Overland Trip: Spain to Singapore

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Overland Trip: Spain to Singapore

1. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I have some plans to make a trip from Madrid to Singapore only using land(and some water) based crafts. I have mapped out most of the way:

  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy
  • Slovakia
  • Hungary
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Turkey
  • Georgia
  • Azerbaijan...

After Azerbaijan though there are a few snags and bumps. The only options are really Iran (umm I think I will skip there for now), Russia, kazakhstan and.. Kurjekistan or something. I am going off the top of me head.

I was thinking taking a ferry or freight to Kazakhstan would be the best route, but I hear boat service is irregular at best. Any one have some experience there? or just some ideas?

Thanks in advance!

2. Posted by Peter (Admin 6611 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hey Brendan,

Never done this, but intrigued with the options. I visited Azerbaijan for a week once. The mountains are amazing, as is the old town of Baku.

I wouldn't head north into Russia (Dagestan) from Azerbaijan - that is strongly warned against generally.

Quoting Lonely planet

Travellers are strongly advised against travel in Chechnya, Dagestan and neighbouring Ingushetia. Military clashes, kidnapping of aid workers and foreigners, violent crimes and muggings are prevalent.

Looking at the map, Turkmenistan is actually the most logical (and probably safest) destination from Azerbaijan. According to lonely planet, the following should be possible. Not sure about the details.

Quoting Lonely planet

by cargo vessel across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan, and from there to Ashghabat, Bukhara and beyond by train.

This is actually also their overland suggestion for Kazakhstan.

Note though that there are warnings against travelling in Turkmenistan, due to its proximity to Afghanistan. Not sure if it's really a concern.

To be honest, I'd be more tempted to head up through Ukraine to safer parts of Russia and then down through Mongolia, China, etc. But I guess you've seen a fair bit of Russia and aren't so tempted by that prospect.

3. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the reply.

Yeah I kind of wanted to see some new places instead to Russia again. And I was thinking Kasakhstan more than Turkmenistan because of Visa requirements.

If you go to Turkmenistan you pretty much have to keep going east through about four other countries all with a bit "strict" visa requirements.

But by going up through kazakhstan one only has to deal with a single ugly visa. That is my reasoning anyway.

I was also thinking that was a bad part of Russia to be in, so pretty much lose that as an option.

Kind of makes me sad - how there are places in the world a person should just not go to because of things that could happen to them. Strange strange world.

4. Posted by Peter (Admin 6611 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Ok, have looked into it more. It seems by far the easiest option (transport wise) is travelling to Turkmenbashi in Trukmenistan. From the stantours.com website, it would seem possible to even catch a train straight through to Tajikistan (skipping Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) without needing a transit visa! Unfortunately, looking at the map,you are then stuck behind a huge mountain with Afghanistan to the south Not sure where you would go from there.

So then, looking back to the Kazakh possibility, as you say, the ferry to Aqtau is irregular (once a week? maybe?). To be honest, it seems the best bet. You just might have to spend some extra time in Baku!!

Regarding the visa, this quote makes it seem that it is in fact much easier than it used to be (and from the consulate's site, it seems much easier than the Russian one!!)

Quoting stantours.com

As of 15/02/2004 for stays up to 1 month and single entry citizen of the following countries no longer require a visa support letter if the visa is obtained at a Kazakh Consulate:

EU citizen, Switzerland, Scandinavian countries, Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan

Well, I hope it helps. There's a good chance you've already dug up all this information yourself, but hey, it's fun to look into :)


5. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Iran (umm I think I will skip there for now),

Don't write off Iran too quickly. Allot of what you hear is scremongering, and whilst you obviously have to be careful and there are places you shouldn't go, it's actually a very rewarding country.
And to be honest, it can be significantly easier than many of the stans, some of which can be a SERIOUS pain in the arse to go to/around, and many of the Land Borders close frequently or are only open to CIS nationals. I'm not saying you should dunk your Stan plan, but be aware that it may not be that easy (or possible) so be flexible with your plans if needbe.




You do actually mean Slovenia here, don't you?! If time is not so much of an iseue, i'd suggest going from Italy by boat to Croatia and then Croatia/Bosnia/Serbia/Slovenia and on to Hungary, as there some amazing places down there and toursits are still not coming back in droves. A trip along the Croat coast is also a great experience, so something like Venice - Ljubljana/Bled - Zagreb - Split - Island hopping to Dubrovnik - Mostar - Sarajevo - Belgrade - Night train to Budapest would be another option.

6. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Thats a good point Peter, the visa's do seem much easier to get. And going through those countries would be a good thing to do, when I was first thinking of the trip, I had about a four month window of opportunity. Though I imagine if I could get six months in there then I could be a lot more flexible at the Caspian Sea.

And thanks Gelli as well for the reply. I certainly want to see all that Iran has to offer, I think for me I will make certain the United States is first not going to attack before I go there.

And yeah, sorry about the order of the countries - I was just going off the top of my head. What you suggest sounds really great too! So many options! So little time.