ASIA - Indian subcontinent and China
These are our views based on our experience in Asia in 2007/8/9. Most of my travelling was done on public transport while Pieter took the Land Rover. The trains are excellent in both India and China while buses (or minivans) are OK and can get you to most remote places. In fact there are few places you cannot get to by public transport or at a pinch by taxi for a reasonable price.
NB Exporting the vehicle from Bangladesh
Type of vehicle
Land Rover Defender 110 TD5 with a Bimobil demountable on the back.
Spares and Maintenance
Lahore has a Land Rover workshop where unfortunately we had to replace the engine as the oil pump broke loose and the engine seized.
Unknown. Presumably the same as in the rest of the world.
Petrol and diesel are always available.
Pieter was not impressed either with the roads or driving in India. The roads are narrow, full of people, livestock, carts (horse, bullock and man drawn), bad drivers and buses whose drivers would rather push you off the road than give way, even when they are on the wrong side of the road.
He used public transport in China.
A carnet is issued by the Automobile Association in your home country. It is a guarantee that you will either not sell the vehicle or will pay the import duty if you do sell. For this reason a deposit is required by the AA. But do check with other countries. We have heard but not confirmed that the UK does not require a deposit.
Unknown where it is required
Camping / Hotels
There is one campsite in Asia that we know of. It is in Islamabad - The International Tourist Campsite. Facilities are not great but there is shade.
Other camping places we stayed at are the Customs Post, Nakkundi (lovely cold showers) and Hotel Bloom Star in Quetta where it is better to get a room if there are 2 of you. Pieter stayed in service stations, schools and church grounds.
In India there are plenty of cheap hotels with en-suite cold shower and eastern toilet.
In China Youth Hostel dorms are great value and you do not need to be a member or young. They usually also have doubles as well some with en-suite. If there are no Youth Hostels then there is usually a cheap hotel.
We ran out of chemicals for the porta potti, they are not available so we are now using bleach.
There are small supermarkets or street stalls. In large Chinese cities you find large supermarket chains such as Carrefore
I started drinking bottled water in Pakistan and continued throughout India and China. The water is potable in some places but not everywhere.
Medication is regulated in Pakistan and China. I did not require prescription medicine in India.
Borders were easy to cross, just a matter of procedures. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and China all require a visa up front. The exception is returning to Pakistan from China where a visa is available in Sost.
US Dollars can be exchanged everywhere. ATMs are still the best option although some smaller towns do not have an international ATM. The best bet is Standard Charted in Pakistan and India and Bank of China - in China of course.
I spent an average of USD 41.5 in the Indian sub-continent and USD 37.56 per day in China.
People everywhere are friendly and helpful.As a woman travelling alone in Pakistan I was exceptionally well looked after by the men. They ensured I got on and off the right buses etc etc etc. Indians were not as helpful. This does have something to with age though. Younger women had to be more careful, especially in India.
In China most people are friendly and helpful even if they could not speak English. There were lots of laughs trying to communicate.
Internet Cafes are readily found. Many allow you to bring your own laptop which you connect with a cable. In China most Youth Hostels had free wifi.
A GPS is handy, although there are enough roman script directions to get by with. India has many English signs. China uses Western numbers with Chinese script.
|Cost per kilometer travelled - per person||0.03||0.01||0.05||0.05|
|Accommodation per night per person||5.11||6.07||*14.88||6.20|
|Average spend per day per person||19.22||15.88||*32.67||**37.56|
|Days in country||119||147||20||254|
NB: Currency is USD
* for two people
** includes Tibet
Exporting the vehicle from Bangladesh
There are many shipping lines available. We went to PIL
We had to have an agent and PIL pointed us to Mr Ahsan of A2Z International. He was efficient and kept us fully informed but we felt his prices were very high for such a poor country. In hindsight the cost was not so bad compared to other countries.
Because we have the Bimobil we need a 40ft HiCu container (i.e. 9ft 6 inches high rather than the standard 8ft 6 inches) with the Land Rover loaded in front of the Bimobil. The actual shipping cost is double that of a 20ft container. Our costs in USD were
|Port-Tips for Labour||3.60|
Shipping Lines I know of (they do not necessarily come to Bangladesh)
NB: They never answer e-mails. You have to go to the office in the country.
|Grimaldi Lines||www.grimaldi.co.uk (Europe and America only)|