Russia, Central Asia, Mongolia

If you are looking for an unforgettable and challenging travel experience, then join us. This is, by far, is the most adventurous tour we offer. Departing from Riga, we will enter Russia where we will hit the Trans-Siberian Highway, the longest in the world, encompassing seven time zones. We will visit many World Heritage listed cities along our way to Kazakhstan. Steppes, deserts and exotic camels will be waiting for us before entering Uzbekistan, where we will finally reach the Silk Road. On the Silk Road, we will visit some of the most beautiful cities you will see in this lifetime.  You will be reminded of the One Thousand and One Nights Tales. After leaving Uzbekistan, we’ll cruise on the Pamir Highway. This is the second highest international road in the world, boasting giant mountains and stunning views and the some of the kindest people you will ever meet. Leaving Central Asia, we will ride east to Baikal Lake and finally arrive in Mongolia,  a giant playground for adventure motorcyclists.  Russian Far East will be the last leg of our expedition, completing the tour in Vladivostok.

Information

DURATION (DAYS)

89

RIDING DIFFICULTY

challenging

DISTANCE COVERED

20.151 km/12.521 mi

UNPAVED ROADS

UNPAVED ROADS

+/- 3000km

Please note that this is an indicative route. It is not 100% accurate. The route we offer is way more twisty and fun!

Dates & Prices

DATE

24/06/18 to 20/09/18
24/06/19 to 20/09/19

SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT

2.590 €
2.790 $

PRICES RIDER

PRICES RIDER

12.995 € (14.554 $)
146,00 € (169,00 $) day

PRICES PASSENGER

7875 € (8833 $)
88,00 € (102,00 $) day

 SUPPORT VEHICLE PASSANGER

SUPPORT VEHICLE PASSANGER

9.455 € (10.606 $)
106 € (123,00 $) day

Highlights

21 Historical cities, 15 Unesco World Heritage sites, 7 countries, 8 times zones, 5 capitals.

  • Riga
  • Trans-Siberian Highway
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Velikij Novgorod
  • Moscow
  • Vladimir
  • Nizhny Novgorod
  • Kazan
  • The Volga River
  • Volgograd
  • Saraj Batu
  • Astrakhan
  • Kazakhstan steppe and desert
  • The Silk Road
  • Khiva
  • Bukhara
  • Samarcanda
  • Shakhrisabz
  • Dushanbe
  • The Pamir Highway
  • Tajik National Park
  • Ak-Baital Pass
  • Lake Kara-Kul
  • Lenin Peak
  • The Tian Shan
  • Almaty
  • The Lake Baikal
  • Ulaanbaatar
  • Erdene Zuu Monastery
  • Gengis Khan Statue
  • Khangai Nuruu National Park
  • Ulan Ude
  • Khabarovsk
  • Vladivostok
Itinerary

Week 1
Riga, entering in Russia, Saint Petersburg, Velikiy Novgorod, Moscow.

Week 2
Moscow, Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Saratov.

Week 3
Volgograd, Astrakhan, entering in Kazakhstan, Atyrau, Beyneu, entering in Uzbekistan.

Week 4
Khiva, Bukhara,Samarcanda.

Week 5
Samarcanda, Shakhrisabz, entering in Tajikistan, Dushanbe, start to ride up on the Pamir Highway

Week 6
Riding on the Pamir, Ak-Baital Pass with its own 4655 meters (15272 ft), lake Kara-Kul, Crossing into Kyrgyzstan, peak Lenin views with its 7,134 m (23405 ft) , Osh.

Week 7
Osh, Issyk kul Lake, Bishkek, entering in Kazakistan, Almaty

Week 8-9
Almaty, Qalbatau, entering in Russia, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Baikal Lake

Week 10
Baikal Lake, Ulan Ude, entering in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Genghis Khan Statue, Erdene Zuu Monastery,Khangai Nuruu National Park

Week 11
After another 3 days of other off-road back to Ulaanbaatar, entering in Russia, Ulan Ude

Week 12 till the end
Chita ,Skovorodino, Birobidžan, Khabarovsk , Vladivostok.

Accommodation

We will mostly stay in 4 star hotels in the larger Russian cities. In the smaller towns along the Trans-Siberian highway, the accommodations are more rustic. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are typically fine, but the lodging in between the borders is more austere. Along the Pamir Highway, we will stay in local home stays and Yurtas and a few hotels for a week until we arrive Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

In Mongolia, we will spend our nights in tents and in local ger (Mongolian version of yurta) and experience life as a true nomad.
An open mind to explore these remote areas is required to join this tour. This is the most adventurous leg of the trip.

Whats Included
  • Assistance acquiring necessary documentation and logistics
  • Motorcycle purchase support
  • Work out program
  • Pick up and drop off at the airport
  • All nights accommodation (comfortable middle-class hotels and homestays)
  • Welcome dinner and Goodbye dinner
  • Motorcycle tour guide
  • Driver and support vehicle 4×4 that can accommodate up to motorcycles and luggage transportation (1 baggage piece of 10kg per person) and space for passengers (limited) on entire tour.
  • Emergency first aid kit and fire extinguisher equipped
  • Our staff is motorcycle mechanical experienced and first aid qualified
  • Morning briefings
  • City walking tours in the resting days
  • All national parks entrance
  • Thermal bath on the Pamir highway
  • Thai Massage session

Not Included

  • Although we do not offer breakfasts, they are included in some hotel bookings
  • All services not mentioned and all personal items
Useful Info

How many “no riding days” are in the tour ?
There will be 29 no riding days during this tour including arrival and departure days.

How many km do we ride daily ?
The total trip average is 140 miles/day (226 km/day). Obviously some days we will ride more than that and some day we will ride less.

Can I join the tour later or leave earlier ?
Sure you can, write us about your needs.

How much motorcycle experience do I need ?
You don’t need to be pro rider to travel with us. You should, however, be comfortable riding a motorcycle during a city’s rush hours as well as mountains and dirt roads. This will be a challenging, yet rewarding and enjoyable experience for riders of all levels.

What kind of motorcycle do I need?
Dual sport models might be your best choice, but depending on your skill level, almost any bike will meet our standards. These are our only recommendations:
The bike should be fully serviced before the start of the trip
To maintain your speed, a 500cc engine will ensure you keep up with the group.

Is possible ride 2 up?
Yes! You are welcome to travel with a companion.
The passenger must be at least 12 years old.
He/she should be able to place place both feet flat on the passenger foot pegs of the motorcycle.
Riding 2 up requires more skill. The passenger should have experience traveling on the back of a motorcycle. You can also book a seat in the support vehicle for the passenger if they do not want to ride with you the entire time.

What about visas ?
The ex-Soviet countries are open to tourism. Americans, Australians and Europeans citizens don’t need a visa for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan is easily done online and Mongolia (not needed for USA and German citizens) can be taken care of upon arrival.
You will need two visas: Russian and Uzbekistan which are easily done through travel agencies

What about vehicle service and tire changes ?
At the start of the tour, your motorcycle must arrive fully serviced and with new tires.
Service in Russia are sparse, so we must be fully prepared and carry all necessary parts and tires.
Tire changes can be done almost anywhere. The life of your tires depends on your motorcycle, style of riding and weight. In Mongolia, all riders will have to change into off-road tires.
1th service: Almaty
2th service: Ulan Ude
For spare parts list click here

Tour description + local food

Week 1

From Riga we start off with entering from the biggest country in Europe, the Russian. Federation. Russia, is neither Europe nor Asia, it’s its own continent with its unique traditions and cultures. Main roads are good, but some parts will be good practice for what we will experience in the weeks to follow. Our first resting day will be St. Petersburg. Peter the Great founded the city. A patron of seafarers and merchants, he built St. Petersburg as a seaport town so that Russia would be on par with other maritime nations. Peter achieved this goal and built his city with such splendor that today it is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is also home to the Hermitage, one of the largest museums in the world.

St. Petersburg is also called Venice of the north due to its numerous canals. Other highlights are Church of the Savior , the Peterhof palace- referred to as the Russian Versailles, the Peter and Paul fortress, Catherine Palace and many more.

After leaving St. Petersburg we will hit the road towards Moscow, the capital of Russia. This will be our first section of the Trans-Siberian Highway, the longest in the world, encompassing seven time zones.

On the way we’ll stop in Velikiy Novgorod, our second World Heritage site in Russia. This is a small and beautiful city which in the 14th century was the capital of the Novgorod republic.

Next stop, Moscow. A city of 16.8 million residents and also the coldest megacity on Earth. It is also a World Heritage site and home to the Kremlin, the Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Lenin Mausoleum. The fabulously decorated metro stations are also one of the many highlights.

After leaving the capital we are going to stroll around in Vladimir, our fourth World Heritage site.

Next day we will arrive in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. Kazan has been named the sports capital of Russia as it hosts many international sporting events. It is truly one of the most beautiful cities in Russia and its Kremlin has been added to the World Heritage list. Tatars are an Asian people and are Muslims, their culture is completely separate from that of European Russia.

Interestingly enough Tartars are only one of the 159 ethnic groups living in Russia. After leaving Kazan, we will ride along the Volga river, the longest river in Europe, 1500 km to Astrakhan.

Riding conditions:

driving in Russia is very different than in the Western World. Everything will be explained in Riga and St. Petersburg. Russian drivers are getting better thanks to traffic cameras and a heavy police presence, however they are still a far cry from the “Western Standard”. Road signs are sparse and road markings do not exist. Road conditions are good outside of the cities but within city limits there can be a lot of potholes. “Expect the unexpected” will be the adage of the trip. However this time of the year day light stretches out to 11 pm, but drivers are not used to motorcycles at all, so a defensive riding style should be adopted.

Food of the week:

first course Borsch- we will have had already tasted different versions of this beetroot based soup in Poland and Lithuania.

Rossolnik- a soup made from pickles, pearl barley and pork of beef kidneys (Wyzygam sie) the key ingredient is pickle juice. The soup is a favorite hangover cure. Solyanka- is a thick, spicy and sour soup. Main ingredients are meat, fish, mushrooms and pickles.

Second course, Shashlik- beef roasted on a spit.

Pirog- dough stuffed with a savory filling.

Pelmeni- dumplings made with thin, unleavened dough, stuffed with meat.

Kasha- buckwheat groats boiled in water or milk. Often served as breakfast or a side dish.

Olivier- a salad dish, made with boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, celery, onions and mayonnaise.

Desserts, Bliny- are pancakes traditionally made with buckwheat flour and served with sour cream.

Pirozhki- baked or fried buns with a variety of fillings.

Drinks, Chai- basically strong tea served at the end of meals with dessert. An important aspect of Russian tea culture is the ubiquitous samovar, a tea brewing apparatus- which has become a symbol of Russian hospitality and comfort.

Week 2

On the way to Astrachan, we’ll stop for a day in Volgograd. Volgograd became famous for its resistance during the Battle of Stalingrad (the previous name of the city) against the German Army in World War II. It is often regarded as the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare (between 1,250,000 and 1,798,619 people have died) and one of the key factors for the defeat of the Nazis. Some of the highlights of the city that are related to the WWII battle and are the Motherland Statue and the WWII museum.

After leaving Volgograd our last stop before entering Kazakhstan will be Astrakhan. On the way we will visit Saraj Batu, a Mongol city which, during the medieval times, was one of the largest city in the world. Sarai is Persian for “palace” and Russian for “shed”. Astrakhan has a strategical location on the Caspian sea and, in fact, has suffered several wars and changes of power. This week we’ll say goodbye to Russia and get on the renowned  “Silk Road”, and our first Stan countries Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Stan in Persian means “the place of”, so for example Kazakhstan means the place of the Kazak. From there we will start to experience exotic adventures. We will have the first contact with steppe, deserts, and get to see our first camels. Suddenly,  the conditions of the roads will become dreadful, and time will look like it stopped many years ago. Clothes, food, people and everything around us will be unique and interesting. Not many people have the opportunity to visit here and you may start to feel a bit like Marco Polo….Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world. Its population density, however, is among the lowest, at less than 6 people per square kilometer. This helps us understand its poor road conditions a little bit more.

Next, we’ll move on to Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is truly one the highlights of the entire expedition. Nukus is a city-oasis, located among the four deserts: the Karakum (Black Sands), Kyzyl Kum (Red Sands), rocky desert Ustyurt plateau and “Aralkum” (White Sands). We will stop here to visit a very interesting art Museum, The State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. It is named after I.V. Savitsky and is also known as “Nukus Art Museum” one of the finest in Uzbekistan and in all of Central Asia.

Riding conditions:

Kazakhstan roads are either OK or a disastrous. Road police will most likely stop us several times, but just to question where we are from and where we are going.  “Strange” foreigners who travel by motorcycle seem to pique their curiosity. On the border with Uzbekistan, we will have our first off road session. Uzbekistan is a challenging country to ride in, mostly due to drivers and roads conditions.  Roads are improving year by year, but many parts are still in poor condition.  On a more positive note, both countries have very little traffic.  Drivers are not used to motorcycles at all here. You may encounter situations where it is best to drive defensively, but safely.

Food of the week

Kazakh cuisine is the traditionally focused on mutton and horse meat, as well as various milk products. For hundreds of years, Kazakhs were herders who raised fat-tailed sheep, Bactrian camels, and horses, relying on these animals for transportation, clothing, and food. The cooking techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation’s nomadic way of life. For example, most cooking techniques are aimed at long-term preservation of food. There is a large practice of salting and drying meat so that it will last, and there is a preference for sour milk, as it is easier to save in a nomadic lifestyle.

Besbarmak, a dish consisting of boiled horse or mutton meat, is the most popular Kazakh dish. It is also called “five fingers” because of the way it is eaten. Besbarmak is usually eaten with a boiled pasta sheet, and a meat broth called sorpa, and is traditionally served in Kazakh bowls called kese. Other traditional foods are Baursak and Manti. Baursak is made by frying dough balls. Manti, a very popular Kazakh dish, is a spiced mixture of ground lamb(or beef) spiced with black pepper, enclosed in a dough wrapper. Manti are cooked in a multi-level steamer and served topped with butter, sour cream, or onion sauce.

The most famous drink is Kumus, which is fermented mare milk which contains between 0.7 and 2.5% alcohol.

Kazakh cuisine has many similarity to all central Asian countries included Mongolia. So we will find similar dishes along our way to the east.

Week 3

Week nine will be a relaxing one with a lot of sightseeing. We’ll be able to recharge our batteries and enjoy our visits to the pearls of Uzbekistan: the cities of Khiva (Itchan Kala), Bukhara and Samarkand.  This will remind you of the tale, One Thousand and One Nights. All three are World heritage Cities and were part of the Silk Road. These cities were important centers of trade for thousand years and for this reason have seen different wars and changes of power. Strolling in those cities is like being in open sky museum. You don’t really need to be a professional photographer to take great shots as everything is just so picturesque. You will leave those cities with great memories and with the wish to come back soon. If you have never experienced + 40 celsius (104 F°) in your life you’ll get your chance there!

Riding conditions:  Same as prior week.

Food of the week:

The  Uzbekistan’s signature dish is palov (plov or osh or “pilaf”), a main course typically made with rice, pieces of meat, grated carrots and onions. It is usually

cooked in a kazan (or deghi) over an open fire; chickpeas, raisins, barberries, or fruit may be added for variation.

Uzbekistan is one of the main  exporters of agricultural products to Russia. We will be able to taste the country’s own delicious watermelon, melons. grapes, apricots, and so on. Bread is also very tasty and is baked on dome shaped wood fire oven. This bread is generically called non or paty.  It is formed into  circular flat loaves (lepyoshka in Russian) with a thin decorated depression at the center and a thicker rim all around. Green tea is the national hot beverage taken throughout the day, typically made without milk or sugar. Tea always accompanies a meal, but it is also a drink of hospitality, traditionally offered (green or black) to every guest. Teahouses (chaikhanas) are of cultural importance in this region.

Week 4

During week ten,  we will leave Uzbekistan and enter Tajikistan, a mountainous paradise. On the way to the border we will visit a city founded 2700 years ago, Shakhrisyabz, our 4th Uzbek World Heritage site. Tajikistan is landlocked, and is the smallest nation in Central Asia. It is covered by mountains of the Pamir range, and more than fifty percent of the country is over 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) above sea level. If the beauty of Uzbekistan lies in its ancient cities then the beauty of Tajikistan is in its mountains.

Pamirs is a mountain range in Central Asia at the junction of the Himalayas with the Tian Shan,Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains. We will ride entire length of the Pamir highway “M41” which is the second highest international road in the world. This road leads through the Tajik National Park which is another World Heritage city. Our trip in Tajikistan will start from its capital Dushanbe. In Dushanbe we will have a day of rest getting ready for  our first off road excursion, as the next 1500 km we have to cover will be on dirt roads. We will also fill up our support vehicle with food, toys, and school supplies to gift to local families.This will be Motorcycle World Tours initiative. If you wish to contribute, you are free to buy or gift whatever you want .We’ll ride along the Afghanistan border  for about 240 km. We will see Afghan villages just across the Panj river;  this river runs in between the two countries. We will enjoy stunning views as we slowly ride up.  On the way, we will cross a few rivers, but it will not be much of a challenge as the water level will be very low. On the Pamir highway we’ll get to experience local hospitality as we stop to rest and eat in people’s homes which have been converted into “bed and breakfast” establishments. This will be also our contribution to the local economy; this area is one of the poorest of the Tajikistan. We will stop in Khorog for a day and you will be able to just  ride to thermal bath, or visit Afghanistan, which is just next to the bridge (no visa required on market day).

Riding conditions:

The biggest danger of Tajikistan are its free-grazing animals. Drivers and enthusiastic children, who hear the hum of an approaching motorcycle, can be a little too “welcoming and/or enthusiastic” at times.  The locals are not used to motorcycles or speedy drivers. Our first full week off-road does not require professional skills because the road is mostly hard gravel, but will require concentration as we ride next to a river for many km.

Food of the week:

Tajik is the traditional cuisine of Tajikistan, and has much in common with Russian, Afghan, and Uzbek cuisines. Plov also called osh (Tajik: ош), is the national dish in Tajikistan, as in other countries in the region. Green tea is the national drink. Traditional Tajik meals start with a spread of dried fruit, nuts, halva, and other sweets arrayed on the table in small dishes, and then progress to soup and meat, before finishing with plov.

Along the Pamir, food will be mostly based on yak products like cheese and meat.  Along the roads, we will be able to purchase fresh fruits from local kids who literally run and block the road trying to sell them

Week 5-6

After Khorugh (or Korog)  we’ll ride in towards Murghab.  On the way, we will climb up to Pereval Tagarkaty Pass, at a height of 4.160m (13648 ft), which actually looks like a lunar plateau.  After Murghab, we will go North towards the Kyrgyzstan border. On the way, we will ride up to Ak-Baital Pass with its own 4655 meters (15272 ft) is the highest point of the Pamir Highway and the second highest international pass in the world. We will spend the night at Kara-Kul lake, both beautifully scenic areas.  This will be our last night in Tajikistan and the day after we will cross the border to Kyrgyzstan.

The first day in Kyrgyzstan we will ride towards the base camp of Peak Lenin,  the ex-USSR’s highest mountain with a height 7,134 metres (23,406 ft). The base camp offers great views of those giants mountains.  The views during sunrise and sunset are ones that will be imprinted in your mind forever. Kyrgyzstan is part of the Western Tien-Shan (meaning the Mountain of Heaven), which is a large system of mountain ranges with beautiful landscape and many wild horses that you will see galloping across the land. The Western Tien-Shan mountain ranges are World Heritage listed. After those giants, we will ride north towards Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. We’ll travel through secondary roads and pass by the largest and most famous lake of Kyrgyzstan, Issyk Kul.  Roads will be mostly a compact gravel. Every year they add more tarmac to them. Stunnings views, mountains roads, a few historical sites, and few nights of camping will make a memorable journey to the Capitol.

A full day of rest and and change of tires (back to the dual sport type) awaits us in Bishkek. Back in Kazakhstan, we’ll have proper rest for two days in a four star hotel in Almaty, (the old capital of Kazakhstan).

Riding conditions:

Riding conditions for the week n 11 and 12 are mostly the same as the prior week. We will ride for several days over 3600 meters (11.800 ft) . Entering in Kyrgyzstan, we will have tarmac for a few days and then again go off road. The views will change as Kyrgyzstan is less  “lunar landscape” and more “lush and green”.  Its mountains are covered in pine. Kyrgyzstan is a bit more developed than Tajikistan in all aspects so road conditions are better.

Food of the week

Kyrgyz cuisine refers to the cuisine of the Kyrgyz, who comprise the majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan. The cuisine is similar in many aspects to that of their neighbors, particularly Kazakh cuisine. Traditional Kyrgyz food revolves around mutton, beef and horse meat, as well as various dairy products.  Meat in various forms has always been an essential part of Kyrgyz cuisine. Among the most popular meat dishes are horse meat sausages (kazy or chuchuk), roasted sheep’s liver, beshbarmak (a dish containing boiled and shredded meat with thin noodles exactly the same as in Kazakhstan), and various other delicacies made from horse meat.

Paloo is the Kyrgyz version of  plov. A popular drink in summer is maksym, which is similar to the Russian kvas.

Week 7-8

From Almaty, we will arrive at Baikal Lake via another section of the Trans-Siberian Highway. We’ll cover 3700 km of steppes, deserts, pine forests and wide-open spaces. Russia is vast, and this leg of the ride will allow you to witness its expanse. The route to Kazakhstan will be manageable; the roads are not great, but the tarmac makes the journey quick.  We will arrive at the border on the 4th day.  After Kazakhstan, we will enter Siberia, the land of forests, bears, wolfs and tigers . We will most likely not see those animals along the way, as they avoid civilization. In Novosibirsk, we will have a full day of rest. Take advantage of the Thai massages offered while we are here! This treatment will stretch, relax, and balance your body after countless days of riding.

Hitting the road again, we will arrive in Irkutsk, which is also the route to Baikal Lake. Baikal lake was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. Baikal is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which exist nowhere else in the world. Lake Baikal is also the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen, fresh water. It contains more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined. After a day of rest, we will roll onto Olkhon island on the Baikal, to discover with a closer eye, the magnificence of this body of water. A free day will give you chance to relax, take a boat ride or simply cruise around the island.

Riding conditions:

On the Kazakhstan side, as the prior week,  roads are either decent or disastrous. Expect more friendly road police stops, too. On the Russian side, the road conditions are much better.  The conditions around the city limits are not good. On a more positive note, traffic in Siberia is sparse.  The traffic mainly consists of old Kamaz (Russian trucks). These trucks are very slow and release a lot of black smoke. However, passing them will not be difficult. Native drivers are not used to motorcycles.  Please use your best judgement, caution and respect during these sections.

Food of the Week  

Okroshka is a traditional Russian soup. The name most likely originates from kroshit´ (крошить), which means “to crumble into small pieces”. This classic soup is a mix of raw vegetables (like cucumbers, radishes and spring onions), boiled potatoes, eggs and cooked meat such as beef, veal, sausages, or ham.  Kvass, also served with it, is a non-alcoholic (1.5% or less) beverage, made from fermented black or rye bread. Okroshka is usually garnished with sour cream (smetana).

Ukha  is a clear Russian soup, made from various types of fish such as bream, wels catfish, or even ruffe. It usually contains root vegetables, parsley root, leek, potato, bay leaf, dill, tarragon, and green parsley, and is spiced with black pepper,saffron, nutmeg, and fennel seed. Fish such as perch, tench, sheatfish, and burbot are often used to add flavor to the soup.

Bliny (salty version) , Pirozhki (salty version), and Kholodets are jellied meat dishes. It gets its name from kholod, and is an essential part of winter holiday festive meals.

Salads: Dressed herring is a layered salad composed of diced pickled herring covered with layers of grated boiled vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beet roots), chopped onions and mayonnaise. Some variations of this dish include a layer of fresh grated apple, while some do not. Grated boiled beetroot, covered with mayonnaise, gives the salad a rich purple color. Dressed herring salad is often decorated with grated boiled eggs (whites, yolks, or both).

Mimosa salad’s  main ingredients are cheese, eggs, canned fish, onion, butter and mayonnaise. This dish got its name because its reminds of us of “Mimosa” flowers scattered on the snow.

Desserts: Oladyi  and Syrniki are fried quark pancakes, garnished with sour cream, jam, honey or apple sauce.

Drinks: Kvass is a traditional  fermented beverage commonly made from black or regular rye bread.  It is classified as a non-alcoholic drink. Kissel is a fruit dish, popular as a dessert and as a drink. It is made from the juice of berries.

Week 9-10

Heading back to the mainland, we will ride south of the Baikal and arrive in Ulan Ude, the city of Buryats. The Buryats, who have a population of approximately 500,000, are the largest indigenous group in Siberia. They have a distinct look that you will notice and their language is similar to Mongolian.   Eat at the local restaurants in Yurtas to enjoy authentic Buryat cuisine. The next day we will enter in Mongolia.  This exotic spot has horizons that stretch as far as the eye can see;  it is a vast land of nature and silence. It is the land of nomads. Genghis Khan, one of the greatest conquerors of all times, inhabited this land.

There is one word to describe Mongolia: freedom. Mongolia is the 18th largest and most sparsely populated, sovereign country in the world, with a population of around 3 million people. Ulaanbaatar, the capital and largest city, contains almost half of the population.  This country contains very little arable land; much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Approximately 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic; horse culture is integral to survival. The majority of its population are Buddhists.  Almost half of the population is non-religious. The majority of the state’s citizens are of Mongol ethnicity, although Kazakhs, Tuvans, and other minorities also live in the country, primarily in the west. If you are not comfortable with your own bike on challenging roads of Mongolia in the capital Ulanbatoor we will have the opportunity to rent a light dual sport motorcycle. On the first day we will visit the statue of Genghis Khan . We’ll change our tires to prepare for off-road riding and roll out to Ulanbatoor.  We will also fill up our support vehicle with food, toys, and school supplies to gift to local families.This will be Motorcycle World Tours initiative. If you wish to contribute, you are free to buy or gift whatever you want. The next week, we will be surrounded by nature and emptiness.  Nights will be spent in our tents and in local ger (mongolian version of yurta) to experience nomadic life. You’ll see people appear from nowhere only to disappear, just as one would imagine a nomad would do.

We will cover around 1800 km, riding a loop to the west.  The Highlights of the trip will be Hustain Huruu,  Khangai Nuruu and  Khogno Tarna National Parks, the Orkhon Valley, which is our 14th World Heritage site since Saint Petersburg. We’ll visit  Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of the oldest surviving Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia.  Feast your eyes on an extinct volcano,  wild horses, camels and much more.

We’ll then cruise back to Russia. The roads might not seem so bad after our week of off-roading. We will end the week number 16 in Chita.

Riding conditions: Mongolia continues, over time, to improve its roads and add more tarmac.  A famous quote from Genghis Khan is: “If you’re afraid – don’t do it, – if you’re doing it – don’t be afraid!”  Mongolia is filled with endless dirt roads, sand roads, mud roads and no roads. Gas stations are usually in every town, if not the opportunity to buy gas in canisters. We will carry a reserve in support vehicle to be safe. Most villages have phone signals and data. so you won’t be completely off the grid. Travelling at a safe speeds, follow the guide and you will be fine.

Food of the week: Mongolian cuisine primarily consists of dairy products, meat, and animal fats. Use of vegetables and spices are limited. Due to geographic proximity and deep historic ties with China and Russia, Mongolian cuisine is also influenced by Chinese and Russian cuisine. The nomads of Mongolia sustain themselves from the products of domesticated animals such as cattle, horses, camels, yaks,sheep, and goat and game. Meat is either cooked, used as an ingredient for soups and dumplings (buuz, khuushuur, bansh,manti), or dried for winter (borts). The Mongolian diet includes a large proportion of animal fat which is necessary for the Mongols to withstand the cold winters and their hard work. Winter temperatures are as low as −40 °C (−40 °F) and outdoor work requires sufficient energy reserves. Milk and cream an cheese are used to make a variety of beverages. The nomads of the countryside are self-supporting on principle. We will find gers marked as guanz in regular intervals near the roadside, which operate as simple restaurants. Mongolians usually cook in a cast-iron or aluminum pot on a small stove, using wood or dry animal dung fuel (argal).

The most common rural dish is cooked mutton, often without any other ingredients. In the city, every other local displays a sign saying “buuz”. Those are steamed dumplings filled with meat. Other types of dumplings are boiled in water (bansh, manti), or deep fried in mutton fat (khuushuur). Other dishes combine the meat with rice or fresh noodles made into various stews(tsuivan, budaatai huurga) or noodle soups (guriltai shol). Mare’s milk is the most drink of Mongolia.

Week 11

A little less than 3000 km are left before we arrive at our final destination, Vladivostok.

Heading back on the Trans Siberian highway, we will drive east circumnavigating China. This is the wildest part of the Trans Siberian highway. We will visit Mogacha on the way. From 1947 until 1953, Mogocha was where the Klyuchevlag prison labor camp of the gulag system was maintained.  The camp held up to 3,000 prisoners at any one time, mainly used as forced labor for molybdenum and gold mining in the villages to the southwest of the town. The remoteness of Mogocha, combined with the harsh climatic conditions, gave rise to the Soviet military slang expression, “God created Sochi, and Satan Mogocha”.

After many more km(s) of forest,  we will arrive in Birobidzhanis, a town and the administrative center of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. The JAO is Russia’s only autonomous oblast and, aside from Israel, the world’s only Jewish territory with an official status. After departing Birobidzhanis, we will arrive in Khabarovsk. This is our last day off before arriving at our final destination. Khabarovsk is the administrative center of the Far Eastern Federal District and is just 20 km away from the Chinese border. A good rest , a stroll in city center and a visit to  Muravyov Amursky Park is the perfect way to spend our day in the city.

We’ll wave goodbye to Khabarovsk and we continue South instead of East.  When finally we will meet the first city sign, we will stop and a take photo of the group. You will feel the glory of victory after completing this journey

17 time zones and 35000 km from Los Angeles, and 9 time zones and over 28000 km from Lisbon and over 2000 km and 7 times zones from Riga we will reach Vladivostok which translates in Russian to “King of East”. We have just completed a motorcyclist’s dream, the hard part of a Motorcycle World Tour. We have just accomplished what for many, will be just a dream. We will treat you to a delicious Celebratory dinner! You’ll see, dreams come true, we have made it happen.

Riding conditions:

Roads are generally good. We will encounter some road work with detours. Drivers commonly speed; in this part of Russia, distances are huge and road police presence is sporadic. There are quite a few Japanese used cars that will transit in opposite direction in small groups. We will need to be careful ass they tend to drive quite fast. We’ll find gas stations approximately every 300 km and you can use your credit cards almost anywhere.

Food of the week:

This fare is similar to the other cuisines of Russia. Caviar here is so cheap that if you are a fan of it, you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner with it without spending a fortune.

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