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Well, topic titles says it all. Our plan is to fly to Delhi, where we would have brand new Royal Enfields waiting for us, so we could "drive back to Finland". This trip would be done in 2008 end-summer in 4-5 weeks.
Tricky part is that we would have to across Pakistan and Afganistan. Or we could find out is it possible to drive trough Karakoram highway (which would be great), if the Chinese law about international motorcycling (license etc.) would change enough in that time. We have to wait for that. Still we are not thrilled about the idea to go to Pakistan (read few journals from this site and read few foreign ministry security reports). But that way we wouldnt have to go to Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgystan. Last two countries we are not worried about.
Third possibility would be travel to Indian coast and go with ship to Iran (-> north to Turkmenistan etc). We have no idea is there any ship routes going like that.
Our group would have 3-4 guys with plenty of experiences of foreign/Asian countries and generally about motorcycling. But we dont know nothing about Pakistan and I think we will have exciting trip enough even if we wont go to Afganistan. We would like that only dangers would come from traffic and food/drinks. Handgrenades, AK's, mines, muhajedins and hostile attitude against foreigners are not what we want to experience. Maybe you know that finnish troops are not in Iraq, but maybe they dont care. This may sound too cautious, but after all we think that we have challenge enough on other things.
So I have million and one question and if you could give us even some information, it would be great.
1. Is it safe to drive trough Pakistan? Most propably we will have to spend night in there.
2. What about Afganistan? On the map you could drive very quick over the Badakhshan province, but it is still Afganistan.
3. Drive trough Karakoram highway would be great, but what about chinese byrocrazy? What you know about Karakoram?
4. Ship route to Iran from India, is there any?
5. General thoughts about Royal Enfield for driving in shitty roads allmost 8000km?
6. Do you guys know anything about Bajaj Indian bike? Bajaj Avenger
Hi there. Over the years I have quite a few travelers stay with me who have come to NZ overland and many have been thru Pakistan. Other than the period around the infamous newspaper cartoons about the prophet, almost all the travelers have enjoyed their experiences in Pakastan, some more than India. I wouldn't write it off too quickly.
seems like there's two border crossing valleys to Afghanistan and the other is definetely not for foreigners. And the other maybe safe. So maybe have to think to drive trough Pakistan to Iran or look for possibility to drive Karakoram to China.
Do you think it would be good to drive to Iran trough Pakistan? I have read that tribal areas are no-go area and south is not so safe either.
There is enough information on this site to suggest that riding an Indian registered bike through Pakistan is not possible anymore due to Pakistani regulations. Riding through China apparently is also not allowed by China unless you have a Chinese driving licence.
It seems it is still technically possible to ride a Nepalese registered bike back through Pakistan and Iran. There are warnings about safety around the Iranian/Pakistan border but many say they have travelled through that area recently without problems.
Good luck with your project but I think you need to do some more research and be prepared to adapt your plans.
Everything I have heard too seems to say that buying an Indian registered bike and riding it home is no longer possible so most now buy from Nepal.
Plenty of people have ridden Bullets back to Europe and longer distances without trouble. If you buy a new bike I'd recommend running it 1000km or so to test before leaving the reach of where you bought it. After that with any luck you should be able to make it home with a few oil changes and ajustments and no bigger probs.
Re safety in Pakistan - plenty do it without any trouble and I think there are a few threads up on the subject. You'd be crazy to consider Afghanistan as a safer route and shipping from Iran to India is likely to cause you no end of headaches. Go for Pakistan and I'm sure you'll love it. The route from the Indian border to the Iran border doesn't have to take you through tribal areas (though they're pretty unlikely to cause you worries) and you can go up and down the karokoram as a side trip. It's an amazing ride and you shouldn't miss it. No way can you make it through Pakistan in two days on a Bullet. I would say four is the absolute quickest and you wouldn't be doing yourself any favours in taking that option.
I don't know much about Bajaj Avengers but I'm sure some of the Indian guys on the hubb can advise. All I could say about it is that the bike would be virtually worthless in Europe and difficult to get parts for.
Good luck with your project but I think you need to do some more research and be prepared to adapt your plans.
Thats why Im here asking stupid questions And yes, we have plenty of time to change our plans.
Yes, we are not going to Afghanistan, we figured out that pretty fast.
We have hopes that Chinese laws about motorcycle license will change at the time we are doing this trip, but we are not counting on it. Going trough Karakoram would be great of course.
Going to Nepal for the bikes wouldnt be a problem, but riding 1000km test ride before the trip would take too much time. 9 years ago bunch of Finns drived with bullets trough Pakistan-Iran-Turkey-Bulgaria etc. and theyr bikes broke down all the time. Many, many tire problems and oils spilled out. I quess we have to prepare for that and "adapt the situation".
I didnt meant that we could drive trough Pakistan to Iran in two days, I meant if we would drive to chinese border (Karakoram) in two days. But nevertheless we will have to anyway wait and see what is happening with this chinese driving license - thing and situation in Pakistan.
Getting a cheap bike is not a priority or the re-sell value. The trip itself is the priority.
Thanks guys!! I start reading this forum more troughly.
I did the trip in 2004 but drove through Pakistan and Iran. Bought the bike in Delhi (Lalli Sigh is THE dealer) Lalli prepared the bike at 100% and I drove it to switzerland without any problem (Not one problem, incredible). Was a great trip. The major problem is the famous Carnet de passage that you wont be able to have with the Enfield. so the solution is simple : MONNEY. in fact if you want to drive in Pakistan, you will have to pay (up to 100 usd a day). What I did, I drove to Lahore and put the bike in the train to save monney and got it back in Quetta. this solution cost me about 60USD (without the train ticket). At the border they will ask you how manu monney you are travelling with, the good answer is 10USD. In fact if you say 100usd they will ask you 200USD to get through, if you say 10 they will ask 20... at ALL the borders.
I loved Iran, people are very friendly, dont miss it.
Im planning to ride from Finland to India starting September (on a Jap bike). My most likely route will be Turkey-Iran-Pakistan then India, so hopefully I´ll be able to give you more accurate information in 5-6 months time.
The impressions that I have at the moment (and keep in mind, all based on what Ive read, never been to those countries except India!) are that Iran should be quite ok, maybe some hassle with visas and crossing border with vehicles, but usually not a big headache. Pakistan has some areas that are not safe, but you might get police escorts thru these, and you should/will hear about the current situation whilst your there. Border crossings Iran-Pak and Pak-India could be interesting, but several travellers have reported doing that route succesfully in recent times.
Of course nobody knows how the situation in Iran, for example, will turn out in the coming months/years if they cannot find an agreement with UN about their nuclear program, etc.
I would think Afghanistan is probably way more dangerous than any of the countries mentioned, in fact I´d steer clear of the country at the moment.
China, it seems, could be possible if you have a nearly endless budget, and are prepared to make your way through some serious "red tape", or youre very, very lucky at the border (and in the latter case, you´d be riding there illegally, so you could end up in big trouble later on, if you have an accident or something!) I also remember reading somewhere that maybe travellers who do the Karakoram highway, only ride there from the Chinese side, and usually never the other way round, maybe someone has better info on this?
I would go thru Russia and Kazakhstan, but as China looks like its virtually impossible (on my budget anyway!) then Turkey-Iran-Pakistan-India seems like the only realistic option. Im not presuming it´ll be 100% safe, but then if you run into bad luck it could happen anywhere, and I´ll only be passing through these countries. Its much more likely that if there are troubles they will be other than safety-related, but of course you´ll never know.
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