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Old 11-08-2010, 05:30 AM   #16
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Stockholm Sweden
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This report brings back some great memories! Did almost the same stretch a couple of years ago. You are even doing it the right way. Towards home instead of away from it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:01 AM   #17
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amazing - post all your pics up puhleeeese
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:33 AM   #18
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Nice shots and looking forward to the report
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:49 PM   #19
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Thumb Ready when you are...

Wetmywhistle photo's Looks like a lot of pavement, sorry but I've got to ask what kind of mileage you got from those K60??? (those of us on pig bikes neeed to know) Now I'll be quiet and wait patiently for the rest of the show
06-wr450f -bigga 'n betta
06-950 Adventure - PURE EXHILARATION!
“Life is a verb, not a noun.” ~Charlotte Perkins Gilman
"Excellent, there was a big one coming up ‘Cheap petrol in hell’, that really got me pondering, until I got a little closer and realised the ‘S’ had dropped off the sign advertising the Shell servo in Norseman. Shame really, it was a thought-provoking slogan." - Katie em
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:17 PM   #20
ADVrider junkie :)
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Excellent pics ...... I look forward to more
'03 Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:17 PM   #21
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Looks like a great ADV is coming our way. I am tuned.
Growing old is compulsory - growing up is optional

Exploring the world on 2-wheels...little at a time

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Old 11-08-2010, 08:18 PM   #22
Iron Tiger
Born To Be Wild
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your physical and mental extraordinary..
thanks for sharing stories about your adventures.
Pray, Work & Ride...
Our Journey Must Go On...
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:23 AM   #23
longwaybackhome OP
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Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Finland
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Thanks for the feedback!

Many many thanks for the compliments. I feel the pressure to deliver now.

Originally Posted by funhouse
BMW should pay you for the rights to this report! Bruce
I may need some support from BMW soon... See

Originally Posted by yeuop
I've been waiting for this one!!
Can't wait to read about Kyrgyzstan..
Piotr, I am very happy to have met you and Dominik in Marinsk. You are a real hardcore ADVrider! Your report is top notch although I for whatever reason still can not see most of your photos in full!

Anyway both our trips as well as the riding season for this year are over now! Sulphur!

Originally Posted by Rogdog
Those are some jaw droppingly beautiful photos... and can't wait for more about your ride across Korea, lived there for 4 years and it has a special place in the heart (that and an addiction to Kimchi).
I used to be a kimchiholic and now my withdrawal syndrome got really bad again.

Originally Posted by Ohota
Looks like a nice trip. very good photo's. I will follow this one. If you have time you can also look at my trip in 2007. Vladivostok to Norway.
I have read your report probably 10 times - It is one of the triggers to my trip! So thanks for the report and "guidance".

Originally Posted by sambor1965
Hello! Excellent pics Andrey!
Hello Krzysztof! Thank you very much for your kind e-mail advice with regards to the Stans and Pamir Highway!

Originally Posted by G-Wing
Wetmywhistle photo's Looks like a lot of pavement, sorry but I've got to ask what kind of mileage you got from those K60??? (those of us on pig bikes neeed to know) Now I'll be quiet and wait patiently for the rest of the show
Had a puncture that I couldn't patch 100% (or possibly a small second one that I did not find) so I needed to check the pressure / fill regularly. I had roughly 18.000 km on the rear tire when I run it with too little air and then shit hit the fan. There was 5 mm thread depth left so from wear point of view there would have been quite some kms left.
Ride safely!
Longwaybackhome ?

longwaybackhome screwed with this post 11-09-2010 at 07:44 AM
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Old 11-12-2010, 03:11 AM   #24
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Iron Tiger

Originally Posted by Iron Tiger
your physical and mental extraordinary..
thanks for sharing stories about your adventures.
Are you a real Vladivostok Iron Tiger?
Ride safely!
Longwaybackhome ?
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Old 11-12-2010, 03:25 AM   #25
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Location: Finland
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Trip preparation - Route / Visas

Available time frame:

Start: Second half of June in Busan, South Korea.
End: Not later than end August in Finland

Route planning:

Since the start and end positions were fixed I just needed to find an interesting route between these two places. I used our home atlas and Google Maps for rough planning.

My initial plan was to take the ferry to China and ride through China to Mongolia and then onwards. After a late night on the forum I had to give up touring China due to the requirement for a 24h escort (including car and driver that would have to be paid by me as well). I even contacted some of the companies arranging group trips in China if it would have been possible to join for the section of their trip through China. Matching schedules, the paperwork for getting my own bike into China legally and cost made it unfeasible.

I had to get to Vladivostok to start my trip there. After some research I found the Dong Chun Ferry which is trading between the South Korean port of Sokcho on the coast of the Eastern Sea alternating between Zarubino and Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. I did from the beginning not even consider the option of riding through North Korea. As far as I know so far no foreigner has ridden a foreign motorcycle in North Korea and I did not want to spend half a year to try to get the papers in place and then get a last minute rejection. Anyway, there was again some increased tension between North and South in spring 2010 (

For whatever reason calculating distances with Google Maps in the Russian Far East does not work. The Russian Far East map that I had managed to find was not too good with a scale of 1:10.000.000. At least distance calculation is easy, 1 cm is 100 km! For Central Asia I had excellent maps from the German company “Reise Knowhow”, scale 1:2.000.000 for Kazakhstan and 1:1.700.000 for the other Stans in one map ( These maps are printed on waterproof synthetic paper, which can not be torn. Perfect for motorcycling!

The following distance tables that I found on internet were also very helpful for the route planning:

Originally planned route and rough distances:

• ≈ 500 km - Busan to Sokcho on the coast of the “Eastern sea” (ferry from Sokcho to Zarubino / Vladivostok).
• ≈ 4000 km - Zarubino / Vladivostok to Lake Baikal.
• ≈ 2000 km - Lake Baikal to Barnaul / Kazakh border.
• ≈ 1200 km - Kazakh border to Almaty.
• ≈ 250 km - Almaty to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.
• ≈ 2000 km - Bishkek to Dushanbe in Tajikistan along the Pamir highway.
• ≈ 1100 km - Dushanbe to Tashkent via Bukhara / Samarkand in Uzbekistan.
• ≈ 2000 km - Tashkent through Astana Kazakhstan to Russian border.
• ≈ 3000 km - Russian border (Kurgan) to Kiev, Ukraine.
≈ 2000 km - Kiev to Finland.
≈ 18050 km in total

The border crossing dates in the Stans were decisive for arranging the relevant visas. I spent many late nights time researching on the internet but did not find any good information available. What to do? Consult the ADVrider inmates of course!

Doug (inmate rtwdoug) whom I met in Korea autumn 2009 gave me a lot of information for the Russian part of my travel. Krzysztof (inmate sambor1965) helped me out with the Stans. Sakke (inmate Capo Sakke) from Finland was on his way to the Stans as well this summer (+ two other Finnish teams) and he had quite much information that he kindly shared. Read more about Sakke’s trip on his homepage Sakke and his friends also did the “SS 1000 Ice Butt” last winter, see

Many many thanks to all of you.

The visa challenge

Looking for visa invitation letters for Russia and the Stans and other general advice? David Berghof and his Stantours team in Almaty are simply doing a fantastic job. They are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, working in a very structured way and their info is always spot on and prompt. Hats off for the Stantours team!

David suggested that I should arrange all visas that I could get in Korea in advance. All countries except for Tajikistan had embassies or consulates in Seoul, in Busan there was even a Russian consulate. The Tajik visa I would obtain from the Tajik embassy in Bishkek.

Once I had the letters of invitation I just needed some passport photos, dollars and some time to get to Seoul. I had to use a number of my remaining holidays and Korean national holidays to take the train to Seoul to arrange the visas. I was treated fairly by the embassy staff and could get the visas without bigger problems. One of them demonstrated quite some flexibility and issued the visa despite my small “mistake”. The only mishap I had was the issuance of the Russian visa, the Russian consulate insisted on receiving the original letter of invitation, a printed copy was not acceptable (at the Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Uzbek embassies a printed copy was accepted). I had enough time to get the letter couriered so it did not mess up my travel in any way.

For those of you planning to do a similar trip, do your homework very well and start the process for arranging the visas on time to allow for any eventualities!

- Processing time for the invitation letter
- Already when asking for the letter of invitation the first and last day of entry, number of visits etc are fixed. If you need to change, you have to start the process from the beginning and ask for a new letter of invitation (see above). Better take a longer duration visa and double / multiple entry to be on the safe side.
- Courier delivery time for invitation letter (in case original is required by embassy / consulate for issuing the visa)
- Embassy / consulate processing time for issuing visas
- Restrictions on time between “visa issuance date” and “date of first entry”
- Different rules for different nationalities (if you travel in a multinational team)
- If you do not apply for the visa at the embassy in your home country, different rules may apply.
- NOTE: Embassies and consulates sometimes follow the national holidays of both their own country and the country of the embassy location (e.g. the Uzbek embassy in Seoul is closed both on Uzbek and Korean national holidays).

Motorcycle registration certificate

The Korean motorcycle registration certificate is naturally in Korean language only. For others than Koreans it could as well be e.g. a birth certificate. I went to the vehicle registration office to get an english language translation, which was easy. Unfortunately they did not have any official preprinted form for the “international certificate” but it was simply a Word document with information on the bike and myself. It looked very unofficial apart from the red stamp, the chop of the vehicle registration office. Would there be doubts about the authenticity of the document at the numerous border crossings and police controls ahead? Yes.


I took a basic traveller’s insurance for myself. Specially checked the validity in all countries that I would visit. I also verified that offroad motorcycling in general and specifically on the Pamir highway is not considered an “extreme sport” which would excluded from insurance coverage (some insurances have such clauses).

The bike insurance was a lot trickier since I had the bike registered in Korea. My Korean insurance was valid only within the borders of South Korea. Period. Contacted all Finnish insurance companies since I intended to have it registered in Finland. Not a chance, the finnish insurance companies only insure bikes once it is formally registered in Finland (and anyway, the finnish insurance is not much worth in case there is an incident east of Ural or in the Stans).

I did a quick search on the internet and contacted a handful of insurance companies issuing “international” vehicle insurance. The problem was always the same, they insure only vehicles that are registered in their country of operation (and some also required that the rider would be a citizen of their country or permanently living there). And anyway, it seems that most insurances would not have been valid in the Russian Far East and the Stans.

I would be able to buy the usual obligatory 3rd party insurance for Russia once I arrive in Vladivostok. However no coverage whatsoever for collision damage, theft etc. There was no other option than to hit the road uninsured! The bike has a list price in Finland as new exceeding 20.000 EUR…! I must admit that I had some difficulties catching sleep for a couple of nights when I researched the insurance issue.

Driver’s (Rider’s) license

Although the EU standard credit card size driver’s license with photo, signature and hologram looks very official and international it is not accepted in all countries along the long way back home. The Korean driver’s license is all in Korean.

A separate “International Driving Permit” is required for some of the countries and "recommended" for some. There are two different permits, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan have all joined the “Convention on road traffic of Nov. 8th 1968” whereas Kyrghyzstan has not joined the 1968 convention but only the “Convention on road circulation of Sep. 19th 1949”! Probably the Kyrghyz authorities would not bother about the license being according to 1949 or 1968 convention but I did not want to take a risk so I arranged both permits.

In Finland these “International Driving Permits” are issued by “Autoliitto” (Automobile and Touring Club of Finland) through insurance companies (with an official stamp from the police). Autoliitto also has a finnish language site listing all countries and their recommendations / requirements for the permit. The permit itself is on grey paper and the design is indeed from 1949 and 1968, they look very old. The cost in Finland is 28 EUR each.

Finally, the boring paperwork is done.

Rider and bike preparation will be dealt with in my next post.
Ride safely!
Longwaybackhome ?

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Old 11-12-2010, 03:26 AM   #26
Flying dutch
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I Like It

Can't wait for more
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:12 AM   #27
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Location: Alabamski Oblast, Redneckistan
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well its about damn time you started on your RR!

Looking forward to reading about it!

My bike hotel in Bulgaria. ADVriders get 1st beer free!

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Old 11-14-2010, 02:25 AM   #28
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Location: Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
Oddometer: 4,049
Subscribed, so get a move on
'01 F650 Dakar - modified as best I can

2005: Australia - 8 months/ 26.000 km (anti clockwise circle)
2009: Norway - 2 weeks/ 6000 km (Lindesnes to North cape)


Hey !
It's the African ant eater ritual !
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:17 AM   #29
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Subscribed, can't wait...
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:17 AM   #30
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