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Southern AsiaTopics specific to Southern Asia, from Iran and Armenia east through Pakistan and India to China / Vietnam / Indonesia.
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We are planning a amsterdam - oz travel overland, spetember 2010. As I'm getting a bit worried about the situation in Pakistan, I am trying to find out other options to get around it, for when the situation gets any worse by then.
Is there a boat from Iran - India p.e. or to go around north through the stan's and then via Japan back into south east asia?
I' m really curious 'bout different ideas....
Depends on what you mean by ´boat´... Cargo ships maybe, but officially you aren´t allowed to board them, so only your bike would go with it, and you´d probably have to find alternative ways to travel. And shipping the bike, clearing the customs, etc, is a lot of work, even if all goes like it should.
At least in Nov-2007 there did not seem to be any passenger ferries to bypass Pakistan. Only some between Iran and Arabian peninsula (and even those I´ve no information, if they take vehicles or not). Of course this could have changed, so it may be worth researching. But generally, cheap flight tickets have killed most long-distance ferry- or steamer-routes.
Round the north it gets pretty complicated, too... theoretically it might be possible to cross to China, then go all the way to Tibet, and cross to Nepal, but its a long way inside China, and so you´re likely to spend a fortune for the guides and paperwork.
Among others, the Hindukush and Himalaya mountains will be on your way, if going round the north side of Afghanistan, and into India, and there´s also many high plateau areas in that region. So you very much need to take winter into account as well.
The easiest solution - by far - would be that Pakistan remains to be do-able, but that remains to be seen.
We're in India at the moment and will start our journey back to the UK in a couple of months. This is the route we're hoping to do (India to UAE by ship,Oman,Yemen,back up to UAE then ship to Iran) we came through Pakistan on our way and loved it but want a change of route for the way back. I've done a minimal amount of homework and found nothing so far!Going to go to Mumbai docks and ask around but it seems you can get the bikes on a ship it's the other end that's a problem.
Cheers Red, the contact number would be good. If I can't go by boat then it's back through Pakistan,Iran and then UAE. I don't fly!!! Total phobia!!! Picture a 11 stone white englishman with the same attitude as Mr T from the A Team
We're on a roadtrip (by car) and started from Groningen (Netherlands, for the non-Dutch) through Iran, the Stans, to Mongolia, China and are now in South-east Asia. Checrk our website for the precise route if you like.
PS We're on our way back to Europe now and are planning to drive from India through Pakistan, Iran, etc. So we didn't chose the above route to avoid Pakistan. But I can imagine not everyone wants to drive through it, considering the news one gets at home.
I would suggest you to not to become another victim of media hype and visit Pakistan instead. I am sure you will be glad you made this decision as it is wonderful, the best kept secret.
Although the recent violence is terrible, still 180 million people like me are living here along with their families. Your chances of getting hurt here wont be more than by crime in any capital of the world considering lack of crime here.
Pakistan is the jewel of Asia, far friendlier than India, nicer people, unspoilt by tourism, cheap and easy to travel in. It's definitely my favourite country.
There are parts of Pakistan which are a bit dangerous (Tribal Areas and parts of NWFP), though travelling from Iran to India, you don't really get too close to them. There have been incidents (very occasional) in Baluchistan and in Quetta, but to avoid the whole country because of this is paramount to not visiting Dublin or Madrid because they have been bombed in the past.
I have spent more than one year in Pakistan, lived in Sindh for half that time, I've been all over the country (including the dangerous parts), driven the Zahedan to Quetta road four times, and never had anything but outright hospitality and friendliness. Lots of people drive this route, last year I met four separate couples in their 60's with mobile homes, and a family with children of 2 and 4 who did the same.
If you can't handle the slight risk of crossing Pakistan, then you must question whether you should be doing the trip at all; once you see how people drive in Iran, India (and yes, Pakistan), you'll soon realise you're far, far more likely to meet a grizzly end in a road traffic accident than in any kind of terrorism. The only dead people I've seen on this trip were squashed on the road. If you need full control and zero risk, have a ride round Europe where people drive properly.
I also strongly advise you to see more then the typical Taftan - Quetta - Sukkur - Lahore - Wagah route as the country is spectacular, espeically in the north. If you're interested in sufi culture, have a look around Sindh, which is full of shrines, babas, incense, melas (fairs), and also has a sizeable hindu community. It's very much like the Indian temples, except the babas don't demand cash to have their pictures taken. If you like mountains, then the north of Pakistan is in my opinion more beautiful than Nepakl or Himachal, and equally stunning when compared to Ladakh, albeit in a different way. If you like cities, then Karachi is as vibrant and diverse as any in south Asia, and Lahore is one of the great Moghul cities. If you like wilderness, then you'll love Baluchistan - the Makran Coast is gorgeous with massive, unspoilt and empty beaches, though it's not Goa I'll agree.
Regards a the shalwaar kameez, they are wonderfully comfortable and cool, but if you're wearing a crash helmet and riding a huge motorcycle (i.e. anything over a 125), weighed down with boxes and bags, it won't make the slightest bit of difference. But this isn't Kandahar, you don't have to hide from the Taliban, the locals are wonderful people; engage with them.
In short, please, please don't miss out on this wonderful country!
Location: in our 10th year on the road-only half way- now in Australia
i totally agree
having just ridden through Iran and Pakistan (we are now in India) i totally agree with Daniel.
do not miss this country. despite having a police escort for most of our time in Pakistan we still loved it and its people and will go back one day when our travels take us back that way.
Pakistan was by far the most incredible country I have ever been in! Everything from the people to the amazing scenary which you will not find likely anywere else in the world. Do not miss the opportunity to ride on the KKH,Hunza valley, skardu road ,Astor Valley, Desaoi plaines etc.
Norther Pakistan is Absolutly safe I rode the entire KKH all the way down to Islamabad in September, without any problem or police escort.
You should not miss Pakistan , its all a media frenzy . The only areas that you should stay away from is the north west province, swat .
Also the KKH is getting a face lift by the chinese and should be cleared up by 2011 . GO FOR IT
Everybody thanks for replying. It makes me really want to experience it for myself. The thing is I only wanted to sort out the options as I read from a dutch couple who met people in Iran who got talked out of getting a visa from their embassy and decided to turn around.
I also don't like the fact that I would have to ride through a country with a police-escort from beginning to end.
Things popped into my head, but they're out of it already. Sometimes I think it really takes too long before we go, one can also think too much.....it's better just to go and see what things you'll encounter on the way, and I bet there's always a solution coming for whatever comes on our way.
As for the KKH, till what time is it possible to ride it, regarding cold, snow etc.?
As regards the KKH, if you mean crossing into China, it is open between rough mid June and mid November, dependent on snow.
As for just riding it, it's open year-round until Sost I think, but it would be uncomfortably cold after Gilgit in winter (mid November to mid March). Bear in mind also that it is far less interesting in winter, many things are closed, locals stay at home, trekking is off the agenda and it wouldn't be much fun doing day walks. Try to visit between March / April and November. For trekking, June to October is the season.
I´ve only been to Pakistan once, crossed from Iran, exited to India, and didn´t do much sightseeing on the way... but I agree, that they seem to be a wonderful people. What you get to read in the news, is about governments, politics and extremist groups, and may not have anything to do with the average local.
Hi Omie, hope you and the family are well and the boys in the club keeping you entertained
Omie is a shining example of everything that has been said above and without his help we would have had major logistical headaches. Pakistan and it's people are not to be missed and I for one will be revisiting, at this rate in about two months.
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