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Motorcycle travel in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India...

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  #1  
Old 21 Jan 2007
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Sidecar trip China - Tadjikistan - Kyrgizstan

Hi All,

like every year i am planning a trip around China with my Chinese Sidecar with 6 or 7 other bikes

After Xinjiang in 2005
http://bertie.2-minute-website.com/p...ang/index.html
Tibet in 2006
http://bertie.2-minute-website.com/p...bet/index.html

we will be riding this year from Kashgar (China) to Kyrgizstan then Tadjikistan then back to Kashgar ...

Any experiences ?

How about the roads ? the people ?...

Thanks in advance
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  #2  
Old 21 Jan 2007
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Hi Lebloche,
We were in Kygyzstan and Tajikistan this year. It was my second time in these countries. Tell me exactly about your itinerary in Kyrg and Tajik and I will be able to tell you about roads and passes. As to the people - people in Kyrgyzstan are best I have met in my life. I hope you speak a little Russian (we do) it helps in this area. English is not common... Some problems with fuel, especially in Pamir...
Some pics from trip






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  #3  
Old 22 Jan 2007
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Desperate for info

Hi Lebloche – I’m starting to feel like an information stalker because whenever I see a thread about China I jump in looking for/begging for info. I’m somewhat desperate at this point because I haven’t been able to get the conclusive information (if such a thing exists in China) I’m looking for which may mean the cancellation of my trip, so if you could spare a couple of moments for some questions I’d greatly appreciate it.

Basically I want to go to China this summer buy a bike (in China), get a license and cruise around for five to six weeks. I had hoped to do this all legal but I’ve run into a few road blocks which might stop that idea dead in its tracks. I’ve heard that a foreigners on a tourist visa (unlike expats with residence permits) cannot write the drivers exam or a least one for motorbikes– do you know that to be a fact and do you know of any way around this? Also I can’t get any conclusive info how (if possible) to acquire an interprovincial license plate. Some people I’ve contacted said they might be able to sell me a bike but when every I ask about the interprovincial plates – silence. Do you know how one can get such a plate? and/or is it necessary? Also since it appears that you’ve purchase a bike in China – do you know of a reputable dealer/individual that can sell me a one?

Finally – given that it might not be possible to do this trip all legal, I’m curious to hear from folks who are less retentive than me and who travel China on a bike (purchased in China) without the proper paper work. What are the chances of getting stopped/caught? and what are the consequences? Not the best option for obvious reasons (I know there is at least one person on this board who’d have a field day with that question) but maybe worth considering.

Lots of question I know but as I’ve noted I’m a bit desperate for answers or I’ll end up spending the summer re-roofing my house.

Thanks for your time
Chris

P.S great pics

Last edited by CTB; 22 Jan 2007 at 16:38.
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  #4  
Old 23 Jan 2007
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G'Day,

some more very real info below.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
I’m somewhat desperate at this point because I haven’t been able to get the conclusive information (if such a thing exists in China)...
as the saying goes... 1 country -- 10000 systems.... nothing is easy.... everything is possible with the right connections... TIC = This is China!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
Basically I want to go to China this summer buy a bike (in China), get a license and cruise around for five to six weeks.
motorbikes are easy to buy, most bigger cities stopped issuing license plates for motorcycles or banned them totally from there city limits. Guangzhou / Southern China since 1st.January as an example.

you will not able to obtain a temporary motorcycle license in China as a tourist. you need a "Z" visa (Foreigners Resident Permit to get a license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
I’ve heard that a foreigners on a tourist visa (unlike expats with residence permits) cannot write the drivers exam or a least one for motorbikes...
you are correct! see above comment. there is cureently no legal way around it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
Also I can’t get any conclusive info how (if possible) to acquire an interprovincial license plate.
there are NO interprovince plates available, period!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
Some people I’ve contacted said they might be able to sell me a bike but when every I ask about the interprovincial plates – silence. Do you know how one can get such a plate? and/or is it necessary?
wishfull thinking.... this type of license plates and registrations does not exist!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
you’ve purchase a bike in China – do you know of a reputable dealer/individual that can sell me a one?
watch out for fake license plates and documents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
Finally – given that it might not be possible to do this trip all legal, I’m curious to hear from folks who are less retentive than me and who travel China on a bike (purchased in China) without the proper paper work. What are the chances of getting stopped/caught? and what are the consequences?
have an accient / incident with a native in China and you will find out the consequences very fast. be warned... your embassy / consulate will not be able to assist as you committed a crime... driving asn vehicle without proper documents or registration.... you will not be the first one paying... and going through a lot of trouble.

best regards,
Butch

Guangzhou hits a development milestone, fleetingly and uneasily

International Herald Tribune, Published: January 14, 2007

GUANGZHOU: Guangzhou is a chaotic export capital in southern China
that for years has been a magnet for migrant workers like Lin Mu. He
arrived three years ago and began working as a motorcycle taxi
driver, ferrying people to work or to go shopping.
Guangzhou, he figured, would bring him riches.
Instead, Guangzhou, one of China's richest cities, is now
essentially kicking him out.
Lin, 50, is one of the tens of thousands of motorcycle owners now
considered threats to social stability. Motorcycles and motorized
bicycles, primary modes of transport for migrants clawing up the
economic ladder, are being banned in the name of reducing traffic
and crime. Without his bike, Lin predicted he would have to move.
"It might be because Guangzhou is richer now," Lin said, offering an
explanation for the ban and then laughing at his own words. "There
are no more poor people, so there is no room for motorcycles!

The Communist Party is trying to focus the expectations of the
Chinese people on a better, if distant, future where everyone is
more affluent and China is a true modern nation. Yet cities like
Guangzhou and nearby Shenzhen that have already begun to taste real
prosperity are learning that new wealth can bring new problems and
not always solve old ones.
The motorcycle ban is a case in point. Guangzhou is getting richer
and, for a moment this month, even appeared to have become the first
mainland Chinese city with a per capita income of $10,000. But as
incomes have steadily risen in Guangzhou, so have crime, traffic and
inequality. The same affluence that has attracted migrants like Lin
to the city also has brought an influx of criminals, particularly
since 2000. Motorcycle gangs, thieves and muggers have sparked a
crime wave.

"Crime will be a long-term problem in Guangzhou," said Peng Peng,
director of research management for the Guangzhou Academy of Social
Sciences. "As long as there is a vast gap between the rich and poor
in the city, Guangzhou will suffer from crime." Inequality is
unquestionably stark: Last week, Guangzhou had to lower its per
capita income figure to $7,800 because the more glamorous $10,000
figure was calculated without including the city's estimated three
million-plus migrants. Still, problems like crime have largely
diluted public sympathy. Last month, a high-ranking official in
Guangzhou's Communist Party blamed migrants for the city's social
problems and proposed a cap on the number of migrants allowed into
the city in Guangdong Province.

The city has not instituted these restrictions, but the motorcycle
ban is having the same affect. Thousands of motorcycle taxi riders
left Guangzhou before the deadline on Monday, when the police were
expected to tighten enforcement. Still others have turned over their
motorcycles and motorized bicycles to government impound lots in
exchange for modest cash payments. "A lot of people have left," said
one rider, Gong, 40, his eyes darting in search of customers as well
as police officers as he and other riders idled along a major
thoroughfare in the city's Tianhe District. "We're just biding our
time until the final deadline on the 15th."

Gong, who declined to give his full name, migrated to Guangzhou five
years ago from Hunan Province, bringing his wife and child. He had
earned about $250 a month on his motorcycle — a healthy wage for a
migrant — but now he said he was not certain what he would do. "Oh,
here they come, here they come!" he said, suddenly racing off as two
police officers approached on a motorbike. "Sorry, I've got to go."
Crime has become a major problem in Guangzhou. Most major Chinese
cities feel very safe by American standards, but Guangzhou now
routinely reports more than 100,000 criminal offenses a year.
Thefts, purse snatching, robberies and muggings have become common.
One 2006 public opinion poll found that only 20 percent of residents
felt safe. Hawkers at one pedestrian overpass in Tianhe District
were selling switchblades and collapsible metal rods as self-defense
weapons. Last March, Zhang Guifang, a high- ranking Communist Party
official in the city, signaled a tougher stance when he castigated
police officers for their timidity and encouraged them to open fire
against suspects when necessary. The police subsequently shot five
mugging suspects.

Tales of violent motorcycle attacks began to appear in local
newspapers in 2005, when a woman had her hand cut off by a thief on
a motorcycle. Media accounts concluded that motorcycle thieves were
divided into gangs, including one called the Hand Choppers. Along
Beijing Road, one of Guangzhou's most fashionable shopping
boulevards, random interviews found that nearly everyone asked had
been robbed or knew someone who had been. Maggie Qu, 20, who
recently graduated from a local technical college, said a thief
stole her wallet and cellphone out of her purse two months ago. Her
friend, Chen Jianguo, 21, expressed sympathy for migrants — "They
are Chinese, after all" — but he blamed them for the crime problem.
One academic study found that migrants were arrested in 85 percent
of criminal cases.

"They do bring crime," Chen said. "Unemployed people, and uneducated
people, have to make a living, so they may resort to crime." He
added: "There should be restrictions on the population. There are
too many of them coming, and there are not enough job
opportunities." Qu, meanwhile, blamed migrants for "polluting the
environment." "They are spitting everywhere and littering," she said.
Of course, migrants are also responsible for doing the hard labor
that generates much of the city's economic output — just like
elsewhere in China. Ye Cunhuan migrated to Guangzhou from Hubei
Province in 2003 and opened four stores that sell motorized
bicycles. These bikes, equipped with small motors, are popular for
deliveries and also for people who cannot afford a motorcycle. Now,
Ye has had to close two stores and is facing ruin. "This has been
fatal to my business," she said. She has responded by filing a
lawsuit that claims the ban violates a national law that establishes
the legality of motorcycles and motorized bicycles. The case was
heard Jan. 8, and she expects a verdict by March. Ye scoffed at the
idea that criminals used motorized bicycles, given their low speed,
and characterized the ban as an act of discrimination against
migrants and others with less money. "They don't want to see any of
the poor or any ugliness on the streets," Ye said. "They want
Guangzhou to be a city that attracts wealth and beauty and is full
of luxury cars."
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Somewhere down the road in China…. life is one lap with no restarts and the finish line is unknown ~ keep going!!! TBR-China
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  #5  
Old 23 Jan 2007
CTB CTB is offline
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Connections?

So what about those folks who do manage to cross the border into China on their own bikes, presumably they don’t process a valid Chinese license yet they have been allowed entry. Are they then subject to fines for driving in China? And what about all those tours that cater to foreigners – I’ve seen pics of temporary licenses granted to them. And often their routes do take them from province to province. Perhaps I’m trying to hard to be logical with all this and it all boils down to “... 1 country -- 10000 systems.... nothing is easy.... everything is possible with the right connections... TIC = This is China!”

But I sure wish I had access to those connections!
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  #6  
Old 24 Jan 2007
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G'Day,

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
So what about those folks who do manage to cross the border into China on their own bikes, presumably they don’t process a valid Chinese license yet they have been allowed entry.
bikes have been confiscated, passports have been confiscated, huge fines have been paid, people have been deported.... etc.... etc....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
what about all those tours that cater to foreigners – I’ve seen pics of temporary licenses granted to them. And often their routes do take them from province to province.!
temporay motor vehicle import is possible = cost a lot of $$$$.
temporary driving license is possible with a tour group and government approved tour organiser = cost a lot of $$$$.
China motorcycle tours are possible with a government guide and tour organiser = cost a lot of $$$$

Harley Owners Group Hong-Kong, Ferrari Club Hong-Kong, Porsche Club Hong-Kong, Exotic Car Club Hong-Kong come quite frequently to Mainland China and they will be issued temporary driving license and license plates, again = cost a lot of $$$$ due to government guides, police escorts and government tour organisers....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTB
I sure wish I had access to those connections!
most helpful connections in Mainland China cannot be bought..... they have to be build up over the years..... my personal experince living almost 18 years in PRC.

regards, happy travels,
BUTCH
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  #7  
Old 24 Jan 2007
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OK guys,

thanks for killing my post,i know Butch is a champion for it :-p

Regarding my experience in China in a less grumpy way than butch

If you are not resident... There is no legal way to buy a bike and get it licenced (allready if you are resident it is a big pain ....)
You can do this in an 80% legal way having a chinese friend on spot who will register the bike for you, but you will need a temporary driving licence, can be obtained in BJ airport ( not sure) or through local agency...
Anyway i drove in China more than 15.000 km with a lot of problem i confess, but only small ones. Even in Tibet or in Xinjiang (said to be controlled provinces - wrong wrong wrong - ) there is allways a solution with time and money (not too much). Except for Human damages, when with or without legal documents you will have problems, that can be solved but usually with a lot of money ( the life of a farmer on the road from BJ to TJ cost 10 k Euros... sad but true). I will experience this year crossing borders with my chinese registered bike...and we will see.
Up to you for the risk... Personnaly even when i was resident i never drove clean... I know butch, i know.

To go back to my trip in KZ and TJ i try to post a map ASAP

Thanks

PS : Butch how much time a day are you spending writing on the 1000 forums you are registered to ?
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  #8  
Old 25 Jan 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lebloche
OK guys,
thanks for killing my post,i know Butch is a champion for it :-p
G'Day Antoine,

was not my intention to highjack your posts.... just putting info and facts here.

they never issue temporary motorcycle china driving license at the airports. most of the so claimed agencies often issue fake driving license (not recomended of course). Shanghai traffic authorities mostly issue temporary car driving license interlinked with car rental, makes no sense... TIC = This is China!

only registerd in 5 forums (incl.our S'hai forum) but setting Google News on alert gets you all the info regarding "China -- Motorbike- Motorcycle "published in newspapers around the world.

did you take your CJ to BKK?

regards, Butch
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  #9  
Old 25 Jan 2007
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Hi Butch,

My CJs and my solo are rusting in a Shanghai parking...
Importing a Bike in BKK is very difficult and/or expensive.

I am working on it but i think i will ship 2 bikes in France and keep one in Sh for my trips. Anyway my friends are riding it.

I found in BKK some nice BMW but no sidecars...

BR

Antoine
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  #10  
Old 25 Jan 2007
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Hi Lebloche,

I know cites and villages in these area, and I have map in my head. Just tell me when do you want to enter Kyrgyzstan (Torugart probably?) and when do you want to get out from Tajikistan to China? To tell you the truth there is only one place and for Tajik and China citizens only... If you want to go to Pamir you have to get GBAO permit. It is easy to get it. You can arrange it by e-mail and pay in Khorog.
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Old 26 Jan 2007
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Hi Sambor,

the plan is to enter KZ through the Torugart end of April, then to drive to the Nothern lakes of KZ, then go south to Sary Tash, then to cross to TJ, to drive to Khorog and back to Sary Tash then to cross the borer at Irkeshtam and finally back to Kashgar.
Total 3000 km 15 days
As you said the Kulma pass between TJ and China is closed it is a pity...

What about Pamir ?
What about the roads ? Do you think 300 km a day is doable with our prehistorical sidecars ?
The weather in may ?

Antoine
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  #12  
Old 26 Jan 2007
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Hello Lebloche,
I knew you will take this route Very good choice. Only one problem is Torugart. I hope is much easier to cross Torugart from China to KG then other direction. In theory the pass is open round the year but it depend on snow... Remember that border is closed at weekends. Road from Torugart to At Bashy is very bumpy. I suppose after Torugart you will stay in Tash Rabat... It is only 12 km from the road, and you have to visit this place. You can stay in one of yourts and have a break...
Naryn is nothing special, but it will be good place to change money and make a registration in OVIR (if you have to, check it out - it is important). From At Bashi to Naryn road is ok, tarmac with holes, but ok.
So from Naryn you will go probably to Song Kul. It is ideal place for motorcycling. Probably you will be in ths area to early to meet sheppards but lake is wonderfull. There are some roads which lead to Song Kul (all are gravel). For you the best idea will be entering Song Kul from south-east. But ask locals about road condition (snow etc). There is possibility to make a loop around the lake (we did it). You can leave Song Kul via Kalmak Ashuu pass. There is the easiest road to reach Song Kul. Road Naryn - Issyk Kul is tarmac and you can drive as fast as your bikes can do it . Only on the pass there is gravel.
I dont know which way you will go to Jalalabad, it is possible to go from Susamyr valley through Torugart (excellent tarmac, beautifull views) or do it from Kazarman (gravel, high and difficult pass). From Kazarman to Jalalabad is about 130 km, we have done it in 8 hours with a lot of stops for photo and eating. But we on the Afrrica Twin are rather faster then sidecars. Annyway if you are going to drive ths road you should start early from Kazarman.

Last petrol station on Pamir Highway is AFAIR Gulcha. Next regular petrol station is in... Khorog. But you can find petrol from cans in Sary Tash, Murgab, Ishkashim. Low quality, but still reasonable price ( we paid about 30 som).
You can find accomodation and food in home stay on Kara Kul lake in Tajikistan. Many military stops on the Pamir Highway. Buy some cigarettes for soldiers, and take some coins for border Tajik officer (he is collector).
Pamir Highway is tarmac mostly (in good condition), only on the passes there are gravel. The frs climb between Sary Tash to border pass is very difficult (4280 m) then road is flat. Ak Baital is much higher (4655m) but easier than first pass.
You have to register GBAO permit in Murgab. Make some copies of your permits and passes before trip. It was impossible to make a copy in MMurgab during our trip.
I suggest to make a tour through Iskashim (on the Afghan border in Wakhan corridor). Road is very interesting, people are very friendly.
Take a good sleeping bags (comfort in -5 degrees is a must!).
Ask if you have any questions...
300 km can be possible ( we have done 5000 km in 17 days) but remember that motorcycle can broke (we lost one machine - kardan failure in BMW 100GS), we had some health problems (stomach etc...). Remember also about altitude. Don't try to climb too fast. It is a good idea to spend 2 nights over 3000 meters to avoid sickness on altitude on 4000... Remember that your bikes will be slower on this fuel and altitude. Our max speed on Pair Highway was 105 km/h (normally 170 km/h). You will lost a lot of power and you should know how to adjust carburettors. We didn't do it but maybe you will have to to reach the passes...
So be carefull with 300 km a day... It can be posiible if nothing will happen. You should keep at least 2 days in reserve.
Keep going, it was my best trip!
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Last edited by Sambor; 26 Jan 2007 at 09:26.
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  #13  
Old 27 Jan 2007
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WOW,

thanks Sambor, this is this answer i was looking for !!!
I am working on some modifications of the trip i keep you informed

BR

Antoine
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