The Greatest Trip Ever

In three hours of extensive enthusiasm, Kodhi and me have come up with what we think is the greatest travel route ever. I decided that it would be cool to travel overland from the Pacific coast of Asia to the Atlantic Coast of Europe. In a stroke of genius, Kodhi decided that it would be even cooler to travel back to the Pacific coast once the Atlantic coast had been reached, with the additional rule that you couldn’t visit any of the same cities. We came up with the following route, which (I repeat myself here) is the greatest ever (except that we couldn’t fit in Ulaan Bataar). For your viewing pleasure, here it is:

Hong Kong – Beijing West
Beijing – Urumqi 
Urumqi – Almaty
Almaty – Tashkent
Tashkent – Samarkand – Bukhara – Nukus
Nukus – Turkmenistan (border crossing) – Ashgabat
Ashgabat – Merv 
Merv – Mashhad (border crossing)
Mashhad – Yazd – Shiraz – Esfahan – Tehran
Tehran – Tabriz – Istanbul
Istanbul – Sofia – Belgrade
Belgrade – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Ljublubna – Venice
Venice – San Marino – Naples – Rome – Florence – Genoa – Milan
Milan – Ventimegla – Monaco – Nice
Nice – Perpignan – Barcelona
Barcelona – Valencia – Sevilla
Sevilla – Faro
Faro – Lisbon – Porto
Porto – Vigo
Vigo – Madrid – Bilbao – San Sebastian
San Sebastian – Bordeaux – Nantes – Paris – Lille – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Den Hague – Amsterdam
Amsterdam – Koln – Bremen – Hamburg – Berlin
Berlin – Prague – Vienna – Bratislava – Budapest – Krakow – Warsaw
Warsaw – Minsk – Vilinius – Riga – Tallinn – St. Petersburg – Moscow – Vladivostok

This will take 13 visas (I counted) and cover about twenty or thirty countries (I didn’t count). Porto is basically journey’s end on the first leg of the trip since that’s where Vasco Da Gama started from. The trip starts with the trans-Chinese railroad and ends with the trans-Siberian railroad.

Since Kodhi and me are poor FMCG traveling salesman and retail broker  in the midst of a financial crisis, and we don’t have the coolth that Popagandhi has to just pick ourselves up and start traveling, please contribute generously so that we can quit our jobs and undertake this trip. We will be very grateful for this act of kindness.

0 Responses to The Greatest Trip Ever

  1. popagandhi says:

    if i were indian, i’d give up on that route immediately — just with the sheer number of visas you guys need! i think i only need two or three, russia and the ex-soviet countries!

    speaking of which, i’m probably doing almaty-urumqi. was thinking of heading home for the chinese new year by doing that + urumqi + beijing then fly out of beijing, HK or shanghai… but i think i don’t have it in me to join 1 billion other chinese people rushing home at the tail end of winter.. especially since mine is still a long way from there.

    if i had the balls, after urumqi i’d jump on a chinese tour from beijing and go to north korea for a bargain. (3000 euros for westerners with the western tour agencies; 3000 RMB for the chinese!)

  2. Dibyo says:

    I hear what Popagandhi says – I spend 3-4 weeks making visas for one week of business travel on average, if I have 2-3 countries to go to. This will take 1-2 years of visa apps, atleast. And countless trips to embassies in Delhi (so living in Bangalore will be a serious disadvantage)

    Also, instead of donating to overpaid MBA trash like you two – I think I’ll start saving, maybe I can do it in 4-5 years?

  3. Aadisht says:

    Popagandhi, Dibyo:

    I think along with saving up money and quitting jobs to have enough time to actually do all the travelling, one essential requirement of this trip will be to change citizenship also.

    Though you never know… by the time we have the money India might actually get its act together on bilateral visa agreements.

  4. Aadisht says:

    Dibyo, how about doing this as a relay?

  5. neha says:

    Can I be the chronicler?
    I promise to look away when you weep out of homesickness. 🙂

  6. Anil says:

    Nice stuff. Have covered most of the ones in the 2nd half during exchange. So how many days do you think this should take ?

  7. popagandhi says:

    @anil how many days? this should take six months. i think it’ll be a just right amount of time, and that’s six months of straight travelling. add a few more (or six more), for stopping over and hanging out at the places you like, in between.

    aren’t you indians eligible for the UK work-holiday visa? i thought they did it for many commonwealth coutries. do it in the reverse, start from europe: take on temp jobs in any of the west/east european countries while you need it, make enough pounds and euros, and keep moving east 🙂

  8. I like Hong Kong and Jamaica. No visas required for Indian passport holders.

    Now if only they came with discount airlines. Seriously, where is the discount airline of that so called freest market in the world? I want to wander off in the direction of the airport already.

  9. Aadisht says:


    they had a low cost airline called Oasis which went bankrupt. So it goes. But if HK doesn’t need a visa then we’re down to 12 visas.

  10. Anil says:

    Its very much doable in less than 3 months too 🙂

    The reason I asked the qn was .. how does one do it ? Just tick mark places off the map and move on. Or stay at a place, enjoy it for 3-4 days etc. 🙂

  11. Anil says:

    Just noticed.. Where the hell is Scandi ? I’m pretty sure going to Rovaniemi at crossing the Arctic Circle is going to be worth the fight!

  12. Aadisht says:


    how do we do it – well, Kodhi and me want to take at least a day in each location. But for really strong places like Uzbekistan and Barca and Prague and St. Petersburg we want to do much more.

    The Arctic Circle is a separate itenary. Please consult Monkee.

  13. popagandhi says:

    @anil three months? hardly enough! one month in europe was hardly enough for 2 countries (and the 5 cities/towns in them). i felt that was too short. two months in india — with significant rail travel — seldom lets me even cover a comparable distance between any of those points on the same continent. people need to travel slower! 3-4 days in each place sounds like a lot but you’re bound to run into the sort of place where even 2 weeks is too short 🙂 but then i’ve been influenced by the people i meet on the road who travel for… a year, two, ten, and it makes me feel like my own travelling is lacking several months/years.

  14. Shamanth says:

    I had fantasized about one such trip when I was in Europe earlier this year – overland from there to India. Trouble with that trip would have been Afghanistan – not that I had the money to manage that trip.

    Your route’s evidently much better. It’d be still more awesome to drive all the way across and back! The money though, sigh, one awaits.

  15. Masabi says: are there. They even ate testicles in Mongolia along the way.

  16. Aadisht says:

    Shamknot, you can avoid Afghanistan on the overland route to India in two ways. The first is William Dalyrymple’s route in In Xanadu – go from Iran to Pakistan. From Pakistan, cross into India at Wagah.

    Otherwise, go to Moscow from Europe. Then Moscow-Beijing by train. from there, Karakorum Highway into Pakistan and into India through Wagah again. Or into Sikkim through Nathu-la. No idea if this would actually be permitted by any of the countries involved.

  17. Chan says:

    1. Put map of your route.
    3. Off topic – I too have put most of your W.Europe section on exchange. This time, I had good opportunity to foray into new Central / E.Europe Schengen additions. I had Prague and Bratislava on top of my list, but eventually I did Brussels, Munchen and Berlin. The last two were re-visits, but I ditched E.E for a couple of reasons – EE by train from Paris for just a weekend visit is a little too far away, and I decided seeing new places was a lower priority than meeting people, or something like that. Next time anyway no Eurail youth pass, so will put flight.

  18. skimpy says:

    @shamanth the overland route to india was some max famous hippie trail – thatz what i’ve heard

    and i think the best way of financing this would be to make a TV show out of it. imagine this – 3 MBAs (i’m inviting myself on this trip) from an IIM traveling on this route… what we can do is to carry a handycam along and send a CD with footage every time we reach a post office. and this can be an ongoing TV show while we are still traveling.

    and I think if we can convince any of the stupid channels about this, they can help us out with the visas

  19. popagandhi says:

    or better still, do an internet tv show about it. i’m doing an internet travel show (more on this later), and… if it works out, it could work in the india market, with some modifications.

  20. skimpy says:

    i thought about TV because both book and internet market aren’t developed enough in india to make enough money to fund the trip

  21. HK offers 14 visa-free days for Indians:

    AFAIK, this applies to all commonwealth passport holders.

    I flew JetStarAsia to Singapore, and then they folded. I flew NokAir to Bangkok, and then they too folded. Tiger flies to .sg now, but my visa’s expired and I don’t have a vacation coming up. Oasis is out before I even get on the plane.

    Just my luck. Maybe I should ask for a raise.

  22. Anil says:

    Thats a fab idea man! Now that most of Eastern Europe is also covered under Schengen, makes life a bit easy. Getting the other visas is tough though.

    How much time does the Moscow-Beijing train take ? The longest train journey I did in Europe was from Amsterdam to Copenhagen.. Or was it from Napoli to Marseille. Dont remember timings.. but yes I travelled in a sitting car 🙂

  23. Anil says:

    I am sure you guys must have checked this website. –

  24. Aadisht says:


    for some reason your comments keep ending up in the Spam folder. Despammed your comment now only.

    As far as testicles are concerned, I can only quote Dr. Mahinder Watsa’s sage words of wisdom from Mumbai Mirror: “Stop fiddling with your testicles. There are better ways to utilise your time. You are normal and need to just get on with life.”

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