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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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  #16  
Old 12 Jul 2009
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Finally, I did not take the Turkmenistan way because I had to pay a guide and I preferred to ride from Nukus to Aktau, much cheaper and less easy. Bad road but really funny. The shocks of my bike are over stressed but they survived. Uzbekistan part is Ok, and after the Kazakhstan border (regular check point nowadays) is a good gravel road till Beyneu, but from there to Aktau starts a nightmare of stones, sand, holes and bumps. 300 Km of riding the Moon. Then, 200 km to Aktau, the asphalt is Ok again and lasts till the city. Should fill the tank with 91 in Nukus and take some containers because in Kungrad there is only 80. No 91 or 93 till Beyneu, about 500 km far, but in case of really need, there is 80 in the Station, 25 km into Kazakshtan. Aktau is good place to have a rest waiting for ferry. I hope sail soon to Baku.
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  #17  
Old 23 Jul 2009
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So, if I understood correctly from this topic and from other reports I found over the web... From Atyrau to Beyneu we are talking about good asphalt road, but from Beyneu to Nukus it becomes a dirt road.
Is this right? Are we talking about a terrible road or is it rideable enough well? (which is the case, I suppose).

I'm planning to ride next year from my town in Italy to Samarkand just taking this direction, that's why I'm asking infos about.
I'll ride a XR600 that an office workmate of mine will borrow me purposely (otherwise my Harley will get disassembled piece by piece on the roads of KAZ, I suppose... ).

Thanks to whoever can give some infos on a biker that has never ridden on dirt roads for more than 5 km. maximum...
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  #18  
Old 23 Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight of the Holy Graal View Post
So, if I understood correctly from this topic and from other reports I found over the web... From Atyrau to Beyneu we are talking about good asphalt road, but from Beyneu to Nukus it becomes a dirt road.
Is this right? Are we talking about a terrible road or is it rideable enough well?
Atyrau to Beyneu is asphalt (some good asphalt, some not so good), except for about 30 km .. but they are working on it now. By next year its probably all asphalt to Beyneu

Beyneu to Nukus ... the first 150 km is dirt road, and the rest is asphalt.

There are no terrible roads here ... its all rideable.
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  #19  
Old 23 Jul 2009
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Thanks Colebatch! Your updates are like gold to me!!
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  #20  
Old 23 Jul 2009
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Hi, Knight. You should distinguish two parts in that way we are talking about.

From Aktau (port at the Caspian Sea) to Beyneu the road is very bad, as I said. From Beyneu (still Kazakhstan) to Kungrad (Uzbekistan) the road is more or less half good dirt road and half asphalt, as Colebatch said.

So, If you take ferry from Baku (acerbaijan) to Aktau, you should ride a very bad road, but of course ridable (I think that kind of roads is what we are looking for in the Stans), but if you go from Astrakhan (Russia) to Atyrau (Kaz) you will not ride the worst part, and arrive Beyneu on asphalt (I didn´t ride that way so I couldn´t say how it is).

I did both worst parts: Atyrau to Aral (hell 1), then I went to Almaty and going back by Tashkent, Samarcand, Bukhara, Nukus, Kungrad, Beyneu and Aktau (hell 2). So I ate the Aral shit twice, but I really enjoyed it. My bike is a GS 1200 and everything Ok, so yours, much lighter, shouldn´t have any problem.

Check the blog about that part in my blog.

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  #21  
Old 23 Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miquel-Silvestre View Post
but if you go from Astrakhan (Russia) to Atyrau (Kaz) you will not ride the worst part, and arrive Beyneu on asphalt (I didn´t ride that way so I couldn´t say how it is).

Check the blog about that part in my blog.

Blog de Miquel Silvestre

Have fun on hell.

Hey, Miguel!

I will do as you stated here above (Atyrau from Russia, then Beyneu-Nukus-Khiva-Bukhara-Samarkan), so I'll be pretty lucky, I think...

I'll check out your blog as soonest!


Thanks and take care while
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  #22  
Old 24 Jul 2009
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Miquel,

I read your blog.
From where did your friends put their bikes on the train to Aktau?
If you have any info on putting bikes on trains in the stans, please post it for us. Sometimes it may be necessary even when we want to ride the rough road...
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  #23  
Old 24 Jul 2009
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Hi, Chris. They finally put the bikes in a truck. They were able to put them in the train after a very hard negotiation (first railway people said not allowed) and paying 10.000 tenges each, but then the guy at the Station asked them 10.000 tenges more ( 60 $) just to lift the bikes into the wagon. So they said not and started to argue. Then a soldier aproached to them and suggested to hire a truck. Through that guy they contacted to a lituanian lorry driver and for about 7000 tenges they sent the bikes to Aktau in his truck while they were traveling in the train. I know the whole story because they told me it in Aktau, but I can not say how to get the train or hire a truck in Benyeu. But everything is possible in Central Asia (the worst and the best), so if you have the need, ask and get it.
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  #24  
Old 24 Jul 2009
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I forgot to say that it was in Beyneu. They asked in Nukus (Uzbek) and the answer was "Not", but in Beyneu (Kaz) they allowed bikes on train. I hope it could be useful.
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  #25  
Old 24 Jul 2009
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Knight, I been thinking about your planned trip. It is clear your going to way, but how about your going back one. Do you think to do the same way two times? This is really boring and no interesting at all. So you have to go back from Uzbekistan by Turkmenistan or by Kazakhstan and after Russia. By Turkmenistan you have to take the ferry to Baku or going through Iran (easier way but expensive in case of tourist visa and long proccedure in case of transit one), but if you want to go by Kaz and Russia you have to cross the west part of the Kaz country from Aral, and there is a real, real bad road. Much worse than from Akatau to Beyneu. Think about in advance if you do not want to ride rough gravel roads.
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  #26  
Old 25 Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight of the Holy Graal View Post
I will do as you stated here above (Atyrau from Russia, then Beyneu-Nukus-Khiva-Bukhara-Samarkan),
I did this exact route 3 months ago - details in my Sibirsky Extreme blog below as well ... just a few variations ... from Beyneu to Nukus I went via Muynaq to check out the Aral sea boats in the desert, and from Bukhara to Samarkand I went via Shakhrisabz as the main highway is utterly boring.
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  #27  
Old 25 Jul 2009
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Yes, Colebatch, in fact I took a look to your report a couple of weeks ago (which has been really interesting), but I wrote this post just to be sure about every detail.

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  #28  
Old 25 Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miquel-Silvestre View Post
Knight, I been thinking about your planned trip. It is clear your going to way, but how about your going back one. Do you think to do the same way two times? This is really boring and no interesting at all. So you have to go back from Uzbekistan by Turkmenistan or by Kazakhstan and after Russia. By Turkmenistan you have to take the ferry to Baku or going through Iran (easier way but expensive in case of tourist visa and long proccedure in case of transit one), but if you want to go by Kaz and Russia you have to cross the west part of the Kaz country from Aral, and there is a real, real bad road. Much worse than from Akatau to Beyneu. Think about in advance if you do not want to ride rough gravel roads.
Yes, I already checked out many reports and I saw that the stretch Aralsk-Aqtobe is terrible, and I don't wanna ride that section, given the fact I have ZERO experience in off-roading (I always been riding big touring bikes).

I'll come back to Italy thru IR, TM, TR and the Balcans: just is another excuse to pass thru Turkey, a Country that I learned to love last year when I rode from home to Petra in Jordan (and I loved it because of Turkish people, really fantastic...).
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  #29  
Old 25 Jul 2009
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Hi, Knight, in Stans you should do some off road riding anyway, wanted or not, because little parts on your way are unsealed (and there, road changes easily) If they are doing works on the road, you must ride the gravel path. Do not worry, you know how to ride asphalt and off road is more or less the same but riding slowly. You will love it and then you will want to ride more and more off road. Sand is the only problem. The skill takes time to learn and they say go fast to make the bike go through on the sand, but if you do that you will sure make some mistakes and they mean you will kiss the ground. So my suggestion is go slow in sand and keep your bike safe.

Anyway, I am in Istambul right now ready to ride to Israel. I would apreciate any suggestion about the trip yo did last year. Places worth to see and betther to avoid, best road, etc.

Keep safe.
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  #30  
Old 26 Jul 2009
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Well, since you are southbound, don't miss Cappadocia for any reason. You'll love the place (especially the Fairy Chimneys), and I can tell you that roads were in good conditions in August 2008.
If it comes to lodging, I remember I stood at Tan Pension in Goreme: cheap and with a really freindly owner (it's not a 3-stars hotel but it was OK for my needs).
Turkish people are fantastic, but I think you are experiencing this just now...

Then, I moved to Syria and I entered the Country at Kilis border line: only 10 minutes to get out of Turkey but almost 90 minutes to enter Syria.
Syrian customs officers, nevertheless, were cool and friendly, the only hassle is filling the 100,000 forms they give you but there's much people there ready to assist you for a few dollars.
No need of a Carnet de Passage to enter.
Pay attention to how Syrians drive: THEY ARE CRAZY! You'll see many of them driving in "contrary direction" even on highways, but they do it very slowly on the right emergency lane, so there's not a real danger for you.
Aleppo is the first city I visited: don't miss it, it's really nice (only one day to visit). You can visit the old citadel (fantastic but terribly dirty), the Mosque and the suk, full of goods for any taste.
Don't miss also Damascus (one day for visiting), the marvellous Palmyra in the eastern part of the Country (you must NOT miss its sight at sunset) and the roman theater in Bosra, close to the Jordanian border.
Pay attention to traffic in bigger cities in Syria: there's almost no rules! They keep on honking, creating traffic jams everywhere (but nobody ever put me in danger, ever, I must say it).
I also visited the castle "Krak des Chevaliers" close to Homs.... really nice (even if much dirty)!
Police are friendly and helping in all of Syria, and you'll see how Syrians are lovely people, always ready to assist you and with very nice behaviour.


Border Syria/Jordan (on the side of Bosra) is slow and crowded, but nothing to be afraid of, since you already experienced the Stans! It'll be a walk in the park for you...

Jordan does not require a Carnet eiter, and is cleaner than Syria: you'll see they take care of their historical treasures much more than Syrians do. After leaving Syria, it'll be like entering Europe again, if you compare them!
Don't miss Jerash and of course Petra, that reunites tourists from all over the world.
Jordanians drive much better than Syrians, but you must remember that the main highway (the one that leads to Petra) crosses several villages: pay attention to the obstacles on the asphalt that force you to slow down (I don't know the name in Englih and I don't have a dictionay here where I am presently, but I think you understood): they are usually not warned by any road sign and they are quite tall, so you can easily hit them and see them at the last moment).

Talking about Jordanians, I must compare them to Syrians and Turkish and say the same thing: fantastic people, always ready to assist you and welcome you in their gorgeous Countrys!
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