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  #1  
Old 15 Feb 2013
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info on traveling in Pakistan & Iran

Hi all,

I just got back from a road trip in Iran and Pakistan. I have posted some useful information about Pakistan part on my blog as well as some pics. There will be more soon. You can check out the info on Country info in Central Asia, Silk Road, China, Pakistan & Iran | Not Just a Tourist as well as my last post about security and traveling in Baluchistan part Overland on motorbike in Baluchistan/Iran | Not Just a Tourist

Generally, I found Iran & Pakistan quite safe (apart from the motorbike accident I had in my last week in Persian Gulf on the island of Qehsm resluting in 2 broken legs and meeting a Spanish rider that was stopped on Saveh Tehran road by a car and got stolen all his money, passport and even the bike key). The only thing is that from Pakistani border in Mir Javeh/Taftan you will be accompanied by some security guys that will slow down your trip considerably and some times foce you into staying where they want. However, it could be fun too. You will not be allowed to go wherever you want. We could not go from Quetta to Islam Abad as you need a permission and it´s not given to overlanders. So we had to head for Lahore and we were escorted till Multan. In some cities we had problems finding a hotel as they were told to inform the police and the police would take you the hotels that they would consider safe and we would consider expensive. But in Quetta there was no problem at all and in the rest of country either except for Karakoram highway that due to some ethnic problems we were not given permission to continue either. Anyway it was to snowy and cold to be on the road.

As for the carnet and from my own experience you do need them for both countries. However, what I did was to buy a bike in Iran, travel there, head for Pakistan, ride back to Iran and sell it again. The only problem is that bikes in Iran cannot be more than 250 CC. But, still there could be 2 of us doing 80000-9000 kms on a Kawasaki KLE easily.

Pakistanis are very nice and friendly although camping will be a bit difficult in populated areas as you will never be alone. The emptiest part is the Baluchistan, where it will be only you, your bike and maybe the escort.

Enjoy!

Mahsa
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  #2  
Old 16 Feb 2013
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Thanks for the information - it is always useful to read up to date information from people who have travelled these regions recently. Great blog as well.

Dave
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  #3  
Old 16 Feb 2013
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thanks for the information. Its nice to read another nice post about that region. Thanks once again, I can't wait to set off!
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  #4  
Old 24 Jun 2013
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Good info, hope to be there in a few months.
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  #5  
Old 24 Jun 2013
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valuable current information with details...

Just got a message from biker friends whom I met a while ago in İstanbul and requested current inf. between zahedan and Lahore for the following bikers and our friends......

Valuable information with details...

Thanks a lot Agne,Daumantas..That is a most appreciated cooperation..

'''''' Sorry for us wrinting so late, but no facebook in Iran At the moment we are in Pakistan, in Lahore. We met very nice guys from Pakistan Bikers Club Muhammed is very helpfull and kind. We are having some trouble with the bike, we have to send a part from Lithuania it should take a week, but it's ok, we can see Pakistan. It's beautiful country with very frendly people. we are enjoyng a lot, exept that is crazy hot in here. Anyway we are sending you the latest news about border crosing: as you know we have entered through the Tafttan border. We recommend travelers to
sleep in Zahedan the night before, since it is the last location where you
will find a hotel before the border. From there to tafttan you will be
scorted by the Irani police, maybe even from Bam to Tafttan. Sometimes it takes long time to wait for the escort, better to have water and some snacks. Anyway once
you get to the border the Irani soldier will help you with the paper work
at the border. On the Pakistani side don’t trust any person there but the
soldiers you will find 100 meters from the border line. Go to them and they
will help with everything otherwise it will be a nightmare.
Once all the paperwork is done they will escort to Quetta all the way.
Don´t expect to get to Quetta the same day, it take two very long days.
They will change escorts every 60 km first and the more close you get to
Quetta the less kilometers you will ride with the same escorts. Sometimes
they say that the car for the escorts is broken or simply that they can not
take the car to escort and ask to put a Levis (the escort police) on the
back of your motorbike. Do not do it if you don’t want. Just say that you
will wait until the car is fix and instantly the car will be fixed
Once in Quetta they will guide to the hotel and so you have to give them
the name of the hotel. We recomend Bloom Star witch is like 10 dollars per day. It is nice and clean and also has wifi. You will spend there at least
two days, three if you arrive on Sunday since the Home department is
closed. So the day after arriving you have to go to the Home department
witch is a police station (arrange the trip to there with the receptionist
because they will not let you out of the hotel without escorts). Once in
the Home department you have to arrange the escorts to leave Quetta. It
take some hours, but usually no problems. We went to Sibi, Jacobabad, Sukkur, Bahawalpur and then
Lahore. The escorts went with us until
Jacobabad. From there we were on our own, but it is safe.
I must say that the Levis and the police where very nice and worked very
efficient. You almost don’t have to wait for them in the controls to change
escorts. But this has it bad side. Be prepared to some long driving
journeys with almost none stop. If you need something and they refuse to
stop just tell them that you need to put petrol on your tank. We also
recommend to wear some food and water with you. . They are very nice and helpful. We have to say that it was no easy to cross Baluchistan, most of all because of the heat. with plus 60 and above in the shade but it is really very big adventure and worth every single minute. Hope this information will be usefull for someone heading this direction. By the way we found very good mechanic in Esfahan,Iran. will send you his details later. and Iran is the most amazing country sofar for us. Hope everything is ok in Istambul,
Thanks for your links. Best wishes to everyone. '''''''

Hope will be useful for the following bikers heading there.
All the best...
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  #6  
Old 28 Jun 2013
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Amazing information everyone thank you so much! I'll be there in August if anyone wants to ride in the crushing heat together...
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  #7  
Old 30 Jun 2013
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Does anyone want to weigh in on the email thread below? Read from the bottom. I'm an American so a guide is required by the government...

Dear Brennan,

think it genraly unsafe. We are not allowed to take our client in that area. Nasrin

Nasrin,
What do I need to worry about in that area of Iran and Pakistan? *Will I be a target or is it just generally unsafe to be there?*Thanks again for all of your help. Brennan

Dear Brennan.

I do not know of any incident in this area recently. But our guide can accompany you up to Kerman not any further. .Nasrin


Dear Nasrin,

I understand that Pakistan is going through a tough time right now and that the tribal region to the southwest can be dangerous. I have read that the military will escort you past this area where I can ride freely?Please tell me what you know of this border and past it so I can do some more research.*Thank you very much my friend. * I look forward to meeting you.*

Brennan


Brennan

We can not arrange for a guide to accompany you to the border of Pakistan as this border is not safe, if you change the border of exit to Turkmenistan it should be Ok

Please advise

nasrin

*

Nasrin,

Sorry no. *I'm entering Iran from Turkey and headed straight through to Pakistan.*

Have you heard of Almas Caviar from Iran? I would like to take a tour there if it's possible. This caviar is considered the best in the world.

I'm researching saffron farms as well. Iranian saffron is also considered the best in the world.*

Have a good day.*

Brennan Dates*



Brennan,

Can you leave Iran via Turkmenistan border

Nasrin
*

*Nasrin,

The safest border to Pakistan. Do you know anything about iranian caviar or saffron? I would like to see some landmarks famous for this.*

Brennan Dates*


Dear Brennan

*

Please advise from which border you will be leaving Iran.

*

Thanks

*

Nasrin

*
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  #8  
Old 30 Jun 2013
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Just to clarify Nasrin is an agent for persian tours. They will get a visa and have my itinerary approved for me..
$165 a day for a guide. Not my idea but those are the rules.
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  #9  
Old 1 Jul 2013
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Brennan,
If I understand the email exchange with Persian Tours, you are still "negotiating" with Persian on the exact itinerary (Turkey thru Iran to Pakistan) you need to ride to a border crossing. As a US citizen, you are required to have a guide + an itinerary approved in advance by Iran Ministry of Interior. Persian Tours can arrange your visa IF the itinerary is acceptable to Iran govt.

What is not clear from the email exchange:
Nasrin seems to say that he/ Persian Tours canNOT supply a guide to accompany you past Kerman. Is that because Persian Tour staff are forbidden by Iran govt to accompany clients past Kerman; or is it because Persian Tours will not allow (as company policy, not govt rule) its guides past Kerman ?
But if Persian Tours guide cannot accompany you past Kerman, how will the Iran Ministry of Interior approve your itinerary ??
Will the Ministry allow you, as a US citizen, to ride from Kerman to the Pak border without a guide? Or, can you get some other kind of "official" escort starting from Kerman to the border at Zahedan ?
It seems to me you need to clarify this with Nasrin (and he needs to clarify with the Ministry of Interior)

good luck
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  #10  
Old 10 Jul 2013
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Okay I have some news. Persian tours as company policy does not allow their guides past Kerman thus making it useless to get a visa for me as they can't escort me the entire way to the border as decreed by the government. So after going back and forth with Nasrin, who was very helpful, he finally put me in touch with another company who can help me get to the border.

I'm going to do some research on this new company and hopefully hear back from then tomorrow. I'll post on here as things progress.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
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  #11  
Old 10 Jul 2013
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When I was in Iran at the end of last year, I've also planned to go to Kerman and Bam area with my car.

All my Iranian friends, that I told them the plan, said, that I should not go there because safety reasons. When I asked more accurately, what are this safety reasons, I could not get an answer, only our best iranian friends told us, that there are some tribal gangs wandering around Kerman, kidnapping tourist.

Other source said, when they came from Pakistan last year, they had military escort from borderline to Kerman.

From third soure - Slovenian overlander, who was in Iran in 2010, I heard, that they were driving south from Kerman in the desert, and they came to military camp, where some young Iranian solders, probably high on pot, were making some problems and acting dangerously with the rifles, so they turned around quickly and left the area.

What I want to say, I don't have any accurate and fresh information, but I'm not surprised, that Persian tours don't want to take any risk, especially with US citizen.

Greets
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  #12  
Old 14 Jul 2013
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Safety in Southern Iran

Hi Brennan,

I would like to make a few clarifications that might help you t understand Iran a bit better:

To start with Nasarin is a girl and not a man .

I was traveling in Iran on bike during fall 2012 and winter 2013 and I visited Kerman, Bam, Zahedan, Some little villages in Baluchestan and the Persian Gulf regiono and I shall say that it was SAFE.

Please bear in mind that most of the people who work in travel agencies in Iran don´t have any idea of the places that they send people to. Most of them are unexperienced girls with no love for traveling and no curiosity to explore anything. I have been working a lot with different Iranian travel agencies sending groups there and I found it very hard to get them to arrange a trip off the beaten track. they are used to send you the same itinerary over and over again including cities with monuments and cultural visits. Anything different or new would be a headache for them. Besides there is not a single agency in Iran who is familiar with motorcycling or creating packages for cyclists.

On the other hand and with regards to the safety issue in Southern Iran I shall say that most Iranians have never been to that part of Iran and just out of ignorance and because of the rumours they think that is a dangerous area. This was the very reason that I decided to visit that area (I´m quite an expert in travelling to conflictive countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali...) just to find out by myself that they are very hospitable regions ignored by the Iranians and economically abandoned by the government just because of their distance from Tehran and also their racial and religious differences with the rest of Iranians.

It is true that there is some drug smuggling going on there but what would you expect from a frontier region with no other economic resources at all? Besides, in cities such as Kerman or Bam smoking opium is part of the family tradition and is a natural part of many social gatherings without being considered as something criminal.

I might be able to help you out a little bit as I know most of the travel agencies in Iran and apart from that I have some motorcyclist friends there from my last trip and know many good people in Kerman and Zahedan .

Let me know if you need anything with a PM and also check out my post about Baluchistan at Overland on motorbike in Baluchistan/Iran | Not Just a Tourist

Good luck
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  #13  
Old 15 Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahsita View Post
Hi Brennan,

....Besides there is not a single agency in Iran who is familiar with motorcycling or creating packages for cyclists.

....
Let me know if you need anything with a PM and also check out my post about Baluchistan at Overland on motorbike in Baluchistan/Iran | Not Just a Tourist

Good luck
Actually, not quite true.
[ Iran Doostan Tour and Travel Agency ] : [ News : View News Details ]

arranged a motorcycle tour for Americans + Turks in 2006. Whether they
could still do so is unknown without inquiry.

Mahsita--very good general advice, but don't forget that Brennan is US citizen, which requires "special" itinerary arrangements/ approvals from Iran govt & whichever Iran tourism agency he uses.
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  #14  
Old 15 Jul 2013
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The hassle & expense of the guide was why we sadly skipped Iran & went north. The guide cost for that small bit of china was much cheaper overall. But I can't complain, the caucuses, stans & KKH were al incredible! Maybe Iran will loosen up for us Americans someday...can always hope
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Old 15 Jul 2013
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Mahsita,

Thanks for the great information. I'll be sending you a PM very shortly.

Since posting I think I have locked down an agency to help me. Persian Voyages referred me to 'Iran Travelling Center'. They have been helpful and I'm excited to have something solid in the works.

I'm a chef and it was important to me to see a caviar facility (Almas from Iran is the most expensive caviar in the world) and a saffron plantation (Iranian Saffron is regarded as one of if not the best saffron in the world. To your point Mahsita any change in the itinerary was "very difficult as you need special permission". Do you know any way around this? They have me avoiding Tehran and staying away from the Caspian Sea. It is, what it is, and I'll obviously do what I'm told but I would really like to see some sturgeon and some saffron crocus's.

The South Eastern section, I'm sure will be fine. I did some reading and it echoed what you wrote. I'm excited to see and experience it.

Thanks again for the input. I'm not sure what I do without this website. I'd probably still do the same things just have a shittier time with stale information!



Quote:
Originally Posted by mahsita View Post
Hi Brennan,

I would like to make a few clarifications that might help you t understand Iran a bit better:

To start with Nasarin is a girl and not a man .

I was traveling in Iran on bike during fall 2012 and winter 2013 and I visited Kerman, Bam, Zahedan, Some little villages in Baluchestan and the Persian Gulf regiono and I shall say that it was SAFE.

Please bear in mind that most of the people who work in travel agencies in Iran don´t have any idea of the places that they send people to. Most of them are unexperienced girls with no love for traveling and no curiosity to explore anything. I have been working a lot with different Iranian travel agencies sending groups there and I found it very hard to get them to arrange a trip off the beaten track. they are used to send you the same itinerary over and over again including cities with monuments and cultural visits. Anything different or new would be a headache for them. Besides there is not a single agency in Iran who is familiar with motorcycling or creating packages for cyclists.

On the other hand and with regards to the safety issue in Southern Iran I shall say that most Iranians have never been to that part of Iran and just out of ignorance and because of the rumours they think that is a dangerous area. This was the very reason that I decided to visit that area (I´m quite an expert in travelling to conflictive countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali...) just to find out by myself that they are very hospitable regions ignored by the Iranians and economically abandoned by the government just because of their distance from Tehran and also their racial and religious differences with the rest of Iranians.

It is true that there is some drug smuggling going on there but what would you expect from a frontier region with no other economic resources at all? Besides, in cities such as Kerman or Bam smoking opium is part of the family tradition and is a natural part of many social gatherings without being considered as something criminal.

I might be able to help you out a little bit as I know most of the travel agencies in Iran and apart from that I have some motorcyclist friends there from my last trip and know many good people in Kerman and Zahedan .

Let me know if you need anything with a PM and also check out my post about Baluchistan at Overland on motorbike in Baluchistan/Iran | Not Just a Tourist

Good luck
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