Overland China & Transit

On the Road – China Overland with your own vehicle through China and Tibet

China Overland & Transit: Drive with your own vehicle through China and Tibet

Dear Overlander community,
for 2018 we have, once again, done our best to put together a well-organised, understandable, and cost effective price guide for China and Tibet overland travel in your own set of wheels. And we have succeeded in doing it!

We ask for your understanding that we do not offer China overland travel without the accompaniment of a guide. All Overlanders will be accompanied by one of our experienced English-speaking tour guides. By doing so we follow government regulations.

In2018, we can offer you the following self-drive China routes again:

Entry from / exit to:
Laos – Myanmar – Vietnam – Kyrgyzstan – Kazakhstan – Mongolia –  Pakistan – Nepal

Good news for all overland travellers who want to ride or drive from China to Nepal: the new border at Gyirong (Girong), Tibet is open from early 2018. All overland travel was suspended after the devastating earthquake in 2015 and the border at Zhangmu was (and remains) closed. The new border at Gyirong will serve China overland travellers in the future as a hub for leaving or entering China from/to Nepal.

We receive many inquiries regarding China overland tours, and we answer all questions about your overland projects individually. Because that takes a lot of time, we must ask you to be patient if it takes a couple of days for us to answer.

Currently, we need at least 40 days notice to plan and implement your China overland project. For more complicated trips and individual wishes and route planning, it can easily take longer than that.

Before sending an inquiry, we suggest that you first read our FAQ section below!

For enquiries – What we need to know to be able to answer:
Nationality / Age
– Travel period (day (if known), Month & Year)
– Transit period in days (1- 90 days)
– Entering China / departure from China (for example: from Kyrgyzstan to Laos)
– Number of Vehicles & Vehicle Types
– We offer special China overland group packages

China Overland Group Tour
Kyrgyzstan (Irkeshtam border) – China – Tibet – Laos
2017: September 17th / 26 Days

This spectacular China overland journey takes you along the Silk Road from Sary Tash in Kyrgyzstan to Kashgar, Tibet, Yunnan and to the border of Laos. Visit the highlights of Tibet: Mount Kailash, the Tibetans’ holiest mountain, lake Manasarovar, the Everest Base Camp and Lhasa. Leaving the Tibetan plateau, you will discover the highlights of South China in Yunnan province.

Read More

Hendrik Heyne, founder of Tibetmoto, with overlander travellers in China from around the world

Price List 2017 for all China overland & transit with 4×4 and other vehicles.
On four wheels through the Middle Kingdom:

Number of Vehicles
Price per Vehicle in US$Transit time frame
1 / 2 / 3 / 4

For price quote please contact us

1 – 90 days

For an Overlander journey through Tibet, a separate approval process is required. There will, therefore, be extra expenses for trips through Tibet (Tibet Autonomous Region / T.A.R.):

Number of Vehicles
Price in US$ per Vehicle
1 / 2 / 3 / 4

For price quote please contact us

Prices are valid for trips in China and Tibet for the following vehicles:
– SUV / 4×4 / cars
– Vans / Minivans

Price List 2017 for China overland & transit with motorbikes and scooters.
On two wheels through the Middle Kingdom:

Number of MotorbikesPrice in US$ per Vehicle
Time frame
1 / 2 / 3 / 4

For price quote please contact us

1 – 90 days

For an Overlander journey through Tibet, a separate approval process is required. There will, therefore, be extra expenses for trips through Tibet (Tibet Autonomous Region / T.A.R.):

Number of Motorbike/Scooters
Price in US$ per Vehicle
1 / 2 / 3 / 4

For price quote please contact us

These prices are valid for trips in China and Tibet for the following vehicles:
– Motorbikes/Scooters

Mandatory English speaking guide with national guide certificate (not optional); for all vehicles

For price quote please contact us

Included Services (additional services on request):

– Chinese driver´s license (temporary)
– Chinese number plate
– Customs deposit bond
– Customs clearance
– 3rd party vehicle insurance

– All China / Tibet permits
– All necessary official translations
– English speaking Tibetmoto guide
– Expenses for guide traveling to / from borders
– Meals and accommodation for guide
– Optional supply vehicle (at additional costs)
– Advice concerning roads and itinerarie
– Tibetmoto service: Costumer support while on the road from Monday to Sunday, 8am to 9pm China time
– Letter of invitation (LOI) for applying a Chinese visa (depending on group size)


In addition to the expedition escort vehicle, we rent everything necessary for a perfect expedition: Camping equipment: Group room/meeting tents, sleeping tents, folding cots, mobile kitchens, generators

on request

China Overlander travel packages for film and TV productions in China
CARFTE Permits/import of TV and film equipment

on request

Order Service: We can order the following: Vehicle spare parts, expedition equipment, motorcycle clothing/helmets and much more!

on request

Links to individual travel plans for locating additional participants. Link your trip here:


Overlander itineraries through China and Tibet 2017:

Tibet and China Overland transits are as special as the people who book with us.

There are hundreds of possiblilities to cross China with your own vehicle. The following China and Tibet overland itineraries are therefore more doable suggestions and serve as a guideline rather than as a way you have to take. We are happy to adapt all our itineries to your needs and ideas. Or create something entirely else.

The following itineraries can also be driven in reverse order:

from / toKazakhstanKyrgyzstanMongolia

Laos or

Route 1:

Kazakhstan – China – Laos or Myanmar

(24-28 days)

Route 2:

Kazakhstan – China –Tibet – Laos or Myanmar

(26-30 days)with Tibet

Route 5:

Kyrgyzstan – China – Tibet – Laos or Myanmar

(27-30 days)with Tibet

Route 6:

Kyrgyzstan – China – Tibet – Laos

(30 days) with Mt. Kailash 3day hike

Route 10+11:

Mongolia – China – with or without Tibet– Laos or Myanmar


Route 12:

Mongolia – China – Laos or Myanmar

(27-29days) with Xi'an


Route 3:

Kazakhstan – China – Tibet – Nepal

(20 days) with Tibet

Route 7:

Kyrgyzstan – China – Tibet – Nepal

(15-20 days)with Tibet

Route 13:

Mongolia – China – Tibet– Nepal

(20days)with Tibet


Route 4:

Kazakhstan – China – Tibet – Pakistan

(30 days) with Tibet

Route 8:

Kyrgyzstan – China – Pakistan

(4-6 days)

Route 14:

Mongolia – China – Pakistan


Route 15:

Mongolia – China – Tibet – Pakistan

(27-30days)with Tibet


Route 9:

Kyrgyzstan – China – Tibet– Mongolia

(38 days) with Xi'an

Overlander FAQ: A brief overview of frequently asked questions and our answers:

Can I drive through China without a guide?

Unfortunately, this is currently not possible. As organizers, we are legally responsible for our Overlanders. The legal risk for us would be too great if you got lost without a guide and got away from the agreed-upon route.

Can I use my own vehicle, enter China, leave the vehicle there, and leave China for X? After Y days, I would then want to return to China and continue my journey there.

That is not possible. Those who enter China with their own vehicle must leave the country again with the same vehicle at the same time.
Exceptions are possible, for example if you need to fly out of China for only a few days. In this case, you may deposit a certain amount.

For me, 90 days transit time is not enough. What can I do?

The only option is to leave the country on day 90 and re-enter afterwards. A prolongation of the transit time is not possible without leaving the country. In 2016 it might be possible to apply for a six month transit. More about this possibility next year.

Do I need a Chinese visa in advance? Do you need a visa copy in advance?

When traveling to China, an advance visa is always necessary. A visa on arrival will normally not be issued in China. However, we do not need to have your Chinese visa copy in advance if you only travel within China (and not through Tibet).
You can apply for Chinese visa in a third country on the way to China or in your home country, which we suggest. You can apply for a Chinese visa only if you enter China within three month after application. For example you plan to enter China on September 15. In this case, the earliest application date for your Chinese Overland visa is June 15.
Please note that in some countries its not possible to apply for a Chinese visa if you are not a resident of this country. For example, its not possible to apply for a Chinese visa at the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan if you are not a resident of Kyrgyzstan and have lived there for at least six month.
For trips to Tibet, we need the Chinese visa copy at least 21 days in advance.

I want to travel in China for 45 days, but I only got a 30-day tourist visa. What shall I do?

No problem! You can get an extension for your visa for another 30 days after you arrive in China. In some places, it will only take 24 hours. It is important to choose the right place to apply so it doesn’t take too long. The rule of thumb is: The smaller the town the faster the process will be.

I have special equipment with me, like a satellite phone, and many books, Will these be a problem while transiting China?

Imported objects do not normally cause problems. However, it depends on the individual case, and we can’t answer this question categorically. Satellite phones and tourist camera equipment (SLR camera, camcorder …) have never previously been a problem.

I have special equipment and will be doing professional film work. It is possible I will also be working for a TV production company or directly for the ARD or BBC, and want to shoot a documentary/movie/series/reality show in China or Tibet, and wish to enter the country overland with my own vehicles. What is necessary?

In addition to the normal transit papers you must also have CARFTE film permits. In such a case, we work with partners who can help with getting the necessary permits. Close cooperation between Tibet Moto, the film production company and our partner is necessary here, as well as a preparatory period of three to four months for planning and implementation.

Which documents are necessary for my transit papers and how far in advance should I apply for my transit visa?

Before booking we send you a form to fill out. Doing the form will take you about 30 minutes. The documents include passport, driver’s license and vehicle information such as colour and the chassis serial number.
We only need scanned copies and no originals. After booking, we set up a cloud (Dropbox) for you to upload all necessary documents.
We need about 70 days to set up your trip, so we need all papers and information 70 days in advance.

I am 60 years old and would like to travel into China with my motorcycle/truck Are there problems?

There is no way for us to arrange a trip for motorcycle or truck for Overlanders over 60. Unfortunately, Chinese law does not permit licenses for this age group and these vehicles. Other vehicles are exempt.

What happens if I do not reach the border in time for the purpose of entry because I, for example, broke down or became ill on the way?

In this case, our guide would wait for you at the border for as long as the travel plan still could be completed in its entirety. A few days delay would be possible, but we would have to bill you for extra guide costs. Punctuality is a prerequisite for a smooth journey.

What happens if, during the Overlander trip in China or Tibet, I am late, for example, because I have become sick or have a breakdown that is difficult to repair?

In such a case we will also bill you for extra guide costs and any possible expenses for changes to the permits (if such exist). In the case of serious damage to the vehicle, we recommend transporting the vehicle to the next sizeable city. The local guide will, of course, assist you in this. We can also do an express order for spare parts for you.

I should like to travel into China with my 4 × 4 truck. However, I have a 100cc Honda Dream with me that I certainly would not ride on while in the country. I promise! Does it have to be declared anyway?

All vehicles imported temporarily into China must be declared, even if they are not driven. Our price list above is, therefore, applicable to all vehicles.

I want to enter China as an overlander. However, I want to ship my vehicle from port X in China to Y, Is this possible?

Yes, this is normally possible. This is a special request that will require us to do a good bit of investigation into shipping possibilities. We charge a flat rate for the research which will be added to the Overlander price. For this, we can also offer you a good price from a third party Chinese shipping company.

I would like to save money. Immediately after entering China, I would like to have my vehicle transported within China by truck or train to the border exit X. I would then travel separately to the border exit X and pick up my car there. How much would that cost?

We are not a transport company. Because of that we normally do not offer services that mainly involve shipping. We are not familiar with the rules for this and do not know whether this kind of arrangement is even possible or legal. Because of that we cannot help with this request.

Do I have to arrange hotel bookings in advance?

No, there is no need to arrange hotel bookings in advance. You can either book directly in the town or village where you stay for the night or in advance with the help of your guide or using a online booking engine.

What do I need to consider if I enter in a group of vehicles?

You have to consider that you enter with your vehicle China as part of a group. This means that on all official transit papers the group size with all vehicle specifications are mentioned. This results in the fact that you are not able to enter China alone with you vehicle without the remaining group.
For example, it is possible that a part of the group for various reason can not make it to the border in time to enter China. The authorities won´t be allowing you to enter with you vehicle alone, since you are part of group and, even though you are there, would not be able to enter.

On which day should I enter China?

Generally, it is possible to enter on a working day (Mo-Fr), but not on weekends or public holidays.
If you decide to enter on a Friday, you can only receive your necessary documents at the traffic administration such as temporary driving license and temporary number plate on the next working day (Monday, if Monday is not a holiday). As well, the vehicle check can only take place on the next working day.

What are the formalities when entering China? How are the proceedings?

When entering China, you will meet your guide at the pre-decided border/day. There, the guide will help you with the formalities and communication with the border official. He will hold as well all necessary documents (beside your passport and original vehicle documents).
Afterwards, you will proceed to the next town to where the border checkpoint (administrative division) belongs  to. In most cases this is the next bigger town close to the border. Its for example Jinhong if you arrive from Laos or Kashgar if you arrive from Kyrgyzstan.
On the following working day after your arrival you need to visit the traffic administration with you vehicle. The traffic administration will check you vehicle and issue your temporary driving license and temporary number plate beside other documents.
The waiting time is often quite long on this day, so its essential that we plan for the proceedings an entire day.

After the successful check of your vehicle and issuing of all necessary papers you can hit the road the following day.

Here an itinerary example:

Day 1 (Thu): Coming from Naryn (Kyrgyzstan) and entering into China from Torugart Pass. Meeting the guide at the Chinese border checkpoint of Torugart Port. Border proceedings and formalities. Drive to Kashgar.
Day 2 (Fri): Formalities at the traffic administration outside of Kashgar (40 kilometers drive). Issuing of temp. driving license, temp. number plate, vehicle check.
Day 3 (Sat): Free day. Visit the old town of Kashgar.
Day 4 (Sun): Visit Kashgar´s Sunday market. Begin you journey according to your itinerary.

What are the payment arrangements?

We need an advanced payment of 20% once you decided to book your China transit with us. Upon receiving we initiate your booking. Four weeks (28 days) prior to your arrival at the Chinese border we need to receive the remaining amount of 80%.
If you book 6 month in advance you qualify for our Early Bird discount of 3% on all services beside the guide service.

Is the border between Nepal and China for overland travel open again?

The new border crossing near Gyirong (Girong) replaced after the earthquake 2015 the old border at Zhangmu/Kodari, but was closed due to construction until recently for foreign tourists.
The opening date for overland travel with you own vehicle at the new border at Gyirong is early 2018.
Therefore, we can offer this border again as a entry and exit border for China-Nepal overland travel in 2018.

Do I have the same guide when traveling through multiple provinces?

That depends on the exact routing. For example your China transit is from Kyrgyzstan to Laos via Tibet. In this case you would have a guide for the Chinese province of Xinjiang (normally an Uighur guide), a different guide for Tibet (a Tibetan) and another guide for the Chinese province of Yunnan (a Yunnanese guide; normally a member of Yunnan´s many minority groups).
This has the advantage that you always travel with somebody who can speak the local language (not everywhere Mandarin Chinese is spoken), knows the local customs and traditions and knows the area extremely well.

Do you help me with applying for a Chinese visa? Do I get a Letter of Invitation (LOI)?

After booking with us, but not longer than three month in advance prior to your Overland China entry, we will supply you with an official Letter of Invitation (LOI) from a government Tourism department if your group has at least 5 people, which is a requeuirement from the tourism bureau. Please note: We do not issue the LOI we apply for the LOI in your name. Therefore, it takes up to seven working days to be issued.
The letter will state your point and date of entry/exit, rough itinerary and some other details.
When applying for a Chinese visa and presenting the LOI, you do not need to proof:
- Hotel bookings
- Flight bookings
If your group is smaller than 5 people, we can provide you with hotel bookings.
In order to apply for your LOI, you need to fill out our China Overland form which we send to you after booking and inform us in which country and which city you apply for your Chinese visa.
Its generally possible to appy for a Chinese visa without an agent and by yourself. However, many people prefer to use an agent because they feel its more convenient. In case you use the service of an agent:
Make sure your agent is specialized in visa services or is a China specialist. A regular travel agent or the neighbor travel bureau in your hometown will often make things more complicate since they sometimes do not understand the procedure correctly or collect their information only from internet sources.
If you need a suggestion concerning a good visa agent, please ask us.


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