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 !

Friday, May 2, 2008

Genghis Khan, here we are!

After a beautiful time in Russia and the Altai (really woth a short trip on its own!), we entered Mongolia with snowstorms and lots of wind. The Russia side of the border took us quite a while (1h) but the Mongolian side was super easy (15mins) and off we go to check out Genghis's place.

I was quite worried for Mongolia as we saw so many nice things on the road over the last 2 months, that I felt Mongolia couldn't impress me anymore and was sad about this...but I was so wrong, it is clearly the highlight of the trip!

The first impression was, where are the damm good Russian roads?! No roads, but sandy/rocky tracks and offroad is the word here. The second impression is the lack of vegetation. On the Russian side there were trees, here in Mongolia, very little vegetation.

So off we thought to our first camping in Mongolia...close to Tsagaannuur...but the wind was so icy (3 impression, it is damm cold here!) that we decided to find a warm home for us. We found a family in Tsagaannuur that was willing to let us sleep with them in their room. It was a great experience and the family was lovely. The next morning the wind was still there but we had another surprise, -7.5 degrees. After a few snowstorms (they come within mins) the sun came back and we decided to give it a try and go to Uureg Nuur. The landscape was breathtaking with a gorgeous valley, an immense plateau (where we got lost several times even with GPS), beautiful mountains and the best sun ever...but with lots of wind. When we finally arrived at the last pass (2,400m) after several hours of being lost in the valley below, we had an unforgetable sight on Uureg Nuur (mountain lake). After a few hours to finally reach the destination (offroad or small tracks, so you can't drive more than 50-60km/h) we found a nomad that offered us to sleep with his family in his ger (Mongolian yurt) which we happily accepted as it was icy again.

After a good night sleep we headed for Ulaangom but using a small valley were the driving was mostly offroad. We made good progress until we arrived at a very large river with so many big pebbles (the size of a football) on the ground, snowcovered water, icy water, etc... and after me falling at least 6 times in the river bed, we decided to find another route to go around it.

The driving here is a pleasure as the sights are unbelievable wild and beautiful. Yesterday we encountered 2 other vehicle in 1 day. Today 4 or so and this on the main road to Ulaangom, so the rest of the time, you just ride, watch the scenery and enjoy this country whilst feeling your the only one in the world.

For the bikers amongst you envisaging a similar trip. Don't do the same mistake as me. I am a short (1.70m) and light (65kg) guy and whilst I LOVE the 1200GSA, it is too heavy and too high for me. On tarmac, you're the king. On tracks and offroad I learnt a lot and am getting good at it but when it comes to pebbles (river beds) and very rough offroad when you can only drive slowly, it is a nightmare and once down it takes 2 to put it back upright...take something lighter and lower. A big thanks to Cyril who helps me once the GSA is on ground.

For some reasons, I can't attach pictures to the blog but have a look at the Russian and Mongolian photo albums, we've added pictures.


ben said...

yes, c'est trop bon !


Anonymous said...

Ciao Niccolò, un mio amico (parvesimeon)ti scriverà perchè vorrebbe avere qualche notizia su 2 città della Mongolia se ci passate e avere qualche foto. Gli ho detto di lasciarti un commento. Vi sto seguendo molto interessato. Belle le vostre foto Ancora buon viaggio Onkel Giuseppe

Amy Me said...

niccolo! glad to see you are still safe! i cannot get through to your phone =(

Anonymous said...

Egr. Dr. Nicolò Manno,sono stato preannunciato da Suo Zio Giuseppe, se fosse ancora nelle Sue possibilità gradirei qualche foto della città di Urga, oggi chiamata Ulan Bator con vedute di luoghi del primo novecento,perchè ivi fu giustiziato nel 1920, dai bolsevichi il barone Ungern Sternberg, del quale mia moglie sta scrivendo un libro
Ringrazio e accludo la mia E-mail: Auguri per l'esaltante viaggio.
.Giuseppe Simoncini


- 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