This is the travelblog of Cyril Ducau and Niccolo Manno on their adventure from London (Cyril), Munich (Niccolo) to Hong Kong on motorbikes.
It took us short of 3 months to do 20,000km on bikes, trains and planes. We crossed the following countries together:

Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Serbia - Bulgaria - Turkey - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan - Russia - Mongolia - China - Hong Kong

On this site you will find some info on both of us, our bikes, some of our friendly helpers in Hong Kong and London and loads of pictures on our trip. 

Latest top picture

Latest top picture
Thanks for watching our blog - Enjoy as we did it!

Our path

Our path
Click picture to download Google Earth kmz file !

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Across the Turkmen Dictatorship

Catching up after almost a week without internet connection


We rode across Turkmenistan from March 25th to March 29th. Entering the country was fairly difficult; first with very painful negotiations with the ferry company running the Baku-Turkmenbashi line and then a 5-hour process once at the Turkmen border and about 20 different checks with each time a few forms to file and a some dollars to pay out… inefficiency at its very best !


The 600km ride to Ashgabat was then quite pleasant and landscapes were mostly deserts and a few scattered small towns with little to no infrastructures. Petrol was very cheap – about $0.30 per liter – and police checks plentiful. We met with friendly locals and got introduced to a few traditional dishes (see pictures for more details). The Arrival in Ashgabat was then quite a shock… literally an oasis of wealth with very grand brand new buildings and parks with water falls at every street corner. Pictures of the dictator were everywhere! We are not into geopolitical commentaries but when most of the country lives on very low standards, this clearly does not seem like a good use of public money (mostly petrodollars).


We then spent 2 days crossing the Karakum desert – first on a decent road but we then had fairly difficult riding conditions on a mix of sand, gravel and decomposing tarmac. Struggled a lot in the sand dunes and realized that our bikes are still way too heavy… The ride left us exhausted but the overnight stop in the Darvaza oasis was well worth it! Amazing camping site and the lava crater was very impressive.


Heading for the Uzbek border, we stopped at Konya-Urgench, one of the jewels of Turkmen tourism and once one of the greatest Islamic cities before Genghis Khan arrived and decided to destroy pretty much everything.


The exit of Turkmenistan took us another 2-hour of administrative procedure…

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- Maddy, the head of our "London HQ", special technical and weather advisor, and because she is simply the best and has been so supportive over the last few months
- My family and friends for their understanding and moral support
- Robert Roe (alias Bob) from Motoselect Franham for preparing the bike with such good care
- Anastasia from thevisacompany for helping me deal with so much red tape
- Claudio von Planta for sharing his valuable experience on Long-way Round and Long-way Down and answering so many of our questions
- Ronnie, Emmanuel and Benjamin for their enthusiast support and precious advise
- The Techtransalp team for their excellent website and advertising our adventure

- clearly Manon as she has always been supportive of this trip even though this means 3 months without me
- My mother for not giving up on me, for receiving all the parcels at home in Austria and for not freaking out!
- Amy and Steve for pushing over several months to keep focus on the organisation
- Xavier, for trusting me to be in France in June and be his best man at his wedding
- Cyril, for posting our tracks on the blog
- Louis, for looking into getting Continental to sponsor us
- Romain, for getting us the Turkmen visas
- My friends for all telling me "DO IT"!
- Claudio von Planta, Sambor and Maciej for sharing their great experiences on their numerous motorbike trips
- Henry, Yau and Tan from BMW HK for their support with the bike, the preparation and the bike sale
- Yasser, Mark, Michael and Christoph from BMW Munich for their help with all the accessories and the last minute bike purchase
- Bertrand and Alice for your help with the tyres in Almaty