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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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Best time of year for the stans

What's the best window for leaving the UK, fairly rapid transit of Europe, then Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan?

I suppose a trip of six to eight weeks?
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We left Germany on 1st June and it was great for up to Uzbekistan, where it was incredibly hot. After there it was good timing though
I would say not less than 8 weeks to start to enjoy it.
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I would say that around September would be a good time.

I am not an expert, so if someone knows better, please correct me

But I think, that the problem with the mid summer season of July/August is that Uzbekistan will get really really hot, almost too hot for bike riding. On the other hand, if you go later or earlier, the Pamir mountains in tajikistan/kyrgystan can get pretty chilly, especially at night (continental climate).

I would personally prefer the window of the warm season July/August/September.

Can I ask how you will get from Azerbaijan to usbekistan?

In general i think that 6-8 weeks from europe till kyrgyzstan sounds like a good length for the trip. We do a similar trip next summer and we plan to leave kyrgyzstan by the beginning of the 5th week (turkey, georgia, russia, kazakhstan, uzbekistan, tajikistan, kyrgyzstan). However, our time is limited, thus we plan to go as fast as possible to see as many places as possible, but juuuust without feeling rushed. If you have more time available, it is probably nice not having to do this balancing act^^

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I would say that around September would be a good time.

I am not an expert, so if someone knows better, please correct me

But I think, that the problem with the mid summer season of July/August is that Uzbekistan will get really really hot, almost too hot for bike riding. On the other hand, if you go later or earlier, the Pamir mountains in tajikistan/kyrgystan can get pretty chilly, especially at night (continental climate).

I would personally prefer the window of the warm season July/August/September.

Can I ask how you will get from Azerbaijan to usbekistan?

In general i think that 6-8 weeks from europe till kyrgyzstan sounds like a good length for the trip. We do a similar trip next summer and we plan to leave kyrgyzstan by the beginning of the 5th week (turkey, georgia, russia, kazakhstan, uzbekistan, tajikistan, kyrgyzstan). However, our time is limited, thus we plan to go as fast as possible to see as many places as possible, but juuuust without feeling rushed. If you have more time available, it is probably nice not having to do this balancing act^^
6-8 weeks from Europe tp Kirg? It means 12-15 weeks for the whole trip ... or 6-8 weeks for the whole trip?
I have only 10 weeks in 2015 and I believed it was rather enough from Europe to Uzb. (via Iran,Turk), with my car, then return (Russia,Georgia,Turkey,Europe).
Am I wrong?

RR.
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Well we are at least planning doing it in 4 weeks (one way, until kyrgyzstan, then we go further). I understood it like Tim asked if 6-8 weeks is enough for one way.

To make it more clear: I think, that 6-8 weeks for one way until kyrg. are more than enough to enjoy the way a lot. But if you also have to return in that time, i think it can still be very doable and not too rushed. Really depends on what you personally prefer.

But i mention again, i am not an expert, i have not done it - just planning it as well as you guys.
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
What's the best window for leaving the UK, fairly rapid transit of Europe, then Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan?

I suppose a trip of six to eight weeks?
Well i would suggest this but this is just my own opinion with regards to your time frame.

Firstly i would do a rapid transit as suggested across Europe and then when in East Turkey slow down abit to take it all in, never been to this area but i am sure you have seen the great RR on ADV about this area

I would then ride the great off-road routes in Georgia and enjoy this area.




The as you stated you would head to Azerbaijan on the ferry to Uzbekistan, i would not take this route if you are on a time frame, i was going to last year but changed my mind. Reason for this is many overland travelers have been delayed due either waiting for the ferry for several days or being stuck on the ferry and not docking for several days due to bad weather. If you are stuck in Baku waiting for the ferry it will be costly as this is a Oil/Gas city which means $$$

I would head up to Russia from Georgia and then cross into Kazakhstan, once in Kazakhstan i would then rapid transit to the South East of the country and then enjoy riding there areas there, Also Almaty has a KTM shop should you need any work on your 690.

From there i would head to Bishkek to get your Tajik/Pamir visa (don't forget to ask for both) and then head to the Tajik Pamirs leaving Kyrgyzstan to explore later.

Once you have did the routes many people do in Badakhshan and Tajikistan then head back to explore Kyrgyzstan more which in my own opinion is the real jewel in the crown of Central Asia





















































Now regarding visa's

Turkey= Online easy
Georgia= No visa needed
Russia= Yes needed before hand
Kazakhstan= No visa needed until end of 2015 (15 days limit on visa)
Kyrgyzstan= No visa Needed
Tajikistan & Tajik Badakhshan= Get in Bishkek same day or next day $100

Also it is possible to fly your bike back from Bishkek to Europe, i have a friend who could help arrange packing and helping with this for a small fee in Bishkek. He is a qualified solicitor and also a importer so knows all the rules well.

Or Sambour could take it back in his lorry for a fee, he took my bike back this year.

I would also Suggest July & August as in September high up snow can start to fall.

Last edited by WesleyDRZ400; 6 Days Ago at 00:17.
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Thanks a lot for this nice report!
How many weeks for this trip (from Western Europe to Kirg.)?
RR.
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I did it in stages as i went back to the UK a few times so i would just leave my bike in various country's and carry on later.

I would say 10 days in Tajik and 10 days in Kyrgyzstan would be ideal, most routes in Pamir have been documented well but in Kyrgyzstan once you head up into the hills everywhere you look are routes to explore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
What's the best window for leaving the UK, fairly rapid transit of Europe, then Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan?

I suppose a trip of six to eight weeks?
Hello Tim,

Best time to do it is from mid May till end of Sept. Sure it will be hot in Uzbekistan but you know Morocco. It will be not hotter as it is in July in Merzouga There is plenty of nothing in Uzbekistan and you can start on sunrise make 300 km and stop somehere and wait for another 3 hrs of riding before sunset. I suggest to visit Bukhara and Samarkand and forget about other places. Move to the Pamir mountains ASAP and you will be relaxed after uzbek temperature and police.
I was nice to meet you in Kasbah Panorama in Merzouga and listen what you can tell about Morocco. It will be nice to meet you in Central Asia and spent few days with you. Wesley and me travelled a lot in those countries so don't hesitate to ask us for details. Maybe you will extend your trip and will join me for 4-5 days to China?
As I told you I transport the bikes from Europe to Central Asia and back so I can deliver your bike back to England. Door to door incl. custom etc.

cheers

Sambor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
What's the best window for leaving the UK, fairly rapid transit of Europe, then Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan?

I suppose a trip of six to eight weeks?
Tim, I was a virgin to this area until this summer so don't profess to be an expert. However I rode from the UK to Mongolia in 2 months from late May to late July.

I found that time of year good, yes hot in Uzbek but still cold at 14,000 ft in the Pamir. Personally having watched temperatures along my route since I got back I'd rather not be in Uzbek in August, it was hot enough in June, though I was told it was hotter than normal this June in the 40's

After Azerbaijan we went via Russia and Kazakhstan then into Uzbekistan rather than the dreaded ferry across the Caspian Sea.

The Aral Sea, or what was once the Aral Sea is well worth a visit. Tadjikistan and Kyrgyzstan were absolutely brilliant. We were on two 690's and did as much off road as possible within the time constraints of getting to Mongolia in 2 months so 6 to 8 weeks should give you plenty of time upto Kyrgyzstan.
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Thanks for all the helpful advice.

I was thinking of sticking the bike on motorrail from Dusseldorf to Villach, then from Villach to Edirne in Turkey.

I have a meeting in a few days with my two friends so I'm in information gathering mode at the moment. I don't know how much time they have. It may be we decide to concentrate on eastern Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and leave the 'stans for another trip?

Derek Boocock rode his pushbike through the area last year and his route map has some great photographs and blog entries linked from the map.
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going early is a good way to avoid peak heat in UZ and KZ, and motivate you to get thru Europe ASAP. Leaving early in May, and getting to the start of the Stans 5-6 days later so that you are already in Kazakhstan by mid May at the latest will help. It still going to be high 20s during the days, but thats a big difference from July and August low mid 40s temps. As you get to TJ and KG and the more mountainous bits it will be early June. I have been there in early June and not had any issues at 4500m passes.
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