Visiting Kurdistan

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by computer_freak, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. computer_freak

    computer_freak Adventurer

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    Ever since the referendum I've had an itch that I need to scratch, which is visiting Kurdistan. The northern Iraq part of it.

    I know it sounds crazy given the recent instability but would it be possible to start my journey in the Netherlands, go to Turkey, use the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing and visit Erbil?

    A co-worker of mine is born in Kurdistan, he has contacts at my local embassy / consul general, he has family in Kurdistan and can teach me local customs. So I'm not going in completely blind and naive. I know the risk that I'm taking.

    What is your opinion?
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  2. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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  3. computer_freak

    computer_freak Adventurer

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    Thanks for that DavidM1, I underestimated the Turkish part of the trip. They probably still have this image of Dutch hospitality in their mind:

    [​IMG]

    (for those not knowing, we forcefully escorted the minister of family affairs out of the Netherlands after she tried to sneak into the country campaigning for the Turkish referendum)
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  4. computer_freak

    computer_freak Adventurer

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    Did some more research. There is a ferry from Trieste (northern Italy) to Mersin (southern Turkey). That saves 2400km and only takes 68 hours. From home to Trieste is 1300km (3 days), 68 hours on the ferry (3 days), Mersin to Erbil is 1000km (3 days). Total trip could take three weeks and 5000km. Could easily do that on a single set of tires, chain and without any scheduled maintenance.

    The only downside that I could find is that while motorcycles are allowed on the ferry, it's a commercial line. So you can't easily book a ticket online. I do have my own company so that won't be a problem, just an inconvenience.

    http://www.unroro.com.tr/ro-ro/en/4/mersin-trieste/667
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  5. beebeer54

    beebeer54 Adventurer

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    Are you sure the commercial ferry from Trieste takes passengers? Another option would be to get the ferry from Chonomorsk, Ukraine to Batumi, Georgia which does take passengers, look here https://www.ukrferry.com/eng/schedules/chernomorsk-poti-batumi I've taken it from Batumi to Chonomorsk a few years ago with my bike, you could then follow the coast into Turkey and head south?
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  6. computer_freak

    computer_freak Adventurer

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    Thank you for the input @beebeer54 , I've already emailed the shipping company in Trieste for the possibilities of shipping me and my bike.

    The Chornomorsk - Batumi route also seems like a good option, that one hadn't crossed my mind. I've also looked at the Burgas - Batumi route from Bulgaria as it means one less border crossing and one less visa but I have to do some more research on this one.
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  7. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    I know someone, who is working in Iraqi Kurdistan at the moment.. I´ll ask, and get back to you.

    Regards ferries, you should be able to go Venice (or Ancona) to Corfu/Patras, and from Athens or Thessaloniki to one of the Eastern Aegean islands. where it´ll a short hop to Turkey (but note, that those will be smaller boats, can easily get grounded if it gets very windy). Or you can naturally ride all the way, too.
    But if you plan to do it in the winter, then definitely stay as close to the sea as possible, and take ferries.
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  8. computer_freak

    computer_freak Adventurer

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    @Pecha72 I would love to hear from someone living in Iraqi Kurdistan!

    Boathopping via Greece also sounds like a good plan. I'm looking into options for ferries to keep the total travel time and the kilometers on the bike down. The first because of work, the latter to avoid scheduled maintenance on the way back.

    And I like to travel in April or September so the weather shouldn't be much of a problem.
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  9. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    On Google maps it's 3350km from Amsterdam to Erbil if you take the Venice-Patras and Piraeus-Chios and Chios-Cesme ferries.

    Piraeus-Chios ferries 6 times a week with these 2 companies:
    https://www.bluestarferries.com/en/...vos.html?destination=&anchor=content-category
    https://hellenicseaways.gr/en/routes/view/17

    Chios-Cesme ferry:
    http://www.erturk.com.tr/en

    Edit: You could take the 04:30 Minoan Lines ferry from Venice arriving Patras 13:00 the next day. Then you have 7 hours to go the 222km to Piraeus for the 20:00 ferry to Chios.
    You might just make it. Google maps says you can do it in 2hrs 26mins.
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  10. khpossum

    khpossum poster

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    If you take the ferry to Cesme arrange Turkish bike insurance before hand. I have no idea how to go about that. It has been a few years, but when I landed in Cesme with my bike no Turkish insurance was to be had at the border crossing. I could not take the bike out of customs and I had to walk to town and finally found somebody who sold me insurance. It was a huge very time consuming hassle. I may even have been lucky to find something at all.
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  11. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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  12. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    EU Green Card insurance should be valid for Turkey... was even valid for Iran.. oh, well, it was 10 years ago, don't really know how that is today.
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  13. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Scheduled maintenance can always be rescheduled. The probability that the bike will fall apart if it goes a few thousand kms past the schedule point is vanishingly small.
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  14. Frgich

    Frgich Long timer

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    When do you plan to ride?

    Asking weather vise, someone already noted that coastal ride or ferry2ferry is better solution if you plan to do the journey in colder weather. I do doubt, and think you will go in spring or something like that.

    Khpossum has already noted important aspect regarding the green card so better check that out too. I see you're aware of visa's and time needed to get them versus time spent travelling so it seems you're going to be good if you ask me and I would go for the trip for sure.
    If your insurer does not cover you, to escape the problem Khpossum had that he couldn't find an agent from whom to buy third party liability policy, we will be offering Turkey border insurance as stand alone country, as well as all of the Balkan countries that will also be available separately for purchase. More info on our website from next year starting in spring: http://www.lobagola.com/green-card-insurance/border-insurance.html

    I would for sure be willing to read a great RR from your journey, and see some amazing pics from the are, just love Stan's and the people down there :clap

    Cheers
    Dooby
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  15. computer_freak

    computer_freak Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the replies. A couple of things:

    - The countries on my green card: Azerbaijan (partially), Iran, Ukraine, Turkey
    - The countries not on my green card: Armenia, Georgia, Iraq
    - The countries on my EU travel insurance: "All countries surrounding the Middle Eastern Sea"
    - The countries on my roadside assistance: Same as green card countries. With the exception of war-zones.

    I have to get border insurance for a couple of countries and have to expand my travel insurance to world-wide. Insurance should not be a problem.

    Still no word from the Trieste - Mersin shipping agency, I am trying to reach the Turkish office too.
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  16. computer_freak

    computer_freak Adventurer

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    Just got a reply from the Turkish office. They can take my bike from Trieste to Mersin but I have to take a plane myself. The flight will take me from Trieste to Munchen, from Munchen to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Adana. Four flights in total, 17 hours and €520 one way. The bike will arrive three days later and will cost me €320 for a one way shipment. All in all a very expensive option that has a lot of failure points and will result in a lot of hassle. So I'm crossing it off the list.

    http://www.unroro.com.tr/information-on-motorbike-and-car-carriages/en/63
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  17. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Venice to Adana with Turkish Airlines is about €200 one way.
    Train Trieste-Venice about €20.
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  18. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Ferry Venice —> Patras, ride to Piraeus, another ferry —> one of the Greek Islands in eastern Aegean, like Kos, Rodos, or Lesvos, from where it´ll be just a short hop to Turkey, and then head east along its Med coast. That´d be my winter routing, to stay as warm as possible. In the summer, riding across the Balkans could be an interesting option.
    #18