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Himalayan Adventures – FAQ

  
9. October 2000

THIS INFORMATION IS PARTLY OUTDATED!

what´s the best time cycling in tibet?

because of the monsoon in july and august it often was cloudy, and some times snow was falling. just after the aksai chin plateau we stuck in the mud for three days. it was impossible to push or to carry the bike. the whole area was muddy. but at the beginning of september the weather got dryer and dryer. at daytime it often was quite warm, about 20 degrees celsius or more. but when on a high pass, or when it?s cloudy or when snow is falling or when wind is going you will be remembered that you are on the highest road of the world. which means you need face guard, gloves, "goretex" trousers and so on. at night it was always cold, getting even colder at the end of september. the lowest temperature was -2 degree celsius INSIDE the tent. i think 10-15 degree celius MINUS is common at night. the tent and our bicycles were often covered with a thin ice-surface in the morning. you will experience effects of the monsoon till mid of sept. which meens sometimes cloudy, rain and snow, and - which is the worst - bad, muddy road conditions, deep river crossings ... but that´s part of the adventure, isn´t it?! though western tibet is quite dry, also in monsoon time, the road can get very bad during monsoon. especially the southern route (which is great) is sometimes blocked in summer. you have to ask the truck drivers for the latest news on the road. when there´s no bridge and the river is too big, you have to take a truck. we started cycling from kashgar at the 18th of august and reached kathmandu at 1st of october.

what about the checkpoints and the PSB?

well i cycled quite a lot in tibet and i had no problems at all. i heard of problems in yecheng, some cyclists started at night, but we cycled on at noon. till ali there are no checkpoints at all. i think there are 3 then to the border. take a look at the km-table on my page. checkpoints and , which is very important, facilities to get food, are listed there! in ali we had to pay a permit for 350 yuan, and were then legally cycling through the ali prefecture. generally, don´t worry too much about permits and checkpoints. don´t stop at checkpoints, just move on and wave good bye in a friendly way, smiling. when they begin to think what had happened, you are far away... in yecheng you are allowed to stay in just one or two special foreign-hotels, you have to fill out forms. never tell people that you are heading to western tibet, say you are going to kashgar or taking the southern silk road.

how can i get to kashgar?

you can fly to islamabad, bishkek or almaty then and cycle to kashgar (or take a bus when you have no time). what´s important to know about crossing the torugart pass? when you go from bishkek you have to take an agency to cross the border to china at torugart. we managed to pay totally 100 US dollar per person. on the kyrgyz side the agency was edelweiss (in bishkek) on the chinese side it was steve larson in kashgar. the more people are going your way, the less each of you has to pay. we were 8 people, so it was rather cheap. of course we joined the group not in bishkek, but about 100 km before the border. Edelweiss Travel Company 68/9 Usenbaev st., Bishkek , 720021, Kyrghyzstan, CIS; Tel: 00996 312 28-07-88, 00996 312 28-42-54; Fax: 00996 312 68-00-38; E-mail : edelweiss@imfiko.bishkek.su Steve Larson Caravan Cafe" ; 120 Seman Road; Kashgar, Xinjiang, PRC 844000 (next to the Chinibag Hotel); Tel: (Office) 86 998 284 1864; (Home) 86 998 261 3196; Fax: 86 998 284 2196 Email: caravan_cafe@yahoo.com

what about dogs in tibet?

it´s very important to stop and not to try to cycle away. throw some stones and they are leaving. in general don ´t worry too much about the dogs. they are mostly just barking and go away when you stop and behave self-confident. i took vaccinations against rabies at home. but general dogs are not that problem i exspected at my first trip. be aware when you are approaching a tent or house.

what about getting food and water in remote western tibet?

well food is one of the things which makes cycling in western tibet sometimes very complicated. i lost 15 kilo during 2 months. take some dehydrated food from home, many 1-minute-soups etc. you often can buy just a few packs of chinese noodles. chocolate is very important but very hard to get. take a look at my km-table, the facilities for buying something are all listed there. in some areas road-working stations and army-camps are the only possibilities for getting some food. check out the 761-army-biscuits and red-bull. we carried the normal MSR stove. we managed sometimes to get benzin which is much better of diesel of course. taking two bottles of fuel would be no bad idea i think. sometimes we were forced to use diesel, which we got from friendly truck drivers. we took a katadyn ceramic filter mini (but used it very seldom) and water-purifier which we used every time. water is quite often to get. but you have to fill up your water-reservoirs in time. sometimes it happened that we had no water for cooking the meal and breakfast because we thought that a possiblity will come for sure.

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