Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > Northern Asia

Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Refreshing, funny, informative, thought provoking, honest, inspirational, infectious, budget overlanding. A handbook, a guidebook but ultimately a genuine traveller’s tale

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 2 Feb 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Between London & Singapore
Posts: 156
Crossing China from Torugart via Kashgar - worth it?

Evening Hubbers,

We're currently planning the crossing from Torugart to Pakistan via Kashgar with several other Hubbers and are in contact with various agencies who are offering different length itineries (at wildly different prices!).

We're currently weighing up which itinery will be best for us, a 6 day trip or just rush through as quickly as possible, but don't really know how long we'll need, so I guess my question is this:

Can anyone who's passed this way give me any idea as to which is best in retrospect? Is it worth taking our time through and savouring all the culture or would you just get through as quickly as possible, save money and continue with our trip in a cheaper and less controlling country?

Any help you can give us would be gratefully received
Reply With Quote
Old 9 Feb 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: somewhere on the road between Ushuaia and Alaska
Posts: 377
I did this last year. Lots of trouble getting in because of the Olymics – in the end, Kashgar Newland Travel were the ones who made things possible, when everyone(!) else failed, even the agent we booked with MONTHS before...
So much for "WHo should we go with".

Secondly, the timing (what I did):
Torugart – Kashgar: 1/2 day ride
Kashgar: Leave the bike at Hotel & stay as many days as you like. You won't need to pay the guide as they're from Kashgar anyway. So: Make sure you get to see Sunday Market & Animal Market. And although I'd been "marketed-out" after 2 months in Central Asia... Kashgar's Animal Market is amazing!!!
Kashgar - Tashkorgan: 1 day ride. You might want to extend that into 2 days, so to stop/overnight at a few lakes. Check with your guide. but I think 1 day is enough.
Tashkorgan - Khunjerab Pass: 1/2 day

The other option would be to go through the Taklamakan desert. Check www DOT bybike2malaysia DOT com –*he's done that route.

Whatever you do –*seriously, get a good guide. And Newland Travel ARE good. You get what you pay for, and if the shit hits the fan you might be stuck outside china for a few weeks (like I was, just because I wanted to save some bucks and went with someone a tad cheaper).
Reply With Quote
Old 9 Feb 2010
Redboots's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: On the border - NE FR
Posts: 839
Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
Whatever you do –*seriously, get a good guide. And Newland Travel ARE good. You get what you pay for, and if the shit hits the fan you might be stuck outside china for a few weeks (like I was, just because I wanted to save some bucks and went with someone a tad cheaper).

Nostradamus Ate My Hamster
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Feb 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: On the road ...
Posts: 221
Well, being stuck outside China could be the lucky option, I met a guy in Kashgar who managed to come in, but didnt get permits to leave, so he was basically grounded in Kashgar because his agent couldnt get it sorted. So yeah, I can also vouch for Taher from Newland, he really knows what he is doing. He managed to bail me out of the military compound at Torugat after I entered without permit/guide/etc (I had tried, but due to the chinese cut of communications things were difficult, then there was a misunderstanding and ah well ...). And he managed to get all my permits sorted in 4 days!

Re: is it worth it? I think once you have decided that you will travel through China, you should do it as quick as possible. It's already expensive as it is, and the extra money can be spent on something better than a 4WD trailing behind your ass and slowing you down. As mentioned, you don't pay for the guide if you aren't moving, so take your time to look at Kashgar if you like. There isnt a lot to see, the old town, the (now very commercial) Sunday market (now happening every day), and a still very nice animal market (Sunday only afaik) which is definately worth a visit. So 2-3 days in Kashgar would be more than enough time to see everything, so long as one of the days is a Sunday. I haven't been to the Taklamakan desert, but you could also pretend to be a tourist for a day and share a minivan trip with other tourists for a day. Anyways, by cutting a day of China, that money could easily be spent on a mountain flight around Everest which is definately more spectacular.

And last but not least, consider where your money is going. I would rather spend a week in Buthan where it's equally expensive, but the money does the people good and protects the country, whereas in China ... don't even get me started.
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Feb 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: On the road ...
Posts: 221
One more thing: make sure to get offers for the Irkeshtam pass also. I'm not sure why everyone chooses Torugat ... I did so, because that's what everyone on the HUBB is talking about. Torugat is (still) a second class border that is not normally open to foreigners, and the road isnt exactly in mint condition shall we say, as well as being a military restricted area. Irkeshtam on the other hand is a first class border open to foreigners (still subject to guides for vehicles but only from the immigration onwards). According to Taher from Newland, there are less permits needed for Irkeshtam which should make it easier, faster and cheaper. So if you have no particular reason for choosing Torugat, or want to save money, then get a quote for the Irkeshtam pass too. The road is better there too, so I am told ...
Reply With Quote
Old 18 Feb 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: somewhere on the road between Ushuaia and Alaska
Posts: 377
+1. I also did Torugart because everyone here talks about it – but most non-bike overland travellers did Irkeshtam.

Another thing about Kashgar: I loved the chilled-outness & the food in that city. And it's cheap. So a good place to give yourself a break.
Once you're in Central Asia, the diet will be restricted to "laghman" and "kebab" I belive – unless you're self-catering & shop your own vegetables in the markets.

I agree with Sirakor about money for the Chinese... a lot of what you pay goes to the government. And that government isn't necessarily the most people-friendly in the world. I thought twice before I did China, exactly for that reason.
But it was the most efficient way to connect Central Asia into Southern Asia. (I didn't want to end up in Korea or Japan - I wanted to go into Pakistan/India/South-East Asia).
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Travellers needed to share costs: China Torugart to Pakistan, August 2010 saliadarunavuelta Southern Asia 14 26 Jan 2010 08:48
Shared Guide China Torugart Pass - KKH CornishDeity Southern Asia 4 18 Jan 2010 12:30
crossing china dogito66 Southern Asia 7 11 Feb 2009 04:02
Crossing China - again! Jelle Southern Asia 2 14 Jan 2009 14:19
Kyrgystan to Pakistan (KKH) via Kashgar, China davidmc Northern Asia 30 6 Aug 2008 11:11


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:30.