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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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Old 30 Jan 2011
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A fantastic book about Kazakhstan..

Before starting my last trip I read a book about Kazakhstan that I enjoyed so much and found so informative that I would, without hesitation, recommend it to anyone else that plans to visit the country. (or in fact anyone that has any interest in the place)

Link to amazon page here

As a side note...

I thoroughly enjoyed the country after initially finding it pretty worrying.
I was travelling solo, and the night before I crossed the border I camped with a trio of Dutch cyclists that were riding to Australia (as you do).
They told me of another cyclist they met who had just spent a month riding across Kazakhstan. He was robbed 3 times at knife point and forced to an ATM, then robbed again by the police before he left.

It was the first time I really felt far away from home and at all concerned.
But after a shaky time in Aterau (where I didn't feel entirely safe) I had a great time and met some fantastic people. The bike clubs were extremely kind and generous.

Astana is another story all together, but if you do read the book you'll learn all about it :-)

I'll leave it there, but suffice to say I grew to love the country. If you visit I hope you have a great time, and meet as many nice folks as I did.
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Old 30 Jan 2011
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Very nice...Thank you!!!!
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Old 31 Jan 2011
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I'll second this! I came across it by chance about a year after I was in Kaz - wish I'd seen it before I went there. "Apples are from Kazakhstan"

Must say I was sorry to read of the cyclist who'd been robbed 4 times though. That didn't sound like the Kazakhstan I went through, although who knows what might have happened if I'd been going slowly on a bike and not in a motor vehicle.

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Old 31 Jan 2011
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Ordered! Thank you for the recommendation and link

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Old 31 Jan 2011
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Great Stuff!

Cracking, glad to be of some help.

Good to hear you enjoyed it as well ilesmark.
I think that some people have an unfortunate tendency to attract trouble, or maybe an inability to spot it coming. Or maybe the cyclist chap was over-decorating the truth?
Either way it gave me the fear for the first few days I spent there.

T.REX63 I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. It would be interesting to hear how you get on with it.
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Old 1 Feb 2011
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Just ordered the book from Amazon.ca. Can hardly wait for our trip in 2012...
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Old 14 Mar 2011
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Thanks for the recommendation! I just read it and really enjoyed it. Now if only I could get there on my bike...
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Old 15 Mar 2011
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+1 for the book. Read it before we spent 3 weeks driving through it. Riveting.

Fortunately we didn't experience any form of bribery/crime, quite the opposite in fact and found the people to be some of the friendliest I'd met! Driving down to Aral'sk we bumped into a broken down coach and its driver attempting to repair it...had been stuck there for four days in 30C heat relying solely on passing road users to supply the tools and food he needed. A happier person you could not have met.

A smile seems to do the trick almost everywhere....
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