I will be cycling from France to Southeast Asia in a few weeks, I've got the first part all ready up to Turkey, my problems come after! I'd like to reach it without flying but not sure what way to take because of the visas and safety concerns, any advise ?
The indian route is a no no because of Pakistan and Myanmar. Pakistan is doable if you do your visa from France, but Myanmar, you can't cross it by land (except if it changed lately).
The easiest is from China (from Mongolia or Kazakhstan for example) then Laos or Vietnam.
I d'love to pass by Mongolia, but I think that when I'd arrive it would be to cold for cycle through!
Does anyone know if it could be possible to pass by Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and then China ?
When I say possible, I mean the visas but also the terrain ?
Thanks a lot :)
So far as I know, it is now technically possible to cycle through Burma - they have eased up on cross-country visas, but its not a guaranteed passage, and apparently there are still difficulties in places, not least because of a hostile situation in the border areas. There are some accounts of crossing the border on the crazyguyonabike website, and on the On Your Bike forum on the Lonely Planet website.
I think the 'traditional' route which is still possible is Iran, then go the Pamir Highway (north of Afghanistan), then into China. So far as I know, this is still ok in terms of politics, visas, current wars, and is cyclable up to around November. But in China, it is not possible now to cycle in Tibet solo, so you would have to take a northern route, and essentially drop north down into Sichuan and Yunnan to get to SE Asia. Its getting very late in the year to do this (assuming you want to do it before winter hits and those high passes freeze up). There are issues with such a long trip in China because of the length of the visa, but its still possible.
Thanks all of you for the advice! I think I'll go somewhere around the Pamir highway! I'll let you know once I'll be over there!