Hitchhike from Thailand to Europe

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1. Posted by onetimearound (Budding Member 5 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

Hello!

I am currently living in Thailand, 2 of us are planning on traveling to Europe at the end of April, hitchhiking where its possible.
We will have a tent and some basic camping gear and couchsurf when we can arrange it. We want to avoid spending too much.

I mapped out a rough route of countries we would like to travel through to get Europe, no specific areas yet and not strictly this route.

See rough plan

Does anyone have any advice before visiting any of these countries or about the trip? mostly the countries between Poland and Myanmar as I have not traveled to these before. Where we might struggle to find a ride and any visa issues you have experienced, also any places not to miss while heading this way.

I'm English and i'm travelling with an American so that could impact travelling to some places.

Cheers!

Matt

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1164 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

I suggest you do some reading on hitchwiki. http://hitchwiki.org/en/

Some of those places don't have a history of hitchhiking, so you may struggle to communicate that you want a ride for free, or some drivers may expect payment.

Corruption may also be an issue, police wanting bribes?

Your big challenge is crossing the Himalayas. I'm no expert but I suggest you do some research into the border crossings on routes from India to China - more specifically those open to foreigners. From what I've read that may not be possible, or you may have to go via Pakistan or just possibly Nepal. I see your route map suggests going via Nepal but I've read that that route isn't available to foreigners - maybe someone else has more knowledge of it.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Feb-2018, at 10:10 by Andyf ]

3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2056 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

Very ambitious trip. Some obvious things you have to work on is visas and other official permission to enter each country. Also not to sure if you can camp out anywhere you want without being considered a common vagrant. Then you have to figure out how to have access to spending money when needed without carrying a lot of cash. (Have back up sources of spending money too!)

"We will have a tent and some basic camping gear and couchsurf when we can arrange it. We want to avoid spending too much."

Something to think about when you are planning on setting up a tent in some remote area is safety! You may not think you are wealthy but in some places you may be richer than you think! All alone out in the woods what you have with you will have value. Your passports can be sold to terrorists, your tent, clothing, phone, computer if you have one, watch, shoes, even pots and pans can be stolen and sold too. No one would ever know if you and your friend end up buried in a hole somewhere. If your friend is a female that could be a bonus to some bad guys. (Possibly lots of bad guys!)

Something as simple as getting bit by a dog or something else living in the woods could be a problem.

Best of luck on your adventure!

4. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 1131 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

That is a crazy ambitious trip! I have no advice as I have never done any leg of that by thumb, but if you actually undertake it, I wish you very well.

5. Posted by Teoni (Respected Member 561 posts) 30w 1 Star this if you like it!

Unless there has been some policy change I am unaware of in Myanmar (and let me know if that is the case) but aren't foreigners forbidden from entering Rakhine state? That could impact any crossing you wish to make from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Both countries have extreme suspicions of foreigners in that area, they may think you are undercover journalists trying to get stories on the Rohyinga especially if your pal is American. I don't know if under this political climate such a crossing is wise

Speaking of Bangladesh I think you will really struggle with hitch-hiking there, that country barely gets tourists and with so much poverty I think most locals won't understand why foreigners wouldn't pay for a ride. You also better check when you travel as during the wet season roads literally disappear.

The other one I would be concerned about is Kazakhstan, it is really empty and sparsely populated, you may struggle for a ride there and could end up stranded. I would really have a plan B for that country.

With Russia you need a visa in advanced and you will need to book at least one accommodation to obtain an invitation.

While it may not be making news lately East Ukraine is still a volatile place, I would advise checking the latest information on that area in terms of security.

Another political contentious issue your route from Bulgaria to Macedonia to Serbia to Hungary pretty much follows the refugee route and considering they too where found camping in the forests I can't help wondering if you try the same thing and locals see you they will probably call the authorities

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Feb-2018, at 04:47 by Teoni ]

6. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 355 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

As others have mentioned, in many of the countries you're suggesting 'free hitchhiking' is an alien concept. Although many will stop on the road for you, they will expect some form of payment in the same way that they 'car share' with locals. Similarly people will offer you a bed in their home without mention of payment, but it's usually expected (although the amount can be tiny, but unless you're a local you wouldn't know how tiny).
On top of this, there are lots of political situations that cause serious uncertainty between some of the countries you want to visit. Although the situation between Myanmar and Thailand seems to be fine now, Myanmar still has a difficult relationship with both India and Bangladesh. On top of this, East Assam sometimes (Always?) requires a special visit visa for foreigners. Western China is extremely difficult to plan for, as the Chinese government can change their mind about access on a moments whim.
Overall, although there are times when the journey could be done (and has been done before) you could also hit a year when every border is closed with no idea of when it'll re-open..

7. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 1131 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

Okay, I DO know something about hitchhiking in Bulgaria and Macedonia. It may well be that this is a refugee route, but I travelled by car through Bulgaria this time last year, and hitchhiking was a common way to get from place to place for locals. I picked up a few. I went to Macedonia a few years ago, and noticed that people did this, though I wasn't driving then, so don't know that it's common, but I know it's not inconceivable.

8. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 355 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

With the latest bombing in Sittwe I'd guess travel in that part of Myanmar will be even more restricted for a while...

9. Posted by Kienhoang (Budding Member 6 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

Very difficult to make this plan come true, but it is not impossible. I know one man starting from Saigon in Vietnam and finishing the trip by motorbike in Paris. His journey lasted 150 days via 23 countries Vietnam - Cambodia - Thailand - Nepal - India - Pakistan - Iran - Azerbaijan - Georgia - Bulgaria - Greece - Albania - Montenegro - Bosnia&Herzegovina - Croatia - Italy - Switzerland - Lichtenstein - Austria - Germany - Luxembourg - Belgium - France. You should search Trần Đặng Đăng Khoa on facebook for further details. Hope this helps and good luck!

10. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2056 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

Make sure your passport has enough pages for all the endorsements!