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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Old 28 Jan 2013
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Anyone ride in central asia recently? I nd advises...

Hi all,
I am planning a ride in Central Asia this end of May, for approx 4 weeks. I am a newbie in motorbike riding and so far, my most extreme riding experience was riding the steep-narrow-winding-damaged asphalt road in Laos mountains (fr Huay Xai to Na Meo - Laos/Vietnam border). I hv no off road experience as yet. I will most probably do this Central Asia ride alone and camp most of the time.

I am flying my Yamaha FZ150 bike from Malaysia to Bishkek, and ends in Tashkent. From Bishkek, I want to go straight to Almaty and see the steppes in Kazakhstan. I dont want to spend many days in KZH (4 days max) as Kazakhstan is expensive. Plz suggest me where to go and which route to take.

Then I will re enter Kyrgyzstan and I need advises on how to view this country at its best in about 8 days. The highlights will be Song Kol and Issy Kul. I would also like to do a mild 1 day trekking somewhere nice and cheap (plz advise me on how to do this cheaply). I know that the best of places / view is only reachable via off road, but due to the lack of off road riding skill, plz suggest me an easier route. I can ride on loose gravels as long as its not ascending and descending.

After Kyrgyz, I wanted to ride on the famous Pamir Highway M41 from Osh to Khorog via Khargush Pass (along Panj River to Ishkashim). I hv heard that the part from Khargush Pass to Ishkashim to Khorog is tough, but I would like to hear fr those who had use this road recently. I hv seen some videos in youtube regarding Pamir Highway, and the river / stream crossing is some what worries me (especially that I am going to ride there in early June where there will still be snow in certain areas, and in other areas, snow is melting). While riding on M41, I want to visit Kara Kul. Lenin's Peak will be too tough for me, I think. From Khorog, I want to visit Dushanbe and after that cross the border to Uzbekistan. I will allow about 7 days doing the Pamir Highway (starting from Osh) + Dushanbe.

In Uzbekistan, I want to visit Bukhara, and if I can get the transit visa, I want to enter Turkmenistan for a short trip to Ashgabat (2 nights in this city including travelling time). I will leave my motorbike somewhere near the border (is there any safe place?) and take public transport to enter Turkmenistan.

My last few days will be back in Uzbekistan, and straight to Tashkent via Samarkand. I will fly home from Tashkent.

I hv checked the countries map in my Lonely Planet book, however there is no description about the road - be it a highway, a major road or a minor road. I'm afraid if I didnt ask for infos from the experts here, I might choose minor road which is tough and beyond my ability / riding skill. Plz help me in planning my itinerary and choosing not so tough road (plz state the road / highway number) to take. My interest is landscape, river, lakes, scenic view and historical monuments (in Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan).

Plz advise me a good Central Asia laminated road map (with topography) to purchase online and good sites to pitch my tent.
Very sorry for the too many questions posted here, and thanks in advance.
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Old 5 Feb 2013
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Same questions!

Hello anitayusof00!

it is a shame that you had no reply about your post mate. I have quite the same doubts that you have. Me and a friend are about to go through the same route but the way round, we will leave London on 23/06 heading Nepal, crossing the whole central asia, passing through Iran, Turkmenistan, Usbekistan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Kashmir, India and finally Nepal! Of course, the Pamir Highway is in our plans! The highest highway in the world! we just can't miss it!
Have you got any replies from other sites? Do you have any info to share? It would be very helpful.

all the best!

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Old 5 Feb 2013
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I cannot give too much advice as I went through there last year, but of you read my blog from 15th August 2012, I cover east Kaz, Kyrg and China which may give you an idea of which roads not to take

Your best bet is to start reading other people blogs, both here and ADVRider, in the areas you want to ride, you will see many ride reports.

Don't forget, some of us that covered that area are still on the road going in either direction, others who have completed their journey may be back in the rut and do not have much time to lounge here

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Old 5 Feb 2013
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As suggested by TS browse or search the Northern Asia forum here on the HUBB. Advrider RRs are also good for info.

My ongoing RR is at http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...et-place-66414 Not much use for planning, but some nice pictures(?)

The Route Planning section here tends to get less traffic than the region-specific forums.

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Old 5 Mar 2013
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Hmm lets see. Kyrgyzstan roads are about half paved, some of it cratered and cracked up. the rest is dirt/gravel, washboard...fun stuff. Rocky roads up in the mountains. Song kul and Tash Rabat are major highlights, some nice trekking it looked like at issy kul (but we didnt have time...) good camping and yurt stays, amazingly beautiful country.

Tajikistan roads were also a mixed bag, lots of steep mountain climbs with loose rock (this was not the pamir highway which was closed at the time, the other road), the road to dushanbe has more steep mountain climbs but with the most god awful black sand. its fairly solid but narrow with lots of trucks that sometimes fall off the cliff. carcasses all over. there is also the Anzob tunnel which is flooded with many pits. Its 5km long, not really lit or ventilated. because of the water you cant tell how deep the pits are but up to a foot when we rode it. Side valleys & lakes up that way are gorgeous but some challenging loose rock tracks.

Uzbekistan has pretty good roads, FYI the land border to cross is 100km west of Tashkent, the one near Tashkent is pedestrian only! The historic sights are marvelous.

Kazakhstan roads I cant speak to where you are going, we came from the west and did not go to Almaty. That stretch ranged from new highway, old crappy highway and then lots of sand & rock with big trucks. was hard...the east may be better.

You will not be able to avoid loose gravel on the mountains. But that said, we had little off road experience before entering asia and my husband rides like a wild man now, especially after following a certain exuberant finnish man. We are 2up on an 800gs and he does not sit on it flat footed. esp. if your ride is low you will be fine The pitched roads require more care on the turns and switchbacks.

Enjoy the journey, awesome part of the world.
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Old 7 Mar 2013
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Hi Anita,

I also plan a similar trip this summer and LOOOVE to know how you fly your bike to and from Bishkek and Tashkent.
Please share with us the airport of origin (KL, BKK, Sing??) and the cost!

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Old 4 Apr 2013
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Sorry that I havent been here for quite a while. I would like to thank all of u for the kind advises and tips. I hv finally sorted out my route. I will fly my bike to Tashkent instead, and from Tashkent will cross to Kazakhstan (Shymkent, Taraz, all the way to Almaty), then head east to Karkara Valley and enter Kyrgyz. Spend 2 days at Issyk Kul, then head to Song Kol, Naryn, Tash Rabat, Kazarman, Jalalabad, Osh, then enter Tajik and the M41 Pamir Highway, divert to Wakhan Highway (Langar, Ishkashim, Khorog) and back to M41 to Dushanbe. After that I shall reenter Uzbekistan, and depending if I can get a Turkmen visa, I might enter Turkmen before reenter Uzbek for the 3rd time and back to Tashkent for flight home. I hope I can manage the road and the route that I chose wont kill me....LOL. Many thanks for the suggestion to read trip reports from others.

As for shipping my bike, myself and I shall fly on the same flight to Tashkent by Uzbek Airways. The cost from KUL - TAS is not so expensive as I dont need an agent to do the shipping for me (I know how to do it myself), so its going to be approx USD800. (Add another USD150 to get the agent to do it for u). The one which will burn a hole in my pocket is to ship the bike from TAS - KUL. The agent service and the shipping cost is USD2000, more than double the fare to ship it from KUL - TAS. It is ridiculously expensive concerning that the bike is not going to be put in a crater, but will only be wrapped (wrapping cost itself is USD300). I wonder if they wrap it with a gold platted plastic?
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