Through the Kyzylkum desert (Bukhara to Khiva)

23 October 2013

Despite reading up on Uzbek history and current affairs prior to the trip, it had completely slipped my mind as to what the terrain here might look like. That was, until a friend visited me and flipped through my atlas, and wondered aloud what the whole bunch of “dots” on the map over  a part of Uzbekistan represent. We finally concluded it means SAND.

The shared taxi ride (a common form of transport in between cities) from Bukhara to Khiva is 6 hour long drive on smooth straight roads that cut through the flat sandy horizon of the Kyzylkum desert.

Taking a rest. In the Kyzylkum desert.

Taking a rest. In the Kyzylkum desert.

The river Amu Darya, separating Uzbekistan from Turkmenistan.

The river Amu Darya, separating Uzbekistan from Turkmenistan.

On the way from Bukhara to Khiva. Maybe an hour away from Turtkul. Near an oil/gas refinery. My car mate counted that the train passing in the background has 26 carriages transporting oil and gas.

This is the queue for propane, estimated to take a 2-hour wait.
Somewhere near Tortkol.

There is something rather soothing about the flat plains and vast stretches of sand. Very different from my experience in say, the Atacama desert of Chile.

As the car approaches Tortkol, greeting by the roads were apricot orchards swaying in a sea of autumn red. Then golden trees. Then grazing sheep, donkeys and camels. The most glorious sight of all was a sea of orange flamed trees flanking the river banks of the Amu Darya. Couldn’t take a photo of it as the car could not stop on the bridge. But it is a sight that I will not forget.

My first experience of autumn near the desert and it was magnificent. More of it in later posts.

From Tortkol onwards to Khiva, the colours of autumn greet us on the fringes of the Kyzyl Kum desert.

From Tortkol onwards to Khiva, the colours of autumn greet us on the fringes of the Kyzyl Kum desert.

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