When I came back to Korea five months ago, I already had a big adventure in mind for when my teaching contract finished. I wanted to fly to Shanghai, visit my cousin, buy a motorcycle, and drive it west across China into Kyrgyzstan. Along the way, I would go on a tour through Tibet and do an extended visa-run to Nepal. It would be an epic journey and I couldn’t have been more excited.
Lately, however, I actually began researching the feasibility of the trip. Despite being able to get a Chinese visa for the amount of time I would need (2.5 months), I would only be able to spend 30 consecutive days in the country before having to cross a border and get my passport re-stamped. This presented a huge problem, since I wanted to visit my cousin, ride to Chengdu, and tour through Tibet–all in the first half of the journey. Add to that the sheer cost of a tour through Tibet and the absurd price of an airplane ticket from Kathmandu back to Chengdu; this adventure was beginning to give me a headache. The part that finally broke the proverbial camel’s back was that I would get a fairly limited amount of time in Kyrgyzstan, a country I was becoming more and more enamored of the more I read about it.
As I was becoming increasingly more frustrated with the trip planning, I was checking in on my Twitter feed. Over the course of a few hours, three of my Twitter friends–Stephen Lioy of Monk Bought Lunch, the folks at Gulliver’s Lab, and Nick and Dariece of Goats on the Road–put up some jaw-dropping content about Kyrgyzstan.
Pristine, charming mountain villages. Frozen peaks and nomad families. A night sky to rival that of Mongolia.
The more I thought about it, the more I decided I just didn’t want to spend most of my trip in China. So, I decided to scrap that entire leg of the trip altogether.
I began to research flights to Kyrgyzstan, places around the country to see, the ease of purchasing a motorcycle there. Then, since I was on a roll, I figured I’d check out the neighboring ‘Stans as well; specifically Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
Hours of frenzied planning, several blabbering Skype calls, and a whole lot of coffee later, I have a rough route laid out. Check it out below:
I’ve got some cool ideas for this trip, which I’m still working on, but keep an eye out for some exciting updates. One thing I can say with certainty: it’s going to be an epic journey!
What do you think? Have you visited any of these countries? Any tips, warnings, recommendations? Leave your comments below!