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Farewell Kazakhstan, Welcome to the Altai

We’re back in Russia – it’s like coming home we’ve become so fond of it. The border entry was really slick now they have all our details on the computer, love these multiple entry visas!

Sad to say goodbye to Kazakhstan, really enjoyed our week there but of course only scratched the surface – our ride of 1400 kms only covered about 1/10th of that vast land but from the bling of Nur Sultan to the vast emptiness of the steppe and then the massive coal and energy sector situated in the northeast of the country we got a taste of the rapidly modernising Kazak economy. The transition is stunning with roading infrastructure already that New Zealand can only dream of. So long as Kazakhstan doesn’t need to contemplate its economy not relying on oil, gas and coal – there seems no bound on its ability to lift incomes. It’s authoritarian model is pushing ahead with massive infrastructure projects that lay the foundation for economic growth.

Ah the Altai ! The area Vladimir Putin loves to holiday – remember that photo of the buffed up President astride a horse enjoying Russia’s great outdoors. Very popular it is now too and as we ride through its mountain valleys and up Passes toward the western border of Mongolia, it’s evident the tourism industry here is booming. Rafting, ziplines, 4X4, jetboats, etc etc – all the paraphernalia of eco tourism, abound in the area.

But for us it’s just an excursion. The next stage of our journey takes in the northern cities of Siberia as we push along the highest latitude roads we can find across Russia to Lake Baikal. A second bike is in trouble with chain and sprocket now so we’re hoping we can get a replacement for Dave’s Dakaar when we reach Novosibrisk, capital of Western Siberia.

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