From India to Belgium without planes

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From India to Belgium without planes

Postby Greentravelbug » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:10 am

Hello everyone

I have been traveling planeless from Australia till Myanmar so far and for months I have been changing my plans after I arrive in India. I am currently in Myanmar and India is coming up soon.

I have had 2 plausible options so far after India
- cross the wagah border into Pakistan and bike to Quetta. Take a bus to Zahedan into Iran and continue by bike and/or train towards Europe (the more research I do the more I am doubting the safety of Baluchistan and the Iran/Pakistan border refion/)

- get from India to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and then take the train to Moscow and head to Europe from there. To enter Tajikistan I feel like I probably need to cross some tricky places in either Pakistan, Afghanistan or China. Especially with the Kashmir conflict going on right now.

Does anyone have some advice for one of the two itineraries or have a suggestion for another way to get to Europe without a plane?

Thank you very much

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Re: From India to Belgium without planes

Postby Milad » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:39 am

Well, south-western Pakistan is pretty dangerous with a serious risk of kidnapping (although quite a number of travellers go there, yes).
Your best bet is probably going from Pakistan to Tajikistan through China via the Karakoram highway, this area of Pakistan is a lot safer (although no one can give you guarantees here). Crossing China is neither dangerous or expensive - as long as you don't come with your own car -, although it probably will involve spyware being installed on your phone. You might not be allowed to bike, but a bus ticket won't be expensive. You can also cross from China to Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan. From there, you have plenty of options to head to Europe.

As long as they don't close the border crossing or the thing escalates into a full-scale war, which is unlikely IMO, the Kashmir conflict is not going to have an impact on this.

The "beaten path" option with little to no security issues would be backtracking to Myanmar and going to Russia through China. If the Myanmar-China border is still closed for foreigners (I'm not up to date on this) you might have to backtrack further to Laos or even Vietnam.
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Re: From India to Belgium without planes

Postby Greentravelbug » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:08 pm

Thank you for your reply! I am definitely considering the Karakoram route and even backtracking to Laos. Myanmar-china border is closed at the moment.

Do you know how I can apply for a Chinese visa, while out of my country? I have heard several things so far. Do I ask someone do it for me in Belgium? Are some embassies more flexible? I won't mention that I will be biking and I won't mention Xinjiang. I have been traveling for 2 years so far, so I cannot provide info from a recent employer in my country. Is there a way around these difficulties?
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Re: From India to Belgium without planes

Postby BakuBound » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:28 pm

Remember, the Karakoram Pass closes over Winter, exact dates depending on weather conditions.

The Pakistani visa can in any event be difficult to obtain outside your home country (and even then . . .).
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Re: From India to Belgium without planes

Postby Greg » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:43 pm

Yes, different Chinese embassies have different practices and policies regarding how easy it is to get a visa. For instance, the Thai embassy is meant to be quite easy - coming from several people I know who've got visas there, and also from lots of stuff written on this forum. The Hong Kong embassy, on the other hand, is reputedly quite difficult if you want to get anything longer than 30 days - as that's where all the people working in China on fake tourist visas go to get them renewed, and the Chinese are wise to this. I got a 60 day visa there last year but it required a lot of persistence and I'm still a bit surprised I didn't get chucked out for being a nuisance. I don't know about any other embassies but it's worth researching.

Crossing Pakistan you should research which areas Al Qaeda / ISIS are active in, as well as which border crossings are open. Threading a route through all that could be tricky. Otherwise it's back to Laos / Vietnam and a long way round to the Qolma/Irkeshtam/Torugart passes. Good luck!
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