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shoeman Dec 12th, 2008 02:45 PM

Overlanding or flying??? (Iran to Kyrgyzstan)
Overland vs. flying (Iran to Kyrgyzstan)

I am visiting Iran March-late May, and I'm deciding whether to enter Central Asia by

1) overland via Turkmenistan or
2) by airplane to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

On one hand, I can see NO benefit in going overland since I need to arrange a difficult/expensive Turkmen transit visa in Iran, and a tourist visa to Uzbekistan, as "proof of onward travel" .

Honestly, I am more interested in Kyrgystan, and Tajikstan because of the high mountain ranges. It's going to be hot in the late spring/early summer, and Uzbekistan and Turkemistan are pretty flat compared to their mountainous neighbours. Therefore, I prefer Kyrgyz and Tajik

Anyways, that's why I am considering just flying (Iran-Kyrgyzstan) and since I am Canadian, a free visa on arrival (30 days) awaits me at Bishkek airport. Another added bonus compared to going overland.

Does anyone see the benefit of going overland? Of course, I already found an airline flying Mahshad, Iran directly to Bishkek, only a 4 hour flight, and the price is bound to be cheap. In August 2008, and Iran Aseman flight crashed killing everyone on board just 2km outside Bishkek airport.

So I guess now I'm only looking for an excuse NOT to go overland? And no the crash isn't enough, though maybe it should be? Nah, not by me.

Arriving in Bishkek by air is again beneficial because of the free visa on arrival, and the relative ease in getting a Tajik visa in Bishkek, as well as the new Chinese/Tajik border crossing recently opened (2004).

The only concern remaining is where to get a Chinese tourist visa to enter Xinjiang?

Bishkek, or Dushanbe?

Also, I am interested in entering Pakistan, and India after China, via the Karakourom highway (from Kashgar to near Islamabad). Where do I get those visas? Which embassies hand them out easier?

My possibilities are

Bishkek, Dushanbe, Tehran, or Dubai, but I have no idea when I am going to enter China, India, or Pakistan, so I need open entry dates on the visas, thus giving me freedom to travel at my own speed.

Thanks for any insight.

Momliz Dec 12th, 2008 06:27 PM

sandy? don't you have an Iranian passport as well?

aby Dec 13th, 2008 05:43 AM

Hi Shoeman

well, passing through UZ is quite interesting Khiva (a must!!) Bukhara & Samarkand are gems along the silk route, but since you're interested in mountains more tham un ancient/special Islamic Art....

I've not been to Turkmenistan, but it seems (anthropologically) interesting to see what is happening after "Turkmenbashi" died.
What happened to all his statues ??
He was a dictator with an ego far beyond Idi Amin (The days of the week & months were named after his family...)

anyhow it you go for the mountains;
check at the Asia forum, though there's little info about Central Asia


P.S. About the heat: if it's Summer - skip it !!!!

thit_cho Dec 13th, 2008 06:33 AM;tid=35015619

I visited the Central Asian 'Stans in May 2007, and thought Uzbekistan was, by far, the most interesting, but that was based on my interests (UNESCO World Heritage Sites), not mountains, and I also thought Turkmenistan, one of the world's strangest and isolated nations was fascinating.

The link above will take you to the thread I posted in the Asia forum, with a few notes and photos.

You seem well informed and have areas of interest, so if Turkmen and Uzbekistan don't appeal to you, you may as well skip them.

It will be hotter than hell in Turkmen -- I was in Merv in May and it was over 110 F (my guide suffered heatstroke and I spent an afternoon in a Turkmen hotel).

Jed Dec 13th, 2008 07:55 AM

momliz - sounds like sandy to me. ((*))

shoeman Dec 17th, 2008 11:44 AM

Ok I have decided to skip Uzbek, and Turkmen, and concentrate on Tajik, and Kyrgyz.

After Iran, I will find a flight to Dushanbe, and cross overland to Bishkek, before overlanding to China, at Kashgar, and then down to the Pakistani frontier.

I need to find a Tajik visa in Tehran (for Canadian, or Iranian, which ever is cheaper/easier), and in Dushanbe, I will need a Kyrgyz visa.

I will get the Chinese visa in Dubai, before entering Iran, unless someone has expensive with the Chinese embassy in Tehran.

aby Dec 20th, 2008 03:46 AM

have a great trip shoeman!
awaitingyour trip report

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