Silk Road motorcycle expeditions

The next Silk Road expedition goes to Kyrgyzstan and the date for entry at the China border is; September 2024
TransChina * we can assist co-ordinating and planning your own ride group/s
Border entry permits: Torugart Pass, Kyrgzstan border to transit China
Option 1. travels to Beijing, via Kashgar, cost with own motorcycle: $tbc USD/rider
Option 2. route goes to Mohan border & Thailand: cost with own motorcycle $tbc USD/rider
There are also rental motorcycles available from Kashgar.

enquire for more details

Kazak-Silk-Rally – Silk Road Adventures any vehicle – travel freely anytime

If you would like to form your own moto group, or just get some information and advice about making these journeys, Motoexplorer can assist with most aspects.

We can also help you gather international participents, advertise your own adventure routes here, as well as assist with any co-ordination for the necessary permits and paperwork to travel the Silk Road into China.

Flexible riding at your own pace. If it sounds like your cup of China tea! read on and get in touch with me to learn more. Steve Hotson – MotoeXplorer

The map is a rough guide, taken from some of the routes that I have travelled before. (drawing big crosses makes Kazakhstan look slightly smaller!)

There’s also a new scouting route expedition in planning for 2024. The routes and travel times can be varied, just like we first did it in 09′ scouting the northern routes. This time we will go the south ways, there’s still plenty of options, riders can go their own way and look to link up at various waypoints, as you approach Kyrgyzstan.

Route map silk road
Open ride stages from Caspian Sea, can go by Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan.

An exciting new, long distance motorcycle expedition route, following in the steps of Marco Polo takes us on the fabled Silk Road, where you will experience for yourself, the warm hospitality which has greeted traders and travellers, enabling the exchange of art, ideas and culture for over seven hundred years.

silk road expeditions

Expedition ride stages

Europe – Silk Road – MotoExplorers

Kyrgyzstan to BeijingRide China

Kazak Silk-Rally – Silk Road Adventures

Starting from UK, we travel through eastern Europe, via Budapest and then Romania, Bulgaria to Greece and Turkey, for your first taste of Asia and opportunity to explore by foot in Istanbul. Back on the bike, as you press your Asia go button, let that sense of Silk Road exploration soak in, as you ride out onto the modern day Silk Roads, heading for central Turkey and a stop over at a town which places you direclty at the heart of the ancient trade routes between Europe and the Orient with its red-roofed Ottoman houses on cobblestone streets.

GS motorcycle rider off-road china
Small ride groups – well prepared & flexible to ride your own pace

Take your time to explore some smaller roads and villages, before moving further east into the mountainous gems of Georgia. For those wishing to take longer to explore Georgia, you might choose to pause your silk-road ride here and spend some more time to fully appreciate this magnificent country, enjoy the traditional culture, wines and fine restaurants.

Overlanding on the Silk Road east
For those with still more thirst for far eastern adventures, the Caspian awaits! A ferry from Baku, Azerbaijan, takes you to either Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan and ever closer to the heart of the Silk Road. With options to complete the ride at either southern China or right through to the far eastern extreme of the Silk Road and the ancient Chinese capital city of Chang’an (now Xian) before continuing on to the Great Wall of China.

After 70 days of adventure motorcycling you will have rode from Marco Polos homelands to the far side of China, an achievement and memories which will proudly stay with you forever. You will still have time to explore away from the bike as long as you wish. Once the motorcycles are safely packed for return sea freight, you can take as long as you’d like to un-wind and explore Beijing.

china silk road border post

Motoexplorer enables you to share our experience organising overlanding vehicle and motorcycle expeditions travelling the Silk Road. We piece all of the logistics together, to enable overlanding the true explorer way, with plenty of flexibility and ability to ride your own ride day by day.

Motorcycle tour UK to Beijing on The Silk Road

silk road expeditions



a. UK to Tblisi Georgia (21days)

b. Azerbaijan Baku-Caspian to Bishkek Kyrgyzstan to Beijing: (51days)

Silk Road expedition travelling east to Kashgar. You can complete the ride at Lhasha, Kunming or Beijing, or continue riding SE Asia to Laos and Thailand.

Kazak-Silk-Rally – any Moto / any vehicle / anytime, go freely, or use our custom route planning – register ride interest

Silk Road motorbiking expedtions

silk road china motorbike rider
Silk Road – overlanding in central China
silk-road motoring overland truck motorcycle china
Silk Road trans-China overland by truck or motorcycle

Now the China overland borders are re-open, we can arrange for you to continue travelling through China on your own motorcycle.

BMW GS Adventure motorcycle on silk road china

You can discuss your own motorcycle adventures with me, plan routes and overland expedition requirements, directly with me here in the UK, or our travel partners in Europe, China and Asia.

children on silk road china
Smiles and happy faces will greet you everywhere in China & the Silk Road

The Silk Road Turkey, Georgia, Caspian, Stans, to the Torugart Pass China border.
Alternative options for independent travellers
The expedition can also be completed at Tblisi Georgia, or Bishkek, with flexible options for onward travel. Motorcycle touring adventures eastern Europe for details.
Or continue from the Torugart Pass, to Kashgar and trans-China to Beijing.

travelling motorcycle friends enjoy china tea

Riding motorcycles to China

I am often asked if it is possible to take motorcycles across the border into China, or is it possible to put the bike on a truck and then start riding once you’ve crossed into China?  Whilst freedom to ride around the World is something as motorcyclists we all dream of, many Countries including China have their own unique rules and laws to govern how we must comply to cross their borders with our foreign owned vehicles and motorcycles.

Chinese motorbike rider silk road
Vast array of motorbikes and riders on the Silk Road

China is amongst the strictest Countries when it comes to access for foreign registered motorcycles. Once you’ve passed their frontier and started riding inland, you’ll soon be travelling un-hindered, like a local! Chinese motoring comes in all shapes and sizes! generally there’s not a lot of respect to western style codes of the highway!  The best approach is to ride like a local and focus on making progress with the natural flow of traffic.   Although at time it might not be apparent, they do have traffic rules and a highway code in China! Even odd English road signs!
Travelling overland through China, you will experience almost every type of creative traffic motion you’ve ever imagined, including some strange luggage carrying and re-fueling techniques!

motorbike fuel station china

Overland Moto expeditions

chinese motorcycle riders
Chinese spirit of motorcycle adventure

Scouting, exploring, inspiring and sharing – we support the true spirit of adventure motorcycling.

Ride freely at your own pace, paying fair local prices, enjoy the support of a ride team & professional, experienced local guides and fixers, without over pampering, or over-charging! 

We first rode overland Asia in 2009, with 12 motorcycles, to scout out the MotoExplorers Silk Road expeditions, riding across Country, by the Great Wall to Beijing, West to Eastern China. There has always been a lengthy process to follow, which does tend to fluctuate year to year, just to add to the challenges!  The bottom line is; to ride foreign registered motorcycles in China, you need to co-work your travel plans with local licensed Chinese travel agents, fixers and government approved tour operators who hold the correct licenses, qualifications and motorcycle expedtion operators license and most importantly, are highly experienced overland motorcycle riders themselves. 

Experienced English speaking Chinese motorcycle tour guides

With almost 15 years trusted experience of organising the Silk Road Expeditions, we have built excellent relationships with our Chinese and local partners. Our Chinese travel partners are familiar with all of the correct procedures and are well connected with additional ‘local contacts’, in all provinces, including the western Xinjiang province, which is the best border for western travellers to enter China from.

Independent rider groups and overlanding drivers; if you would like to gather your own group on the way across the Stans, or at the border with China, here is some information about obtaining overland vehicle permits to ride in China.

motorbike touring rider on silk road
BMW 1200GS adventure – Motoexplorer rider – southern China expedition
What’s involved in applying to join the expeditions?

You need to be a competent, experienced rider, 2+ years with a larger adventure type bike and luggage. You should have experience traveling overseas. Riders of all nationality have traveled to China with us, including several who shipped their bikes to the start line, including USA, Canadian, New Zealand, Australia, UK and several Asian and Europeans.

What sort of motorcycles do riders use?

We’ve had a wide variety of bikes, from older BMW R80’s, GS80, Yamaha 660 & 1200 Tenere, GS800, GS1150+1200 plus a whole range of Triumphs 800cc up. Every bike has completed the tour. (some requiring slight assistance from my support vehicle!) usually it’s just routine things, tyres, punctures, brakes, oils etc.
Any mid sized or larger adventure motorcycles will do well. From Honda CB500X, Kawasaki Versys 650, Yamaha Tenere 700, Aprilia Touareg 660,  BMW F850, Tiger 900 ralley to Honda African Twin and Tiger 1200 ralley. Take any one of them as you like, these bikes all have good reputation being reliable and robust.

What type of person and ages have done the China tour?

Flexible and adaptable by nature. Can take some rough and smooth days, in their stride, although of-course everyone has some ups and downs, better days, challenging days, it’s all part of what makes a lifetime of adventure memories, gives you some history!

Age wise, it’s ranged from later 20’s to 70. Average is usually 40-60 range. (same as my driving speed!) Once you are confident riding big bikes then you need to do some regular exercises like long walks, running or cycling to maintain a certain level of endurance. Certain sections are at high altitude and riders should be comfortable with their own physical health to work at altitude. It’s not necessarily an age related thing – as anyone can deal with the high altitudes in different ways. For every health apsect, it’s always best to seek your own medical advice. On some days we need to ride a whole long day in extremely hot or cold weather.  This then can be done and enjoyed if you also bring a little bit of spirit of adventure and a sense of haha.

Discover more about Silk Road overlanding

Please get in touch with any other questions,

Contact Steve Hotson – MotoExplorer

I rode with Moto explorers to China in 2011. An absolutely fantastic adventure that changed my life. The places, people, the ‘roads’ all seen from the back of a motobike provided a unique experience and real sense of achievement. As a result of that trip I am now a person confident enough to ride anywhere in the world on my own. My motorbike skills increased as we progressed eastwards and so was able to deal with all the varying road conditions that made the this trip at times very tough but also enjoyable.

Motoexplorers also helped me with advice needed to complete the necessary paperwork for visas etc.
I could not recommend MotoExplorers more highly.

Paul Wilson
China expedition
I rode with Steve of Motoexplorers from Europe to China and Thailand in 2014. It was a great experience. Steve is a guy who is very knowledgeable, helpful and jolly. He answers emails quickly and can advice on gear, bikes, tyres, spareparts or whatever you want to know about long distance riding on motorbikes. I can truly recommend Motoexplorers services to everybody who are planning rides from Europe to China/Asia.
Kurt Gøran Andersen
China tour rider
I shipped my BMW GS 800 to the UK, China to Thailand tour with Steve, Motoexplorers in 2012.

Motorexplorers are one of the best and cheapest silk road motorbike tours around.
A good man running the company, great way to travel if you want that extra backup.
Peter Knight
Australia rider – UK China
I had more adventures travelling in Kazakhstan and China than all my previous rides put together! Steve made riding to these far away places possible, without overly fussing, but enough help with all of the planning and support to make it all possible, thank you

John Hughs, China scouting rider
+ 2 tours of China, Laos & Thailand