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  #1  
Old 13 Aug 2002
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Pakistan August 2002 - Alternatives

I have to reopen this topic as I did not find any recent information from travellers going through Pakistan.
Reading all the warnings from the foreign affairs offices of Germany, UK, USA and also advice of UNICEF Pakistan not to go there I should be clear not to go, but I am struggling with my decission. I only would like to transit through the country.
Are there any known alternatives to go around Pakistan?
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  #2  
Old 13 Aug 2002
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Dear Jurgen,
here's some very recent info on Pakistan : we are in Lahore for the moment, on our return journey (overland from Belgium to India and back). Crossed the border Pak-India yesterday without the slightest problem and accompanied by many many smiles.
We travelled through P in May/June (at the height of the Pak-India tensions) for 6 weeks, and had no problem whatsoever, anywhere. The Pakistanis are very VERY friendly people, happy to help, happy to give information, happy to talk (even to women). And they are very unhappy with the "NO tourist" situation. Back in June, for instance in the Hunza valley (major tourist attraction), we were 4 --yes four!-- foreigners...
Of course we cannot deny there have been REAL attacks on REAL people - just a few days ago another attack on a Christian school. And there are unstable, easily-lit, aggresive factors in this country - sure.

But we count on the fact that :
- we are "moving targets" meaning we do not stay in concentrations of resident foreigners;
- we avoid Fridays around the mosques;
- we will be gone before 11.9, i.e the "First anniversary of the martyrs" (or something of this kind);
- we avoid nighttime riding - actually anywhere any time for plenty of reasons;
- we avoid stopping in the middle of towns or even villages for a coke or a tea. Instead we stop at truckstops : fewer people and all the same facilities;
- we avoid big crowds alltogether, just like resident foreigners do here;
- we try to get inside parkings for the bikes where-ever we can - for safety of the bikes and for 'invisibility';
- we obviously avoid the "no-go" areas : Zob and the whole tribal area close to the Afghan border; even Peshawar though we heard very positive reports from travellers there (backpackers); Azzad Kashmir;
- we inform our Embassy of our whereabouts and our route on a couple of occasions (via e-mail) and they have our home-contact addresses;
- we ONLY met very friendly helpful people, as anyone who has travelled here will tell you.

We have met and we still meet peole travelling to and from Pakistan (very few though), and all have simular stories.
This time we will cross P much faster : from Lahore to Multan (few days), then Loralai, then Quetta for a few rest days, then on to Dalbandin (a hotel 20 kms before which we saw on the way going), then across the border to Zahedan (Iran). This entire section will take us 8 to 10 days, and it's the shortest distance through the country (you could surely ride it in 5 or 6 days if you don't stay longer then one night in each place).
I don't know when you're coming, but if it's not later then the end of September, you could still ride the KKH ! Have a look at the pictures on our website. The people along the KKH, north from Besham (!), are very very friendly. In Gilgit go to Madina GH and say hello to Yacoob from us. And then stay in Hunza for many days - Ismaeli people, a more liberal sect of Islam.

OK, the alternative is to go to Bander Abbas (south coast of Iran), ship or fly your bike to Dubai, then from there to Mumbai. For customs in Mumbai : DO take an agent. A Swiss guy took this route and spent 3 full weeks in customs.
Other alternative is flying from Tehran. There should be (or will be shortly ?) a very good address in Tehran on the HorUnl from a mechanic who helped out already many bikers for this trip. Besides being a very helpful mechanic especially for BMWs.

If you come from the other side, you can certainly fly from Delhi to anywhere, or ship from Mumbai to anywhere.


Good luck, and humid but relaxed greetings from Lahore,

Iris and Trui

2 belgian women, often travelling on motorbikes (now on DR650SE's)
2nd overland from home to India, April-October 2002
http://www.990.to/iris_trui/

[This message has been edited by iris_trui (edited 13 August 2002).]
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2 belgian women, often travelling on motorbikes (now on DR650SE\'s)
2nd overland from home to Northern India and back, April-October 2002
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  #3  
Old 13 Aug 2002
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Thank you Iris and Trui,
great for the extremly fast reply. It does not sound to bad at the end. I am following your behaviour "rules" anyway to a very high extend. I am very late on my tour and therefore will most certainly take the direct route as you two as well. I also would feel better as I am travelling alone.
Another question - my Pakistan visa will expire, did you have one with a very long validity or did you get one in India? Is the Pakistan Embassy providing visa in Dehli. People told me it is closed.

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  #4  
Old 20 Aug 2002
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Jurgen

When are you planning to hit Pakistan - was it from Iran or India ? We will be going through in around 3 weeks time ( not good as it will be around the 11/9 but can't be avoided ). If you are around the same time as us - perhaps we could do it together ?

Cliff & Jenny Batley on two BMW F650's UK to New Zealand, currently in Jordan
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  #5  
Old 20 Aug 2002
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I will go in the direction from India to Iran. I try to cross into Pakistan at the 5th or 6th of September.
I got more travel warnings and the German Embassy replied to me, that I will be responsible for my securtity they are not able to help me at all, if anything would happen. Other responses where more precise mentioning specific areas I should avoid.
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  #6  
Old 20 Aug 2002
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An Australian couple on a BMW have just crossed from India to Iran through the shortest route in Pakistan.
Look at their comments on www.weride4ms.org
as it makes interesting reading.
Cant beleive how much they paid for a hotel room in Quetta. We were there August last year. . . that is more than inflation. . .
Guess that is what happens when newspapers and TV crews on unlimited budgets fill the town.

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  #7  
Old 3 Sep 2002
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Just an Update related to the Visa situation:

Pakistan:
I applied for the visa on Monday morning and was able to pick the passport with the visa up in the afternoon - no hassles at all. I only needed a recommendation letter from my own Embassy (they know about it), one picture and 1550Rupees with a Bank draft.

Iran:
I applied on Wednesday and was able to pick the visa up on Friday - no hassles as well. Again a recommendation letter from the Embassy, three pictures and 2450 Rupies did the job.

It seems that New Delhi is a good place to apply for those visas.
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  #8  
Old 13 Sep 2002
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AUD150.00 for a hotel room!! Nice travel budget.
I paid PKR250.00 (AUD8.00) last December at the perfectly nice clean friendly 'Bloomstar Hotel' in Quetta. That too was full on the CNN brigade or those of a similair ilk. Great town Quetta - a very vibrant market area. Lots of Taliban beards to pull too!
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  #9  
Old 28 Sep 2002
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Hello Everybody.
I am safe and sound in Iran. My route was:
1. Amritsar - Multan, 2. Multan - Loralei, 3. Loralei - Quetta, 6. Quetta - Taftan.
I stayed two full days in Quetta for press conference and meeting related to the www.2-mad.com campaign. The people were extremly friendly, handshake and some words, constant invitations to tea, breakfast, dinner and even for overnight stay. I did not feel unsafe at any moment during the trip.
Stone throwing. Some bikers experienced kids throwing stones at them. I was hit once as well and observed their tries several more times. I spoke with the locals and the explanations is not as threatening as expected. These are kids playing (stupid game I have to admit), but that's it. They trow at each other as well as passing cars and buses as well. No worries. I never saw kids over the age of 10 or so throwing anything at me. Everybody just waving (even adults). They also never thow towards you only after passing after you.
My personal opinion, but that is no garantee of having no problems: It is ok to pass through Pakistan, follow the standard traveller roles in such areas (park off-street, do not drive at night, ...) and you should be fine. Usually terror attacs are planned and as motorcyclists we are moving in a mode not plannable for terrorists. There is always the risk to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I think these bloody truck drivers are much more of a threat to life than anything else in Pakistan.

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Jürgen

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[This message has been edited by Jurgen (edited 28 September 2002).]

[This message has been edited by Jurgen (edited 28 September 2002).]
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