The route

Hilversum Travel Blog

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The cliché, but essential reading material to plan a trip. Now how will I be able to fit all this into my backpack?

And so it seems I have settled for a general route. After four months of gathering information, calculating the budget, matching the order of the countries with the recommended season to visit them, oh, and of course my decision to add three more months to my trip on the whole, the route will roughly look like this:

6 to 12 April 2010: Ukraine
Taking the train from my hometown Hilversum to Berlin, and then on to Kiev, I plan to spend about a week in the Ukraine, visiting both Kiev and Odesa. Unfortunately the ferry to Istanbul only leaves once a week, so I had to skip the city of Lviv in order to be able to spend a bit more time in Kiev. (it was either that, or spend three out of six nights on an overnight train)

13 April to 9 May 2010: Turkey
The main reason for visiting the Ukraine is my plan to take the boat from Odesa to Istanbul.

Armenia: I think I could stand to spend some time here...
I figured that would be a great way to travel to Turkey. The Orient Express was another option, but budget constraints made me choose the ferry :-)
I plan to spend about a month travelling around Turkey, and it looks like I will have a nice break in between as my mates Ed and Derk are looking to come visit me and spend the Queensday weekend in Istanbul.

10 to 24 May 2010: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
After Turkey my next destination will be Iran, but why do a simple border crossing when you can actually take a little detour which takes you through three more countries? Actually, the main reason for this detour is Armenia. Since I'll be spending a lot of time in Muslim and Buddhist countries, I figured the oldest Christian country in the world would add a nice perspective to the spiritual part of my journey.

Iran: looking forward to visiting the ruins of ancient persepolis
However, the Armenian land borders are closed to all countries but Georgia, so it makes all the sense in the world to travel to Iran via Azerbaijan, rather than backtracking through Turkey. (well, at least for me it does).

24 May to 22 June 2010: Iran
Looking at spending roughly a month in Iran. If I can get a multi-entry visa I might make a little detour to Dubai in order to get to an ATM (there is no way to replenish funds in Iran).

22 to 27 June 2010: Turkmenistan
The main reason why I have to plan the first part of my trip in such great detail is the fact that Turkmen visa requirements stipulate that you specify the date of arrival, the border crossing you are going to use, and the route you will be travelling through the country. On top of that they don't give out tourist visas for more than five days!

27 June to 12 August: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan
Provided I can get all the visas I plan on travelling some of the old Silk road routes and the Pamir Highway.

Tajikistan: The Pamir Highway - need any further clarification as to why I want to go here? :-)
Any travbuddies interested in joining me, sign up now! I looked up some details, and car hire is expensive for a single traveller!

12 August to 18 September 2010: India
Hopefully the only international flight I will have to take is from Almaty, Kazakhstan, to Delhi, India. There are two reasons for flying: 1) there is a whole lot of desert, Himalayas and China in between, and 2) I have to be in Delhi in time to meet up with my mate Ed, who will be accompanying me to the Ladakh region in Northern India. Or actually, I will be accompanying him, since I will let him deal with all the planning, seeing it is his second time to the region.
The rest of my time will be spend visiting my Orange colleagues in Gurgaon, travelling around Radjastan, and making my way up to the Nepalese border.

China: Yangshuo, my main destination in southern China

18 September to 13 October 2010: Nepal
From this point onwards I will no longer be tied to strict visa requirements or timelines of friends visiting me. So the last four months of my trip will be far less 'planned' and much more in the form how I prefer to travel: just go with the flow!

13 to 20 October 2010: Tibet
Provided I can get the travel permit, I'd like to visit the roof of the world

20 October to 10 November 2010: Southern China
I hope to visit the karst peaks of Yangshuo, the surroundings of Yunnan and possibly popping by Shanghai if I have the time.

10 to 19 November 2010: Laos
Visiting some of the places I missed during my previous trip to Laos. Celebrating my birthday party in Vang Vienh sounds nice too :-)

20 to 26 November 2010: Thailand
Thailand never really appealed to me.

Myanmar: looks like a no-go, but it would be great if I can make it!
I spent a couple of days in Bangkok and Chiang May on my loop around Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and couldn't care less for it. That said, I am pretty sure that after spending 7 months roaming deserts and mountains I quite long for an idyllic beach to chill out for a day or two. And to do some scuba diving of course, since there is precious little of that available around deserts and mountains.

26 November to 10 December 2010: Myanmar
If I can get my head around the fact that by travelling to Myanmar I will involuntarily support the regime in the country, I would like to go and have a look. It might be one of the first countries I'll drop from the itinerary if I run out of time though.

11 to 22 December 2010: Malaysia
Unlike Thailand, Malaysia has always appealed to me - Looks like more scuba diving before it is time to go home again (promised my mum to be home by Christmas).

Malaysia: hoping to spend the last couple of weeks of my journey somewhere around this area

 

Basically the whole second half of above itinerary is very uncertain and sketchy. No longer being tied to strict visa requirements and/or visiting friends means I can completely change my plans and probably will. It could be that I decide to turn left instead of right and end up in Korea or the Philippines instead! Or I might stay in China for three more months and fly home from Beijing instead! Or I might not even go to China at all! Who knows? That, to me, is part of the fun of travelling.

 

Koralifix says:
Sounds and looks like an excellent plan!
Posted on: Feb 05, 2010
marg_eric says:
wow, ben zo jaloers! leuk die plannen maken hè.
Posted on: Feb 02, 2010
aotw says:
I don't almost envy you I really do ;) Looking forward to reading your adventures. Great project ;)
Posted on: Dec 06, 2009
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The cliché, but essential reading…
The cliché, but essential readin…
Armenia: I think I could stand to …
Armenia: I think I could stand to…
Iran: looking forward to visiting …
Iran: looking forward to visiting…
Tajikistan: The Pamir Highway - ne…
Tajikistan: The Pamir Highway - n…
China: Yangshuo, my main destinati…
China: Yangshuo, my main destinat…
Myanmar: looks like a no-go, but i…
Myanmar: looks like a no-go, but …
Malaysia: hoping to spend the last…
Malaysia: hoping to spend the las…
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