U.K. to Thailand

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by JJ.CM, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    Hi all, Its been a long time since I last posted on here. I lived in Chiang Mai some 10 years ago. Now back in U.K. and reaching an unmentionable age I decided on one last adventure ( thats what I told my wife). I left northern Italy on May 27th and my destination is Chiang Mai. My route is Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos and finally Thailand. I am now in Northern China having entered over the torugurt pass. Our group is 6 motorcycles and two cars. You may be aware China has very strict rules for foreign behicles, we are required to have a guide and to submit our route to the government. China is a revelation after Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Our china transit is 35 days we ae at day 7. I intend to post daily here and add photos ( any clues as to easiest way to add pics?.) I do have a face book page though my wife has to update it now as china does not allow me to access my own pages. I am jimmy jones Birmingham england my face book page the trip is finalky happening. Hi David long time no see... see you in about 30 days.
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Hi there Jimmy - thanks for checking in again. Yeah its long time no see alright - the last time must have been the Kafe or Sax Bar?

    Take care & enjoy the trip, get lots of photos & hit us with a trip report & some nice piccies when you can.
     
  4. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Massive effort.
    Greatly looking forward to reading your posts.
     
  5. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    Hi All, I had been trying to get through China for the last 4 years, using Horizons Unlimited I had frequently posted trying to find people to share the cost. I had the bike already kitted out sitting in the garage. Finally in late 2012 it all came together I sent off my deposit and was now going!. I never met any of the group we had our entry date of June 20th at the Torugart pass. Leaving Italy on May the 27th meant I had to press on, not much time for site seeing and the strict entry date focused my attention. I arrived in Bishkek Kyrgystan on the 11th of June and now felt able to spend a few days site seeing. Bishkek was a revelation lush green and the public buildings and soviet era statues all were clean and in good repair. After 3 days off the bike it was back on and onto Issyk Kul lake. Its classed as an alpine lake and is the second largest after Titicaca, over 180km long and 80km wide it never freezes despite being at over 1600 meters, in part due to salinity and also geo thermal warming. I spent a pleasant two nights on the lake and rode around it. I set off on the 17th for Naryn and the Dolan pass, around midday the wind picked up and eventually was blowing a real gale, it became very difficult to control the bike in the gusts and with thoughts of the Dolman and its 3000 meters I decided to abandon the day and stay by the lake. In the evening it snowed and though it did not settle by the lake the snow line came lower. The following day I again set off for Naryn, as I climbed higher snow started appearing at the side of the road and then it began to snow, the wind increased and I found myself riding in a blizzard. Visibility became a real problem with my visor misting and ice forming on the outside. It was getting really cold and conditions were far from comfortable. There were lorries stranded at the side of the road and the road surface was slush,mud and snow. There were long section under repair with long diversions onto unsealed and pot holed slush and mud. I pressed on , worried how much worse the conditions would get. Near the summit I met four Bikers coming the other way. We stopped to exchange information, they told me it was another 70km before conditions improved and that currently it was minus 3.5 ! and they collectively thought it was too dangerous and they would not have tried to cross had they known. It was further back than it was to carry on so I continued. A snow plough passed me on its way up...the descent seemed to take forever but gradually the snow disappeared and my spirits lifted, Naryn I was almost there.
     
  6. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

  7. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    As I rode down the main street in Naryn I heard shouting. I stopped it was three of our group .They gsve e directiobs to the guest house and said that we were now almost the whole group. There was only Jens and Clive two motorcyclists left to arrive. On to the guest house and a warm shower. Jens arrived later that day with the same opinion of the dalom pass " its pretty much the worst conditions I have ever ridden in"Clive arrived the following day, for him the pass was blue skies , no snow and dry roads. That night was Jens birthday we had a smalll party a bought a few bottles of vodka Jens is on the left and Clive on the right in the picture.
     
  8. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    Dolam pass near summit
     
  9. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    We left the guest house in Naryn at 6am on the 20th. We were to meet our china guide at the China border post at 12. The torugat border is a little unusual, it has a no mans land of 70km. Though open to commercial traffic it is only open to individuals who have a guide meet them at the border. After entrring China it is anither 80 + k to the immigration and customs, hence the need for a registered guide. The road up to the Kyrgyzstan border started badly but after 20k improved to super smoith tarmac that just kept climbing. The guys on their 1200 BMW could smell China and were pressing on. My poor old 600 Yamaha was not enjoying it. Power drops off at something like 1% for every 100 meters above sea level that and 93 octane fuel meant pretty soon 6th gear was useless. I maxed out at 100km when it wasn't too steep other times less. We made the final Kyrgyzstan check piint at 10.30 and exited Kyrgyzstan the next 70km was like riding on the roif of the world. A backdrop of snow covered mountain peaks with a wide level plateau, the road was broken tar with areas under repair, dusty and with a few heavy artic lorries slowly picking their way across the pot holed and broken road Having been struggling to keep up on the fast ascent I decided it was now my turn, my lighter bike being much more nimble I enjoyed a fairly rapid 70km. Arriving at the China border at 11.30 I got off the bike and wandered over the the large metal gate. I mimed taking a picture, that was met with resolute head shaking. Oh well never mind there might be a chance of a sneaky one. The othets soon arrived and we waited for our guide. Big confusion ensued was it 12 Kyrgyzstan time or China?.Bit of a difference as china runs 2 hours ahead of Kyrgyzstan. Whilst waiting a sudden gust of wind blew one of the BMW over onto ny little yamaha and my side stand buckle under the strain. The BMW screen broke and was beyond salvation hmm 7000km without a screen might be a little uncomfortable. Before too long the two 4x4 arrived and the wait continued. Concerns that we were not at the cirrect China point were didcussed. The border post shut for lunch. The pist re opened. Finall after a 31/2hour wsit a mini bus pulked up at the china side and out popoed a guy who waved at us Only a couple of minutes passed and we were told told "come quickly". We were in!. Wiw at last China! .
     
  10. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    Torugart pass
     
  11. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]
    Torugart pass
     
  12. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    Kyrgyzstan China border
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Enjoying this in the warmth of Chiang Mai.

    Glad it was you out there riding in the cold & snow like that.

    Can you hit us with a pic of your bike & self "soon?"
     
  14. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    My Yamaha bought secondhand from Germany via ebay. Came with the big tsnk as someone had dropped it. I added a kedo lowering link touratec panniers givi screen kedo oil temp dipstick gauge. It struggles with the high temperaturs and I am going to try removing the front mudguard extension to get more air to the engine.
     
  15. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    My Chinese driving licence. We all got these on our second day in china.
     
  16. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    Having crossed through into China at the Torugatt pass we then had to make our way to the immigration and custons offices which were 100 km away. We were processed into China at the first small city. The usual form filling along with an X ray of our soft bags. They were not interested in inspecting the contents of my hard luggage or indeed the contents of the two 4x4 vehicles. The process took quite some time as we were a large group 9 people and 8 vehicles. We were hoping to start our Chinese driving licence application but we were unable.as the offices were closed by the time immigration etc finished. We rode into Kashgar our first two nights were to be spent here. First impressions were it did not feel like China. The people looked more turk or persiam. The signs were in Chinese characters and aldo urguar which looked mote like arabic As we were at a major caravan crossroads of thr the old silk roads are it wss perhaps only to be expected The region has only been under Chinese rule since 1951. There was a large police presence and thry were quasi militsry in their dress, riot shields batons and rifles were common. While we were travelling through there were reports of 27 people kikked in one protest and a police station had been attacked.
     
  17. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    My route each star is an overnight stay. Route is pretty much left to right in chronological order.
     
  18. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    It may come as a surprise to you that the North West corner of China is dominated by the taklamakan desert. It surprised me. Our route took us pretty much around and through the dessert. Having experienced the cold of the dolom pass it was now the heat. Maximum daily temperatures of 40c and no hiding place. In all we spent 10 days in the desert area. The hottest place in china is turpan which can climb into high 40s the hottest day of the year is usually july 12th. To say I never want to see another 40c day riding would be an understatement. To get to turpan we crossed the tian shan mountains. The guys on the Bmw saw the temp reading on the dash rise from 19c to 41c in a little over 5 minutes as we decended.
     
  19. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

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    Picture of Taklamakan dunes with interesting features
     
  20. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

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    Me in the Taklamakan desert in the blue Tee shirt.
     
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bloody hell that is an incredible dramatic temperature variation.
    What sort of riding kit are you wearing to cope with these conditions.
    Thermals / underwear / "over gear?"
     
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Arh ha, that's the Jimmy I remember; & I think I still owe you a beer (or two.)
    See you in Chiang Mai soon.
     
  23. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    Well we left the desert and travelled Hami, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan. In Dunhuang we visited The thousand Buddha grotto. The Chinese are really gearing up for tourism. At the moment it's mainly Chinese. Thete restoration of some of the sites is more than a little enthusiastic. The great wall seen here is brand new. If you walk all the way up it suddenly stops at a pile of building materials. There is no evidence of a wall beyond the new one. In places the wall is so small and low it would be no deterrent.
     
  24. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    [​IMG]

    For Dave the trip is over. He will hopefully be flying home to Australia tonight
     
  25. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    We were in Marxian about 176km from Chengdu. It had not stopped raining for what seemed like a week . News filtered back that there was a landslide blocking the road ahead. We delayed our departure and sat tight. Around midday we heard that it might be possible to get through on a bike. We set off oast a series of ragged queues. Attiving at the front it looked possible. As we weighed up our options I saw a bride in her wedding dress being carried over the mud to our side. We got through I was elated the road soon became clear and we pressed on hoping soon to be off the bikes and out of this awful weather. We crossed several bridges and through many tunnels. I entrred yet another tunnel, this oone was 5360m long unimpressive when one previous was 9000m A little over 150 meters in I noted the surface change from tarmac to concrete. Not unusual.
     
  26. JJ.CM

    JJ.CM Ol'Timer

    But as I crossed the join the bike felt a bit loose. Within seconds there was a loud and screeching metalic crash. Looking in the mirror I ssw the headlights dropping away. I slowed and agsin was aware that the bike felt unconnected to the rosd. Very carefully I pulled over into the coned off outside lane turned around and rode back. I could see jens struggling to lift a bike. Quickly onto the side stand I ran ovet realising that it was Daves bike. We got it up snd rolled it into the coned off outer lane. Once the bike was out of the way we both ran over. Dave sitting on the krb "my trips over mate I've bust my leg". Ok what now. We needed to get dave to hospital. We flagged down a car ...the lady spoke engkish and understoodethe situation and immediately agreed to take dave the 60km to hospital. A quick exchange of phone numbers and off went dave. Now the bike. . Lots of trucks passed but the floor height was way too high. Finally a small pickup , we flagged him down as he braked the rear locked and the truck slid sideways to a halt. Between the three of us and the truck driver we managed to load it on. The kind driver took the bike 30km and would not take a payment he drove off to stop us paying him The bike is now in Chengdu and because of the paper work it must exit into laos.

    Can anyobe on here help us?. We will exit into laos on the 24th of July. We need a rider to take the bike from Laos China border to Chiang Mai.
     

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