Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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Roadtophnompenh
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Roadtophnompenh »

I crossed in october, and maybe you need an NOC from the border to Quetta, but the Levies arrange for you without you know. But in Quetta, you have to go to some special office to get the NOC to travel ahead. And it takes time and a lot of stamps, handshakes and tea nipping. But the Levies take you there (itsinside a secured zone from Quetta. 2 days later i "escaped from my escort and booked an nice hotel in D.I.Khan and the first thing they asked was my NOC, i had one, but it said Islamabad, and not D.I. Khan, whats on the road to Islamabad. I was just tired from the very slow moving escorts, it took 2 full days from Quettato D.I. Khan !! ?? The people at the fancy hotel said with a straight face, they couldnt give me a room because i had the wrong NOC with me. About half an hour later, my escort coincidentially arrivved with the 2 other cars and they arranged after much discussion and haggling a room for all of us. Pakistan is extremely bureaucratic, everywhere, paperwork and stamps !! I think the youtubers who get on a bus often have a "palistan-origin-card" that they are family from pakistani (and look like that), they often get away with a lot of things. The Levies are friendly and free, but very slow. Just take your time and enjoy ther ride !! Taftan-bordder to Islamabad took me 6 days, driving a good car by myself, but escorted by the slow Levies !!
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TautTruffle
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by TautTruffle »

Thanks RTPP for the helpful information. Lots of questions here but quite few answers - if only more of the question-askers would come back and answer their own questions because presumably they ended up finding solutions on the road! As previous poster says, everything could here be out of date, because (apparently) so few people are doing this and even fewer are writing up their experience.

Anyone have any recommendations for other info sources, even Youtube channels?

And what about the 2 border crossings further sound - Mand-Pishin and Gabd-Rimdan? The discussions about them here are even more scanty than Taftan. Not sure why, because on paper the area near the coast is obviously safer than the Zahedan-Quetta corridor, and it's within striking distance of Karachi, which is safely outside Baluchistan. Perhaps there is no transport down there, even taxis? Or is there some bureaucratic reason everyone is going to Taftan?

So many questions, so few answers!
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Roadtophnompenh
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Roadtophnompenh »

By car you can only cross in Taftan, after october when i crossed some bikers and hichhikers get trough the Gabd border. The tird one no idea. Taftan to Quetta is in my eyes not dangerous at all, but you get escorted, noway to come around that, never felt unsafe at all, it just takes time !!
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TautTruffle
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by TautTruffle »

Yes indeed, and not just time but also extreme discomfort, no? Six days to travel 600km in the back of a jeep, with dozens and dozens of transfers and waiting, and sleeping on the floors of police stations - is that all correct? Maybe it was more comfortable for you with a car. Anyway, your attitude is admirable but it sounds like an absolute trauma, I can hardly imagine that many people are choosing to do this - but what alternative is there, other than the plane?
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Roadtophnompenh
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Roadtophnompenh »

I slept 3 nights in my car which i had prepared for it. In fact on my whole trip to Phnom Penh these 3 nights were the only-ones. You can sleep on a dirty floor in a plice station if you want to. In Quetta you are brought to the Bloostar hotel which is not so bad as used to be before Covid. Its basic but clean and safe. The 5th night when i "escaped" from my escort in D.I.Khan i booked myself an hotel. Stupidly the next morning after maybe 20 kms when we enteredthe main highway-tollroad we were all releasedand free to go (7 people in 3 vehicles) and the toll road is empty and runns like hell all the way to Islamabad. Just see it as an adventure and prepare for 6 days, if shorter, then better. I met a belgian cycler at Taftan border and took him and his bike in my car as he didnt have to change all the escorts, just sit and wait !! I crossed the border around 2.30 pm and slept at the Levies station in Taftan. The cycler crossed at 9 am, and was still there, and left together next morning !! Try to get in Taftan a SIM with the Levies, because later on the road you wont find before Quetta !! And take a lot of snacks and drinks with you, it can be fu**** hot overthere !! My attitude admirable ?? I dont know, when arriving in Pakistan i was only half the road to Phnom Penh, hahaha. Total was 18000 kms !!
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TautTruffle
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by TautTruffle »

Well that Belgian cyclist really got lucky bumping into you! With your car you at least had some (tiny) degree of privacy and comfort. I'm just trying to imagine what this involves exactly for a backpacker. I have been in many adventurous situations but this challenge just sounds like next-level unpleasant. Trying to decide whether it is worth it!

So a couple more questions to clarify all this (thanks)! I'm not worried about the bad hotel in Quetta so much as the complete lack of comfort or privacy for the 4 days beforehand. With a car it's bad enough but without a car it sounds like a camping trip from hell! That bad hotel must be like an oasis of luxury after an experience like that.

So Taftan-Quetta takes about 4 days (for 600km), is that right? And the only choices for tourists is the police jeep or their own transport? There seems to be a hotel halfway at a place called Dalbandin - did you not have the chance to sleep there? It was just "You sleep in car or you sleep here on floor!"? What were the amenities like when you stopped at night - I guess you got to see the police stations and use their toilets etc right? Given that 600/4=150km you must have spent much of each day waiting around at police stations for the next escort. Did you see any other travellers before Quetta apart from the cyclist?
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Roadtophnompenh
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Roadtophnompenh »

In fact i left BAM day 1 early morning, and crossed the border in the afternoon. Day 2 is Taftan to Dalbandin. Dalbandin is probably the worst shit-hole I ever saw in my live ? The levies decide there you go the same day to Quetta or not, because they dont want you to sleep between Dalbandin and Quetta. It was around 4 pm and they said no, sleep in Dalbandin, inside there compound, safe but dirty. They get you food and maybe you get their WIFI-code (better arrange a SIM at Taftan if you have time). Day 3 Dalbandin to Quetta, we arrived also around 4 pm: to late to get the NOC at their headquarters: Sleep in Bloomstar. Day 4: Levies show up around 10am and you go to i dont know whos office to do some paperwork. Later i went for a SIM-card. Then they drive off to their HQ to arrange the NOC, leave Quetta around 12 if i remeber good. When it getted dark we where around ZHOB: sleep again in a compound from the Levies, same situation, free and save, but not clean. They go and get you some food from the local market. Day 5 Leave Zhob and we arrived in D.I.KHAN when it was dark already where i decided to escape from them and book : Hotel National Club. When arriving, they didnt want to give us a room because our NOC said Islamabad and not D.I.Khan. Coincidentially half hour later the escort arrived with the 2 other vehicles (i think they never realised we were 3 cars in the beginning). It took all night to haggle and arrange paperwork before we got a room. Day 6: DI.Khan to Islamabad is a nice ride on anew tollroad, you can run like hell. Islamabad looks very "western" comared withwhat i had seen since the bordercrossing. Booked a brand-new room in a Villa on the outskirts from town, highly recommended: The gateway on street 49 !! Without escort or paperwork to do, i would have done it in 3 days, but thats Pakistan, dont be hurried. I saw some german bikers at Wagah border and they checked their timeline and said they had 85 escort changes (eightyfive) what i can believe more or less (i lost counting on nr 25) !!
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Roadtophnompenh
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Roadtophnompenh »

Small correction, night nr 4 wasnt in Zhob, we stayed at Circuit house Killa Saifullah well before Zhob. If you go to google maps you can click on it and see our vehilces parked overthere in the morning !! It looks nice on the fotos but it wasnt in the room we were offered. Everybody slept in their cars, only the cyclist slept in the room !!
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TautTruffle
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by TautTruffle »

What a story! Ha! You already mentioned some bits in other posts but that's a great little writeup, thanks. It's really clearer now what all this involves.

So the desert crossing is only 2 full days, I was imagining more like 4. But still, more like 5 days of limited freedom, 85 changes of escort and tons of waiting in the town stops and terrible dirty accommodation. Yeah Dalbandian does look like the ultimate shithole haha! I guess the police didn't want you using the little hotel there for safety reasons, but then again it probably wasn't much better than the police station!

Well, congratulations on your courage. I don't know if I have it, to be honest. Especially since the Rimdan crossing towards Karachi looks quicker and safer on the map, and seems to be possible at least for backpackers.

BUT something else is now making all this seem less attractive - this latest news about the 6 billion $ Iran hostage payoff. Frankly I'm now having second thoughts about everything. Islamist terrorism is one thing, but arbitrary detention is quite another, much scarier. And now precedents are being set with large sums of money, and the Iranian government is broke. It seems there are currently several innocent Western tourists languishing in prison right now, apparently their governments have been keeping quiet about it to stop the release price going up.

So yeah. This is all making the Iran route a bit of an unattractive proposition. Such a shame.

Thanks anyway, this will still be useful information to somebody now or in future.
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