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-   -   Iran/Pakistan situation (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/southern-asia/iran-pakistan-situation-32569)

Caird 23 Jan 2008 20:23

Iran/Pakistan situation
 
Hello

According to the FCO website travel to eastern Iran, including Bam, and NW Pakistan, including parts of the KKH is to be avoided at all costs. As these areas are on my intended route how foolish would I be to ignore their advice? Has anyone had any recent experience of these areas?

The FCO also talk of special requirements needed for those wishing to enter Iran with a m/cycle. Any idea what these are?

Many thanks

Pete

beddhist 24 Jan 2008 02:36

This kind of bull is a permanent feature of govt. advisory sites, rendering them virtually useless.

While the situation in Pak has apparently deteriorated since my trip there last year, others here have since passed through and had no probs. The police won't let you go where the action is generally.

The thing about bikes in Iran also gets asked here occasionally. It seems that this stems from the ban on big bikes in Iran, but doesn't concern tourists.

juddadredd 24 Jan 2008 03:13

Hi,

I have the background to deal with this one, if anyone thinks different then your a danger to yourselves and should stay at home.

Just use common sense if things start to heat up get the hell out of Dodge, your a traveller in thier country, just keep reading the news sites and if it looks like trouble find someplace to pitch camp out of the way until things blow over, so.....

1. make sure you carry a fair amount of drinking water (2-3 days worth or filter it yourself)
2. the same for food (filling stuff like rice pasta noodles)
3. the same for Gas (200 miles there abouts)
4. the same for money (money can be the difference between life and death that's why our troops carry gold on them)

But also remember that the elections are held next month and if they look like they are rigged then the sh*t will fly like never before, then you might get noticed big time, remember the CIA Mossad ISI etc will be out on the streets that's when you WILL get noticed being a westerner.

Ride safe

pecha72 25 Jan 2008 04:50

My experience is a few months old, but I wouldnt think Iran is a problem. Its has actually been probably the most pleasant surprise of our trip so far!! But the area east of Bam is a bit suspicious as there has been banditry and drug smuggling. The police, however, took good care of us, the only really annoying thing was, that the escorts in Iran were so damn slow, took us about 2 whole days from Bam to the Pakistani border!!

Pakistan was even less of a problem for us, just a few escorts, maybe 100kms total, and just so friendly people all over. But right now, I might not go there, unless I absolutely had to. Things may have changed a lot since the Bhutto killing, and now with the elections coming and all... at least I would think very carefully, before going. It would be good to hear some very recent info from travellers, who've been there just now.

Also keep in mind that the news and the media usually do paint the picture a lot darker than it actually is.. the martial law was on, when we went there, and to tell you the truth, I was a bit concerned. Reality in the places we went to, turned out to be very different from the media. And also to know WHERE you will go in the country will be important, though the police will probably not let you into the hottest places anyway.

If Pakistan doesnt feel comfortable, I heard you should be able to ship the bike from Bandar Abbas to India, for example.

Caird 28 Jan 2008 20:44

Many thanks for your opinions.

I'm certainly going to wait 'til after the election before making a final decision but as my planned leave date was to be the beginning of April, time is going to be somewhat on the tight side.

Your idea Pecha of shipping out of Banda Abbas is a good one but for me the whole trip hangs on being able to ride a good chunk of the KKH so the situation in Pakistan is everything.

Cheers Beddhist for the info on the Iran/bike matter.

pecha72 29 Jan 2008 03:05

I havent been to the KKH area, but I think that area could be somewhat more unsafe than just to travel thru the country on the "classic" Europe-India overland route from Iran. It does not pass far away from the most problematic areas anyway. I heard of a chinese group, that got ambushed there last fall, luckily they had an armed escort!

But situations change quickly, so it may be possible to do it safely later on. And the Pakistani authorities do take tourists safety seriously, which is good.

Lars 29 Jan 2008 08:02

The KKH is a quite touristy area. A lot of police, too. I felt very safe.

Lars

beddhist 29 Jan 2008 11:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by pecha72 (Post 171435)
I heard of a chinese group, that got ambushed there last fall, luckily they had an armed escort!

I'd say it was the escort that got attacked, the tourists being there probably being more coincidental. A good reason to avoid these escorts as much as possible.

Jono 8 Feb 2008 09:30

[quote=pecha72;171435]I havent been to the KKH area, but I think that area could be somewhat more unsafe than just to travel thru the country on the "classic" Europe-India overland route from Iran. It does not pass far away from the most problematic areas anyway. I heard of a chinese group, that got ambushed there last fall, luckily they had an armed escort!



So what is the 'classic' overland route from Iran to India?

RichLees 8 Feb 2008 10:03

The FCO site is generally rather conservative, but it also serves political roles. I'm glad its conservative cos its weeds out some of the worriers! I travelled through Iran and Pakistan in October and November last year. I admit that I was concerned for a couple of good reasons 1) a Japanese guy was abducted from Bam in October 2) Bhutto's rally was attacked in Karachi, killing 130, in October. I teamed up with another guy going the same sort of way. The day before we crossed into Pakistan, Musharraf declared the state of emergency. We considered turning back for Europe, but am so glad that I went on! Pakistan is great. The escorts can be a drag and the other drivers drive to a different Highway Code so, to me, they are insanely dangerous! The army prevented travel to Swat Valley so we had to detour 1000km via Sukkur. KKH was reckoned to be safe, but I was short of time and we flew up to Gilgit: the town is secured at night, but daytime travel on the KKH was fine.

There is no way to guarantee security/safety anywhere and I agree with others that I'd follow the elections from afar rather than chose to be an unofficial observer. Not because of Mossad etc, but cos the crowds can be alarmingly energetic and you might not want to face the riot police. We rode into Lahore as the protesters were chanting on one side of the road and the police were tooling up on the other. No time for photos!

Back to the FCO - their general advice of avoiding rallies etc is worth keeping in mind.

Have a good trip. FWIW ... keep a low profile. don't get in cars or onto motorbikes with strangers - that's how the Japanese guy was abducted in Bam. put some music on while following police escorts 1) to drown out the sirens and 2) to make the low speed more tolerable 3) be super alert and always ready to ride off the side of a road when an oncoming lorry stakes a claim on the tar you were thinking of using - its not worth dying just cos you think he should drive like a Westerner! oh, and if he indicates ... grow eyes on the back of your head

pecha72 9 Feb 2008 02:32

"So what is the 'classic' overland route from Iran to India?"

Well, according to the Lonely Planet guidebook (which might not know everything!) it goes from Taftan on the Iranian border to Quetta, then Loralai, DG Khan, Multan, Lahore, and from Wagah border to India.

I believe nowadays these two borders are the only ones open to foreigners, so you will have to use them if you go from Iran to India. Or actually, Im not sure, but there might be some option further south between Iran/Pakistan, but that area on both sides is unsafe, so I wouldnt go there, even if its open.

During our trip, the route east from Quetta was closed for foreigners, so we had to make a diversion south to Sukkur.


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