The Hippie Trail

Hello SighSee
I always wanted to take a very long route and I chose to do something like a hippie with further modifications. My main goals are to see Isfahan, Islamabad, Tamil Nadu, Himalayas, Tibet and Hong Kong. I am planning to do this after finishing my university and I want to do due diligence since this may not be as safe as back in the 50s. I want this joruney to last approx a year. I have some questions for you, maybe you can help me somehow. If you want to try to discourage me then don't even reply. The questions:

1. Is it better to drive a car or a motorcycle for such a distance?
2. Are road conditions OK in Iran, Pakistan and India or will I have an experience more like from Africa? Which regions should I avoid, which are impossible to do and which are preferred?
3. If I have an accident there will they put me in prison for being a foreigner with rats and wienerroaches and forget about me?
4. Is it even feasible in terms of visas and Carnet du passages (I know one is needed in Iran)?
5. How hard is it to access Tibet now, and get to Hong Kong from here? I can sell my vehicle in India if I have to.

If you have done something similar please tell me about your experience, I would love to hear that. General discussion about travelling from Europe to India by road is encouraged here.

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  1. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    I hope you get the answers to your questions, unfortunately the quality of the board as dropped a lot in recent years and you may be hard pressed to get decent answers here. You might get some insight on Iran, and to a much lesser extent, Pakistan, on Carivanistan and its forum.

    There is a helpful India poster on SighSee who might be able to give you some advice on that portion of the trip. Try the China General for info on Tibet and Hong Kong.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      Thanks

      4. What nationality are you? French vs British vs American makes a big difference in that region, afaik
      5. I'm pretty sure you need to hire a tour guide and stay with them for the duration of the trip in Tibet

      I'm Polish, we have better relationship with Iran than Anglos. Do I just go to the border and tell them: "yo I want a guide" and they give me one immediatelly or what? I mean - they require it not me, so they should bother with that lol.

      >1. Is it better to drive a car or a motorcycle for such a distance?
      For such a long distance, I'd say a car. Less worry about weather conditions, gives you somewhere to sleep if necessary.
      >2. Are road conditions OK in Iran, Pakistan and India or will I have an experience more like from Africa? Which regions should I avoid, which are impossible to do and which are preferred?
      I can't really answer this because I haven't been to those countries, only see them in docs.
      >3. If I have an accident there will they put me in prison for being a foreigner with rats and wienerroaches and forget about me?
      No, they won't forget about you. Whatever happens, they will try to milk you for money. Get good travel insurance. Maybe more than one policy.
      >4. Is it even feasible in terms of visas and Carnet du passages (I know one is needed in Iran)?
      I don't think it's possible for most Western passports to cross into Iran by land but I might be wrong.
      >5. How hard is it to access Tibet now, and get to Hong Kong from here? I can sell my vehicle in India if I have to.
      Unless something has changed, you haven't been able to enter Tibet from outside China for a long time.

      Yeah, I'm thinking more about a car, I really fear that I will drive in some big ass hole when riding a motorbike. Insurances are no brainer, but international ones may be tricky. Really no border is open there? What a shame.

      >Pakistan
      I spent three months riding a Chinese motorbike around Pakistan. The road varied from excellent to terrible. I would go for a motorbike myself because Chinese motorbikes are ubiquitous, the brands are different but they are all the same bike and parts are everywhere and everyone knows how to fix one. Prices for repairs and spare parts will make you literally lol. I've also never seen such a density of mechanic shops in my life. Wherever you break down you can probably push it to am mechanic.

      That's nice! What would be the best road from Iran to India then? I can resign from Islamabad, it's not really necessary for me. I prefer India.

  2. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    4. What nationality are you? French vs British vs American makes a big difference in that region, afaik
    5. I'm pretty sure you need to hire a tour guide and stay with them for the duration of the trip in Tibet

  3. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    >1. Is it better to drive a car or a motorcycle for such a distance?
    For such a long distance, I'd say a car. Less worry about weather conditions, gives you somewhere to sleep if necessary.
    >2. Are road conditions OK in Iran, Pakistan and India or will I have an experience more like from Africa? Which regions should I avoid, which are impossible to do and which are preferred?
    I can't really answer this because I haven't been to those countries, only see them in docs.
    >3. If I have an accident there will they put me in prison for being a foreigner with rats and wienerroaches and forget about me?
    No, they won't forget about you. Whatever happens, they will try to milk you for money. Get good travel insurance. Maybe more than one policy.
    >4. Is it even feasible in terms of visas and Carnet du passages (I know one is needed in Iran)?
    I don't think it's possible for most Western passports to cross into Iran by land but I might be wrong.
    >5. How hard is it to access Tibet now, and get to Hong Kong from here? I can sell my vehicle in India if I have to.
    Unless something has changed, you haven't been able to enter Tibet from outside China for a long time.

  4. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    >Pakistan
    I spent three months riding a Chinese motorbike around Pakistan. The road varied from excellent to terrible. I would go for a motorbike myself because Chinese motorbikes are ubiquitous, the brands are different but they are all the same bike and parts are everywhere and everyone knows how to fix one. Prices for repairs and spare parts will make you literally lol. I've also never seen such a density of mechanic shops in my life. Wherever you break down you can probably push it to am mechanic.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      Nice balls man. Any other advice
      Highlights to share? How did it compare to riding other countries?

      • 8 months ago
        Anonymous

        Pakistani people are annoyingly friendly. I had to change my whatsapp afterwards due to people who met me for a couple of minutes and carried on this love affair with me.
        Northern Pakistan is incredibly beautiful, particularly Skardu. So many amazing sights to see in one place. The food is shit outside of the cities and greasy and oily in general. Not on India's level.
        Pakistanis could not fathom how on earth I would be travelling alone and insist aggressively that I join their group, join for tea, hike with them etc. And constant, incessant selfies with me.
        Pakistan is the cheapest country on earth and you can get a hotel room for $3. Don't be surprised if the sheets have never been washed and the toilet has a dump in it.
        Mixed feelings. Stunning nature. But I did it because it scared me. Generally, I don't like Muslim countries. I don't like their rigid narrow mindsets. The sense of strict rules that when broken can lead to you being beaten to death by a town - just one wrong word away, is something to be aware of.
        I did a motorbike trip a few months around the Philippines, going to ultra JBW cities. Was definitely more fun but less challenging and satisfiying in some ways.
        My next motorbike trip is 6 months in North East India - Nagaland etc. Will be more my energy I think.
        I make it sound average but tbh, it changed my life. After doing Pakistan, I have this confidence that I can do anything. I was so scared I was gonna die in Pakistan. Was having weird dreams, seeing 11:11 everywhere, seeming premonitions of an accident that would leave me brain-damaged, night terrors. I just finally said to myself 'idgaf, you're gonna die on this trip then. You're fricking doing it'. Then I bought the bike and did it. So in a sense, I faced my fear of death, I accepted it, and after that, something inside me was broken. I'm no longer afraid of death.

  5. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    Cool thread. I just wanted to say good luck to you OP, if you ever manage to do this trip. Be careful

  6. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    If it makes it any easier for you concerning the question of Tibet's accessibility, I've heard good things about the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China. Pretty much, it's the area of Sichuan that is mostly Tibetan culturally, but it's not in Tibet proper so the CCP isn't as autistic about cultural genocide and security like they are in Tibet.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      Qinghai and Gansu also have some culturally Tibetan areas. I think most of the permit BS just comes from a reaction to glowies trying to stir things up there.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      Is Seda open? I hear it was closed to outsiders from 2016

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