Crossing Taftan to Quetta - 11/2013 updates
I crossed over the border from Iran into Pakistan in the beginning of november 2013! So, let me give you an update about the situation around there!
We (3 bikers) decided to sleep in Kerman and follow to the Zahedan in the next day. Hitting the road at 7am we arrived in Bam at 9:45. From Bam we got escorts, the most irritating escorts you can imagine, we spent almost a day to ride 323kms to Zahedan, the number of times they change escorts is mind-bogging, sometimes every 500m, and than, you have to wait out of the police station or check point for 5, 10, 30, 120 minutes for the next escorts to pick you up, of course, under a blistering sun, no water, no shade, to really test your nerves. Most of them are young recruits, they laugh about you, they take a piss on you, of course, in them language, there is no respect at all. You feel like you are clown. They will hold your passport until you get the border with Pakistan. The escorts are there to protect you but you fell like you are a prisoner, you can't go anywhere without your passport.
When we arrived in Zahedan was night already, they toke us to a police station to wait for the next escorts to take us to the hotel, they said that the place was too dangerous to let us to go by ourselves, but they left us 2 hours outside of one police station, doors shut, with only the moon to give us some light, again, no water, no nothing, zero safety. Funny that in side the police station they had two cars, plenty staff and guns but nobody could take us to the hotel which was 2 km away.
After 2 hours, some escorts arrived and toke us to the hotel that we choose, the Esteghlal Grand Hotel, which by Lonely Planet was the best place. Hotel is fine for Iranian standards, food is not good and quite expensive for Iran. We couldn't leave the hotel, even to go to the shop which was wall to wall with the hotel, was too dangerous they said.. Brrrrrrrr.....
Next day we set off very early, we asked the police to be ready at 7am to take us to the border, Taftan, 100km away. Again, almost one whole day just to do that, good roads, absolutely amazing desert landscape, but uncountable check points, more teen recruits, more waiting on check points under a blistering sun, no water, no shade. yes, is tough. Plus, again, escorts that laugh about you, that disrespect you with them attitudes.
The border processing was okay, as usual, your passport will be checked more than 20 times, some people can't even read it properly, you have to point where is your name, where is the number, everything, is just ridiculous.
The Iranian border is a big building, but very dusty, disorganized and quite empty.
About the petrol, fill up you tank before crossing the border, tell every single escort that you need petrol because they don't pass any request you ask to the next escort, you have to keep repeating and remembering. If you want to take a jerry can with extra petrol, get a small one, if they see a big one, they will not let you take it with you, sure, to make you buy petrol in the Pakistani side with the smugglers for 140 rupees per liter. Bastards.
We crossed the border, the Pakistan customs/police station/aduana is not a building, is just couple of houses in the middle of a small-dusty-desert town. Nice chaps, friendly and helpful. They said was too late already to hit the road to Dalbandin, so, we had to sleep at the police station, there, they gave us a empty room with a small kitchen on the back where we cooked our dinner! LOL
Because the room was empty, we set our camping gear and had a good sleep. Forget shower. The toilet available is a hole on the floor and stinks like hell, get a mask to go in there.
There is a small shop nearby where you can go, get some drinks, biscuits, and some unusual things for such poor place. Honestly, Pakistan government should do something about that border, is just a shame that a country like Pakistan has a border is such precarious condition. Anyway, next morning we left very early to Dalbandin, which is half way to Quetta, 300km away from Taftan.
From Taftan to Quetta, there is no petrol stations selling petrol, just Diesel! If you need petrol, you have to buy along the way with smugglers for 140 pakistani rupees/liter (escorts commission included), you must haggle with the smugglers , you might get it for 130!
PS: Bring dollars with you, you get better rates with dollar than with Pounds or Euros. Exchange some dollars right after crossing the border, the rate is not so great, but honestly, due the circumstances, is fair, buy pakistani rupees enough to buy petrol, water and biscuits until Quetta. DO NOT rely on dollars only, get local currency!!!!
Road between Taftan and Quetta is very mixed, very good, good, bad and terrible parts, be ready for every kind of terrain you can expect. make sure your bike is in good condition, suspension mostly.
Because we left the border very early, we reached Dalbandin about midday, so, time to top up our petrol tanks, get some juice, water, share some delicious food that the guys in the check point were eating and done, head to Quetta!
Would be great if we could make Taftan to Quetta in one day! But was beginning of november, the days wasn't long anymore, so, at 5:30pm, just about 45km before Quetta, in Nushki, we were asked to sleep in the check point, travelers are not allowed to drive before sunrise or after sunset.
Well, the sleep at the check point wasn't so bad, they provided a empty room to sort out ourselves and asked to move the bikes in, we had time to have a quick shower, eat something and take some pictures with the guards (really nice blokes) before completely darkness, than, they asked us to stay inside the room and to not leave, and keep the lights down.
Next day, early morning again, we reached Quetta! 45 kilomters far, crossing amazing mountains, was okay!
By the way, he Pakistani police did a great job, completely different from the Iranian ones, great logistic, most of the time you don't have to wait for the next escort to come, they are always already waiting for you, no pissing about, no laughs, very professional and efficient.
The crossing is not easy, is dangerous, yes it is, I believe that, as long as you are not involved with politics, you are safe. There is no history of someone crossing with a car or a motorbike that had been kidnapped or rubbed, usually, tourist are not the target, but IT IS TENSE. You will find yourself in the middle of nowhere, mountains in your right, desert in you left, in front, the toyota hilux with two guys on the back holding Ak-47's (fingers on the trigger, eyes on the desert), and nothing behind you, not a single soul (that you can see) in a range of 100km around your.
The adventure is unforgettable.
Last edited by joasphoto; 3 Dec 2013 at 11:48.