Pamir Highway to KKH
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 30, 2013 4:57 AM Last Post By: vradzivill
Jun 27, 2013 5:58 AM
Pamir Highway to KKHHi all
Just wondering if someone can give me a heads up on the Pamirs.
I was planning to ride Alaska to Argentina however I've hit issues with my US Visa due to previously over staying when I was younger and not as wise ;-0
It looks like I'll get a visa just not in the timescales I was hoping. Given I finish work in a week and rent my house out shortly after so need to hatch a new plan and quick! Gulp!
Riding the Pamir Highway and KKH have been on my list for some time and so I thought why not try and ride them both in a summer. I'm fit, and planning on traveling relatively lightweight so it seems achievable.
As ever with Central Asia my biggest quandry comes with the visa merry go round!
I plan to fly in to Dushanbe in early August and as I understand I can get a 30 day visa at the airport. Does anyone know whether I'll need an LOI?
From here I'm guessing I need a GBAO as well as Krgyz visa along with China and Pakistani visa. Is this something I can sort on the ground in Dushanbe before setting off or is this something I'd be better handling in the UK before setting off?
Any comments/thoughts/pearls of wisdom will be greatly received. I can kill some time in the UK but I need to get the rubber on the road to save my sanity.
Jun 27, 2013 4:18 PM
I got a visa on arrival at Dushanbe last Summer. (Aussie passport). The guy issueing visas was super cool. He said I was supposed to have gotten my visa in advance but gave me one anyway. Just make sure you bring a couple passport-sized photos. I didn't have a Letter Of Invitation. Others did. As you enter the airport building passport control is on your left. The visa office is on your right. (The second door I think).
The Pamir highway closed about one week before I would have arrived in Khorog. There was some shooting there. Not sure if it has since opened or not. The one border crossing to China is closed to foreigners. Not sure if that has changed in the last year but if the Pamir highway is also closed then I doubt it.
The A 372 into Kyrgyzstan is I think now open to foreigners. Then continue on this road into China. Last year Kyrgyzstan gave visa free status to a whole bunch of countries. You will need to enter Kyrg to get to China anyway. There is also another border crossing at Isafa. Don't trust google maps here. There is a nice new road skirting around Uzbekistan so you don't have to worry about that. Get your China visa before you leave. Some places are easier than others. My last time to get a Chinese visa (from Budapest) took one day and they gave me 90 days.
Jun 27, 2013 9:05 PM
2To save you looking through older posts - it would appear that things change frequently!
Your nationality? Most will get VOA at Dushanbe but check if your country qualifies -http://caravanistan.com/visa/tajikistan/ W/out LOI - is your call sounds risky as you might get a regular visa (no tourist) which requires expensive registration.(100+) GBAO you can get cheaply after arrival but sounds like you will need at least half a day for it.
Kyrgistan has no visa issues for most countries
Chinese visa will be tricky if you confess your NW entry point some say you will be refused so be creative...
Pakistan: You must get one in your country of residence! Also with KKH - sounds like you won't get all the way through even before the effects of recent events. I planned to turn right at Gilgit via Shandur pass. Not sure what will be possible by the time I arrive there...
Jun 28, 2013 2:33 AM
Thanks for such great replies.
I'm going to get an LOI for Tajikstan through Stan Tours. I'd rather be on the safe side as I need to get cycling.
Krgyzstan visa looks straightforward.
Just looking in to the Pakistan visa now, there is a consulate nearby so hopefully I can get this sorted fairly easily.
China - hmm I'll get 'creative'.
Jun 28, 2013 8:52 AM
4Ok Re Chinese visa the suggestion is to provide a more touristy itinerary - not mentioning Xinjiang as point of entry. This is just reading other posts in the past, not personal experience.
I think it is even more important to do the same with Pakistan especially after recent events! I would start there as believe it is currently the tricky one!
Also I believe you can get the actual Tajik visa without LOI before departure if you in London. It happened not long ago that they suddenly stopped issuing VOA!
Might see you on the road (if you not going too fast!) - will be in Dushanbe on 18th.
Jul 2, 2013 6:06 AM
5Thanks for the info so far.
I've worked out a reasonable solution for my china visa based on the info provided so far and have submitted this. Last resort I sort it in Bishek.
Now to the Pakistani visa. Reading around things it sounds as though they are reluctant to issue visas for people travelling to Northern Pakistan/Baltistan.
Does anyone have any up to date info on this?
Jul 2, 2013 9:49 PM
6I got mine (in NZ) with Itinerary coming through India - Lahore Islamabad Rawalpindi Taxila etc plus mentioned that I am talking to a tour company about 4-5 day trip to "the mountains". I was hoping to include their offer but in the end they never answered.
In NZ they also don't ask for LOI unless you are invited by a person/family. I did had a ticket in and out of Delhi. I did notice that some embassies, once you call them,have different requirements for support material to the ones stated on the website so worth ringing them.
Hope that helps.
Jul 9, 2013 10:09 AM
7You'll get much better visa info if you head over to the branches about the specific countries you're interested in. That stuff isn't bike specific. Most branches have a visa sticky where you'll find up-to-date stuff.
For the stans, I've used Stantours for LOIs. They were reliable but paying them was a hassle.
If you're in the UK, Kyrg visas are easy to get in London, but expensive. Taj was pretty hopeless - every time I went they said come back tomorrow, which is a nightmare if you don't live in London. In the end I got an agent to do it with the GBAO. It was very expensive (£200 for visa + LOI) but the agent didn't charge much.
Rumour has it that the Kulma Pass which takes you direct from Taj to China is now open to foreigners, but you should research that carefully before relying on it.
Jul 9, 2013 10:14 AM
Aug 30, 2013 4:57 AM
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