Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Long ride through the desert to Bukhara

We haven't done much in the way of planning for this "stan" countries trip. We had no idea until the last minute that we would be crossing the Turkmenistan border at Dashoguz, so our recent stay in Khiva was also last minute.

But it turned out great, and we met a wonderful local family. And if we had crossed a border further east, we would have skipped Khiva entirely because it's so remote and it would have involved backtracking. 

The next logical stop as we head east is the city of Bukhara. The easiest way to get there is by train, but we had read that the train often sells out ahead of time and we had kind of left this to the last minute. Also, I had read that private taxi is fairly cheap, even though it's a six hour drive!

And the guy who had driven us from the border to the guest house had given us his phone number and we asked Hilola if she would call him and ask a price. We agreed on 840,000 SOM ($69 USD, $95 CAD) to take the two of us across the desert. The train would have been much less, but we liked this guy and we may not have been able to get on the train anyhow.

This required yet another trip to the ATM. Because the maximum amount we are able to take out at one time is only 500,000 SOM ($41 USD, $56 CAD) and we have paid for our accommodation, meals, and attractions in local currency, we find ourselves running to the ATM two or three times a day!

He was picking us up at 9:00am and I didn't have enough cash, so I went to the ATM myself while Ruth finished packing up.

This is the view right across from where we stayed in Khiva.

The east entrance gate to the walled city.

Here's a map of our route...

431 kms (267 miles).

Tough to get decent photos along the way because the sun was shining right in my window the whole time.

We stopped for fuel.

2/3 of all cars in Uzbekistan have been converted to run off methane, a derivative of natural gas. Gasoline is available, but at the equivalent of about a dollar a liter it's quite expensive by local standards. The methane is at least half the cost, but it comes with its own problems because there is more demand now than there is supply. So even when a station is open, you sometimes have to wait for pressure to build up enough to pump it out.

When the vehicles are being filled, all passengers must wait outside.

We made our way to a bridge where all traffic had come to a stop. We weren't exactly sure why, but eventually we found out...

There was a freight train headed in the opposite direction.

It turns out the bridge is single lane and is used by the trains as well as the vehicles.

Heading onto the multi use bridge.

And onto the main highway.

This four lane modern highway leads all the way through the desert and is in overall good condition. But as we got closer to Bukhara, there were still long sections that were under construction.

Not much in the way of scenery along the way!

It was after 4:00pm when we arrived at our guest house in Bukhara. Seven hours in that small car was about three hours too much! Pretty sure that the train would have been more comfortable, and I already have train tickets booked for the next leg of our trip on Monday!

Our room was basic, but serviceable.
We are sleeping apart for the next three nights!

The bathroom is fine.

We rested up for a while and then set out to see the area and find somewhere for dinner.

Bukhara at night.

We found a restaurant that got decent reviews and looked reasonable in price.

It wasn't very busy, but it turns out it is busier at lunch hour than dinner.

I ordered a fancy chicken salad with boiled quail eggs.
30,000 SOM ($2.50 USD, $3.40 CAD).

Ruth had a chicken and veggies dish.
45,000 SOM ($3.70 USD, $5.10 CAD).

We had a beer and a wine too, and then they add a 15% service charge on the bill. We've seen service charges added of anywhere from 7% to 15%. Total bill came to 161,000 SOM ($13.20 USD, $18.20 CAD).

Outside the restaurant where we ate.

Next up... wandering around touristy Bukhara.

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Record low deal on this RV Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

And in Canada...

Great deal on this ASUS OLED 15" Laptop. This is the laptop I use, and I love it!

2 comments:

  1. Another amazingly inexpensive meal! So, I guess that helps balance out some of the travel expenses. Those beds don't look very comfy, and without reading lights, I would not be too happy. Yes, I am spoiled! I hope you sleep okay so you can enjoy your time there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The food was good but not great, my dish of chiken and veggies was really quite greasy. We have heard that this is a big complaint here with the the food. Kevin said hia salad was tasty except that there was too much cabbage in it, it was more like a creamy coleslaw under the layer of other bits.

      The beds were actually fine and fairly comfortable, and no there were no reading lights, so it just means getting out of bed to turn out the light when you are ready to sleep,. We can't complain the price for the room is fairly inexpensive to start with so we weren't expecting to have lots of extras with the room.

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