this forum helped us a lot in organising and during our journey around Central Asia. The following reports are meant to give something back to the community and to Steven as a big Thank You for having all of this information readily available here.
Kazakhstan (& Russia Bonus): http://caravanistan.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3645
Feel free to contact me or my girlfriend with any questions or comments!
BONUS EPISODE Turkey/Georgia/Armenia
- Georgia insurance bought in Batumi (nothing sold at border). Process took 3 hours (finding vendor, buying, paying at special bank). We weren't asked for it by police in the country or when exiting. The insurance covered only a sum of 5000 USD, but cost 50 USD. Considering the long process, the low coverage and a police that is not interested in liability insurances, we would not buy an insurance in Georgia again. If someone is still interested, the insurance company was Aldagi (http://www.aldagi.ge/en/), situated here: 41.6526173,41.640898.
- Georgia-Armenia border near Sadakhlo: exit very swift. Entry to Armenia not so much. Customs asked for ca. 20 USD (iirc) import tax. Looked very official, with dedicated bank counter and 4 versions of the same receipt. After 30 minutes, we were in Armenia.
- In total one police stop in Armenia. Very friendly!
- We deeply regret not staying longer in Georgia and Armenia (almost 2 weeks), especially compared to Iran (4 weeks). Very friendly encounters in both countries and much more to discover.
- Road from Tbilisi to Yerevan very bad on Armenian side until Sevan. Streets in several villages were cut open, water everywhere, driving a lot of zigzag. Locals at border in their 4x4 already smiled knowingly at us. Expect ½ of your usual average speed at most.
- SIM Card in Turkey was biggest waste of money. Vodafone didn't get our card working, despite 3 visits to different shops and over 90 minutes of calling headquarters. You could really tell that Turkey is slipping into a total police state -- apparently our passport details were never properly processed by the store that sold us the card… and before that, no working phone. Anyone in Turkey can open a cell phone store, so the market is basically dominated by the least educated and otherwise least employable people in Turkey. Next time only with a local, and leave the store only with a working connection.