Visits

Location Date Transport Notes
Hama 07 June, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. An unexciting trip.
Aleppo 06 June, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Longer than it should have been due to crappy bus breaking down near Aleppo. Reasonably quick at the border; transit visas to Syria (3 days) are free and can be extended for around US$1.
Antakya 06 June, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. A little expensive, but the time was right. Slept the whole way, the bus was almost empty.
Gaziantep 05 June, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Bus boy told us it would be 11 hours, damnit. There is a bus which leaves at midday and arrives around the same time, as it takes the southern route around the lake, rather than the northern one. Hot during the day when we got out, but otherwise quite comfortable. Seats 23 and 24 on these busses are good - just by the middle exit, with heaps of leg room.
Van 04 June, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. A pleasant trip, with good scenery along the way. Great view of Mt Arrarat and crazy volcanic rock fields. Would be stunning in winter (if the roads are even open).
Doğubayazıt 04 June, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Cheap bus to Maku (slow, too hot) followed by a cheap taxi (20,000 for about 15km is damn good) followed by a relatively expensive dolmush (shared van) the rest of the way. Left my passport on the last step, took a while to get it back.
Tabriz 01 June, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Goddamn overnight busses. Standard affair - sugary snacks, juice, water, bad habit of switching off aircon and whatnot. Very little sleep.
Tehran 29 May, 2009 Train Quite small cabins for 6 people, but we travelled with Gustavo and Angelica from Brazil and Ali, an expatriate Irani living in Australia, which made it more bearable. Arrived earlier than expected, we were due at 05:30.
Yazd 26 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Paid new bus price for an old bus. Aircon eventually failed, but the scenery was nice and I managed to learn the correct alphabetical order for the thai alphabet along the way. Then got dropped off way the fark out of town, as the bus was passing through to somewhere else (probably Mashhad).
Shiraz 24 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Overnight bus trip. Little sleep. Annoying taxi drivers at the bus station.
Esfahan 21 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Hilly at the start, but easy travelling thereafter. Loud annoying movie, too hot, feeling somewhat sick in the back of the bus.
Kashan 19 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Uneventful trip. Passed through Qom on the way through, lots of Chadors, people getting on and off from the motorway.
Tehran 17 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Slightly too hot, but otherwise alright. I hate overnight buses.
Tabriz 13 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Bus from Agri to Dogubayazit (great scenery, again), dolmush from Dogubayazit to the border, then bus from the border to Tabriz. We were lucky enough to catch the Istanbul -> Tehran bus as it crossed the border and jumped on with them. A Tabrizi guy heading home got his father to drop us off to a hotel when we arrived as well, making things easier.
Ağrı 12 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Small bus, rather than the normal variety. Scenery absolutely spectacular in the evening light, green valleys with snow capped mountains to both sides. Clouds closing in making great contrasts of light and dark. Steep canyons. Overall, very good. Was hoping to get to Dogubayazit on the same trip, but had to break overnight here in Agri.
Erzurum 08 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Attractive trip through steep valleys and over two passes. Skifield spotted en route near the Trabzon side of the first pass, maybe come back some day to check it out :) Snow on the second pass, not on the road though. Too hot, as is often the case, made the driver turn on the aircon again. Stinkiest staff ever...
Trabzon 06 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Down through mountains to the coast, then along the coast to Trabzon. Many tunnels, some mountains, mainly beside the sea. Yildizi company, which has an office near Garanti Bank and the big mosque in Amasya. Not a bad bus, but stuffy and too hot.
Amasya 04 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Much longer than expected. Changed buses in Kayseri. Bus was pleasant enough, but too hot. Metro bus company. Awesome thunderstorm en route.
Göreme 01 May, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Not too bad, overnight bus from Istanbul on the Nevsehir bus company. Two food breaks along the way - gozeleme available for 3 YTL, tasty. Tea and coffee served twice along the way.
Istanbul 27 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Good bus, too many loud crying babies.
Antakya 26 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Meant to be on a bus, which didn't arrive. The bus company put us on a taxi instead - wanted extra cash, but we resisted and they let us go anyway. Quicker this way. This was stage one of a trip all the way to Istanbul. Unfortunately the bus didn't depart Antakya until 19:30, so we had to wait for quite a while.
Aleppo 22 April, 2009 Car (Private) Took a ride back in a vehicle which had been doing a tour from Aleppo, and was returning to base. Very comfortable. The trip would be shorter in a bus, however, as we stopped for tea and food along the way.
Hama 21 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Cheap trip for three hours... it costs more for Homs, which is shorter (weird). Decent bus. New bus station is out of town further, 40-50 SYP for a taxi in.
Damascus 17 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc.
Palmyra 13 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Flat and unexciting, in the main. Ticket price a little steep.
Deir ez-Zur 07 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Microbus transport, argued over bags, but managed to fit it all in without any extra charges.
Raqqa 06 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc.
Aleppo 05 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc.
Lattakia 03 April, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc.
Tartus 31 March, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Walked some distance, then caught a taxi/minivan (for 125 SYP), followed by another on the main highway (300 SYP) followed by a service (75 SYP + 25 SYP luggage, as we took up an extra seat for it). Costs are for three people.
Homs 31 March, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Travelled with Kadmous bus, on the 7.30 AM departure. Passports need to be shown to buy tickets (weird, but seems to be the norm here in Syria). Water served on the bus, but nothing else.
Damascus 29 March, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Had to get a visa at the border (NZ is US$60, Thailand is US$12), but otherwise unexciting. Arrive at a bus station seemingly in the middle of the suburbs. Taxi to town from there is 150 SYP.
Amman 28 March, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc.
Aqaba 27 March, 2009 Boat
Dahab 22 March, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Overpriced trip, on a somewhat better bus than normal.
Cairo 22 March, 2009 Train
Alexandria 20 March, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc.
Siwa 12 March, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Long stopover in Marsa Matrouh, cheap sandwiches available there. Beautiful sunset over the desert at the half way point - avoid the toilets there...
Alexandria 08 March, 2009 Train On the faster train, but left about 45 minutes late... Quick trip overall though, no real comments, except possibly that all Egyptians were born in tents, as they can't seem to close a door behind them, ever.
Cairo 04 March, 2009 Train Second class train, not too bad. Lights not turned off over night. Idiots play music on their cellphones. Lots of leg room, a little cold with the aircon on. Bring an iPod to drown out the rest :)
Luxor 21 February, 2009 Train Short train trip. Tickets purchased on the train, possibly an additional fee for this (ticket indicates 25 + 6) although the fee could be because of the train speed (semi-express). Second class aircon, not bad - good leg room anyway, a little too cold though. Purchasing tickets on the train doesn't get you a seat reservation, however, so you may have to move when people arrive with bookings for your seats.
Aswan 18 February, 2009 Train Trip not in first class as advertised, which is annoying. Nefertiti class in tolerable though, and I slept far more than I normally do on non-sleeper busses and trains. A little cold over night, but not bad for me, June + Joyce cold though - possibly because I was sitting next to the heater...
Cairo 13 February, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Across the Sinai region. Windy up from the coast, then a little windy on the way down towards the Suez canal. Attractive, if repetitive scenery. One pit stop along the way.
Nuweiba 10 February, 2009 Boat Slow ferry from Aqaba to Nuweiba... If you're on the slow boat, book a cabin or something, it took a very, very long time.
Aqaba 09 February, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Minibus, 4 dinars.
Wadi Musa / Petra 05 February, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Minibus, no more people than seats though. Disregard requests for more money for your bags - leave them in the aisle like everyone else.
Amman 03 February, 2009 Flight Qatar airways - not bad.
Bangkok 21 January, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Second class (although with a toilet on board), quick, no stops except at stations, friendly and helpful staff (who somehow managed to understand my attempts at advanced Thai, things like "when do we arrive in bangkok" and "do you go to the mo chit station").
Aranya Prathet 21 January, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. First class bus to Aranya Prathet. Confirmed that first class busses are a rip off, as the bus stopped more often than the second class one I took back. The snack given was so scary looking (possibly a slice of bread with far too much butter, covered by sprinkled sugar, before being sealed inside a couple of layers of clear plastic) that I wasn't game to try it. I'll point out here that I've eaten dog, rat, donkey, crocodile, kangaroo and various bugs in the past. This still looked to scary.
Bangkok 19 January, 2009 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Took what is possibly the old way from Kanchunaburi to Bangkokg - slightly higher cost and far greater time (2 hrs vs 3 hrs). Don't take busses from the spot marked "Bangkok (Old Road)". Also note that it goes past Sai Tai Mai, not too it; let them know you want to go there in advance, and they'll look after you.

Pages