Kazakhstan: Astana & the World Expo

After a surprisingly enjoyable 24 hour train journey, I emerged at Astana's train station to warm sunshine and a clear blue sky, even at 7am. There are buses that run to the centre from just outside the train station and I jumped on one which stopped just 5 minutes from my hostel, Nomads4x4. Buses in … Continue reading Kazakhstan: Astana & the World Expo

Kazakhstan: Shymkent – Astana

It was an early start for me in order to catch the 6.55am train from Shymkent to Astana. As Shymkent's railway station isn't centrally located, the lovely Nina from House Hostel arranged for a taxi to pick me up and take me to the station for 500 tenge. There I was greeted with just one … Continue reading Kazakhstan: Shymkent – Astana

Japan: Kagodreamer

Considering it's not a city that gets a lot of publicity, certainly in the west anyway, Kagoshima is remarkably well geared for tourism. The small airport is laden with English leaflets and brochures promoting the city's many tourist attractions - and there's certainly plenty. Even without the gigantic active volcano on its doorstep, Kagoshima has … Continue reading Japan: Kagodreamer

Japan: The Deep South

Perhaps more than any other country I've visited, it was incredibly satisfying to finally touch down in Japan. A mere 3 or so hours away from Hong Kong, for locals and expats alike, visiting Japan is much like popping for a week away in Germany or Italy or Hungary. It seemed as if everyone I … Continue reading Japan: The Deep South

Kazakhstan: Turk on Me

Despite being Kazakhstan's third city, not many tourists venture to Shymkent to sightsee in the city itself (in fact I don't think many tourists venture there at all). Instead it is used as a base to visit nearby Turkistan which has much more to satisfy the average sightseer. In my original plan way back when, … Continue reading Kazakhstan: Turk on Me

Bishkek to Shymkent… the Long Way Round

I was a bit apprehensive about my return to Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan. Since I wanted to explore the south-west region of Kazakhstan, close to the Uzbek border, I opted not to go back to Kazakhstan through Almaty, instead heading west from Bishkek through Talas to Taraz and then onto Shymkent, Kazakhstan's third city. My issue … Continue reading Bishkek to Shymkent… the Long Way Round

Kyrgyzstan: Yurt Camp & Chill

With my trip so far being pretty active, I fancied a few days chilling somewhere peaceful and Kyrgyzstan's huge Issyk-Kul lake seemed the perfect place to do that. The lake is essentially split in two where tourism is concerned. The northern shore is filled with beach resorts and holidaying Russians whilst the southern shore is … Continue reading Kyrgyzstan: Yurt Camp & Chill

Kyrgyzstan: Cracking Karakol

One of Kyrgyzstan's premier hiking bases is the city of Karakol to the east of Issyk-Kul lake. Whilst it sits around the lake, it isn't a lakeside spot, instead popular for its accessible trekking routes and stunning scenery. It was easy to get a marshrutka from Bishkek's Western bus station. Karakol in Cyrillic is very … Continue reading Kyrgyzstan: Cracking Karakol

Kyrgyzstan: Buranarama

One place I was eager to visit during my time in the Kyrgyz capital was Burana Tower, the country's answer to the Leaning Tower only with more mountains and less pizza. The minaret was used as a watchtower centuries ago and is still standing (albeit a bit shorter) after hundreds of years and a couple … Continue reading Kyrgyzstan: Buranarama

Kazakhstan: Almaty’s Charm

Flying over the barren wilderness of Western China and Eastern Kazakhstan, I thought Kazakhstan's former capital, Almaty, would be a bit of a culture shock. This was a completely new part of the world for me and one that is only just limping onto somewhat of a tourist trail (supported, seemingly, by the entire population … Continue reading Kazakhstan: Almaty’s Charm