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Monday, 30 September 2013


25th May 2013
I felt so lazy to get up from the very comfortable bed, and only checked out at 10am. I made my way along M39 heading to Taraz. It was not difficult to exit Shymkent as Nurik had explained me the direction yesterday. However, once I exited Shymkent, the wind started to blow fiercely forcing me to slow down. The road was bad too. The view was similar as what I have seen yesterday, with additional of horses on the green steppes. I stopped for a snack and drink while on the way, and was surrounded by locals, who were excited to see a female biker.

I continued riding. The road condition was bad and lots of construction was going on, so I have to ride slowly. It took me 4.30hrs to reach Taraz. From Taraz to Merke, the road condition was sometimes good and sometimes not so.
Example of a bad patch road
Once I reached Merke, I saw a busy supermarket with lots of people. I stopped my bike and try to find an internet cafe. However, the internet cafe was already closing, so I proceeded with my ride. As the sun is going down, I started to hunt for a nice place to pitch my tent. I found a small trail heading to the mountain and I followed it for about 500m from the main road. The place was very quiet and there was no one that I could see. Perfect.

 After pitching my tent, I enjoyed the sunset and the view of snow capped mountain. It was just me, DREAM, the beautiful view and the sound of nature. How serene and peaceful...At times, I could hear the sound of herders calling for their animals. I couldn’t see any of them though. The wind must have brought the sound to me. It was only at 8.30pm when the sun finally disappeared from the horizon and darkness took over.

It gets windy and cold when night falls, so I retired to my sleeping bag earlier. My solar lamp worked well and my tent was bright enough. Lots of things playing in my mind while lullabying myself to sleep. I shoved away the negative thinking. The temperature dropped to 15 degrees in the middle of the night, and to 8 degrees around 2am. I began to feel cold as it was slightly drizzling outside. I felt so lazy to get out from the tent and took my thermal wear which was inside my pannier. I ignored the cold and tried to go back to sleep.
This is my very first time camping outside of Malaysia....and.....alone. Somehow, I didn’t feel lonely...cos I know that Allah is with me, watching and guarding me from above. My feelings? Hard to describe. You have to do it, and do it alone, to know how does it feel.

p/s: A more detailed story about my journey will be told in my upcoming book.....more beautiful pics of course.....STAY TUNED.....

Sunday, 29 September 2013


24th May 2013

Today is d-day. After breakfast, I packed my things and stored them into DREAM’s panniers. I also have to tie my camping gears and the fuel canister on the pillion seat – something which I have never done during my previous solo rides. I said thanks and bided goodbye to my host, Yati and started my ride to Yallama, Uzbek – Kazakh border. Well, actually there is another border nearby, Chernyaevka, but this border is only for pedestrian. I am so lucky that I knew about this yesterday from the custom officer at Tashkent Cargo, or else I would have wasted time and fuel, only to find out that this border is not permitted to vehicles. I started my ride around 6.30am as I don’t want the local policemen to notice me. I am afraid if I might accidentally entered road which are not permitted to motorbikes.

And the journey begins....
It was already very bright then, however, the road was deserted. I’m driving on the right hand side and was a bit clumsy in the beginning. My first task was to find the way to exit Tashkent. I turned on my GPS, but weirdly, the magenta colour didn’t appear and the GPS didn’t want to show direction. I turned it off and on repeatedly but still no improvement. Okay, I have to use my head then. It was quite a nightmare to find my way out of the city. There is no sign board at all. I asked locals but difficulties in communicating send me going in circles. I managed to find a local who can speak a little English, and the boy walked me to the correct M39 Highway. The supposedly 75km journey to Yallama which should have taken me 1.30 hours to reach ended up in 3.30 hours.

 Once I reached the border, I used my charm to get an easy way out. However, my charm did not work very well here in Uzbekistan. The authorities asked too many questions and asked for motorbike passport. I thought they were asking for Carnet, but as far as I’m concern, Carnet is not needed in Central Asia countries. It was pretty hard as I did not understand what they were saying. Border crossing for Uzbek side took 2 hours. The officers inspected everything in my bags and in my panniers. Once done, I entered Kazakhstan border. The procedure to bring in DREAM into Kazakhstan was not as complicated as exitting Uzbek, and I am done within 45 minutes. Yoohooo...DREAM is now hitting the road of Kazakhstan. My target destination for the day is Shymkent (pronounced Chimkent), which is about 200km away from Yallama. I stopped for fuel at Saryagas. The price for RON 92 is about RM2.20 per litre. Since I was starving, I bought instant noodle at the fuel station and the nice lady made chai (sweet tea) for me. She can speak very minimal English and with some hand signs, we managed a little conversation.

I continued with my ride, enjoying the beautiful green steppes with yellow wild flowers. I have never seen steppes before, so I was kind of excited to see the vast greens as far as my eyes could reach. The view of freesian cows, goats and sheeps scattered here and there, with their herders monitoring them from a distance, were something new to me. It was not the same view as in New Zealand. The hilly paved road that I am riding on was uneven and with lots of bad patches.

After a while, the view got more interesting as I could see lots of wild flower beds with yellow, white and red in colour.

I reached Shymkent at 5pm and started to find a money changer as I only changed little money at the border just now. There is an internet cafe next to the money changer so I updated my status on FB. It was important to do this as I am not sure if I can find internet cafe along my way.

Since I have planned to camp for the night, I asked a local the correct way to exit Shymkent town. The guy, Andre, noticed that I am Malaysian (through the Malaysian flag on my bike and my plate number). He spoke very limited English but I can understand that he’s trying to tell me that his daughter studied in Malaysia. He was so excited to see me and he said that he must buy me dinner. I refused politely as I am in a hurry, but Andre was very stubborn and didn’t want to let me go before I had dinner with him. He told me not to worry about accommodation for the night. I followed him to his friend’s restaurant. It was a nice place, and I was introduced to the owner, Nurik and his lovely wife, Olga, who spoke fluent English. They were very nice, kind and friendly people. As others, they were so thrilled to hear that I am doing my Central Asia ride, alone.

With Andre and beautiful Olga
Thanks for the yummylicious dinner

I had a sumptuous dinner and after that, to my surprise, Nurik and Olga took me to their hotel. They owned a hotel in Shymkent!!! They gave me a nice suite room for free for the night. Wow, I can’t believe my luck. I thanked them and retired to bed as I was tired.

With Nurik, and his Porsche

The hotel lobby
The suite room that I got

p/s: A more detailed story about my journey will be told in my upcoming book.....more beautiful pics of course.....STAY TUNED.....

Thursday, 26 September 2013


23rd May 2013

The flight took off on time, at 10.35pm. It was a 7.30 hrs flight. It was hard to sleep due to the adrenaline and bcos I have lots of things in my mind, but finally I managed to get some chicken sleep.
MOB on Uzbek Airlines....quite generous in portion and tasty
I arrived Tashkent International Airport at 3.30am. I was very excited. Whoaaa....welcome to Uzbekistan, Anita. The airport is not big. It’s only about half the size of our LCCT. While cueing for my passport to be stamped, I observed the immigration officers. True as what I’ve read in the internet, they are not so friendly, no smile, but just stern tight faces. Once done with immigration, I go to the baggage reclaim to get my stuff. Some Malaysians recognized me from the MHI program which I appeared in, few days ago.  I received sms from my couch surfing friend in Tashkent, saying that she has an emergency, therefore she can’t host me for the night. Hmmm...I have to find a guest house then. However, to my surprise, the moment I entered the Arrival Hall, I was greeted by a man, asking if I am Anita? I said yes, and he introduced himself as the Malaysian Embassy in Tashkent’s official driver. He was there to pick up the consulate daughter’s family who seems to be flying in the same flight as me. Since my first task in Tashkent is to report to the Malaysian Embassy there, the driver offered to bring me together with the other family.

Tashkent International Airport

Malaysian Embassy in Tashkent is situated in the city centre, about 5kms from the airport. Since it was still early and the staffs have not arrived yet, I took some time to sleep at the guest room. I woke up around 9.30am when Mr Ridzuan, the staff approached me. I was then introduced to the ambassador, Mr Aziz and the rest of the staffs. They were so thrilled to hear about my plan for this ride.

Anywhere I go...I will carry the name of IPG Kampus proud to be one :)

Fr left: Mr Ridzuan, MrAmbassador, Tn Hj Aziz Harun, me, Madam Haryati & Miss Giulia 
 After some discussions with Mr Ambassador about my route (I must report to them of my where about at every possible time so that they can keep track of my journey), Mr Ridzuan took me to Tajikistan Embassy in Tashkent to get my visa sticker. I have asked the Malaysian Embassy staff to help me with the visa application as I don’t want to waste time to wait for the processing which normally will take several days. I was so lucky that since Malaysian Embassy applied the visa on my behalf, I was given the visa free of charge.

The visa should cost me USD50, but I got it FOC...alhamdulillah...

We got back to the embassy and my agent in Tashkent arrived to pick me up. We both go to the cargo department at the airport. The local regulation said that I have to hire a local agent to bring out my motorbike and the fees was costly – USD550, which I am sure I can save the money by doing it myself. However in the end, I was glad that the agent does it for me due to the communication problem. It was hard to find people who can speak English at this region as the major language is Russian. Once I got DREAM (my motorbike) out, I rode back to the Embassy to get my stuff.
With Pawel, the agent

Back to the embassy
I was thinking of staying at a guest house, but one of the staff, Madam Haryati invited me to stay the night at her place. She was so nice. I agreed straight away and we went to her place. Her house was so big and beautiful with a yard inside which one can play mini futsal any time. She showed me around and that night we had a nice chat about my previous and upcoming solo ride.

It reads KAFE BUXORO @ BUKHORO, am I rite Ridzuan @ Yati? :)

Roses at Yati's corridor

There is even a pool table at Yati's dining....coolll...
Thanks Yati for a splendid dinner...

Monday, 23 September 2013


I am pretty sure that every independent traveller, be it a backpacker, adventure rider, overlander etc will find that the final week before departure is the most crucial. Due to the troubles in getting Uzbek visa, I hv to wait until the very last minute to proceed with my preparation. Upon knowing that I am going to tour Uzbek on a motorbike, Uzbek Embassy suddenly decided that they want me to show them a LOI before they gv me the visa, when actually LOI is not needed. I was informed (later) that smuggling cases in Uzbek was the reason why the government stricten the rules for foreign vehicles to enter the country. I hv no choice but to call a travel agency in Tashkent to get the LOI. Among my last minute preps were on DREAM, designing & ordering the memento calendar, and sending my extra riding T-Shirt for embroidery.

It was so happened that the producer of Malaysia Hari Ini, a TV3 talk show, found out about my ride and he called me in for a live interview. I hv decided to send my bike to MasKargo on the same day, so I agreed to the invitation. I arrived KL one day earlier before the interview to meet my sifu, Hadi Hussein and my inspiration icon, Zahariz Khuzaimah. Hadi and I discussed many things. For about 3 hours, he flipped thru my file and papers and checked on the homework which I had done. He shared some tips on safety, security and his experience doing border crossings during his many previous solo rides. He also taught me the do’s and dont’s on high altitudes and he takes a look on the prep that I had on DREAM. Before we parted, he wished me good luck. I can still remember the look in his eyes when he told me, “Enjoy your ride. Be careful and have fun on the road. I want to see you back home, ALIVE.” His last sentence brought me close to tears.

Then I met Zahariz. This is the first time I’m meeting him after spending more than a year chatting via FB. He was fairer than in his pics. It was funny that not only we have the wild adventure spirit in our hearts, we also shared the same liking on food and drinks. We spent the time talking about many things, mostly on how to do wild camping, tips on taking best shots with my Gopro camera, and how he dealt with Kyrgyz policemen when he's being robbed.....only to notice that another 3 hours had passed. It felt like only an hour.

The next morning, my bff, Zuzana fetched me at my aunt’s house at Pantai Hillpark. I followed her car with my bike and we go to TV3 for the MHI live interview. Ally Iskandar was the host.



After the interview, I rushed to Uzbek Embassy to get my visa. God knows how hard I recited doa’s so that the officer will gv me the visa. Even after I hv showed the LOI to the officer, he still asked too many questions before he finally sticks the visa inside my passport. I felt as if my heart is going to explode. Finally. Thank you very much.

Then I rushed to MasKargo. Zana already waiting for me there. Before entering the MasKargo Complex, as usual, I must get a FCZ pass first, and after that, I hv to pass through few check points before I finally arrived at the main office.

I met Palani, a rep from Uzbek Airways – the guy who had helped me in persuading the Uzbek Embassy to grant me the visa (besides MFA and Msian Embassy in Tashkent) as he has a good relation with the Ambassador. Palani asked me to send DREAM for weighing and measuring before he can submit the total freight charges. I hv emptied DREAM’s box and panniers to make it as light as possible. DREAM was weighed at 145kgs only.

However, to my horror, when Palani keyed in DREAM’s dimension, the system calculated and formulated its weight as 280kgs!!! This is bcos the system will pick on which one is highest – weight or dimension, and in my case, its the dimension. Due to this, the total sum that the system calculated for me for a return trip for DREAM is RM18500 (inclusive of agent’s fees upon arrival and return). OMG!!!!! This is really outrageous. The rough calculation (before I send my bike) is only about RM12k....but now the fees rocketed to RM18500. Palani tried as much to reduce the price, and in the end he managed to cut off RM2500, making it RM16k. Still, the fees is too much for me, and I can feel my heart sank. After some discussions, Palani was so nice as to allow me to pay RM13k first, and the balance will be paid after I came back from the ride. I thanked him for his understanding.


Perhaps some of u might wonder....why is the charges so high and why didn’t I start my ride from a different cheaper airport, so that I dont hv to pay huge sum of money for DREAM’s transportation. Honestly, I hv thought about this earlier, but my limitation is TIME. I hv only a month to spare. Thats the reason why I hv to choose Tashkent as my starting and ending point. Unlike many other international airports, Tashkent is not a busy hub. Not many airlines flew to this airport, hence the choice of airlines is limited and I hv to make do with the only available option.  
After that, it was a series of going round and round at the complex, to find and pay to the seasons forwarding agent, to submit the customs form, send DREAM for PUSPAKOM checking, back to the customs for approval, and bla bla bla. The whole process took me 6 hours!!! Before leaving DREAM at MasKargo, I gv him a kiss and told him that we will meet again in 3 days time, at Tashkent Airport.

Meanwhile, Pravena from Givi had been calling me as she’s expecting me at the factory to collect my sponsored items. Zana and me rushed to Givi at Bukit Beruntung to get the stuff and after that Zana dropped me at Hentian Duta for me to catch a bus back to Ipoh. I thanked her for her help starting from dawn until 9pm today, only for me. I reached Ipoh by midnite. PHEWWW....What a day.....

I was so busy for the next two days that I only managed to start packing 1 hour before leaving home. Thank god that I already listed out what to bring, or else I’m pretty sure that I would hv left few things behind. On 22nd May 2013, I departed to KLIA to board my flight to Tashkent. Zana, her hb Jai and some members from Pelesit & Lanun Bikerz were at the airport to send me off. I was so touched. I hugged Zana tight one last time before I make my way to the Immigration counter....


Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')