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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 9 May 2007
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Join Date: May 2006
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Here is Steve from the Caravan Cafes Reply

Basically I asked him if the KKH from Pak - China was open, and also his thoughts on six weeks through China to Laos in a 4x4.

Below his reply. I'm posting it here as I found it very helpful and thought others might too ......

Thank you for your inquiry. My name is Steve and I am a travel manager here at the Caravan Cafe in Kashgar.
We make arrangements for foreign-licensed motor vehicle entry and travel in China. Entering China with your foreign-licensed motor vehicle and touring China for 6 weeks is possible, but it is expensive in comparison with driving your vehicle in many other countries.
In addition to needing an accompanying liaison officer for the duration of your trip, we also need several months to submit and have paperwork processed for your trip. Permissions and licenses are required from Beijing as well as from individual provinces. For entry into China and inter-province travel we require all images, information and a non-refundable deposit be received by us at least 4 months in advance of the beginning of services in China. A non-refundable deposit required because once we submit your paperwork we are liable for processing costs.
Normally, you should have no trouble getting your China tourist visas. This is all that is required for tourism travel in China. If necessary, we can have a letter of invitation (LOI) issued. An LOI might be necessary if you depart on your trip more than 3 months prior to your scheduled entry into China.
Entering China via Khunjerab Pass from Pakistan should not be a problem, but this would be if you are entering after May 1. Khunjerab Pass is closed yearly for the winter and does not open until May 1 each year. If you want to enter earlier, then either Irkeshtam or Torugart Pass (from Kyrgyzstan) or Korgas (from Kazakhstan) would be the likely choices.
Tibet could be included in your itinerary of 6 weeks. There are extra costs for entering and driving in Tibet. Weather can also be a major factor at certain times of the year.
Regarding what time of the year you travel in China (and SE Asia), I would recommend you study seasonal precipitation data for all areas. My recommendation would be to either enter Western China in early spring (enter late March or April) and exit by late May or early June) OR enter mid to late September and exit China to Laos in later October.
The likely problem you will have, particularly in Tibet and South China in mid-summer (June-August), is a lot of rainfall and resulting bad road conditions (flooding, washouts, bridges washing away, etc.). In some areas this could seriously affect your route and your itinerary. It also might make camping and travel less desirable. This said, it should be noted that many main roads in China are now very good compared to even a few years ago.
Multi-lane toll roads abound throughout much of China. If you stay on these, travel will probably be quick. Traveling on roads in more remote areas or on lesser-used roads (e.g. Tibet and Qinghai) may be more problematic.
Since you asked for itinerary suggestions, here is a brief list of cities along two different routes. The first route includes Tibet and the second does not. To give you an idea of cost, I need to inquire which may take a few days. I will attempt to get this cost information to you by the end of this week.
Suggested itinerary #1:
-Enter Khunjerab Pass on May 1 to Tashkorgan.
- Kashgar
- Yarkand
- Hotan
- Korla
- Tian Shan via Urumqi
- Turpan
- Komul (Hami)
- Dunhuang
- Jiayuguan
- Lanzhou
- Baotou
- Hohhot
- Jining
- Datong
- Taiyuan
- Xian
- Lanzhou
- Xining
- Golmud
- Lhasa
- Xigatse
- Rongbuk
- Xigatse
- Lhasa
- Bamda
- Markam
- Zhongdian
- Lijiang
- Kunming
- Exit China to Laos at Mengla
Suggested itinerary #2
-Enter Khunjerab Pass on May 1 to Tashkorgan.
- Kashgar
- Yarkand
- Hotan
- Korla
- Tian Shan via Urumqi
- Turpan
- Komul (Hami)
- Dunhuang
- Jiayuguan
- Lanzhou
- Xian
- Chengdu
- Yaan
- Xichang
- Panzhihua
- Lijiang
- Zhongdian
- Dali
- Kunming
- Exit to Laos at Mengla
(Note: Though this itinerary avoids the Tibetan Autonomous Region, you can still experience Tibetan culture at places like Zhongdian which lies within the traditional area of Tibet). Entering and traveling in the TAR will mean additional permit, a Tibetan liaison officer, and additional costs.)
I hope that this email has answered a few of your questions. Later this coming week I will send you quotes for the above two itineraries. These prices will be for the permits and licenses for you and your vehicle and accompanying liaison officer (who would ride in your vehicle). All other costs (e.g. your meals and lodging, visa costs, road toll fees, and all other costs not listed as included) are not included.
If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you.
Best regards,


Land's End to Sydney 2009
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