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Old 25 Mar 2011
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Budapest to Qatar in a Trabant

As it says on the tin, a friend (from the US) and I (from the UK) are planning to take a 1990 601S 2-stroke Trabant Kombi on the following route this autumn/winter.


Been trying to gather info about the paperwork online, but getting varied results. Does anyone know if any of the countries on our route:

1. Absolutely require a carnet, or can I get by without?

2. Need to have insurance arranged in advanced? (ie Doesn't have an option to buy insurance at the border).

3. Won't let us in in the first place :-)

Being allowed into Saudi is my main concern, anyone know what the latest is? Do you think the current political situations influence the possibility of getting visas?

Any tips/warnings/comments/suggestions most welcomed
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Old 25 Mar 2011
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Not much help with your question (it's going to be tough) but I get misty eyed. That was my first car. Obviously you didn't spare expenses and got the S - special edition version.

Friend of mine went as a kid with his parents and brother, a spare engine, spare windshield, and spare everything all the way from East Germany to Soviet Georgia. So, obviously those 26 horse powers can take you a long way.

There was also a German guy who toured the world in a Trabant. Google "Drehorgel Rolf".

Well, you got my thumbs up. Let us know how things turn out :-).
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Old 26 Mar 2011
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Hi, thanks for the vote of confidence :-) They are amazing machines for sure! We chose it partly to keep costs down, partly because they're easy to repair, but mainly because I love them!

My brother has brought 2 back from Hungary to London and our neighbour, who works with Ferraris, got much more excited them than the cars he works on!

Truth be told, we are still to buy the actual vehicle for this trip, but I'll be sure to splash out and get an 'S' version ;-) Although to my knowledge there was only the 'S' version! The DeLuxe was the upmarket one :-)

Thanks for the tip about Drehorgel Rolf, seems like quite a character. Here are some eye-misting sites for you (and me!) in return :-)

Trans National Trabant Tour 2007
Nomadic Nation | Trabant Trek
TransTrabant Afrika 2009

And yes, we're definitely taking a spare engine - all 7 moving parts of it!
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Old 26 Mar 2011
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Thanks for the links. That will make for interesting reading.

As far as I remember the basic version was the "Universal" and the S had a bit more bling, like chrome bumpers. The "DeLuxe" had a fuel gauge and you could open the windows in the rear a wee bit. Oh the luxuries :-)) I'm no expert though and could certainly be wrong.

Yes, they are very easy to fix. Head gaskets have been changed at the side of the Autobahn. We also had lots of fun carrying teacher's Trabants into impossible parking spots. Very light vehicle :-)

With an EU registration you shouldn't have trouble as far as Turkey. After that, I would have a very open mind regarding the route. Paperwork hassles aside, some of the countries on your list are already more unstable than usual at the moment and things could deteriorate quickly. So, I would broaden my visa/carnet research to Turkey's Neighbors to have an alternative should you need it. Iran is certainly out on a UK and US passport but anything into Georgia/Armenia/Azerbaijan could be an alternative. American Doug Wotke (rtwdoug) has toured that area recently on a US passport and a US or Bulgarian registered Harley. He's on here and will be hosting a HU meeting in Bulgaria 27-29 May. Not that far from Budapest and some 1st hand information could be had.

Well, no matter what, it'll certainly be a great adventure. Very jealous and starting to think about buying another Trabi :-)

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Old 15 Apr 2011
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Have you managed to get a visa for Saudi?
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Old 16 Apr 2011
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Information for Turkey and some advices for muslim countries

U.S.A. citizens
90 days multiple visa available in the boarder gate.20 USD. or 15 Euros

U.K. citizens
90 days multiple visa available in the boarder gate.20 USD. or 15 Euros or 10 GBP.

Insurance available at the boarder gate.I think will cost about 36 TL.(20 USD.)for trabant for 6 months.(must)

Permanent import available at the gate with a stamp on your passport page which is 6 months. At the exit gate it will be cleared by the customs on the page.

But if you will leave Turkey through the east boarders, you need a carnet.

Gasoline almost 2 Euros. Cost for exchange of experiences and advices with many foreign riders you will meet on the way generally free, sometimes . Friendship,boring interest and local supports for your interesting car absouletely free, including our club garage having many tools.

We have many friends on travel in all Muslim countries.Current red lines are;
In the middle east area and arabian countries, fridays are exciting days.Stay away from mosques and main squares, dont take photos of the crowds who are having their humanity rights,(better stay in the Hotel after friday midday pray until sunset) be respectful to traditions and wearings, try to say selamün aleyküm when you will start talking to local people and never talk to ladies you meet on the roads.

1-Never enter Yemen, Oman and Bahrain.
2-If you enter Israel, have your entrance and exit stamps on a separate paper.(Acceptable if you ask)
3-No alcohol and no muhabbet with locals in Saudi Arabia. For more information:

Useful link for USA.residents about S.Arabia.
Travelling to Saudi Arabia

for UK.residents about S.Arabia
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia London

Sure will be very interesting for you to discover this side of the world.You will have a nice and valuable adventure story when you are back in your home country.

Wish you all the best.

mehmet zeki avar
Mehmet Zeki Avar
''Friendly Pit-Stop in İstanbul'' https://www.facebook.com/mehmet.avar.12?ref=tn_tnmn
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Old 16 Apr 2011
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i mostly agree with imk except the friday pray. you dont need to too much worry on friday's. where ever you go, just respect the local culture and be friendly always.

getting visa for saudi is very tricky, there are some travelers who got it, but mainly almost impossible. if you do a quick search you will find a lot of info.

have fun and travel safe!!
ozhan u.
website under construction
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Old 12 Jun 2011
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Travel in Trabants

Have you already left for your trip in the Trabant? My name is Tony P and I was the mechanic on Nomadic Nations Trabant Trek. Anyway we are just finishing up post production and our show will be on the travel channel in Europe (Sky I believe). Anyway if you have any questions about our experience in the Trabants please feel free to email me.

Tony P
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Old 27 Sep 2011
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I have looked in to visas for Saudia Arabia and from what I have found it is a flat out no with 3 exceptions.

1) You work in Saudi Arabia or another Arab nation ...Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, etc.

2) You are on hajj

3) You have married someone that is a Saudi citizen.

The history or Saudi Arabia is interesting...and when it was founded it was essentially set up to be a place that DISSUADES tourists from coming. They don't even offer a tourist visa. The only way to get the closest thing is through a mosque that has backing from the Saudi Embassy in your home country.

THat said, you should absolutely talk to the embassy and see what's up. THis is what I came across last month when looking to drive through SA to Jeddah and take the ferry to Port Sudan.
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Old 28 Sep 2011
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A site of two guys who drove a Trabant to Mongolia: Which Way Is East?

I saw an article in Motorrad Abenteuer magazine of 2 Germans riding through Saudi Arabia, but I cannot find it now and I checked all issues I have here. I'll try harder, so I find out how they got their visas.

Good luck, thumbs up, I love that way on the cheap/fun. (I am a French farmer's cars fan!)

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Old 6 Oct 2011
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Thumbs up

IMHO you don't need a carnet to make the journey to Qatar. The Gulf region is practically tax free when it comes to vehicle imports. Though when you bring a Carnet and try to get it stamped (as i did) you'll be asked to explain the CdP procedure.

For the Saudi Visa - getting into Saudi from Jordan is hard. Many have tried, waited, tried again and failed. BUT, getting into Saudi from the UAE is a painless 1 day process in Abu Dhabi for a TRANSIT visa.

So if you cross Iran to the UAE, your chances of crossing Saudi to Qatar are far better. The only bump is the ferry from Bandar Abas to Sharjah - which is a bit of a circus on the Iranian side.

Getting the Iranian tourist visa is probably less complicated than gettting the Saudi transit visa from Jordan unless you're a gulf resident.

Overland by 4x4 truck
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