Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
-   Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travellers-advisories-safety-security-road/)
-   -   Avoid Iran and Pakistan? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travellers-advisories-safety-security-road/avoid-iran-and-pakistan-55711)

poodlebiscuit 24 Feb 2011 15:27

Avoid Iran and Pakistan?
I've searched and searched but can't seem to find any current info or "unbiased" opinions on the matter.

Part of my trip is to fly my bike from Thailand to Nepal and then ride down through India, south Pakistan and up through Iran to Turkey. Also my girlfriend will be on the back of the bike.

Are Pakistan and Iran safe two's up with a female on the back? Will the armed escorts be a bit too scary for her? She's a hardy girl but I don't want to spoil her trip by her being scared or just dreading that part of the trip.

I've travelled by myself and camped rough on a bike in Europe before but I can't work out if the bad stories I hear are just scare mongering or the good stories are people acting tough and playing it down. I also realise that the situation could change as well.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Many thanks


TurboCharger 24 Feb 2011 15:53

It will be difficult to get "current info or "unbiased" opinions". By virtue of it being an opinion it is going to be biased...

We did exactly this trip from Nepal to Turkey via Pakistan and Iran 2up on our bike. We had not problems, all you need is patience and you'll be fine. If you want more info or want to get in touch with my better half to have a female perspective just send me a PM.

To be honest like most people who travel this route, Pakistan and Iran were the highlights of the trip. I consider myself very lucky to have been and it's an amazing part of our world, I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip, especially once out of India ;-)

stephen.stallebrass 24 Feb 2011 16:00

I'd check with the HU communities in these respective countries to get the best local and up-to-date information. Remember: de omnibus dubitandum :thumbup1:

Mehmet Zeki Avar 24 Feb 2011 16:23

As long as you are respectful to Islam traditions such as wearings, be sure this part will be the most interesting and exciting part of your trip. You will get most interest in these countries but will meet many friendly and helpful people, local and international.
Key is Selamünaleyküm.say this each time before you start talking.You will not be alone.Also several riders will be behind escorts.Bad point is you will be riding slowly.
Spirit of discovering will be with you.
best wishes.

poodlebiscuit 24 Feb 2011 16:41

Thanks for the responses guys, very helpfull :)

Turbo: I've sent you a PM and my girlfriend is looking forward to the reply.

stephen.stallebrass: I'll be sure to contact some of the HU community for any specific hints or tips closer to the time to check if things are still as stable and nice as you guys are saying.

istanbul bisiklet motosiklet: I'll be travelling on a Honda C90 so the slow riding part as not a problem haha. I think it's the escort side of things that worry her. I get the impression though that the escorts see it as more of a chore than a necessity. If we don't have one for some parts should we be worried? I'm certainly respectfull of others' traditions and I always have a friendly outlook on life and others, Laura will be abbiding by the correct dress codes and wearing male motorcycle gear to help blend in (not a pink helmet etc haha). The other bonus of riding a C90 is that you either blend into the background of other "rubbish" motorbikes haha :scooter: or people will go out of their way to help you out because you're on such a small bike. (when I rode 3500kms across the alpes in winter on one last year, I even got given some free thicker motorcycle gloves because I looked cold :biggrin3:)

Many thanks


Mehmet Zeki Avar 24 Feb 2011 17:03

Please also note that.
If you have selftrack system on your motocycle and give me the link to track you,your riding coordinates will be followed and urgent free help can reach you from the nearest 112 station if you need that during your ride in Turkey.Or just dial 112 ask for umke when you need urgent search and rescue help whereever you are in Turkey.(Wish never need this)
This is a government and club volunteers free service.includes welcome bier in our club.
More touristic information about Turkey, thay you may need.
While making your plans, we recommend you check these sites about touristic places of Turkey.

Go Turkey, Gateway to Turkey: The official travel & holiday guide
[url=http://www.videosofturkey.com/turkce/category.asp?id=16]TATIL VE TURISTIK YERLER <br> Fethiye -

DCrider 24 Feb 2011 18:01

Probably plenty here on HU, not recent trips but these ADV ride reports might help you too, 1st one was a couple:

iran by triumph scrambler - ADVrider


Germany to Iran and back - ADVrider

ايران Iran - ADVrider

Knight of the Holy Graal 24 Feb 2011 18:37


Originally Posted by istanbul bisiklet motosiklet (Post 325630)
Key is Selamünaleyküm.say this each time before you start talking.

Learning some sentences like this will open many doors and will let people appreciate you from the beginning.
I experienced this in Turkey, Syria and Jordan and I always saw sincere smiles on the faces of people I was saying this to.

crazymanneil 25 Feb 2011 13:52

Iran was a real highlight of our trip. Amazing people and unbelievably cheap fuel. No beers though :( would definately go again. We both remarked we felt safe walking around Tabriz at night because the place is well policed and everyone was friendly towards us. For g/f make sure you have the right clothes (black chador and headscarf) or she'd feel a bit out of place sometimes. Aside from that where else would you be riding in the world and have people handing bannanas to you out of a moving car window?

Pakistan was great too and we have some good pictures to look back through. Security wise it seemed ok while we were there as long as you were sensible. By that I mean ride in the day and stay with the (free) police escorts unlike when we rode to Quetta in the dark and lost our escort (pretty stupid). We heard gunfire in the distance while in Islamabad though it could have been anything (a wedding party for example). People were friendly and curious although we were still careful and aware all the time. You know you have to cross the border to Pakistan from India at Amritsar / Lahore right?

A bigger issue, 2 up in Pakistan would be the state of some roads, particularly around Jacobabad. These have been destroyed by flooding or maybe were in poor state to begin with. If you can handle a bit of the rough stuff you'd be ok, though in saying that we had longer worse roads (and driving) in India. It is also possible to put the bike on a train from Lahore to Quetta though its best to book in advance and we had a bad feeling when we went to do it (which worked out good because we really enjoyed the ride).

Having said all this the security situation changes everywhere all the time and at the end of the day you have to make your own judgement call. There were no demonstrations in Iran while we were there for example though I saw on the news recently there were some in Tehran.

Personally if I was doing it again I'd ship around India and ride through Iran/Pakistan :)


poodlebiscuit 25 Feb 2011 15:28

Wow thanks for all the replies!!

istanbul bisiklet motosiklet: thanks for the info and as soon as i work out what my tracking system will be I will let you know. At the moment I use an iPhone.

crazymanneil: So as I understand it from your post that you can only cross from India to Pakistan in the north? Is Quetta okay seeing as though it's so close to Afganistan?

many thanks

crazymanneil 25 Feb 2011 16:04

As far as I have been told by everyone, the only official border open to foreigners between India and Pakistan is that one and we only went there. Its also a great place to see the border closing ceremony which happens at sunset where the guards on both sides lower the flags and slam the gates shut etc.

Quetta is not great in fairness, probably the dodgiest place we were on our trip. A lot of checkpoints around the city to control cars going in and out. Advice from the cops was to stay in the hotel after dark and in fact there was an advice note thing given to us saying we had to be back at a certain time. Don't want to put you off but it was not somewhere for sightsightseeing anyway. We were happy to have the police escort. Rest of the road through Baluchistan to Iran was pretty decent though. We camped in the customs house on the Pakistan side of the Pak/Iran border :)

To get to Quetta from Lahore by road you would have 2 options. Either across at DG Khan via Lorlai which requires a permit (free but takes a day to organise) or south via Sukkur (like we did). The other road will take you North through the Federally Administered Tribal areas and is a no-go for foreigners.

Only other thing to be aware of is that you would need to get the Pakistan visa in your home country and they have around 3 month validity (one Swiss guy we travelled with was lucky to have a 6 month one without even asking!). For us it kind of set the pace we had to get through Europe and Iran. For you going the other way I am not sure how it would work?

I'm sure Omie will pop his head into this thread soon for the latest info...


Mehmet Zeki Avar 25 Feb 2011 16:26

Hi Neil,
Hi Neil,
Great surprise and nice to see you here: thanks to Mr.Grant, HU has become the trustfull and honest meeting point of adventure riders. Last time you were very busy with repairing your diesel in sultanahmat streets.Hope all is ok with you and your trip.
Your bottles bier waiting for you. Next time we repaire in our club garage together!!! But ı think you will get a new transalp at last.

Best wishes.
zeki avar

poodlebiscuit 25 Feb 2011 16:31

Thanks again crazymanneil.

I will be riding from Kathmandu so I suppose having to cross in the North will shorten the journey through India.

With regards to to Lahore to Quetta do you think getting a train would be an option to have as a backup? With the luggage off it's small and can be picked up and thrown around easily. (I had one that broke down so I stripped it down in 5 mins and carried it on the back of another C90) Try doing that with a GS1200 haha.

I've also seen details of trains going from India all the way to Istanbul. I don't want to miss any of Iran and Pakistan but with Laura on the back I need to have some backup plans just in case she pulls rank :nono: haha

Thanks for all the info so far all you guys, I'm sure it helping out others too
Many thanks
Ed :scooter:

crazymanneil 25 Feb 2011 16:55


Originally Posted by istanbul bisiklet motosiklet (Post 325862)
Hi Neil,
Great surprise and nice to see you here: thanks to Mr.Grant, HU has become the trustfull and honest meeting point of adventure riders. Last time you were very busy with repairing your diesel in sultanahmat streets.Hope all is ok with you and your trip.
Your bottles bier waiting for you. Next time we repaire in our club garage together!!! But ı think you will get a new transalp at last.

Best wishes.
zeki avar

Hey Zeki, yes that was me. I think you might have also met the Dutch guys that we travelled with later on in our trip? Unfortunately we had to postpone our trip to Oz when we got to Kathmandu but will hopefully continue in a while. The diesel did ok in the end with no big problems although I think I'll change the sump for the next bit to give some more ground clearance.


Originally Posted by poodlebiscuit (Post 325863)
With regards to to Lahore to Quetta do you think getting a train would be an option to have as a backup? With the luggage off it's small and can be picked up and thrown around easily.

Ah I missed the C90 bit! Pretty straightforward to put on the train and to be honest a great bike for India/Pakistan/Iran since its light and will attract a lot less attention. The trains stop at a load of stations along the South/Sukur route so you could start on the road and switch to the train if you decided against it or had a mechanical problem. If you were stuck out in the wilds I'm sure it would fit in the back of the police escort pickup truck too! For us the issues with the train were there was no ramp to load, nowhere to tie down 2 big bikes and the carriage would be open to people to nick stuff like mirrors, tent etc at the stops. In the end we felt we'd miss out not riding the route and were glad we did.


GSPeter 25 Feb 2011 17:07

Avoid Iran and Pakistan?
If you can get visas for Iran and Pakistan outside your home country you should definetly make the journey. The security situation changes on a daily basis, and whether you have a mandatory escort or not seems to vary. Baloch area of Iran were the most unfriendly, with shots fired in the air or near my feet, and demands for baksheesh. Pakistan was more friendly, but you are a package to be passed on, they dont want you to stop in their area.
The good side to escorts is they find your hotel, so you have to have a suggestion for them. All the people I met, in '08-'09, both in Iran and Pakistan, were friendly and helpfull to excess, but some are goverment agents, so be a bit carefull how you express yourself.
Safe travels, I am sure you won't regret the experience.
Peter, in Oslo

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