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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 5 Mar 2010
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Uk to india or China - any / all advice welcome

Hi,

I am planning a mammoth motorbike trip from the uk to China this summer in about 100 days. I have some plans but I am aware I need to get going sorting out documents and other stuff ASAP. What I would like is some help / advice upon Visas, insurance, cost, currency, route and sites to see.

So here goes for the route (this is the longest route i am considering, i may shorten it considerably but i thought selling the 'worst case' scenario would be best)

Uk to Netherlands (by ferry)

Germany
Aachen
Wurzberg residence
Down romantic road
Neuschwanstein castle
Kehlsteinhaus

Austria
Salzburg
Halstatt
Semmering railway
Graz

Hungary
Lake Balaton & keszthely
Budapest
Eger
Aggtelek caves

Romania
Transylvania
Sibiu
Transfaragas highway
Bucharest
Constanta

Bulgaria
Varna
Nessebar

From here til East Asia I haven't really planned a great deal

Turkey
Istanbul

Georgia

Azerbaijan
Ferry across the caspian sea

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

Tajikstan
Pamir Highway

China
Just a dip in to get to pakistan

Pakistan
Karakoum Highway
Islamabad
Lahore

India
Agra - Taj Mahal
May tour alot or not much around the country, depends on time

Nepal
Kathmandu

China
Lhasa - Tibet

Laos

Thailand
Bangkok

Cambodia
Angkor wat

Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Hoi An
Hue
Phong Nha caves?
Hanoi
Ha Long Bay
Sapa

China
Work my way to probably Shanghai, get the bike shipped back and fly home.

I believe that this route is possible ie all of these borders are open, although the tajik/chinese border seems a little dodgy (no-one seems to know if it is open to foreigners).

I know I will need a vignette for austria, hungary and romania, but i don't know about the others yet, however I know its just a matter of buying on the border.

The bike I was planning on getting for the trip is a Honda deauville (storage and security, reliable, comfortable, not too highly powered). However I am not so sure now having heard bad things about the amount of room in the panniers. What would anyone recommend?

I have done a rough break down of cost as well, I have tried to overestimate to leave contingency but let me know if any aren't realistic.

bike training and license 1000
bike 1500
bike service and accesories such as top box 500
full international bike insurance 1000
Carnet ????
Visas 1500
full internation travel insurance 500
jabs innoculations 1000
new camera 200
ferry out 100
ferry across caspian sea 100
plane back 500
bike shipping back 1000
vignettes 100

+ 100 days at
accom 15 1500
petrol 15 1500
food sightseeing 25 2500
presents 10 1000

=15500

I also need to get an internation driving permit.

What I am really worried about is visas, ie organising them, on my count i will need 13 visas with china's being multiple entry(for the longest route). Is this feasible to organise my self should I use an agent. I know some are valid for only 3 months from issue, which might cause me problems as i won't get to vietnam until about 2 and a half months in. Also I am aware that some regions within countries need permits enter.
I know a region of uzbekistan, tajikstan,india and china (tibet) all need these, is this just a formality. Also does anyone have experience of borders, ie how diffcult/corrupt can they be.

I understand it is possible to get some visas at the border or certain border crossings, how easy is this? what borders can you do this for? Is having a bike going to make it alot more difficult?

Also anything people can tell me about a carnet and innoculations would be brill.

I am aware this is alot to do in 100 days and i may shorten the trip. I have also heard all the warnings about my complete lack of experience, but it won't change my mind. I may be proved stupid etc but thats part of the adventure.

Sorry it is such a long post but it is a rather complicated journey.

Thanks for your help!!
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  #2  
Old 5 Mar 2010
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Arrow

Looks like you haven't read much on these pages yet, or you would know from many previous posts that you need an organised "tour" through China ($$$$) and that the Vietnam border is closed to foreign vehicles, unless you have a letter from the president or some other similar document. A tour co. might be able to help you there, too. China will blow your budget, I fear.

Happy planning.
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  #3  
Old 5 Mar 2010
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Well, don't leave China out.

Have a look here,


These two places are very nice, and very close
Yantai, easy 50 minute flight from Seoul
Yantai Travel Guide: City Map, Shandong China

Qingdao, Easy 1 hour 20 fly from Busan = Chinas Biggest brewery = Tsingtao Brewry
Qingdao Travel Guide: China Qingdao Hotel, City Map


Harbin Ice Festival = up towards North East China towards Russia
harbin ice - Google Search

Mount Huangshan = South China
Mount Huangshan, Anhui, China

More Mount Huangshan
mount huangshan - Google Search

Guilin = South to Middle China = Fly to Guangzhou, then take 2 hour train north.
Guilin Travel Guide: China Guilin Tour, Guilin Hotel, Map, Tips

More Guilin
guilin - Google Search

Pearl River Cruise in Guangzhou warm Southern China
Guangzhou Pearl River Cruise

More Pearl River Cruise in Guangzhou = direct flight from Busan
pearl river cruise - Google Search

Xian – Terracotta army = Hot summer in Central China
Xian Travel Guide: China Xi’an Tour, Xian Hotel, City Map, Dining, Nightlife

More Xian – Terracotta army
xian - Google Search

This is just Beijing below. = Good all the time = direct flights from Busan

The Great Wall
the great wall - Google Search

The Forbidden City
the forbidden city - Google Search

The Lama Temple
the larma temple - Google Search

Hutong Tour
hutong tour - Google Search

The Summer Palace
the summer palace - Google Search

The Temple of Heaven
the temple of heaven - Google Search

Fragrant Hill
fragrent hill - Google Search

Cherry Blossom Valley
cherry blossom vally - Google Search

Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square - Google Search

The Beijing Zoo
The Beijing Zoo - Google Search

The Ming Tombs
The Ming Tombs - Google Search

Olympic stadium
China Olympic stadium - Google Search

China High speed rail great way to trave, and very cheap
China high speed trains - Google Search

Tibet
Train to Tibet - Google Search

Tibet Train = direct flight from Busan to Beijing = Train direct to Lhasa (Tibet Capital ) train is about $130 each way, 2 days, 2 nights, luxury sleeper cars.
Train to Tibet. China Tibet Train. Qinghai Tibet train. Lhasa Express


Train travel planning and prices
Train travel in China - a beginner's guide

Here is another great link to think of places to go visit.
China Travel | China destinations


'vette
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  #4  
Old 5 Mar 2010
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+1 for china being a pain in backside. Depending on how much of China you want to see there are a couple of groups on the hubb getting together to reduce costs - I'm part of one looking to do the 6 day crossing via Kashgar to the KKH in mid-August.

As for the Carnet, I can't predict exactly how much you'll pay but we're using the insurance funded route on similarly priced bikes (£1600) and are looking at £800 each of which half is returnable at the end of the trip - give Paul Gowan at the RAC a call and he'll answer all of your questions.

As for visas, best to have a look at the different posts on this site and contact the relevant embassies for info on timing and pricing your visa applications. Note that Turkmenistan is also a pain and requires guides unless you opt for the transit visa which allows i think a maximum of 5 days in country. You'll also need to have your visas for your exit and entry countries before you can apply for Turkmen visa.

The most urgent thing is to get going on china: if you want to do it as it is time consuming, if you want to get in on any of the other groups doing this be aware that they'll starting to confirm final arrangements and numbers now to send off to the agencies in china.

One last thing, if you want to conserve your budget I'd drop most of the stuff in western europe as it'll wipe out a disproportionate part of your budget. Best to shoot through, adn get to where it's cheaper asap, the money you save will go way further when you're in Asia. This trip will allow you to see things and visit places you know you'd never ordinarily visit , whereas western europe is right on your doorstep and accesible for a weekend etc any time you want.
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  #5  
Old 6 Mar 2010
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uk_vette: in what way do your links help with getting a bike into China?

Bobduro: very good advice.

One last work on group trips: you will be stuck with the people you travel with. Consider this carefully before embarking on a longer trip. After 45 days through Tibet & China I know what I'm talking about. If the majority want to do things one way and you don't you won't have a choice but go along with whatever is decided. You can't stop, you can't leave.
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  #6  
Old 6 Mar 2010
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JamesAllen
First welcome to Horizons

Beddhist, I am as confused with the uk_vette's post as you are- still it does have heaps of touristy info for China so could be useful!

Horizons is crammed full of information provided my many travellers- The best way is to use the SEARCH function (click my signature!)
as most questions have been asked (some over and over again). By searching, you will find the latest info
Part of the joy of a long trip is the adventure and many things will not happen quite as you had planned so try not to get too bogged down in detail! routes change as weather/places to see/fatigue/breakdowns etc all come into play! as long as you are heading east, it's the right way! look for the sun in the morning, point that way and have a great ride!
and don't expect others to answer all your questions either!!
Planning is fun!
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  #7  
Old 6 Mar 2010
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Bertrand exactly i like it.
John Cox
coxmorganoverland.co.uk
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  #8  
Old 6 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
JamesAllen
First welcome to Horizons

Beddhist, I am as confused with the uk_vette's post as you are- still it does have heaps of touristy info for China so could be useful!

Horizons is crammed full of information provided my many travellers- The best way is to use the SEARCH function (click my signature!)
as most questions have been asked (some over and over again). By searching, you will find the latest info
Part of the joy of a long trip is the adventure and many things will not happen quite as you had planned so try not to get too bogged down in detail! routes change as weather/places to see/fatigue/breakdowns etc all come into play! as long as you are heading east, it's the right way! look for the sun in the morning, point that way and have a great ride!
and don't expect others to answer all your questions either!!
Planning is fun!
I completely agree with you, the only real reason I am 'planning' a route is so i can take care of visas that need to be got beforehand.

Cheers
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  #9  
Old 7 Mar 2010
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Something similar gets posted here about once a week... it´s easy to draw lines into a map, but travel-wise, Asia is NOT like Europe, or the US.

There are countries, that you can practically drop from your itinerary (or at least forget about getting your bike inside) like Burma and North Korea. A handful of independent travellers, probably less than 5, have managed to do Burma with a vehicle in the past decade, but this really does not mean that you would be highly likely to succeed. Officially it is not possible.

Then there are countries, that can be arranged, like China, but it seems VERY expensive. Vietnam used to be a no-go (even though the net is full of wild rumours, most of them false).. but just lately it seems Vietnam is do-able in a somewhat similar way as China. So its not cheap to get there, either. And both will require huge paperwork months in advance.

You also have to keep in mind, that the highest mountains on the planet are in this region, so you probably can´t do those routes in the winter.

There are also carnet-countries, so if planning a longer tour in Asia, that´ll probably be something to arrange from your Automobile Association. Once again, this website is a great source of info about this, too.

Even if it seems complicated, there are also many countries, that you´re free to roam, and generally it is cheap, exotic and warm (even in midwinter, if you go south enough), and people are very friendly, so there´s every reason to go!

I´m also with the idea of getting there (or at least getting out of Europe) as fast as I could, so I could spend more time in Asia. Europe will be easy to get back to some day. This would help with the budget, too.
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  #10  
Old 8 Mar 2010
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UK to India

Hi James, good luck with all the planning etc, I am one of three blokes who are planning a trip overland to India next year. I cant begin to express how brilliant this site is, have a good old dig around and you will find everything you possibly need to know. There are loads of beat up old war dogs on here that have "been there, done that", and are more than willing to help out etc etc...
The three of Us are hardy GS riders but We have all bought Ebay XL 600's for the trip, I personaly am bursting with excitement and am currently wishing My life away....!!!
Regards MEZ
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