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Traveling South Kyrgyzstan — What to See and Do

traveling south kyrgyzstan

Traveling South Kyrgyzstan — Highlights of the Region Kyrgyzstan is known for its dramatic mountainous landscapes and rolling summer pastures (jailoos). It has been dubbed the Switzerland of Central Asia for good reasons. But most of these alpine landscapes are found in North Kyrgyzstan, and as a result, the southern part of the country is often overlooked by […]

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Issyk Kul: Kyrgyzstan’s Lake District

issyk kul

Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan Wispy clouds hang low¬†over the choppy dark indigo waters as the howling winds create ripples on the water surface. Backdropped by tall and mighty Tien Shan mountains,¬†the water stretches into the horizon, far beyond where the eye can see. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was a sea. […]

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World Nomad Games in Photos

world nomad games photos

The 2016 World Nomad Games in Photos “If Genghis Khan were alive, he’d want to be here,” the host at the World Nomad Games 2016’s opening ceremony announced as fireworks lit up the skies. Indeed, Genghis would have been proud to be at the World Nomad Games. Held from 3 to 8 September on the […]

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World Nomad Games — A Festival of Yurts, Horse Races and Eagle Hunts

WORLD NOMAD GAMES

Welcome to the World Nomad Games 2016! I’ve come to Kyrgyzstan to attend and experience the World Nomad Games, a celebration of nomadic culture through sports and traditional art, song and dance. On the shores of Lake Issy Kol in Kyrgyzstan, flaming horsemen gallop alongside women dressed in multi-coloured traditional costumes, while men wearing tall […]

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Staying in a Mongolian Yurt — What It’s Like

Mongolian Yurt

ention Mongolia and the traditional yurt often comes to mind. The two are so intertwined that you can’t talk about Mongolia and not mention the yurt. In fact, everywhere you go in Mongolia, you see yurts or “gers” as they are known in Mongolia. The word ger literally translates from the Mongolian language to mean “house” or “home.” About half of Mongolia’s […]

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Canyons, Cliffs and Wildlife — Mongolia’s Gurvan Saikhan

Yolyn Am

Before my trip to Mongolia, I’d imagined vast swathes of deserts and empty steppes. It therefore came as quite a surprise when I found myself traipsing through varied landscapes that ranged from beautiful canyons to networks of caves and majestic mountain ranges. Here in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, a surprise awaits at every […]

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Experiencing the Nomadic Life in Mongolia

Our guide Amaraa scooping up airag

olooo!” Cheers! We clink glasses, and gulp down yet another round of airag, local Mongolian firewater prepared by our host. It’s barely 10am and we’re downing alcohol strong enough to knock us out for the rest of the day. It’s rude to reject their kind offer though, so I glug down the feisty-tasting liquor and pray […]

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Photo Essay: Sand Dunes of the Gobi Desert

View from Khongoriin Els

s the wind blows, I hear faint music in the air. The whistling tune is a hypnotic and eerie one, and it seems to echo out of nowhere. I’m standing on the top of the highest sand dune in the Gobi Sand. So where is the music coming from? “From the sand,” my local guide Amaraa says. “They call this […]

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Silk Road Travel Guide

silk road travel guide

The Silk Road is the greatest travel route of all time, spanning 8,000km across continents, weaving through deserts, mountains and grasslands and bringing traders from East to West and vice versa. The original overland odyssey has long lured travelers, from the likes of the world’s first professional traveler, Marco Polo, to modern-day Silk Road author, […]

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Overland Travel in Central Asia: Tips and Review

Driving through the mountains of western Iran

Traveling Central Asia is the stuff of dreams, evoking images of golden sand dunes, vast steppes, yurts, and exotic ancient architecture. For centuries, this region has been closely tied to the Silk Road and has acted as a crossroad for the exchange of goods, people and knowledge between Europe and Asia. The first travelers came […]

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Witnessing the First World Nomad Games in Central Asia

Kazakh wrestling

A Photo Essay of the World Nomad Games 2014 ithin ten minutes of arriving, I watched as Kazakh wrestler and his Afghani opponent flew well off the mats and directly over my head into a crowd of excited spectators. While the danger of being squished beneath three hundred pounds of Central Asian sportsmen would come […]

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Traveling Iran — What it’s Like

traveling in iran-rev2

As a curious traveler, I believe visiting a place for myself is the best way to learn on-the-ground knowledge and to see a place beyond the headlines. My recent visit to Iran – just like my previous trips to troubled lands like North Korea and Palestine – further reaffirmed that what we see in the media isn’t always the real truth. As […]

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Photo Highlights of Iran: from Persian Architecture to Outstanding Hospitality

The Zagros Mountain in western Iran

Mention Iran and many think of burkha-clad women, burning flags and war. But these stereotypes can’t be further from the truth. For those who are curious and open to new discoveries, Iran is packed full of surprises. It is a relatively safe country to visit and there’s so much to see and do in terms […]

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Is Ashgabat the World’s Strangest City?

Turkmenistan Royal Palace ashgabat turkmenistan

A Visit to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan When it comes to peculiar sights, Turkmenistan is off the charts. First it’s the Darvaza gas craters, burning gas craters that resemble the gates to hell, that tops my list of the strangest sights I’ve seen. And. as if it weren’t bizarre enough, Ashgabat brings it to a whole […]

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The Gates to Hell — Darvaza Gas Craters in Turkmenistan

Darvaza burning gas crater by day

In the middle of the Karakum Desert, a roaring fire burns from deep beneath us, its flames dancing in the darkness taunting and teasing us. The walls of the oval crater drop vertically down into the abyss of fire — one careless step and you may well be on your way to hell. They named […]

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