|Plan Return to Australia||April 2013 - March 2014|
|Planning is what you do before you do it
so that when you do it you don't get all mixed up
with apologies to Winnie the Pooh
|This page will grow as the plans are made. Its really two bouts of planning. The first while in England, the second while in Nepal when we realised it was possible to visit Myanmar.|
|Initial Planning to reach India and Ship to Australia|
Our aim is Greece, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Australia.
Yes, I know, Tibet is part of China. Just that it has different approvals and permissions.
An early part of the planning is Visas.
A very simple "risk assessment" suggests there are three "critical issues" to be resolved with appropriate strategies:-
Alternate routes are:- Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and/or China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, India and/or China, Laos, SE Asia.
To make life difficult the sequence of aquiring visas is different to the driving sequence. There's also validity from issue date to entry date (usually 90 days but it varies).
Planning is made more difficult by the use of our own vehicle. Simply, it isn't as easy as hopping on a plane when things go a little wrong "Beam me up Scotty" isn't a viable risk mitigation strategy!!!! Even swimming is difficult for the truck in land locked countries...
After many, many, iterations (and crankiness at complexity) over several days the below plan was devised. Surprisingly, it turns out the first visa to be applied for is Pakistan which we hope to not need.
While this level of planning may seem like a bit of overkill it allows us to more easily discuss and decide. There's even a remote chance that it will save us some pain along the way by providing a bit of flexibility. And of course it all seems glaringly obvious now the thinking has been done!
|Driving Flow Chart||Visa Application Flow Chart|
|Below is a rough timetable. The critical dates are the issue of Pakistan and Iran visas, and entry into Iran and China (to have enough time to enter Pakistan if necessary). There is flexibility in staying shorter times in some countries if necessary, and in how long we take to get from UK to Greece. All very provisional at this stage. Of course we are also trying to avoid the hot time in central Asia, and the cold time in Tibet (if only because passes are closed).|
| Following Iranian visa refusal the Gantt chart
has been reworked. Kyrgistan and China arrival dates hav been preserved.
Late departure from UK is compensated for by not having to pick up Iran visa in Paris (1 week).
|Visa Application Details|
|The bureaucratic imagination knows no bounds. Some countries have outsourced part of the process. Some countries have centralised it. And some have done both. A plus is that some countries have separated applying from issuing which means that more than one application can be in process at the same time. Some countries have tightened their requirements. Some countries, notably Kyrgyzstan have relaxed. Some countries need letters of introduction (like Uzbekistan). Some (like Kazakhstan) need confirmed hotel bookings. Then there are countries like Turkmenistan that need to see a visa for next country, there are dependencies. It all constantly changes and there is frequent conflicting information available, as well as lots of opinion. Its not helped by the growth of visa agents who may have an interest in making it seem difficult. Most difficult to find are the people who have successfully applied in recent times. Bah humbug! And most times I can't even spell the country names. But it all seems to work.|
|One monumental plus in all this is Vali. A very enthusiastic Iranian in Mashad. Not only does Vali assist with Turkmenistan Transit Visas (he will apply 10-14 days in advance for us so that it only takes a couple of hours for us when we arrive, and provided the forms) but we also know our truck fits outside his house. The alternative would probably have been a lot of messing about in Ankara|
|Also critical has been the assistance of David at Stantours who must have the patience of Jove in answering all our silly questions. Authoritative, credible information is hard to come by. A voice of sanity in a sea of uncertainty.|
|This table will change as we learn about the process for each country.|
|Secondary Planning for Myanmar.|
| While planning to leave Australia we had
looked longingly at Myanmar. At the time it seemed impossible to travel
there with our own vehicle.
While in Nepal in October 2013 we met people who knew of organised "convoys" of overlanders across Myanmar. This would conveniently allow us to ship to Australia from Kuala Lumpur (instead of Chennai in India).
The Myanmar requirements are for tourist guide plus "man from ministry" plus itineraries, etc.
There seem to be "express trips" of about 7 days aimed at getting from India to Thailand (or the other way) at minimal cost. We opted for the 14 day version with Joern Schlage. This would be his second year of escorting one group one way, then another group the other way.
Contact is joern.schlag at web.de Cost was around a couple of thousand Euros per vehicle plus about $30 per person extras plus food and excursion expenses.
Meeting point was Moreh in Manapur, India in February 2014. The date was delayed a bit as it got nearer. Too late for our first India visa. We opted to tour north west India, return to Pokhara to apply for a second India visa then travel to Moreh through Assam, Nagaland and Manapur.
A recent change meant no permits were required for those parts of north east India.
When we entered Thailand by road in 2011 we discovered that visa on arrival was 15 days only (30 days by air). We decided to apply for Thai visas before arrival. We also heard that the rules had changed in November 2013 and 30 days was available on arrival but couldn't confirm.
|John Head||Fri, 01 Feb 13 11:49:42 +1100|
|And I thought planning a SAP installation was complex!!!|
I'm enjoying your Moroccan blog.
|jon||Fri, 01 Feb 13 16:51:07 +1100|
|ahhh, I was projecting, Russia, Alaska, Canada, West side USA, all the way to Chile, perth, nullabor, taggerty, home|
|Julian||Fri, 01 Feb 13 20:37:28 +1100|
|taggerty sounds good!|
And SAP was a breeze - though about the same level of conflicting info!
|Colin||Fri, 01 Feb 13 21:58:02 +1100|
|Wow Julian what an amazing experience, hats off to you and Ali. |
|Mark Lawrence||Sun, 10 Feb 13 21:51:44 +1100|
|Blimey Uncle Julian, some serious planning going on there! So many interesting experiences still to be had.|
|Tony LEE||Fri, 15 Feb 13 02:44:04 +1100|
|Don't forget to allow a couple of weeks for thorough cleaning inside and outside to satisfy AQIS|
|Barry Smith||Fri, 15 Feb 13 05:33:59 +1100|
|Julian - you always said that 1/3 of the time is spent in planning, 1/3 in sourcing and 1/3 in doing. Although you may still be in Africa it is clear that you are 1/3 of the way home...|
|diana/bbb||Sun, 07 Jul 13 12:17:44 +1000|
|I really admire you both still enjoying your travel blog, enjoy and may be I will be a fly on the wall again. xxx diana|
|MiKe and Joan||Tue, 30 Jul 13 16:53:00 +1000|
|Fantastic effort Julian and Ali. On the map it looks all down hill to get back to Oz. How many hours are there in your days to accomplish all you have? Smooth travels on the "Silk Road"|
|Erik Pedersen||Thu, 26 Dec 13 07:59:43 +1100|
|My wife and I are travel around the world, we are now in Argentina and plan to send our camper van to Malaysia, and drive up to Russia and back to Denmark where we live.|
Our problem is the carnet, our car is registered in Sweden here we had to make a deposit 3 times the cars value.
Can we do this trip without carnet ?
We cant trust the motor organisation in any country.