Central Asia FAQ thread
Replies: 104 - Last Post: Nov 4, 2013 11:00 AM Last Post By: tomjerry09
Nov 1, 2004 5:31 AM
45Health Concerns in Central Asia:
Form another posting on health for Greater CA (the ex-Sovietistans, Afghan- and Pakistan, Xinjiang):
1) The regular '3 in 1 shot': tetanus; diptheria; ... ;
2) Hepatitis A and B even though on shorter trips (< 6 weeks) you can largely avoid them by using common sense reg. eating ustensils (hep. A) and sexual behavior (hep. B);
3) Malaria: was considered eradicated in the Soviet Union but since 1995 WHO considers it a concern in southern Tajikistan (Vakhsh valley between Dushanbe and Tajik-Afghan border); southern Uzbekistan; and certain spots on Kyrgyzstan (Ak Suu river valley in Batken, ... ) again; plains of Pakistan and Afghanistan; again much of it can be avoided with common sense (mosq. repellent, long-sleeved t-shirts in the evenings, etc.)
4) Typhoid: Dushanbe during the summer months; general care with tap water all over the region;
5) Dogs: not as agressive as in Mongolia and easy to scare off with stones at least in the ex-Sovietistans but rabies could be a concern;
6) Altitude sickness;
7) TB: endemic in the ex-Sovietistans but much of it depends on the way you're fed and your daily living conditions;
8) In general, Id' say that the biggest health concern is, the absense of decent medical care in case of a serious emergency (traffic-, horse- or trekking accident). Possible solutions/things to keep in mind IMO:
*in the ex-Sovietistans, the Soviet educ. system delivered good med. professionals who do have to cope with lack of funding and equipment but can help in an emergency; bring a good first-aid kit including clean needles etc.; avoid buying internal medicine/drugs at local pharmacies since many are over-dated, counterfeited or taken out of the US/EU market and dumped in the ex-Soviet Union;
*certain private/foreign VIP-hospitals in the bigger cities (Almaty etc.) are VIP in the sense that they charge VIP prices but not necessarily deliver extra-ordinary standards of care;
*Kabul and other Afghan cities, Peshawar, Dushanbe and Khorog have a large amount of humanitarian aid agencies some of whom are medical and have or can refer to physicians: MSF; Merlin; Concern; Aga Khan Health Service; ...
*Of course, if it's surgical: go home (medevac insurance!).
9) AIDS and other STD: are an increasing problem, especially in places like Osh, Termirtau and other decaying industrial cities in Kaz, Almaty, also Xinjiang ... ; most of the risk you can control yourself by keeping you zipper closed and if impossible at all, cover up; things are somewhat more problematic in case of urgent blood transfusion.
Just me US$ 0.02/Euro 0.014.
Hope this is of use.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Nov 4, 2004 5:43 AM
46Afghan Scene magazine:
Have people checked out Afghan Scene magazine? It's a glossy mag printed in Kabul that comes out roughly every month. Aimed at the expat scene, it's definitely worth a read, with a diverse range of articles on Afghanistan.
If you're in Kabul it's pretty easy to find, otherwise the back issues can be downloaded as PDF files from the website (although each file is about 4MB, so be warned).
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Nov 4, 2004 1:40 PM
47Getting from Almaty to Urumqi
I did that journey by train end of September. The train goes only on Mondays and Saturdays. A sleeper in 2nd class kupe is still 7800 tenge or about 65 U$. I bought the ticket just one day before, there was plenty of places left. The journey still takes two nights (leaving around 10 pm and arriving in Urumqi by 7 am). The train was comfortable but the Kazakh customs & police were corrupt (I had to pay 20$ for not having an 'OVIR' which I did not need anyway; most Chinese passengers had to bribe them for having loads of contraband). Between 2 pm and 11 pm, the train hardly moves (except for the changing of wheels) and the toilets are most of the time closed (you better sprint to the toilet when they open it for about 15 minutes between the two borders). The Chinese customs were correct.
Changing money at the border was not on. I changed a couple of dollars with Chinese passengers and went to the Urumqi Bank of China first thing (bank opens at 9.30 am).
The busride form Almaty to Urumqi costs 40 U$ and takes about 20 hours. It is a sleeper bus but unfortunately typically with those short sleepers (good if you're under 1m70).
In Almaty I stayed at Zhetysu Hotel, 30 dollars per night.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Dec 15, 2004 4:11 AM
I went to Uzbekistan day before yesterday. The Termez/Hyrataan border is closed to all but UN and NGO traffic.
Even if you have visas for both places, your organization and your name must be on an approved list (which is quite short, a single piece of paper) to cross fromTermez, Uz to Hyrataan, Af. If you are not working in one of the two countries, you will not get put on that list.
Also, at the moment the Uzbek authoritiesa are not very keen on issuing multiple entry visas for Internationals working in Af, will not issue visas to Afghanis at all, and may also not easily issue visas to travellers. All this is till after their election on the 27th of December. After that it is presumed that things will return to "normal" which will still mean the Termez crossing is closed fro most people.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Dec 21, 2004 7:08 AM
Jan 18, 2005 10:24 AM
A cool site for map freaks by Markus Hauser…
‘Old maps of Russia Asia’, www.angelfire.com/nb/russianmaps
… and a more recent Pamir travel map: http://www.geckomaps.com/d/Pamir_Map_e.html
Added by Celtic_Sufi:
For an interesting map of natural parks and protected areas in Central Asia, this URL link.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jan 24, 2005 11:43 AM
51Russian sites about Sufism.
For those interested, especially the TT visitors from the region and Russia:
Sufiiskii portal (Sufi portal)
http://www.tariqa.boom.ru/begin.htm (zhenshini i sufism/women and Sufism: http://www.tariqa.boom.ru/ )
Islamic-Sufi sites around Tashkent
For those who are interested and know Russian, Andrey Kudryashov from Ferghana.ru did a really good job writing a series on Islamic-Sufi sites around Tashkent and on the history and legends that surround them. If you don't read Russian, below are the names and links and you can show them to the driver if you ever want to visit some or all of them.
Part 2: Sheikh Zaynutdin-baba
Part 3: Qafal as Shashi and the Quran of Caliph Osman
Part 4: Sheik Howand Tahir and Hoja Ahrar
Part 5: Qaldirgoç Bi
Russian stories about Central Asia:
For those interested and knowing Russian, here are number of detailed travel stories by Vladimir Sazonov, a Russian traveller who visited Tajikistan (Sangvor and Kuhistan-i-Macho in the Western Pamirs, amongst others) in the eighties.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Feb 9, 2005 12:28 PM
Here's all list of Afghan embassies in the world.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Feb 9, 2005 5:16 PM
53Western Kazakhstan (Aktau/Magystau/Ustyurt):
I've recently been very interested in Western Kazakhstan, more precisely the region surrounding Aktau, commonly identified as Mangystau and Ustyurt, which borders the Kara-Bogaz basin in Turkmenistan.
As such, I've discovered some quite fascinating information on the web, which I figured I would post here to help future travellers interested in the same area.
Here are a few articles:
First Portion of Info:
Down the ages by helicopter. Aktau. 13 May. KAZINFORM - Caspian: Oil & Culture expeditionists continued their way in Mangistau region. They changed cars to a helicopter so that they could find hard-to-reach areas in Mangyshlak. Poet Bakhytzhan Konopianov compared it with the time machine. The expedition group penetrated into the core of the history from Chanaozen, the capital of Mangistau oil. The route covered the holy places in the peninsula including Shopan-ata and Masat-ata necropolis, Beket-ata rocky mosque.
Shopan-ata underground mosque and necropolis is located within 210 km to the southeast of Aktau. Once upon a time there was an old caravan track here. The scientists believe that necropolis to be one of the most ancient ones in Mangistau. The first tombs appeared in the IX century. The necropolis is named after Shopan-ata Sufi who was Ahmet Yassaui's follower as seen from the legend. Ahmet Yassaui lived in the XII century in Turkestan. Shopan-ata built the mosque including eleven underground cells. The necropolis around the mosque numbers up to 3,000 tombs. The tombs belong to different religious stages of Mangyshlak. Sufi followers preached in that recess.
Sufism is heretical school in Islam, expeditionist Murat Auezov says. Arabian Islam dogged Sufis. In the X-XI centuries they said that the persons who called themselves Sufis appeared in Damask and Baghdad. Sufa is a coarse clothes, sackcloth. They questioned some Islam canons. Sufis relied on ancient Iran Zoroastrism notions. The main Zoroastrism category is reason. Everything is controlled by reason. Sufis also added love and love of truth categories to the reason category.
You cannot see many mosques in Sufi and Shiite countries. It is supposed that the believer keeps God in his own heart. Sufism differs from Islam. There is more inspiration in Sufism. Love category and great Persian poetry spring from there. And the reason category. Everybody can believe its own God but grasp at first.
The road to the holy of holies of Mangistau - Beket-ata rocky mosque - runs through Shopan-ata. It is situated in Usturt plateau in Oglandy. Beket-ata Myrzaguly, religious philosopher and enlightener, descends from Adai tribe. He was born in 1750 and became famous as a courageous solider and skilful general. In the middle of life he turned his face to the religion and joined Sufis. Beket-ata built mosques-madrasahs in different places. There he preached Islam and taught grammar. His last refuge, a rocky mosque in Oglandy, became the Mecca. People from different regions of Kazakhstan came there. The pilgrimage house had been constructed for them. 2 km path runs downward - to the cavate mosque. According to expeditionist Gadilbek Shalakhmetov the obstacles on the way to Beket-ata symbolize spiritual self-improvement difficulties.
Masat-ata necropolis was the last place to visit. The legend says Masat-ata was invincible. The enemies could not knock him into fits, so they bribed Masat-ata's wife. The woman suggested that her husband should be killed during the pray office only. The enemies sneaked up on the hero and cut off his head. In anger Masat-ata jumped up and ran. His trusty steed pursued the master. The human feet and horse trace prints are still on the rock. According to the legend, after Masat-ata had run a few ten meters without a head he was translated to Heaven.
Masat-ata necropolis is famous for tombs called kulpytases. They are stone images, which are like a stele with ornaments. Caspian: Oil & Culture expeditionists took great interest in them. Architect Maksut Nurkabayev said that most of Mangistau necropolis had not been studied but only described. The major part of registered historical and cultural monuments of Kazakhstan is in Mangistau region. The expeditionists hope they will attract the scientists' attention to the ancient necropolis.
By the cradle of Mangistau oil. Aktau. 14 May. KAZINFORM - Mangistau oil wells are the XX century monuments, Gadilbek Shalakhmetov, one of the expeditionists in Caspian: Oil & Culture believes. The expedition group has been to Mangyshlak oil fields. The oil production started in the early 60-es of the last century.
The first gush of Uzen oil was registered on 15 December 1961. Since its development 298.3 million tons of oil has been extracted. It is 26.8% of initial reserves. Zhana-Ozen life depends on oil. Neftyanik cultural structure is the most beautiful building of the town. Two years ago more than one milliard KZT were allocated to its repairs. Now 80,000 people live in the oil town.
The average wages in Zhana-Ozen is 60,000 KZT.
The sociological survey showed that Zhana-Ozen people are worried over ecology. The expeditionists saw oil lakes. UzenMunaiGas and KazMunaiGas specialists say they inherited those lakes mismanaged in the Soviet times. Today large funds are allocated to re-cultivate oiled lands. Since 1999 eight barn oil pumping units and two waste storage grounds have been erected.
The expeditionists could see the painstaking soil-cleaning process in Zhetybai deposit that MangistauMunaiGas owned. The field exploration was started in 1961.
It will take you half an hour to get one more sacred place of Mangistau. It is Karaman-ata underground mosque from oil and gas fields. The foundation day of the mosque is not certain and varies from the early VIII to XIII centuries. The scientists say the first tombs are dated from the X century. When reconstructing the mosque the archeologists found the old ceramic fragments. But its date is not certain yet. Karaman-ata mosque served as a place where all disputes - both household and global - were settled. For many years the mosque was on the bum. Two years the regional budget means were allocated to restore it. Today people still come to the mosque with their own problems and troubles.
Caspian: Oil and Culture expedition successfully completed. Astana. May 31. KAZINFORM. The whole world is interested in the destiny of Caspian countries: will they repeat the fate of Persian Gulf? At the press-conference on May 31 in Astana devoted to completion of the ever first in the republic wide scale scientific expedition Caspian: Oil and Culture President of Kazinform national open joint-stock company Gadilbek Shalakhmetov said to avoid such turn of affairs, it was necessary to think over consolidation of friendship between Caspian states. According to Gadilbek Shalakhmetov, the expedition with 10, 000 km long route turned a unique project. The expedition visited two regions of Kazakhstan - Mangystau and Atyrau and Astrakhan region of the Russian Federation.
The members of the expedition were well-known writers, poets, moviemakers, journalists, scientists, historians. Upon completion of the expedition it is planned to publish analytical articles and books and shoot a documentary film. The report on the work performed will be submitted this autumn in Almaty at the Oil and Gas - KIOGE-2004 EXPO.
Second Portion of Info:
Tourism in Akimat Mangystau Region:
Ancient land of Mangistau is a part of the Great Silk Road. The vast expanses of the peninsula preserve many edifices and monuments with peculiar and interesting history. Suffice it to say that total amount thereof (which is about 10,000 in the territory of the Region) forms one third of all monuments of Kazakhstan. Archeologists have found Stone Age sites and numerous antiquities.
In natural caverns of the hilly part of the Region scientists have discovered intact architectural edifices which served as underground burial-vaults and temples including underground mosques "Beket-Ata", "Shopan-Ata", "Karaman-Ata", "Sultan-Epe" É many others. One can rarely meet a person, who has not visited these sacred places. Everyone dreams to touch with own hands the stones breathing with antiquity and to become aware of amazing breath of Time and Eternity.
Since 1978 in the territory of our Region there have been restored more than 40 monuments. In 2000 in the Region there were celebrations dedicated to the 250th anniversary of birth of Saint Beket-Ata, who was an illustrious through the ages prominent Islam figure, a great prophet. By the jubilee it had been restored the underground mosque "Beket-Ata".
This year it has been finished restoration of underground mosque "Karaman-Ata".
Mangistau has also an unique opportunity to develop ecological tourism. In the territory of the Region there are beautiful picturesque nature nooks such as canyons "Tamshaly - Merry Dripping" three kilometers from Fort-Shevchenko city, "Saura" at the Caspian Sea coast, "Akmysh" in the Karatau hills, "Sultan-Epe-Say" along the old Hiva road, "Zhemgen-Say" in the foothills of Karatau, "Karagie" cavity (132 meters below sea-level), valleys of balls and many others.
These history, architecture and nature monuments scattered virtually all over the Region are our invaluable property.
Certain work is underway on protection of these monuments thanks to the Mangistau State Historical and Cultural Reserve.
Both flora and fauna are rich and multifarious and about 70% of 450 kinds of birds of Kazakhstan and one third of mammal population of the country are found here.
Mangistau is famous by its reserves and sanctuaries such as Usturt Nature Reserve, Kenderli-Kayasanskaya State Reserved Zone and Aktau-Buzachi and Karagie-Karakol State sanctuaries.
In the Red Book of our State there were written down such animals and birds as moufflon, jeyran, koulan, perevyazka, ratel, caracal, falcon-balaban and many others.
The east coast of the Caspian Sea and plateau Usturt are one of the main routes of migrant birds. During spring passage one can meet almost all kinds of waterfowls. Many of them stay for winter on Karakol lake, swans winter at the coast of Aktau city.
The Caspian Sea is famous for its unique fish resources and above all for sturgeons. Of sea mammals Caspian seal live here.
Aktau city is a regional center, which stretches along the Caspian Sea and utilizes clement climate of the coast.
City-dwellers and visitors prefer recreation at the seaside to any other rest. Close to the sea there have been built hotels, recreation bases, sanitary preventoria and children's camps with excellent sandy beaches.
Tourist firms (this year there are 6 of them in function) have at their disposal possibilities to acquaint the guests with history and contemporaneity, flora and fauna, to organize sails on yachts, fishing and hunting.
The tourist firms have worked out 27 tourist routs intended for foreign and native tourists.
Measures are taken with respect to development of domestic tourism. In the Region it was approved the "Complex Program of Tourism Development in the Mangistau Region for 2001-2005".
According to the "Action Plan for Forming of Tourist Image of Kazakhstan for 2000-2003", approved by Regulation of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan No.1604 of 26 October 2000 with a view of development of entrance and domestic tourism the Mangistau, the Regional Department of Sport and Physical Training has created 10 short video films namely:
1. "Beket-Ata" in Russian;
2. "Along Bridle-Paths of Camelcades" in the Kazakh, Russian and English languages;
3. "Nature of Mangistau" in 3 languages;
4. "Culture and Traditions" in 3 languages.
There have been issued 7 booklets:
1. "Along Bridle-Paths of Camelcades" in the Kazakh, Russian and English languages;
2. "Regioinal Museum of Local Lore, History and Economy" in 3 languages;
3. "State Historical and Cultural Reserve" in 3 languages;
4. "Mangistau. Museum in the Open Air" in Russian;
5. Photograph album (200 photos) - "Along Bridle-Paths of Camelcades" (about reserves, nature and architectural monuments);
6. Poster "Beket-Ata" (Mangistau. Country of Miracles and Monuments);
7. Poster-calendar: Canyon "Tamshaly" (For Travelling the Best is Mangistau).
In October 2001 the Mangistau Regional Department of Sport and Physical Training took part at the 1st Kazakhstan exhibition "Tourism and Travels KITT-2001", where it was awarded with the gratitude certificate for special contribution to development "KITT-2001". At the exhibition there were also participated TOO "Caspian-Treffix" and TOO "Firm-Tourist".
In 2002 in an effort of development of entrance and domestic tourism and forming of image of the Mangistau Region it was prepared an advertising package for tourist objects of the region dedicated to the International Year of Ecotourism and the Year of Mountains including:
- Poster "Ecotourism in Mangistau";
- Booklet "Mangistau. Museum in the Open Air";
- Pocket calendar "International Year of Ecotourism.Let Everybody Find an Ecological Path for Choice";
- Set of picture postcards "Mangistau";
- Short video film "Ecotourism in Mangistau" in the Kazakh, Russian and English languages;
- Photograph album "Ecotourism in Mangistau";
- Booklet "Ecotourism in Mangistau" in the Russian and English languages;
- Information leaflet "Ecotourism. Excursion Routs" in the Kazakh and Russian languages;
- Set of picture postcards "Mangistau. Land of Unsolved Misteries".
In April of the current year the Regional Department took part at II Kazakhstan International Exhibition "Tourism and Travels - 2002", where it was rewarded with the gratitude certificate "For Active Participation".
TOO "Firm-Tourist" partook at the exhibition and signed a number of protocol-intentions with other tourist firms with respect to interchange of tourists.
"Firm-Tourist" made the following brochures and price lists:
1. "Travels over Mangistau for Residents of the Republic of Kazakhstan" in the Kazakh and Russian languages;
2. "Travels over Mangistau for Foreign Tourists" in English;
3. "Children's Sanitary Recreation in Mangistau", "During Vacation for Children";
4. Pilgrim tour "Beket-Ata";
5. "Fishing and Hunting" in the Russian and English languages.
At the exhibitions there were distributed advertising and information materials created by the Regional Department and TOO "Firm-Tourist".
In May 2002 leading expert on tourism Menzhan G.H. as a member of the Governmental delegation participated at the World Summit on Ecoturism in Quebec (Canada), where 132 countries took part. There were distributed audio and video materials regarding tour resource of the Mangistau Region. The materials were also handed over to Zhanabay Samat, the Consul of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Canada (Toronto), for popularization of tourist resource of the Mangistau Region among the Canadial diaspora and citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
In accordance with the work plan for celebration of the World Day of Tourism dedicated to the Year of Ecotourism and the Year of Mountains it was conducted an action popularizing ecotourist resource and excursion-tourist opportunities of the Region under the slogan "Kazakhstan from West to East" (from the lowest point of the country, which is Karagie cavity to the highest point that is Khan- Tengri Peak) with the organization in the framework of the action of a motor race with visiting of regional centers of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The goal of the expedition was popularization of tourist resource of the region, local traditions, handicrafts and propaganda of healthy life-style.
An initiator of the project was the Gallery of Modern Art "Kovcheg"
("Ark") directed by Romanova G.G., where 25 persons participated. The group consisted of motor rally masters of sports, mountain-climbers, rescuers, photographers, physicians, ecologists, archeologists and representatives of other professions. In regional centers of the Republic the expedition was accompanied with movable exhibition "Land and People of Kazakhstan". There were distributed promotional and information materials regarding our Region while for the participants of the motor race there were organized concerts of bardic songs.
On the basis of results of the expedition it was held a press conference and organized a display in the Gallery "Ark".
According to the action plan for organization of tourism within the Mangistau section of the Great Silk Road for the years 2002-2003 from 23 to 26 August it was performed a familiarization tour jointly with the Department of Youth, Tourism and Sport, where tourist firms connected with ecotourism took their part. The route was as follows:
1. The foothills of Karatau (canyon Zhemgensay);
2. At Tupkargan cape;
3. Realm of white rocks;
4. Mysterious dip (canyon Zhygylgan);
5. Amazing world of canyon "Saura".
With respect to execution of State Program "Revival of Historical Centers of the Great Silk Road, Preservation and Successive Development of Cultural Heritage of the Turki Language States and Creation of Tourism Infrastructure" it was studied the current condition of objects of the Great Silk Road in the territory of the Mangistau Region.
After adoption of the State Program in the Region there have been discovered historical monuments situated on the Great Silk Road, such as underground mosque "Sultan-Epe"; necropolises "Zholaskan", "Uali", "Karagashty-Aulie" and "Kentti-Baba"; mausoleums "Omar-Tur" and "Korkem-Bay". It is desirable to include them in the State Program for Restoration and Regeneration since there is need of funds for rehabilitation of the above-named monuments.
The means assigned by the Region budget are insufficient for restoration works specified in the Complex Program of Tourism Development.
Time and severe natural phenomena have no mercy on antiquity. Every year the objects come to ruin. Many of them are far from the Region center and infrastructure thereof has not been developed.
The fact arouses alarm that many of historical, architectural and archeological monuments as well as unique nature monuments remain in the territory of reservoir engineering, owners of which are not only public enterprises but also foreign investors.
For development of domestic and entrance tourism by the Regional Department there were elaborated measures for organization of tourism on the Mangistau part of the Great Silk Road for the years 2002-2003 providing participation at Kazakhstan International Exhibition "KITF-2002, 2003" and at Berlin International Tourist Exchange "ITB-2003".
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Feb 14, 2005 12:26 PM
54Azerbaijan Embassy in Tashkent:
The question of whether there is an embassy for Azerbaijan in this region has been raised several times recently. I have searched high and low and can find one only in Tashkent
Tel: (37-12) 778-747, 770-326/-538, 789-304
Fax: (37-12) 173-2658
Does anyone know of one?
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Apr 9, 2005 9:49 AM
55So you want to go from Baku to Aktau? Here's how I did it.
Step 1: Go to the ferry office. Follow the main street (the one next to the major hotels and the caspian) north until you arrive at the bridge. The main street will turn left then right before you arrive at the bridge. Walk alongside the bridge (not over it) on the right side. When you get about half-way along the bridge turn right onto one of the streets going to the port (towards the caspian). Follow the street past the railway tracks nd the ask someone were the ferry office is located. It's not very well marked, but someone will show you where it is located. You don't have to speak much Russian; the people have seen foreigners and know what you're looking for.
Step 2: Find out when the last ferry left and when the next one is due to arrive. Ask the people at the office. It takes a minimum of 4 days to go there and back, but it sometimes gets delayed, so there's no set schedule. However, the people at the office know 12-24 hours before the ferry will arrives. They'll give you their phone number so you can call ahead.
Step 3: Get the Khazak vias. The embassy is in the western part of town, so you'll need to take a taxi. The maximum is should cost you is 2 manat. You drop your passport off at 10 a.m. to start the visa process, and then pick it between 6-7 P.M. You'll have to specify an entry date, so if the ferry left 1-2 days ago, keep in mind that you won't be able to leave for a few days. Note: you can enter after the specified entry date, but not before.
Step 4: Call the ferry office each day. Simply call the office from you're hotel. I stayed at the Ceneb and they let me do it without too much of a hassle. Try and do it in the morning (10 or 11) and the evening. All you need to know is today (sevodnia) and tomorrow (zaftra) in Russian.
Step 5: Buy the ticket. Once they tell you that the ferry has arrived, go back to the ferry office and buy a ticket. Get the cheapest one possible (around $40), because you'll be able to upgrade cheaply on the ferry.
Step 6: Board the ferry. The ferry port is maybe 100 meters past the ferry office. Simply follow the street. While you clear customs they might try and steal your ticket. If you watch your ticket this probaly won't happen. However, if they do take your ticket (this happened to me), the guy that lets you on the ferry will try and extort money from you. Simply tell him to call the ferry office. There's a copy of it there. Also tell him to ask the immigration police if they saw the ticket (the immigration police won't let you clear cusoms w/o one). After a little bit of a hassle, he'll let you on w/o any problems.
Step 7: Get a cabin on the ferry. This is pretty straight forward. People will offer you a cabin or offer to share theirs with you. It should cost you about 5-10US. I shared a cabin with "Rommel' (or something like that), he's a nice guy and will help you sort food and everything else out. Food should cost you about 2US for the entire trip. Not just one meal.
By the way, when you try and leave Aktau, the train station is far from the town (about 30min by taxi). It's probably simplier to pay a little extra money for the train ticket and buy it from the agent in the main hotel.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
May 6, 2005 5:48 AM
56The road from Kabul to Jalalabad:
It is currently in very bad shape while under repair, the last trip I heard of took 11 hours one way. The Lataband road is also under repair and has long delays. PacTec makes the flight most days (not Thursday or Friday) for $50, but I don't know if they take non-NGO passengers.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
May 8, 2005 9:45 AM
57The only operating border crossing between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan is Aquino.
Look on your map and find Andkhoy. Go straight North to the Trukmen border, and that is Aquino. Mari Chaq is closed. It is further along the border to the South and West, directly West of Maimana. Tor Ghondi (also spelled Towarghandi and other ways), the Afghan-Turkmen border post directly North of Herat by about 100km, is also closed.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
May 22, 2005 10:11 AM
58Kazakh embassy in Islamabad:
The Kazakh embassy in Islamabad has moved to sector F-8/1, street# 45, house# 11. This address is not on one website as far as I know incl www.embassyworld.com. Even the UN in Islamabad will send you to the wrong address as their info is not up to date. Official opening times (which means nothing at all I found out this morning) are from 09:00 - 13:00 hrs.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jun 22, 2005 12:05 PM
59Updated General Information about Afghanistan:
As per the beginning of June.
Torkham - Jalalabad: 2 hrs, 70 rupees in minibus, 80% paved.
Jalalabad - Kabul: 5 hrs, 500 rupees in shared taxi, 40% paved.
Kabul - Mazar-e Sharif: 7 hrs, 700 afghani in shared taxi, 99% paved.
Mazar-e Sharif - Balkh: 0,5 hrs, 15 afghani in minibus, 50 afghani in shared taxi, 99% paved.
Kabul - Bamiyan: 8-9,5 hrs, 300 afghani Hi-Ace, unpaved, leaves between 05:00 and 05:30 am.
Bamiyan - Yawkawlang: 5 hrs, 150-200 afghani Hi-Ace, leaves between 05:00 and 06:00 am.
Yawkawlang - Band-e Amir: 1,5 hrs, 900 afghani for private transport but they will ask double the price, unpaved.
Herat - Garmao: 11 hrs (excl. 3 flat tires and motor breakdown, prepare for staying overnight), 400 afghani Hi-Ace, leaves from Dar-e Takht between 07:00-08:00 am, unpaved.
Garmao - Jam: 1 hr, 300 afghani for return trip (though I think this price was too low), by motorbike.
Heart - Torghundi: 2 hrs, 170 afghani shared taxi, 100% paved.
Mustafa Hotel, Kabul: Cheapest rooms $20.
Aamo Hotel, Mazar-e Sharif: Cheapest rooms 300 afghani. No was facilities unless you use the toilet.
Barat Hotel, Mazar-e Sharif: Cheapest rooms $20. The LP is right about the weddings. Please check first.
Zuhak Hotel, Bamiyan: Is open and a great place to stay. Cheapest rooms $15 after $5 discount. Great food and helpful staff.
Roof of the World, Bamiyan: Same owner as Zuhak Hotel. Rooms are apparently $40 (2 beds) and $60 (3 beds).
New Band-e Amir Guesthouse, Bamiyan: New guesthouse and probably a lot cheaper than the other places. Looked good from the outside. First guesthouse (before Zuhak Hotel) if you enter town.
National Museum, Kabul: Entrance fee 10 afghani.
Babur’s Gardens, Kabul: Entrance fee 100 afghani. Still not finished, nothing to see, complete waste of time.
Shahr-e Gholghola, Bamiyan: The recommended guide is absolutely not necessary (unless you’re blind) as there is only one path.
Taverna du Liba: Lebanese restaurant with simply great food, Wazir Akhbar Khan, Street # 13, close to Turkmen embassy.
If you have an LOI issuing a transit visa for Turkmenistan will take 10 minutes.
Borders & Permits:
Permit for Khyber Pass in Peshawar, Pakistan: Took me 1,5 hrs instead of the 48 hrs mentioned in LP.
In contrast to what is posted in other postings the border between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan between Torghundi and Gushgi is open.
**** Band-e Amir Lakes
*** Minaret of Jam
*** National Museum, Kabul
** Shrine of Hazrat Ali, Mazar-e Sharif
** Friday Mosque, Heart
** Hills around Bamiyan
Edited by: Irene_Adler
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