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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 30 Oct 2011
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UK to Magadan via Middle East

Salaam Alaykum ya shabaab.

I'm planning to go away again in April of next year, and I want to pick your veritable collective brain.

The rough plan is to pop down Europe, transit to Libya, cross Egypt to Jordan, Syria, Turkey, back up into Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, Russia again and then skip over to Japan or Aus, where I will stop and earn, and ponder the next move.

I'm comfortable with the North African and Middle Eastern bit. I'm also excited, I've not been back since before the revolutions, and I'm hoping to get lots of contact with the regular Joe on the ground, and get some really good material about post uprising life in those areas, which will form the meat of the book I want to write. I'm hoping being an Arabist, and having a fair bit of experience with the culture and people will give me a good angle on this.

The bit I need help with is, er, everything else.

I am quite happy to admit that I am bloody clueless when it comes to anything outside of Africa or the Middle East, this is going outside my comfort zone.

I would be hitting Russia in late July I estimate, then a couple of months to get to Magadan, so maybe the end of September to arrive there? Would this be enough time, and an appropriate time period to travel these areas on my 125?

Second stupid question, I normally sleep in a basha, or in a bivvy bag on my travels, but I don't know how suitable this is in these areas? Will I get eaten alive by wolves and bears without a tent? I can't afford hotel stays, so it will be 95% camping all the way. Is this legal and 'doable' in these countries?

I hate snakes. Do they have snakes in this expanse of Asia? I never, ever want to wake up with a snake again, it really upsets me.

Thanks in advance, this is really just a fishing post, to see how many flaws people can poke in my plan, and what general advice I can garner. I've been reading, and re-reading lots of travel reports from the area, and I'm rather excited. It makes working as a mechanic, translator, proof reader and window cleaner all week almost bearable.

Birdy
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  #2  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Hi Birdy,

I wouldn't be too concerned about the bears. The darned mosquitoes will eat you first mate! My advice is to get yourself a lightweight 2 man tent with a built-in mosquito mesh. You'll need to have somewhere to retire at the end of a long day without hassle.
If you practice clean camp ethics the carnivores won't be an issue.

Kindest regards

Nevil
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  #3  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Russia

A few points for Russia-

Camping.
Permitted anywhere except private gardens and Church land and in water catchment areas for towns (which will be clearly signed). For security, do not camp within sight of roads.

Bears.
I have only ever seen one in the wild. However they are about in eastern Russia. The standard advice is to keep all your food well away from your tent. By August/September food would have been plentiful for them so they are less agressive to humans. The majority of bear attacks are in spring when they emerge from hibernation and are hungry.

Magadan/Kolyma.
End of September is getting very late to be riding there. Probably snow and certainly sub-zero temperatures along the road getting there. Average temperatures in Magadan are +6C for September and -2C October. Magadan is on the coast, warmed by the sea - expect it to be colder inland.

Snakes.
I have never seen one but I am told they are about.


Other practicalities like Visas, Registration, 'full access' borders, Insurance, fuel, Police, etc are dealt with on other threads - only follow the recent advice because things change in Russia often and regularly.
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  #4  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Do not plan to arrive in Magadan after about September 10.

People have arrived later in september but they froze on the way. And you need some time up your sleeve in case of problems.

Ideally plan to be in Magadan by the first week in September
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  #5  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Do not plan to arrive in Magadan after about September 10.

People have arrived later in september but they froze on the way. And you need some time up your sleeve in case of problems
.

I thought this might be the case when I was looking at average temps. I'm a fair weather rider, so I may have to get my skates on if I want to make it, I normally like to chase the sun - not run into cold. Barring any major mishaps, April to Sept should be enough time for me not to get frozen to death.


Also, thanks for the bear advice, I thought as much. I don't know why I'm more worried about bears than I ever was about African wildlife. It doesn't make sense, but then again, I often don't.

I have a little one man tent, more of a hooped bivvy really, and it's black, so is good for staying unnoticed if you are a few hundred metres off the road. When that's up, and the bike is laid down, I'm practically invisible unless you trip over me. I just sometimes wonder if I would get shot as a spy if someone did stumble over me!

Fuel, insurance, borders, etc don't worry me too much. If there is a road, there is normally fuel, if there isn't you have to wait! The visa worries me a little, because of my previous career, I wonder if there is a blacklist for people like me?

Touch wood, I don't normally suffer too badly from mossies, they just don't seem to like my taste. Incidentally, my top tip for avoiding getting bitten by them - travel with a diabetic - that sweet sweet blood seems to be like catnip to them! Doxy is fine as a prophylactic measure I guess?

Thanks very much people.

Any more for any more?

Birdy
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  #6  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Still Russia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
.
I have a little one man tent, more of a hooped bivvy really, and it's black, so is good for staying unnoticed if you are a few hundred metres off the road. When that's up, and the bike is laid down, I'm practically invisible unless you trip over me. I just sometimes wonder if I would get shot as a spy if someone did stumble over me!
The reasoning of getting out of sight is to avoid a rare opportunist robbery and to be away from vehicles and drunks (in or out of those vehicles).

Shot as a spy? You read too much fiction. Just don't go too near or photograph military installations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
.The visa worries me a little, because of my previous career, I wonder if there is a blacklist for people like me?
Depends of what you did and if they know!!
Look at the Visa/Consular section of the Russian Embassy website where you are and, if different, in your 'home' country. Rules vary greatly depending on your citizenship - a few don't need visas at all.
It sounds like you will be needing a Multi Entry Visa - probably a year as with Tourist and Business Visas you are limited to 90 days in any 180 days - plan accordingly.
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  #7  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
Doxy is fine as a prophylactic measure I guess?
Are you planning to go to areas, where malaria is prevalent?
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  #8  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Quote:
The reasoning of getting out of sight is to avoid a rare opportunist robbery and to be away from vehicles and drunks (in or out of those vehicles).

Shot as a spy? You read too much fiction. Just don't go too near or photograph military installations.
Haha, yeah, I always do it, but for the reasons you mention - I don't actually fear SMERSH sneaking up in the night to cap me! And I've spent enough time on high security military installations to have absolutely zero interest in them nowadays - so I should be fine!
Quote:

It sounds like you will be needing a Multi Entry Visa - probably a year as with Tourist and Business Visas you are limited to 90 days in any 180 days - plan accordingly.
I was thinking the tourist 90 day visa would be sufficient. But I've not actually looked into Visas in depth yet, it's on my list of 'things to do that I should probably get around to sometime soon.'

I also haven't looked into whether Russian mozzies stand any chance of giving me malaria, I hope not, but if so, doxy is cheap, and I don't suffer any side effects from it.

Birdy
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  #9  
Old 1 Nov 2011
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Malaria is a tropical disease, also found in some subtropical areas. As is dengue fever, both carried by mosquitoes (but they may not be prevalent in exactly the same areas).

In North Africa or Middle East there might be some areas, where precautions need to be taken. But malaria is something you donĀ“t need to worry about in Russia, though depending on the time of year, there might be plenty of mosquitoes there, enough to be a real nuisance.
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  #10  
Old 1 Nov 2011
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Pecha is correct - there is no malaria in Russia. The mosquitos do not carry the disease here. Their problem in Siberia and further east is their relentless numbers and ferocity in seeking blood.

Incidently 'her indoors', a Russian MD involved in drug research, says the current thinking of why mossies go more for some people and not others, is to do with their blood group - although this is not fully confirmed yet.

As you are camping 'wild' in Russia you should look into Tick-borne Encephilitis. This nasty condition is caught from infected ticks all over Russia (and some parts of Europe) at certain periods of the year. Immunisation is easy and effective, although you will have to pay for it.
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