The route so far 2012-2017
Route Germany-Czech-Slovakia-Serbia-Romania-Turkey-Georgia-Armenia-Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Gorno/Badakhshan Autonomous Region- Krygyzstan-Kazakhstan-Russia-Mongolia-Russia-Mongolia-China-Tibet-Burma-Thailand-Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand- Malaysia-Indonesia-East Timor-Australia-Tazmania-New Zealand…
Route 2017-2018 part 1 May to December
Route 2017-2018 part 2 December to April
Route 2017-2018 part 3 April to August
Well it’s time to get back on the road again now that spring has sprung the sun is shining! We have been home working in Vancouver for the winter. This is work work and as well a ton of hours with planning, emails, and paper work for the next leg of the trip. There have literally been hundreds of emails. Daniel has been the point man for all 4 of us.
The route in Europe is to loop thru Slovakia (which we skipped last year except Kosice), go south thru Serbia via Novi Sad and Nis, and onto Sofia and Motocamp Bulgaria. Here we will meet up with the rest of the “team” Orvar (King of Sweden) and Trevor (fellow Canadian). We Met Orvar in Guatemala in 2012 and Trevor in Ushuaia in 2014. We have ridden a lot with both of them and we all get along very well. Anyone who has ridden in a group knows that this can be very difficult on many levels. You have to be able to mesh on riding style, safety consciousness, likes and dislikes for travel style, and financial means. We could not ask for 2 nicer guys to travel with. From Motocamp we may head to the Black Sea and travel down the coast or go cross country to the Turkish border.
Turkey- e visa same day processing valid 6 months.
Georgia-No visa for Canadians.
Armenia- e visa 3 days processing valid 3 months.
Iran- Canadians need an actuation number only issued in Iran to travel service. Can not apply until 3 months before travel and it can take 1 month to get a number. Canadians require a “guide service” . Visas are valid 3 months. We will have all the paperwork done, but must apply in the Iranian embassy in Istanbul Turkey. We will also be in Iran during Ramadan, which should be interesting.
Turkmenistan- Transit visa for 3-5 days but risk 50% rejection rate. Tourist visa required a tour be booked to get a letter of invitation. We “obtained” a letter without actually booking a full tour. Plan for 3-4 days to cross. Can take 10 days to get a visa, once you have a LOI. You can not even apply for transit without a Uzbekistan visa to prove you are leaving. We are still waiting, but hope to get the LOI soon and apply for the visa to be picked up in Ankara, Turkey.
Uzbekistan- Need letter of invitation we used the Carivanistan web site to get this. Sent passports to Washington DC to get the visas and they were back in 3 business days. There is posts online that say Canadians will no longer need a visa as of April 1, 2017, but we did not want to bet on that.
Tajikistan + GBAO- e visa issued in 2 days. (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region – essentially where the Pamir Highway is in south east of the country, which requires an extra permit).
Krygyzstan and Kazakhstan- No visa for Canadians. Currently in Krygyzstan they have a foreigners must register policy started in Dec 2016. This may well be temporary.
Russia- We requested and got double entry transit visas of 9 days each. This is so amazing because they do not issue double entry transit visas to Canadians! This will include a loop from Omsk to the Mongolian border and a loop to Lake Baikal thru Siberia and into eastern Mongolia. Very extensive application. They ask the day/month/ and year of every country you have been for the last 10 years. They (not customs) decided they had an issue that our Canadian and not rented bikes were somehow in Germany and they required proof of ownership and shipping.
Mongolia- No visa required
China- Visa required and the form though extensive is easy. They do require a detailed itinerary for getting the visa, but interestingly since it is good for 9 years they do not require this for any subsequent visits. The bikes are another story all together. Foreigners are not permitted to ride their own motorcycles in China without a guide service and they must have Chinese license plates and we need a Chinese drivers license. There is of course no way for us to pass the drivers test in Chinese, but everything has its price. The Companies fee included getting all this done including solving the problem for Orvar who is 63 that it is illegal to drive a motorcycle after age 60. The trip across China is ridiculously expensive, but it is what it is if you want to go overland, thru Mongolia, and not across Russia. We will however ride into Lhasa, Tibet and to the Everest base camp! Currently (as of March 24, 2017) the Burmese border with China is closed due to tribal fighting. We will likely end up skipping Burma and exciting China into Laos. This will also eliminate the issue of entering Thailand and the guide requirement.
Burma- Visa required, but can not be applied for more than 3 months from entry. For us this means we will have to send the passports to the Burmese embassy. The only place we have the time to do this where we will not need them is in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They have DHL and we can either send it to Bangkok or Ottawa, but at least for Canada we can pay with visa and not have to come up with the fee in Thai baht. Foreigners also require a guide here. E visa only available for airport entry.
Thailand- Visas now required on arrival. As of May 1 2017 foreigners on motorcycles will require a guide to travel in Thailand. All other overland vehicles have been banned all together. If we do come this way we will get a 3 day transit visa from Mae Sot Thailand to Vientiane Laos.
Laos- Visa on arrival
Vietnam- Visa required, but we can get this with next day processing in Vientiane, Laos.
Cambodia- E visas
Malaysia-No visa required.
The plan now is to ship from Kuala Lumpur to Cairns or Melbourne Australia. The previous plan was to ride to East Timor, put the bikes on the freighter, and we fly to meet them in Darwin. This plan has been scrapped due to lack of time, but mostly because the weather in Darwin and the north coast will be extremely hot and very wet in December. Even all of the national parks will be closed.
Indonesia- No visa
Timor-leste- Visa on arrival
Australia -ETA required
New Zealand – No visa
Importing and exporting the bikes in Asia is a little more complicated than in Europe or the Americas.
“Carnet de Passage en Douane- “Notebook for Passing Through Customs” and is often abbreviated to just carnet.
A carnet (pronounced car-nay) is a simple customs document, which acts as a passport for your motor vehicle when you take it overseas. It allows you to temporarily import your vehicle for a limited period of time without the need to pay cash at the border, equivalent to the customs duty and other excise taxes. It helps to save time and hassle when dealing with customs officers at international borders.
The vehicle, to which the carnet refers, once having been granted temporary importation status, must be removed from the country within the time limit imposed by that country. If it is not, the country will be paid all duties and taxes that would normally be required to permanently import the vehicle.
The use of a carnet is an alternative to leaving cash security deposits with foreign governments. Use of the carnet is restricted to the countries listed on the back cover and it is valid for one year from the date of issue.
The cost of the bond is based on the value of your vehicle and the highest percentage bond required by the countries for which you will use it.
Motorists can typically obtain a Carnet de Passages en Douane from their national automobile association or touring club. The U.S. and Canada are a notable exception where a private company experienced in ATA Carnets, boomerang carnets, was appointed as the national guaranteeing association for CPDs in 2015.
Required most of Central and North Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Oceania. Recommended for much of the rest of Africa, The Americas do not require a Carnet for Canadians. Our problem comes in with Iran, since our issuing body (Boomerang) is in the USA and will not issue CPD for Iran. Thank goodness for the Swiss. Their national auto association will issue a CPD to any person who’s own country will not issue the needed CPD. They process this in 3-4 days.
The carnet comes in the shape of a number of sheets, usually ten or twenty-five, stapled together into a book. Each sheet is divided into three perforated sections and each section has details of your vehicle on it. As you enter a country all three section of one sheet are stamped and signed by the customs officials, who keep the first (volet d’entrée) section. As you leave the country the second (volet de sortie) section is kept and the third section, the counterfoil (souche) is stamped and signed again by the customs officials. The double stamped counterfoil, which remains in the carnet, acts as a receipt proving that you have left the country with your vehicle.
Once you have completed your trip and returned to your home country you must discharge your carnet. You must return the double stamped counterfoils, along with any unused sheets of the carnet to the relevant Automobile Association or Organization that issued it and they will discharge the carnet. Failure to do this or if you do not have all the double stamped counterfoils could prove costly, as you may not receive any deposit held by the organization or even have to pay importation duties on your vehicle.”
The plan is to fly back to Germany to get the bikes near Leipzig. We have a few items to sort out like installing the new Odyssey batteries to replace out 5 year old Deka. They have been awesome, but we don’t want to risk any battery issues this year. There is a new bash plate for Dan’s 800 since the current is so bent up from bashing rocks on our river bed routes that it is almost impossible to get on and off. We also purchased a couple of Rotopacks for extra fuel.
We decided it was time to replace the 5 year old DB blocker ear plugs we have and so we had to go out to get new molds made. Love these vented ear protectors and would never ride without them.
Next up ….. Germany 2017!