Central Asia + the ‘Stans’

Wow, you found a brand new page! I hope to soon (2021) fill this category up with stories from Central Asia + the ‘Stans’. If everything goes well, the adventure will begin in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

SIM Card in Qazaqstan: Which is Best?

Qazaqstan or Kazakhstan is a huge country in Central Asia that might pique the curiosity of digital nomads and adventurous travelers. Here’s how to get a SIM card in Qazaqstan and what to expect from the internet situation. Contents1 Intro to Qazaqstan2 Getting a SIM Card in Qazaqstan2.1 TL;DR, which Qazaq SIM card + plan should I choose?2.2 Where to Get a SIM card in Qazaqstan2.3 IMEI Registration2.4 International SIM and eSIM Cards3 Providers in Qazaqstan3.1 Topping up3.2 Activ (basically, same as KCell)3.3 Beeline Qazaqstan3.4 Tele24 My Experience: Purchase + Activation5 Apps6 Qazaq SIM Card Validity7 Tethering8 Internet Freedom inContinue reading

Well Hello, Kyiv?! Uzbekistan to Ukraine (Semi-Live Blog)

These events happened on Sunday, the 25th and Monday the 26th of July, 2021. We hoped to fly from Islam Karimov Tashkent International Airport (TAS), Uzbekistan to Boryspil International Airport (KBP) nearby Kyiv, Ukraine. I’m trying to update this blog as a sort of semi-live blog while on the move. Quick update because I need to sleep. We arrived well in Kyiv but the long wait for check-in to our apartment was excruciating. Peace out I’m gonna catch some zzz’s before finishing this Contents1 Monday, 26th of July: Shattered in Kyiv1.1 Train to Kyiv, killing time1.2 Arriving at Kyiv Boryspil1.3Continue reading

Eat, Pray, Plov: Trying (+ Failing) to Be a Vegetarian in Uzbekistan

Jonas and I spent 30 days in Uzbekistan. Though since April 2020 I consider myself mostly a vegetarian, he’s more flexible and sometimes eats meat and fish. But this is about my eating habits and struggles to be a vegetarian in Uzbekistan. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan and have been to Uzbekistan, I’d love to hear your experiences and tips if you found something that worked for you. You can comment at the bottom of this article. Other vegetarians and vegans can then read your replies. Trigger Warning: there will be pictures of food with meat in this articleContinue reading

Kosmonavtlar: Hands Down the Best Station of Tashkent Metro

Kosmonavtlar is a metro station in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It’s the blue line (O’zbekiston yo’li) out of 3.5 active lines of Tashkent Metro. Taking photos inside the exquisite – often Soviet-era – metro stations in Tashkent was illegal until June 2018. Ever since loads of photos and videos of beautiful stations have popped up on the internet. However, I’d like to draw your attention to the best one: Kosmonavtlar (Russian: Космонавтов)—or ‘Cosmonauts’ in English. During the first 16 days I spent in Tashkent, I visited a lot of metro stations. But somehow I only found out about Kosmonavtlar a few daysContinue reading

The Cutest Nameless + Abandoned Observatory in Samarkand

One completely spontaneous find in Samarkand was this adorably small abandoned observatory in Central Park (Uzbek: Markaziy Bog’—Russian: Центральный парк). We walked past it one evening (19th of July) on the outside and I snapped some photos. Since the best restaurant for vegetarians – Old City Restaurant – in Samarkand is located a stone’s throw away from Central Park, I knew we’d be back. Here’s a Google Satellite view of the observatory where you can clearly see the observatory’s round metal roof: From the ground behind the fence, it looked much like an abandoned observatory, but I couldn’t be sure.Continue reading

How to Climb the Minaret of the Ulugh Beg Madrasah (Registan)

Climbing the minaret of the Ulugh Beg Madrasah of the Samarkand Registan is not something that’s officially offered. I think this is one of these things you can still do now, but in a few years they will probably put this under lock and key and you can’t do it anymore. I am aware that by writing about this online, I might contribute to the early demise of this option. But it was the best thing we did at the Registan and I consider my blog our little secret and not a mega-influential thing. Here’s how to climb the minaret.Continue reading

Xoja Ahror Complex + Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah in Samarkand

Besides the Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah in Samarkand, there’s one that’s much more famous in Bukhara. I wrote this post to help people find this beautiful and underrated madrasah in Samarkand. Continue reading to find out how to go there and what the entry prices are or scroll down to “in short”. Why is the Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah in Samarkand So Hard to Find? The short answer? SEO If you Google for the Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah in English, you will only find the madrasah of the same name in Bukhara. It’s much more famous than the one in Samarkand, which isContinue reading

Samarkand Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites: 2021 Entry Fees for Foreigners

Though generally an inexpensive country in 2021, I’d like to know the entry price before going to a museum. This is no different for Samarkand, with its many museums, mausoleums, mosques, and other cultural heritage sites. At the Ulugh Beg observatory, I stumbled upon a price list in Uzbek written in Cyrillic. I decided to translate the info for other foreigners coming to Samarkand. Below you’ll find a map of all the museums. Contents1 Before You Visit a Samarkand Museum or Cultural Heritage Site2 Registan 2021 Opening Times + Entry Fees 🧿2.1 Registan Square Guided Tours + Video/Photo Fees +Continue reading

Ulugh Beg Observatory, Samarkand: Astronomy of the Olden Days

There are two reasons why the number one sight for me personally in Samarkand was visiting the Ulugh Beg observatory. The first is that I like visiting observatories and planetaria and other space shit. The second reason is that I love visiting the real-life versions of the wonders of Age of Empires II (AoE2). Brief History of Ulugh Beg Astronomy geek Mirza Muhammad Tāraghay (aka Mirzo Ulugh Beg, 1394–1449) was the grandson of Amir Temur (aka Tamerlane, aka Timur, 1336–1405), a conqueror and the founder of the Timurid Empire, dynasty, renaissance, etcetera. Ulugh Beg’s daddy moved the capital from SamarkandContinue reading