Central Asia FAQ thread
Replies: 103 - Last Post: Mar 17, 2013 3:57 AM Last Post By: lynnekeys
Jul 15, 2004 9:09 AM
30Central Asia embassies in Beijing:
As of sometime last week, the Kazak Embassy in Beijing has changed their visa application hours to 9:00-12:24, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with pickup in the afternoon (4:30-5:30, I think). The brass plaque still says the hours are 9:00-13:00 Monday and Thursday, but I went on Thursday and they were closed, which is when I notices the little white piece of paper on the other side of the gate, announcing the new hours.
The Uzbek Embassy does not keep regular visa application hours, even though they have some posted, and will tell you on the phone that they're open. I think it's just luck of the draw, and you probably have to reserve a day or two to camp out there until there are signs of life from the embassy.
Kyrgyzstan was fine - I know they're open on Monday afternoons, and Wednesday, too (I think). The visa application process was pretty straightforward.
Updated by kobe123 (May 2005):
No problems. Go to the embassy (open Mon, Wed, Fri, 3:00-5:30) with a copy of your chinese visa and passport and your passport plus one photo. 55$ USD for one month takes a week. Double for two entry visa. No LOI. :)
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 20, 2004 11:02 AM
31Visa regulations for tourists visiting Kazakhstan:
These are the update from CAT in Kazakhstan. These apply when you are in Mongolia for example. From OlGII to ALMATA there will be flights departure day is every Wednesday, costs about 208 USD. Another way to get the visa is in Ulaan Bataar from the Kazakh embassy who can do also the Kyrgyzh visa for the same amount. No Letter of invitation needed. Passport + letter of purpose of your trip + (60 USD+10 USD processing fee)=70 USD for 30 days. Transit visa for 4days in 4 days for 25 USD.
The following is for issuing in airport.
From 15th February 2004 the following nationalities can obtain visa Tourist and business for a one month validity, one entry at a consulate or embassy without an invitation:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom and USA.
The consulates at Kazakh airports only issue visa against an invitation, visa for a longer duration or multiple entry also require an invitation.
The Foreign Office appointed 9 travel agents in Almaty and five in Astana, including CAT to facilitate the issuing of tourist visa.
These agencies will submit the invitation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This should take together not more than 5 working days. Working days are 1,2,4 and 5.
The Ministry will pre-issue the visa to be available at the airport upon arrival. At the consular section, before immigration, the visas will be glued into the passport. Travelers will have to complete on board or at the airport the visa request form and submit 1 photo. Visa can be issued at airports in Almaty, Astana or at any Kazakh embassy or consulate.
The fee for a 1 month visa is 35.00 US$, if visa is issued at the airport. Valid for one entry only. No extension is possible.
Registration after arrival with OVIR is still required, Fee about 20.00 US$.
The registration must be made within 5 days after arrival at OVIR, by CAT or an international hotel.
For nationals of the following countries we can apply direct to the Foreign Ministry, Visa for these nationals can be issued at the airports of Almaty or Astana.
At present no double entry visa is issued at the airport.
List of countries, for whom permission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but not of OVIR is needed.
Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Jamaica, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Poland, Romania, San-Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey,Uruguay, Vatican.
To apply for visa the following information is required:
Full name, date and place of birth. Passport number,, date of issue and validity. Nationality, Profession, residence address. Date and means of arrival and departure. Where the visa will be applied for. Residence in Almaty if known.
Where the visa shall be issued, airport or which consulate.
CAT will charge 4600 Tg.. Additional 1,500 Tg for double entry plus VAT 16%.
Payment: against invoice by bank transfer:
HSBC - RNN 600700017204 account 001-009364010 SWIFT HSBCKZKA or. account 00005488 with HSBC US New York SWIFT: MRMDUS33. or
Folke Kindler von Knobloch. Sparkasse Aachen, Germany
Konto 046018503 Bankleitzahl 390 5 00 00
SWIFT AACS DE 33 via Westdeutsche Landesbank,
If payment by credit card AMEX, MASTERCARD or VISA, 3% will be added to the invoice.
Rate of exchange 20May 151.00 Tg. = 1.00 USD
Visitors to Kyrgyzstan must have a visa for Kazakstan with double entry.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 22, 2004 10:33 AM
32What kinds of clothes will I see/need in Central Asia?
I paste an answer on another post here below:
The kind of clothes you'll see depends on where in the ex-Sovietistans your are. The capitals and major cities are indeed very ‘Eastern European’, quite less so for rural or small town areas who have more of a, say, ‘Middle East’ feel.
These are predominantly rural societies (from 40% in Kaz to 80% in Taj). Local men from all generations and places tend to dress predominantly Russian/Western though many continue to combine that with traditional headgear (the felt ‘kalpak’ in Kyr-Kaz; the ‘döpa’, aka 'tyubeteika' in Russian, among Uzb-Taj), rural Central Asian women more traditional.
In general, your respect and, thus, safety as a foreigner also depends on a dignified behavior and appearance and that goes for women as well as men. In practice, that means then best option is regular long trousers and regular, long-sleeved t-shirts and a fleece for colder days/nights.
Although it’s not expected from foreigners, have a headscarf ready when you visit operating mosques as an appreciated sign of respect. Some items of traditional Central Asian female dress are indeed pretty functional, for example the colorful headscarf (called ‘jolük’ (‘jo-LOOK’) in Kyr-Kaz) that protects your head from the sun and the dust in the countryside.
L.b.n.l.: it’s not because some local young women dress somewhat, well, ‘airy’, that foreign women should do the same. The ‘liberalism’ that you often see in cities like Tashkent, Bishkek, … is of the sleazy kind. So it would be better, as a per se conspicious foreigner, to avoid any misunderstandings.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 25, 2004 1:54 PM
33Almaty update - visa self-registration; Russian visa; accommodation:
Registering your visa yourself in Almaty is possible, but not as straightforward as an earlier poster suggested. The relevant office is no longer on Karasay Batyr/Vinogradov, but round the corner on Baytursunuly/Kosmonavtov - from the old office, marked on the LP map (edn 2, at least), go west to the junction, turn right and it's on the opposite side of the street, a few buildings down, set back from the road through a gateway. Visa registration is from 10 til 12 - this doesn't mean go at some time between 10 and 12, it means be there by 10 and don't count on getting away for two hours! Also, take along a photocopy of your photo page and KZ visa page of your passport. There are lots of other bureaucratic procedures going on in the same building and no non-Cyrillic signs, so I'll try and describe how to get to the appropriate offices. Step 1: from the ground floor, go up to the first floor, turn left through the doorway and go to the first office on your left (room 7, I think), show your passport and get the visa registration application form, which they should fill in for you. Step 2: go up another floor and go straight ahead to the 'Kassa' to pay the registration fee, which is just under 900 tenge. Step 3: in the hallway outside the Kassa, join the back of the long queue leading up to the two holes in the wall, where you present your passport, form, photocopy of passport and receipt for fee. They'll give you a receipt, but unless you speak Russian you may well go away with no idea when you're getting your passport back. I got a friendly bilingual barman to give them a call later and discovered I had to wait two days. When you do get to pick it up, it'll be between five and seven in the evening - and should be without any queuing.
The Russian embassy in Almaty is much less stressful to deal with than OVIR, or than certain other Russian embassies. Go at about half eleven in the morning, wave your passport at the security guy and say you want a visa, and you'll get called in after a few minutes. The visa guy speaks good English and will issue transit visas for four or five days WITHOUT onward tickets or visa. If you show him a train ticket to Moscow and explain that you'll buy your onward ticket there and don't need a visa for Baltic states/Finland, that seems to work fine. (Which is good, because it costs twice as much to buy your onward ticket in Almaty as to buy it when you get to Moscow.)
Cheap accommodation in Almaty: all the budget places in LP 2nd edn seem to be long gone; the gostanitsa on Furmanov (just above Abay) mentioned by a previous poster is fine, though twin rooms are now 2000 rather than 1500 tenge.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 27, 2004 2:09 PM
34From Baku to Termez: Azerbaijan Report
A few months ago, in April, I travelled from Baku to Termez, crossing the Caspian Sea and having a great time.
Since I've been reading everyone's posts here with great pleasure for a good while now, I figured I would share some details of the trip in order to provide (hopefully) useful information.
For general information about the region, I found these sites useful: www.eurasianet.org and www.atimes.com. You might also enjoy joining the Oxiana Yahoo Group.
First of all, I organized my itinerary beforehand, but then got in touch with David Berghoff, from STANtours (www.stantours.com), since Turkmenistan in particular is not very welcoming to independent travellers. After communicating with him for a while, it appeared a better idea to book hotels and transportation throughout the trip by using his services, and I didn't regret it for one minute. He comes highly recommended, and I'm still in contact with him to plan return trips to the region.
I'm used to travelling by myself, but in this instance, I think that having private transportation and a driver/guide who speaks English is most useful. The guide in Turkmenistan in particular, named Oleg, was a really nice fellow whose presence allowed a much more in-depth contact with the local people in smaller villages and even in the cities. I really enjoyed being able to stop in these places in the middle of nowhere, with someone who knew people there, knew the whereabouts of the land, and generally could transform what would otherwise simply be an intriguing place to look at, into a truly enriching visit with the local people, talking with them (albeit through his auspices), etc.
In Turkmenistan, most of the interesting site are quite spread out, and even in Uzbekistan, once you get out of the major cities and seek out the smaller, off-the-beaten-path places, you really need some logistical help, unless you have all the time in the world or your own transport.
All right, so going on a chronological order, I flew from Canada to Baku using British Airways, and came back by Tashkent.
First regarding Azerbaijan, in terms of sources of information, I used the Mark Elliott guide to Azerbaijan, published by Trailblazer books. It's a truly amazing book, filled with useful information, but also numerous anecdotal information about the country. The guy really seems to have explored every single village, mountain, valley (and even cave) of Azerbaijan. The hand-drawn maps are sometimes hilarious (indicating where "old men" are sitting, for ex.), and always reliable. I don't know what will be the quality of the new LP guide to the Caucusus, but this book is really terrific. In addition, you could look at some picture of the country here: http://geo.ya.com/travelimages/azerbaijan.html.
The city of Baku itself is quite beautiful, a mixture of European and Asian architecture and culture. The old town gives a real medieval flavour and the stalinist buildings are simply astonishing, on the scale of the high-rises of Moscow. Walking around Fountain Square, you almost feel like you're on the Mediterranean. There really is a very relaxed atmosphere here, and if you speak neither Russian nor any Central Asian language, you'll have no trouble meeting people speaking English. I stayed at the Old City Inn, which I highly recommend. It's really nice and quaint, and although the prices are similar to those in Europe, well worth it if you're coming off a long flight from North America in the middle of the night!
Towards the south and on the outskirts of the city are some oil fields, with derricks stretching from the coast right into the sea. Quite a sight at sunset.
The petroglyphs near Qobustan (about 60 km to the south) and mud volcanoes nearby make for a fun day-trip. These sites are located literally in the middle of nowhere, the dirt roads crossing flat desert until coming to rocky plateaus where you find the petroglyphs. You can walk around the huge rocks and feel completely disconnected from the XXth century. There's even an engraving from a Roman soldier! A rather fragile metal ladder is fixed to one of the cliff faces, and you can climb up to one of the higher plateaus, from where you have amazing views out to sea. It's worth the stress, just hope the wind doesn't pick up too much, because that's a really haphazard ladder! The mud volcanoes (identified by Mark Elliott under the name "Clangerland") are really something to discover, oozing lukewarm mud on a continuous basis, with high mountains as backdrop, and again the sea in front. Highly recommended (but be gentle to the smaller volcanoes, they're easily damaged!).
I also went to the north of Baku, crossing some post-apocalyptic scenery around Sumgayit: these enormous factories, now mostly abandonned, with large pipes crossing under and over the highway, you definitely feel like you're in the middle of a Mad Max movie. After a while, though, the landscape becomes greener and evokes Central Asia (or the mountainous Caucasus), with sheep herds, horses and mountains. The mountain called Besh Barmag, which has served as a mystical place for pre-islamic religions, provides beautiful views over the Caspian.
Continuing north, you arrive in Quba, which is a nice enough town, filled with old wooden Russian buildings, and a nice, beehive-like hammam. Across the river is the town of Krasnaya Sloboda, which was home to most of the Jewish population of Azerbaijan during soviet times. It still has a few mosques, and one in particular, really old and falling apart, close to the riverside, has some beautiful brick-work. Well worth stopping for half and hour or so and walking around the streets of the old downtown.
On the outskirts of Quba, you enter forests, and in particular an area called Qachrash, where the trees are so thick they form a dome over the road and block out the sun. You'll find picknick areas and small restaurants where you can have some salads and grilled meats. Really nice place. If I'd had more time, I would definitely have gone to Xinaliq village, a few hours to the north of Quba. It almost looks like villages in western Tibet or Ladakh. Take a look here for more information and great pictures: www.xinaliq.com.
For onward travel, I took the ferry from Baku to Turkmenbashi. It's rather in poor shape and is now used almost exclusively for transporting goods and the occasional vehicle.
However, bear in mind that the conditions on board are quite minimal. The boat leaves every day, but no one can tell you the time for sure. You just have to show up in the morning, and wait around for the departure. Do not be surprised if there are no other travellers on board with you. It's a huge ship, with about fifty crew members, and I was the only passenger! The cabins are slowly disintegrating, and my departure from Baku was postponed for about ten hours, while they were repairing one of the ship's engines. This being said, the trip was fun and despite language difficulties between us, I had a great time with the crew members. There used to be hundreds of passengers every day, but now that visas are required to travel between AZ and TM, the crew members were telling me that almost no one uses the boat anymore.
Getting the ticket in Baku was very straightforward. In Turkmenbashi, however, it might be a little more complicated (as is everything in Turkmenistan!). Since I didn't speak Russian or Turkmen, I asked David Berghoff from Stantours to take care of everything. This being said, one could probably just show up at the Turkmenbashi harbour and inquire there about departure times. Bear in mind that you'll probably be the only foreigner using that particular border crossing that day (both in TM and arriving in AZ), so you have to be patient and, if alone, a basic knowledge of the language would seem to be essential (for example, the border guards in AZ tried to rip me off regarding the foreign currency I could take out of the country since I didn't have a form regarding how much I brought in. On the TM side, I had the guide Oleg waiting for me there who spoke Russian, otherwise the guys tried a couple of them to squeeze out an extra $20 US). You wouldn't encounter these problems at the airport, for example, or at busier land crossings.
The coastline views of Turkmenistan were beautiful, but I have no doubt that those of the harbour of Baku should be quite nice also (it was night when I left there, so couldn't see anything!). While crossing the Caspian Sea, keep your eyes peeled for views of the Neft Desjlari archipelago, which is basically an entire city built on stilts in the Caspian, to lodge oil workers. Supposed to be rather interesting (see: http://geo.ya.com/travelimages/az-oilrocks.html. There's also a write-up about the place in the Azerbaijan guide by Mark Elliott, published by Trailblazer).
Turkmenbashi city was nice, but in a state of flux, since most of the russian houses are being demolished, being replaced by... nothing! Just empty expanses of land right in the middle of the old dowtown. Quite sad. Walk up behind the mother and child monument downtown, to the top of this hill (the map in the old LP guide is still good to find the monument, but not so good for the rest, given all the demolition going on). You have great views around the city and out to sea. I went up there at dawn, watched the sun rise. Beautiful! Anyway, the boat trip is fun but do bear in mind that this is now used essentially as a cargo ship, not really a passenger ferry. I'll now continue this on another post dealing with Turkmenistan.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 27, 2004 2:12 PM
35From Baku to Termez: Turkmenistan Report
After starting in Baku, I spent some time in Turkmenistan this past April, and was absolutely amazed by this country. Since there's so little information about this country, I thought I'd post some comments about the experience.
First of all, I must say that I just got the new LP Central Asia, and the Turkmenistan section is much better than in the old edition. Although it's fairly brief, most of the main sites are covered. To travel in TM, I called on David Berghoff, from STANtours. Very professionnal and highly recommended. The guide I had in TM, called Oleg, I now consider a real friend, and the whole thing went off without any problem, despite the unnumerable police checkpoints (at one point, one night coming into Ashgabat, we must've been stopped about 10 times in the span of 30 minutes. It was late, so few cars were around, and we'd get stopped by each and every cop / military conscript that saw the jeep. Since there's one about every two blocks in the city, it got a little ridiculous, but after a while, you kind of take it in stride and just admire the surreal uselessness of the whole thing).
This being said, for anyone interested in this country, you should consult the following sites: www.stantours.com, www.owadantourism.com, www.cruising-silkroad2002.de (click on the English icon for a very interesting account of an overland trip from India, through Tibet, all the way to Libya, by a German couple), www.markandmichelle.com (same kind of epic overland trip, this time done in 1999 from Siberia to Istanbul), www.turkmens.com, http://www.akhalteke.cc/stainestrip2.html (horse-riding expedition along the Iran border).
For current news and information about the country, you might consult these sites: www.eurasianet.org, www.watan.ru, www.gundogar.org. I arrived by boat in the port of Turkmenbashi, in the West, but since most people arrive in Ashgabat, I'll start there by saying that the capital of Ashgabat is a completely bizarre city. I call it "Dubai on acid", since it really does look like somebody's distorted vision of the modern emirate cities. Most of the (beautiful) old russian buildings have been torn down, in order to make way for these gigantic marble palaces, with gold and blue domes and greco-roman columns. Many of the residential neighbourhoods have also been razed to the ground, in order to entice the people to go live in new marble high-rises (remember that this is a highly seismic area...), built on the outskirts, in the middle of nowhere.
This being said, you should go up in the Arch of Neutrality, from where you'll have beautiful views over the city and the Kopet Dag mountains in the distance. I was staying in one of the Berzengi hotels, which is a kind of Las Vegas strip of hotels built a couple of kilometers towards the outskirts, close to the National Museum. For foreigners, entry to the Museum costs 10$, but I thought it was well worth it. If you're interested in history or archeology, you'll get to see ivory rhytons from the nearby excavations at Nissa, as well as pre-Islamic artifacts from Dekhistan (in the south-west) and Gonur Depe (near Merv, in the east). Plus, you get a full exhibit on the life and times of the great Turkmenbashi!
In Ashgabat, I suggest just kind of walking around to take in all the new buildings going up right now. Be careful what you photograph, however, as soldiers everywhere are very wary of pictures being taken of some government buildings. Simply enjoy the many smiling faces of the Great Leader, and try to count the number of different uniforms he wears on his numerous paintings. I particularly enjoyed the one where he's standing in a field admiring the latest wheat harvest. A classic, Stalin couldn't have done better (now Kim Jong-Il, I don't know...!).
The Lenin statue still standing downtown is beautiful, standing on a pedestal, the sides of which reproduce in ceramic traditional carpet patterns. Just across the street from the Lenin statue, you have the former headquarters of the political police, which is adorned by an incredible sculpted wall, really representing the best of soviet art. It must be seen to be believed, quite amazing. The old soviet Science Academy is nice, as is the old Russian Opera, next to the Ashgabat Hotel (if it's still standing, considering that they destroyed the Russia History Museum, the Russian Drama Theater, and pretty much any other building reminding anyone of the more than 100 yr. old Russian presence in the area).
If possible, you should try to plan your stay in Ashgabat for a day when the Tolkuchka bazaar is on (Sunday and Thursday, I think). I went there on a Sunday, and it was an incredible experience. You really get a true Central Asian feeling, and can literally buy anything. I bought some really interesting old books on Turkmenistan, as well as some other souvenirs to bring back. Buying carpets, however, is a mindblowing hassle. If I go back, I'll try and tackle the bureaucracy, but for this first trip, I just gave up.
To the west of Ashgabat, if you're interested in archeology, you should stop and visit the site of Murche, which is fascinating, including various ruins, and a mud-brick mosque, quite different from the Turkish-inspired monstrosities being currently built everywhere. The shrine at Paraw Bibi is also very interesting, as it gives you an insight into the central asian version of Islam, which has still retained some of its animist origins. Both places give off a very mystical feel, and I still remember the image of these women and young girls slowly making their way up towards the Paraw Bibi shrine, which is built out of caves in a cliff face, while in the distance, you can see steppe going on forever with sheep and horses. You can't get a more iconic image of Central Asia than this!
The underground lake of Kow-Ata is nice, as is the new, rather garish mosque of Goek Depe, but somehow, both sites didn't quite live up to their reputation, as far as I'm concerned.
Further on in the west, I wasn't able to visit Nokhur village because of military restrictions, but apparently it's now possible and supposed to be quite beautiful. Same thing for the ruins of Dekhistan closer to the Iranian border.
The most stunning area that I saw in TM was definitely the canyonlands to the north-west of Balkanabat, close to the Kara-Bogaz basin. Areas designated under the names Yangykala and Yengysu on the Stantours website, which will take your breath away. I've travelled in the american south-west, and the Grand Canyon is not more impressive than this area. You're quite literally in the middle of nowhere, standing on a ridge and just facing an endless landscape of canyons. The earth and rock are orange, white, violet, and these multicolored strata evidence the age of these forgotten and desolate testaments to the last Ice Age. You can just pick up fossilized sea shells, or stare towards the horizon at the faint outline of the Kara-Bogaz Basin. Standing on the edge of these ridges, with literally no sign of humanity as far as the eye can see but just the wind blowing really makes you quite conscious of your place in the universe.
The shrine at Goezli Ata, between Balkanat and this area, is also captivating. The more modern small shrines were rebuilt recently, but you can still find centuries-old ruins of their predecessors, as well as an ancient cemetery. The site is quite beautiful, being ringed by reddish mountains and travelled by sheep and camel herds. We camped there one night, and I've never seen such a starry sky. In the morning, woke up and chatted with Kazakh herdsmen who'd come to visit the shrine.
On the Caspian shore, the city of Turkmenbashi is nice in a sleepy mediterranean kind of way, although most of the nice old pastel-coloured russian houses have been demolished by the government. The city is nestled in a bay, surrounded by these burnt ocre, sun-dried mountains. The old city name of Krasnovodsk (red water) expressed the curious attraction this place exerts on travellers, as you relax with a glass of wine or vodka, staring across the sea, either before or after crossing the surrounding deserts.
As mentioned, though, the tragedy in Turkmenbashi is that all the old, pastel-coloured russian buildings are being torn down. When you walk downtown, close to the harbour, and encounter these vast stretches of empty grounds, just bear in mind that houses had been standing there for at least the past century. Quite sad, as they gave the place a really colourful feel. For anyone with even a basic grasp of tourism, it's quite evident that Turkmenbashi could have been developped as TM's main tourism spot, converting these really nice old buildings into shops, restaurants, lodges, etc..., and developping hydrofoil services to Baku (instead of the dilapitaded ferry, which takes about 12 hours to cross the Caspian) in order to encourage travel by all the foreigners currently in the Azeri capital. The water here is actually clean, as opposed to the Azeri coast, so you can swim in the Caspian. One of the last places you can do so.
Anyway, at least Turkmenbashi still has some nice buildings built by Japanese prisoners after World War II, with yellow-tiled roofs. The Japanese cemetary is also quite moving, with a nice commemorative monument. Also, follow a path behind the mother and child monument downtown. It leads to the top of a little hill, from which you'll have beautiful views of the city. I climbed up for the sunrise. Simply magical. The city certainly warrants a full day, spending a few hours at the beach and then walking the streets of the old town as the sun sets in the evening and rises in the morning.
In Turkmenbashi, we stayed at the old Intourist hotel, now called Hazar. Unless you're limited to a very strict budget, let yourself go and get a room in the better hotel in town, since this one is definitely falling apart. Coming off the Baku ferry, it was a second consecutive night in rather despondent surroundings. The following night, spent in a tent near the Goezli Ata Shrine under the stars, was just so much nicer!
In terms of food, though, the city has many nice places and the fish from the Caspian is delicious! You can also buy bags of caviar at the market, for the price of a single spoonful of the stuff in Europe or North America.
To the north of Ashgabat, it's a straight run through the desert. Your first stop will be the village of Erbent. Quite an interesting introduction to desert life, and the people there were really welcoming. For those who saw this German movie of about 15 years ago, it somehow evokes the feel of "Bagdad Café".
Anyway, from Erbent onwards, it's the real desert, with dunes, camels and literally no one there!
You eventually reach the village of Darvaza. I stayed in a chaikhana while there, but I've just been informed that the chaikhana was destroyed on orders of the government, and that the whole village might be razed, or at least the villagers displaced.
This being said, around Darvaza, you have three enormous craters, one filled by water, the second by mud and the third (most impressive) emits natural gas since an explosion in the 1970s. A few years after, a local threw in a flaming tire, and it's been burning ever since! You thus leave the main road and drive about 20-25 minutes across the dunes, come up on a ridge on see in the distance this light. Really an image of Dante's Inferno. You can walk right up to the crater's edge and look in. An unforgettable sight, that should be seen at night for maximum effect.
Further on north, the road has desintegrated since soviet times, and the few remaining patches of asphalt are a reminder of just how far you are from civilization. Closer to Konye-Urgench, you encounter the ruins of Shasenem Fortress. There's quite a lot left, although the whole does project more a sandcastle effect than of a precise construction. The aerial photographs are much more impressive, because then you get a grasp of the size of the fortress walls.
Finally, in Konye-Urgench itself, the ruins are very interesting, and you'll find a good description in the LP Guide, so I won't go into details here. But what's most striking is that the entire area is like an open-air archeologic site. You could literally pick up centuries-old pieces of ceramics, artifacts dating from the 12th-century, and (most unsettling) there are skeletons and human remains strewn about everywhere. It's really as if you had stumbled on a lost city somewhere on the edge of the world. The town itself does have an end-of-the-road feel to it, and given the current relations between TM and UZ, there's not much going on there. In Konye-Urgench, we stayed at the Chapayev Guesthouse, which I see is now listed in the new LP guide. Nice place, very friendly, on the way to the Uzbek border.
Regarding the eastern part of the country, I did not go there, but from my conversations with people in TM, the highlights are the well-known sites of Merv and Gonur Depe. But also, look out for the ruins in the Kaakha area (between Ashgabat and Mary), especially the Meane Baba Mausoleum. The remains of the Daja Khatyn Caravanserai, to the north-west of Turkmenabat, also look beautiful, as do the ruins around Kerki in the north-east corner and the caves in the Kugitang nature reserve.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip through TM, and intend to go back soon to discover the rest of the country.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 27, 2004 2:18 PM
36From Baku to Termez: Uzbekistan Report Part 1
So, after Baku and Turkmenistan, I finally entered Uzbekistan in the West, near Nukus.
For planning purposes, I used the Odyssey guide, by Bradley Mayhew. Very well done, contains all the usual practical stuff, plus historical, cultural and ethnographical information, as well as covering smaller, off-the-beaten-path places. The new LP guide is pretty good, but being a regional guide, can't cover these smaller places. However, a dramatic improvement on the previous edition, and most of the places I'll mention are now covered, so I would definitely recommend getting it. I also called upon the services of David Bergoff, from Stantours. He comes highly recommended. By the way, for a recent movie filmed in Khiva and Samarkand, you can see "Journey to Kafiristan", which recounts the overland journey of the Swiss explorer Ella Maillart and the German writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach from Europe to Afghanistan in 1939. Beautifully shot and acted, I know it's available on DVD in North America.
Getting back on the road, therefore, the city of Nukus has an incredible art museum, containing hundreds of paintings from the 1920s and 1930s, saved by the curator from the destructive folly of Stalin, here in this end-of-world spot. Really well worth the visit, you should plan a couple of hours there. It's now lodged in a brand new museum, and if you don't speak Russian, Uzbek or Karakalpak, you should definitely ask for an English-speaking guide, the people working there are really nice. In Nukus, I stayed at Hotel Nukus, which is okay, but definitely of the old soviet school. On the way out of town, there's another place called the Derbent motel, which seemed really nice.
Between the border and Nukus, there's also a fascinating site called Mirzhdakan, which comprises centuries-old ruins on a hilltop, the sides of which are now a cemetary. On the top, though, you'll find beautiful ruins of caravanserai, some mosques and mausolea, and even an old mud-brick church, with a cross sculpted over the door. Quite something. On a hilltop about a kilometer away, stand the ruins of Gaur Kala, an ancient fortress. There's not a lot left, but in the early evening, the earthen walls glow with a silvery light that is very evocative. As a guide, I had the chance to meet Dr. Oktyabr Dospanov. A fascinating man and archeologist who worked on most of these excavations during soviet times, and is now involved in social work in the Karakalpakstan region. He's written a number of pieces on the history and culture of the region, which you can find on this site: http://www.orexca.com/karakalpakstan.shtml.
I went to see the disappearing Aral Sea in Moynaq. So sad. The town itself is slowly falling apart, and the surrounding fields are whitened by salt coming out of the earth, as if it was snow. You can walk on what was the former sea-bed, along the beached ships, now rusting away in the sun. Really a disquieting experience. The little museum in town exhibits the fishing apparel of this former port city, and just brings the tragedy to life.
From Nukus, heading south, I stopped to see the zoroastrian site of Chilpak Kala, an old sacrificial site, high up on a hill. Again, as in some places in Turkmenistan, you get the feeling you've stepped back in time. I remember standing on top of this hill, on the edge of the old walls, staring out across endless steppe with grazing sheep herds and horses, with the Oxus flowing by on the other side and the wind in your ears, what a great memory.
From Chilpak Kala, we crossed the Amu-Darya near Kipchak village and followed the Turkmenistan border all the way to Khiva, through some lovely villages. Much nicer than the highway, and actually quicker.
Most guidebooks cover the city quite comprehensively, but it really does meet the mental picture you have imagined. Sure, it's a little sterile due to all the restoration, but the people there were quite happy about the state of the town, and the old town does exude considerable silk road charm. I stayed at the Lolita Hotel (yeah, what a name!), right in the old town. Quite nice.
One thing about Khiva, though, is that the town is rather small, and a full day is more than enough to walk around literally everywhere, both in the more touristy areas, and elsewhere, among the local people. The neighbourhoods outside the city walls are interesting, filled with markets, mosques and medressahs, and you should try to find the ferris wheel, close to the main gate. Once you reach the top, you'll get beautiful views of the old town from outside. Well worth it. The old Russian cantonment, nearby, is interesting to see the decoration inside, a garish mix of Oriental and European styles.
You can also climb a watchtower inside the Ark, or up the Islam Khodja Minaret, for other superb views over the city. Do make an effort to get up on the city walls and walk around for another perspective on things. By the way, I saw the Hotel Khiva, inside the old city, which has just been renovated and looks really very nice, located inside an old medressah. So although the place where I stayed was perfectly fine, this would another good option.
Outside of Khiva, in the Khorezm area, I saw the old fortresses of Toprak Kala and Ayez Kala, both well worth it, occupying impressive hilltop sites, from which you have superb views over the surrounding (again, salt-scarred) countryside. The amount of salt rising up out of the ground is such, however, that it looks like snow in winter. Makes for striking photographs!
By the way, we've all read the horror stories about Uzbek police on the TT, so here's an anecdote to try and rehabilitate their reputation. Driving towards these sites in Khorezm, we stopped in the town of Bekuri to ask directions from a policeman. It turned out he was the local police chief, and was born near these ruins. Suddenly, he offered to take us there himself. For the next few hours, the police chief acted as my personal guide to the area, we had lunch together and a great time. So there you go, finally a positive story about the Uzbek police on the TT!
From Khorezm, you cross rather boring desert, all the way to Bukhara. Again, a more touristy place, but bear in mind that tourism in Uzbekistan is really nothing compared to other areas of the world. There's barely a few hundred hotel rooms in all of Bukhara. As for myself, I stayed at the Lyabi-Hauz B&B. A lovely place in all respects. Highly recommended.
Obviously, you read all about Bukhara in all the guidebooks. However, I must say that the Ark, Kalon Minaret, and other sites are really beautiful. The Ismael Samani Mausoleum in particular is simply perfect. Try to see it at different times of the day to admire the play of sunshine on the brickwork.
This being said, one full day to walk around everywhere is again enough to get a real feel for the place without rushing, including a good number of hours exploring the narrow backstreets outside of the main tourist areas. In these backstreets, you'll encounter ruined mosques, suddenly discover that half a medressah is now incorporated in a house, and many of these places can be unlocked for you by the local people if you ask nicely enough. They give another image of Bukhara, from the restored areas near the Lyabi-Hauz.
One place that I really enjoyed visiting in these outer neighbourhoods, although it's a little isolated, is the house of Faizullah Khojaev, the first soviet president of the republic following the revolution. A lovely old merchant house, nicely decorated in the local style, well worth the effort of getting there.
Around Bukhara, you have a number of interesting sites, and should therefore plan on a second day there. In the Odyssey guidebook, you'll find all the information you need about the Chor Bakr (really quite haunting necropolis) and the Emir's summer palace (nice, but nothing extraordinary). One place that almost no one talks about is the incredible palace built for the Tsar in the neighbouring town of Kagan. Even my local guide had never visited the place.
Although it's suffered quite a lot over the last century, the outside is still in pretty good shape and, rather incredibly, many rooms inside are also still intact. There's a lady there who has a travel agency inside the building. She has the keys for these rooms. If you can find her, then you'll discover a palace on the same scale as those in St-Petersburg, but right in the middle of Central Asia! I was speechless. A must-see attraction for anyone in Bukhara. If it was just a little fixed up, it would immediately become a star attraction of the region. I know that my guide, never having been to Russia or Europe, was amazed by the interior of the palace.
Between Bukahara and Samarkand, you can see the Vabkent Minaret, a 2-minute detour from the main road, which is rather nice. The pottery workshops in Gijduvan are also really nice, but these are minor sites before the main event. Part 2 of the Report is coming next.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 27, 2004 2:20 PM
37From Baku to Termez: Uzbekistan Report Part 2
Despite the charm of Bukhara and Khiva, Samarkand really was the highlight of Uzbekistan for me, due to the sheer beauty of its surviving monuments.
The city itself is quite nice, with really good-looking Russian architecture in the residential and commercial neighbourhoods. I stayed in the Makila B&B, which had lovely woodwork everywhere. The best accomodation I had anywhere in Central Asia.
The Registan Square lives up to all you can imagine. You'll dream about it for months afterwards. This was the image I had carried in my mind for years dreaming about Central Asia, and the site does not disappoint. Even now, I can conjure up the images in my head without difficulty and they're still as dreamy as before. Simply beautiful.
The Shah-e Zinda necropolis and Bibi Khanum Mosque are also stunning. For anyone interested in photography, you should plan on spending a few hours at these sites, the necropolis in particular. It opens into a modern cemetery, located in these ridges overlooking the Mosque. I was there in the Spring, and there were flowers everywhere. Just great.
The Gur Emir Mausoleum contains the tomb of Tamerlane, again an impressive building. The ruins of Afrosiab, though, don't really warrant much of your time, and neither do the Tomb of Daniel or the sole remaining track of the Ulug Begh observatory. The Khodja Akrar complex, on the way out of town, is worth it and quite nice.
The market in Samarkand itself is nothing extraordinary, but the bazaar in the village of Urgut is really worth a special trip, about 30 minutes outside the city, in the direction of the mountains.
From Samarkand, I headed south through the mountains, through ever-greener landscape, filled with lakes. The air was crisp, which was a nice change from the deserts of TM and UZ.
The city of Shakhrisabz is nice, although the remains are nothing compared to Samarkand. It's a nice complement, though, and the Hotel Shakhrisabz is quite comfortable.
Not too far from Shakhrisabz, as indicated in the Odyssey guidebook, you'll find the village of Khodja Olim Khan, where an old dervish hostel is located on top of a windswept hill, surrounded by pastures and which offers great views over the region. I was there at sunset, and again I could go on with the superlatives. I just remember the wind and the light, it was great.
Further south is the beautiful village of Katta Langar, lost in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains. Anyone in this area should make an effort to go there, it's so stunning. You drive through mountain roads for about 45 minutes, and finally reach this valley, with houses built of reddish earth and this beautiful mausoleum high up on a hill. Wow. Not much more to say, an unforgettable sight. Reminds one of the Georgian churches perched on mountaintops, across in the Caucasus.
Continuing south, you pass through interesting mountainous landscapes. At Derbent, I headed east, towards Boisun. The landscape is even more beautiful, with the mountains a kind of violet tint. Quite mesmerizing. You really feel like you're travelling through undiscovered country, there's nothing anywhere, just an isolated yurt here or there. The police at checkpoints were quite intrigued by my presence, but the driver explained that I was an archeologist doing field work, and this answer seemed to do the trick!
We finally reached Denau, near the Tajik border, which has a very lively daily market and was a lot of fun. The Tajik influence gives the town a distinctly different feeling from the rest of Uzbekistan. The ceramic work here is exceptional, try and seek out the old master Zukhurov, mentionned in the Odyssey guidebook. His work is beautiful, and the ceramic toys he makes for children are really fun, I brought back a couple for my nephew.
From Denau, I headed south. On the way, the ruined Kushan city of Dalverzin Tepe doesn't account for much anymore, although archeologists found a lot there. I stopped and walked around for a while, but more for the historical significance of the place than for the remains, which are somewhat limited.
Closer to Termez, the Jarkurgan Minaret is nice, but the city of Termez itself is the big surprise.
You'll find lovely old russian architecture there, as well as millenia-old buddhist ruins at Fayaz Tepe, and some beautiful islamic monuments at Sultan Saodat Complex, Hakkim-Al Termizi Mausoleum (on the Amu Darya shore) and the Kyrk Kyz villa, which is a rare example of the private (fortified) dwelling of a merchant, going back about six hundred years. All these site should be visited. I absolutely loved Termez and it's amazing that nobody knows anything about it. It used to be in this very restrictive area, due to the Afghan war, but now there's no restriction on visiting it, and I highly recommend it. The brand new archeology museum in town is also a must-see, although an hour is enough to see everything there.
You should plan on a full day here, and do try to get a permit from the military governor beforehand, allowing you to visit the underground buddhist monastery at Kara-Tepe. Well worth it.
I stayed at the Tennis Court place identified in the new LP guide. It was okay and reasonably clean. When you think about the historical significance of this city, on the border with Afghanistan, it's astonishing that a regular tourist from the West can now show up and walk around without any restrictions. The local people I talked to shared this amazement at the openness they now enjoyed.
Finally, I flew from Termez to Tashkent. The capital is nice and very green, but one day is more than enough. As for must-sees, I really liked walking around the downtown area, along the river all the way to the monument commemorating the earthquake of 1966. Quite an impressive soviet monument. The opera house is also a beautiful example of soviet architecture, whereas the old Romanov palace evokes an era long forgotten in this place of the world. You should also visit the National History Museum, which contains impressive archeological findings, particularly the buddhist findings discovered near Termez. The Museum of Applied Arts is a little out of the way, but located in a beautiful house build for a Russian diplomat at the turn of the XXth century by local Uzbek masters. Well worth the trip.
The older quarters of Tashkent around the bazaar are interesting, but obviously nothing compared to Bukhara or Samarkand.
The metro was top of the line, and the Kosmonavtlar station in particular, decorated with space-related motifs, was great. By the way, I didn't have the slightest problem with police in the metro.
In the evening, Tashkent is quite lively. In the downtown area, they close off some streets around an area called Broadway by the locals. Filled with bars, restaurants, shops, it's quite fun, and a sudden return to modern life. Also, close to where I was staying (Rovshan Hotel), there was the Caravan Café, the best meal I had throughout the trip. The address is in the Odyssey guidebook. And then, it was time to come back...
So that's it. Hope this proves useful to all of you. I thoroughly enjoyed my travels through Central Asia and plan on going back soon. Last year, I travelled in European Russia for 5 weeks, and these sojourns in the former Soviet Union have been a fascinating experience. The people are so hospitable and interesting, eager to talk about everything and curious about the world. Even now, you realize that Central Asia is so little know, and yet it's probably one of the most fascinating areas of the world. Hopefully, the economic and political climate will stabilize and improve over the coming years, so that the current tentative openness that you find in some parts of the region can spread.
By the way, I did the Baku-TM-UZ circuit in 25 days, without rushing in any way, and having plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and visit everything, walk around calmly and enjoy myself. So you don't need months on end to visit these places, unless you really want to stop and live there for a while. I did have private transport throughout, however. For someone using only public transit, a lot of these places cannot be reached, whereas others will take significantly longer to get to.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 28, 2004 2:23 PM
38Summary of Border Crossings (from previous postings):
There is no cross-border public transport. From Khojand, take any pub transport to Isfara (not to confuse with Isfana in Kyrgyzstan). You can take a bus or van to Isfara at the Khojand bus station on the road to Chalovsk (to get there take any Chkalovsk-bound van from the Panjshambe market).
In Isfara, try to get a (shared taxi) to Batken. From Batken there is transport to Osh from the bus station or nearby the post office in the morning. If you don't have an Uzbek visa to cross the Sokh enclave on the road to Osh, ask one that goes 'tsherez obyezd' or 'tsherez Ak-Turpak'. If you need to spend the night in Batken, Damir-eje's B&B is at 14, ul. Shyestdesyat Let Oktyabria.
Same. In you come from Khojand, go to Kanibadam first (public transport leaves from the bus station on the Khojand-Chkalovsk road, station is easy to reach by minivan from the Panjshambe market). Then get a taxi to the border; cross on foot; and then on the other side take a transport to Beshariq and then Kokand (aka Qu'qon).
Regarding safety, the Uzbek-Tajik border area, especially around Kanibadam and Beshariq and the enclave of Sokh, is heavily mined. It's really a pain for the locals! For you it's only a danger should you try to sneak over the border via the fields. I also know that in mid-2003, travellers in this area got asked by policemen for 'a special border zone permit'. But that was likely again one of these ludicrous a scam attempts.
Dushanbe-Jirgital-Daraut Kurgan-Sary Tash (Taj-Kyr)
Possible though little sheduled public transport crosses the Tajik-Kyrgyz border betond Jirgital though there are some shared 'lave when they're full'-taxis that do the trip from Jirgital.
Overall security in the Garm-Jirgital area has improved a lot, provided you use the regular common sense.
In the past, several travellers have also been asked for st. like a special 'border permit' by the Tajik border guards. But like is often the case, it is absolutely not clear if that had any legal ground or just confusion or another bribe-angling attempt.
Transport from Dushanbe to Garm and Jirgital leaves from a spot several km east of tow. Take microbus 18 from nearby Hotel Dushanbe and ask the driver to drop you at the 'syed-MOI kilo-METR'. These bring you as far as Garm and Jirgital. Allow a full day for the trip.
As far as I know, no public, cheap accom in Garm though several int'l agencies (OSCE, MSF, ...) have field offices with attached GH that are in principle not open to travellers but you lose nothing trying. Someone mentioned that there is a basic GH in Jirgital.
Once you are in Daraut-Kurgan on the Kyrgyz side, there is again shared/public transport to Osh, via Sary Tash.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Aug 9, 2004 3:07 PM
39Transit visa for Kazakhstan:
Just to let people know, I rang the Kazakh Embassy in London to ask about transit visas for Kazakhstan because I'm flying into Almaty in a few days time before going on to Bishkek and they said that I could apply for a transit visa at the airport for $25. Thought that info might be of use to some people, given how impossible it is to get hold of the Kazakh embassy.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Aug 17, 2004 4:31 AM
40Arriving without visas:
So it is possible!!
I arrived in Central Asia with out any visas. I landed in Bishkek last Thursday and got 30 day visa easily at Airport for about US$35. Then got my Kazakh and Tajik visa in town. All rather easily. And Bishkek is really a great place to do nothing while waiting for visas. Now I'm ready to travel.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Sep 4, 2004 9:16 AM
41Obtaining Pakistan Visas in Tashkent:
Visas for Pakistan in Tashkent now require a letter of introduction from your Embassy/Consulate (the ambassador said this is the case for all non-Uzbeks). The price for a Canadian citizen is US$78 for a 30-day single-entry tourist visa. Although only open for applications on Wednesday, they allowed me to submit my letter on a Friday and I received my visa a few hours later.
The Canadian Honourary Consulate is located where the Foreign Affairs website indicates but the phone number and email address are old (7 years old according to the consul). Even the British Embassy doesn't seem to know about this number.
tel/fax: (998 71) 120 7270
address: 21/64, C-5, 700017 Tashkent
There is no way you will find the consulate with the address above however, so use these directions. First go to the German Embassy. Across the street is "Shirin Cafe" (not restaurant) and a furniture store. Walk between these until you reach the end of a 9 story building. Walk down the left side of the building until you reach the building in which the consulate is located. It has a large Canadian flag painted over the door frame. It's further than you expect and don't try and use the building number (#64) to find it; the buildings on the street jump from #60 to #66.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Sep 11, 2004 1:19 PM
42Obtaining Pakistan visas in Jalalabad:
The Pakistan Consulate in Jalalabad can now issue Pak visas.
Mine took a couple of hours and cost $120. Depending on the country of your passport, they cost as little as $8 and as much as $1000 according to othere people in my office who have gotten them. The price depends what your country charges Pakistanis for their visas. These are multiple entry, six month validity visas.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Oct 13, 2004 10:46 AM
43Photo galleries on Afghanitsan:
History and Society
Afghanistan's last years have been mostly the history of war and devastation. The country's ancient culture, the treasures of the past, which still exist despite years of wanton destruction, were almost forgotten. The country has been populated by Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Uzbek's, Pashtouns, and many other groups. Social life was also terribly affected, and as the regimes of oppression fall, we see a new more hopeful and multifaceted face of Afghanistan re-emerging. Once part of the great Persian empire, perhaps now we can rediscover some of Afghanistans' magnificent history. It will be a difficult re-discovery of its true identity for Afghanistan, but a necessary and surely worthwhile one.
Link and photos: http://www.afgha.com/?af=gallery&do=showgall&gid=14
‘A Time for Peace: 1969-72’
Peter Yaple is a former journalist, filmmaker, adventure travel organizer, visual anthropologist, and communication consultant. After twenty years, he came to realize that the superficial glimpses afforded by such callings were too brief to allow anything but snapshots of the world. Today, as a teacher of English and American Culture, he seeks to immerse himself in other life ways rather than merely passing through them—looking and clicking. Peter's assignments have taken him to the frenetic world of Hong Kong, the mellow fringe of Saudi Arabia's Rub al Khali, the "Empty Quarter", and on to Eastern Europe, East and Southeast Asia. Now, after a few years in Berkeley, he is back in the Gulf as a lecturer of English at the University of Bahrain.
Link and photos: http://www.afgha.com/?af=gallery&do=showgall&gid=241
‘Afghanistan in the 60-70s’
Pictures taken by Wolfgang Renner during his stay in Afghanistan from 1965 to 1972. Included are photographies from a number of different cities and locations in Afghanistan, where the everyday life of the Afghans is captured. © Wolfgang Renner
Link and photos: http://www.afgha.com/?af=gallery&do=showgall&gid=142
Raffaele Ciriello started his career as a photojournalist in the early nineties covering motorcycle racing, both circuit World Championship and african rallies such as the notorious Paris-Dakar (1991) and Paris-Le Cap (1992). Ciriello's travel to the hotspots of the world, has of course, included many visits to Afghanistan. We have selected some of his photographs which express the extremes from terrifying war to the sublime beauty of that countryside. Unfortunately in the course of his life's work, on assignment for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, he was shot and killed by Israeli tank fire early March 13, 2002.
Link and photos: http://www.afgha.com/?af=gallery&do=showgall&gid=36
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Oct 25, 2004 7:51 AM
44FAQs about Islam:
“In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to God, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds; Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee do we worship; And Thy aid do we seek. Show us the straight way; The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy Grace; those whose portion Is not wrath; And who go not astray.”
The Qur’an, Chapter 1
“Fatiha” (“Opening Chapter”)
Written by John L. Esposito
Link FAQs about Islam
And here's another one from the Global Security site on Sufism which also has a comprehensive 'genealogical tree' of Islam, useful for those eager to know the differences bwteen Sunii, Shia, Hanafi, Ismaili, …
Edited by: Irene_Adler
(4 star Hotel)
From US$216.67 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$42.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$22.00 per night