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Nicole ❁ Travel & Adventure

based ↯ 📍 Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬 ↠ Next: Tajikistan 🇹🇯 ⇝ Join a trip to the Empty Quarter ↡

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List of Instagram medias taken by Nicole ❁ Travel & Adventure (@adventuresoflilnicki)

Burana, Kyrgyzstan

This is Burana Tower, located about 45 minutes east of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan near the town of Tokmok. Built by the Karakhanids, a Persian speaking Turkic people in the 9th century in Balasagun, a once capital for the Karakhanid Dynasty. ⁣ ⁣ Burana was originally a minaret that stood 40 meters tall but after several earthquakes have damaged the structure, including a large one in the 15th century that toppled over the nearly upper half of the minaret reducing it to 25 meters in height. By the early 20th century Russians settling into the area would take bricks from Burana to use on various construction projects. Finally in the 1970s efforts were made to restore Burana to help prevent it from toppling over. ⁣ ⁣ A legend surrounding the tower tells a story of a king and his daughter, who at birth her father brought in all fortune tellers in the vicinity. All told of the great life his daughter would have, but one told the truth saying she would die by a spider bite at the age of 18. In order to protect his daughter the king called for the construction of Burana Tower in which we would keep her safe in. The daughter grew up locked away in the tower only to eat a black grape with a poisonous spider inside killing her soon after she turned 18. The moral of the story, you can’t control fate. ⁣ ⁣ Burana Tower is an easy half day trip from Bishkek with sweeping views of the snow capped peaks that back Bishkek. This is a great destination to coordinate with a Sunday visit so that you can visit the nearby Tokmok Animal Market where traders and sellers come from all around to trade livestock. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ @discoverkyrgyzstan

Жети Огуз - Jeti Oguz

⁣ Welcome back to Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬 ⁣ ⁣ I’m a bird nerd if you didn’t know already, so getting to visit golden eagles in Kyrgyzstan is always a favorite thing to do when I’m traveling here (time and time again, this time with @discoverkyrgyzstan & USAID). ⁣ ⁣ The tradition of eagle hunting in Central Asia goes back over a millennia in Kyrgyzstan. Eagle hunting is a dying tradition as it’s not essential to survival any more with technological advances but it’s still possible to find expert eagle hunters who have continually passed the tradition down from generation to generation in Kyrgyzstan to learn more about their ancient practices. ⁣ ⁣ Golden eagles are called Berkut and the hunter, Berkutchi in the Kyrgyz language. Training a Berkut on average takes about 3-4 years, after catching an eagle from the wild. The Berkut and Berkutchi will build a strong bond over time as the hunter will spend all of their time with their eagle. After nearly two decades together the eagle will be set free to spend the remainder of its life (on average they live 30-40 years) in the wild. ⁣ ⁣ If you’re planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan and would like to learn more about the practice of eagle hunting the best place to experience this is around Issykul Lake. ⁣ ⁣ Swipe over to see more photos 🦅 ⁣ ⁣ Also worth noting is that visiting Kyrgyzstan is a breeze. Many countries get 60 days of visa-free travel in the country and a large number are eligible for evisa. ⁣ ⁣ 📸, 2, 3, 4 & 6: @vstimac⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ @destination_karakol jetioguz

Charyn Canyon National Park

After a short night of sleep at Beshtamak camp in Charyn Canyon we all woke up at 1:30am to shoot a few photos of the stars before loading up and heading out to another part of the canyon down bumpy 4x4 tracks to eventually come back to a road and turn off towards this viewpoint to watch the oranges and pinks as the sun rose over Charyn Canyon’s rock formations. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ I’ve been to Charyn Canyon once before when I visited Kazakhstan in 2016, and once again it didn’t disappoint. If you plan to head to Almaty a visit to Charyn Canyon is definitely worth the journey, especially those headed out to Kaindy and Kolsai Lakes pictured in my last two posts. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Tomorrow I’ll start sharing images from our trip to Kyrgyzstan with USAID. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣

Kolsay Lake

If you’ve followed me for a while you probably know I can’t resist a mountain lake and a mirror-like reflection— This is Kolsai Lake I nestled in Kazakhstan’s Tien Shan Mountains and commonly referred to as the “pearls of Tien Shan”, which is easy to see why. ⁣ ⁣ The first lake of Kolsai pictured here is an easy visit from Saty Village with a paved road that nearly reaches the lake shore (just a short walk down a hill to reach it). For those more adventurous you can continue to trek beyond the nearly 1 kilometer long Kolsai Lake I, up and down and on a winding dirt path for 8 kilometers to reach the secluded Kolsai Lake II. Another 6 kilometers further will take you to Kolsai Lake III, but I didn’t visit it and it is typically closed due to its proximity to the Kyrgyz border. If you are fit and hike regularly getting to Kolsai II shouldn’t be an issue but if you aren’t then it may be a bit challenging. ⁣ ⁣ The journey to Kolsai Lakes can be reached by taxi from nearby Saty Village, a smooth 30 minute ride away. Taxis run for about 2000 KZT per car round trip ($6 USD). There is also a park entrance fee of 750 KZT ($2 USD) per person. Saty Village can be reached by minibus from Almaty at 3000 KZT ($8 USD) per person. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣

Lake Kaindy

Here is Kaindy Lake, one of Kazakhstan’s most unique sites. The lake was created by a landslide triggered by the 7.7 Kebin Earthquake in 1911. The fallen limestone created a natural dam of the gorge. ⁣ ⁣ The most unique features of Lake Kaindy is the Sunken Forest. The forest is the remains of spruce trees that were submerged when the lake was formed. The portions of the trees underwater never decomposed due to the cold temperatures of the water, giving the trees an almost upside down appearance. ⁣ ⁣ Lake Kaindy can be reached by taxi from nearby Saty Village, a bumpy 1 hour ride away. Taxis run for about 5000 KZT per car round trip ($13 USD), which can be split amongst visitors. There is also a park entrance fee of 750 KZT ($2 USD) per person. Saty Village can be reached by minibus from Almaty at 3000 KZT ($8 USD) per person. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣

Алматы, Казахстан

Built of wood and without nails this is Ascension (Zenkov) Cathedral located in the middle of Panfilov Park in the heart of Almaty, Kazakhstan. ⁣ ⁣ The cathedral is one of Almaty’s only remaining Tsarist era buildings. ⁣ ⁣ Unfortunately Ascension Cathedral was closed and under construction for the last couple of years since I visited last but the cathedral is now once again open to the public. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ 📸: @vstimac⁣ ⁣ ⁣

Big Almaty Lake

Welcome to Kazakhstan 🇰🇿 ⁣ This is actually my second time in the country. My first time was in 2016 and I didn’t make it to Big Almaty Lake that time, so this time before the actual kick off of our trip I knew I had to make the jaunt here from the city. ⁣ ⁣ A common question I get is how easy is it to travel around in Central Asia. Well, luckily it’s not as difficult as many people think. To reach Big Almaty Lake we first ordered a taxi through the Yandex app which came out to 7000 Tenge (roughly $18 USD) return, divided among 3 of us. To enter the park we each had to pay a 650 Tenge ($1.70 USD) per person. To have the taxi driver wait for about an hour for us tacked on an additional 1000 Tenge ($2.60 USD). So for a grand total of 10,600 Tenge (3320 Tenge/$9 USD per person) and about 3 hours time we squeezed in a morning visit before our trip starting with @travel.kazakhstan. ⁣ ⁣ 📸: @vstimac ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣


It’s been real Alaska but it’s time to go be a dirtbag somewhere else for a couple months⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣


Since I’m procrastinating packing for my upcoming trip to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan— here’s a photo from Kulikalon Lake in Tajikistan’s Fann Mountains⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣


When I visited Iraqi Kurdistan earlier this year I’d heard of the Yazidi but I didn’t know much about them, so I visited Lalish to find out more about them. ⁣ ⁣ But there’s a couple of rules you’ll have to follow when visiting Lalish, the holiest of places for the Yazidi. First, before you enter Lalish you have to take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the stone streets to the temples. Next is doorways— All doorways have a raised sill. Doorways are sacred to the Yazidi, so when entering doorways you must step over the sill, never on it. Finally, there’s some sites, such as the Kani Spi (White Spring) that are off limits to everyone except Yazidi practitioners of Sharfadin (Yazidism). ⁣ ⁣ The Yazidi are an ethno-religious group that follow the religion of Sharfadin, often referred to as Yazidism. Their religion combines elements of and shared similarities to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Mandaeism, Mithraism, Sufism and Zoroastrianism. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣


Overlooking Snowbird Lake a month ago before we traversed boulders for days (okay only 2), had to cross a raging a creek, crossed a (second) glacier and bushwhacked for a stretch. ⁣ ⁣ And also, happy birthday to this wild creature in the photo @tayzertravels ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣


About 10,000 fly bites later we made it to Williwaw Lakes. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣

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