Follow the Sun Tour 2015 (India-Europe overland), fellow travelers wanted!

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Dino de Laurentiis, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    Hey there everybody!
    I have this idea that following "spring" through three distinct parts of the world, while staying in a comfortable climate all the time. I plan to ship my bike by boat to India, say Chennai, or Cochin (both major shipping destinations), in February. Taking roughly a month to cross India, then going through Pakistan and Iran in the middle of March, and continuing further to Turkey (via the North of Iran, the Caspian Sea coast) and ending up in central Europe sometime in late April. I've attached a screenshot from Google Maps, showing a possible itinerary (click the image for a larger version). Basically, following the pleasant weather; hopefully something like this picture, from Lake Van in Turkey.

    [​IMG]



    So far, this a fairly loose plan, but my aim is to do this in the spring of 2015, so basically two years from now. I will likely do this by myself, if noone else is interested, but I'd love some company, for a part or for all of the way. I don't want to rush it too much either; at least at some point along the way, I think there's a need for a longer period of being stationary, like a week or so. Where that would be, not sure, but I am sure that spending a lot of time in the saddle will be tiring.

    The below is just a proposal for a route, but I would like to go through both the pakistani coastal area, along the Makran Coastal Highway, and the Caspian Coast of Iran. Not sure whether it's actually feasible at this point, especially Balochistan might be a bit tricky. Also not sure what the budget would be like, but I'm guessing around 10 000 euros, including everything.


    [​IMG]





    So, any takers? :wave
    #1
  2. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    I guess I should also introduce myself!

    I'm Ola, a 34 year old Swede, living in the very south of this rather elongated country (the penis of the EU, as some say). I've been a rider since 2003, but not very intense for the past three or four years, due to studies. Now that I've started to work full time again, I intend to change that :evil
    This is what I look like when I'm my fancier self....
    [​IMG]


    I work as a landscape architect, a job that I absolutely love. In fact, I think it's the best in the world! I have a general curiosity for just about anything, be it technology, design, culture, food, you name it. As long as I'm learning and evolving, I'm happy! I am also a very devoted social liberal, who value individual freedom very much, and appreciate free thinking, while maintaining equal opportunities for everyone and also caring about the environment I'm also quite particular about what I want and like and sometimes would go for style over substance, if it's stylish enough, haha!

    My ride is currently a 2003 CCM R30 (engine is from the Suzuki XF650 Freewind, basically the same as the DR650SE), and this is in fact also the bike I intend to use as my ride back from India (after certain modifications, obviously!). It needs a much larger tank than the current 9,5 liters, a much softer saddle, and much less vibrations. Also some sort of windscreen. Easy-peasy, right?

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    A few teaser images...

    Kerala, India
    [​IMG]

    Makran Coastal Highway, Pakistan
    [​IMG]

    Gwadar, Pakistan
    [​IMG]

    Esfahan, Iran
    [​IMG]

    Cloudforest, Caspian coast, Iran
    [​IMG]

    Batman, Turkey
    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    #4
  5. 1world1life

    1world1life Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a great trip you are considering.

    I was thinking of taking a break from work for a few months around 2014/2015 to do a bit of travelling.

    I'll keep an eye on this thread. I'd possibly be interested...:thumb

    Craig
    #5
  6. syman

    syman Life is a Road

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    Hi Dino,
    As you are aware we have also planned a similar trip during Mar- Apr-May 2014. We are two of us starting from India to Europe and plan to take our own bikes and dispose them off in EU and take a flight back home. I have a few tips for you
    There are a few planned trip organizers who take the same route as you have planned so I suppose the route to be good enough for the trip. You can check out their web page http://www.classic-bike-india.com/tour-overview/india-germany-overland.html. They have some pretty interesting plans although iam not completely sure about their credibility.
    Don’t forget to get a Carnet-de Passage before you embark on your journey as Indian Customs is pretty tough and also you will need the same for crossing into Pakistan and Iran. The Carnet should be valid for at least for three countries
    You will need to have provision for at least 20ltrs more fuel as 9.5ltrs will not be enough on many long stretches.
    I’m based out of Bangalore, India will be delighted if I can be of any help to you guys while in India. Do PM when on start the trip will share my Cell number.
    Happy Motoring…
    #6
  7. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    Awesome! I'll keep this going as planning progresses.
    #7
  8. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    Ah, so you're going in 2014! I will definitely keep an eye on your thread (as you might have seen, I already replied in it). I was under the impression that one needed an individual carnet for each country one goes through, good to know that's not the case, as I hear they're quite expensive.
    #8
  9. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    One apparent issue might be financing the Carnet de Passage. Even my rather modestly valued motorcycle will mean I'll have to make a Carnet-depost of approximately 15 000 USD. In addition to securing the funds (doable, one way or another), there's the risk of losing it all if my vehicle gets stolen or destroyed.

    Do any of you that have done these kinds of trip have some advice regarding this? Should I just take my chances?
    #9
  10. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    Small update on carnet-rater. Currently, the rate is 100% of vehicle value for India and Iran, while for Pakistan, it's a whopping 400%. That means that with a vehicle value of 2 500 euros, I'll have to leave 10 000 euros sitting in a bank account for the duration of the trip, and should someone steal my bike, I lose all of it.

    Rates are subject to change, and have been lower (around 200%) for Pakistan previously.
    #10
  11. Manneman

    Manneman Polarbear

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    So we're playing the same game both as freethinkers with a worldly wiew and as in traveling the world with supermotards!

    I didn't want to shout it out at the Swedish forum I met you on but I have full faith in travelling with 17" front wheels. the forum is known for its arrogant oneway thinkers...

    I drove the last set of tyres with 18000 kms on the rear Heidenau K60 Scout tyre and changed the front at the same time even if it probably would have lasted some 2500 kms more?
    But the front tyre as in Heidenau K60 was useless on gravel but the TKC 80 i have now is absolutely splendid!

    This is what it looked like in original (almost anyway)
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wQd0Sx20Vgs/TphTiI5-bTI/AAAAAAAAAy4/lDj7PNOOm70/s640/DSC00761.jpg

    I had some issues with the tipsensor and a balanceaxel bearing which made me doubt about the bike but if it works out fine nowadays I'll give it a go!

    Transferred into an adventurebike setup it looks like this:

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    I rode with my GF as pillion from Finland to Australia 5 years ago on a DL650. We first went Europe-Turkey-Iran-Pakistan-India.

    You will need a carnet to get the bike to India and most likely Pakistan as well. Iran could be negotiable (but not easy I think). I cannot be 100% certain, but I think the figures in your carnet quote are somehow off. For example, I had to leave a bond of 5000 euros to the Finnish Automobile Association, and on top of that, I payed something like 250 euros for the carnet. At the end of the trip, after my bike had returned home, and I got the certificate of location stamped by customs in Finland, I got the 5000 euro bond back. (But it also required taking taking care my carnet stayed “clean”, means I got all entry AND exit stamps from the customs of all carnet countries – Iran, Pakistan, India in your case).

    Finnish AA no longer issues carnets, nowadays we would have to apply from Swedish Motormannen actually. Is that who you´re dealing with? And also ask the German ADAC, if you already haven´t.

    Makran coastal highway in western Pakistan is a bit off-limits at the moment I think, and security even on the main road between Taftan and Quetta unfortunately seems compromised (two Czech girls were kidnapped on that road less than a month ago). So that situation needs to be followed closely. Otherwise it should be plain sailing, except traffic is VERY BAD in India, and not so good in Pakistan, Iran or Turkey either – THAT is the thing to worry about for sure! But it´s still a great road trip, and we never had any issues, just extremely warm and welcoming people all over, really worth it to see with your own eyes.

    Sending in to Chennai could be a bureaucratic nightmare (I´ve shipped out of Chennai, and that was!!)... maybe think about sending in to Kathmandu instead, plenty of travellers freight bikes between Katmhandu and Bangkok, so the procedures should be clear to everyone over there. Seems generally easier to send to/from, than India.

    I´ve been a few times to India before this trip also, and many trips to Europe with a bike, so if there´s any way I can possibly help you out, please just let me know!

    If you want, you can check out our “blog”, it´s here:
    http://www.moto1.fi/blog.htm

    ps. I believe you cannot cross Pakistan <> Iran anywhere else but Taftan-MirJaveh (you can´t cross on the coastal road, unless you´re a local).

    pps. Try to visit, or even see the Himalayas, while you´re in North India, or in Pakistan. Plains around Delhi are just boring (and hot!), and traffic is absolute nightmare!

    ppps. adjust your route to take in the hill stations in Western Ghats, South India, the area really is almost like it´s from a fairytale (this one´s from a trip on rented Enfields, December 2004):

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    Yeah, I think 17" should be fine. I might be wrong, but I also think that means it will be easier to find spare tires along the way, should I need one.

    I like your bike, I followed the build thread intensely! Mine won't be anything near as refined, sadly...
    #13
  14. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    Excellent advice! Exactly the kind of reply I'd want, so much obliged :)

    Unfortunately, the numbers are not off. Or, well, maybe by a little, but at the momen, because of the unstable situation in Pakistan, the rate for that country is 400% of the vehicle's value. So, a 10.000 euros deposit for a vehicle worth 2.500 euro. You are correct that I'm dealing with the Swedish organization Motormännen, I talked to them only last week, so my info is very much up to date. Unfortunately. Howver, the guy I talked to also said that the rate might go down in the future and that it used to be 200% only a couple of years ago. I will contact the Germans though.

    What you say about Makran Coastal Highway is pretty much what I expected. Bummer though, seemed like a nice place. We'll see how things turn out in 2015, hopefully it'll be a bit calmer by then. I've adjusted my route according to what you say about border crossings.

    As for northern India and Nepal, well, I'd love to, but I don't think I'll have the time for it. I am however not very interested in the area around Delhi, much for the reasons you state (traffic, lack of interesting landscape, etc). I am in fact planning to go up along the western side of the Indian subcontinent, though I'll try to avoid Mumbai.

    Shipping to Kochi is an alternative to Chennai that I'm considering more and more. I have (Indian) acquaintances in both cities, which may help with the bureaucracy.
    #14
  15. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Well, not many motorcycles get transported to Cochin I think. So I hope those friends of yours are experts on temporarily importing motorcycles to India, otherwise you could have a nice, long, nerve-wrecking experience with the customs, before you even get to ride the first meter on Indian soil..... :lol3

    Oh yeah, and I´d arrange time to visit the Himalayas... frankly I didn´t get to see them very much myself, because I was in the area at the end of November, just simply too cold for any proper mountain rides at that time. But I did have a small peek, even that was awesome, they´re the friggin Himalayas, so nothing compares! Even traffic was a little bit more tolerable in the mountains (but still very bad – and road condition could be just about anything, just 100-200kms is a long long day!!)
    #15
  16. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    (Dunno where this post went, now try again..)

    Just remembered: another good reason to go to South India are boat rides on the inland waterways in Kerala. We took an overnight-trip, just left the bike in the back yard of our previous accommodation in Alleppey, and had a really great time. There are shorter rides available, too, and also route boats, that are like "buses" going all around the network of canals. Really a special area.


    About our boat trip here:​
    http://www.moto1.fi/blog.htm#Alleppey
    #16
  17. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    The Himalayas would indeed be awesome, but since I'll be leaving India already at the end of February (or maybe a little later, depending), I think it will be way too cold up there.

    I'm expecting about a week of frantic scurrying around customs offices, getting stamps, etc etc, to get my bike into the country, so it'll probably take twice that in actual reality...


    That looks really great! Makes me want to go even more, of course.
    #17