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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Old 12 Feb 2009
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India-Nepal-Tibet-China-Vietnam overland


I am planning a trip in mid-May to the Indian subcontinent and SE Asia, with hopes of doing the whole trip by moto. I would appreciate any and all advice on how I can make this happen. My most urgent questions are:

Difficulty in purchasing a bike in Mumbai?
Border crossing into Nepal (not western border), in Tibet, in China, and finally in Vietnam?
Travelling with one more person, so I assume we don't qualify for 'group' visa to enter Tibet, so any advice on how to circumvent that nugget?
What is are the weather conditions during that time (mid-May to August)?

Anyone with personal experience, I would love to hear your story how you made it happen.

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 13 Feb 2009
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One post .. and China ...

China will depend on how much money you are prepared to pay .. think hiring a guide with car - paying for their expenses (fuel, food, lodging) while you travel through China .. $$$$$ ....

Use the search function ... you'll find a few posts on China .. most people save their money for elsewhere..
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 13 Feb 2009
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Welcome aboard Stefan. The trip looks like a great adventure. As Frank mentioned, there are a few posts on the site that will give you a decent background to your proposed trip. From there you'll be able to assess the route or whether it needs to be adjusted. As a suggestion, the more background info you have will help in your planning and then with more specific questions posted you'll usually get even more specific and valuable feedback. All the best, feel free to indicate an email address on your profile and send any additional planning questions you might have. Cheers.
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Old 13 Feb 2009
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As has been said by frank, china will cost $6-$10k to take your bike in and Vietnam is a no go with a bike, unless your Embassy can vouch for you, only heard of some Norwegians having this honor.

I keep wondering why everybody wants to go to Vietnam, when Laos, Northern Thailiand and Cambodia are much easier to enter and more foreigner and bike friendly, incredibly beautiful and interesting. Where most of Vietnam isn't any of these things...

weather mid may to august is monsoon season so expect to either get extremely wet every single day or just plan to travel from first light (6am) until mid day as most rain starts about then. You will probably reduce your "getting wet through" days by 50% this way.

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Old 13 Feb 2009
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Reading the list of the countries you mention, yet plan to visit with your own vehicle, its obvious that you havent done a lot of reading on this site, for example.

Maybe if you included Burma (and hell, why not even make a small detour to friendly North Korea, while your at it!) you would have a nice list of the most difficult or impossible, and also the most expensive Asian countries to dream of getting your own vehicle into. There´s also the highest mountain chain on the planet, and the high Tibetan plateau on your way.

There are areas in Asia, like Thailand-Cambodia-Laos-Malaysia, or India-Nepal-Bangladesh, where you should be able to travel & explore relatively freely, presuming your papers (and the bike´s papers) are ok. But crossing to China or Vietnam from abroad, with your foreign vehicle, and it all gets much, much more complicated. China may be do-able, if you are willing to invest thousands of dollars extra for doing it. And it needs to be arranged months in advance.
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Old 13 Feb 2009
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Thank you guys for the heads up. I actually spent hours perusing through the posts on the site, but haven't found what I was looking for, most likely since China is so expensive that most just avoid the discussion. or my search sucks. More questions though. I have heard that when entering tibet, you must be with a group, but the size of the 'group' is subjective. Also, is there a way to get from the indian subcontinent to SE asia without flying it (I am hoping someone will mention a boat)?

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Old 13 Feb 2009
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We were in India in November/December 2007, and wanted to get 2 people and one bike to Thailand.

I met someone, a Czech, who swore, that there is a ferry (or anyway some kind of a ship that should be capable of transporting a 4x4, which they were travelling with) going between Chennai and Singapore. He even gave me some Indian cellphone number, and I tried it many times, it never answered.

Later on I noticed, that somewhere on the net, there was a big cargo ship with a few (like 10-15) cabins for passengers, that was doing this route, that could be what he was referring to. But at least on those pages, the prices were higher than if we, as well as the bike, would be flown across the Bay of Bengal, so not an option for us.

There is a service from mainland India to the Andaman&Nicobar islands, but from there to Thailand, it seems to once again get very complicated. Could be worth a try, if you feel adventurous, and have lots of time, but may end up very expensive.

We actually freighted our bike by air from Chennai to Bangkok, the bike was about 600 euros total, and our flight tickets were about 200 per head, so roughly 1000 altogether.

I believe you won´t be disappointed if you expect there to be very, very few long-distance international passenger ferries operating anywhere in SE Asia.
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