London to Kazakhstan: Central Asia

This exceptional 7 week motorcycle expedition across Central Asia.  We follow the fabled Silk Road across a formidable expanse of territory, with a rich tapestry of cultures to uncover and extraordinary roads to ride.  This is the road less travelled, through countries where tourism is only in its infancy.  From the far east of Turkey, Georgia & Azerbaijan, into Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan – heart of the Silk Road – Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and ending in Kazakhstan.

This is an ultimate Asian motorcycle experience.  You’ll be riding the high altitude Pamir Highway on the border with Afghanistan, an then mixing with the local in the markets of Khiva, Uzbekistan, where turquoise tiled mosques and minarets are at every corner.  You can wander through the exotic spice bazaars of Istanbul to the vast deserts of Turkmenistan, where you get to peer into the burning gas crater of Darvaza.  This is only the start of the wonders that lie ahead on this incredible journey!

(If you prefer to ride independently in Europe, you can meet the team in Alexandropolis, just prior to the Turkish border; when booking, check the box to join in Alexandropolis and a price reduction of £1,000 is applied).

At a glance

51

Duration (days)

7700

Miles Covered

Difficult

Riding difficulty

15%

Unpaved Roads

Large

Culture Shock

At a glance

Duration (days): 51
Miles Covered: 7700
Riding difficulty: Difficult
Unpaved Roads: 15%
Culture Shock: Large

Dates & Prices

The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.

DateRider
Shared Room
Single SupplementPassenger
Shared Room
Bike Rental
Apr 16 – Jun 5, 2021£15,995£3,995£8,995

Dates & Prices

The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.
Date:Apr 16 – Jun 5, 2021
Rider Shared Room: £15,995
Single Supplement:£3,995
Passenger Shared Room:£8,995
Bike Rental:
  • Here are some of the amazing sights that you will see on this 51 day motorcycle expedition:

    • The old imperial capital, Istanbul where Europe meets Asia. Visit the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace or maybe just bargain in the Grand Bazaar!
    • Wander the tiny streets of the perfectly preserved Ottoman village, Safranbolu and overnight in a caravanserai
    • Explore the unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks in Cappadocia and overnight in a cave hotel
    • Explore Mount Nemrut and the huge statue heads, then onto the ruined city of Ani on the Armenia border.
    • Desert roads in Turkmenistan to the marble white capital city of Ashgabat.
    • North through the Karakum Desert. Stopover in a teahouse and head for a night viewing of the Darvaza Gas Crater, known locally as “The Door to Hell”!
    • Follow in the tracks of Genghis Khan, as we head into Uzbekistan and continue to follow the Silk Road to the ancient walled city of Khiva, where you can wander through the narrow alleys to see the mosques, minarets and madrasahs.
    • Samarkand, with the UNESCO listed Registan Mosque and its three madrasahs. Break bread with the locals and enjoy fresh kebabs cooked over coals.
    • Ride the Pamir Highway through the sparsely populated mountain regions of Tajikistan. With its peak at 4,655m, this is the second highest altitude international highway in the world.
    • The Wakhan Valley, bordering Afghanistan & the 2nd century Yamchun Fortress, with magnificent views of the Hindu Kush. Stay with local families in home-stays and try yak with onions.
    • Experience a yurt home-stay in the south to try the culinary delights of plov, manti or lahgman! Great back roads through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
    • Finish in the old Kazakh capital of Almaty.
    The route map below is for illustrative purposes only.

  • This itinerary is for 51 days, covering around 7,700 miles (12,500 kms). It starts in London, UK and finishes in Almaty, Kazakhstan

    Week 1: Europe

    Depart Ace Cafe London. France, the Alps, Bavaria – Germany.  Bled, Slovenia.  Croatia & the Adriatic Coast and a night in Dubrovnik. Montenegro, Albania and Lake Ohrid.  Greece – Mount Olympus and Meteora.

    Week 2: Turkey

    Enter Turkey.  East meets West in Istanbul. (Istanbul is also an official start Point for this Expedition). Two full days to explore the Blue Mosque, Tokapi Palance and Hagi Sophia.  Ottoman preserved village Safranbolu. Caves, rock formations and underground dwellings in Cappadoccia.

    Week 3: Turkey & Georgia

    See the stone heads of Mount Nemrut.   Erzurum and Mount Ararat.  The ruined city of Ani on the Armenian border. The cave monastery of Vardzia.  UNESCO listed Tbilisi, Metekhi Church and Narikala fortress.

    Week 4:  Azerbaijan & Turkmenistan

    Enter Azerbaijan and overnight at a caravanserai in Sheki.  Baku, port city and ferry across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. Marble white capital city of Ashgabat.

    Week 5:  Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan

    North through the Karakum Desert. A night viewing of the Darvaza Gas Crater – “The Door to Hell”! Enter Uzbekistan.  Desert terrain to the Ancient Silk Road Cities.  The ancient walled city of Khiva & UNESCO listed Itchen Kala. Bhukara and then Samarkand, with the UNESCO listed Registan.  Minarets, mosques and madrasahs abound.

    Week 6: Tajikistan

    The capital city, Dushanbe. The Pamir Highway and Wakhan Valley.  2nd century Yamchun Fortress. Khorog, the regional capital, bordering Afghanistan. Experience home stays with the local villagers.

    Week 7: Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan

    Enter Kyrgyzstan.  Overnight yurt camp at Sary Tash.  Osh.  The Tien Shan Mountains. Enter Kazakhstan.  Almaty and a celebration final evening dinner.

  • There is a wide variety of accommodation.  In Europe and Turkey, we primarily use 4* hotels and have some characterful hotels, such as an old caravanserai and a cave hotel!  For Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, we also primarily use 3* and 4* hotels, but as we push east, standards are not the equivalent of Europe and North America. Wifi use may be restricted and not freely available.

    In Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, we have some remote routes, where we stay in home-stays or yurts, which is communal accommodation. This type of accommodation will have primitive, shared or outdoor bathroom facilities.  The only hot water may be in flasks and the electricity may be supplied by a generator. We also have one camp nights in Turkmenistan at the Darvaza Crater.

    In remote locations, you will not get mobile phone coverage or wifi access.  In some countries, there is not full access to the internet.

    Additionally, basic accommodation will often not have single rooms.  If you book for a single supplement, we have taken into account that you will have five nights of this type of accommodation in your pricing.

    All of the above reflects the nature of the adventure that you are undertaking – some parts of this trip are very remote where tourism does not exist and you will need to cope with the same facilities as the locals.

     

  • You have the benefit of booking your motorcycle expedition with a UK tour operator who has in place Financial Payment Protection Insurance with Towergate Stevens & Chapman, so that your money paid to us in advance is protected in accordance with The Package Travel Regulations 1992.

    Before you go

    • The assurance of booking with a fully bonded UK operator, ensuring your money paid in advance is protected.
    • Two day pre-departure team expedition briefing and GlobeBusters Guidance Handbook with all pre-trip information.
    • Assistance with the procurement of visas for each country and provision of Letters of Invitation, if required.

    En Route

    • All accommodation on shared basis (or a single room, if booked)
    • All breakfasts
    • One group dinner per week, with bottled water (no alcohol).
    • Local overnight hotel parking charges.
    • Euro Tunnel Train for you and your bike, Folkestone to Calais, and other ferry crossings en route
    • Daily hard copy route notes with GPS co-ordinates, loan SD Card with GPS mapping for the region.
    • Expedition Tour Polo-Shirt and Ace Cafe Goodies

    Motorcycle Freight

    • Air freight of your motorcycle (including crating, where required, and Customs Clearance) from Almaty to UK.
    • In transit insurance for your motorcycle, during freight, subject to an excess of £500.

    Support Crew

    • Motorcycle Expedition Leader on bike to accompany the group.
    • Support Vehicle, equipped with satellite phone, spare fuel, water, tools, selected spare parts and emergency first aid kit.
    • Support Driver, with motorcycle mechanical experience and first aid qualifications
    • Motorcycle Support Rider or additional Support Vehicle, where the group is more than 12 riders
    • Local fixers/translators that travel alongside the GlobeBusters Crew in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan

    Not Included

    • Passenger airline flights or any other travel costs to get to the start and from the finish point for each motorcycle expedition or any internal flights or other travel costs required during the expedition.
    • Personal travel, accident and medical insurance, third party motorcycle insurance cover / breakdown cover.
    • Entrance fees to sights and parks, optional excursions or activities, (except where stated)
    • Lunches or evening meals (except where stated). Any meals whilst on board ferries.
    • Personal spending money, tips, souvenirs or other extras.
    • Personal documentation (eg visas, passport), vaccinations, personal taxes, border crossing fees.
    • We do not supply riding gear; you must bring your own helmet, jacket, trousers and gloves.
    • Costs of motorcycle servicing, motorcycle repair, spares, motorcycle documentation (including carnet de passage, if applicable), fuel, oil & other motorcycle consumables, toll road fees, traffic fines.
    • Any travel, subsistence & hotel costs to and from any UK briefing meetings.
    • All charges associated with the freight of the Participant’s motorcycle back to their home county from a place that is not the official end point.
    • Additional transportation of you or your motorcycle en route where the Participant or their motorcycle cannot continue beyond the short and temporary assistance offered by GlobeBusters Support Vehicle.
    • Any other item not specifically included in the price.

    Please also refer to our terms and conditions.

    Flights

    For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights.  Once we have confirmed that this tour is a guaranteed departure, it is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the start and end point.

    For riders not based in the UK, you should to book an outward flight to our start point, London, UK for 16 April 2021.  The earliest leave date is any time on 5 June 2021 from Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    Only book your flights once we have confirmed that your motorcycle expedition is a guaranteed departure.  We do not refund flight costs if you have booked flights for a tour that has not been notified as a guaranteed departure.

    Should you wish to arrive before the official date or stay after the official end date, please simply request extra nights at the time of booking and we can make the reservation at our group hotel.

    *For non-UK riders, please contact us for your own bespoke freight arrangements.

  • SR6What type of bike do I need?
    We recommend that you use a medium to large capacity dual purpose / adventure style bike.  We support any make and model.  Our Support Crew ride the Triumph Tiger 800XCA or Tiger 1200XCA.  We also have lots of experience with the BMW GS range.  What is important is that you have a reliable and robust bike that you are comfortable riding and has been fully serviced prior to the start and has new tyres.

    What riding experience do I need?
    This trip is not suitable for novice riders.  It is our toughest expedition and is only suitable for those with advanced road riding skills, experienced in riding up to 400 road miles in one day and be confident at tackling up to 250 miles on challenging, unpaved roads. Three weeks of riding is at high altitudes up to 5,300 metres, where it is often very cold. Ideally you should also have other travel experience in developing countries, either on or off the bike.

    How does motorcycle freight work?
    We start the expedition from the Ace Café, London.  If you are a non-UK resident, we can facilitate the freight of your motorcycle to the UK from your own country.  We customs clear your motorcycle and you simply need to collect it from our freight agent’s depot and ride to London.   This is an additional cost to you.  At the end of the trip, all bikes are freighted back to the UK from Almaty.  From the UK, your motorcycle can then be freighted back to your own country – again at your own cost.

    What about servicing & tyres?
    There are no authorised motorcycle dealers for Triumph, BMW, KTM once we leave Istanbul and before Almaty.  All motorcycles must arrive at the start fully serviced and with new tyres.  A minor service is then done at around 6,000 miles (Samarkand / Dushanbe) by the GlobeBusters Team and the riders themselves.  We also carry in our support vehicle a change of tyres – knobbly tyres (Conti TKC 80) for the dirt roads ahead – for riders for the half way point (tyres at your cost or you can supply your own tyres).

    Is it difficult to get fuel?
    We have never had any issue with finding fuel.  In certain regions, once en route, we will warn you in advance of any possible fuel shortages or if there is a route with a key fuel stop, where everyone must fill up with fuel to get to the next destination.  It is not necessary to fit any after-market large fuel tank or carry fuel bottles, although some riders chose to do so.  Our support vehicle also carries spare fuel for emergencies.

    What is the average group size?
    Our groups are normally between 12-15 riders (some have passengers).  Our groups are often very international and whilst the majority of riders come from the UK, we also get riders from USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and so on.  Groups are predominantly solo male riders, but every tour normally has one or two couples riding two up.

    Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
    We have had other riders successfully complete this ride with a pillion passenger.  Your passenger needs to also be an experienced tourer.  It is a challenging, but achievable, ride but you must note that there are places where as a couple you will not get privacy and bathroom facilities can be very primitive.

    Is there a support vehicle?
    All our expeditions have a dedicated GlobeBusters Support Vehicle, driven by a GlobeBusters Support Driver.  It is capable of carrying two motorcycle and two passengers.  Our support vehicles carry a satellite phone, mobile phone, medical bag and spinal board, spare fuel, water, tools, some spare parts, some spare tyres.  Our support vehicle provides temporary assistance to you if you have a mechanical problem or an accident and are injured.  This is not a luggage vehicle – you must carry your own luggage on your motorcycle.  For more information, please see our Support Vehicle section.

    Do I have to ride in a group?
    No!  We do not make you ride in convoy.  We offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride.  We give you a road book, GPS co-ordinates and hotel information.  You can use this to self-navigate.  If you prefer to ride with our Expedition Leader, then you can do this.  However, there are some politically sensitive places where we must ride together.  In Turkmenistan, whilst we don’t have to ride in convoy, we need to make sure that we are travelling closely together.  We will also ask you to ride in a group when we are crossing a border or if there is a security issue.

    What documents do I need?
    You will need your original documents as follows:  Passport, Motorcycle Registration Document or Title, Driving Licence, International Driving Permit.  Scan copies of your documents must be supplied to us no later than 31 January 2021.  In addition, you must have travel/medical insurance and 3rd party motorcycle insurance (where available).

    Do I need visas for travel?
    As visa requirements are dependent on your nationality and a complex with constantly changing requirements, we appoint a visa agency to assist with the process www.thevisamachine.com  They will have a dedicated GlobeBusters Portal on their website for you to order your visas, which they can get for all nationalities via the Embassies in London. We will supply Letters of Invitation and hotel confirmations to you.  At our pre-departure meeting, we cover this in detail to ensure you have all the right documents and visas in place.

    What about my health when I am abroad?
    Before you travel, we strongly recommend that you visit your GP or a specialised travel clinic to get advice on the recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures needed for the countries on this trip. As background, the websites listed below may prove useful.

    http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/
    http://www.masta-travel-health.com/

    It is a condition of your travel with us that you have in place travel / medical insurance to cover you for medical treatment and repatriation if you suffer any illness or injury when on the expedition, including any injury sustained from riding or being a passenger on a motorcycle.

    Please note that many countries on this route do not have the same level of medical infrastructure nor consistent medical standards that you may be used to. In particular, emergency services often may be a long distance away, with no co-ordinated response, or sometimes no medical response available within reasonable times.  You must accept this risk when you book.