Car & Camping in China


Troopie stuck deep in the sand

Car and camping
Troopie has become our home on 4 wheels. In the first 6 weeks of our travels, we have slept 25 times in our Maggiolina roof top tent, 10 times in sponsored hotels and 5 times in rooms paid out of our own pocket. Considering the number of cigarette stains on the walls and carpets of Chinese hotel rooms, it is not surprising.


Because we traveled with Mike (our compulsory guide through all of China ) and the car is a little too small for 3 to sleep in comfortably, we used to stop at guesthouses where Mike would take a room. We would sleep in the car in the car park of the guesthouse or hotel and, wherever possible use their facilities. We have slept in the tent a few times at -10 and -15 degrees Celsius. With synthetic underwear and thick down sleeping bags, the cold has not been uncomfortable. On the contrary, after having left the mountains, temperature in the lowlands has been much more of a problem. 


We will stop along the way or food on most occasions (both of us are very bad cooks). The food we have with us is only for when we camp out in the wild. In Xinjiang Province, we started to find bread again for our breakfasts as well as delicious kebabs for lunch or dinner. A few weeks after having left China, there is one thing we have missed dearly : the boiling water that each hotel and each administration keeps in millions of large plastic thermos flasks. This is used mostly for local people to fill up their tea containers during the day but is also very handy for instant noodles. This has been particularly useful for us or the same reasons as well as making sure we had a regular supply of safe drinking water. 


Bed & Breakfast in China


Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ 75
We must have made the right choice : we have not had any mechanical problem whatsoever since our departure from HK. We have been checking all levels and keeping a close look on things to prevent break downs. Also, not one single puncture with our Michelin's ! Having a diesel engine has meant easy fuel availability : all trucks and road maintenance vehicles use this fuel so there's always someone you can go to for help just in case you run out of fuel. Also, our two fuel tanks have meant we could keep normal diesel in one tank and sub-zero temperature diesel in the other for when we were at high altitudes and there was a danger of the fuel freezing overnight (as it happened once and we had to be pulled by a truck).

After the desert storm (left). Meeting with a sister car in the desert after both cars flashed each other (right)


First oil change in China (left), restaurant cum car wash in China (right)


Spring cleaning and making sure all bolts are still holding tight



Both of us have been driving the car since day one. We will simply change drivers every time one of us is tired. One day a swarm of flies it us on our way through the desert. The windscreen became like the picture above in just 2 seconds.. Some days we will be driving, other days we will enjoy visiting the area. Our longest day so far has been 15 hours on the road (some people think we're having fun here), our longest distance has been a little more than 700 km, although this was not the same day... We have been driving in headwind so strong the car would only manage 80 km/h (instead of the 140 km/h it is capable of) and in side winds so strong we had to turn the wheel by half a turn just to go straight ! The sandstorm we were in in Western China hit the car making the same noise as a big rain storm. Driving towards the West has had one good surprise in store : in Hong Kong, the sun will set at around 18.30 all year round. In Kashgar, in the same time zone, the sun would set at 21.30 ! 


Work on this website and staying in touch. Set up of the satellite phone on April 29th for my sister's birthday !


Website & diary
We have divided tasks between ourselves : one of us will write the diary, the other will design the website. The diary writing is a regular exercise that requires a very good memory in order to go back in time and remember what happened each day. The website is updated whenever we have decided to stop for a few days and have the time to start this long task. Several people have asked us if we planned to write a book about our journey (seriously).. Sorry guys, this is all you're getting ! Connections to the internet are established using standard telephone lines and using the fabulously efficient iPass ISP network. The only times we have not been able to connect have been due to the poor quality of the telephone lines (mostly in Chinese Xinjiang Province and Northern Pakistan). 


We are having fun !

Hotan to Kashgar Back to Trip page The KKH