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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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Cool Uk to singapore overland on motorbike, oct 2011

Hi

I wonder if anyone can help at all???

I am nearly at the end of a project and was looking to go by BMW 650 dakar from London to Singapore at the start of October 2011.

Problems I have quickly encountered are

1.)If you go through Iran you then have to go through Pakistan which I've been told this is really a no go area and the risk of problems is very high especially kidnap of foreigners?? Has anyone recently done this route and if so...was it OK ??

2. ) If you go north through the 'STANS' then you obviously cannot continue through the north of Afghanistan to drop into North Pakistan and then India, and you cannot go from Krygystan into China at this time of year as the pass will be closed and you cant ride across China with out permit....am I missing something here???

or 3.)
Cannot go further north through Kazakhstan into China, as won't be able to ride again in China, and the road of Bones will be impassable at this time of year, as would nearly be mid Oct - and latest anyones ever completed Road of Bones is end of Sept as temps get down to -30.

Every route I have looked at is basically a no-go therefore.

Any help would very much be appreciated.

Martin Q
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  #2  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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Not meaning to sound sarcastic at all – but you´re about 1 month before your departure, and haven´t even decided on the route yet?? I usually try to avoid overplanning, as things change, and your mind might change on the road as well.......

But still, you really should allow at least 6 months to properly plan something like this. If not for anything else, then because of the visas, and the bike´s papers. Asia is all about these – very different from Europe of today, for example. First find out about the possible routes, decide that, then apply for the necessary documents. Might take a good while, before you´re all set with these. Especially if you´re from the UK, and want to cross Iran & Pakistan.

You can find loads of good info about the subjects that you asked about on this very website. So I´d advice to spend a few days just browsing the forums. You will come across many 1-st hand reports from travellers. It´ll also be worth your while going through, for example, the ´Planning´-stuff on the left hand side.

A very long story cut very short...... today, to ride between Europe & SE Asia, the shall I say "main" options thru some critical regions are (but note, that you´ll still probably need more than 1 month to arrange any of these):

1. to Vladivostok, and then possibly to Korea, then ship to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur

2. Kazakhstan > China > Laos, but this would cost more than you´ll believe (the Chinese part I mean, and to put it short: unless you´re VERY rich, just forget it!)

3. Kyrgyzstan > China > Pakistan thru the famous Karakoram Highway (..and then the rest as in #4). This KKH-route is actually used quite a bit considering that it involves getting into China.. but on the upside, it´ll only require some days inside China, so the costs are probably a bit less.

4. Turkey > Iran > Pakistan > India, and then freight the vehicle across Burma to Thailand or Malaysia. The bike definitely needs a carnet for India, and you might have trouble getting the appropriate visas, too, but otherwise it´s pretty straightforward, even though traffic is quite bad in many countries along the way. And shipping might actually be easier to do from Nepal.

Routes 1-3 face a severe winter, and will not be passable then. Route 4 gets cold mid-winter in eastern Turkey & northwest Iran, but otherwise it should be more or less do-able (also on a bike) almost year-round.

Regarding the subject, check out for example this previous thread on this forum:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...pian-sea-55471

BTW, I did that route #4 almost 4 years ago on our way to Oz, some report here (I´ve asked to fix the Scandi alphabets on the header, so hopefully the link won´t become a mess as it has done before!):
MOTO-Ykk�nen - Matkalla

Last edited by pecha72; 30 Aug 2011 at 14:58.
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  #3  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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Thanks very much for the detailed reply, brilliant!

No you don't sound sarcastic by the way, totally get your point on docs etc and having done a lot of looking this weekend I think it may prove to be just a touch ambitious!!! Whilst i hate overplanning on stuff generally, with stuff like this i think its amust!

As with all these 'ideas' it seems always doable and am quite surprised how difficult it is in fact to find a route.

I was hoping someone may 'pop up' and say....do it this route, simple!! But far from the truth to say the least.

YOUR ROUTES ( Which is what i kind of worked out from all the blogs)
1. to Vladivostok, and then possibly to Korea, then ship to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur - JUST FAR TOO COLD NOW APPARENTLY

2. Kazakhstan > China > Laos, but this would cost more than you´ll believe (the Chinese part I mean, and to put it short: unless you´re VERY rich, just forget it!) TOTALLY GET THIS HAD QUOTES OF $5000 usd ADN NEED A CHINESE LICENSE AND BE PART OF AN ORGANISED TOUR TO GO TO CHINA

3. Kyrgyzstan > China > Pakistan thru the famous Karakoram Highway (..and then the rest as in #4). This KKH-route is actually used quite a bit considering that it involves getting into China.. but on the upside, it´ll only require some days inside China, so the costs are probably a bit less.
SAME AS ABOVE ON THIS


4. Turkey > Iran > Pakistan > India, and then freight the vehicle across Burma to Thailand or Malaysia. The bike definitely needs a carnet for India, and you might have trouble getting the appropriate visas, too, but otherwise it´s pretty straightforward, even though traffic is quite bad in many countries along the way. And shipping might actually be easier to do from Nepal.
JUST BEEN TOLD THE AREAS IN PAKISTAN CAN BE SKETCHY AND THAT VISAS ARE VERY DIFFICULT FOR UK AT PRESENT FOR IRAN. AGREED WILL PROBABLY TAKE MONTHS TO EVEN APPLY FOR A VISA

Routes 1-3 face a severe winter, and will not be passable then. Route 4 gets cold mid-winter in eastern Turkey & northwest Iran, but otherwise it should be more or less do-able (also on a bike) almost year-round.
AS ABOVE - BUT TOTALLY AGREE
Regarding the subject, check out for example this previous thread on this forum:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...pian-sea-55471, REALLY GOOD THREAD

BTW, I did that route #4 almost 4 years ago on our way to Oz, some report here (I´ve asked to fix the Scandi alphabets on the header, so hopefully the link won´t become a mess as it has done before!):
MOTO-Ykk�nen - Matkalla


HEY LISTEN, I really appreciate the above, you have just really endorsed what I've been reading and maybe I should be looking at something closer to home bearing in mind the time I have and the issues on routes and visas
-----always nice to dream a little!!!!! catch you soon

Martin
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  #4  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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route

if it helps, we just finished a trip from uk to new zealand and went via the KKH. We left in mid April 2010 and it took about 5 weeks before leaving to sort out visas for Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan and India. If you can change your leaving date it's a route I would thoroughly recommend.

Have a look at our site overland-traveller.com and also our friends motoventurers.com so see some of the photos through Pakistan, which was certainly one of the highlights of the whole trip.

Good luck.

Carl
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  #5  
Old 31 Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin quigley View Post

4. Turkey > Iran > Pakistan > India, and then freight the vehicle across Burma to Thailand or Malaysia. The bike definitely needs a carnet for India, and you might have trouble getting the appropriate visas, too, but otherwise it´s pretty straightforward, even though traffic is quite bad in many countries along the way. And shipping might actually be easier to do from Nepal.
JUST BEEN TOLD THE AREAS IN PAKISTAN CAN BE SKETCHY AND THAT VISAS ARE VERY DIFFICULT FOR UK AT PRESENT FOR IRAN. AGREED WILL PROBABLY TAKE MONTHS TO EVEN APPLY FOR A VISA


Seems to be true, that certain areas in Pakistan are sketchy. But I think it´s worth thinking about that ´certain areas´-part a little. It is a big country afterall.

Since most travellers don´t go through Afghanistan (and I personally wouldn´t), there´s basically 3 international border crossing points, where foreigners can enter/exit Pakistan:
- Mir Javeh/Taftan to/from Iran
- The KKH crossing to/from China (forgot the names but anyway!)
- Wagah/Attari to/from India.

The police might give you escorts part of the way, or sometimes even all the way... and their instructions are not to let foreigners, that do not have specific permits, even enter the troubled areas. The Swiss couple, that was kidnapped some time ago, were on an area, that during late -07, when we crossed, was a no-go for foreigners. I´m not sure, if it still should have been this way, but after reading about this incident, I had a little doubt on whether they should have been allowed to enter that particular area at all.

Baluchistan (Taftan to Quetta and southeast from there) is not 100% safe, but coming from Iran it´s pretty hard to avoid going thru there. And the same goes for southeast Iran actually, east from Bam. But that is one of the main overland routes between Europe & India, the authorities at least have a presence on the main highway, and most travellers that do go through there, have had no safety-related troubles. In fact most report that they have had a great time.

Won´t be able to guarantee anyone´s safety of course. But personally, unless the situation got a lot worse than today, I would go through there again... and Pakistani (and Indian!) traffic would probably be my biggest worries!

Also keep in mind, that my own experience is almost 4 years old, and many things might have changed since – you´ll probably be able to get much more recent reports from this site.

And the visas & carnet, if you still dream to do it this year, you should start the application process immediately. (And also find out about the possibilities to get visas from, say, Ankara, or Teheran, if the need arises – about that side I can´t tell you much, because first of all you have a different nationality... and I had all visas up to India, when I left home. But that is once again something, where you might get great help from others at the HUBB).

Last edited by pecha72; 31 Aug 2011 at 09:14.
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  #6  
Old 31 Aug 2011
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Am also looking into this myself - the Iran-Pakistan-India-Nepal route then a flight with bike from Kathmandu to Bangkok seems pretty popular. The Baluchistan area of Pakistan needs a 'No Objection Certificate', and seems to cover a lot of the area that borders Iran.

I had heard that after the killing of two people by an American 'tourist', who then turned out to be an embassy worker, who then turned out to be a CIA operative.... had created a lot of mistrust of foreigners, but this has not been confirmed by first-hand experience.

Another option to get into India might be to ship from East Africa. I'm sure Egypt has settled down by now and I've heard that Sudan's nice at this time of year....
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  #7  
Old 31 Aug 2011
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p.s. the Stans are a beaureaucratic pain but can be done at this short notice. They are totally worth the hassle but this is the wrong time of year to be heading out. The Pamirs and the Tien Shan are pretty high up and ice up over winter - and the exit options to the south are, as discussed, hugely expensive. I'd keep them on the to-do-list but maybe as a Mongolia link-up for another day. They are fantastic places to see though, pretty safe, nice people, great landscapes etc etc.
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