On the 20th January 2020, we completed the first leg of our trip: driving from the UK to Singapore. To celebrate, we thought we would publish a slightly different blog post, reflecting back over our 306 days on the road.
We had done it. We had driven our 18 year old Land Rover Discovery II 18,165 miles across 20 countries from England to Singapore. A lifetime of planning, two years of saving money, ten months of driving, and here we finally were.
The next morning, we drove to Butterworth train station to collect my (Charlie's) parents, Moirag and Mike. They had flown into Kuala Lumpar the previous day to spend the next 11 days with us in Malaysia and Singapore.
It is in times of crisis that one learns where each other's priorities lie: would you sacrifice yourself to save a loved one? Much to Chris' dismay, we both learned that when it came to my priorities, my own safety, and the safety of my food ranked significantly higher than the safety of Chris.
Just like in China, it is not possible to drive a foreign vehicle in Myanmar without a tour guide. The following blog is aimed at those considering driving through Myanmar and has all the information we think is needed prior to doing this.
Another first for our trip - a visit to a border without actually crossing it. We had come for the infamous closing ceremony. Every evening the crowds gather to watch the closing of the border between India and Pakistan. Walking from the car park to the border felt like walking into the stadium of a premier league football match. People were selling Indian flag hats, Indian flag fans, Indian flag watches and Indian flags themselves. If you didn't want to buy memorabilia with the Indian flag on it, you could have the flag painted on your face instead.
With only a few days before our Pakistan visa expired, it was time to say goodbye. Unfortunately for India, our arrival into the country did not provide a great example of the country or its people. Writing this several weeks later, I'm afraid to say that it set the scene for what was to come.
The Khunjerab pass is at 4700 metres, and, like in China, the customs and immigration offices are further down the road at a lower altitude. The 55 mile drive there was absolutely stunning. The road was in great condition, and we were surrounded by the breathtaking Karakorum mountains. We made multiple stops for photos, although they did not do the sights justice. It made our trials and tribulations in China completely worth it.
As the title suggests, this is the third part of the (not so) thrilling and very long tale of our 5 day trip through China in our British registered car. The trilogy covers our experience of visiting China, from the starting point of researching tour operators, to the end point of exiting China and entering Pakistan.