We have been waiting for this day for a very long time. Getting to China was a kind of our goal, since this sounds really big: “I cycled to China”, and it is the last country on the former Silk Road that we roughly followed (but not our last country). Crossing the border between Kazakhstan and China was a huge adventure – it was the last day of our visa and we arrived at the border half an hour before they close it! We were told that the border is open 24h but it was not true. Usually it is forbidden to cycle through the no man’s land and most of the cyclists have to put their bikes on a bus. We were lucky – they let us cycle (rush) through the area between two countries and we were granted with the right to enter China! Great feeling!
West of China is dry and cold and at that time (late October) it was much colder than we expected. Luckily we are prepared for any kind of weather, so it was not a catastrophe.
The landscape of Xinjiang – the most North-Western province of China is a vast emptiness – no shops, no water, a gas station every 120 km and almost no people!
It was interesting to cycle there, a new experience for us – to be on the desert and not sweat too much (see the post from Turkmenistan)
However cycling from the border to Urumqi (the biggest city in this part of China, the capital of Xinjiang province) after a couple of days was very boring and difficult – the highway was fenced with barbed wire and to find a camping spot we had to find a hole in it or a passage for the animals.
Some parts of the road were truly spectacular!
The quality of the roads in China is superb – what a difference after a lot of shitty roads in Central Asia!
The closer we were getting to Urumqi the more cotton fields started to surround us, more villages popped up and it got more crowded.
We could finally eat like people – being vegetarian in Central Asia was a nightmare! Here in China we could finally relax and enjoy a decent meal!
The first week when you enter a new country is the most important – your perception is still fresh and sharp, you are not overloaded and you can appreciate new things. New, new, new, everything is new!
Getting to Urumqi was hard, but we could finally rest – a big city with all its aspects was waiting for us! But not in all big cities you can see sheep on a main road…
More food! Good to be vegetarian in China!
Due to the weather, the size of the country and our visa we had decided to take a bus – teleport ourselves 3000 km further South-East, from Urumqi to Chengdu! 50 hours in a bus with 50 Chinese people was waiting for us! We packed our bikes really small (as always) and we did not have to pay much extr.
See you in Chengdu!