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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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Hi just thought I would write a quick note on how things went for my girlfriend and I whilst traveling through Iran and Pakistan to help anyone thinking of taking this route in the near future but bear in mind situations can change and you should always keep an eye on any warnings that your government is posting.
- Very nice people, always being invited to stay or have cups of tea even in some of the "dodgier"areas in the south.
- Driving quite bad in Tehran by European standards (well apart from Poland that is ) and roundabouts take on a whole new meaning with the people on the main road seeming to have right of way...
- The main roads are all in generally good condition although motorbikes aren't allowed on the major freeways (we even had our passports taken off of us while we were escorted off of the freeway and onto the old road by the police).
- The south is a little edgier, when crossing over to Pakistan we were picked up outside of Zahedan by the police (they were coming in the opposite direction, spotted us, did a uey and told us to follow them) and then escorted wherever we wanted to go, we were even told to call if we wanted to leave our hotel. The police were all very kind if a bit inefficient, in the end they escorted us all the way to the border.
- The road from the border to Dalbadin (SP?) is OK, in general the roads in the south aren't that great with blinking great potholes everywhere.
- The road from Dalbadin to Quetta isn't that great, huge potholes litter the road, sometimes it is single track, sometimes it is unsealed and sometimes, if you are really lucky it is a combination of them both!!
- If you are coming from Iran, get to the Iran / Pakistan border quite early as it is a long ride to Dalbadin but when you get there stay at the hotel on the main street, the people there were friendly and it wasn't hugely expensive although the was a bit on the steep side.
- Quetta was also a bit edgy with people not really being that smiley, my girlfriend definitely felt a little more like an object here than she had the whole time in Iran.
- We were also escorted pretty much the whole way from Quetta to Lahore being picked up by the police at one of the road blocks, the guys here (well in Balochistan) were really quite efficient doing a sort of relay hand over thing that meant we didn't really have to slow down or wait for the next escort at any point. Once into Sindh things changed somewhat, the escorts kept on stopping, waiting for the next escort and even when we were being escorted out of all the escorts only one allowed us to travel at 100 kph the rest kept us at 40 kph on perfectly OK roads, make that road, the main one from Kerachi to Lahore!!
- Lahore is very pleasant and feels quite western, a lot more relaxed than in the south with people smiling, approaching and chatting to you.
- The crossing into India is pretty easy, just a straight ride out of Lahore and the guys on the Pakistan and really quite helpful and cheery, the Indian side quite regularly try to get money out of you if you are running close to closing time!!
Anyway that is all I can think of now, if anyone has anything else more specific they want to ask post it up and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.
Yeah I managed to get my letter of approval in Tehran but I would check up on whether or not your country is handing them out there, if I remember correctly I bumped into a woman from Belguim in Yazd who said that her embassy in Tehran wasn't willing to give her a letter of introduction and I also know that the French and Finnish embassies are no longer handing them out so probably best to check before hand or even get a six month visa from Belgium if at all possible. I have also met people that have travelled to Istanbul, then flown home to apply for their visas in their home countries as it made it easier for them!!
Didn't make it to the KKH as it was a bit cold for us and we were told that it was impassible in places so not really sure of the situation there. As an aside, we were not the only people that were escorted through the majority of Pakistan, another motorcyclist traveller that went through that way a few weeks before us was also escorted all the way to Lahore.
Hope thats has helped you a little bit, finally I have been able to actually put something up on the hubb other than a question!! :-D
Darn it ..... busted, I didn't actually meet the person in person, I met a chap that was traveling with him (if it is indeed the same guy) the guy I met was Jon who was traveling on a Brompton fold up bike?? Sorry Toukakoukan P.S. We never made it up the KKH as we thought it might be blocked with snow, is it really as cool as the pictures make out? (Just sneaked a peak at your website).
But to make things right I also got told today that people are sending passports back for others to forward them on to embassies in their home countries in order to get the visas.
Thanks for the info. Travellng with my partner from London to SE Asia; setting off mid-june (ina 4x4). Most likely route - into eastern europe then Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Nepal and into SE Asia - probably ship the van from calcutta.
Was most worried about the Iran-Pakistan border. You seem to have covered a lot of ground that we will. Would be really keen to hear any other tips or info you could offer.
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