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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 6 Jun 2009
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Kazakhstan problems

Kazakhstan options and thoughts
I've been convinced by Tiffany NOT to go with the original plan ie go right up to the Uzbekistan border crossing 400km from Aktau / Aqtau in Kazakhstan skirt the Aral sea of whats left of it to get to Aralask.

I have some options in my mind:

I have completely lost ALL my tools including tyre repair ones and thus need to wait for a parcel via DHL in Baku (is this reliable?)

I am 5-6 days out of Baku , apply for the LOI from David Bergoff (if he ever answers my emails) , get the Uzbek visa from Baku and ride in convoy with various other riders to the Uzbek border and into Smarkaland and onto Almaty to apply for the Kryg and the Tajik visas reapplying for the Kazakh visa in Toshkent. Hopefully my parcel will arrive in this time also. I just dont want to be stuck in Baku for 2 weeks waiting on this and from the Lonely planet guide Baku is both expensive and depressing , sights to see listed as the baby cemetary where you get to see the ecological damage and birth defects caused by the pollution.


Get to Aktau and attempt to put my XT600 on a train to get to Almaty saving the need to get the LOI and the uzbekistan visa (lowest risk but dont know if this is even possible and do not know about the costs). does anybody know if this is possible?

Option 3 is different

Turn back into Turkey , get the ferry into Sochi and skip the stans out completely I only have a double entry visa for Russia and thus if I do this I miss out on the stans opting purely for Mongolia instead.

What do you reckon? , my off roading experience is limited and there is talk of soft sand for 100s if not 1000s of km.

Sorry this trip was poorly planned from the outset...


Apologies for the repost I replied instead of new threaded.
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Old 6 Jun 2009
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Option 3 sounds like the worst case scenario. I would suggest Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are definitely worth seeing, especially the latter in the west if you like remote camping. Personally, don't miss the 'stans - unless you have another upcoming opportunity to visit them.
http://bigben.to/ London to....? The big bike annual rally.
http://www.mongolbikers.com 125cc London -> Mongolia.
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Old 6 Jun 2009
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Not sure how you lost your tools but that's a real pain- bad luck -
If Mongolia is where you set your heart on going and the 'stans' are just on-the-way bonus, then perhaps re-route and make for Mongolia via option (3) is the way to go. Trying to read 'between the lines of your post' it seems that this is what you appear to want to do.
If sand causes you concern and you're on a loaded bike... think carefully as riding on that stuff can be exhausting in any circumstances let alone with heat thrown in.

Not quite sure what Tiffany told you to make you so 'certain' - but beware of making decisions based on possibly dodgy 'assumptions'!

In the end- As far as to which way/where to go, listen to your gut instinct- it seldoms tells you wrong - and the Stans will still be there next year!
Good luck to you whatever you chose.
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Old 6 Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post

Not quite sure what Tiffany told you to make you so 'certain' - but beware of making decisions based on possibly dodgy 'assumptions'!

In the end- As far as to which way/where to go, listen to your gut instinct- it seldoms tells you wrong - and the Stans will still be there next year!
Good luck to you whatever you chose.
Hi Bert,
don't worry I have not been pushy with Leon (Kennichi), just pointed out if he is really not certain about taking the longer route through northern Kazakhstan, which I am the first to admit I know very little about, he should think carefully about it.
however I have ridden with him the last couple of days here in Georgia and I know off-road is not his forte yet and so I suggested that as he has got to wait around in Baku (as we all have to for the boat) then he might as well keep all his options open by getting an Uzbek visa at the same time.
In the meantime, if anyone does have any info about the route from Aktau northwards, please help him out.

PS I have now got a nice bouffant hairdo coutesy of the Borjomi hairdresser - what did I expect for $1.50?
On the road from...I'm not sure any more
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Old 7 Jun 2009
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get the uzbek visa, cross into north west uzbekistan either from kazakhstan or turkmenistan (i recommend kazakhstan) and make sure you go to Khiva. then its just a days ride to bukhara and samarkand and the heart of central asia.

and if you are going ultimately to Mongolia, get your kirgiz and tajik visas in Tashkent.. its a fraction of the price to stay there for a week or two vs Almaty, which is expensive. Tiffany will be able to pass on contact details for my biker buddies Vlad and Zhenya in Tasgkent. Vlad also knows the Tajik consul, so can helf with Tajik visa ... then cross into Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan on your way to Almaty
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Old 30 Jul 2009
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Kaz hasn't been good to us so far, i was sexually harassed by 3 border guards, the roads have just about killed our car, a drunk tried to rob us then some guys tried to run us off the road. People have either been extremely helpful or extremely rude. We're staying in aktobe for 3 days while the car, 1976 baja beetle, has some major repairs. We have seen the bradt guide sights in 1 morning, now taken to getting drunk to pass the time. Have to be at china border by 4th aug, investigating trains that can take us and the car to almaty. :-(
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Old 30 Jul 2009
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train it

I put my xt on a train from Karaganda to Almaty (1000kms) for $60. It arrived ok no damage, efficient service and the train I took was on time to within 5 mins!!!
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