Route and maps
After a lot of reading and map studying we have decided to try the following route. This route has to be considered
as a guiding route as we guess we will make frequent detours and change the plans as we go. To read the discussion of
alternative routes, have a look here. (link)
line means planned route, the blue
line means alternative route.
Because of the coming winter with cold temperatures and snow in China, Mongolia and Siberia we will have to "delay the season" by
going from Bangkok rather than wait in Hanoi as was the original plan. Then we can spend some time in low cost countries in southeast
Asia before heading north to cycle slowly into a better shape and get used to the new lifestyle and equipment.
That means we start the trip by extending it, but is necessary to avoid the winter and cold temperatures.
Southeast Asia is also an exeedingly pleasant region to stay in with friendly people, low prices, delicious food and lots of interesting
places. Especially Laos is a favourite country of ours in terms of bicycle-friendliness and in general. We will stay here as long as our
visas permit us.
The route in Thailand
Thailand is the land of smiles, even though Bangkok is a rather unpleasent city. We will have to stay in Bangkok for about a week to make the
final preperations like applying for visas (Russia), and purchase and adjust the rest of the equipment.
We plan to head straight south to avoid the heavy traffic along the shortest road to Cambodia, and will follow the coast almost all the way
to the border where we head north along it and cross at Aranya Prathet into Poipet in Cambodia.
The route in Cambodia
In Cambodia we will head straight to the famous Angkor-temples in Siem Reap where we most certainly will spend a few days to explore the
UNESCO site with all the magnificent temples.
After that we plan to go either directly to the capital Phnom Penh or to go back a little to follow the road on the southern side of the
Tonle Sap lake that also ends in Phnom Penh.
After a short stay in Phnom Penh we head north on unpaved roads to the laotian border by the Mekong river.
The route in Laos
Laos is just a fantastic country, and perfect for bicycle trips. There are hardly any cars and the roads are mostly unpaved. People are
genuinly friendly and seem so happy about life even though they are among the poorest in the world. We will stay in Laos as long as the visas
permit us to stay to enjoy the easy-going life in Laos.
We will follow the flat roads along Mekong or maybe make a detour to the Bolaven plateau while heading north. We have promised to visit
the peoples at National Geographic Department (NGD) i Vientiane and owe them a cage of Beerlao for the excellent personal maps they provided
for us, and of course we look forward to meet again the lovely crowd there!
Thereafter we will continue on small roads in the jungle in hilly terrain to Phonsavan and the mystical plain of jars before we again head
through the jungel to the little used border crossing at Na Maew - Nam Xoi into Vietnam.
The route in Vietnam
The stage in Vietnam is well known to us and the road to Hanoi is just considered as a transportation stage. In Hanoi we celebrate christmas
with old friends from Elina's Vietnam stay, arrange the chinese visa, and give Ståle his last vaccinations before we head up to the
Friendship pass into China.
The route in China
China is a less planned chapter, and suggestions are welcome. We hope to get a three month visa and that this will be enough to cross the large
country, else we will have to take a short "vacation" to Hong Kong to arrange new visas. We might visit the terracotta soldiers in Xi'an
should probably have a look at the famous wall somewhere. In Beijing we will arrange the mongolian visa.
The challenge in China is to avoid the "secret" closed areas that foreigners are not allowed to cross by bicycle or to stay in, but hardly can
find any information about. We know for certain at least one closed area that we will have to cross in Inner Mongolia in the north of China.
The trick is to keep a low profile and maybe cross at night to avoid beeing fined. In addition we think that the language will be an interesting
challenge, but Elina is practising hard on her mandarin.
The route in Mongolia
First thing meeting us in Mongolia is the Gobi desert that can be quite cold in april. We have also heard that the prevailing wind in this
month is from the north to the uth so we expect a lot of struggle in headwind. On parts of the road to the capital Ulan Baator there are no
roads, but luckily a railway to follow. The construction of the trans mogolian highway is also undergoing so we might be lucky to have at
least some good tarmac under the tyres. (and yes we will bring the GPS, a map and a compass).
In Mongolia we hope to be accompanied by good cyclist-friends from the bicycle trip in the nortwest of Vietnam in may 2006. In Ulaan Baator
we also have a contact in the national map authority and hope we can arrange a meeting there.
The road winds north to the Lake-Bajkal in Russia.
The route in Russia
Russia is a vaaaast country, but the map is lying a bit. We expect to spend about four months here, and mostly follow the trans-siberian
highway from east towards west, though "highway" isn't really the truth. From Lake-Bajkal we will hit the road towards Omsk and the swamps and
flatlands between Chelyabinsk and Novosibirsk, and cross the Ural's before we head northwest to the finnish border.
In the first place Moscow and St. Petersburg sounds like fun, but in general big cities are not very pleasing to cyclists and are also expensive
in terms of accomodation, so it's questionable if we will make the city trips. Maybe they are too big a temptation, let's see what we feel like
The route in Finland
The country of thousands of lakes is also a less planned chapter. The plan is to cross it without any rigid opinion of where. Finland is
well-known to us in the meaning "almost home" and compared with other bicycle trips we have done we guess we will step hard on the gas to
get home quicker.
The route in Sweden
The route in Sweden will be like the route in Finland; en route...
The route in Norway
In the first place we planned to cycle Hanoi - Trondheim, since we have lived in Trondheim the last 7 years, but when we both now have moved out of
a house to live on the bicycle we only have friends and collegues residing in the city and no connection other than that. Our main goal is still
Trondheim, but we guess we might add some exstra kilometres to get home to our home towns Geilo and Seljord where family and our removal load is
We think home-coming might happen in august 2007.
The maps are borrowed from The University of Texas at Austin
"Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin".