Hi all bike lovers,
We are currently looking to plan our China's route. Does anyone have any suggestions as we will be entering China by Tajikistan and an leaving by Laos.
We will reach the north west part in Mid September and believe that Tibet is closed to bike tourist who don't have the full tourist package deal.
Thanks for any suggestion.
Julien and Michelle,
currently in Tehran completing the visa madness.
Hi . .if you think Teheran is bad don't even go to Tashkent :-)
but . back to your question ... is rather a silly question ;-)
You are French so you will get only a 30 days visa but it;s not hadr to extend it.
So ... 3 days to Kashgar .. bus to Urumqi, ytrain to Zangie ... and here we go through Quinghai down to Kunming.
Sichuan and Yunnan are the top 2 in China :-)
Envy you already :-)
I am doing a somewhat similar route to yours: France-Oman, took a flight to Mumbai and then rode to Kathmandu, overflew Tibet and am also planning on riding through Sichuan and Yunnan, to the Vietnamese border (I have to go to Vietnam to pick up a passport) and on down to East Timor, hopefully without any more flights. This is the route I am planning in Sichuan and Yunnan: http://bit.ly/jiWUdA
Any thoughts would be appreciated. I know it will be hilly, but I reckon it will also be colder, which I would prefer, got up to 5,416m in Nepal (walking the Annapurna circuit) and it was a relief after months of 40-45C in India and the Terai.
Enjoy your stay in Iran, it is a great country. Be sure to make it to Esfahan and Yazd- they would be a fair detour on the bike if you are headed for the 'stans but are easy to reach on a side trip by bus and well worth it, as is the desert in between. It is also relatively easy to extend an Iranian visa if 30 days isn't enough... as long as you don't go to the immigration office the French embassy send you to! I think they just want to get you out of Iran.
Hi . .Yunnan will be hot and humid. Jungle all around you :-)
Sichuan will be the same as long as you stay "low" .. once you start climbing to Tibetan grasslands it will get colder and dry ...
Hi Julien and Michelle,
Chris and I rode from Bangkok to Paris in 2009. You can see a snapshot of our route on google maps on this page here:
You can also get our GPS tracks from here, and link to our blog.
You can also see a scroll and zoom the route map here within the blog:
We entered China from Laos, rode north through Yunnan and Sichuan, but the ethnically Tibetan area of Sichuan that we were in became "closed to foreigners" while we were there, and we had to quickly take a bus to Chengdu. (It was an especially sensitive time then, being the 50th anniversary the Chinese entering Tibet.) From Chengdu, we rode NE at first into Shaanxi and, and then west through Gansu and Xinjiang, and NW from Urumqui to the Kazakh border.
We are Canadian. We got 60 day visas before leaving Vancouver, and renewed them once in Lanzhou. We were in China about 3 months. We were refused Iranian visas, as it was just after their election, and had to taxi across Turkmenistan on a transit visa, and crossed the Caspian by boat to Azerbaijan.
We have some excellent contacts in Chengdu, Sichuan, China who can help with any logistical difficulties. They are two Chinese cycling guides and logistics experts that we met in Laos, and who helped us a lot when we had to bail by bus to Chengdu. I know they have an excellent reliable contact in Kashgar as well, because we were considering doing the route that you are doing but in reverse.i.e. Kashgar into Tajikistan. We were considering getting transport help from Kashgar to Sary Tash.We heard the road was very rough, constantly under construction. (We were 56 years old then!)
The Pamirs were truly memorable. Tough but spectacular, and wonderfully welcoming people.
We're a few months in front and will be doing the same, except we'll take a train from Kashgar to Lanzhou to see more of the people and less of the flat empty spaces. we got 60 days and will extend later.
We finding Kashgar a little overrated, and may just be like any other china concrete village
Flying out of Laos in November.
The road from Sary Tash to Kashgar is a piece of cake. 4-5 days with lots of good camping.
You'll be hitting lots of dry and may find dry creek beds. carry plenty of water.
last year the road to the chinese border was still under construction :-)
True with Kashagar ... as the old one is simply gone :/
how is the demolition aroung Youth Hostel going ?
Having never been to Kashgar before, think it is just a big concrete chinese city.
Doesn't seem to be much a round the YHA. Lots of billboards of what it "will" look like.
Highrises, lakes etc. Everything the west has, and more
don't worry .once you'll get into the villages .. yopu may see some China.
All the big cities look the same. Sometimes is hard to recognise where you are :-)
What's you route now ?
Train on the others side of the desert ?
No, Kashgar is the most gorgeous place in the world. I lived there in 2006-2007 and it is really really lovely. Urumqi is the gross Chinese concrete fest. I heard that they tore down the Kashgar old town, but cycling around the city proper is great, and the city can't be totally destroyed in just a few years. The Karakoram Highway starts there too, and the route to the Tashkurgan is seriously gorgeous. It's relatively safe and not crowded either. I cannot recommend a more gorgeous place to cycle.
Good side trip to Tian Chi "tian chur" ouside Urumqi. Hotan is gorgeous too.
Kashgar pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/104054165811520541105/RandomKashgarPictures#