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Turkmenistan

Imagine the following scenario: It is the year 2200. Us humans have destroyed the world. Nothing remains besides an endless desert. Suddenly, rising out of the ashes, white marble buildings appear at the horizon.

You have arrived in Ashgabat.

We are not living in the year 2200. The desert surrounding Ashgabat is natural and does not result from some humankind disaster. Nevertheless, while visiting the capital of Turkmenistan, I regularly felt as if I had arrived in the middle of a dystopian novel. I walked along eight-lane boulevards on which I didn’t see cars. I strolled through empty parks where I spotted only one lonely employee cutting the bushes with small scissors. From my bus window, I watched people clean the sidewalks with tiny brushes.…

Photo Stories

George Town, the capital of the Malaysian state of Penang, has been attracting tourists and travellers from all over the globe for a long time. However, its street art scene boomed in 2012. That year Ernest Zacharevicm, a Lithuanian artist, created 6 wall paintings during the celebration of the annual George Town festival. These murals soon became worldwide famous, to the point where one of them, Children on a Bicycle, is one the most photographed spots of the city.

Today, years later, the old town is full of murals. The trend that Ernest Zacharevic started kept growing, making the street art scene of George Town blossom. Now, international artists are invited to go there and leave their mark in the old town.…

Travel Advice

Overland trips are a great way to see remote parts of the world. They bring you to areas that independent travellers can’t reach easily, they help you connect with fellow travellers and they are cheap. This is why in 2017, Daniel and I went along the Silk Road with Oasis Overland. We drove in our yellow truck from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan all the way to Xian in China, crossing desert and mountain passes, meeting locals, seeing incredible scenery and remains of ancient civilizations.…

Uzbekistan

It is always hard to choose a single favourite place when travelling through a country, but when it comes to Uzbekistan, Samarkand is one of the candidates. Stunning architecture, ancient history, what’s not to love about the most famous Silk Road city?

Sure, these days the sights are spread out all over the city, with many modern buildings in between. But I think it’s that mixture of modern and old that makes Samarkand so special and so interesting to explore. And while walking around, just think about what it must have looked like in the times of Marco Polo, when he tried to make his way to China.

To give you a taste of what to expect, let me show you some of Samarkand’s highlights:…

Photo Stories

The Heart of the Silk Road

A trip through the ancient trading hubs that connected East and West

The Silk Road has always fascinated travellers from all over the World. The ancient network of trading routes connected the East and the West for centuries, making possible the trade between lands like China and Europe. The Silk Road is certainly the biggest trading network from the ancient era, and its importance didn’t decline until just a few centuries ago. Even today countries like China want to revive it, with projects like the One Belt One Road Initiative.

Such a vast network attracted huge amounts of people. The major trade hubs soon became wealthy and known all over the globe, with modern-day Uzbekistan as the heart of the Silk Road.…

Kyrgyzstan

While I was travelling the Silk Road, one of the countries that surprised me the most was Kyrgyzstan. Central Asia is not exactly one of the most popular destinations, and Kyrgyzstan is, for most people, just one of those far away “-stan” countries. However, it has so much to offer! From its incredible natural beauty to the fascinating culture of the Kyrgyz people, these are the reasons why Kyrgyzstan should be next on your bucket list.…

Turkmenistan

Out of all the countries I have been to, Turkmenistan is the weirdest one.

It is one of the least visited countries in the world and only receives a couple thousands of tourists each year. If you are going here, it means that you have managed to get one of the few tourist visas that the government gives out. Either that, or you are an expat who has come to work in Ashgabat. But either way, you now have the chance to explore one of the least visited countries in the world, one that pretends to be open to tourism but shuts itself off from the rest of the world as much as possible.

“Dictators do not want tourists,” our guide said.…

Uzbekistan

“So what is there to do in Tashkent?” my friend asked. I looked up from my guidebook and shrugged. “Not much at first glance. But enough to keep us occupied for a day.”

Sooner or later, every traveller along the Uzbek Silk Road will end up in Tashkent. It is a necessary stop on the way to Kazakhstan, it has a major airport and it is unavoidable if you want to see the Fergana Valley. And while it is true that there isn’t much to do in Tashkent, we quickly found out that there is enough to keep you occupied for a day or two.…

Uzbekistan

“Samarkand is my favourite city in the world,” the man told me as he passed me a bowl of dried cheese balls. We were sitting next to the hotel pool where he had come to celebrate his friend’s birthday. “It is a very beautiful city and we have good weather for most of the year.”

I nodded in agreement. Samarkand is indeed a stunning city. No other Silk Road city evokes as many images and legends as Samarkand, none has been written about as much.

But Uzbekistan is not only about Samarkand. Dive deeper and you will find out that there are many more things to discover in this country.…

China

When people think of China, they often think of the Great Wall, rice terraces and pandas. The Silk Road, stretching from Xian all the way to China’s western border, is mostly overlooked. Too inaccessible, too remote, and why would you travel there if there’s so much to see in the East? But think again. Remote means less tourists and a chance to get off the beaten track. Plus, trains make it easy to travel in between cities.

The Silk Road has a lot to offer, from desert towns to Tibetan monasteries and natural wonders. Not convinced yet? Read on and I will show you the highlights along the Chinese Silk Road, from the Kyrgyz border all the way to Xian.…

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