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  #1  
Old 18 Aug 2011
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Pakistan-India-Nepal

Hi friends
In future (1 to 3 years) I plan to drive in my Defender from Poland to Nepal, maybe Bhutan, Bangladesh.
First etap is simple till Tadjikistan.
Then crossing to Afganistan i Vakhan Corridor and entering Pakistan.
So my questions are:
1. Is it possible to cross Afganistan-Pakistan border somewhere in Vakhan Coridor?
2. Is it possible to drive in Kashmire region to Lahore?
3. As I know there is only one border crossing from Pakistan to India in Wagah.

I know that situation can change in many of this countries, but I need good and long preparations for this trip.


Thank you for answers

Bartosz
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  #2  
Old 27 Aug 2011
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re Afghan, Pak, India

Bartosz,

As you say, the situation in places such as Afghanistan and Kashmir are very fluid. Given how much things could, or probably won't change over the next few years, my advice is to make two plans: a more likely route (e.g. Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Xinjinag, Pakistan and into India via Wagah) and a more optimistic route (e.g. Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir).

I have also heard it's possible to pass through Xinjiang/Tibet into Nepal, though this will be very expensive, since vehciles require a Chinese tour guide escort through such parts. I have heard numbers such as USD 10,000 for cars for c30 days through Tibet.

Anyway, if you got your Pakistan visa in your home country (validity 6mths, I believe), you could leave getting the Afghan visa until Dushanbe or even Khorug where there's a consulate and from where you can better guage the situation.

I have not ridden across Afghanistan, only backpacked a few years back, but trekkers are currently passing into the Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan from Ishkashim (south of Khorug, Tajikistan) before returning the same way. Wakhan is currently safe, though there's talk of the Taliban moving north. Whether foreign vehicles are currently allowed in at Ishkashim and allowed to continue onwards, I'm not sure, but even if one got in, I imagine it would be difficult to move south, especially in the direction of the hotbed of Jalalabad and on through the Khyber. I suspect security forces would turn them back at a certain point. A cyclist recently crossed from Mashad to Herat, though from there he had to have his bike transported by vehicle virtually the entire way to Uzbekistan border, given the risk of being shot in the more risky area just outside the city.

But all this could change. My gut feeling, however, is that things will become less predictable rather than the other way round. But I hope I'm wrong - would be great to return on motorbike.

As for Kashmir, I plan to be there in a month or so (on the Pakistan side) and would love to pass into Northern India through Kashmir, weather permitting. Once there I shall make enquiries and let you know. I am not optimisitic, however. Often there has been talk of opening up this route, but just when Indian and Pakistani politicians get close, a bomb goes off in Srinigar or Mumbia and talks grind to a halt. The usual route is indeed Wagah - Lahore to Amritsar.

I'm sure there are others who have more up-to-date info for you, but this is my two-pennies worth.

Merry planning! Tis half the fun, after all.

Bob
Kygyzstan

Note: Cyclist friends have just crossed from Xinjiang into Northern Pakistan and visas are still being issued at the border post of Sost (now USD 90 for UK citizens) and the Karakoram Highway is safe travel, albeit poor surface since Chinese road builders have torn up what asphalt there was in preparation of something smoother.
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  #3  
Old 27 Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartosz View Post
Hi friends
In future (1 to 3 years) I plan to drive in my Defender from Poland to Nepal, maybe Bhutan, Bangladesh.
First etap is simple till Tadjikistan.
Then crossing to Afganistan i Vakhan Corridor and entering Pakistan.
So my questions are:
1. Is it possible to cross Afganistan-Pakistan border somewhere in Vakhan Coridor?
2. Is it possible to drive in Kashmire region to Lahore?
3. As I know there is only one border crossing from Pakistan to India in Wagah.

I know that situation can change in many of this countries, but I need good and long preparations for this trip.


Thank you for answers

Bartosz

Hi Bartosz,
  • Although the beautiful Wakhan area is open for tourists in Pakistan, but there is no working border with Afghanistan there. You’ll have to take Kabul-Jalalabad-Torkham-Khyber-Peshawar route. NOT ADVISED.
  • Yes you can drive from Kashmir to Lahore but for areas close to border you might be needing permissions. Interestingly there is an operational bus service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar (capitals of both Kashmirs). Cars and motorcycles cant cross here.
  • The only working border between India/Pakistan where cars and motorbikes can cross is Wagah/Attari. There are a few others for trains and busses though.
I hope it helps.

Cheers
Omar
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  #4  
Old 28 Aug 2011
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re Xinjiang route

Omar, good to hear the Muzzafrabad - Srinigar route is open for buses, at least . . . for now. Long may it continue. Perhaps one fine day cars and bikes will be allowed to cross, too. We can but hope.

Bartosz - an after thought: if you do decide for your Plan A route to Pakistan to take you through Xinjiang, this will require you to contact a travel agent in Kashgar c.3mths before your planned arrival and to cross their palm with silver (perhaps 2/3 of the total cost upfront). Unless you're feeling rich and cavalier, this commits you to that route. Still, if by the time you get to Tajikistan you feel the route through Afghanistan is safe enough, then what the hell, there are more important things than money. Try and learn some farsi beforehand - it will make a big difference (Dari of Afghanistan and Tajik are rooted in farsi). A little local lingo goes a long way.

If you need contact details of agents in Kashgar, just let me know. And that sum I mentioned I heard for cars through Xinjiang to Nepal, that was obviously for a long-ish tour. I'm sure a more direct and much less costly trip is possible.

All the best,

Bob
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  #5  
Old 29 Aug 2011
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Bob, Omar
Each kind of route will be exciting for me.
I wasn't in this region of Asia yet. Route Tajikistan, Afganistan, Pakistan seems easier and faster.
Few Polish was in Afganistan Vakhan few years ago (good reports on advrider.com). So it is possible.
I found Bojghor Pass in Vakhan is border crossing between AFG-PAK.
Some hard section but near Karakorum Hgw.
The second option: Xinjiang/Tibet into Nepal is impossible (10 000 USD).
Maybe in future will be possible drive from TAJ-CHIN border post to chinese Karakorum hgw and then to Pakistan (but not for 10 00 USD).
You are right, no english or other languages are spoken there.

Bartosz
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  #6  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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re Xinjiang to Pak

Hi Bartosz,

I saw the Afghanistan trip posted on advrider. So everything is possible. But timing is everything. You'll just have to guage the situation as you plan/ride. It won't be a faster and easier route if you get shot or worse. As Omar suggested, Wakhan is one thing, but getting from Kabul to Pashawar through the Khyber is something altogether more dangerous. The former is Ismaili (an open-minded interpretation of shia Islam), the latter Pashtun (strict Sunni) and who make up the main part of the Taliban.

As for the Xinjinag-Pakistan route: I've misled you. The $10,000 price was simply what I heard from a VW Transporter who is just setting off as part of group on a 30 day tour from Kygyzstan to Tibet and onwards.

The cost of taking a motorcycle from the Torug Art Pass to the Kunjerab Pass (Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan in 4-5 days, incl. a couple of rest days in Kashgar) is considerably less, though still not cheap. Price depends on the size of your party.

This route is more admin and money, but it depends what you want. Personally I like to move through a place slowly, haul up for a while and find my feet. That's why I'll wait a while for Afghanistan to hopefully calm down a little.

Anyway, whichever way you decide to go, you'll definitely have an adventure.

Bon voyage and best of luck!

Bob
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  #7  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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re. Bojghor Pass

Sorry, Bartosz, I forgot to ask you re the pass you mentioned through the Wakhan. I don't know it, but have you checked whether non-Afghan/Pakistan traffic can pass through the border there? I suspect it's only for local traffic.

My understanding is the same as Omar's: that you can't cross Afghanistan purely through the Wakhan part and that you need to head further south (i.e. Peshawar if bound for Islamabad and beyond).

But if you have discovered a route through, then great. I'm sure we'd all love to hear more about it.

All the best,

Bob
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  #8  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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I repeat there is no Af/Pak working border in the Wakhan area. Whoever suggested is probably ignorant.
There are 2 working borders, Torkham and Chaman.
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  #9  
Old 31 Aug 2011
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Thanks friends
It seems that chinese solutions will be the best.
Thank you for all informations.
I saw more than 2 border crossing, but Omar has actual info, so it is only Torkham and Chaman.
I have to wait for best time to visit Afganistan.
Route from Torugart Pass to Kunjerab Pass could be wonderful.
I will strongly thinking about this trip.

Bartosz
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  #10  
Old 31 Aug 2011
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Hi Bartosz,
You might like to connect with the Kabul Bikers Club composed of wonderful bikers mostly westerners. They are very well informed and helpfull.

If there is any working border in the Wakhan area please inform me about it. We were in that area this July and find the area most fascinating but could not find any working border. Actually this area was totally closed for a 100 years and only opened for tourism after the fall of Soviet Union.

Even the border between Afghanistan and Chitral along the river Kunar with a decent road is also closed. Day before yesterday you might have read about the lil border skirmish there with 50 dead. Only local tribesmen are allowed to cross it.

Have a nice and safe trip.

Omar
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  #11  
Old 1 Sep 2011
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Hi Omar
Thanks for info, it is very useful. In fact Afganistan is a far plan, really not now.
I can make 7-8 weeks trip so India could be problem. I think that next year I will drive Tajikistan with Vakhan Corridor and maybe some places in part of Afganistan Corridor.
It will be nice to meet someday in Lahore and or meet in Poland.

Bartosz
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  #12  
Old 2 Sep 2011
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Hello Bartosz

i am from Pakistan, for your question (2. Is it possible to drive in Kashmire region to Lahore?) actually Kashmir is divided into two parts, one is AZAD KASHMIR and its in Pakistan, the rest is JAMMU KASHMIR and its disputed territory, as far as AZAD KASHMIR is concerned you can easily drive to Lahore, all the roads are metaled and in good condition. and yes from Lahore only one border crossing that's Wagah, i live in Lahore, so if you have more questions feel free to ask and when you arrive here be my guest. Good bye
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