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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 2 Jun 2011
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Driving from UK to thailand

Hi, i am going to see some family in Thailand and was intending to fly. However, this crazy idea came to my head how it would be once in a life-time experience to actually drive it. My crazy notion has turned into something i think i am actually going to do.
When i first started planning this journey i began by planning to go through europe into Turkey then though Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh then Burma.
However after doing some more research a realized that in the current climate this route was possibly not advisable.
Back to the drawing board i decided to head through europe through Ukraine and into Russia, then into Kazakhstan Via Saratov and along the Kazakhstan M32 all the way to China where i would continue on to Laos then finally Thailand.
However, i was close to admitting defeat and scrapping the idea after learning how bad the roads in Russia and Kazakhstan can get and at some points i have learnt they are reduced to mere dirt track and rubble. This is not ideal when having thousands of miles of ground to cover.
However, i did not give up and continued researching, and while researching i stumbled upon someones you-tube channel that was dedicated to motorways in Russia. What i saw was like a god send. It was it was beautiful paved carraigeway. With a knew lease of life i got back to the drawing board and modefied my route to come through Europe and into Russia via Lithuiania and Latvia. It is a bit further north than i would like and Further south through the Ukraine is the geographical natural route. But if it means me being able to travel relatively risk free of puncture or break-down and mentain a speed of between 60mph and 80mph then it is well worth it and i am sure will end up quicker in the long run.
So, i now plane to hit the Russian M9 from Latvia into Moscow, and from Moscow i will take either the M5 or the M7 to meet the M51 in the South, then i will drive along the M51 into Omsk where i will turn down the M38 and cross the Russian border into Kazakhstan then carry on down the M38 to the Chinese border crossing.
Only thing is, i cannot find anything on the internet about the Kazakhstan M38 and can only see the trail on google-maps. I can find bits of informaation regarding the Kazakhstan M32 and M36, but nothing regarding the M38.
It seems to me that the M38 is the best option. Even if it is not the best quality road in Kazakhstan, geographically it is a far lesser journey from Omsk to the Chinese border than the other two routes, so would probably be worth it. However, somethings i would like to know is regarding the state of the M38. Is it a good road? Also, is there a border crossing South of Orms that i could cross into Kazakhstan? and where is the Chinese border crossing? would i be able to get to it along the M38? Other things i need to know is, how do i obtain a Chinese driving license and get round the fact they do not recognise the International driving license? and also how do i go about obtaining a permit to get my vehicle into China?

Would be greatful if anyone could help me on this
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Old 2 Jun 2011
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Arrow

The dream route Banebdjed my friend, the dream route. There're hundreds of overlanders, bikes prepped, carnets ready to post, GPS programmed, credit cards primed, chomping at the bit waiting for that one to open up. Alas, not yet.

Burma will not let you through. Alternatively, China is very expensive to enter and then you will not be allowed to cross into Laos or Vietnam. Dead end all ways.

Now, as for bicycle, not so clear cut.

Closest you can get with a motor without breaking the bank would be Bangledesh. Dump the beater car and fly on from there. Be a terrific trip. Go on, give it a go, you'll love it.
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Old 2 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by Simon Kennedy View Post
The dream route Banebdjed my friend, the dream route. There're hundreds of overlanders, bikes prepped, carnets ready to post, GPS programmed, credit cards primed, chomping at the bit waiting for that one to open up. Alas, not yet.

Burma will not let you through. Alternatively, China is very expensive to enter and then you will not be allowed to cross into Laos or Vietnam. Dead end all ways.

Now, as for bicycle, not so clear cut.

Closest you can get with a motor without breaking the bank would be Bangledesh. Dump the beater car and fly on from there. Be a terrific trip. Go on, give it a go, you'll love it.
So the M38 is not open yet? thats ok, i can just make do with M36 then.

I think you may be mistaken about Laos however. According to this Government website which deals with the foriegn embassies and consulates, although Laos is slightly high risk and visas change from time to time, there are currently no restrictions on access and i am sure with a permit i could drive through Laos.

But i could be wrong


http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-...y-country/?l=L
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Old 2 Jun 2011
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I´d advice to do a bit more searching on this site. Hundreds of threads about the subject of "how do I ride/drive from Europe to Southeast Asia".

To put it very short: it is complicated. Burma is probably not going to happen with your own vehicle at all. China could, but you´ll need to be determined and well off financially, as it costs very serious money (and there´s also winter to think about). These are the main reasons, why most travellers head to the Indian subcontinent, and then freight from Nepal/India/Bangladesh to Thailand or Malaysia.

edit. If you can afford to go China, then you should be able to cross into Laos. A bus-load of people went from Finland to Thailand last winter, and I believe they took that route (but there are many people on a bus, so costs of China per head probably come down).
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Old 2 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
I´d advice to do a bit more searching on this site. Hundreds of threads about the subject of "how do I ride/drive from Europe to Southeast Asia".

To put it very short: it is complicated. Burma is probably not going to happen with your own vehicle at all. China could, but you´ll need to be determined and well off financially, as it costs very serious money (and there´s also winter to think about). These are the main reasons, why most travellers head to the Indian subcontinent, and then freight from Nepal/India/Bangladesh to Thailand or Malaysia.

edit. If you can afford to go China, then you should be able to cross into Laos. A bus-load of people went from Finland to Thailand last winter, and I believe they took that route (but there are many people on a bus, so costs of China per head probably come down).
Do you know roughly how much the Permit to drive my vehicle through China would be? All this information is well guarded and highly secret as i can find nothing at-all on google about this kind of thing. I contacted the Chinese embassy in Edinburgh and even they where of no assisstance. They just told me to phone China immigration based in Beijing! I would rather find out some info before phoning Beijing
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Old 3 Jun 2011
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I´m no expert on this, so can give nothing more than a wild guess... but Kazakhstan-China-Laos, I´d budget some 5-6 weeks inside China, and roughly 5.000-10.000 euros for the extra costs (border crossing, permits for different provinces, guide, etc.) for 1 person & 1 bike. And your normal costs of living & travelling, like food, accommodation and fuel, are not included. More people could probably share at least the guide´s expenses a bit. But it seems to be simply too expensive for many (me included!)

To arrange it, you´d need to contact a tour operator inside the country, months in advance.
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Old 3 Jun 2011
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We should have an FAQ page for this somewhere.

We paid about 25000 Euro for 4 bikes and 45 days from Nepal to Laos. The cost does not vary significantly if you add or remove riders, which is why people usually make up groups. However, being stuck in a group for this length of time has its own challenges. If you don't go through TAR it will probably be a lot cheaper.

So, yes, if you get your organised tour through China you can exit into Laos at Boten. Visa for Laos at the border, Laos is a non-issue.
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Old 4 Jun 2011
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Sorry to have misled on the Laos question - humble apologies.

Seems all you need is twenty five grand. Bargain.
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