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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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  #1  
Old 8 Jun 2005
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Camping in Central Asia 'Stans

In a few months, we will be entering Turkmenistan from the west, continuing to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgzistan and through Western China via the Tougart Pass and to the top of the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan. Ultimately we will be headed to Australia. The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan is also on our itinerary.

Our plan has always been to get rid of the camping gear before we get to Pakistan as we don't plan on camping in Pakistan, India or SE Asia for reasons much discussed on the HUBB.

We are riding two-up on a Honda Transalp and we have full camping gear with us now (tent, sleeping bags and cooking gear). Not surprisingly, carrying camping gear has added quite a bit to our load. Since we have entered Eastern Europe, we have not even unpacked our camping gear as we have been happy staying in rooms for under $20 for two people. We are getting a bit lazy...but we are loving it.

I am looking for some comments on what its like to camp in Central Asia with regards to security, privacy and and overall convienience compared to staying in cheap hotels, private rooms or homestays.

Should we lug our camping gear through Central Asia or should we get rid of it in Turkey? If cheap accomodation is readily available, it sure would be nice to lighten up the bike!

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  #2  
Old 8 Jun 2005
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very nice trip in perspective :-)

those countries are big and wild, the nature is beautifull welcoming you. so camping is very tempting and i d say no security or whatever problems but "shit" can happen anywhere.
they ve seen bikers / overlanders before.
guesthouses are cheap : if you want to sleep for less than 5usd a night it s very possible, no problem, even 1-2-3 usd (what i did).
big hospitality and tolerance also : people welcome you in their houses quite easily.
i was travelling with camping equipment (sleeping bag, thermarest and tent, no cooking stuff) but never used it since i was travelling alone during the day and didn t want to be alone during evening and night : so i staied in gh or with people.
so, you can easily travel without your camping equipment there, it depends on how you like travelling :-)
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  #3  
Old 26 Jun 2005
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Thanks for the info, Vincent. The thing about campýng gear is its nice security to have in case of a problem...I may have a tough time letting it go!

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  #4  
Old 27 Jun 2005
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Suggestion - strip the camping gear way down!

Tarp or just the fly and groundsheet, one sleeping bag, no stove, just sandwiches etc.

How much do you ABSOLUTELY need to bivvy for a night or two?

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Old 9 Aug 2005
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Camping is relatively safe. I had more trouble in Kazakhstan than anywhere else. Pesky kids try and steal stuff. So camp out of sight and all is fine.

more detail on www.TokyotoLondon.com
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  #6  
Old 9 Aug 2005
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Some of these countries have a bit of a suspicious Soviet mentality still, so stay away from areas where soldiers etc are present. I camped a night in Tajikistan with no problems, but otherwise stayed in homestays, which are abundant in Tajikistan and kyrgystan or cheap run down hotels. After I lost all my new camping kit in Uzbekistan I realised how little i needed it and was glad for the lighter load. However, it was good to have a Soviet geologists swag when i got stuck once or twice in Kazakstan.
Sean
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Old 10 Aug 2005
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I camped a bit but only when out of sight from the road. If you are going into the high cold areas I would hang on to my camping gear, being stuck in freezing snow without shelter on the side of the road isnt to flash. I came close to putting up my tent by the road in Turkey in a blizzard and I know people who have used theirs to get out of the rain. But agree you wouldnt need it in SE asia.

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  #8  
Old 11 Aug 2005
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gday
camping is no problem in the stans , we have camped in kazakh, kyryg and uzbekistan and no problems at all , it would be a shame to miss some of those wonderful nights camped out on the steppe. we have camped at times beside a little truckstop in the middle of nowhere , never a problem .
my advice is hang onto the camping gear till china and enjoy the countryside and not just the cities , some of those rat infested dives are infinately worse than camping will ever be .
check out our website for some photos at www.thelaststans.com
cheers
mick
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Old 13 Aug 2005
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Tucan, I'll second you on cheap Chinese hotels....camping would be infinitely better.
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  #10  
Old 15 Aug 2005
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Well, we shipped all the camping gear to Australia from Istanbul at the end of June. Currently we are in Uzbekistan and we haven't missed the camping gear yet. Frankly we feel liberated from the extra weight! And even though we enjoy camping, having food and drink in a guesthouse is pretty amazing too.

Be careful in Turkmenistan though, we stayed at an "unlicensed" guesthouse near the border and someone called the police when we didn't show up at the "official" state hotel. The result was a big fine for our guide at the border and we now have been banned from Turkmenistan for 5 years!!!

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