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From Burak Cedetas in the Horizons Unlimited Istanbul Community, Turkey:
I have checked the methods to ship the bikes from Turkey to India.
Here is what I have for you.
1- The following companies ship to India:
Pakistan Airways PIA, LUFTHANSA and Emirates.
2- They want bikes to be crated (in a box). And the price depends on the size and weight of the box as well as the cargo capacity of the plane. I understand that the companies take into consideration both size and weight of the crate (box).
For a crate which is 250 x 120 x 150 the cost estimate is $1.300.
If we can figure out the exact dimensions of the cargo box, final destination and travel date we can get a closer price.
Again please do not hesitate to call me from the below number,
We are at present in Turkey and will cross into Greece in the next day or two. we have now been on the road for 13 months. We did the Ýndia, Pakistan, Iran area just before the terrorist attack. Ý would not be at all concerned about being in Ýran at the moment.
Iran is a nice friendly easy country to ride through.Even for women. . . .
Pakistan is not a woman friendly country but in this political climate Ý would still go through there but stay away from Peshawar and the Afghan border regions. War could not be as bad as having to face the bus drivers on the roads of Ýndia. Ýf you have only 4 near death experiences, on your bike, each day in Ýndia, you have had a good day.
Staying alive on the roads of Ýndia is not easy. Shure we did kashmir, where there is a war going on, but the large military stronghold there helped to keep the roads safe. Much safer than the rest of Ýndýa.
We have recently travelled through Pakistan/Iran/Turkey. Iran and Turkey are unlikely to become a problem even close to the border with Afganistan. If there is a problem on the border, police and military check points won`t let you near it. Iranian driving could end your trip before you get anywhere near the border - especially if you go to Tehran! Its like Indian driving but at 120 kph.....
Pakistan is a different matter. It took us 10 hours to ride from Quetta to Taftan. This route is very close to Afganistan and is the only road. People in the area are of the same ethnic group as those over the border and often have family and business interests there. The closing of the border, however ineffective, will be a source of frustration. There are regular police check points on this route and if things get very bad, it is likely they will give overlanders escorts but don`t count on it. Petrol could become a problem as it is smuggled in from Iran and the formal petrol stations only sell diesel.
After Quetta, you should allow at least 3 days to get to India. You won`t neccessarily be safe there though - Indian driving!
Our opinion is whether it is safe or not depends on how likely it is for war to break out on the border rather than anywhere else within a four day period from leaving Iran. This isn`t easy to predict!
The border is only open between 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (roughly). It took us an hour and a half to cross it. This means that you won`t have the use of all the daylight hours to make it to Quetta. Going to Iran you are likely to have to stay over night in Taftan. Grim but not the end of
Chris and I (Kirsten) and another Brit, Tony Chesneau have made it to Quetta. This is a brief story of our journey in case its useful to other travellers.
It took a few hours to do border crossing from Iran, too late to set off though so we stayed at the PDTC motel at Taftan (Pakistan side of Border). Clean but cost 250 rupees for a Dorm bed and there is no electricity. Got 59 rupees to the Dollar from the money changers. Should have been 61.
Next day set off into Baluchistan desert. Fairly rough road to Not Kundi, 122 kms. One checkpoint that was not a problem. Good highway from there to Dalbandin, 167kms, fairly boring road. Had to stop 20kms out of town at another checkpoint where they made us wait a couple of hours for an escort through Dalbandin, pretty useless as we left them behind, they caught us up the other side where we were buying petrol from the roadside vendors (smuggled prtrol from Iran, 16 rupees a liter). No trouble, but we did see a few people making threatening gestures and stooping to pick up stones to throw. However the majority of people waving and friendly. On to next checkpoint where we were free again. (10kms)
Next village, where we stayed was Padaq. About 100 kms from Dalbandin, cant be sure as mile posts were vague and our speedos don't work. Road pretty rough. Potholed and sand blown, take it very steady. Speedbumps where the road crosses the railway tracks. Watch out for them and take at walking pace!
We were told at first that there wasn't any suitable accomodation for us but eventually camped in a police compound, no problem, ate at a hostel for Pakistani travellers, not bad.
Next day, was about 230 kms to Quetta, passed through Nushki, probably could have stayed there. Plenty of Army checkpoints to sign in at and more speed bumps. Not too many hills, mostly flat plain. Quite hot. Took most of Day.
Important note: Wave and smile at everyone by the side of the road - several times we saw people bend down to pick up stones which were then dropped after we grinned and waved. Vast majority of folk friendly so dont be put off.
Arrived Quetta covered in Dust, very nice shower at Hotel Fabes, 200 rupees for single en-suite room with double bed and free and secure parking under the Hotel.
Please pass this on to anyone interested in crossing Pakistan, really no problems at all, only delays imposed by Army. Dont know how people do the whole thing in one day, which we heard reports off, forget it unless you have iron backside and are a human camel! We rode from 8.30 till 5.30 with minimum of stops and still took us two days, although we did reach Quetta with time to find hotel in daylight. Quetta nice friendly place, but military checkpoints in town and everyone assumes we are journalists!
I too have just made this crossing today. Taftan - Quetta 630km in just shy of 10 hours. Just enough daylight to complete it. Only once did I have an army escort for 40km on either side of Dalbandin. I was invited to sign their 'guestbook' on numerous occasions along the way though.
I endorse what Kiki says here. The road after Dalbandin to Quetta (350km) is the poorest excuse for a paved road I've seen in my 19 years of riding on the stuff. My legs went flailing a few times & the sand tongues across the road are lethal. Watch for the Army chains across the road also.
About the rocks thing though. I saw a few boys & men pick up stones as I past but none ever held them in a threatening throwing pose. So I don't quite know what this all means.
If you haven't brough petrol with you from Iran there are plenty of places along the road to buy it at 15rupee per litre - 5 times the price of Iran but still 5 times cheaper than the U.K! I brought a 20 lt plastic container in Zahedan for 50 cents!
Quetta seems a great place. Full of life & ethnic diversity. Friendly as too. It's all "how are you sir" A nice variant on Irans "Hello mister"
There is only one border crossing from Mir Javeh in Iran to Taftan in Pakistan. Two more miserable fly infested wind & sand blown places you could not imagine. But both have reasonable hotels run by their respective tourist boards. In the Iranian case a class joint in comparison to some places around the country.
As for the Carnet mine was issued by the N.Z.A.A prior to America's Afgan ballistics testing. Pakistan seems completely safe to me so far. Very friendly - no animosity at all. As far as I can see the only reason the British A.A or the RAC have not to issue Carnet's would be due to the quality of the Pakistani driving. It is attrocious! The number of crashed / unturned buses & trucks I saw today... they seems to put a very low value on human life - especially yours!
To all those recently in Pakistan - what assumptions do the locals make when they see you coming on a big bike? That you are journalists? Police? Aid workers? UN? CIA? Westerners? Germans? Brits? Or what? Do u think you could or should be displaying any sort of sticker or flag to display or conceal your identify? E.g. your country's flag? Or perhaps a Pakistani flag or even a red crescent? Or is it just best to keep them guessing?
Keep the reports coming, I think there are a lot of people here who who would like to know about your progress in these tense times.
Speaking to people it sounds although three weeks or more ago the air was much tenser here in Pakistan than now.
I've been in both Quetta & Pershawer & both places had no bad feeling that I could detect beyond the odd shopkeeper who wanted to show you his Bin Laden poster. Just friendly people & the somewhat less courteous bus drivers.
guys it has been a pleasure to read these notes.
i am in shanghai china where i live and i am plannig to back home bi motorcicle... to italy startin gsometimes in april.
i was also wondering what happens in packistan even if here teh pakistani enbassy in beijin seems quite ok in issuing visas and permits.
i will keep you posted.
Referring to the original title of the thread - Still safe to travel to Turkey - Iran - Pakistan? - I think the question needs to be evaluated in a context that is larger than just this month's (or last month's, or next month's) political events.
The first consideration needs to be what is your nationality, and what is the registration of the vehicles that you are operating? There would certainly be a difference between the initial prejudice shown to American travelers on American registered bikes vs. Swiss travelers on Swiss registered bikes - and that decision is made by your hosts before they even speak a word with you.
Next comes your language skills and cultural familiarity. For example, if you speak the local language, you're way ahead of the game, just because you can establish a friendly relationship within the first minute of conversation.
You don't always need the language skills, though. I have worked in Algeria for several years, and I am familiar with the culture, organization and operation of the country. That gives me a real advantage in that country, and puts me at ease. I've never traveled to Egypt, and even though English is perhaps more widely spoken there, I would be at a heck of a disadvantage there, because I just don't know how things work.
My own opinion only (your mileage may vary) on evaluating risk in any given country is that you need to look at what way the country has been trending over the last 5 to 10 years. Turkey appears to be on the upswing and wants into the EC. Iran has been pretty stable for a long time, and they really don't have any quarrel with anyone, notwithstanding the recent provocation from the US, with the "axis of evil" remark. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been fairly unstable for a long time, and does not show any long-term signs of improving.
I can't really answer the question that Lisa put at the top of the thread, but hopefully sharing my method of evaluating the risks myself might help others. Over the last 15 years, I have lived and worked in Angola, Algeria, Burma, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, and Somalia, and passed through many other interesting places on the way to and from work - almost always without problems.
I am currently in India and planning to return through Pakistan, Iran and into Turkey.
I am buying a three wheeler (sorry it isn't a two wheeler, I hope I am not banished from this board but you all seem to have lots of sensible information and a great passion for overland travel - so here I am...)
Anyway I wondered if anyone can help me find out if I can get a Carnet de Passage in Pakistan - where I will purchase my vehicle. The RAC in Pakistan do not reply to my emails!
Just returned from Iran - completely safe till Yazd/Shiraz. From there we returned home with trip plans, but i've heard no problems going to Pakistan on main route yet.
We rided near to Iraq border and Kurd's areas also - some military posts, but some of them only stopped us for interest and with friendly approximation! Most of the posts and police checkpoints we just passed with friendly waving from officers - they instantly know you're tourist and leave you alone and wish you 'bon voyage'.
Only one time we had to go to Police office for document checks, but later they appologized for misunderstanding.
So don't worry that much, it will be allright in Iran!
East-Turkey and Kurd's areas there is same situation - you see ALOT of military posts on some areas, in bunkers and shelters with machine guns, even tanks on the road sometimes - quite scary to see it first, but extremely safe for sure we learned later. In East-Turkey nobody stopped us altough there were even more military posts than in Iran.
[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 18 September 2005).]
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