"It Was Joy" – Man Drives 11,000KM From Singapore To Mountainous China In His BMW
A man fulfilled his dreams of an epic road trip by driving all the way from Singapore to China in his own car
Taking to a public Facebook group to share his experience, the traveller, Able Wang, shared that anyone can embark on a road trip in their own vehicles — not chartered ones — to China, as long as they have applied for the necessary documents.
"I am back in Singapore after 27 days and 11,000km on the road. From sea level up to 4,200m altitude. Freezing 0°C to scorching 35°C heat. Valleys to mountain peaks. Frustration and happiness... Ultimately, it was joy and more joy," he said.
According to a map he uploaded, Wang drove through Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos, all the way to Yading in Sichuan, China, before heading back down to Singapore in his BMW hatchback.
Although drivers must apply for permission to drive in China, Wang said the road trip was worthwhile
"My motivation for posting here is to encourage more people to drive to China, it is reasonably affordable for the destinations, distance, and time travelled. I also want to dispel the often-heard rumour that only SUVs are capable," he wrote.
According to Wang, you will need these documents to drive into China:
- A provisional Chinese driving licence
- A provisional vehicle number
- A mandatory tour guide who must be with you from the day of entry until your departure
- A separate Tibetan local guide if you are going to Tibet
He dispelled the notion that drivers will have to sit for an examination to obtain the documents.
However, Wang implied that keen drivers will have to join a tour group in China and recommended that travellers look for adventure companies in Singapore, Malaysia, or Thailand that specialise in road trips to arrange all the documents they would need.
The 59-year-old told SAYS that he has always loved driving and travelling by road despite its challenges
"I have always wanted to drive around the entirety of China. Since I had already driven to Thailand a few times, it was a natural progression for me to begin driving to China," he said, when asked about his motivation for the trip.
The seasoned long-distance driver, who has driven to Thailand seven times now, said he was travelling alone in Thailand before joining a convoy to China.
"I planned my own itinerary for Thailand. I like spending more time in Nan, Chiang Rai, and Mae Hong Son because I love driving on beautiful B-roads (minor roads). That is why my trip took longer than tour packages would," he said.
He encountered some difficulties, such as joining a Thai adventure group to China and not understanding their language, as well as having to deal with the "horrible roads" in Laos.
However, Wang said the trouble was nothing compared to the highlight of the entire journey, which was getting to enjoy the majestic views of Yading and the Meili Snow Mountains in Yunnan.
Wang shared that he is also eager to do it all over again after learning more about how to drive in China during this trip
"I have learnt a lot with this trip, [even though] I had lived in China for 10 years and had driven in Yunnan before. I will plan my own trips (with the assistance of a Chinese guide) for China in the future. Those who read my page know my plans. Yes, it is worth driving to/in China. Do it when you are still healthy," he said.
He also added that if drivers are keen to drive in China, they should download Amap (高德地图) or Baidu Maps as navigation guides because Google Maps is not often updated there.
You can view Wang's Facebook profile for more tips and information on how to travel through China by road here.