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Tomas Tichavsky                                                            

: ttichavsky@seznam.cz
Phone : +420 605 513 179
Living in : Prague, Czech Republic
Hobbies : travelling to little visited countries, trekking, diving, examining maps and planning trips, collecting digital maps and guidebooks ...


Practical info from for several countries about organizing transport, permits etc.


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Central Asia







Maps info

I used to use Soviet/Russian a lot in past. These maps can even now be best available for many remote areas in the world like Tibet, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia etc. Several links to get them for free used to be listed here, but these sites are no longer working.

There are many places where digital maps appear nowadays for download and when they appear it is better download all of possible future interest ... because what is available now may not be available tomorrow.


    Links useful for planning journey to Russia, Caucasus, Central Asia *OLD*


    Russian flight searching system Sirena - includes Russian carriers that are often not included in Amadeus system
    Czech map server - contains digital versions of many ex-USSR territory maps, old now
    Ex-USSR railway timetable - as great as the Sirena air timetable !

    Sites in Russian, all contain many useful info about many journeys/expeditions :
    Volnyj veter site, Diagonalnyj mir site, Russian tourism site
    St. Petersburg Tourist Club Reading Room - great collection of older rare guide books, travelogues etc. usually of Russion origin, in Russian.
    Skitalec - another great site with lots of routes descriptions as well as lots of online guidebooks in Russian
    raft.ru, veslo.ru -  sites focused on water trekking and rafting, with routes descriptions, rivers descriptions ...

    About travelling to Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia in the past *OLD*

    These areas are quite free regarding fees / trekking rules / compulsory porters / guides compared to e.g. national parks of Africa or Nepal. There is a long tradition of self supported trekking in Russia especially. People even still send descriptions of the treks they made for annual competitions. There are no porters and almost no guides there and maybe therefore no mass trekking destinations. Local people are very friendly and hospitable.

    All different nations of ex-USSR, once united by force into Russian empire and later communist USSR, can speak Russian (although it is often not their native language). This was a great plus for me in terms of communication with them. One can find similar mountains, deserts, rivers etc. in other parts of the world. But if one can not communicate with local people in some language they know, he/she is still in the same position as thousands of other tourists and he/she is usually perceived by local people as this kind of a tourist too.

    English as an intermediary language can help in many parts of the world, but in more remote places this can be a problem. The ordinary people like shepherds and hunters (and these people are usually the most interesting and hospitable) in remote Siberian, Pamir, Caucasian, Pakistani, Chinese, Yemeni, Colombian etc. villages can't usually speak English.

    After previous almost 10 journeys into Russia/Caucasus/Central Asia, I enjoy travelling to other parts of the world as well now. My experience in Russian speaking areas has shown me that knowing the local language makes a great difference. So I try to learn Arabic before I go to Yemen, Spanish before I go to Colombia etc. Hopefully I will learn some Farsi before going for 2nd time to Afghanistan (Iran).