Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

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steven
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by steven »

dessenior wrote:If you have the visa for Turkmenistan it might be worth looking into a trip to the Door to Hell. The visa can be hard to get but it'd probably be a more memorable visit than Ashgabat.
I disagree. I find Ashgabat astounding. Door to Hell is fun, but nothing compared to a real live volcano, imo.
dessenior wrote: Steven - you say Song Kul will be empty by September. Is this because it's mostly a 'seaside' destination that only gets visitors in the holiday season or will it be unpleasantly cold?
It won't be completely covered in snow necessarily yet, but the yurts will be gone. Shepherds have driven their flocks down to the low ground again.

It will be empty by Mid-September, not necessarily early September.
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DoubleDutch
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by DoubleDutch »

Hi everyone!

I hope it's okay that I write this here. Otherwise I would be happy to start a new topic.
First of all: thanks for all of the information on the website and in this forum. It's great!
Sorry for the anonymity (and my bad English). The outside world (my boss) doesn't know about our plans yet...

So, we are a Dutch couple and are planning to do an overland trip with a Land Rover Defender (sleeping in a roof tent). We are planning to go away for a year, but we are flexible. Because my contract (job) ends in the beginning of September, we're planning to leave somewhere in the end of September. We had a rough plan for the route, but I forgot about 1 thing: winter is coming. I read a lot about weather conditions, best seasons to go, looked at your great winter climates on the Silk Road maps etc. But it's to much! I can't figure out what the best route would be. Also because I can't really comprehend how long we would stay in a specific area etc.

I hope you guys can help us. I would be happy to donate if it takes more time than usual. Happy to hear your thoughts!

So the original plan was:
Netherlands
Germany
Denmark
Norway
Sweden
Finland
Estonia
Latvia
Lithuania
Poland
Ukraine
Romania
Bulgaria
Turkey
Georgia
Azerbaijan (and or Armenia)
Iran
Pakistan
India (and maybe Sri Lanka)
China
Tajikistan
Kyrgyzstan
Uzbekistan
Kazakhstan
Russia and then back home

The whole loop through the -Stans was at one time the other way around. And it's still a bit messy, and not totally done. (The first idea was to drive through Vietnam. And then we found out about the not getting in with your own car. So maybe we 'just' stay in Central Asia.)

But our first concern now is winter. Should we change the whole start of the trip, so we will be somewhere where it's not freezing in winter? (Freezing our asses of in our roof tent.) I read about a great trip through the Middle East. But that was before Syria. And taking a boat from Turkey to Lebanon is great, but you can't enter Israel. So we'd be stuck. Staying in Southern Europe first is maybe to expensive. What to do, what to do.

So, long story short. What should we do, where should we be when winter is coming? Thanks a lot!
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steven
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by steven »

Hi doubledutch,

thanks for the compliments! Donations are always appreciated, but you are only just beginning your trip - you will need this website much more often still before you get home :-)

Before we get to the weather, consider how you will get back from India. Through Tibet and China with a car will be very pricey by yourself. Driving in China is expensive because of the guide. Returning to Pakistan is difficult because it is hard to get a visa once you are in India (a transit visa should be in the cards, though). Shipping your car from India is another tricky and expensive idea.

https://caravanistan.com/transport/driving/china/

Difficult question here since most of your trip is in cold countries (how would staying in Southern Europe be more expensive than staying in Scandinavia?) In any case, if you don't want to travel in cold climes in winter, you should avoid Scandinavia, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Turkey as much as possible between October and March.

Here is my idea.

1. Leave Scandinavia for another time. You live in Europe, it's really close.
2. Leaving in September, rush through the Balkans to Istanbul. Turkey - Iran - Pakistan - India for the winter.
3. Once spring comes around, turn to Central Asia via the Karakorum Highway. 4 stans + Russia, then return to NL at the end of October via Caucasus - Turkey - Balkans or via Baltic + Scandinavia.

Just my 2 cents.

For the Central Asia loop coming from China, I would recommend Qolma or Irkeshtam pass, then straight to Osh and into Uzbekistan (this will be the warmest early in the season). After Uzbekistan, return to Tajikistan, do the Pamir Highway Dushanbe - Khorog - Osh and then take your time for Kyrgyzstan. It should have warmed up by that time. Then Kazakhstan to Russia or the boat to Baku.

Enjoy the planning! :-)
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smlby17
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by smlby17 »

Hi everybody,

I found this thread to be most suitable to ask for traveling weather advice :)

We're two guys that want to travel a little bit in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and maybe (if there is enough time) Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan (Almaty region to avoid time spent on a train/plane).
We have two time slots that we could make, one is from the end of August to beginning/middle of September and the other is from end of September up to middle of October (which would be preferred if the weather is not too cold). We re not sure whether the later time slot would be advisable for traveling in Kyrgyzstan since we want to travel very light and not bring all the winter stuff. Plus, we wanted to do a little bit of hiking. From experience, which time would be more suitable? I know that it'll be quite hot during August in Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan...

Thanks in advance

Jan

P.S.: Lovely page you (the people behind this page) created with Caravanistan, will help us greatly planning the trip!
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DoubleDutch
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by DoubleDutch »

steven wrote: Enjoy the planning! :-)
Thanks a lot Steven! We have a lot to discuss now! :D Thanks again, and we'll be back. Like you said, we're only beginning our trip!
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steven
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by steven »

smlby17 wrote:We're two guys that want to travel a little bit in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and maybe (if there is enough time) Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan (Almaty region to avoid time spent on a train/plane).
We have two time slots that we could make, one is from the end of August to beginning/middle of September and the other is from end of September up to middle of October (which would be preferred if the weather is not too cold).

We re not sure whether the later time slot would be advisable for traveling in Kyrgyzstan since we want to travel very light and not bring all the winter stuff. Plus, we wanted to do a little bit of hiking. From experience, which time would be more suitable? I know that it'll be quite hot during August in Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan...
Hi Jan,

classic dilemma: when it's nice in the mountains, it's hot in the desert. When it's nice in the desert, cold in the mountains. But I think you have a perfect moment there with the first time slot end of August-mid September. Do Kyrgyzstan first, you will have perfect hiking weather and the yurts and shepherds are still on the mountain.

Then head over to Uzbekistan (and Turkmenistan if you make it). It is still hot, but definitely doable.

The second time slot: nice in Uzbekistan, but much colder in the mountains, possibility of snow on the lower reaches, and no more yurts on the jailoo.

And thanks for the compliments! :-)
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Minke
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by Minke »

Hello all!

My boyfriend and I are going to travel from Amsterdam to India through the Stans (and a transit through China). We're planning to be in Kazachstan at the end of September. We know this probably ain't the perfect timing for the Stans (we really want to travel through them :)! )but is there anyone who can advise use on the climate in this time of the year? What is for example the final date possibly be in the Stans and still be sort of comfortable? We're travlling with a Toyota Landcruiser in which we can sleep. Thanks for any advise and for all the usefull information we allready received from this site.

Greets, Minke
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steven
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by steven »

Hi Minke,

so you are starting you Stan trip in Kazakhstan in September? And when are you planning to head to China? Do note the Karakorum pass is closed in winter, but I believe the Kyirong pass between Tibet and Nepal is open all year round - I assume you want to take that one?

I would say in general, November is getting really chilly with a good chance of snow at lower altitudes as well. September is kind of the latest for trekking, but September and October are some of the nicest months for general traveling in the Stans: nice weather, lots of fresh produce, not so many backpackers, fall colours.
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by DoubleDutch »

Hi again!
It's been a while. We thought about leaving September 2018, but in the end we left a full year later!
We wanted to follow your advice Steven (rushing through Europe, be in Iran etc in winter), but we were just so tired of all the preparations, that we just couldn't rush anymore.
So it's Winter now, and we just made it to Turkey. We'll probably spend some time here at the southwest coast (Didim, Bodrum, Antalya region) to escape the cold. But I'm really in doubt about when and how to proceed. I read about best times to visit etc, but it's all so much! Should we go to Georgia in January for instance, or wait a little longer and go to Iran directly? I'm so in doubt! We're not prepared for real winter. Of course we already had some cold nights with temperatures just below zero, but we probably shouldn't be in East Turkey and North Iran with a lot of snow and freezing temperatures.
What do you reckon is smart?
Kind regards from Turkey! Thanks a lot in advance!
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steven
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Re: Big Silk Road trips: Weather planning Q&A

Post by steven »

Well, it's still a long time before temperatures go up again.

One option would be to rush through to Southern Iran and hang out there for a while. Or, if you want to keep traveling, go to Pakistan - India. Those are the places people go to in winter.
Second option would be to park your car and take a plane there, or elsewhere.
Third option would be to stick around in the warmer areas of Turkey.

That's my first thoughts.
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