www.footloose4x4.com ; no hard sale, extensive overland knowledge.
www.tbruk.com ; good selection of stock, quick with orders.
www.scorpionracing.co.uk ; if they don’t know they’ll find out, very helpful staff.
www.lixtoll.com ; mail order sale, no problems.
www.keithgott.com ; bought our vehicle here. Not good at upgrading vehicle to expedition standard.
www.foleysv.com ; good sound advice, worth a visit.
www.neneoverland.co.uk ; only stockists of Hannibal. After sales service with an attitude.
www.witham-sv.com ; very helpful, good choice and happy to email photo’s.
www.defendercentre.com ; not much there when we turned up. Bad timing.
www.plastor.co.uk ; really helpful and happy to let us try boxes for size.
www.paddockspares.com ; excellent find, saved us a lot of money.
www.exmoortrim.com ; superb service and products.
www.gpsw.co.uk ; mail order sale, no problems.
www.svp.gb.com ; our electrical genius-well worth the money, highly recommended.
www.stamfords.co.uk ; suppliers of maps, quick service.
www.tyrespec.co.uk ; bought our tyres from them, good service.
GENERAL TIPS FOR THE TRIP
Carry two types of credit card, one visa, the other mastercard. We have an arrangement that they are not to authorise payment unless we call first and we also have given them details of which countries we will be visiting.
Buy your equipment enroute if possible especially items like your awning and any metal work. Iran is very cheap for mechanical or bodywork jobs.
Cleaning your fruit, veg. and drinking water : people have different ideas on how to dodge “travellers trots”, you can either peel and boil everything and don’t eat salads or wash your fruit and vegetables, we love our greens so looked at the options to kill any bugs through washing.
Option one: Milton fluid. We decided against this as it weighs too much.
Option two: Micropur. This is a german tablet that you dilute into large quantities of water to ensure clean safe water. We decided against this because of the quantities of water needed for each tablet was a waste for washing a bit of fruit.
Post-note, we found this product in stanfords (map shop, London) just as we were about to leave the country. They have two types, both come in 100 tablet packets and are the same price: £12.99, chlorine free and one tablet does one litre of water.
Micropur MC 1T: needs a 2 hour wait to be bacteria free.
Micropur MF 1T: takes 30min’s to be bacteria free and 2hours to be giardia and amoebas free.
Option three: Permanganate. This is a toxic product that you add to water. It stains your skin brown and has no clear instructions on how much to dilute it by.
Option four: Milton tablets. We chose these as they are cheap, light weight, can be broken into quarters to add to smaller quantities of water, don’t stain your skin and are not toxic.
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
We will be embarrassingly honest about any mistakes we make and hope that by reading about our errors you will avoid the same pitfalls. Look at each countries diary page to see what we have had trouble with in detail.
Either drive thru within 10 days or don’t get plates. Learn to ask for only 30 litres of fuel at a time and, after they start filling the tank, ask for them to top you up.
We made the mistake of not being pushy enough at some of the PTDC motels and let them railroad us into a room, when it would have been safe to camp in the grounds. Take a clean sheet, towel and shower shoes into hotels with you as most of them are grotty.
We bought a sim card in the Punjab region and asked for it to be roaming, as we were travelling all over India. As soon as we moved into a new region they disconnected us! Every new region we had to find an Airtel office and spend 2 hours there telling our story, handing over all the same paperwork and listening to lies. This company has royally screwed us and cost us a lot in tuk tuks and calls. They advertise AIRTEL EVERYWHERE. We can honestly say that AIRTEL IS NOWHERE. We have since bought a sim card from a HUTCH main office, it works when you move states and is just as cheap but you can only buy credit in the state you purchased your sim card. So buy all the credit you’ll ever need when you get the sim card. Or just use pay phones, at 4Rs a minute to call home -they are cheap.
Horn breakdown: airhorns just don’t stand up to the pressure. We have ended up with an old landy horn on the bumper and a new one under the bonnet, but we have still spent 50% of our time in India hornless. It over heats even if we don’t use it. We have tried re positioning several times but in the end we had to disconnect the internal horn to prevent overheating. We will review the electrical cable that connects the horns when we get to Malaysia.
Never trust the first set of directions given to you. Always ask 3 different people and then make a decision. Some people have tried to send us 50km’s in the wrong direction, not out of badness but through misunderstanding or ignorance. Also remember that people will tell you to travel the route the bus takes, when there is probably a better shorter road, they just don’t know it because they only ever travel by bus!
We became ill from a dodgy bottle of water. Always check the base of water bottles as well as the cap and seal.
Take ear plugs. It’s got to be the noisiest country in the world!
We were under filled at a couple of service stations. Always fuel up in garages that have the new computerised pump systems and check that the gauge is at zero before starting.
Watch out for the classic Indian scam: You will be chased by someone who will accuse you of having hit a bike in a bid to squeeze money out of you, of course, the “injured motor cyclist” is nowhere to be seen. Several overlanders have come across this scam and the outcome has varied from: You are allowed to leave after talking your way out of it, to being beaten black and blue by locals wielding big sticks (as happened to a couple we met in Agonda). Be careful.
Always keep your doors locked– even if you are sitting in the car. People will come over and open the door, not to rob you but just because they want to look inside!
THIS PAGE SHOWS:
SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS WE ENCOUNTER
Seems to be the place for punctures, so look out for nails when parking. Keep a close eye on the political climate and don’t rely too heavily on long term plans.
Every traveller we have met that has applied for permission to drive through Burma has been refused, the process takes 5 weeks and the outcome is always the same. But there is a way: Leoni from 7 days tours agency, email@example.com personal phone number is 00491772039399 (Germany) can organise your trip. To spend 5 days driving through will cost approx. $900 per car. There is just one problem: at the eastern edge of Burma there is a mountain range that has over 20 military battalions fighting with tribal rebels, because of this you have to get on a plane and fly into Thailand for the last stretch of your trip, handing over the keys of your vehicle to the military who will arrange for someone to drive your vehicle over the hill and onto the Thai border for you. Yeah right! No wonder everyone ends up driving through China or shipping from Chennai. The other big problem you have is that the north eastern regions of India are troubled. You have to get a permit to drive through Manipur State but first it must be obtained from the authorities in that state. Good luck!
Some idiot in India blocked our credit card after accepting payment. We phoned our bank to be told that the only way we could clear the problem at our end was to find a HDFC bank auto teller machine. We are yet to find one so it’s just as well we have 2 types of credit card! ATM’s were another big problem– almost every time we tried to get money out our bank would cancel our card!! Bloody ridiculous. We would have to phone the UK and explain that, ‘Yes it is us trying to get cash’ and ‘No our card has not been stolen’! Apparently Malaysia and Thailand were high risk of bank card frauds when we were there.
Remember our 3 night ‘rule’ for bush camping– any longer and you are getting ‘noticed’. Check out our diary page highlighted ‘ Robbers on
‘ The cheapest way to extent your 2 month visa is on a day trip to Burma from Mae Sot.
DO insist on a vehicle immigration form when you enter Thailand, see our end of Thailand diary for full details-it will save you some major hassles.
Get your visa from Bangkok if possible– the border staff try to charge double the standard $20 cost!
Be VERY careful where you leave your car and be sure anything that is removable is locked on– we have been warned by expats and locals of vehicles being stripped if left unattended.
Avoid anyone in a uniform– corruption is rife.
ASIA INSURANCE: street 13, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh (near post office) Phnom Penh. Tel: 855– 023427981
Didn’t bother to get insurance although we know it can be found and is inexpensive.
Like Cambodia the people of Lao manipulate the exchange rate– be firm, know your rate and check it. Not easy at times we know.
Sourcing food, water and fuel can be a little difficult in the far south– top up whenever you get the opportunity especially if you are turning off main routes.
See China pages 1 to 4 for full information.
© www.nessiesadventures.com, 2006 All rights reserved.
TOP TIP OF THE PAGE FOR ALL LANDY OWNERS:
If you phone this number they will give you the details of the nearest land rover garage to you, anywhere in the world: 00448705000500
Google search: www.landrover.com/int/en this page has an international garage directory on it.
If you need to have parts sent over from the Uk get someone at home to take delivery, slap some dirt and grease on it and put it in an old box with a headed receipt stating that it is a promotional or second hand part that cost nothing. If not, you will be charged import tax on the part that matches the tax for your vehicle, you could end up paying 800% import tax on your part. OUCH.
TURKEY LANDROVER GARAGES: if you own a Defender then call this number: 00905323669282 it’s the personal number of an English speaking member of staff for gaye otomotiv. They are a company that can supply genuine Defender or Brit parts – most other Landrover garages in Turkey only do Freelander, Discovery or Range Rover vehicles. They are based in Ankara but can arrange to send parts to a garage near you anywhere in Turkey. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org We used them for a new exhaust and they were tremendous help.
Official land rover garages in turkey Antalya : tel. 05422547711 Kosifler Oto garage AND Istanbul: tel. 02124120412 Borusan Oto Avcilar.
None of these do defender but will do their utmost to help and suggest alternative garages.
PAKISTAN : Sigma motors Islamabad: The workshop is located at N33.65027 E073.03888 or for those with no GPS: turn out of the campsite and take an immediate left down the garden road past the Lok Virsa museum and at the end of this road you will come to a large junction, drive straight over. Take the 1st left then the 1st right turn and follow this road for a LONG way, you will pass a Honda garage and some distance after this you will see road numbers on your left for the turn. The address is: Area I-10, street 9, no. 143. Or for lazy people: just telephone them and they will collect your vehicle and drive it to the garage for you. Tel.0092-51-4433847.
NEPAL: Euro gears Pvt Ltd. This is an authorised Land rover garage. N27.72569 E085.34534 or follow the ring road round toward the Chabahil district (east side of city) and before you reach OM Hospital you will see signs for the garage. Address; Rara Marga, Dhumbarahi, Khatmandu. Tel. 9774379904
INDIA: None. We could find importers but no official garages. We did source a garage who can, apparently, import parts within two days from the middle east. See India diary entry 8th Feb.
MALAYSIA: Malaysia is a land of landrovers so you are never stuck. We used 4WD equipment Lot 1, Jalan Utas 15/7, Seksyen 15, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Kuala Lumpur. Tel. 60355116060 and ask for Janet or Teo. www.4x4.com.my They are superb and know landrovers well.
OR if you want to use an official Landrover garage do a google search for www.landrovermalaysia.com.my to source your nearest garage.
THAILAND: Google search www.landrover.co.th for information on your nearest dealer. We used the Phuket, Chiang Mai and Bangkok branches– the best one was Phuket, the staff were friendly and spoke good English but certain parts have to be ordered from Bangkok. We have been told that THE place to get spare parts for ‘any’ vehicle is Luang Road, Worachak, Bangkok 10100. We have not been there but if you look at your city centre map– draw an imaginary line from the Royal Palace to the National Stadium– it’s in between these two points.
CAMBODIA: Envotech also known as Ridge is a Landrover experienced garage just north of Phnom Penh. They sell genuine Landy parts and can service your car. We used them to do a through check of our bearings and brakes to ensure no problems during our trip through China. Someone in the garage stole our air con drainage pipe, obviously a regular customer needed one, and we only drove 20 miles before returning because the brakes hadn’t been drained properly! We only include their details in case your are desperate but strongly advice you NOT to leave your car unsupervised. TEL. Mob. 012855555 or +85512282893
The alternate for parts is: Chip Sreng on St. Kampucheakrom in Phnom Penh our friends used this shop and said they had a good selection of Landy parts.
LAOS: Forget it! Nobody knows Landrover here and the Landy owners go to Thailand for parts! We did find an ARB in Vientiane although he doesn’t sell landy parts he does speak English and may be able to help. N17.96515 E102.60602
Did find a little parts shop in Vang Vieng called MOBIS– he speaks English and can order SOME parts for some cars– don’t rely on it.
GPS - N18.93071 E102.44998
See bottom of China diary page 4 for details.
LANDROVER CONTACTS AND GARAGES + IMPORTING PARTS
OTHER OVERLAND WEB SITES:
These are our top sites, the volume and quality of information will overwhelm you.
www.africa-overland.net : fantastic site that hosts several overlanders and their trip details. It took 18 months for us to get put onto this site!
www.hectorsbigadventure.com : excellent site with details of a trip to Oz
www.antipodeanadventure.org : we met these guys at the Malaysian Landy club party.
www.dutch-courage.net : great site from experienced overlander landy lovers who have recently upgraded to a 130.
www.kathmandu-overland.com : An overlanders dream directory for almost everything, that also covers Islamabad, Quetta, Amritsar Almora.
Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan: There is no Landrover garage in Kyrgyzstan but there is one in Kazakhstan. They have moved since we used them- they are now located to the west end of Almaty. It is called MERCUR motors and they deal with volvo as well. Ask anyone where they are- it’s near the ARB shop.
Central Asia to home:
Central Asian police and officials can be a headache. If possible it’s best to avoid them. Police stops expect money from everyone- even the locals. It takes time and patience to drive away without paying some type of ‘fine’.
Be sure to get a customs form for importation of your vehicle in each country and hand it back as you leave.
From Russia onwards the Police are better and generally only stop you for speeding/ motoring offences- so slow down!!
The Ukraine border was corrupt for us but we have heard no other complaints from other travellers.
REMEMBER TO GET YOUR CARNET STAMPED WHEN YOU RE- ENTER EUROPE!!!!