Route & current location


Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Current location: Southern Thailand, cycling to Bangkok

20,000km in a sentence...

The expedition begins right at my doorstep in Hobart, Tasmania - right at the bottom of Australia, and passes across Australia, SE Asia to South China, up the Yangtze River to skirt the Taklamakan Desert, into Kazahkstan, across Russia and into Europe to finish in Helsinki.

...or with an atlas: Australia

...you'll need a good atlas, a keen eye and patience: it is afterall a bloody long way.
A beginning: from my front door in Hobart, Tasmania, or even the top of Mt Wellington to Devonport on the North Coast, and by ferry to the mighty metropolis of Melbourne. After staying with friends, I'll head west to Adelaide, and on to Alice Springs in Central Australia and beyond, through more desert country to Darwin, at the top of Australia.

...South East Asia

Now, a decision. Either a flight from Darwin to Singapore, or wrangle my way into a longer Indonesian visa to allow me to cycle from Bali to Medan.
Either way continues up the Malaysian east coast and up through Thailand, right up to Chiang Rai in the hills by Laos. Either, (depending on how much time I have in regards to the season - important for crossing southern China by the route I've selected) go down the Mekong by boat to Vientiane, or just cross into Laos straight away and head up the back roads to a place called Louang Namtha, from where I'll cross the ridge back into the main Mekong valley, and into China.


Initially, keep following the Mekong: Jinghong, Lancang, Lincang, Dali.
Then it's a bit of a mission hopping over to the Yangtze valley: Qiaotou, Zhongdiang. For the next good whack, it's following the Yangtze right up to its source in Qinghai province, along the edge of the Tibetan plateau. So it'll be a winter crossing, high, 4000m+, jolly cold, but dry and no mud. Happily, I'm following the route of one Edward Genochio, who went through at the same time of year in 2005 and gave excellent details. A huge thank you!
If you're still with me keep going along up the Yangtze: Derong, Batang, Baiyu, Dege. Massive 4600m pass to Maniganggo, left to Serxu, Xiwu, cross the river there to Yushu/Gyegu, and continue up up up to Qumarleb, the most remote part of the jaunt...and on to Qumarheyan, on the Golmud-Lhasa highway and a big sigh of relief!
From there, it's a matter of cleaning up the clicks to Golmud, Da Qaidam Zhen, Huahaizi, Dunhuang, Hongliuyuan, Xingxingxia, Hami, Turpan, Urumqi - another breather, and a pause to get a Kazahkstan visa - then on to Shihezi, Kuytun, Santai (camp by the lake!) and over the border into Kazahkstan at Korgas.


A short (relatively) hop to Almaty (good big break, phew).
Say hello to Borat, and continue on and on and on through Taraz, Shymkent, NW to Kyzlorda, past the Aral Sea to Aktyubinsk, to Uralsk. With me so far?

...Russia...and the end.

Into Russia (Europe! Almost there!) to Saratov (or, if it's not winter again by then, and I'm wanting a trans-Russia dash, around Moscow to Vologda, St Petersburg, and into Finland), Volgograd via a leisurely cycle down the River Volga, to Rostov, into the Ukraine to Mariupol, Berdyansk, Odessa, up towards Uman, left to Vinnytsa, N to Zhytomy, over to Warsaw in Poland (phew, in the EU, no visas any more), up to Estonia, and a boat to Helsinki, unless I can still enter on the Russian visa and nip around by St Petersburg.
By then, no doubt a very happy chappy! A good beer somewhere to celebrate.
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