mmmm…. Last Post..? :)

After a long silence, I decided to write the last entry for this season. Im writing this very sexy last post at the same location when I wrote the first entry of this blog, inside my room at home, sweating under the hot weather and my aircond isn’t working as usual :) Yes, Im back home in KL, my home country of Malaysia. Hmmm feel quite good to be home. Feel good to sleep comfortably on my own bed at home, under the pleasant warm weather. But I miss the mountains so much…

 

the condition during winter just outside my house

 

Reason I came back home? Many…. but there are 2 main reason why I came back home. Firstly, I was running out of money. Just nice, by the time I reached KL, I have 12 ringgit inside my bank account :) Secondly, its actually some personal reason that I cant discuss here in this blog, but its something big and most important moment of my life. Cant wait for it to happen :) I found “something” very valuable on my travel, and Im bringing it back home with me :)

 

during my last days in Kyrgyzstan...

 

The Winter Impression


I had a good time staying a few months in Kyrgyzstan. The fresh air, beautiful view even from my balcony, my mind felt so relaxed and calm. By early December, the winter season came. Snow started to fall and it gets very cold, constantly below freezing. I have to wear layers and layers and layers just to get to a shop which is 50 meters away from my house. Everything is covered by snow, even the roads. On the snowing day it was still okay. But the next day when the sun is out, the snow started to melt and the road became very very slippery. I had a hard time even to walk the road. Cycling? Forget it. I have to wait till summer to continue cycling again.

 

cute kyrgyz kids... :)

 

So as for now, I finally decided to come back home. I need to work again for a few months, save enough money to continue my ride. I left my bicycle and most of my stuff in a safe hand in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I travel light back home, carrying only 2 bags, my huge backpack and my laptop bag. Of course my body got a bit shocked once I reached KL, with the hot weather after staying months in the snow mountains. Only a few days after I reached home, I started to work again. Hmmm.. lecturing. Kinda good to see the faces of my students again. I plan to teach 1 semester here before riding again towards the continent of Africa, I really wanna spend this one semester to bring up the skill level of my students. Time to hit the keyboard and the mouse again :)

eh slippery!!

The next plan hmmmm…..

Im not sure of this time I wanna try to get sponsors. I don’t want to be dictated by someone, and I don’t like the idea of ppl are watching me while im traveling. The key is to have freedom here. While I was in Kyrgyzstan, I have contacted 2 Malaysian cyclists who are now cycling around the globe! Yerp, theyre cycling the whole planet! Amazing… and sexy!! Only catch is they have to complete it by 289 days or something. So its kinda a race against time. I guess theyre breaking the world record? Guess these 2 guys must be very strong, since one of them is an ex commando or something? Tough guys. As for me, Im not really an athlete. So I will do it at my own phase. And do it really slow so that I can learn as much as I can from the locals. I might try to talk to people here in KL, but if I ever get sponsored, my term is that I can change my route anytime I want and at my own phased. Especially here in central asia, traveling by bike can be very difficult. Getting visa isn’t enough. Some countries like Tajikistan, if I wanna cycle in the pamir highway that leads to northern Afghanistan (Wakhan Corridor), I need to apply for a permit. Well, its isn’t that simple! They have many regions there that I have to cross, each region needs its own permit. Ahaaa… complicated? To get to Iran from Uzbekistan, I have to cross over 600km in the land of Turkmenistan. I can only get 5 days transit visa which allow me to travel solo with bicycle. Don’t think I can cover over 600km for only 5 days of cycling. If I get the normal 30 days visa, they will assign me a tourguide, and I cant travel freely. Yerp I cant expect a tourguide to cycle with me. Turkmenistan is kinda North Korea for central asia. Well, that’s what I read. So my planned route might change here and there. Even land borders between Algeria and Libya is closed to foreigners, like forever!… due to kidnapping problems. Very difficult! Looking at the map, I have to cross into Tunisia, which is safe. So with all these problems, I think I will just do it alone. I prefer freedom, rather than pressure :)

 

 

As for now, Im writing a book on this first season of my cycling journey. Its travel journal with a lot of interesting pictures, hopefully will be out soon before I get on bicycle again. Besides, I wanna get myself busy doing a lot of freelance job! Need to earn as much as I can before continue traveling again.  And yeap, I managed to get only 1 wedding photography job in Kyrgyzstan hehe. Very difficult to find people who speaks English there, I was lucky to get 1, at least I can experience a Kyrgyz wedding, tho they make it modern style. It was fun to join them. Very long wedding, very tiring, from morning till midnight! Very hot couple, Asel & Tariel. (i hope u guys dont mind i mention u guys in my blog? :)) Kinda easy to communicate with them since Asel (the bride) speaks good english, since she works in the american embassy in bishkek. It was kinda interesting, tho it was a modern style wedding, they still have some Kyrgyz elements on the ceremony. They stayed a few hours in a yurt, and of course, they enjoy vodka! :D

 

 

Now, I will get myself busy with many things. So many things to prepare. :) But my mind and my heart are still up there in the mountains. I never regret doing this great trip. I never regret all the pain, the coldness cycling and camping in the snow mountains during snowstorm and the sickness I had while crossing the Taklamakan Desert, as well as the near death experience while climbing the mountains of Tibet. Kinda shocking when some of my friends asked me why I never complete the whole trip, as my original plan was to cycle to Russia. Well, I actually missed the highlight of my journey. The highlight was cycling in the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan, passing Mt. Kailash near the Indian border, and riding the Karakoram Highway of Pakistan. Many problems came during my ride, most part of Tibet are not allowed for foreigners, u have to dodge police checkpoints, and its very dangerous, especially if u get caught. There was fighting and bombings went out in Aksu, as well as the Karakoram Highway on the Pakistan side is closed (and still close till now) because of huge landslide. Because of all these reasons, I have to cut straight into Korgas in Kazakhstan, and from there if I head north to Omsk in Russia, its not interesting anymore. The more north u go, the culture is all the same. Its only the drinking culture. Almost everyone u see on the street, holding a vodka bottle with them. Some of em gets very aggressive, alcoholic problems. So I decided to turn south. Heading to Kyrgyzstan instead, and get close with the nomadic culture. Well, the most important thing  I want from this trip is experience, to learn as much as I can, not to break any record. So Im satisfied with the 7000km I did. And of course, I plan to continue, but to the west :) Now before I end my blog for this season, here’s some stats…

 

somewhere in china, rocking the road! :)

Total Distance cycled: 7136km

Longest ride in a day: 213km (downhill Tibet-Qinghai)

Shortest ride in a day: 46km (sandstorm in the Taklamakan Desert)

Longest time without shower: 12 days :D

Hottest temperature: 52 celcius (Taklamakan Desert, China)

Coldest temperature: -20 celcius (Issykul, Kyrgyzstan)

Highest altitude: 4800m (Tibet,China)

Lowest altitude: -160m (Turpan,China)

Most hospitality people: The Hui (chinese muslim)

Most harsh people: Drunk Russians

The best ride: Tian Shan, China

Worst ride: Getting out of Urumqi

Coolest driver: China lorry drivers (see post china lorry drivers are so cool!)

Worst driver: The Kazakhs (they almost kill me)

Hottest girls: Kyrgyz

Thx for reading… The end….

28 Comments on “mmmm…. Last Post..? :)

  1. Good to hear that you are back to Malaysia. But still want to see more story from you.. I’ll pray for your future travel.

  2. ahhaaaa… thx!
    wait for season 2!! into the west!!!
    when exactly? dont know… wait till i have enuff cash! :D

  3. so inspired bila baca about yr journey cycling around the world.
    i think i know what u brought back in kL. :D
    rmmber read in a newspaper. hope u guys doing good.
    and all the best with ur wedding photog job.
    take care,

    Salam,
    AG

  4. Thanks for the last n3. I heard that you are getting married with the girl from Kyrgyzstan. As what you have written….. “something” very valuable on my travel, and Im bringing it back home with me :) this April/May? Congratulations.

  5. Salam bro..
    Welcome back bro.. aisey, ari tu kata nak email balik..tapi senyap jer..sure bz giler ngan persiapan tu yek..kasi lar no tipon ko tu…hehehe… anyway, cograts bro!! c u soon…!

  6. bro.

    why not organize a cup of coffee session here in Malaysia.coffee is on me

    Would like to hear more story from u maybe some tips

    Can’t wait to read next installment episode

  7. it’s kinda sad to see that u hav decided to stop blogging and ended the trip of yr life time prematurely. So, 2000km fall short of yr original target but tht’s not important, U had achieved much more than u think. As a added bonus, u hav found ‘something big’ in yr life and is bringing ‘it’ back to M’sia. As much as I’d love to see how you discovered this treasure of yours, I respect your much deserved privacy.

    In 50 yrs time, surely yr grandchildren will love this grandad whom has so many exotic stories to tell no less than camping in subzero temperature, sleeping with the wolves in the dessert…. if you ask me, it’s better than the 1001 Arabian Nights.

    Do share your experience with yr students. surely powerpoint slides are no strangers to you. You will inspire them and truthfully, we need more ppl like you to look up to and tht’s how younger generations be inspired to progress as an individual, to reach out for their dreams and not be afraid of the unpredictability, be prepared to leave the comforts of familiarity and NOT thru something idiotic 3 months so called National Service that has cost BILLIONS of ringgits.(slightly out of topic here).

    back to the subject, once you begin the new ‘chapter’ in yr life, I have doubts at the back of my mind that u may not be able to cycle the world again without ample financial support and especially with the added ‘luggage’ … (apologies!).

    Perhaps a new venture in M’sia will emerge soon instead, I think it will be a good opportunity to introduce anyone how truly pretty our country is. After all, using yr own words, u have found something valuable, numbers on yr bicycle triptmeter are no longer important.

    Best wishes for yr future.

  8. hi imyfish,
    yeah.. it was sad to end my journey but its something inevitable. i ran out of money (i had 12 ringgit left when i reach kl haha), couldnt get a job in central asia, and it was too cold to cycle during winter. so i had no choice. and thx for ur kind words, yep, at least i have some stories to tell, maybe to inspire someone?… :)

    but still, the way i see.. when i start my new *chapter* in life, i dont see it as something that burdens me, or to stop me from achieving my dream. i see it as motivation, maybe something even better might occur?… :)

    and i never worry about financial support, traveling with bicycle is very cheap. to me its nothing secret, so maybe i reveal it here… i actually spent only 16k ringgit for this whole trip, which last me 8 months! that is including everything, including buying the bicycle, panniers, flight ticket etc. I started cycling from chengdu, and i flew to china with nothing except few clothes, my camera and a small netbook. traveling with bicycle, i dont use much money, sometimes i spent as low as 5 ringgit in a day, and sometimes none. in the wild, i drink water from the river, and sometimes the locals give me food. some even pay for my food. ppl along the way helped me a lot! so many kind people in this world!! without much money, my plan was to travel and work, probably will take years. but now.. since i have a reason, a good reason, i decided to hit home… theres something important i need to do :D

    and in this journey, i missed out many hightlights during my journey. i actually planned to cycle the hindu kush in afghanistan, and the karakoram in pakistan. but last yr, there was so many problems there. karakoram highway had landslide problem, so the road was closed on the pakistani side. on august when i supposed to get into afghan, they had election and situation in kabul was very unstable. so i had to skip. so my dream isnt really fullfilled yet. i have plans to cycle in pamir mountains soon.

    azizan – ahaa… thx bro! bagus bagus… dah tgk blog. kl-fraser.. hmm menarik tu. maybe nxt week aku saje2 nak ride kl-pd on weekend. pinjam basikal member je la.. basikal aku skang kat kyrgyzstan. haha…

  9. Salam Zahariz!
    I came across your blog via facebook post and end up reading all of your central asian and kyrgyzstan updates. For a malaysian man to go through those harsh weather conditions all alone and with so little money is a very courage thing to do. I am impressed with your photos, they look so stunning! I am glad that you liked Kyrgyzstan… Looking forward your new posts…

  10. It’s almost six months now. When are you going to ride again ?

  11. salam,

    saya berada di pakistan skrg. laluan KKH mmg kena blocked dgn landslide pada jan 2010. skrg dah ada attabad lake di hunza valley. kena naik boat untuk meneruskan perjalanan. :)

  12. wsalam knizam,
    saya masih cuba utk dapatkan maklumat terkini tentang border crossing di khunjerab pass sekarang. kalau tuan berada di pakistan skarang, mungkin tuan boleh update saya tentang keadaan di karakoram highway? pakistan dah repair the road on the pakistani side? laluan tu dah bukak balik? saya masih ada plan utk berbasikal utk masuk ke sana melalui xinjiang.

  13. salam. setakat hari ni. laluan di hunza masih belum dibuka. masih ada lagi tasik attababad yang menenggelamkan bandar gojal tuh. tapi boleh cross naik boat. just beware that KKH masa winter mmg snow tebal so ada part yg tutup. it’ll take long before they can make another alternative road.

  14. Assalamualaikum !!!

    Pertama : Pertama kali singgah sini sebab satu post dalam facebook.

    Kedua : Segala catatan pengalaman sudara memang menarik. Penuh dengan gambar-gambar… Bagi saya, mungkin tak mampu untuk menjejaki langkah saudara, namun gembira kerana boleh sampai ke negara asing melalui isi kandungan blog milik saudara.

    Ketiga : Sebagai bangsa melayu dan rakyat malaysia, saya bangga kerana ada insan melayu Malaysia yang berani menyahut cabaran sebegini.

    Keempat : Syabas buat saudara, kerana dalam merealisasikan impian 9000km saudara tu, walaupun berakhir setakat 7000 pada saat ini, saudara telah memiliki sesuatu yang amat berharga, iaitu pengalaman dan kisah hidup yang lain dari orang biasa yang lain.

  15. Assalamualaikom, First of all I wish you in good health, Your website accidentally surfed when I just look at the Middle Asia. I believe that you having extra will power and as a Muslim we ought to seek the Almighty assistance in all ways. I’m ex Airforce the only advise to you ” Kekuatan mental mengatasi fisikal dalam satu satu situasi ” Always think that you can make it… I pray for your success as a Muslim > Very nice scenery along the way and i’m sure that no money can buy your ecperience…Well done

  16. Assalamualaikum,
    I just watched TVAlhijrah this morning and straight away surf yr blog. I like all the pictures shown, lovely scenery and very interesting story. Tabik springggg to you. May Allah the Almighty bless you all the way, take care and I’m looking forward for your next adventures. Allahuakbar.

    • TQ so much for visiting my blog! Im glad you like the stories and the pictures. God’s creation is very beautiful. Keep visiting my blog as Im starting another adventure few days from now…

  17. Assalamualikum Tuan,

    Saya terbaca dan terakses blog ini di tvalhijrah…
    memang menarik perhatian saya..
    semua gambar dn video mmg cun..(boleh tiru idea tu?)
    dlm lubuk hati ade impian nk buat semacam tuan…tp ntah la..
    bile dfikir2 mampukah aku dgn bajet yg ciput brape ratus jer…semangat yg kejap naik..kejap turun..

    apa2 pun syabas saya ucapkan..
    next trip blh joint sama x :)?

    • w’salam tuan,
      terima kasih byk2 tuan…
      boleh je buat dgn budget sikit di asia, masa saya di china dulu, kadang2 sehari saya spend dlm 6 ringgit je. kebanyakannya wild camping dan masak makanan sendiri. barang2 jgn beli kat kl, mahal. beli je semua kat china.. dengan basikal2 sekali. tu apa yg saya buat dulu la….

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