Getting a visa for
We got our Chinese visa in Ankara, Turkey. For those with GPS:
N39 53.939 E32 52.385
The visa expires 3 months after the date of issue. Meaning you have
to enter before that date and are then allowed as many days in the country
as your visa is valid for.
We showed up at the Chinese embassy. We were able to get the visa forms
from the security guard at the gate. So we filled out the forms, while
we were waiting for the embassy to open. We handed in the forms and
a passport picture each. We applied in June but had put the entry date
for beginning of September. We knew this was cutting it close (3 months
problem see above), but we were fairly confident in our planning So
at first they did not want to accept the application, saying we should
get the visa at a later date. We insisted and finally were told to come
back in 3 days.
The visas were then issued without any further problems. We had to pay
for them on the spot in US dollars. They were 30 US dollars each.
Getting permits for the vehicles:
To start with some bad news: As far as we know there is unfortunately no
easy or cheap way to do this legally yet. We have heard about some motorcyclists
who made it into China through the Druzhba-Alashankol (Kazakhstan-Chinese)
border with only a Chinese visa. Check the forum at Horizons
Unlimited for details (search for China).
At the Torugart border the guards on the Kyrgyz side will not
let you up to the Chinese border if you can't show proof that a guide
and support vehicle is meeting you up at the pass. So if you want to
go this way, you have to arrange for all the paperwork and the guide
before hand through an agency. They will need from 10 to 30 days advance
notice to get this set up.
We ended up having Caravan Cafe
(firstname.lastname@example.org) in Kashgar arrange for all the paperwork
and guides. For the whole trip with two people and two motorcycles we
paid USD 1500.- . They needed 30 days advance notice. The guys at Caravan
Cafe are sometimes a bit slow in answering e-mail, but I have to admit
in the end everything worked out great.
According to Caravan Cafe it is not possible to do Inter province
travel with your own motorcycle inside China. Which was fine with us,
since we wanted to go over Kunjerab Pass into Pakistan anyway. However
I have another contact who says it can be done, however at a price and
with at least three months advance notice.
!!!!!!!!!! ATTENTION !!!!!!!!!!
Do NOT use the
following contact to set up your paperwork. This person is a trickster
and has left various travelers stranded at the border!
skype user name: puzzled
Coming into China at Torugart:
There are plenty of money changers once you finally make it down
to the border. You will not need any money before that. Change leftover
Kyrgyz currency here, since that is more complicated in Kashgar.
There is plenty of money changers in Kashgar. There is also a couple
of ATM's there, but we couldn't get any of them to accept our cards!
Leaving China over Kunjerab Pass
We changed all our left over Chinese money into Pakistani currency
before leaving Tashkurgan. You don't need any Chinese money at the border
and I think it would be difficult to change Chinese currency once in
Pakistan. As a last resort the lone Pakistani guard at the top of Kunjerab
may change money for you.