Friends, I am planning my tour from India to France & UK with a start date of Jan 2024. I am an Indian citizen with Indian passport. A key decision I need to make is the best route from out of India.
I am considering the following two overland options:
1. via Pakistan and Afghanistan - Due to strained political relations between India and Pakistan, getting a visit visa to Pakistan for Indians is difficult if not impossible. Passing through Afghanistan also appears a bit tricky right now.
2. via Nepal & China - Getting into Nepal is not an issue. However, the route through China takes me either through disputed border areas (India, Pakistan, China) (around 2600 Km) or through Tibet (around 4800 Km).
See my travel plan here: https://www.cyclemy.world/paris-2024 and the 3 route options in the attached image. I am looking for someone who can guide me in choosing one of the options. Thanks a lot.
Maybe look here www.waymarkedtrails.org
and here www.eurovelo.com/
In regards to your routes as an indian nationals, unfortunately the news isn’t great.
As you mentioned Pakistan is all but out.
You could fly to Kabul (most flights also seem to go from India to Persian Gulf states then to Afghanistan) & head up to the Badakhshan province & cross over into Tajikistan to link up with the M41 PamIr Highway though you will miss the plateau. Although I am not sure if this route through Afghanistan is doable and or safe atm.
The Nepal/Tibet border at Kodari you noted is closed to Indian nationals (according to the Chinese embassy in Delhi website, indian nationals must provide proof of return air ticket to obtain visa, which I would suggest means land borders are closed to Indian nationals. I also believe India doesn’t allow Inner Line Permits to Chinese nationals, as much of this stuff is reciprocal it would seems the most likely.
This link below confirms no individual Indian tourists are allowed to enter Tibet Autonomous Region, other than part of a group to Mt.Kailash
As mentioned the G219 route is one of the most remote roads in Asia, at very high altitude (5000 m passes) that goes through disputed land borders (Aksai Chin) not to mention Tibet & Xinjiang.. Pre 2008 this was doable, post Covid & China’s hawkish security & consolidating iron grip on ethnic areas in Western China has all but closed this route off to any national other than Chinese, certainly as a solo traveller.
Note: some very lucky & daring cyclists have managed to sneak there way along this route dodging the PSB & Army checkpoints, but would take a heroic effort.
Given the current state of border tensions with China / India I would suggest there is zero chance of this..
The Kodari/Zhangmu border near KTM was open to tourists with paper visas of certain nationalities. However this involves taking a 4x4 tour from KTM to Lhasa, which is expensive but doable. You were in the past able to pay for a support jeep to follow you but this would cost a lot.as an individual.
Land of snow website is the best resource for the Tibetan regions and has a good review of the Friendship highway from Lhasa to Kodari
Maybe try and contact Losang who runs the site for up to date info.
In theory you would have to get to Lhasa as part of a tour then get a train out of the TAR to Sichuan or another neighbouring province to start your journey as a solo traveller.
This was all pre Covid so that will of course changed the situation on the ground.
I would say that cycling to Nepal then flying out of KTM to a Chinese city in Sichuan or Qinghai would be the easiest in terms of visas and logistics or flying to Bishkek or Almaty directly to pick up the Pamir and avoiding China all together..
Which would be a shame as it is a special place)
Please also note you will have to book one flight leg journey that you will need to cancel to obtain your visa)
Keep in mind the validity of your Chinese visa as distances are huge in China.
Indians strained relationships with its closest neighbours will make this journey much more difficult for you as an Indian National.
Also bear in mind the situation in Xinjiang which is tense atm & security
is beefed up to reflect this, meaning that passing tourists may get unwanted attention from the PSB.
Sorry to be the bearer of such negative news, however I would love to know if you manage to prevail with your plans to get through Pak or China.
Sadly life is definitely not fair when it comes to visas, places where people are born & politics.
Best of luck with the planning & if you swing via Delhi on route give me a shout.
Chinese embassy in Delhi link for Indian nationals tourist visas.
I was looking at that route, however in the opposite direction. Here some info I found out:
Option 1 - the route through Afghanistan looks too risky to me given the current unstable situation there
Option 2&3 - you need a special Tibet permit, to get it you need to take a Tibet bike tour arranged by a local travel agency (cost factor), which means you cannot cycle alone in Tibet. https://www.tibettravel.org/tibet-travel-advice/cycle-routes-to-tibet.html
One doable route seems to be from Pakistan via the Karakoram Highway to Xinjiang in China and from there to Tajikistan or Kirgizstan. Further on through Uzbekistan / Kazakhstan and via the Caspian Sea ferry to Azerbaijan and on via Georgia, Turkey to Europe.
Hi hello Shashidhar please get in touch,I will be Travelling to Europe in coming winter so if it's possible for you to start earlier.Please let me know if you are Travelling to Ladakh this summer.Best regards S.Binjola