Crossing Pakistan into India (Wagah)

Discussion in 'Asia' started by CollateralDamage, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. CollateralDamage

    CollateralDamage n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    Hi all,

    Long time reader; first time poster.

    I'm planning a fairly epic ride from London to...well, that'll be decided later. At the moment the final destination is likely to be Melbourne but that might change over time (and according to budget constraints).

    I have very limited experience of travelling in any parts of Asia, including the Indian subcontinent. I have two choices of routes, and in either scenario I'm going to be passing from Pakistan into India at Wagah (Lahore / Armistar) as I understand this is the only border crossing open to international tourists. Otherwise I'm stuck coming into India from China via Nepal, I bet Tibet will have its own share of complications.

    I'm aware of the issues with sorting out visas (and a Carnet) and will deal with this accordingly, the nature of this question is about the practicalities of the border crossing at Wagah.

    So far, everything I've read refers to foot crossings. All travel advice (Lonely Planet online, WikiTravel, etc) seems to say that you can get a bus to the border then cross on foot, (or get the train service) paying porters to carry your possessions if necessary and pick up the bus on the other side. Great. Except I have a full size motorcycle that is fairly essential to the rest of the trip (I'm not selling up and renting or buying again in India) and I can't find any information about crossing on or with a private vehicle. I'll gladly push the damn thing across if I need to but I just can't find any information anywhere.

    Any relevant information would be gladly received.

    Thanks in advance. Dan.
    #1
  2. MeinMotorrad

    MeinMotorrad Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    5,890
    Location:
    UK for now.
    #2
  3. L0nerider

    L0nerider 2003 XT600E

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Oddometer:
    553
    Location:
    E Yorkshireman...divided between Chum Phae & Iraq
    I am pretty sure that the Carnet for India is massively expensive due to the % they add on to the cost of the bike, I think its something stupid like 400%
    Also a lot of people having dramas with the RAC who are the only ones (I think) who issue Carnet in the UK. You could try and get a letrrer from the RAC and you may be able to get a Carnet from ADAC.

    Just a thought...have you looked at another route...Russia, Kaz, Mongolia in to China (join a group to drive down the cost) to SE Asia. Or from Mongolia go back in to Russia to Vladivostok, ferry to Japan area then to South Korea, Ship to Thailand or Singapore etc.

    As MeinMotorrad stated, loads of info in Horizons

    Wayne
    #3
  4. CollateralDamage

    CollateralDamage n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    Thanks for the advice, I’ll definitely check out Horizons Unlimited.

    The trip itself will go toward Istanbul, on the way to the border with Iran is where two potential routes diverge. I could go up through Russia, central Asia, China and then down into SE Asia, but those countries hold significantly less allure to me (for various reasons) than India (and to a lesser extent) Pakistan. Unfortunately I’d be missing out on a big chunk of the reason for the trip if I took that route, though I do appreciate the suggestion.

    Regarding the Carnet, yeah I took a look at the costs and budgeted for this. The total cost is around £3,750 considering the bike (a Triumph Bonneville, excessively modified for long distance travelling) with an £1,900 returnable deposit all being well – i.e. 50% of the security risk and 100% of the RAC deposit. The risk factor is 500% for India, Nepal, Iran and Pakistan, all of which are a massive draw for me, so unfortunately skipping just India doesn’t work.

    Not cheap, I know, but I’m saving for this as a once in a lifetime kind of trip.
    #4
  5. L0nerider

    L0nerider 2003 XT600E

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Oddometer:
    553
    Location:
    E Yorkshireman...divided between Chum Phae & Iraq
    500 % I thought it was steep. If you are then thinking of going through Myanmar there are often groups looking to share costs on Horizons

    Wayne


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk while having a cold beer
    #5
  6. CollateralDamage

    CollateralDamage n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    Myanmar. Now there's an idea....

    Someone on HUBB posted this: hopefully it'll be of use to anyone else looking for such information who stumbles across this thread:

    "We came through that crossing in the other direction about three weeks ago. No problems with bikes or cars, both sides know what to do with carnets and will do it with a minimum of fuss - although the Indian side did a pretty thorough search of all our luggage etc. Budget half a day for it, but both Lahore and Amritsar are about 30km from the border so an easy run once you're through.

    Make sure you check out the border closing ceremony from one side of the other, it's just wacky, ridiculously over the top.

    If you're heading through Pakistan make sure you make contact with the Motorcyclists Association of Pakistan, they were of great help to us all the way through, wonderful hospitality."


    Thanks for your advice guys.
    #6
  7. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking Supporter

    Joined:
    May 10, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,051
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I crossed from pakistan to india in 2001 through lahore - albeit not on a bike...
    At the time, the border looked pretty "accessible" though, I mean I see no reason why you on a bike should not have been able to ride up to it, get the (most likely endless and bribery involved) paperwork done and cross into india... given you have an India Visum.
    (I had gotten mine a few weeks prior in Islamabad's Indian Embassy without much issue).
    Overall I have to say pakistan was pretty amazing (especially the norther region would be a blast to ride a bike..., something I hope to do one day).
    And aside from having had far too much dhal bhat ... the food was extremely becoming too... had a really good time.

    India to Nepal has been easy... and probably still is, given the rather close relation the two countries have had so far.


    The other option - if you are so inclined - is the karakoram "highway" ... including the worlds highest altitude border crossing (china / Pakistan).
    then China Tibet Nepal India...
    Tibet is a bit of an issue (getting the permits),... back when I was interested, the only "OFFICIAL" method was to join a fuckin' group... something I don't do and have zero interest in. there of course were always some less official options ;)


    Back before the war in Afghanistan etc... it was rather easy to get visas for pakistan... not sure how it is these days... I am aware that there have been changes to the practice of giving out free multi-month visas though.

    But again, I see very little reason for you not to be able to cross at wagah..
    the upside is they're used to backpacking tourists...... maybe more so than other areas of border crossings.
    I don't speak urdu or hindi... and having someone trying to extort money in english was certainly easier to deal with ;)
    #7