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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 17 Mar 2009
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The Caucases...worth the trouble?

SHIT! I spelt the title wrong. Nice start.

Had my fun on my 'big' trip last year. But i see a two month window this summer and tempted to take another bite at the cherry while im still young and stupid enough. It will be 9 weeks from London driving FAST to Istanbul...like 3/4 days, so i feel i have plenty of time.

I'm looking at driving an old honda civic or even a CG125 through Turkey to Azerbeijan/Georgia/Armenia...exiting through Russia and returning home. Can anyone see any problems with this route? I can't aslong as i have a double entry georgian visa to prevent any armenia/azer entry exit points and avoid Chechnya?

Are they nice countries to visit? What's there to see? What are the people...are they like Turks? More like Iranians? or more like Russians ?

What are road conditions like? Is this worth my while considering the price of gas in Turkey? Whats the damage on petrol in the caucuses?

Did anyone fall in love with the region? I hear very little about it on the hubb; not alot of people seem to visit the region...everyone flys past on the way to the stans or through Iran to India.

Any route tips? Any travel blogs to read?

Enlighten me! I'm getting itchy fingers, and seems about right for a summer jaunt.
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Old 17 Mar 2009
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Mate. In short. You'll love it. The Georgians are the most hospitable people I've ever met. The Azeri's are nice as well but no-one beats the Georgians in my opinion. Stay away from the trouble zones (Svaneti, Ossetia and Abkhazia) and you'll be fine. Not sure about Armenia. Hear it's super poor and tough due to that. People are probably lovely as well. I reckon the Georgians are more European, where as Azeri's are more Turkic.

Turkey fuel is expensive. More than Western Europe when I was there. Black Sea coast is amazing though. If you like coastal routes. The mountains (Caucasus and Turkish) are great also.

Is that positive enough? May find Georgian roads off the main roads challenging with those vehicles though.

Being polite and hospitable is a matter of personal pride in this part of the world.
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Old 17 Mar 2009
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I can't comment on travelling from Turkey into either Azerbaijan or Georgia (although I don't think it's easy to get in) but I can say that right now you will not be able to cross from Georgia into Russia. As far as Chechnya / North and South Ossettia / Dagestan goes they are off limits even to Russian citizens. I was down in the caucasus a little over 6 months ago and got to arround 50 km from the above countries, including right up to the Russia / Georgian border.

Garry from Oz.
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Old 17 Mar 2009
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You can ride to Georgia from Turkiye without any problem. You will like the area and the people. You can pass to Armenia or Azerbaijan from Georgia and continue to Iran and enter back to Turkiye again. No problem. You can't pass to Russia from Georgia by land.

On the other hand, you can ride to Iran from Dogubeyazit, continue to Azerbaijan and pass to Georgia too.

You will not have a real problem there.

Gas prices are the most expensive in Turkiye. Georgia follows. Azerbaijan and Iran is needless to say, very cheap. You can balance gas expenses between the countries. When we count Azerbaijan and Iran it will be much more cheaper at the balance than in Europe.

Have a nice and safe ride.
"where the traveller goes, nobody knows ! "
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Old 17 Mar 2009
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You cannot pass into Russia at all unless you are a CIS passport holder (see Commonwealth of Independent States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) by road/land from the south, between the Black and Caspian Sea.

Georgia land borders are closed to everyone.
Azerbijan land borders are open only to CIS passport holders.

To reach Russia use a Black sea ferry from Turkey, or by land you might be able to go round the Caspian Sea via Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

The Russian North Caucuses is dramatic, interesting and enchanting (avoiding Chechnia, Dagestan and other wannabe breakaway areas). Petrol is about 23Руб (50pence) litre. Most through roads marked on a road atlas have good sealed surfaces.
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Old 17 Mar 2009
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Turkey - Georgia, no problem, and no visa required.

Turkey - Armenia not possible.

Armenia - Azerbaijan not possible.

Georgia / Azerbaijan - Russia not possible.

Iran requries a carnet.

Turkmenistan requires a visa. Transit visa requires a visa for the onward country also. Tourist visa requires escorted tour.

For Georgia and Azerbaijan, read the FCO travel advice. There are numerous no-go areas in both countries.
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