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I'm not sure if you can do simple, quick and cheap from Europe to Aus! The only overland route through to Laos, Thailand, Malysia etc is via China, as it's not possible to get visa's to transit through Myanmar. China is very expensive to organise visa's for - think thousands of Euros.
The next best alternative would probably be to ship the bike from somewhere in India, say Chennai, over to Singapore. You will miss a fair bit of overland riding, but it will be far cheaper (and faster) than going through China.
Lot's of options from Malaysia/Singapore. Some people ship directly down to Aus, or you can island hop across Indonesia and come over from East Timor in to Darwin.
Ted, I recently did this the other way via Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Nepal, India, Pak, Iran, Turkey, Greece etc. Once I'd left Oz, I took around 4 months as the money was running out thanks to the Carnet (it only cost £250 but as I used my flat as security, the amount I could draw down from my mortgage account was drasticaly reduced (by £12,500 for a £2,500 bike).
I flew the bike from B'kok to Kathmandu for $900 plus my flight. With all the fannying about waiting for Dangerous Goods certs, it all took around 2 weeks to organise. From Melb to Port Klang, KL, it was $400 for shipping, took around 2 weeks. I would recommend avoiding shipping from Singapore as there's a bit more hassle with all the road tax stuff they have there. Once you are into Iran, it will be cheaper, Europe is always expensive even if you are camping due to the fuel costs. Fuel in Turkey was really expensive.
We are planning London / Sydney in 2 years time too.
Route for us will be via Turkey, Iran round the black sea, stans republics, Kazakhstan, Mongolia then up north to Irkutz. Cross Siberia all the way to Vladivostock. From there I believe we can take a ferry to South Korea. Then try to take another ferry to Japan and fly after that to Australia and go round.
We will need to leave London March 2011 to make sure we cross Siberia before autumn.
If you´re planning to ride as much as you can, but want to avoid the hassle & enormous costs associated with travelling all the way through China (to Lao border), that basically leaves you two major routes for the first ´leg´, from Europe to India:
- Russia, Kazakhstan/Kyrgystan, China (this would be a much shorter stretch inside China, so probably a lot cheaper, though still not cheap, or easy!), Pakistan, India
-Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India. This one´s do-able provided you´ll get the visas, and a carnet for your motorcycle (which you will need for Pakistan&India, no matter which route you take)
You can just forget entering Burma with your own vehicle, and there are no international ferries from India, so after India, most people freight by sea or by air to Thailand or Malaysia.
Thailand and Malaysia are pretty easy, and you can ship from there to Oz if you like, or provided that you have the carnet, you can go to Indonesia (very few ferries going across, I can recommend going from Penang to Belawan, other points of entry I heard lots of bad stories!) and go to East Timor, where there´s a cargo ship going to Darwin.
We actually ended up shipping by air from Bali (very expensive!) but this was only because in East Timor, there had just been an attack against the president & prime minister, and fighting erupted, so we decided we wont go there at that time.
Once again, no ferryboats between Indonesia and Oz, you will need to freight the vehicle one way or another.
We ended our trip in Sydney, and spent 6 months on the road... we were not in real hurry, but now I would think 9 months would´ve been even better for this trip.
Edit. If you do Indonesia on a bike, make sure to get a 60 day visa, if you can. The place is HUGE, and going is very slow, with all the boats in between (and it´s anyone´s guess, when they will sail or not!!) we only had 30 days "visa-on-arrival", and it definitely wasnt enough, even though we only went through Sumatra, Java and Bali. Sumatra alone is the size of France, only it is stretched west to east, so it is much longer. And let me tell you, the roads are NOT like in France!!!
Do note, that winter will close the Karakoram Highway between China and Pakistan, and this might happen who knows how early in the fall. Winter will also come to Eastern Turkey, but generally that southern route is rideable almost all-year round. I know Russia and Kazakhstan will have a very cold winter, but maybe others will have better info about climate in that northern route.
I'm 'Mrs' twowheels. We are planning a trip to do this route, leaving from England next March. The only country I'm concerned about is Pakistan. We want to do the Karokorum Highway, of course, that means travelling up through the country.
Do I really need to be worried about this country or am I just being paranoid?
Does anyone know if it's possible to cross the Iran/Pakistan border in the South, travel the South coast of Pakistan, into India, then travel North and enter Pakistan again in the North. We could do the Karokorum Highway then head back into India.
We are not sure of all the International border crossings between Iran/Pakistan and Pakistan/India, there may be only certain borders we can cross.
Looking forward to your replys,
If someone´s got more recent info about changes, then please correct, but as of November 2007, the only international borders, which tourists could use, if going from Iran to India, were Mir Javeh/Taftan near Zahedan, and Wagah/Attari near Lahore or Amritsar.
Wouldnt advice to stray from the Taftan-Quetta road either, and the southern coast of Baluchistan may be quite hard to travel overland, and also unsafe.
Usually it´s ok to drive through Pakistan, but surely it isnt as safe as some other countries (then again, there have been regular incidents in some parts of India, but few think its generally a high-risk country). Recently, the most unsafe areas have been near Peshawar, and that border region next to Afghanistan, but there have been incidents in Islamabad and other cities. I believe you can do the KKH without having to go through the highest risk areas.
Given the number of 'heads in bags', rapes and shootings we've had in Edinburgh over the last wee while, I'm beginning to think Pakistan's reputation is probably worse than it actually is. Yes there are areas where you'd be mental to try and go to, but do your research and stay away from the trouble hotspots. You'll also have very little choice in the matter regarding police escorts, they really don't want to see travellers getting into any bother and will keep you well advised.
I had no trouble at all on the KKH back in August but just keep an eye on the news sites when you're there as no one can predict how this situation will change. While travelling, rightly or wrongly I avoided certain areas in India and Pakistan that I'd loved to have seen but a few incidents had occured in these places and I was warned off by locals/security people so I felt it just wasn't worth the risk.
I could be wrong, but I don't remember any travellers getting into trouble there recently? Ah, no wait a minute, some swine did try to steal my petrol cap in Kingri!
The girlfriend and I are also looking to leave the UK for Oz in March 2010 too!
I worked in Pakistan (KKH - Kashmir) 18 months ago and whilst the same sort of reports about the area being dangerous came up, the reality is we never saw any problems at all. As MikeS said, you're probably in as much danger walking around at home!
The area worth keeping an eye on in that area is the beautiful Swat valley which has seen alot of fighting recently but the pakistan govt has just offered the Taleban terms which include the introduction of Shariah law in Swat. If they accept the terms the fighting there would end, and it would just be a question of whether tourists would be welcomed back.
We'll try to enter Pakistan via the KKH and avoid the run via Quetta which I personally don't have the best opinion of. You'll find the police down there will keep a very close eye on you as the govt are terrified of anything happening to foreigners and on that road you're not that far away from the Tribal areas. But saying that plenty seem to cross that way (presumably to avoid the cost of crossing through part of China?) and have no real problems.
Don't let most of the news from Pakistan put you off, it's an incredible country and will be a real highlight of your trip!
Thanks to you all for your prompt replies. Your messages have really helped.
I have also been doing quite a lot of research & I feel a lot better about the idea now.
When we first started plannning our trip we did think about entering Pakistan through China, it could still be an option but we would need to do some more research.
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