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Oh hey guys!
A Little Recap of the Upcoming Expedition:
The core-week leg of the trip to Western China and the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan will take place June 23 until July 1, and the peripheral-week leg to Western China and the Karakoram Highway + Hunza Valley in Northern Pakistan will take place June 28- July 8.
Visas for the trip:
In reality, the only visa you need to have ready to go in your passport prior to departing from home is the Chinese Visa.
I applied through freechinavisa.org and had my Chinese visa in my passport and back in my hands in under one week, and that’s including the shipping times down and back to California from Alaska. Unfortunately, freechinavisa.org only services those passport holders that live within the jurisdiction of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. Otherwise, US passport holders in other jurisdictions can apply through mychinavisa.com. If you live within a reasonably close distance to the consulate you can, of course, save some money and apply in person. If you are a passport holder from Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Democratic Rep. of Congo, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and UK, visaforchina.com has come recommended by travelers. (Sorry, that I don’t have more information on those of you who are holders of non-US passports!). For those that sign up, we can supply your letter of invitation to China to make the visa application process easier.
For most nationalities, the Tajikistan Visa is a breeze, North Americans, most European nations, several Asian & South American countries, Australia and New Zealand are eligible for e-visas. Your e-visa is usually processed and sent to you by e-mail in two days. You can apply through the link here for your visa, and don’t forget to apply for your GBAO permit on your visa application! We will be traveling in the GBAO (Gorno Badakshan Autonomous Oblast) region in Tajikistan, so this is mandatory.
The Pakistan Visa we will be able to apply on the border with China because we will have all the necessary letters to do so with. You can apply for your Pakistani visa prior to departure if you have time at your consulate or embassy for your jurisdiction (once signed up for the trip we will e-mail you the letter of invitation and necessary documents from us). Mine has taken about 12 days in total including shipping time.
If you’re looking for an adventure to some of the world’s highest mountain ranges, experience nomadic life, bustling Silk Road bazaars, trekking in stunning high altitude sceneries, and visiting remote villages this is the trip for you! You can read more about the expedition here.
The May Update:
The only thing I did in May was make a quick trip to Hawaii. Why Hawaii? Because when you see that you have 6 consecutive days off (yes, I still work as a dental hygienist when I’m back in Alaska because travel blogging isn’t that lucrative when you the only places you enjoy writing about happen to be in bumfuck nowhere) and you live in Alaska and start looking up last minute tickets, Honolulu tends to be the only reasonably priced option this time of year.
What did I do in Hawaii?
Well, flew to Honolulu, rented an itty bitty room in Waikiki, and a tiny car and explored. I’ve been to Oahu several times over the years so not really anything new… but the places I went included: Shriner’s Beach, Alan Davis + Pele’s Chair, Waimanalo Beach, Manoa Falls, Makapuu Point and of course ate a bowl of ramen at my favorite ramen shop outside of Japan at Ramen Nakamura.
And the rest of the month?
Nothing exciting to report. The weather in Southcentral Alaska hasn’t been great, and I’ve been working a lot. So my days off have mainly included updating things on this site (thanks Europe for the GDPR nightmare*) and watering plants.
*I’m all for protecting people’s information, but literally all I have is an email list that people willingly have signed up for over the last 3 years. And for people that don’t know what cookies are and that they’re used to track information so that I know what users like, or don’t click, what posts are viewed more often and things like that then why did you take off your foil hats and why are you using the internet?….
What’s Going to Happen in June?
The Silk Road Borderlands trip I was yammering on about in the beginning of this post! That actually doesn’t start until the 23rd of June, however, I am departing a few days early to go explore the Turpan area in China prior to meeting the group in Kashgar for the kick-off of the tour. Until then, I’m just working… A LOT (I stupidly signed myself up to work 6 days straight up until my flight). And hopefully, I’ll be able to squeeze in a hike or two in Alaska before I leave home!
I do have a couple of posts in the works for June, one on Dushanbe (Tajikistan’s capital city), and one on day hikes near Anchorage, Alaska so far. But don’t expect one of these end-of-the-month updates for June… We’ll be mid-trip, so I’m just gonna say now, it’s probably not going to happen… So hopefully I’ll get one out after the trip in July (but in reality, it’ll probably not be until the end of July).
What I Wrote in May:
An update to How to Get a Denali Road Lottery Permit– You guys actually have until May 30th to apply, so there are a couple more days if you haven’t done it already!
Climbing Chimtarga Pass– I’ve been receiving emails about this crossing and figured it was about time to write a post on it.
The Ultimate Guide to Traveling Moldova– Pretty much everything you need to know to visit the pint-sized European nation. (And one of my favorites!).
Trekking the Haft Kul in Tajikistan’s Fann Mountains– A guide to Tajikistan’s easiest and most accessible hike.
The Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide– The most ridiculously long post about most everything you’d ever need to know about traveling in Kyrgyzstan.
Thanks for reading!