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Thread: Japan - India Overland Adventure

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Japan - India Overland Adventure

    Ever since I came to Japan, I've been thinking about this big bad-ass adventure ride all the way from Japan to India. I wasn't so serious about it till I met a Japanese guy in Hokkaido who had done a "Around the World" on his Africa Twin. His story was really inspirational but I thought I'm still quite far away from such a ride. After returning to Honshu, I met a college student who had done a UK to India to Laos on a Datsun. This fellow was so encouraging! I started talking to him and soon I realized that may be I will be able to do something like that soon. So, this weekend, I dived into the web, did a lot of research and got a rough plan. Looks quite overambitious now.

    The rough route I am thinking about is:

    1. Take a ferry from Japan (Sakaiminato) to Vladivostok.
    2. Either ride all the way from Vladivostok till Moscow on the TSH (Trans-Siberian highway) or put the motorcycle on a luggage train (12-14 days to Moscow) while I travel in the Trans-Siberian Railway.
    3. From Moscow, I would enter Azerbaijan, take the coastal route next to the Caspian Sea, enter Iran.
    4. Ride across Iran. I hear Iran is much safer than one might think of.
    5. Cross over into Balochistan at Taftan. Head to Quetta and then Lahore. The real difficult part of the journey for me.
    5. Enter into India at Wagah and ride across to reach Chennai, my hometown.




    I asked myself why I should do this. Did a simple SWOT analysis:

    Strengths:
    1. Decent experience from my Ladakh ride.
    2. Perseverance

    Weakness:
    1. My mental strength is not so good.
    2. Vegetarian food habits (?)

    Opportunities:
    1. Instead of doing a 3 year "Around the World" trip, I think I will break down into 5 or 6 big rides. Japan-India; UK-Turkey; Anchorage-Argentina; Australia; Africa. So, this would fill one part.
    2. I can probably meet up with riders riding across Russia, and then join with the riders coming from Europe to India.

    Threats:
    1. Traversing Pakistan might be a problem for me considering the not-so-good India-Pakistan relations.

    Way ahead:
    Right now, my motorcycle maintenance skills are, at best, hopeless. I plan to learn motorcycle maintenance, Russian, Yoga (for mental strength) and Karate (for defense).

    Motorcycle:
    I haven't decided on the bike. Mostly, I would take the Africa Twin. I prefer a lighter bike, something which I can lift alone.

    Alone?
    And doing it alone would be really really difficult for me. I'm hoping to find someone who can ride with me.

    When?
    I'm thinking of Summer 2015. By then, I should be able to pick up the relevant skills.

    Money?
    I'm thinking of 50 JPY every kilometre. So, 18000kms will be about 100 man JPY. The bike and accessories included, I'm looking at 150 man JPY. Time to save up!

    Hoping to do it sometime soon!

    Last edited by rakeshogi; 08-09-13 at 08:00 PM.

  2. #2

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    Go for it! That would be the trip of a life time. You could even work some sponsors
    to help pay for the trip. If you need a hand finding a nice AT let me know.
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  3. #3
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    This is a good source of info for that kind of trip: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/

  4. #4
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    Just found out that Indian passport holders can't get a Pakistani tourist visa!
    In which case, I would have to ship the bike from Iran to India.

    Is there someone in our group who has ridden in these areas? If you could lead me up to someone who has done Iran-Pakistan-India trip in the recent times, it would be great!

    It's gonna be one hell of a journey, when it happens!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by rakeshogi View Post
    Ever since I came to Japan, I've been thinking about this big bad-ass adventure ride all the way from Japan to India.

    Motorcycle:
    I haven't decided on the bike. Mostly, I would take the Africa Twin. I prefer a lighter bike, something which I can lift alone.
    You should spend the time to read Sibirsky Extreme 2012 - The Toughest Ride of Them All which covers much of that route from the UK to Eastern Russia. You'd be going in the opposite direction but there's a lot to learn there.

    I think an Africa Twin would be too large. I think you should be thinking a 400 cc DP bike like a Suzuki DR400S. The 600ccc DP class is an option too but that depends on your size and your riding ability (for this kind of ride.)

    Walter Colebatch, who organized the 2012 Sibirsky Extreme ride, has a long treatise on why no one should be riding anything bigger than a 600cc DP bike on a major cross-continent offroad ride.

    If you're going to stay on asphalt, then maybe the Africa Twin is possible, but I still think it's too heavy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkanai View Post

    I think an Africa Twin would be too large. I think you should be thinking a 400 cc DP bike like a Suzuki DR400S.
    I was thinking the same thing, a bigger bike would be more of a hindrance then a help...

    This Japanese guy did a trip from Europe to Japan on a Yamaha TT250R Raid. Maybe some useful info here.
    http://j-hoppers.com/waruida/menumain_j.htm

  7. #7
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    Some thoughts:

    (1) Agree with Gen that a smaller bike is better. Maybe 400cc. Africa Twin would be doable, but why make things harder on yourself with the extra weight for unneeded power?

    (2) No trip like this should involve you riding on a train while your bike is hauled separately for you. At least not as part of your original plan! Plan to ride the whole way.

    (3) Instead of a ferry to Vladivostok, why not a shorter ferry to Sakhalin, then north to hitch a ride across the super-narrow Strait of Tartary? Riding good, ferries and trains bad!

    (4) If Pakistan says "Screw you", say "Screw you" right back and route around it. Maybe you can swing around through the other "Stans" into northern India. It would be a hell of an experience. You might think of Afghanistan as an absolute no-go, but this guy explains how he travels around in the off-the-radar parts you'd need to cross through: http://www.offtheunbeatentrack.com/afghanistan/ (amazing site in general, too; go check it out!)

    (5) Another vote for Horizons Unlimited and their "HUBB" forum as a great place to go for advice.

    (6) I would love to do this, and have thought about a similar trip for years. Sadly, it would have been a lot easier for me before I got married, a mortgage, and kids. Keep me in the loop for now, but it would take SERIOUS arms-talks level negotiations and planning for me to logistically, financially, and non-divorcedly be able to join you.
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  8. #8
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    I wish I could do something like this some day.

    I believe rides like these should be on every serious adventure rider's bucket list. Sadly, only a minority get lucky enough to pull one off.

    Not much help I can offer, but all the best of luck planning and executing.
    ----------------
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    Nice! I envy your plan. Have you already checked what it'll take to get your bike across the border? Carnet? License plates etc?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkanai View Post
    I think an Africa Twin would be too large. I think you should be thinking a 400 cc DP bike like a Suzuki DR400S. The 600ccc DP class is an option too but that depends on your size and your riding ability (for this kind of ride.).
    Quote Originally Posted by Twinrider View Post
    I was thinking the same thing, a bigger bike would be more of a hindrance then a help...
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre View Post
    Some thoughts:

    (1) Agree with Gen that a smaller bike is better. Maybe 400cc. Africa Twin would be doable, but why make things harder on yourself with the extra weight for unneeded power?
    Totally true that a smaller bike is better. I was just thinking in thin air that the 750cc AT would be lighter than the GS. Turns out that the AT is still too heavy from scratch. Definitely a 400cc DRZ seems to be the way to go. Or I might just go in for the new CB400X because I can push Honda (my employer) to sponsor me.

    I've been speaking to Peter, who did a UK to Russia to Alaska to Argentina on a DRZ. He was very happy with the Suzuki.

    @Gen: Thank you for the link. I came across Walter's ride in ADVrider.com.

    @TR: Will check it out! A 250cc seems to be a viable option too.

    @Guy: 2. Oh yeah, screw the trains! I think Russia will be the central part of my ride and in no circumstances, should I skip it.
    3. I don't see a road anywhere close to Strait of Tartary. Don't know how I will join the Trans-Siberian from there. (Have to do research on this)
    4. Just found some Indians who got around the Pakistan visa issue. They travelled via Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, China, Nepal and then India!
    5. I started by reading HUBB! I thought I will post here in GR first and then post there. I am also following ADVrider.com and ThornTree of Lonely Planet.
    I could find some guys who did such trips. Have been speaking to them, of late.
    6. That's precisely the reason I'm rushing into this. Once you get family commitments, it's almost impossible I think.

    @rider2371: True that! A lot of us dream to do such stuff but only a few end up doing it. I seriously hope I pull it off! :-)

    @jsteenderen: I haven't started any paper work. This "project" is still at a very nascent stage. But I got some contacts who can guide me in the paperwork matters.

    Two things:

    1. I seriously don't have the guts to do this alone. Last year's lonely Himalayas ride taught me a big lesson. I'm looking for a ride partner. I'm gonna post in the HUBB soon but I'm not sure if it's still too early to post about a 2015 ride.

    2. I'm almost '0' at motorcycle maintenance. I have done some hands-on work when in Univ but nothing much to write home about. So, I'm looking for someone who can guide me with basic motorcycle maintenance. I have tried working with my Jap friends but a lot of times, the language barrier makes it completely impossible to ask and clarify doubts. Is there someone in our group who has a garage and does a lot of service? If yes, I would love to come to your garage and see how you do things so that I can learn from you. And "drinks" on me if you will to let me in your garage!

    Thanks!
    Rakesh

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    Quote Originally Posted by rakeshogi View Post
    Dude. It's late and I've only read the first few entries, but this is awesome. I'm looking forward to waking up tomorrow and reading the rest of your adventure. For the moment, I'm going to ignore any lessons you learned and just enjoy the story.

    Very jealous.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Japan - India Overland Adventure

    Quote Originally Posted by rakeshogi View Post
    3. I don't see a road anywhere close to Strait of Tartary. Don't know how I will join the Trans-Siberian from there. (Have to do research on this)
    There are roads there, but they're dirt. Zoom in more on Google Maps!

    UPDATE: I just checked Google Maps, and now it has a lot LESS detail than it did a year ago when we were planing our Sakhalin trip! A lot of the little roads just aren't showing up any more. Lame, Google. Very lame.

    I have a Sakhalin road atlas I can lend you if you end up actually going there.
    Last edited by Guy Jinbaiquerre; 11-09-13 at 09:11 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rakeshogi View Post
    4. Just found some Indians who got around the Pakistan visa issue. They travelled via Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, China, Nepal and then India!
    Did you read their blog about going through China? Doesn't sound much better:

    Our Nationality – Both Tushar and I are Indian Passport holders. This has been a huge concern for the Chinese authorities because we were driving through sensitive areas in our own car. Our route took us through Aksai Chin, which was claimed by India ( part of Jammu and Kashmir) and is under Chinese Administration. One of the reasons behind the Indo-Sino war in the 60’s was Aksai Chin. Due to our nationality, the Chinese government stipulated a set route for us, which we had to keep to at all times. During one of the routes, our guide told us that we could not stop on the way ( the drive to the next destination was 10 hours) or take pictures. We were not allowed to stop for lunch or even for a toilet break. We have had to register at almost every army station on our route so that a tab could be kept on our whereabouts. Other conditions applied on us were that we were not given permission to do the Mt Kailash Parikrama (circumambulation) nor were we allowed to talk to any monks or religious people in Tibet. Due to ill health caused by altitude sickness, Tushar and I decided to cut short our trip in China and head into Nepal sooner. However, we were not allowed to exit China before the date, which we had originally planned. Only when the Chinese government gets the necessary exit papers related to us, will we be allowed to leave the country. Don’t, be put off though. I found the local Chinese person very warm and friendly.

    Exiting China – We have now exited China. The border control got our exit papers ahead of our original exit date. At the border control, the army checked nearly every photograph in our camera and checked almost every item in our luggage. (we have around 17 bags with us; food, medicines, clothes, laptop and electronics etc)
    In addition, the last I heard was that you're not allowed to just show up on your own bike and ride around in China. First, you need a Chinese drivers' license, not an international driving permit. Second, you need a Chinese guide to ride with you everywhere you go in China. There may also be problems with getting your bike allowed into China and certified to use on Chinese roads; I'm not sure about this. And there may be ways around some of these bureaucratic rules, but they generally involve paying ridiculous sums of money to the bureaucrats! Read more about riding in China on HUBB, and weep.

    Afghanistan sounds pretty good by comparison, IMHO.
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    Rakeshogi, this guy is traveling from Alaska to Argentina on a 90cc Honda Cub. Probably some useful info here on international touring.
    http://hondavstheworld.com/

    And now you're lucky enough to have Noah in Japan, who no doubt will have some good info.
    http://www.gaijinriders.com/showthre...225#post126225

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    wow, i cant believe what i am reading. some of the stubborn "i can do anything on my huge ass heavy 1200cc ADV bike" GRs seem to be coming to their senses!

    i have an awesome F800GS, but that is my big street touring bike and it is great for that. my ADV touring bike is a carefully set up DRZ400S. i want to do japan to europe some day and i would take something like my DRZ. actually i might be tempted to just get a cheaper Djebel as i would hate to have to risk losing my beloved DRZ on such a trip!

    ride a motorcycle in india? no thanks! i went there and had to really contain myself not to be scared shitless every minute just riding in a car with a pro driver. india is awesome but it is not a country that i would want to ride a motorcycle in myself. respect to you and your bravery!


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    rakeshoggi, other interested readers may enjoy this site as well. Possibly already aware of this site but figured I'd post it anyways.

    Various interesting ride-reports mainly geared to Asian destinations but also has links to other sites, blogs etc.: http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-f...p#ride-reports

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    I didn't read the blog. Just got that guy's contact. Wll speak to him and get the exact details. I heard from someone that I have to pay 250 USD for one day in China. Have to confirm.

    And there's no way you can enter India from Afghanistan! It's off limit for civilians.

    Damn, I'm checkmate-d

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    Quote Originally Posted by haildamage View Post
    ride a motorcycle in india? no thanks! i went there and had to really contain myself not to be scared shitless every minute just riding in a car with a pro driver. india is awesome but it is not a country that i would want to ride a motorcycle in myself. respect to you and your bravery!
    Last time I went home during the Golden week holidays, I just couldn't ride in India! Used a car all the time. I cant believe that I rode there a few years ago

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by haildamage View Post
    wow, i cant believe what i am reading. some of the stubborn "i can do anything on my huge ass heavy 1200cc ADV bike" GRs seem to be coming to their senses!
    Oh, we absolutely can. We just don't like to show off.
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  20. #20
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    you cant ride in china without an official guide service which is very expensive. most skip china for that reason.

    i suppose when you grow up and live in india, it seems fine and normal. it is very interesting the way traffic flows like red blood cells through a vein as seen under a microscope- no lanes, just whatever fits. i loved india, but completely lost interest in motorcycle touring there!


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