In planning the trip from Shanghai to Ashgabat, I’m encountering some chatter online about difficulties previous travelers have faced trying to cross the Irkeshtam pass from China into Kyrgyzstan. I contacted a Central Asian expert to inquire about the safety of traveling in this region, as well as the probability of attempting a border crossing at Irkeshtam. I was told it would be a waste of time to attempt to get from Kashgar to Osh. However, there is some hope in arranging for a Chinese travel company to escort me to the border and then deliver me to a Bishkek travel company, which would then drop me off safely in the capital of Kyrgyzstan. As for safety, there was no one who would recommend a woman travel alone, naturally.
I’m determined to travel from the Coast of China to the Caspian Sea. If there were some way to make it from Turkmenistan to the Mediterranean I could have gone from coast to coast without touching an airfield, truly a feat in this day and age, where travel is about arriving, not departing.Alas, there are a few countries between the Caspian and the Med that are not intelligent to visit at present. It is all in the planning stages, and perhaps there is a way, but I will be more than happy to have gone from Shanghai to Ashgabat.
I invited a travel partner recently, and am excite to hear if she can make the trip. This woman has traveled all over the world, and has a travel resume that would make even the most adventurous traveler blush in envy. I’ll let you know what she says. She speaks some Russian and a bit of Kyrgyz, which would be helpful on the trip, not to mention she has an intimate knowledge of the Stans. I’ll not ruin the surprise until I get confirmation.
All else is going well, investigating visa options, researching train schedules and studying maps. I’m also following the news from the countries we’ll travel through and alternate routes should anything go south mid-trip.
-Posted by Lauren.