This is the travelblog of Cyril Ducau and Niccolo Manno on their adventure from London (Cyril), Munich (Niccolo) to Hong Kong on motorbikes.
It took us short of 3 months to do 20,000km on bikes, trains and planes. We crossed the following countries together:

Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Serbia - Bulgaria - Turkey - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan - Russia - Mongolia - China - Hong Kong

On this site you will find some info on both of us, our bikes, some of our friendly helpers in Hong Kong and London and loads of pictures on our trip. 

Latest top picture

Latest top picture
Thanks for watching our blog - Enjoy as we did it!

Our path

Our path
Click picture to download Google Earth kmz file !

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wonderful Kyrgyzstan - We are in love

On the way to Issyk Kol

Lake Issyk Kol

Lake Issyk Kol

Bel Ata Pass at 3176m

Camping at 2440m

Suusammyr valley

It is so damm cold

A minor accident on the road to the snowed Kyzart pass

A major accident on the way to toktogul reservoir

Toktogul reservoir


Hi guys, it was quite a long time since our last blog update, but hey, we didn't find any internet cafes and when we found one it was dial-up modem speed, so forget it.

We are now in Karakkol, a city on the Eastern shores of the Issyk-Kul lake. The lake is the third biggest lake in the world and indeed it is quite sizeable but the most impressive attribute is that it is surrounded by high mountain peaks of 4,000m-5,000m.

Let's start with first things first. Kyrgyzstan has 5 million inhabitants and the country is 94% above 1,000m and 80% above 2, get the picture?

We arrived in Osh several days ago and unfortunately for us we spent an unusually cold week (for this season) in Kyrgyzstan. We had temperatures ranging from -3 to +14 degrees celcius. It is so freaking cold that we have now all our clothes on. The weather was either very windy (Bora or Mistrak like), rainy, snowy...we had it all, including 2 days only of sunshine. This is so frustrating in particular since it is a random week where the weather is so bad. Apparently 1 week ago, it was more like 2-0 degrees celcius and beautiful sunshine!

We still love it here as the little we could see is more than impressive and beautiful. Imagine all the hidden stuff we couldn't reach because of closed passes etc... and it probably becomes the highlight of the trip so far. The people are very friendly and we stayed most of the time in homestays, a very good system that Kyrgyzstan has set-up.

After Osh we moved to Arslanbob which boast the largest Walnut tree forest (weird hey!) just below a 4,400m peak. We did a small treck up part of the mountain to some high summer pastures and we really loved it. We stayed at Abdullahanjun's family, really a great place to be. I was sick on the second day, so in the end we stayed 3 days there.

We then moved-on under the pouring rain on the main road to the capital (the only one that was the most likely not to have too much snow) and discovered Toktogul reservoir, a very nice high alltitude lake. After the lake, we climbed to the highest point on our journey so far, the Bel Ata Pass at 3,176m. Amazing to be there will all the snow and the peaks so much higher than you. We encountered there a German couple (Bettina and Stefan) that was cycling from Mongolia to Germany for 10,000km during a full year and who started in August of last year. We camped together at 2,440m and whilst cold, we had an excellent night only to discover the next morning that it had snowed.

We then pressed on into the Suummayir valley, a gorgeous day with super mountains all around us. Whilst it is a valley, it is still at +2,000m. We wanted to reach the lake  Song Kol, apparently a beautiful spot in Central Kyrgyzstan at 3,000m but forget it, there was so much snow (and it snowed whilst we were riding on the Kyzar passs (2.,664).I am still glad we went on this road (actually a track + mud) as it was a good test for Mongolia.

So instead of going up Song Kol we reached lake Issyk Kol with strong winds where we are now.

Tomorrow we will drive close to the Kazakh border and cross it the day after to reach Almaty.

We have updated all the Kyrgyz pictues, you'll love them.

Oh by the way, regarding washing...hmm, we haven't had a shower for the last 6 days. We asked our hosts everynight if they had a shower and they have all replied immediately with a No of course. But tonight's the night, we found a place with a shower!


Anonymous said...

Salut les crados,

Je viens de rentrer d'Australie (où je suis allée accueillir mon petit neveu Joseph né le 31 mars dernier) et ai trouvé dans ma boîte aux lettres le faire-part de mariage de Chopat'. Saviez-vous qu'il avait repoussé la cérémonie de deux mois ? ...

Pardon, mauvaise blague mais c'était trop tentant. Bon courage pour vos traversées sous la neige et la pluie. Je ne suis qu'à moitié déçue de ne pas vous voir pour l'instant si vous ne vous lavez qu'une fois par semaine. Mais je dois reconnaître que vous êtes beaux avec vos barbes.
Je pense bien à vous. Merci d'alimenter le blog avec une telle assiduité.

ben said...

a bit cruel for those who spent the week looking at a computer screen...
Somtimes I push my office aircon and I forget to brush my teeth after lunch...then I close my eyes try to imagine the cold mountains...and ...nothing ! It doesn't work ;-(

Samo said...

Hello Niccolo,
My name is Alexandru Samoila and together with a friend of mine are planning a similar trip to yours. We are starting in a couple of weeks and we will be travelling the other way around, i mean we start in Romania and the go first Ukraine, Russia and Mongolia and then the stans, caucasus and Turkey.
I am especially interested in reaching song kul, but as i have a western, not very good map of the whole central asia region, i am a bit concerned about how to get there. Do you have any advice for us on how to get there, or do you have the particular GPS track for that part?
Thank you very much,
Alexandru Samoila

PS I tried to convert the KML file but with little success.

Samo said...

Sorry, i thought blogger permits sending messages through my profile. So, my mail is asamoila aat csb dot ro . Thank you.

bathmate said...

thanks for your great posting



- Maddy, the head of our "London HQ", special technical and weather advisor, and because she is simply the best and has been so supportive over the last few months
- My family and friends for their understanding and moral support
- Robert Roe (alias Bob) from Motoselect Franham for preparing the bike with such good care
- Anastasia from thevisacompany for helping me deal with so much red tape
- Claudio von Planta for sharing his valuable experience on Long-way Round and Long-way Down and answering so many of our questions
- Ronnie, Emmanuel and Benjamin for their enthusiast support and precious advise
- The Techtransalp team for their excellent website and advertising our adventure

- clearly Manon as she has always been supportive of this trip even though this means 3 months without me
- My mother for not giving up on me, for receiving all the parcels at home in Austria and for not freaking out!
- Amy and Steve for pushing over several months to keep focus on the organisation
- Xavier, for trusting me to be in France in June and be his best man at his wedding
- Cyril, for posting our tracks on the blog
- Louis, for looking into getting Continental to sponsor us
- Romain, for getting us the Turkmen visas
- My friends for all telling me "DO IT"!
- Claudio von Planta, Sambor and Maciej for sharing their great experiences on their numerous motorbike trips
- Henry, Yau and Tan from BMW HK for their support with the bike, the preparation and the bike sale
- Yasser, Mark, Michael and Christoph from BMW Munich for their help with all the accessories and the last minute bike purchase
- Bertrand and Alice for your help with the tyres in Almaty