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Route PlanningWhere to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Being an American, it seems unlikely that I'll be able to get an Iranian visa, thus making it impossible for me to travel overland from India through Pakistan and Iran to Turkey.
It appears that the only other overland route is north of the Caspian Sea, from India through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan (and/or various other 'stans), Russia, and Georgia into Turkey.
Can anyone tell me if this northern route is possible? Are all the necessary borders open? And what's the political conditions in these northern countries? I know Afghanistan and Kashmir have been pretty unstable and unsafe. Is it safe to travel through these regions? I only need to cut across a small part of these countries, but unfortunately the most unstable parts.
I'd like to hear from anyone who's recently done this northern route. Thanks.
Since nobody else has replied I'll add my 2 cents:
Haven't done or tried it myself. In '89 the Pakistanis wouldn't even let you near the Afghan border, and I think you'll find a similar comment elsewhere in these pages. I consider Afghanistan out for the moment, for all nationalities.
It seems fly or ship is the only option to you.
If you're adventurous you could try getting on a Dhow in Karachi to UAE. I've met an English family in a full-size bus who did it the other way in '88.
Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,
Just come through Kyrgystan Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan into Iran. Travellers I met who had been through Tajikistan all said they had a great time, no safety issues. The problem would be getting from Afghanistan to Tajikistan as restrictions are in place on the border. Turkmenistan is also difficult both getting the Visas and getting across the border (when its open), mind you there is a great Italian restraunt at Hotel Nissa in Ashgabat!
You could always go Pakistan KKH into China, Kashgar(Permission?) and out via the Tourgart pass into Kyrgystan.. a country well worth visiting but getting cold..last month we were snowed on crossing some of the passes.
Pietro who has been on this site crossed the Caspian sea from east to west last month.
A DR rider tried to get into china via Tourgart with only a tourist visa and was sent back! so the china thing could be awkward.
Shame to miss the graffiti on the old US embassy in Tehran though!
What is the latest on the border between Turkmenistan and Iran...how often is this border open and why does it close? This route seems much more preferable than the ferry from Baku. Is this the best way to get into Turkmenistan from the south?
On another note, I am trying to decide whether to include Central Asia in my Trans-Asia itinerary in 2005. How much time did it take you to explore the countries you visited in C.A.? Were the visa hassles, etc. worth it? I hear the visas are pretty expensive as well...
Central Asia Visas were expensive some requiring a letter of invitation up to 50USD on top of the visa fee.
Kyrgystan ..they dont stamp your passport so you only need single entry, and embassy issues visas on the same day without invitation. I got it in London 80 pounds same day multiple entry..would have been heaps cheaper in Almaty. no need to register in the country.
Kazakstan ..need invitation Multiple etry I obtained in Berlin same day..no embassy Australia expensive 110 Euro or something.
Must register preferably done by those who invited you within 5 days of entering the country or you can face 160USD fine and hassles from the police when they check you documents.
Uzbekistan..50USD in Almaty issued on the same day, required Letter of invitation 50 USD. Have to get to embassy early as they stop taking applications after about 10 am even though they say they are open till 12.30pm I dont believe US citizens need invitation due to large airbase south of Tashkent.
Keeps reciepts from hotel stays as we had to show them when leaving Uzbekistan.
Turkmenistan..Obtained in Tashkent 31 USD took a week with some pressure no invitation, Transit visa only, Costs at the border approached 100USD in charges and bribes to speed up the slow tiresome process.
Leaving the country was not much faster.
Was told the border would close for a month from 10th October no reason given..I believe it may be constitution day..or end of cotton harvest celebrations..or Turkmenbashi felt indisposed to foreigners from that date?
Iran..Took about two and a half weeks in Almaty. Leave photcopy of passport and ring up or visit to find out when its ready, Vicki arrived with her vias and mine was given to me! 30 days 50USD. No invitation required, staff were polite and helpful. Border was quick and efficient as I had a carnet for the bike. No charges to enter Iran.
Vicki will be updating the web site in a few days so some more detailed info will be available then.
usl are you in Turkey now. I will be heading that way in a couple of weeks I could tell you about the trip in person if you like.
Some Belgians on BMW 650 were recently in Esfahan, I believe they crossed Tourgart then to Pakistan and KKH or maybe the otherway..the permits for there China crossing amounted to 1000USD for one week. I am told they had an escort.
Afghan visas are said to be simple to get in Islamabd, Pakistan. At least thats the word in Esfahan.
Seen a couple of Americans in Esfahan travelling independently so an Iranian visa is not impossible I suppose.
You cant use a credit card because of the US embargo but you can still buy American cigarettes (made in USA for the islamic republic of Iran) and coca cola?
Got to love the absurdity of the situation. Appears Dick Cheney traded with Iran through his companies UK operations!
Dont forget to look at Vincent Danna's site and also Iris and Trui's.
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