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RTW overland .. can it be done?

Travel Forums Round the World Travel RTW overland .. can it be done?

1. Posted by Isildur (Budding Member 8 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

HI All,

My GF 23 and myself 27 are planning a 18 month RTW trip, sounds pretty normal but here is the thing. I want to try to use over land transport as much as possible i.e. Cars, trucks, buses, trains and boats even hitchhiking in the right places. I don't like flying in general and prefer to take my time and enjoy the countries im traveling in. This being said i realize that inevitably there will be times where i will be forced to take the plane and thats fine.

we will be flying from Toronto, Canada to London and then making our way overland to Sisely where we will take a boat to Tunisia and continue overland from there to egypt, fly to or if a boat is available, sail to Yemen make our way north into Iran and then follow the silk road through the Stans and end up in China from there we want to visit Tibet and go south into India and then from India into south east Asia making our way south and then flying to NZ before we fly back home. Now the question that i have is this:
A. has anyone done this before?
B. is it feasible and will there be some kind of land/boat transit for all of the land stretches?
C. what kind of budget should we be thinking about for this kind of trip. We are thinking of $25,000 CAD or roughly $22,000 USD for 2 people this would have to cover pretty much everything excluding equipment. Is this a realistic budget? any type of feedback is welcome.

Thanks in advance Sal and Mary

2. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3383 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I can say something about a tiny part of your request. I fear that in Tibet/China/India you will face some "problem". From what I have understand, is that it is still not possible to cross the border between China and India. Recently has been opened a bordercrossing in West-Bengal in India (little north of Darjeeling) but that's only for freight transport (in and from China). Maybe you should check for updates. Otherwise you need to get a flight to Kolkata in India. I don't know where the nearest larger airport is from Tibet....could be far away. All the luck and it seems like a great trip. All the luck;)

[ Edit: Edited on Dec 19, 2006, at 5:03 PM by wouterrr ]

3. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I reckon for two people you will struggle a lot on that budget. I went through more than half of your one person budget, for a 7 month trip around the world after airfares which amounted to approx $4000US. I always stayed in hostels, occasionally stayed overnight in airports, occasionally stayed at peoples houses using the hospitalityclub website, but always did things cheap and walked where ever I realistically could and sometimes it was to a point that most people wouldn't consider realistic. One time that meant walking 40km in one day whilst I was in Cambodia, but I estimate an average of 10-15km a day over the 7 months. My shoes were certainly worn out by the end of my trip! I spent quite about 3 months in Europe and America which did add a bit to the costs, but the other 4 months I spent in Asia (mostly South East Asia and India), South America and a bit of Central America including Mexico. I did do quite a bit of train and bus travel (a little more than 30,000km is what I did for long distance bus and trains). That isn't including the 1000's of km that I would have done on city buses and subways around the world. If you go the local way in the cheap cabins in trains, you can get dirt cheap prices in places like India and Thailand, but believe me it is not comfy in the really cheap carriages. If you go to Vietnam, you can go the whole length of the country on the open tour bus for some rediculously cheap price like $20US and get a reasonably room for $6US or in some places a disgusting room for as little as $3US.
I do reckon your budget will be stretched to its very limit and probably in to creditcard debt or borrowing from family for 18 months of travel without work. Goodluck, but be sure to treasure every dollar you have and always stay at the cheapest hostels in the cities.

4. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3383 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Another part. Overland travel from India to South-east Asia is also not possible. Myanmar is not accessable via landborders. Its a sort of fly in-fly out country. Officially it is closed but maybe things have changed recently. So check first before you take the "not so loved" plane;).

5. Posted by Isildur (Budding Member 8 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thank you all for your valued input. This is all great information. Regarding the budget i think we will have to re-consider that as being too low. Maybe $15,000 CAD per person is a more realistic budget for a 12-14 months trip. I also appreciated the border information. Any more of that kind of information relating to border crossings and visa's would be appreciated . we are both Canadians. What about a boat from India to Thailand?

6. Posted by Isildur (Budding Member 8 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

another question: what about the border crossing between china and nepal? could we not go through nepal to india?

7. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3383 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Isildur

another question: what about the border crossing between china and nepal? could we not go through nepal to india?

Hi Isildur. Theoretically it should be possible to cross the border from China into Nepal. But many travellers have reported immigration difficulties with Chinese authorities when crossing the border in either direction. Check this link: From Nepal you may easily travel into India. You should first check safety situation in Nepal.

Concerning your request of a shippingline between India and Thailand. This is according to me not possible. The only sea crossings that India has is to the Andaman islands and into Sri Lanka. I think that this is also not lucrative anymore because of the competition with the airindustry. Maybe there are possibilities by cargo ship.

8. Posted by nickgood (Budding Member 13 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Regarding the sea travelling part, check out some crewing websites, etc. The pasts you are looking to go by sea aren't the most frequently travelled by yachts but there is always a chance, especially if you are flexible, for example there is a guy on findacrew who is travelling through the suez canal down the red sea looking for crew.
Also you can just go down to a port (Port Said in Egypt to Aden in Yemen for example) and ask around. It's not really legal for most freighters to take passengers but it's up to the captain if he wants to make a few quid for his back pocket, you might even be able to work! I'm doing something similar at the moment, waiting to hear from my new 'friends' at the port if there are any ships going my way open for negotiation.

9. Posted by kevstump (Full Member 123 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I am going to tibet in march and will be crossing over the border into nepal then overland into india. as far as i am concerned there are no problems crossing these borders overland (just make sure you have a permit for tibet) - otherwise i am in the shit! ha ha
happy travels

10. Posted by gnarl (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I am kind of planning on doing the same thing of RTW. My budget is not much and I know I will have some debt when this is all over, but one thing to take into consideration are jobs. By working from country to country (or whichever countries foreigners can work in) can help your experiences there and budget and then you will be comfortable to move to your next destination. That's what I'm planning on doing.