A drive from Switzerland to China is likely to span between 5,000 and 7,000 miles and may take you several weeks, or even several months in total, especially when you factor in the need for rest stops along the way. Additionally, it is important to know that the length of the journey is not the only challenge – China’s laws can present issues too. Yet, while the Chinese government does make it difficult for foreign travellers to drive on the country’s roads and bring foreign-registered vehicles in, there are ways to get around these barriers. This is especially true if you work with a tour operator that has local contacts, knowledge of the processes and experience in organising such trips.
Here, we explore some of the preparation that will be necessary, as well as the best route from Switzerland to China. To bring your own vehicle into China, you will need to register it in advance, and this can be a complicated process, which is one of the reasons why it is recommended that you work with an experienced tour operator with local knowledge. You will need to provide photographs, evidence of an up-to-date MOT, and photographs of your vehicle.
Upon arrival in China, you will need to acquire temporary number plates and attach these to your car or bike. On top of this, you could be questioned about your specific travel plans, you may need to provide evidence of hotel bookings and, in some cases, the authorities may wish to carry out further testing on your vehicle too. Furthermore, China does not recognise foreign driving licences or international driving permits, meaning you will need to apply for a Chinese licence. Usually, it will be possible to acquire a temporary Chinese licence, without having to pass a test. However, longer stays may require a full licence and a 90 percent score in a theory test.
Table of Contents
Is it possible to travel from Switzerland to China or South East Asia by Motor vehicles? Yes, this is possible. Every year there are people who have done it. They drive normal cars, motor homes, old timer, trucks, buses, vintage cars, pure electric vehicles, and even ride motorcycles to China, India or Southeast Asia.
Because China is not a party to the United Nations International Treaty on Land Transport, international driving licenses are not recognized in China. using ATA Carnet or Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD) to temporary import the used vehicles of tourists into China is not currently feasible. Tourists’ vehicles need to be registered after entering China and they must obtain temporary Chinese number plates to drive on the road. Therefore, tourists driving in China and driving on Chinese roads usually need to complete the following procedures
Therefore, foreign tourists who want to drive own car/motorbike into China and drive on Chinese roads usually need to complete the following procedures:
Chinese travel agencies usually ask for following Materials and documents
You can apply for a Chinese tourist visa(L Visa) in your home country, or you can apply for Chinese tourist visa in a third country on the road. If conditions permit, we always recommend that you apply in your home country. To apply for a Chinese visa in your home country, you need to ensure that your visa is still valid when you reach the Chinese border. Following are places for applying china visa in Switzerland.
The most efficient route for a drive from Switzerland to China will either take you through Germany, Poland and Belarus, or through Austria, Slovakia and Ukraine, before you travel into Russia. Once in Russia, you will need to continue travelling east, beyond Moscow and Kazan, then south into Kazakhstan. From Kazakhstan, your two main options are to travel through either Mongolia or Kyrgyzstan, before crossing into China. With that being said, it is also possible to cross the border from Kazakhstan itself. Your decision here will largely depend on where in China you want to go, which of the countries appeals to you, or which is easiest to access.
You will need to check visa requirements and local laws for every country you enter along the way. In particular, Russia and Mongolia will require visas and will usually want to obtain biometric data, such as fingerprints. It is also important that you keep track of any relevant political tensions and obtain any necessary permits within China itself.
The following are the most commonly used routes for Switzerland-China:
Route 1(Entering China from Kyrgyzstan): Switzerland-Germany-Poland-Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan (or Uzbekistan)-Kyrgyzstan-Turkut Port or Irkstan Port-China
Route 2(Entering China from Mogolia): Switzerland-Germany-Poland-Belarus-Russia-Mongolia-Bulgan Gol or Zamiin-Uud-China
Route 3(Entering China from Kyrgyzstan): Switzerland-Germany-Czech Republic-Hungary-Serbia-Bulgaria-Turkey-Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China
Route 4(Entering China from Pakistan): Switzerland-Germany-Czech Republic-Hungary-Serbia-Bulgaria-Turkey-Iran-(Many governments will advise their citizens to stay away from the Iran-Pakistan border, please refer to the latest Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel security tips)-Pakistan-China
Route 1: Switzerland-Germany-Poland-Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan (or Uzbekistan)-Kyrgyzstan-China (Xinjiang)-Pakistan-India
Route 2: Switzerland-Germany-Poland-Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan (or Uzbekistan)-Kyrgyzstan-China (Xinjiang, Tibet)-Nepal-India
Route 3: Switzerland-Italy-Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia-Bulgaria-Turkey-Iran-(Many governments will advise their citizens to stay away from the Iran-Pakistan border, please refer to the latest Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel security tips)-Pakistan-India
Route 1: Switzerland-Germany-Poland-Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan (or Uzbekistan)-Kyrgyzstan-Turkut Port or Irkstan Port-China-Laos-Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.
Route 2: Switzerland-Germany-Poland-Belarus-Russia-Mongolia-Bulgan Gol or Zamiin-Uud-China-Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.
Route 3: Switzerland-Italy-Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia-Bulgaria-Turkey-Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China-Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.
Route 4: Switzerland-Italy-Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia-Bulgaria-Turkey-Iran-(Many governments will advise their citizens to stay away from the Iran-Pakistan border, please check the latest travel security tips from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)-Pakistan-India-Myanmar-Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.
We help our customers drive to china and cross china with car or motorbike. We organize road trips with automobile and motorcycle clubs. With our extensive experience and in-depth knowledge, we also provide following services for your Automotive Events: drive or ride event, media event, test drive, support for automotive show, customer relation and brand image production.
+86 28 8503 0959
Mon - Fri 9.00 - 18.00
No 51, Section 4, South Renmin Road, Chengdu 610041 China