I'm trying to get to India overland (next February) and know there's a train and bus route that goes via Istanbul, Tehran and on into Pakistan. However, seat61.com seem to think that travelling through Iran is dangerous and getting a visa might be difficult.
Does anyone have any experience of this trip? Or any experience of travelling through these places? I'd really like to do it, but want to be fore-warned of any potential problems, as I'm a white female and will be travelling alone.
Beware of the fact that the visaprocedure for Iran takes atleast 5 weeks (start early). Visa for Iran is 1 month but you can extend easily. You can pick-up your visa for Pakistan in the Iranian city of Zahedan (near Pakistani border), takes approx. 5 days. A friend of mine (also female) travelled alone through Pakistan and India without too much hassle (so don't worry). When crossing the border with Pakistan you are in Baluchistan. This Pakistani state is known for banditgroups, just beware of that (don't stay there too long and go straight to Quetta after the bordercrossing). Iran is very safe, all nice, polite and friendly people (more then you might ever think). I hope you will enjoy this fantastic trip (I did it myself in 2003), Wouter
I wouldn't worry so much about travel through Iran, but more about how to get from Turkey to Iran and how through Pakistan.
I was considering doing that trip last April, but got warned off by the German consular service. They had (and still have as of 4th Dec 05) an official "security advice" that strongly discourages lone travellers to travel by land to Pakistan through Iran. Especially Provinces Kerman und Sistan-Balutschestan as well as in Pakistan in general the Website says there is high risk of abduction by muslim fundamentalists.
There is also an official "security advice" against idividual travellers (backpackers) going into Kurdish areas in Turkey as well as in Iran - the very border area you want to cross.
An security advice is still an advice. Where on this planet are you safe. In worst case you get abducted, that would be 1 in million. You could be run over by a car when you walk out of your house, probably 1 in 10.000. You even could die early because of bad food or smoking sigarets. I was in Iran in 2003 (at the start of Iraq war), also in Baluchistan area. Same security advice for me, but I never have seen such good and extreme friendly and hospitable people as in Iran. Iranian people are my favourite. And by the way....they should have observed you long before abducting you, its quite an organization. Most westerners who got abducted stayed for a long time (business and maybe aid/volunteering purposes). Tourists are safe because they travel in mass with busses and trains. It would be stupid to walk alone somewhere in Baluchistan, that's for sure...but why would you do that (if you like your life). Do you know how many westerners got abducted in last decade in those countries (Turkey, Iran, Pakistan)????
Thanks guys for your thoughts and advice. The UK Foreign Office are giving similar warnings about kidnapping and terrorism, but it's a pretty slim chance I reckon. I'll do some more research and make a decision.
I believe it may be difficult getting an Iranian visa at the current time. I've been following a couple who are cycling from London to Sydney overland. They discovered that the Iranian authorities were apparently no longer issuing visas to British nationals. They were using the services of a visa procurment company in the UK. As it happens their visa was granted...eventually (although they still decided to fly direct to Pakistan).
hi...I'm an Inranian/American living in Tehran...dont know much about visa/border crossings and all, but i can tell u one thing...Iran is quite safe and pleasant contrary to many beliefs...if u may need accomadations or help, let me know..I'm 37 and female and also wanted to make this trip, however I was advised out of it..being that I was travelling alone...besides, it seemed like such a hassle to get all the docs...anyway, i'm thinking of going to India, but not via Pakistan....
I am Sri Lankan and I am travelling from India to the UK by land....I know most of you guys are travelling from Europe to Asia while I am doing it the other way round....
I start on the 10th of Jan 2006 where I will fly from Sri Lanka to Hyderabad in India as there is no ferry between our countries and I hope to reach the UK by the end of Feb 2006.....yes its fast but this is a pretty summary trip just want to do the India - UK route...
Penny if you need any information I will be more than happy to provide you any info you want on the way....I will be passing the following coutries....
India - Pakistan - Iran - Turkey - Bulgaria - Romania - Hungary - Austria - Germany - Netherlands - Belgium - UK
I may detour a little bit to see some relatives in Luxembourg and also step in to Prague.....
Well you guys are lucky I need a visa to all these countries...apart from the schengen states where all is covered by one visa
If you guys need any info...contact me on -snip-
[ Edit: Sorry, no email addresses please... use MC instead ]