Sharing experience and photography from over a decade travelling the Silk Road.
With literally thousands of images captured as I drove back and forth from GB to China! I am hoping to gather some time and resources to compile and share much of this photography, which captures a unique glimpse into a world where we used to be able to travel overland through Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, right through to China, moderately freely!
RIDE THE SILK ROAD – if they can do it – you can do it!
10,000 miles of Silk Road overlanding adventure – you decide, how far will you go?
Kazak Silk Rally
The Silk Road information and shared experiences, can help you to be better prepared and able to make some of these journeys yourself, without so much complexity – keep it simple, the true Moto exploring free-spirited adventure way. Steve Hotson – Motoexplorer
KAZAK-SILK-RALLY anytime – any route – any vehicle
The KAZAK-SILK-RALLY overland – go freely anytime to suit your own plans, schedule and ideas.
You are welcome to use our custom route planning which shares my own routes and years of experience with you.
see: KAZAK SILK RALLY travel overland to Kazakhstan
Overland expedition stages
A/ Green Route – is the way I go to eastern Europe myself, via Budapest. All great Silk Road adventures should go through Budapest and take 2 or 3 days to get you really in the eastern mood. You are welcomed to join me, around early September time each year. Or I can share some insights, if you like to go your own way, see; Balkans East Europe adventure motorcycle routes > or click the map above
B/ Silk Road to China > to continue further on the Silk Road, by the Caspian Sea to the Stans
There is a small ride group confirmed to go in 2023: overlanding motorbike permits for crossing the China border; 18 September 2023 – re-group and ride trans-China.
2 route options:
A/ Kashgar to Beijing, then ship bikes
B/ Continue riding to Laos, Mohan border and Thailand
Welcome to contact me anytime, with any other questions, you might like to ask, Steve Hotson, MotoExplorer
Moto overlanding on the Silk Road
Travelling the modern-day Silk Road no longer requires that you have the rough-and-ready attitude of Marco Polo or Alexander The Great, with camels and caravanserai (although we will see plenty of camels and can visit caravanserai along the way). True to the Silk Road culture, we’ll also visit some roadside inns, where we modern caravaners (motorbikers) can rest and recover from the day’s journey.
Motoexplorers generally aim to stay in moderate to quite luxurious local accommodation, including some 3 & 4* hotels, family-run lodgings (always with bathrooms), plus a wide-ranging mix of excellent hotels and guest houses, chosen for their comfort, character, location, safety, and our convenience, to rest and refresh before our new adventures, the following day. Overlanding truck / van travellers can of-course use their own low cost, live-sleep-drive on wheels homestays! Wild camping is also an accepted norm, we wild camped several times on the first scouting expedition.
‘Caravanserais’ supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes, covering Asia, North Africa, Europe and the Silk Road. We can continue these fine overlanding traditions – by adventure truck or Motorcycle.
Balkans & Silk Road
MOTO EXPLORING THE SILK ROAD
We have explored various options along the Silk Routes, riding motorcycles to the Great wall of China, arriving at the Silk Road westerly point of China and bustling city of Kashgar. From there you can ride along the frontier of China’s history, as we start to enter the edges of the Amdo Tibetan region, with some fantastic riding through the mountains, visiting various Tibetan monasteries dotted along the Silk Road.
Riding through ever-changing scenery and cultures, as you intertwine between the old and new China. Visit the largest monastery in the traditional Tibetan region of Amdo. Established in 1709, Labrang is considered the heart of Amdo Tibetan culture, along with the nearby town of Rebkong. Your camera will get ever more valued, as you fill card after card with spectacular photos, and when you get home again you’ll find it hard to believe that you were actually in these magnificent and significant places.
Silk Road routes travel via Krygyzstan – The Cooler Stan!
Future expedtions may go south of Black Sea – Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan can still be some options, as transport trucks also go this way, from Europe to the Stans. My personal favorite is the routes through Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is amongst the finest region to drive, fabulous mountains, fresh natural landscape, fabulous culture and a no-rushed pace of life. Then we will be close to the China border, lodging in the Silk Road Caravanserais at Tash Rabat, ahead of your option to be amongst few westerners who enter China by their own vehicle, or motorbike, you can cross at the Torugart Pass into western China.
With so many sights and cultures to see, be sure to take a real camera!
Expedition riders can receive our comprehensive pre-ride notes which fully detail every aspect of the ride preparation, including kit lists, bike maintainance and prep, what to take, visas, paperwork, navigation. It’s all quite straight forward, once you decide to set of and start preparing for exploring eastwards with us.
Basically, you will be riding through almost every extreme of adventure, including high temperatures in Turkey and the Stans, where I recommend that you wear cool and thin clothing, like easy wash lightweight Merino wool shirts as well as good ventilation in your riding jacket and other road clothing. Normal riding boots are optimal for this hot climate sections of the ride, and you will cook if you ride in leathers, so it’s much better to wear lighter, interchangeable layers that you can adjust in relation to riding conditions.
The variations of climates can be extreme, from high heat desert flatlands to cold high altitude mountains. Heated jackets are a welcomed luxury for the mountainous regions.
When you’re finally standing on the East coast of China at the end of this expedition, you will have experienced many different peoples, cultures, and ways of life, from the ancient past, up through the ages to the modern day.
You won’t meet many riders who have experienced such an interesting and challenging journey through ‘The Stans’ – vast, unspoiled, expansive lands with no fences, endless roads that give you the freedom to ride.
We travel through the less risky countries, avoiding the ‘Afghans’, and opting instead for the Silk Routes through Georgia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Contrasting countries, all absolutely fantastic places to travel through by motorcycle, and magnificent in their own right. We will gather new impressions and experiences in the Stans, before crossing the border into China.
We’ve travelled through these countries several times before, and it’s not as hard as you might imagine, once you set off and leave the western world behind, relax and immerse yourself fully into this ride of discovery, you will soon find yourself at the border gates of China!
MotoExplorer is here to help and assist, guide you through the regulations and travel rules as well as local contacts and tips for riding the Silk Road towards China.
Xinjiang land Border crossings into Western China
I recommend the Torugart Pass entering China at a land border crossing with your own vehicle or motorcycle. MotoExplorers Chinese partners have local agents who are government licensed and fully familiar with the regulations and correct procedures for crossing into China using your own motorcycle.
Western China is seldom in the press, it’s a part of China that very few westerners get to travel overland, especially using your own motorcycle! Media often focuses the restrictive aspects of China, of which there are increasingly more rules and check-points, but once you’re travelling away from the major cities things do become more free-spirited the further inland you travel.
Street food sellers – will always be preparing fresh steaming hot food, everywhere along the Silk Road, it’s a great way to eat well, mix with and help the local people.
Filling the motorcycles using the China Kettle system is just one of the many cultural quirks you’ll soon get used to! apparently it’s to help keep your motorcycle safe from combustion from filling a dangerous vehicle with a real pump! It’s not a practice I’ve seen anywhere in Europe, just yet! It will be interesting to see how this system evolves once we all switch to electric motorcycles!
All of the inspiration and information you need will be included within the new PressGo book. It’s the one I wish I had when first attempting to ride from UK to China!
Welcome to get in touch, Steve Hotson, MotoExplorer