UK to Iran

Discussion in 'Africa & Mid East' started by DavidM1, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I'm wondering if it will soon become easy for a Brit on a motorbike to ride Iran.

    I understand that people from the UK (and USA) need to be escorted at the moment, I'm hoping that might change. I guess one would still need a Carnet de Passage for the bike, and local insurance, and visa invitation, etc. I don't think that the UK is one of these countries - "officials are trying to remove obstacles for tourists and issue visas on arrival at the airport in Tehran for nationals of 190 countries" - Hürriyet Daily News

    I would be very interested in hearing any up-to-date information on this. If it's too much hassle, I'll just stick with Turkey-Georgia-Armenia next year.
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  2. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend Supporter

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    David,
    Have you found any further information on traveling through Iran? If not, are you still planning a Turkey-Georgia-Armenia ride? I'm in the beginning stages of routes and destinations for next year and am interested in what you have learned/planned.
    I'm wanting to start in Dublin and ride Ireland and the UK for a week. Then south to ride the Pyrenees and then make a run down the coast to Bosnia area. From there I don't have a plan but am thinking of Turkey and over to Baku, Azerbaijan, estimating a total of 60 days to be back in Dublin to ship my bike home.
    Any information or suggestions is appreciated.
    Darrel
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  3. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Hi Darrel, I've changed my plan - I'm not taking my own bike now, I'm flying to Turkey to rent one, so I'll be sticking with just Turkey for 3 weeks.

    I haven't been keeping a look out for information about Iran. But it's still vaguely on my future to-do list, if they make it easy. And one day I would like to cross from Turkey into Nakhchivan but I think there might be visa/travel restrictions for foreigners - I need to do more research on that, it probably means a visit to the Azerbaijani consulate in London for exact info.
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  4. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend Supporter

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    Hey David, Thanks for the reply. I suspect Iran will be off the list for me for the foreseeable future unless it is a tour and I prefer not to do those.
    I am very interested in riding crossing Turkey and while I have not heard of Nakhchivan before it looks like a very interesting place. I hope this trip is a safe and enjoyable one for you and please post some sort of RR when you get the time.
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  5. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I agree. It appears fairly difficult for UK and USA citizens to travel to Iran (I would have to go to Paris for a visa, I think). And I don't like the idea of having to get a carnet de passage, on top of everything else.

    I might try to do a RR in Turkey but it sounds a bit of a hassle to do on the road - transferring photos onto the net without having your own computer (I'm not really a fan of all the large photos that people submit, I would want to edit them down to a more reasonable size).

    Turkey is a good country for riding. I've taken my R80GS there 3 times since '93 and I've rented bikes there 6 times. My current plan is to spend a few days visiting Greek/Roman ancient sites up the west coast and then head inland to Ankara before deciding where to go from there (depending on time). I'll be taking it at a fairly leisurely pace, with sightseeing along the way - more tourist with a motorcycle than hard-core ADV.
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  6. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend Supporter

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    You are probably correct to not do a live RR from the road. I just came back from a Central America and Mexico ride and found the wi-fi was often slow, intermittent or non-existent even when the hotel would say all was good. I only do enough on the road to keep my family informed of my whereabouts and an occasional picture if the connection is fast.

    Turkey seems to get your seal of approval if you have been there that many times. I have not been there but will get a small taste when my wife and I fly into Istanbul for a few days prior to taking a cruise in September. Turkey does not seem to get much coverage from Western riders so I will be interested in your opinion and any information you would be willing to provide me.

    Have you done any riding in the Balkans?
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  7. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Not yet. I avoided the ex-Yugoslavian states when I took the eastern route to Turkey in '04, mainly because of the extra insurance costs as my green card only covered me for the EU and Turkey. So I stayed in the EU countries (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria) and was really just passing through (1 night in each) - it took me 6 days to get from the UK to Turkey (2 days for the 1000 miles to Graz in Austria and then 4 days on smaller roads another 1000 miles to Istanbul - https://goo.gl/maps/hBMs23xdeSD2 ).

    Judging by some of the RRs, the other Balkan countries sound good. I've been all over Greece as well - island hopping across the Aegean is a nice way to get to Turkey.

    Turkey has lots of potential for ADV riding - you can ride along almost any dirt track you like. They hold a TransAnatolia raid every year which takes some interesting tracks. IvanRUS did some of them on one of his trips, he did the Taurus Mountains track - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7VBQ3mqaRuQcW0wdnh0VTdUY1E/edit?pref=2&pli=1 . This year they're doing one a bit farther east - http://www.transanatolia.com/

    EDIT - They appear to have changed the route of this year's TransAnatolia. When I looked in December they were planning to head east out of Ankara to Erzurum and back - http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/turkey-trip-with-2-tenere.1110304/#post-28210852 , but now they're showing Izmir to Samsun via the Taurus Mountains - http://www.transanatolia.com/sites/default/files/2016_route.jpg?384
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  8. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend Supporter

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    The TransAnatolia certainly looks fun for the guys that like their adventures spelled in all capital letters. I like my adventures to be lower case and from time to time one turns into a capital A type ride, if you know what I mean. Sadly my skills at off road riding require me to stay on mostly established dirt roads where my abilities are not often stretched to their limits. I discovered off pavement late in life and while I enjoy the places that has taken me it has also put me into very precarious situations.

    How do you deal with language issues, are you multi-lingual?

    I see the Balkans are starting to show up on motorcycle tours so it sounds like the green light is on for that area.

    I will look forward to your route when you finish your ride around Turkey if you are willing to share that.
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  9. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Ditto. I'm certainly not a hardcore ADVer. I've taken dirt tracks through mountains which, in retrospect, seems a bit foolish solo - if anything bad had happened, I would have been f***ed. I grew up on a farm with dirt bikes but I think my confidence is greater than my riding abilities - the older I get, the more concerned I become. This time I will be taking some more rugged riding gear than I usually do when I fly/ride.

    I can request a beer and lodging and a few other words in 6 European languages, plus Turkish. I usually take a phrase book with me. Fortunately a lot of Europeans know a little English.
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  10. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend Supporter

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    I do appreciate your taking the time to respond like you are doing and if I am being a pest please don't hesitate to say so, I have been called much worse in my life. ; ) Perhaps it is best to move this to a conversation rather than posting here?
    Do you rely exclusively on paper maps, GPS or a combination and are they reliable as you ride in eastern Europe/Turkey? Our group of 3 riders found out real quick that after leaving Mexico and going south the maps were poor at best and the GPS even with the latest maps from Garmin were worthless.
    Do you do your rides solo? I usually ride alone when riding long distances in Canada and the USA. The combination of matching riding styles and personalities always makes it difficult to find a partner. I am now starting to gain confidence to do the same in Mexico which will probably become my new playground. I can order food, get a room and tell the authorities at the various checkpoints where I am going. Lucky for me Mexicans like Americans and I have not had an issue there.
    When you are in Turkey is it best to stay well north and completely avoid getting near the Syrian border area? Sitting in the US and trying to figure out how fluid the border areas are with various factions that are at war has me cautious about getting close.
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  11. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    No problems. I'm happy to share my experience of Turkey.


    Yes. Although I have an old GPS device, I've only ever used it to record my tracks. This year I'm thinking of loading some tracks into it so I can explore some dirt roads, e.g. to get to this lake and possibly up the mountain next to it - https://goo.gl/maps/dWZn9fQQfx12 - and also some of the tracks in the mountains around this lake - https://goo.gl/maps/p83Bp2JHrhz - etc.

    I've been using this IGN map for years now - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turkey-IGN...84975-9068906?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0
    When I went through Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria, I bought maps for those countries in a petrol station in Austria.

    I ask the locals for directions when I get too lost, but best to get a consensus from more than one person - I find the village tea houses in Turkey are the best places to enquire.


    On the long distance trips, yes. But have done a few camping trips with my local biking friends to France and Italy. I'm usually the leader expecting them to keep up since they've all got quicker bikes than my old GS (although slightly different now with my Ducati!). I'm not a good starter in the morning, always last to have my gear packed.


    I follow the UK Foreign Office travel advice and now stay away from the provinces in the south-east - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey
    I haven't been to the far east of Turkey by bike yet, only by plane and bus in '86. I'll be making a decision when I get to Ankara whether to continue east based on how much time I have left. It's a big country, so I don't want to be rushing back for my flight at the end of the trip.
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  12. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend Supporter

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    You have given me much to look into and think about, thank you.
    I look forward to your adventure and to live vicariously once again.
    #12