Day 115 (1): Leaving Kyrgyzstan, for better or worse

Leninskoe Travel Blog

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The road to Kazakhstan

Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Tim & Wim (Belgium)

We got up early in the morning and drove on towards Bishkek. The three of us had had no desire to visit Bishkek (especially after the disappointing visits of Tashkent and Dushanbe, I could do without another Soviet capital) but it seemed there was no other way to cross the border into Kazakhstan.

On the way we passed two more border crossings, both of which were closed. We never managed to find out just why all the borders were closed. Apparently this had already been done before the civil unrest broke out in the country. The unofficial explanation was that it was not financially viable to keep the four existing border crossings open.

We arrived at Leninskoe in the early afternoon, arriving at the busiest border crossing I have seen this entire trip.

Wim behind the wheel
With only one border crossing between the two countries hundreds (if not thousands) of people cross at this border every day. We spent a good hour waiting in line before we were able to drive past the barrier, into the border compound.

Well, so much for Kyrgyzstan. I must say that on my trip so far this is the first country that disappoints. Sure, I wasn't all that impressed with Azerbaijan either, but that hadn't been a major destination I was looking forward to. I had really been looking forward to Kyrgyzstan, even got myself an extra travel insurance in order to be covered here despite the negative travel advice, and it had been a disappointment.

Many of the people who work with tourists are completely spoilt by tourism. The people are not nice, unhelpful and will take any opportunity to rip you off. Sure, there are exceptions, like the people at the homestay in Kochkor, or the family I met at Lake Song-Köl, but these were people not dependent on tourism.
queueing up at the border
The people who are just doing their own thing, trying to live a traditional life, are really nice people. Though here too did I come across some bad eggs, like the truck driver demanding money before he would help us when we were stuck in the mud, or the guy in Naryn wanting money when I asked him for directions.

My visit to Karakol had been the highlight of the country, but that was more to do with the other travellers I met here than with Karakol itself. Overall, Kyrgyzstan had been a disappointment. The first country on my trip that I truly disliked.
The country itself is beautiful though. I would say Tajikistan is more spectacular, more rugged, but Kyrgyzstan is more picturesque, with its green pastures lined with snowcapped mountains in the distance.

sylviandavid says:
Sorry to see Kazakstan was a "bust" ... at least you saw it... more than most of us can say... sylvia
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012
Biedjee says:
I'll do my best!
I'm way behind though, too busy adventuring and exploring :-)
Posted on: Oct 11, 2010
vinniegill says:
hey !!! am following your blog so keep writting :)
Posted on: Oct 09, 2010
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The road to Kazakhstan
The road to Kazakhstan
Wim behind the wheel
Wim behind the wheel
queueing up at the border
queueing up at the border
Last views of Kyrgyzstan (where di…
Last views of Kyrgyzstan (where d…
last views of Kyrgyzstan
last views of Kyrgyzstan
photo by: Biedjee