Is China Overland self drive without a guide option dead?


Staff member
May 26, 2013
In Oct 2014 Laura from Lauras travel tales reported that Overland travel in China Self Drive with out a guide was now possible.

Following this announcement and lots of hard work from Laura to find tour companies willing to take travellers without a guide things were looking up for self drivers in China.

In April 2015, a second tour operator was found that was willing to allow self drive overlanders to cross china without guide.

The first group of 4wd vehicles entered China, and then it all went wrong, the 4wd driver did not follow the rules as detailed on their permits.

Thus, independent tours through China were now no longer offered - Read more here

October 2015

The first Question, Has anyone managed to self-drive any part of China recently without a guide?

A China tour company emailed today saying that from the 1st of Oct 2015 new rules were in place and that all overland travellers with a vehicle required a guide...

Some info that seems to support this: "According to the notice, all international tourists' driving trips must be arranged by a certain number of tourism agencies with approval licenses. Agencies must arrange tour guides to follow the entire trip. No individual trip is allowed."

It also seems that the paperwork requirements have been eased, you would hope that this would lead to reduced rates... "Starting this month, international visitors will no longer need the previously issued approval documents for self-driving trips in China. The new policy does away with the need to go through customs for special driving documents, and will enable more tourists to explore China on their own by car if they choose to go that route"


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