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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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  #1  
Old 16 Jan 2008
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The Stans South to North

Ok I have been doing my homework and asking alot of questions to companies regarding Vias's for this area and I am non the wiser about it all and hoping somebody has done it and knows the ins and outs.

My route is as follows, Tehran I will visit then to Turkmenistan, try for transit visa to Uzbek, then Tadjikistan for the Pamir highway and yes I know I need the special permission for this route, then onto Kygikstan and Kazakstan, russia so on to Mongolia. Answers I am looking for are do I need all these letters of invitation the tour companies say I need, where can I get which visa for what country, ie, Turkmen in Tehran, can I get Uzbek there as well???

Sounds like the dollars will come out of my poket quite fast getting all these visas!! But if so so be it. So if anybody has done this route and give me an idea of where to get what would be very much appreciated.

I am in Djibouti at the moment waiting for a visa for Yemen then need to find a boat, big word of advise anybody doing this route Djibouti to Yemen, GET your Yemeni visa in Addis no matter what the cost!!!! We live and learn, sometimes the hard way.
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  #2  
Old 16 Jan 2008
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I've done that route north to south. You can ask us here on the HUBB, but the real expert is David at STANTOURS - Central Asia Travel Resources He can answer all your questions and get you all your visa's.
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  #3  
Old 17 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petefromberkeley View Post
I've done that route north to south. You can ask us here on the HUBB, but the real expert is David at STANTOURS - Central Asia Travel Resources He can answer all your questions and get you all your visa's.
I too have done that route in 2007 and StanTours is the reliable source for visa invitations(where necessary). David is a top tier guy and cheap...
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  #4  
Old 17 Jan 2008
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Me too..

I'm currently in the middle of the same - doing north to west (from Kaz) Kyr, Uz and then Turkmenistan (onwards to Azer and Georgia). Should be there mid June to late July.
As previously mentioned Stantours and David Berghof are spot on. I wouldn't hesitate to reccommend them. May see you there.
If you need any specific info - PM me or e-mail.
Cheers
Paul
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  #5  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Hi guys,
a friend and I will do a similar trip from south to North. We won't be going to Iran though (I wanted to, but visas are a hassle to get).
Depends what passport you have, but i found out the following (for EU passport holders):
TurkmenistanTransit visa + LOI (only for tourist visa)UzbekistanTourist visa TajikistanTourist visa + LOIKyrgyzstanTourist visa KazakhstanTourist visa RussiaTransit visa + LOI

When I put + LOI, it means an LOI is required. If not, should be fine.
I am interested to hear where you guys are planning to change wheels, oil filters etc... I haven't found yet someone that can help me for that.
Stantours are helpful for LOI and planning. Thanks David.
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  #6  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Tyres and oil

Hi nmanno,
This will be my first 'big trip' so I'm still a novice but..
My trip is UK to SE Kazakhastan and back across The Stans, Azer, Georgia, Turkey and so on.
It's probably overkill but - I'm leaving UK with new tyres (plus new oil) and a spare set strapped on the luggage, put new tyres on in Kiev (OK the UK ones will only be part worn), get the set from the luggage put on in Almaty (Leonards?) and an oil change (I'm taking a spare oil filter) and then tyres again in Turkey or beyond.
In the whole scheme of things, the tyres will still have tread left but my view is better to have good tyres than wondering if the set you've got on is going to last.
Time will tell!!
Have a great trip
Paul
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Old 18 Jan 2008
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Leonards??

Paul

One new set of tyres got me to Almaty and had life left when I got there. I think by Leornards you must mean MyTown Moto, Leornard is the top guy there. There is one blond guy who speaks excellent english but doesnt work there all the time and Pavel speaks good German. The guys are the only bike place in Kazakhstan, they have fairly regular ride-outs and are ace in every way. Like to drink, surprise surprise! David at Stantours can tell you where they are as he lives not far away. The road from Shymkent to Almaty is probably one of the best fast roads in the world, brand new, smooth, sweeping visible bends and no traffic to mention!

If you have an Italian bike take lots of oil filters (or a Japanese bike). Jap spares can be found in siberia and Kazakhstan. There is one guy in Ashgabat who imports bikes from Dubai and has spare filters, spark plugs etc. You will probably want to change before and after Turkmenistan, especially in summer as the desert cooks oil pretty badly. Take plenty of spare plugs in case your oil does get bad. Oil is readily available in all major cities so don't worry about taking oil from home, just a top-up bottle. If you normally run 4T you might want to consider 25W50 in the desert.

The stans are amazing, enjoy!
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Old 18 Jan 2008
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Info....

Henry - Cheers for the info - I'm on the monster BM so may be a bit heavier on the old rubber than a Cagiva? Looking forward to the off. Thanks again. Paul
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Old 18 Jan 2008
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Good tips for sure from henryuk BUT he failed to mention his favorite...the Turmenbashi ferry! Also...

1. Carry your spare plugs, BUT don't throw out your old ones until you get to the UK...you can clean them with fuel and possibly reuse them in a pinch.

2. If you choose to replace your tires, carry the old ones with you in case you have a sidewall issue down the road.

3. Definitely consider running a heavier weight oil like 20w50 dino...synthetic is much more expensive and can't be mixed with ANY weight dino...dino oil on the other hand can be mixed with any viscosity in a pinch. Kyrgyzstan has the cheapest European quality oil...the stuff in Kazakhstan is suspect BUT fork oil is available there nowhere else between Russia and Turkey...


You lucky bastard...enjoy the Stans and stop by Sakura's guest house in Bishkek...hands down, a chill spot to stay in...

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  #10  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Lucky B

Thanks for the advice - will certainly take note -
What do you mean - lucky B?
How am I going to settle from early retirement at 57?
All those long days in the saddle -
Will probably have to drink along the way -
Will have to meet strange and interesting people -
Lifes a bitch Edde - can't tempt you out again then?
Cheers mate
Paul
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  #11  
Old 19 Jan 2008
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I had the cagiva with two spare tyres and tools pares etc weighing in at about 250kg dry, but have never been on a GS so can't compare. Would like to get on my high horse about gsers etc but the fact is I had a 2 grand budget, looked for an old r80 gs, even they were too much!

For fast cleaning pf plugs petrol works but 200 centigrade oven for 10 mins works fantastic.

The TM ferry is fine, I didn't get a room but was saved from freezing and starving by some azeri sailors. If you can stand the noise the engine room is the warmest place to sleep! Getting a big overloaded bike from between two train tracks was not so easy...
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  #12  
Old 19 Jan 2008
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ps

They dont actually have a tyre press at mytown moto, but they will be happy to take you to a place round the corner and do the talking so you dont get fleeced.
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  #13  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post

One new set of tyres got me to Almaty and had life left when I got there. I think by Leornards you must mean MyTown Moto, Leornard is the top guy there. There is one blond guy who speaks excellent english but doesnt work there all the time and Pavel speaks good German. The guys are the only bike place in Kazakhstan, they have fairly regular ride-outs and are ace in every way.
Hi Henryuk,
so from the UK to Almaty with 1 set of tyres? That's a good achievement. What sort of tyres did you ride? What road did you take (North or South).
Finally, did you have to take a second set of tyres with you or were you able to ship it over to a friendly place?
Do you have MyTown Moto's nbr? Do they have spares for BMs?
Bid QUESTION for you guys: Will I be able to ride on the Pamir Highway in mid-April or will it be snow storms etc? Anyone has any views on that?
Thanks
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  #14  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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nmanno

I rode Contninental TKC80s, went through the caucasus then TM, UZ into KZ, took the rode from Shymkent then from Almaty headed off to Mongolia. Well that was the plan but on the outskirts of Almaty a Mercedes bent my front end took out an indicator and broke my thumb, so it became a case of trying to get back to the UK in one piece (had also run out of cash...).

I ended up heading north to Semipatalinsk the Russia.

I had tyres with me, shipping out there would be a nightmare and for that reason shops on the other side are normally unwilling to help get parts/tyres in as a favour.

You might get some BM spares but dont count on it, Jap bikes are the name of the game at MyTown (see if the Ducati has been fixed yet!). No number I'm afraid, I found them by chance riding about (I found a guy on an R1, who eventually showed me the way). BM spares are available at NBS Motor in Novosibirsk if you get desperate, but I would advise taking any spares you will need. In-line fuel filters are cheap and plentiful everywhere, oil is available everywhere but the price varies massively.

The Pamir highway should just be opening up around then, depends on the weather. I was aiming for May but never made it either way, it's on my 'unfinished business' list now!
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  #15  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmanno View Post
Hi Henryuk,
so from the UK to Almaty with 1 set of tyres? That's a good achievement. What sort of tyres did you ride? What road did you take (North or South).
Finally, did you have to take a second set of tyres with you or were you able to ship it over to a friendly place?
Do you have MyTown Moto's nbr? Do they have spares for BMs?
Bid QUESTION for you guys: Will I be able to ride on the Pamir Highway in mid-April or will it be snow storms etc? Anyone has any views on that?
Thanks
Tires can be had in Almaty...but your rear tire is a 17inch which is tough to come by. David from Stan Tours has a contact in Almaty that can order them for you.
If the majority of your time is on tarmac(70%)...go with Metzeler ME-88 rear...they wear out a lot slower...I got about 20k miles per rear...front tires don't wear as quickly as rear. I got 24k miles out of my front ME880...
And 60% of my trip was tarmac...and tarmac will wear out your tires quicker than dirt of sand will
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