so I was really surprised when I could take the shower with warm water and had electricity in Kyrgyzstan. I was not sure even what kind of thing I could get in Osh, the next city which was the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan. Actually, the one thing I really wanted was to have a cold beer because it was really hot day suddenly!