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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1  
Old 23 Mar 2013
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Last Minute Route Change - Help!

Good morning all,

Thanks for all the help I've had so far, this community has been an amazing resource for a first time overlander,

So... Here is the situation:

Im flying to Kathmandu in 9 days begin a trip from the Nepal to the UK, and after sitting back smugly with my Indian, Pakistani visa's in my passport and the Iranian visa Authorisation code in my inbox I though I was set, I was wrong.

Recent info points at Iraninan borders being closed to foreigners with their own transport due to the elections on the 14th of June, I think this is more than the usual traveler hearsay because I was told this by the company who got me the code!

Whilst being gutted as Iran was a highlight I was looking forward too, Ive been forced to look at contingency plans and as I have 9 days untill I leave the country, research time is pretty limited and, although I have a month stationary in Nepal, if I need to apply for somthing in the UK im stuffed!

So it looks like my only option is to ride the KKH (i know, what a chore) and then proceed into:

China - ok, so there a whole load of aspects to this including a guide and apparently it can take about a month to sort out?

As it appears to be impossible to get a russian visa outside of the UK, then it would seem to me that my only option would be to head west into:

Kyrgyzstan - Recently changed to rules to allow a visa at the border?
Tajikistan - ?
Uzbekistan - ?
Turkmenistan - ?

I belive there is a ferry across the caspian sea.

Azerbaijan - ?
Armenia - Avalible at the border?

And then back into Turkey.

Im franticaly searching for info to work out what my option are and what I need so any info, links to threads, links to anything useful infact would be a huge help.

All the best,

Ben
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  #2  
Old 23 Mar 2013
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The simpler option being:

China

Kyrg

Kaz

Russia

Does anyone know if I could get a Russian Visa whilst in a third country?
I think a last minute second passport and some helpful friends in the UK might be in order...
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  #3  
Old 23 Mar 2013
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I think that in 9 days you would still manage to get Russian visa.
I am just organizing visas for Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia via the visumpoint.de (I am polish but live in DE). There is a one day option service if you are willing to pay more. I would guess, that there are also companies that could help you in UK. If you do it on Monday, they will get you an invitation and if everything goes as it should, latest by the end of the week you should have Russian visa. Cheers, Greg
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  #4  
Old 23 Mar 2013
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FYI there is no open border between Azerbaijan, Armenia & Turkey. Georgia & Armenia are no problem (and they are both VOI). I think Armenia also has an open border with Iran but I haven't tried it.

Kyrgyzstan recently went visa free & Bishkek would probably be a good spot for getting the rest of the Stans on the road. Alternatively the 2nd passport left to process at home is a goid strategy-we had to do this. China is more of a problem, there is that bit to cross after going up the KKH that requires guide and licenses. Usually this takes 3 months to arrange but perhaps you can find an existing group to join with? Russia not sure. We got it processed at home but it wasn't hard & didn't take long. But...all that said its more than possible Iran will be open for you when the time comes. You could give it a shot just make sure you have ample time on the pak visa and/or multi entry for India...

Nothing like this kind of hairiness to start your ride!
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  #5  
Old 23 Mar 2013
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Hi Ben,

we're much in the same situation as you, but we'll be riding in the other direction, leaving Europe in two weeks, towards Nepal.

There's two big issues for us: the 'rumour' about Iran being closed for tourist vehicles, and the security situation in Western Pakistan.

About Iran, also a highlight for us: I think we'll just try it. The agency I got my authorization code from has not heard about any ban. We can always return to Turkey if they don't let us in. Coming from Pakistan tho, this might be problematic, depending on the kind and length of your visa. Also having to ride Balochistan twice is not a nice prospect. Also see this thread: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...o-longer-69459

As for Pakistan, the safety situation is worrying us especially since last week when two Czech tourists were kidnapped on the main road between Iran and Quetta.

So we're now looking to either team up with other travelers in Iran and ride Balochistan in group, which I hope would make it a bit more secure, or like you take the Iran-Turkmenistan-Tadj-Kyr-China-KKH-India route instead. This is a great route but requires a lot more paperwork, time and money. I got a first quote from a Chinese agency ysterday, 2200 USD for two bikes doing Kyr to Pak via Kashgar. It would take 45 days to get the paperwork ready they tell me. With more people, ofcourse the price would drop a bit.

Finally, about the Caspian sea ferry: we crossed from Aktau in KAZ to Baku in AZ two years ago. There's no passenger ferries, only unscheduled roro and cargo boats. Took us two weeks in Aktau and a lot of hassle to get on one. The other option is from Turkmenistan. More frequent departures but also a pain I heard. In both port towns there's an Azeri consulate. Once in Azerbaidjan it's easy going (altho you only get a few days to transit) and you can cross into Georgia and then Turkey with visa's on arrival.

Good luck my friend!
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  #6  
Old 23 Mar 2013
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Well I've just picked up my passport and I have a month in pakistan, the problem is I was going to pick up my Iranian visa in Delhi on the way, but as I have a month stationary in pokhara then that would be a good time to sort out the 5/6 week china paperwork nightmare, also just spoke to a lad who did it in 09 and he says he managed to get his Russia and Kazakhstan visas whilst in Kyrgyzstan, can anyone confirm this is still possible?
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  #7  
Old 24 Mar 2013
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I've just had it confirmed by David at stantours that Iran no longer an option, franticly trying to tag along to a group crossing china, still no idea where to head once in Kyrgyzstan though, russian visa on the road is supposedly now very difficult, as always, all advice appreciated...
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  #8  
Old 25 Mar 2013
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A popular option for Russia is to UPS your passport home to family get them to sort the visa and have it sent back to you. Need to be in one place for a week or two for it to work though.
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  #9  
Old 25 Mar 2013
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Cheers for that Kim, that's what dave at stan-tours said to do as a last resort too, looks like I have options again!

All the best,

Ben
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  #10  
Old 26 Mar 2013
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Your post has got me all excited, I had planed on doing Turkey, Iran and Pakistan next year as it looked like the logical route to get from Europe to India. But Russia, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, China and into north Pakistan looks a lot more interesting and it saves the rather risky dash through west Pakistan.
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  #11  
Old 26 Mar 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Douglas View Post
I've just had it confirmed by David at stantours that Iran no longer an option
If this information turns out to be correct, then together with the worsened safety situation in Western Pakistan, it means a major change in route options between Europe and India. Actually the Stans <> China <> KKH <> Pakistan route would then be left as the ONLY realistic option for most travellers, and that naturally involves the ´get your vehicle into China´-part. And it´s not do-able in the winter. Route option through Iran usually is, depending mostly on eastern Turkey weather,

Dunno for sure, but I´m still a bit suspicious about all this... I think I read about someone entering Iran with a vehicle just a few weeks ago.
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  #12  
Old 26 Mar 2013
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Pecha,

Its only tempory, I belive it began only a few weeks ago and will be lifted, as far I can tell, some time in July. But yes its is a massive pain, and im now 1400 dollars over budget because of it, but hey, I get to ride the KKH, silver linings and all that.
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  #13  
Old 24 Jun 2013
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Iran /Pakistan in July/August.

hi all,
I'm hoping to enter Iran late in july. I have my authorisation code and intend to pick up visa in Istanbul in about 2 weeks. I've heard nothing from my agent about refused visas recently, I'll have to wait and see. I'm hoping to meet up with fellow travellers to cross western Pakistan mid august time, I remain flexible. would be great to hear from others with same intended route.
cheers, Ben
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