From the village of Arslanbob we took a series of shared taxis to the high altitude lake, Song Kul. The landscape of Kyrgyzstan is striking. Very arid, desert-like, yet with snow covered-peaks in the distance. This would be our chance to get up some of those peaks.
After a few days exploring hot and busy Osh, we caught a local bus heading up into the mountains. We’d picked the village of Arslanbob mostly because it was easy to get to and promised some nice scenery.
After a long day crossing the border from Kashgar China into Kyrgyzstan, we were relieved to arrive in Osh, a sizable city in the fertile lowlands.
We left Kashgar early in the morning. It stays dark here really late into the morning because all of China is in the same time zone.
Before leaving town, our driver had to gas up the car. Gas stations in Western China are heavily secured. No passengers are allowed, so we had to walk around the outside of the the station while our driver showed her ID, let security search the car, then fill up.
After a few days in surprisingly pleasant Urumqi, we figured it was time to start heading west. West to the “Stans”.
Distances are big in China. Don’t let the crowded nature of this country fool you, it’s vast. We lucked out and managed to get sleeper seats for the 12-hour ride to Kuche, a town rarely visited by western tourists.
I’ve just arrived in Urumqi, the largest city in Western China and once a major hub on the Silk Road. I didn’t get to my hostel until 4am but there’s no better way to get over jet lag than to get up early and do what everyone else does on a warm Saturday morning – go to the People’s Park.