Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tips and ideas

This is just going to be a quick bullit list with tips and ideas from Kym and Lyn. I might go through them at some point and explain things a bit more in depth or maybe add some more. But this is just a brain dump to make sure we don’t forget the things they told us!

  • Cost for guide in China for 48 days: $15000. They shared this with 4 couples (which came to $3 a day basically, not that expensive….)
  • They spent $7000 on the whole trip?! check their website as it lists all the expenses they said.
  • Install a floor safe. Somewhere invisible, but still easily accessible so you can get to it without it being obvious that you are getting something out of a safe spot. Keep your passport, extra cash etc in there.
  • Change your fuel filter more often than you would at home
  • Look into travel sim, they are pretty good when you are calling home from the country you are in (as opposed to a local sim where you still need to pay international calls on the local sim). Not sure if we will use this as we probably would’t call home very often.
  • waterpurifier – Seagull 4 (carbon filter than lasts for around 12 months). Fill the tanks with water from the creeks or local pumps and then only filter your drinking water on the way out with the Seagull. Use a simple sand filter (Kym was talking about a farm filter) that you put at the inlet. That stops the leaves and other ‘big’ things from getting into your tanks.
  • Do Mongolia and Russia on your own to receive more invitations from people. Don’t cross the Gobi dessert just on gps coordinates on your own though. Don’t do the Road of Bones on your own.
  • Kym did the outback challenge for 10 years
  • Vietnam – not possible with a car that is right-hand drive
  • Burma – try if you can drive through Burma. Find the contact they recommend for Laos and Cambodia on their website and ask them if it is possible.
  • You definitely need 3rd party insurance for each country. You can buy this at the border crossings. You could get insurance for the car for the whole trip with the Dutch company they mention on their website, but they don’t do it as it is too expensive.
  • Get the carnet de passage for Malaysia, then as soon as you leave Malaysia you can send it back (FedEx) to get your money back. Then renew it again when you need it for the next country where you need it. Thailand etc doesn’t need it.
  • There are only 3 entry and exit point to get into Mongolia with a car. The LP for Mongolia gives you coordinates for cities etc so you can drive to them using the gps.
  • pico station (from ubequi) – a small device that allows you to pick up a wifi signal from 15km away. This allows you to be further away from wifi but still use it.
  • Buy a big map for the countries where you are planning to go to, get the LP and read through it and then number all the things you find in the LP on the map. Number them 1-5 where 1 is MUST SEE and 5 is nice if it happens. Then try to connect all the numbers to find a planned itinerary. You can of course always change, but it gives you a good idea how long a country will take you and where you will go.
  • Take a polaroid camera with film to take some photos and give them to the people you took them off.
  • There is no problem anywhere with taking gps, radio, sat phone etc.
  • They have only ever twice had to pay a bribe. Just wait, be polite, smile a lot, pretend you don’t understand and wait until they get bored of you.
  • You don’t need to budget extra time for the border crossings. They can take longer sometimes, but sometimes not.
  • Once we have dates for China he will add us to the list of people looking for travel partners to share the cost of the guide. He can also ask his contact in China to add us to the list.

useful internet sites:

Major step forward

Well, we didn’t have to wait long before we received a response from Kym. They were happy to join us for dinner and share their knowledge with 2 complete strangers and gave us some dates they still had free before they depart again for their next adventure.

1 April was suggested and what better day then April Fools to meet strangers and talk about overland trips?

We had a great sunny weekend in Noosa and Tewantin where we met up with Graham and Jan, and Sally. Leaving Noosa with a great icecream we arrived in Kurwongbah at an amazing house. We even saw a cute little wallaby on our way in on the drive-way! Astonishing views over the lake with a nice house on top of the hill.

But the biggest surprise was yet to come. We were invited into the living room, but not just a normal living room! The room had maps on the walls and souvenirs littered the cupboards and competed for space on the walls. They had put out a very nice selection of mementos, neatly grouped per trip. But the maps, I think Jon and I both started druwling on their sofas just looking at the maps.

One big map of Australia and one of the world next to it, but of course the most impressive things on the map where the hand-drawn lines crossing a lot of continents! We had hit the jackpot when it comes to meeting people with an amazing knowledge about overland travel. And, as you would expect, they were very nice!!

We bombarded them with questions all night long, first at their place and then in the tavern over dinner. Question after question and they didn’t flinch. They answered all our questions and some! We heard amazing stories and received so many tips I will have to start writing them down to make sure I don’t forget them! I would love to sit around the fire with them and have more time to listen to lots more stories!

I will try to write down some of the suggestions and tips they gave us in a separate blog post fur ease of finding them and future reference. Maybe one day we can pass on the knowledge and experience to the next lot of overland travellers!