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  #1  
Old 9 Jun 2011
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Tips for Turkmenistan (or other stans also)

Howdy, Im in Ankara, almost finished collecting visas for the Stans. (I'll post a thread of how it all went, problems, etc, once I am done)

anyhow, I got 5 days of transit thru turkmen. I've heard alot of stories, but not much firsthand accounts.

Since its transit, I know I have to stay to the route, but how close? if I want to see something 5km off the road, is it ok? Also, in the cities, as they are on the route, & not many roads going to/from, Im guessing its ok to wander around a bit? I'd like to spend a day in Ashkabet, and maybe 2 nites. Hotels easy to find? are they all 5 star expensive palaces, o are there cheaper ones anyone has been to?

My route it from Turkmenbashi to Samarkland. Then I'll take the Pamir hiway & once in Russia, I'll head east.

thanks in advance for any help/ideas

Doug
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Old 9 Jun 2011
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Hey, dude, glad to know you made it in getting the TKM visa, as you know mine was denied.

Hope to hook up in Kyrgyzstan, I'll give you a call as I'll be in Samarkand.


Take care,
Nick
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Old 9 Jun 2011
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sorry, thats my fault. I told you not to use me as a character reference!



I dont think you told me they turned you down, how come?

hell, they even SAW me & approved it!

Doug
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  #4  
Old 9 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by rtwdoug View Post
sorry, thats my fault. I told you not to use me as a character reference!



I dont think you told me they turned you down, how come?

hell, they even SAW me & approved it!

Doug

My agency that has been working on my visas (I received my passport back just two hours ago with visas of RUS, KAZ, UZB and KYGZ) told me that they required a 1400 USD deposit, plus the Turkmen embassy in Paris was not even so clear in explaining why they wanted it from me.
So I decided to avoid Turkmenistan, nobody forces me to get there: the only regret is that this stopped me in returning to Italy thru Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan, but the visits to those places are only postponed to next year!

Next time I'll need a Visa, Doug, I'll show up at the embassy with you! AHAHA.

(of course I'll pay you back offering you a sixpack of Green Fanta like last august in Armenia... )
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  #5  
Old 10 Jun 2011
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hi Doug,
i'm the other, than Peter Forwood and Dave Barr of course, "mad" guy wich use an Harley to ride the planet. i was on your same route last year, riding my Dyna to the stans and ahead. as for Turkmenistan; it is just desert, so you can test your "brand new" Dirtster, i congratulate with you for the nice job you did by the way. road from turkmenbashi to ashgabat is so boring, and hot. in ashgabat we're hanging around fo hotel as they were full or expensive. plus they only accept brand new $ notes... be careful, in ashgabat, no to walk around after 11pm at night. there is a sort of curfew. i didn't knew and i was almost arrested for it. the city itself is a kitch architecture's triumph as for nyazov megalomany. the road heading north, from ashgabat to konye urgench it is pretty wide and well paved. i suggest you to ride your bike to the DArvaza crater, 3 km east of the main road. in Uzbekistan we had to look for petrol as for lack of it at the common gas station that were all closed in north area. road from khiva to bukhara and samarkand it is bumpy but quite doable. Tajikistan; i do not know from wich border you intend to get into the country. but the chinese made a very new and velveted road from north border to Dushanbe. you'll get into the Anzob tunnel wich is very impressive and exciting. then, after dushanbe going east towards the pyandhz river and down to Khorog, it is a pain in the a++. no asphalt, just stones, dry mud, steepy uphills but nice sceneries, as along the pyandhz river valley, but be careful about waterflood wich are very common in summertime. from khorog uo tp the Pamir Highway is doable road, first part 'till Murgab is paved, after that, enjoy your corrugated gravel.
kyrgyzstan; 5 minutes to get through custom, very impressive. chineses are building a new road from Sary Tash to Osh. last year was partly gravel, but i assume they're on the way to get it paved now.
when do you plan to be in east Russia to ride the BAM? i'll be there on about the beginning of August, coming from Japan, on my wayback.

if may do you need further infos, be free to write me a pm, or go to my website www.lungastrada.it and get my mail address.

have a safe route
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Old 10 Jun 2011
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in Uzbekistan we had to look for petrol as for lack of it at the common gas station that were all closed in north area.

That's true, I will have a 10-liter extra military tank on my back seat just for that reason.
I should have a 450 km-range in total, in this case.
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Old 10 Jun 2011
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Hey Nicoletti

Didnt we meet at the HD Super Rally in Greece last year? I remember you telling me about your trip, hope everything went ok!

I think the fuel shortage in Uzbek last year was due to the conflict with Kyrgistan. I had heard that the army was holding all the fuel supplies, just in case it got worse.

That seems to be resolved now, but never hurts to have spare fuel

Doug
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Old 10 Jun 2011
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Hey Nicoletti

Didnt we meet at the HD Super Rally in Greece last year? I remember you telling me about your trip, hope everything went ok!

I think the fuel shortage in Uzbek last year was due to the conflict with Kyrgistan. I had heard that the army was holding all the fuel supplies, just in case it got worse.

That seems to be resolved now, but never hurts to have spare fuel

Doug
yes Doug, that's me
i'm currently in Bali tryng to fly the bike to Tokyo, but the first quote i had it was a bit expensive; 14,000 $...
as for trouble i had a road crash in Kyrgyzstan, an electrical failure and a fork selector spring broken in India, plus i had to replace bearings, lifters and rear cylinder's cam in Bangkok. as for the rest i've rode for 40,000kms until now just fill the tank and check the oil. no any comment about road comfort: that stuff doesn't regarding us...

have a safe trip mate
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Old 11 Jun 2011
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Thumbs up Fuel in the 'Stans

I've just travelled through Tthe 'Stans and the situation with fuel OK except for a couple of places.
In Turkmenistan Doug, depending which route you take, though it sounds like you're taking the Merv route rather than Darvaza crater, you should be OK, we went north to the crater and the only place with fuel 100 miles out of Ashgabat had run out, luckily we were carrying extra fuel as otherwise I would have had to re-trace my steps until I got to another fuel stop.

You shouldn't have any problems in Uzbekistan if you're entering near to Samarkand, it's the areas north of there around Nukkus that it can be tricky to track down petrol. Remember that when the petrol stations have GAS signs up, it literally does mean gas (usually propane) and not petrol which is called benzine. There seem to be far more Gas stations thaen petrol and often you won't find out until you've stood in a queue for 15 mins with loads of other vehicles, you get to the pump and they say" no way Jose"

the borders between Uzbek and Tajikistan are a bit messed up as the Penjikent border has been closed for some time. This is a shame as it's the most convenient one from Samarkand. The alternative is to head south and cross at Denav- which is a really scenic ride. That crossing brings you to within 60kms of Dushanbe on a tarmac road- however it means you'll miss the Anzob Tunnel AKA the Tunnel of Terror! Once ridden and you're permanently scarred by the experience!

Both routes out of Dushanbe are open at the moment. The southern one is more challenging, though it has improved quite a bit since I last rode it two years ago.
Another plus (except for the masochists) is that they had a very mild winter in the Pamirs and so the river crossings are dry and there is even a bridge over the deep one now. As for the waterfall that you have to ride through that is barely a trickle.

The Wakhan is fine and the route out via Langar is open (there were problems with it last year). Fuel is available in the usual way in Tajikistan, outside of Dushanbe the fuel pumps are just for show, it is all dispensed out of jerry cans and jugs. \Langar had no fuel when we were there and so I had to go back about 10kms until there was some.

the route north from Murghab to the Kyrgyz border has also been improved (obviously this depends on what you consider improved) and now has just over 20 miles total of gravel, the rest is tarmac though the top part of the border crossing is still the usual muddy slide.

Have a great time Doug.
Ride safe
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Old 11 Jun 2011
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... That crossing brings you to within 60kms of Dushanbe on a tarmac road- however it means you'll miss the Anzob Tunnel AKA the Tunnel of Terror! Once ridden and you're permanently scarred by the experience!
...
Both routes out of Dushanbe are open at the moment. The southern one is more challenging, though it has improved quite a bit since I last rode it two years ago.
...
the river crossings are dry and there is even a bridge over the deep one now. As for the waterfall that you have to ride through that is barely a trickle.
What is going on Tiff ... its all getting too easy !!
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  #11  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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We arrived at the Anzob? today (round entrance arches, right one open but left one stuffed with equipment) to be confronted with clouds of black dust coming out of the opening. We waited for a few minutes and a lorry appeared with a Chinese bloke driving with a respirator on. He gestured that it was shut so we had to go over the pass. There appeared to be little lights down each side of the tunnel but it was othewise very black.

Once we got over the pass and down the other side we were confronted with another long tunnel on the way to Dushanbe (pointy entrance arches) that was truely dark and had water most of the way down it. There were actually two entrances but the right one was a river and no one was even thinking of venturing into that one. Some of the potholes inside were pretty special but thankfully there was a very low ratio of lorries to cars so it was possible to breath/see with my dark visor up.

Not sure which was which but we got soaked and Dan covered in mud as well. I've got some helmet cam footage which is not bad in places because there were so many cars going through and I was following Dan with his HID bulbs.
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Old 12 Jun 2011
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The Anzob is the more southerly tunnel, between Aini and Dushanbe ... It was the first one built.

30-40 km north of that is a new tunnel under construction .... not sure what it will be called, but it is also at 2750 metres up. Sounds like you guys went over the Shakhristan Pass ... the first big range immediately south of Shakhristan, and then the Anzob Tunnel. As Tiff says, its something you remember for a long time
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  #13  
Old 13 Jun 2011
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Thanks for the input guys! I'd sure hate to miss the tunnel of terror tho.

ok, maybe not! hahahaha

Doug
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