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Uralistan : road trip through Europe & Asia with a Ural sidecar

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

At ORLA Tours, we all have an adventurous soul. Discovering is a way of life. We can say that Marion & Jeremy particularly with that state of mind. After exploring Europe on foot and motorbiking, they left France to settle in Laos. They have been part of the ORLA Tours team for 3 years now. But an explorer does not stay a long time in the same place. And it is time for them to start a new project: Uralistan. What is that? A 35 000 km road trip, France and Mongolia, way and back, on a Ural sidecar. You want to know more? We tell you everything in this article. Enjoy the reading !

Marion & Jeremy, your personal contacts

ORLA Tours is a small team of travel enthusiasts. We are 6 people to work all year round in our offices in Luang Prabang. Marion and Jeremy have been part of the team for 3 years. Their roles? Marion creates your tailor-made discovery trips. For couples, groups, families, she is attentive to your desires to offer you the trip that suits you the best. Designing our website, that’s also also her. And yes, with her architectural background, she has more than one string to her bow. Jeremy, meanwhile, is the privileged interlocutor for bikers and sports travelers. He is also in charge of writing the articles of our blog. I think you have understood that, at ORLA Tours, each of us must have several skills.

But how did they land at ORLA Tours?

She was an architect, he was an engineer, nothing predestined them for what they do now. And that's exactly what motivated them. With a adventurer DNA, they are curious to discover the world. Expatriation was therefore obvious to them. What's better than working in a travel agency to explore a country? This way of thinking led them to join ORLA Tours. Even today, they regularly go on survey scouting around in the country for new tours, great pictures, incredible tracks, etc ...

Their project: Uralistan

Uralistan, what does that mean? Before revealing the mystery, let's look back at the origin of this project.

When they decided to move to Laos, a crazy idea crossed their minds: to rally their future country by the terrestrial way. Which meant a motorcycle road trip from France to Laos of 20 000km. The idea is rather tempting, right? And especially a good way to mark a break with their Western life. But due to a lack of experience, the adventure seemed complicated. The reason prevailed and the project was postponed.

After 3 years in Laos, it was time for them to change lives again. That's when the idea resurfaced! Why not going back to France by land? This time, they are ready. It is time to make things real. First step: set a date. April 2020. This is how an idea moves from the dream stage to the project stage.

For administrative reasons, and especially to avoid crossing Pakistan or China, the itinerary evolves a little. Thus, the departure will be from France and not from Laos. It is now time to make the wish-list. For Jeremy? Mongolia, Siberia and the European hinterland. For Marion? Iran, countries ending in -stan, and Turkey. And that's how the route takes shape. They will start from France, cross Europe through the tracks of the TET, Siberia and then arrive in Mongolia. The way back will cross the countries in -stan, then Iran, Turkey, and finally the Balkans. A 35 000 km loop with a good proportion of tracks and trails.

Why Uralistan?

As you have probably understood, the end in -stan comes from the strong interest to explore these countries quite unknown. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. All these countries that we do not really know where to place on a map 😊 As good explorers as they are, these areas still neglected by tourists attracts them a lot.

Ok for -stan, but why Ural?

Quite simply, because they will make this trip with a Ural sidecar. These Soviet 3-wheeled vehicles are widely used in Russia, especially by the military. Robust, with a simple design and atypical look, it is the ideal traveling companion.

Why not a bike, simply? To make the trip unique, different from the beaten tracks. And because it's fun!

How far have they progressed on the preparation yet?

This road trip should last 10 months. So, inevitably, it requires a little preparation.

Concerning the itinerary for each country, why not asking advice from riders who went there?

The biker community is strong, and they do not hesitate to share their tips. This is why Marion and Jeremy regularly ask for help on facebook groups specialized in motorcycle travel to determine their detailed itinerary. Country by country, the adventurers exchange their favorite spots, and this is how the route of the trip takes shape.

The vehicle also requires attention. Checking before purchase, preparation, maintenance, the URAL sidecars are simple but still very specific. And like everything else, there is a community of fans of the brand. And it is these people who help our two adventurers to know their future steed.

How do you know if you are ready for a 10-month adventure?

By trying to riding for a shorter duration. Marion and Jeremy just come back from a 10-day motorcycle road trip in Ladakh, northern India. Rain, snow, temperatures ranging from -5 to 40 Celsius degrees, stony tracks, river crossings, etc ... All the criteria for a real expedition were met. They came back with a big smile and learned a lot. They now feel ready to go to Mongolia.

Uralistan, this is a project to follow.

The big departure is for April 2020. It goes without saying that Marion and Jeremy are eager to share their adventure with you. So, you can travel with them on Facebook and Instagram. And for all those interested in the preparation aspect, their site is full of useful details to organize a long-term trip.

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