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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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Old 15 Jul 2013
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Kazachstan to Mongolia

Hi All,

We are looking for the fastest way to get from Kazachstan to Mongolia.

From the post here:

..we saw that the fastest way is to take the border crossing Shemonaikha - Zmeinogorosk. Since the post is from 2011 we were just wondering whether someone has some updated info on whether the border is still open for tourists.

Also, when we go through this region before we hit the main Road M52 again, is it easy to find a place to sleep? Some good hotels? Good places to camp? Anything to watch out for, e.g. bears in the region?
We saw on some travel pictures that there are some wooden huts for rent? Anyone has some info?

Also, how are the roads in that region?

Thanks a lot
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Old 15 Jul 2013
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I cant comment anything about border crossing but there are lot of spots to camp on Altai off the road so finding a smashing place for tent is not a problem.

I dont come from Russia but country neighbouring of Russia and we also have our share of wildlife mainly wolfs and bears. I just like to think that stories of bears eating people are little bit over exaggerated. Bear is naturally animal which avoids people. I wouldnt be worried a bit about bears in Altai region if i camp there. Sing a lot in campfire and make lot of noise by revving bike and Mr. Papa bear stays away
Same really goes to wolves.
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Old 15 Jul 2013
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yes for most intents and purposes that route is still the one to take and that border is still open.

Download the waypoints file, It has locations of huts to rent, good camping locations etc.
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Old 16 Jul 2013
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Thanks a lot for your answers! We of course have the waypoints on our Garmin - super helpful!

In case someone has some up to date info, we would really appreciate some input on our route through Mongolia:
We are on 1150GS, a heavy bike that is great to get to Mongolia, but of course not really great to ride across... We are therefore looking for the "easiest" route coming from the North-Western Russian border... Based on what we could find on the web and in forums, it seems the Southern Route, i.e. Olgii, Khovd, Altai, Bayankhongor, is our best bet...

Would you guys agree?

Thanks a million!
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Old 16 Jul 2013
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I did northern route with quite heavy Africa Twin with spare tyres on bike. Mainly it is question that what kind of weather there will be. If there will be rains you might have in few spots river crossings which can be hard.

If there is bridge intact just north from Achit Lake (Achit Nuur) then you can road quite good road. If you have to go south of Achit Nuur and then follow smaller road going northeast from there. Before going into mountains area there will be lot of small stream which are little more than few centimeters of water normally.

But after it rains they are unpassable rivers. We had to wait almost two days that river was able to pass (even big mongolian trucks didnt try passing after seeing how one car was swept by current as they tried to pass) After that area then its quite easy road even for bigger bike all the way to Ulaangom. There you have to decide if you take smaller roads going more into central Mongolia and White Lake or go northside in bigger roads.

I was watching as we rode and it was quite dry land but it was clearly visible that after rains area is very hard to ride with heavy bike (watch Charlie&Evan crying in their video in Mongolia and you get idea)
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Old 17 Jul 2013
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We wanted to do the northern route, but it was "closed" last week, rivers were to high and locals + police were turning everyone around so we were "forced" to take the southern one.
We are both on DRZ and we didn't like the southern one as it's a huge washboard all the way from Khovd to Altay. But take it, and then in Altay turn North to Uliastai and then take the middle one to UB.
That's a lot nicer and if you're ok driving, you can take smaller ones into the NP etc, wich we did and enjoyed a lot! Scenery is stunning and you're off the normal roads so a lot nicer to drive, but don't plan on doing to much mileage a day then... ;-)

We're in Tsetserleg at the moment and will continue our trip in two days or so. Needed a break... ;-)

O yes, we did the bordercrossing from KZ to RUS in 23 minutes! A world record for us....
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