Travel Independently through China…Take 2!

Hi everybody!

I’d say it’s time again to post some “practical info” for all the overlanders amongst us 🙂 And I have a bit of good news to share with you! Hendrik, a friend from Dali in China, has just written us a letter. His motorcycle / 4×4 tour-company “TIBETMOTO” now offers tours for motorized overlanders who wish to experience China WITHOUT A GUIDE for all provinces except Tibet! A few months ago I wrote at length about the difficulties some overlanders have finding a tour company that will allow them to transit China without an escort. In fact, of the myriad of Chinese companies, we only know 4 that offer merely “border and document assistance” – of which 3 are a tad expensive.

Not so TIBETMOTO…if you can form a small group! How does 1.355,- EUR per motorcycle (with 60 days in China!) in a group of four sound to you? Not bad, I’d say…considering the huge amount the Chinese government demands for issuing all the permits. With these prices, Hendrik isn’t making much of a profit! But now I’ll let Hendrik speak for himself. Below is his price list for 2015 in German and English. If you’re an overlander yourself, or know somebody who is driving/riding to/from Southeast Asia, spread the news! You are also welcome to share this info on any forum for overlanders who travel by truck, camper, 4×4 or motorcycle. I’m sure a few will be delighted to read it 🙂

Take care and all the best from Cambodia, Laura & Christopher!


Tibetmoto has been operating in China since 2010. We are the travel experts for expeditions, adventures and tours through China, Tibet, Yunnan, Laos and beyond! Let us help you make your travel-dreams reality. Regardless whether you wish to journey by 4×4, motorcycle or mountain bike to places on or off the beaten track, we will assist you every step of the way from planning your itinerary to booking your trip and embarking on your great adventure! We offer expedition-tours, camping trips off the beaten track, as well as exclusive tours with overnight stays in guesthouses and boutique hotels.

As of this year we also offer independent self-drive tours for overlanders who wish to experience China without a guide!

Following are the costs for a 60-day transit of China without Tibet and without a guide for overlanders with their own private motorcycle/4×4/etc. A member of our staff will be waiting for you at your point of entry into China with all the mandatory government documents, and will assist you with the paperwork at your selected point of exit. This package includes your temporary Chinese driving license and vehicle plates. No extra or hidden costs. Please contact us at least 65 days prior to your arrival at the border, so we can apply for your documents.

The following transit-routes are currently possible:

Entry from Mongolia – exit into Laos / Kyrgyzstan / Pakistan

Entry from Laos – exit into Kyrgyzstan / Pakistan / Mongolia

Entry from Pakistan – exit into Laos / Kyrgyzstan / Mongolia

Entry from Kyrgyzstan – exit into Laos / Pakistan / Mongolia


Costs for motorcycles (no guide):

1 motorcycle (solo travel): 3.980, – EURO

2 motorcycles: 2.150, – EURO per motorcycle

3 motorcycles: 1.580, – EURO per motorcycle

4 motorcycles: 1.355, – EURO per motorcycle

Costs for larger groups upon request! We will gladly assist you in the search for additional participants.


Costs for vehicles with 1 to 5 seats (no guide):

1 vehicle (solo travel): 4.240, – EURO

2 vehicles: 2.430, – EURO per vehicle

Costs for larger groups upon request! We will gladly assist you in the search for additional participants.


Costs for vehicles with 1 to 8 seats (no guide):

1 vehicle (solo travel): 4.855, – EURO

2 vehicles: 2.870, – EURO per vehicle

Costs for larger groups upon request! We will gladly assist you in the search for additional participants.

Of course, a trip through Tibet is also possible (after all: my company is called “Tibetmoto”!). However, a guide in Tibet is still mandatory (unlike every other province), and a support vehicle may also be necessary. If you wish to visit Tibet on your journey through China, please note that you should contact us at least 95 days prior to your arrival at the border, so we can apply for your documents. Costs depend on your itinerary and group size. Prices upon request.

Similarly, we can provide a guide for all other provinces, if you prefer a guided transit of China. Regardless of the size of your group, the costs are as follows:

Optional guide with his own motorcycle: 70,- EURO / day

Optional guide with his own minivan/4×4: Upon request

Optional guide without a vehicle: 50,- EURO / day

Not included: hotel accommodation, meals, fuel for the guide. Camping is not a problem. We also rent camping equipment for the perfect expedition and – if required – will help you order motorcycle parts from abroad…and much, much more!



(0049)-(0)251-20245995 (Germany)

(0086)15184999452 (China)


EDIT- 25th April 2015

To anyone who is currently contemplating applying for permits through TIBETMOTO for an INDEPENDENT crossing of China, please be advised that these are now no longer offered.

A couple of (expletive) selfish and disrespectful overlanders (the first to go through with TIBETMOTO on a guide-less tour) have just blatantly disregarded EVERY.SINGLE.RULE. as stipulated in their permits, lied to Hendrik (owner of TIBETMOTO), gone AWOL and OFF the route outlined in their itinerary, been stopped by the police in a ‘sensitive’ zone, have had their vehicles confiscated and (the worst part of all) have just caused TIBETMOTO a possible guiding licence cancellation.

As a consequence, INDEPENDENT TOURS through China are now NO LONGER OFFERED by this agency. Hendrik is currently knee-deep in damage control but he expects to be able to survive, so guided trips should still be possible.

Congratulations to the drivers of the two 4WDs who have shown such a catastrophic lack of respect for the country they are visiting, the agency which organised all their paperwork, the greater overland community at large and, lastly, the two obviously deluded overlanders (Chris and I) who thought that ‘passing it forward’ and helping fellow travellers would be quite a decent thing to do. You’ve just ruined it for everybody and destroyed many overlanders’ dreams. You are the epitome example of how NOT to travel, how NOT to overland and how NOT to behave in a foreign country. Hendrik has worked his rear end off to be able to secure this deal for fellow overlanders and, in one swift move, you’ve ruined everything.

We can’t even begin to tell you how enraged we are right now and how responsible we feel for introducing Hendrik to the idea that ALL overlanders are respectful enough to know how to behave as guests in China. How deluded we were.

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33 Responses to Travel Independently through China…Take 2!

  1. Pingback: Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

  2. Shane says:

    Hi i have only one month left in Pakistan on my visa Im solo on a motobike I but could extend that if you have a group I could join that want to enter China from Pakistan. The border opens April 3rd I believe?.
    I cant afford to do this solo so Im looking for a group I guess. Tried to use the contact us on their website but something in german is blocking me
    Thanks Shane

    • admin says:

      Not sure what’s happening there Shane, seems fine with me. Click to English, then contact and form appears.

      please note I am not affiliated with the agency, you must deal with them directly. i do think it’s too late for a April 3rd or thereabouts entry…it takes a month or more just to organise transit


  4. That will make my life so much easier, thanks Laura.
    When I did my first overland trip (Oz to France) in 1997 there was no internet, emails or Horizons unlimited, just paper maps and the sun. I was much younger then with plenty of energy but now I do appreciate all the help that I can get.

  5. Lilian says:

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks a lot for this! 🙂
    We think we’ll contact them and see if, what, when en how we can manage in our plans.
    It is so great that you take al these efforts for all travelers.
    With 10 day to go before leaving Holland we still have a lot of others things to manage like finish house work say goodbyes etc.
    Safe travels,
    Cheers ,

    • admin says:

      Exciting times Lilian, albeit always a little anxiousness too…enjoy your farewells and pack light! ahah
      Safe travels 🙂

  6. Pingback: Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

  7. liz keily says:

    We have been dealing with Tibetmoto. We had booked and paid for a crossing independently.Great company BUT a group of thoughtless, selfish 4X4s on one of their tours as we speak almost immediately went off the planned itinerary and went straight away into sensitive areas. They are in trouble, have had their vehicles confiscated and the Compnay is der investigation because they are held partly responsible. For us it means lost visas, lost money and time as our trop has now been cancelled. Tibetmoto are refunding our money but that isnt the point. Months of planning for everyone and because of this selfish group so many people have been affected. Terribly sorry for Tibetmoto as they have been awesome to deal with. Anyone have another company we might be able to go with as we are in Laos right now!!!!!!

    • admin says:

      Hey Liz,

      That is the most shocking news, literally UNBELIEVABLE! What a bunch of selfish a**holes who will now quite probably ruin it for everyone else.
      I have no contacts personally, but perhaps get on HU Hubb, and FB groups Overland Sphere and Overland to Asia to see if there is a group going soon whom you can join?
      Good luck Liz, that is indeed very bad news for TIBETMOTO and all.
      Will write Hendrick now
      All the best

  8. Gary says:

    bummer! was so excited to read this as it is the first affordable alternative I’ve ever heard.

  9. Kat Stanier says:

    Hi Laura, Hi Liz,

    Devastated to hear about Tibet Moto and the idiots happy to spoil it for everyone else too! This has scuppered our plans for china for December 2015 (yes i know were going to be cold!) Just wondering laura if you knew if Ricard is still in business and might be able to help us with a 4X4 self drive trip?

    All the Best.


    • admin says:

      Hi Kat!
      yes, it is such a pity and I know so many overlanders, like you, for whom plans have just gone up in the air. i have actually not chatted to Ricard for a couple of months so I have no idea what his current situation is re. offering self-drive tours…Definitely still wroth writing to him though, you may be in luck.
      Other than that…TIBETMOTO still obviously offer guided trips so that’s always an available option. guess you have have about 4 months to find a solution. i wish you all the best!!

  10. Joshua says:

    Hi Laura,

    Just wanted to say good job on your website, the information about china overland has been very helpful. It’s a terrible shame that Hendrick got an irresponsible group going off trail earlier in the year. I’m planning a drive from Australia to England in March next year so hopefully the way is still open…

    Ciao for now

    • admin says:

      Hey Joshua,
      Always a pleasure to share some useful info and hope it helps with your own epic crossing of China. Thank you for the appreciation, it means a lot! Good luck and enjoy the preparations. Somehow, that can be the most fun part of all. Cheers!

  11. Pingback: Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

  12. Jee Hwan Kim says:

    Well, Ricard seems to be offline travelling most of the time, so Tibetmoto would be a good option.

    Are they still in business, and do you think they will resume unguided overland tours in the coming years?

    • Jee Hwan Kim says:

      I would like to know if Ricard is still in business as well. China Tierra de Aventura seems like an equally good option, if not better, albeit they seem to have problems with their connectivity (e.g. their website not working).

    • admin says:

      I can’t possibly predict what will happen in the coming years but do suspect that if guide-less trips become more acceptable, then Tibetmoto woul be among the first to offer it, again. Perhaps, with better luck! Yes indeed, Tibetmoto are very much still in business! 🙂

      • laurapattara says:

        PS. Oh…I have not chatted to Ricard in months and am not sure if he’s still organizing trips, so my bet would be on Hendrik (Tibetmoto) at this stage. 🙂

  13. Michael Nordgren says:


    Tibetmoto still has the unguided option through China on their website.

    Do you have any recent updates


    • admin says:

      Hi Michael I’ve actually noticed that and notified Hendrik, who said he’d edit the site. But haven’t heard from him in a while…so maybe it’s worth an ask?? Perhaps he may have had a change or heart?? Worth an email, that’s for sure! 🙂

  14. Michael Nordgren says:

    Done that.

    If anything interesting I will update.

  15. Nina Travels says:

    I was so happy to start reading that independ overlanding in China is possible, but before I reach the end of this blog post I was sooo upsuet as that is no longer possible!! 🙁 I am so sorry about Hendrik! I hope he did not lost all the faith in us – overlanders who know to respect the rules and a foreign country – that is why we even travel, to know the country as it is! Fingers crossed that independent overlanding in China will be possible again… All the best to Hendrik!

    • admin says:

      Thank you Nina, very kind of you to say and YES!!! Many of us have ‘apologized on behalf of all overlanders’ for this incredible blunder. The damage is not permanent, I hope…it’s just SO frustrating after all the endeavors. Fingers crossed, once again, that independently overlanding through China will SOON be available again. Safe and happy travels to you 🙂

  16. Tanya korteling says:

    Hi all;

    My husband and I plus 2 friends were looking to self drive 2 4x4s from UK to Cambodia in Q4 2016. Have tried for a month or so to contact Ricard as suggested on Laura’s blog but unfortunately have had no response. Was very excited to stumble across Tibetmoto this morning……then read the edit, hopes dashed again 🙁

    If anyone hears if Ricard or Hendrik are doing/ resume the organising of these trips or
    If you know of anyone else then please let us know!

    Thankyou so much

  17. Nathan Broadbent says:


    This blog is an amazing resource, and that’s a real shame about those people who ruined it for everyone. I was just wondering if the situation has changed, one year later? My wife and I would love to do an overland trip from SE Asia to Europe (and back), and we would really prefer to explore China without having to pay for a guide.

    Thanks very much!

    • admin says:

      Hi Nathan!! Apologies for the tardy reply. Would you kindly send me a message through the contact form here? That way I have your email address and can write back. Cheers!

  18. Andy H says:

    Hi Laura,
    Please tell me where I can get or download the Application Form of Temporary Entry Vehicle’s Number plate and Driver’s license into China. These are asked for here:
    Love your blog.
    Thank you, Andy

    • laurapattara says:

      Hi Andy!! All of our applications had to be handled by the agent who applied for our province permits, we could do nothing ourselves, directly. Has this changed, that you know of? I’ve been out of the China loop for a couple years now, but last I knew foreigners were not allowed to do the paperwork themselves. How are you planning to transit through China? Feel free to write me though the ‘contact me’ tab and I can respond via email, if you prefer. Cheers

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