FROM OLYMPIA TO BEIJING

2008.02.20 Ė 2008.08.08

 

RECOMMENDED PLACES TO JOIN OR LEAVE THE GROUP

The dates in brackets show the planned nights

 

Note: the real dates can slightly differ (hopefully not more than plus/minus 1-2 days) from scheduled ones.

 

General hint: To see all and cheap possibilities use search-engines, depending of your country, e.g. Germans can use www.megaflieger.de

or http://www.opodo.de/opodo/StrutsServlet/Home?locale=de_DE .

Itís advised, to use such search-engines only to get the information, NOT for booking. Cause you have to book your bicycle too and that causes problems using the search engines.

Instead book directly at the website of the founded airline!
At some airlines simply with a "click", at others by phone. Typical price for a bike is about 25 Euro.

 

GREECE:

Olympia (February 18/19/20). Take a train from Athens to Patra Ė Pyrgos, then change to Olympia. We can pick you up by our van from Pyrgos.If you arrive from Italy you can take a ferry from Venice to Patras.

Athens (February 25/26/27). Flights to Athens are operated almost from all capitals of Europe. You can book still available cheap direct flights from Berlin, London, Paris (check www.easyJet.com) or Riga www.airBaltic.com. Also there are cheap flights from Warsaw and Riga with www.norwegian.no.

TURKEY

Istanbul (March 4/5/6). Istanbul is well connected by airlines, railways and buses with many European cities. Istanbul has 2 airports: many cheap-flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gocken Airport (IATA-Code: SAW), but on the Asiatic-side; some cheap-flights to Istanbul Atatuerk International Airport (IST) at European-side.

We plan to stay in the hostel in the European part of Istanbul.

 

Safranbolu (March 11/12/13). The best option is take a bus from The Istanbul Main Bus Terminal (Buyuk Otogar).

Sinop (March17/18/19). You can reach Sinop by bus from Istanbul or Samsun.

Samsun (March 20/21). There are daily flights to Samsun from Ankara and Istanbul.

Trabzon (March 25/26/27). The same like to Samsun.

 

The most convenient way to reach the group at the intermediate points of the route is to use a well developed public bus service: http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/trans/Bus/index.html. The passenger ferry service which has been available along the Black Sea coast a few years ago is closed now.

 

GEORGIA

Batumi (March 29/30). There are five flights a week from Tbilisi. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, Turkish Airlines offers a direct flight to and from Istanbul and there are also two Georgian Airline flights to and from Kiev, Ukraine. There is a good train connection between Batumi and Tbilisi. The night train leaves at approximately 22:30 and arrives in Batumi early in the morning.

Kutaisi (March 31/April 1/2). Busses from Tbilisi leave to Kutaisi every hour until 9pm. There are also 2 trains every day in both directions. The journey takes 5 hours by bus and 6 hours by train.

Tbilisi (April 4/5/6). You can book a flight with discount at ĎairBaltic.comí from most countries in Europe. Lufthansa flies from Munich www.lufthansa.com .

 

To reach the group at the intermediate points of Georgian route should not a problem because the route goes close to the main connections.

 

AZERBAIJAN

Baku (April 14/15/16). Check the discount flights at www.airBaltic.com from many cities of Europe. Flights from Vienna to Baku https://book.austrian.com/app/fb.fly . Also it is possible to reach Baku by railway through Russia. Once per week there is a train from Warsaw to Baku, you have change the train in Minsk (Belarus) and Sinlenikowo (Ukraine). The whole journey takes 95 hours, the whole night waiting in Sinlenikowo. Sleeping tickets only. They donít take bicycle, so you must pack it in a bag.

 

To reach other parts of the route in Azerbaijan you have to look for the public bus service.

 

TURKMENISTAN

Turkmenbashi (April 17/18). Turkmenistan airlines have flights that go twice daily from Ashgabat. There are also trains twice a day from Ashgabat (12 hours) and the Turkmen Express bus (8 hours).

Ashgabat (April 23/24/25). Turkmenistan airlines link Ashgabat with Istanbul, Moscow, Tashkent and Baku. Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt www.lufthansa.com .

Mary/Merv (April 28/29/30). There are several flights a day, 3 trains a day (7 hours) and 5 busses a day (5 hours) from Ashgabat.

 

Other parts on the route in Turkmenistan you can reach easily by the Turkmen Express bus or by train.

 

UZBEKISTAN

Bukhara (May 4/5/6). There are direct flights to Bukhara from Moscow and St Petersburg. The Uzbekistan Airways flies from Tashkent to Bukhara daily. The buses from Tashkent run 12 hours and from Samarkand 6 Ĺ hours. There is also every day a train from Tashkent (12 hours).

Samarkand (May 10/11/12). There are direct flights to Samarkand from Moscow and St Petersburg. The Uzbekistan Airways flies from Tashkent to Samarkand daily. There is also a good connection between Samarkand and Tashkent by bus or train.

Farghana (May 17/18/19). There are direct flights to Farghana from Moscow and St Petersburg. The Uzbekistan Airways flies from Tashkent to Ferghana daily. There are several trains a week from Tashkent to Margilan (close to Ferghana).

 

It seems that for joining the ride in Uzbekistan the most convenient option would be a flight through Tashkent. Uzbekistan domestic airlines connect Tashkent with all main cities on our route. Check the discount flights from Europe to Tashkent at www.airBaltic.com.

KYRGYZSTAN

Osh (May 20/21). There are direct cheap flights between Osh and Moscow. Also Osh is connected by domestic airlines with Bishkek. The bus connection with Uzbekistan is closed.

 

CHINA I (Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region)

Kashgar (May 27/28/29/30). The only flights to Kashgar are from Urumchi which is connected by international flights with Almaty, Bishkek, Novosibirsk, and Moscow and by domestic airlines with Beijing and other major cities in China. There are also trains to Urumchi from Almaty (35 hours). A trip by train from Urumchi to Kashgar takes 31 hour. The same time takes a trip by a sleeper bus. Another much cheaper option: there is 3 times per week a sleeper bus between Osh and Kashgar. The travel takes 20 hours and costs about 40 Euros.

 

Other places on the Northern Silk Road in Xinjiang can be also easily reached from Urumchi by plane, train or bus. There are below the planned stay dates in the bigger towns:

Aksu (June 3/4/5), Kuga (June 7/8), Korla (June 10/11/12), Turpan (June 15/16), Hami (June 20/21/22).

 

CHINA II (Gansu, ShanxiShaanxi and Beijing provinces)

Dunhuang (June 25/26/27). There are regular flights to Dunhuang from Lanzhou, Xiían, Beijing and Urumchi. If you go by train you have detrain in Liuyuan, a little town on the railway line between Lanzhou and Urumchi, and to take a bus (130 km).

Lanzhou (July 10/11). There are daily flights from Beijing, Xiían, Urumchi. The railways also connect Lanzhou with Beijing, Urumchi and other towns.

Xiían (July 19/20/21/22). Xiíanís Xiguan airport is one of Chinaís best-connected. You can fly to almost any major Chinese destination. There are direct trains from Beijing (14 to 18 hours).

It should be also not a problem to join or leave the ride in other places of the planned route.

 

Beijing (August 7/8/Ö).

There are many direct flights from Beijing to Europe. Of course, we recommend not to fly home just after arrival, and to take part at the Games and to visit Beijing. But after the second half of the Games flight prices rise considerably, on the other hand till mid of August flights home are relatively cheap, cause more people arriving than leaving.


One hint for Germans: Cause Air-Berlin just opens the line Peking - Duesseldorf and flights are much cheaper than with Lufthansa or Air-China to Frankfurt.

 

Aeroflot Russian Airlines www.aeroflot.org offer cheap flights to Moscow. You should check in your travel agency for the best option. An alternative way to return is by Trans-Mongolian (Mongolian and Russian transit visas are required) or Trans-Manchurian Railways (Russian transit visa is necessary) which takes correspondingly 5 and 7 days to reach Moscow. The trains depart from Beijing once a week.

The Polish Airlines LOT www.lot.com will fly everyday from 30th of March directly from Warsaw to Beijing.