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Northern and Central Asia Topics specific to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, China, Japan and Korea
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Old 23 Jun 2016
Jil Jil is offline
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France to Kirghizstan - any advice ?

Hello all !

I plan a round trip from France to Kirghizstan, starting beginning of July, and would like to have some advices.

My initial plan is :
-Czec Republic
-Russia : no idea of the best road to go down to Kazakhstan, my only two objectives are : 1) St Petersburg, 2) going trough Oural mountains (just to put my wheels in Siberia )
-then come back to France trough Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy.

I plan between 3 and 4 months for this trip (with 15 days at least in Kirghizstan). I have a 2 entry visa for Russia, valid 3 months, starting mi-July, and a 1 month visa for Uzbekistan starting end of August. I plan to go in 2 weeks to Russia, so I will not take too much time in Europe for the firsy part of the trip.

For those who have experience of theses areas, do you think that this route and timeline are realistic ?
Do you have advice concerning the best roads to take in Russia ?
My bike is an Honda NC700X, with all necessary protections (and adequates tires, change planned in Russia), but apart that it's stock.

Many thanks in advance for your help !


PS: i posted first this subject by mistake in the section"Europe", where I was given the following advices. Indeed I'm thinking about an alternative road trough Ukraine, here also any advice is very welcome

Originally Posted by cliffi View Post

Have lived in all the former Soviet Union countries you mention / motorbiked them all. A few comments:

1. Your trip to St. Pete's adds a lot of kms and some very boring riding in Russia.
2. Suggest you stay out of Moscow as traffic can be awful.
3. Kyrgyzstan - are you travelling south to Osh or staying in the north? Two weeks is plenty if you are staying in the north. Not sure your bike would handle the Pamir so you are limited to riding Lake Issy-kul and around.
4. Uzbekistan can be very hot even in September.
5. From Georgia to France there are many options which you should consider depending on time. Do suggest you think about a few days in Georgia as the riding is great.

Good luck and watch for radar!

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Old 23 Jun 2016
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Salut Jil,
this is a very nice plan, that gives you plenty of time. Although I wouldn't skip the Pamir highway, as it is the highlight of the region. If you stick with the M41 you'll have only one or two rough patches to get through, but take it slowly and you won't regret it.For sure don't stay around lake Issyk-Kul, it's boring, you want to head to the mountains, believe me ! the roads aren't all that bad really. Ok, the ride to Song Kul would be a stretch, depending on your skills, the weather and how much time you have on your hands.

About the Ural, it isn't anything special (think Ardennes or Jura), since you won't go offroad anyway.

Don't forget to keep your russian import papers for the bike all the way to Kyrgyzstan (see sticky thread).

Bon voyage et amuse-toi bien !
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Old 16 Mar 2017
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Hi Jil!
I'm new to this forum because of this thread. I'm a long time subscriber to Horizons Unlimited e-zine but was not active on the forum. I am planning the trip to Central Asia on the same bike as you. I'm sure your experience of this trip and the bike especially would be very useful to my planning. Did you share your expereince somewhere on the web? I would like to know about your experience as much as possible. Thanks!
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Old 16 Mar 2017
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Salut Jil,

I rode from London across central Asia to Mongolia (and back) during summer 2014 and again around Russia and Central Asia last summer.
I am doing a “all info required for such trip“ presentation on Russia and Central Asia at the UK HU meeting in June but I am aware that you are in France. If you can join, it could be very informative.

I can answer your questions in French by email (just send me an email at maria “at” franglais-riders “dot” com ) but also check my website (www.franglais-riders.com) and my trip reports beforehand. I have put a lot of practical information in my Ride Reports.

We spent a lot of time exploring some parts of Russia (again, see the blogs for details and photos). There are very big distances between interesting stuff. It is a very big country. Don’t discount the Siberia part especially the Altai Region as it is absolutely stunning. It would be a shame to miss that region as you pass on. Small (“white” roads on the maps) roads there are good.

Kyrgyzstan is a stunning country and it is definitely worth exploring as much as you can. Some roads may be difficult on a heavy bike though depending on how confident you are off tarmac.

Your timeline looks fine.
Following the Russian Federal highway will bore you to death: it is the same than staying and living 2 weeks in a motorway! You won’t discover the real Russia and Russians that way.

Have fun preparing your trip. And if I can give you only one piece of advice: travel light! You will be glad once you hit the bad roads.


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Old 17 Mar 2017
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Originally Posted by maria41 View Post
Following the Russian Federal highway will bore you to death: it is the same than staying and living 2 weeks in a motorway! You won’t discover the real Russia and Russians that way.
I rode from Ireland to Kyrgyzstan last year (via France). My only thoughts are same as maria41 in that your outward route is going to be long and boring on those Russian roads. I'm not sure what the visa possibilities are for a French citizen for Iran or Turkmenistan but that was the route I went - that's a far more interesting and colourful route in my opinion. But the transit visa for Turkmenistan can be tricky for any nationality. Iran is just fantastic as was the gas crater in Darvaza.
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