Tips for other Travellers
We have ourselves many times found it very useful to find tips and tricks from other travellers, and we have now noticed that people with similar plans are checking out our site or asking us questions about this and that. With this page, we intend to forward some info that was particularly cumbersome to come by or that others have asked us about. We hope it helps anyone! If it does or if you would have suggestions for more/other tips, please leave a comment below!

Adresses and phonenumbers to embassies

Usbek Embassy, Tehran

Kyrgyz Embassy, Tehran

Turkmen Embassy, Tehran
on the Internet, in travel-guidebooks etc you find addresses and numbers, but at the time we where in Tehran, none of them was right as the embassy had moved recently. Here you find what was valid in february 2009:

General Location: northern-eastern Tehran
Address for a taxi driver: Off "Shahid Doktor Lavazani" into "Shahid Vatan Poor" into "Berani".


we spoke to Mr Dohlat who was very helpful and kind, but maybe not too strong in english.

Turkmen Embassy, Mashad:

Russian Embassy, Hong Kong:
Sun Hung Kai Center, 21st floor, 30 harbour road, Wan Chai (Wan Chai Subway stop)

Hejab (women's proper covering) in Iran

As a general rule, foreigners are much more free and treated more forgivingly than Iranian women. But still, covering up the hair is very important. Wearing a long, long-sleeved, light coat that goes down to the knees is strongly recommended. While cycling, it can be knoted over the hips so it won't disturb too much. When getting off the bicycle, open the knot and let it fall down.
The scarf does not have to be tied under your chin, it can also be tied in your neck. This way it stays better in place and even looks a bit more sporty.
Avoid screaming colors by all means. The police won't mind so much, but most men in Iran will mind and reward you with reckless staring. Stick to dark colors, preferably black.

Chinese Visa in Tashkent

At the time we where in Tashkent (April 2009) the Chinese weren't too keen on giving out Visas. Here is what you have to bring to the embassy in Tashkent to get one:
  1. make a flight reservation with e.g. Uzbek Airways from Taskhent to China (Beijing, other cities). You will get a little piece of paper which is a flight confirmation (in the eyes of the chinese consul). This does not cost anything.
  2. make some hotel/hostal booking with Make printouts, then cancel the bookings. You will be charged 10% of the amount of your booking. As hostels in China sometimes cost as little as 1 or 2 US$ a night, this doesn't hurt too much.
  3. photo
  4. copy of your passport

with this, you should be able to get a 30 days visa, we tried 90 but with no luck. Also, we tried to get an express visa (same working day) but "njet", no way to do that for us, we had to wait 5 days.

Getting a bike fixed in Tashkent

Many of the travellers we met had little troubles with their bikes, until the came to Central Asia. Surprisingly, there is no real bicycle shop in Tashkent and getting parts or reparations done can be difficult. There is, however, Dimitry. He fixes bikes on some sort of private bases and knows his business well. Try to give him a call him at +998971031220 (not too much english is spoken) and visit him in his "atelier":

Yangiabad District
Aliyev street
Childrens Garden No 407

Bike Shop in Kashgar, China

we found a recommendable bike (Giant) shop in Kashgar that has a great number of bikes and more importantly spare parts. Top of the line rims (in our case a Sun Rhyno lite) are in stock, also the whole variety of Shimano parts from Deore to XTR. It seems that the spokes available in China are of a bad quality. It is therefore even more recommended to do any spoke-jobes yourself: ours was badly done and many of the spokes had to be replaced as a consequence. Happy fiddling!
Note: little english is spoken!

NO.37 Jiankang Road, Kashgar
Mobile: 15026300793

Crossing the Chinese Border at Irkeshtam

when we crossed in May 2009, the only thing the border control was really interested in was the Swine Disease and... "books and maps". The latter where examinded very accurately after any signs of an independent Taiwan and declared as illegal because Taipei/Taipeh either had the same map-symbol like Beijing or because Taiwan was colored differently than China. The commander in chief showed us some nice, brandnew, confiscated Lonely Planets to proof that he was not joking
Only by begging hardly and cutting out (literally, with a swiss army knife!) Taiwan from our map and some pages from our Lonely Planet China, we got around the confiscation.
Our tip therefore: if you have the heart to do so, remove all such signs of political incorrectness (or rather correctness, depending on the point of view) from your books and maps and thus avoid the discussions from the start. Sorry about the waste, but it's easier...

China-Visa 'Management'

due to our long stay in China, we had to extend our first China-Visa twice, then get an new one in Hong Kong (i.e. leaving China Mainland and reentering) and extend this another time. The information below was valid for the time of May 2009 to August 2009.
  • All district (not only province) capitols can generally extend Visas
  • In our case very clear: extending a Visa seems to be easier in smaller cities! In Hami it took roughly 1 hour (!!!), in Lanzhou 1 day, in Shanghai 7 days.
  • Extending the Visa in Beijing is virtually impossible: you must provide a bank statement of the Bank of China in which you can prove that you have an account with at least 100 USD per day of extending handy. This is valid for Tourist Visas (L)!
  • Several police stations have told us that extending is possible 2 times, no more, no matter how hard you try.
  • Getting a new Visa is very easily done in Hong Kong. For a rush fee a one-day processing is possible.
  • At the time we applied for a new China Visa in Hong Kong (July 15th, 2009), only 30 days Visas were issued, no way to get more than that.

The Transsiberian, with or without Bicycles

We found lots of Internet ressources describing how painful the booking a ticket for the Transsiberian Railway is. We valued them obviously a bit too much, and found it ourrselves not hard at all to get it done.
  • Agency: we used CITS (China International Travelling Services) to get our reservation done in time (as we were somewhere on our way in rural China) and also to pick up our tickets. There are many other agencies around which both are much more expensive and also did not reply to our Email inquiries in a sensible amount of time.
Address: Room 1206, No.1 dong dan bei da jie street, Beijng (Map)
Telephone: (+8610)-65222991
Our english speaking contact (recommended!): Mr. Cheng Hong
  • Price: Hard Sleeper Tickets (4 bed berth), non-stop Beijing to Moscow via Mongolia, 1 person: 590 USD
  • Bicycles: in contrary to what some websites say, the Transsib caters to bike-travellers. The bikes (and other excess luggage) are to be taken to the west side of the Beijing Train Station (look for "Beijing Customs"), the morning of the day before departure. Don't lock or package the bikes!
  • Price for bicycles: 16.8 RMB per kilogram (Beijing-Moscow), ours were 480 RMB.
  • Transsib timetables (and much more valuable information like train numbers etc) can be found here.
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