Through the Baluchistan desert towards Iran

This was one of the great overland journeys for under 35s - travelling in converted regional English double deckker buses. A "once in a lifetime adventure.

We travelled in 1985 in a convoy of two buses - Snot and Boogie. In those early days you could travel with Top Deck all the way from Sydney to London. Times change, and now the longest trip is London to Istanbul, still a mighty endeavour. The spirit of travel lives on!

EXPLORING Asia, Middle East and Europe overland

On the TOP DECK journey
We covered vast distances and saw fascinating places that it would be difficult to using any other form of travel. Looking at the map below, we can see all the major cities and sites visited on the journey.

The route through Asia and the Middle East on this amazing journey


This is an outline of the 3 month itinerary that includes cultural sites, walking excursions and life aboard a Top Deck Bus.

  • Begin at: Kathmandu, Nepal and continue overland, (and by plane - crossing the Indian-Pakistani border) through Asia, the Middle East, Asia Minor, Europe and finally to England and London.
Asia Overland Itinerary: 3 MONTHS
    Busy, noisy and so fascinating. Porridge and other western foods available for travellers. This was the meeting point for the beginning of this epic adventure of 84 days and around 8,500 kms. Get your asian travel clothes and change money for Nepalese and Indian Rupees here.
    This is India's sacred river. People swim, wash and drink its water. The ghats are where Indian's cremate their deceased. India, ever-changing, ever amazing. After the first week of culture shock, you can start flowing with it.
    The house boat is 60-80 feet long and is secured to the bottom of the lake (about seven feet deep). The front of the boat has an ornately carved staircase and verandah. All wooden construction ornately carved in Kashmiri Pine which smells like camphorwood..
    Audrey and I are on cooking duties today. Boiled eggs etc for breakfast and then off to the markets, while Audrey goes off to pick up her luggage which Pakistan Airlines had misplaced back in July 10. She flew P.I.A from Scotland. Lunch was a great success. Pancakes with a mango and banana mash.
    Alcohol is forbidden in Iran. Up at 5.30 am and watch the unfolding road. Some of us are becoming used to getting short stretches of sleep. Driving along the excellent road, signposted all the way, we pass trucks and cars all the way. The desert terrain varies to fantastic mountain ranges with pastel earth colours in all hues.
    Early shower, clothes washed at Kaya Camping site at Goreme. What a sunny morning. Goreme is an area consisting of a number of small villages. This area is famous for its naturally sculpted hillsides, rocks and caves. There are many German and French tourists here.
    Another pleasant, sunny morning, and hepatitis is the big news again. A number of jokes proliferate, but we are taking it philosophically. If we get it – we get it. Salad rolls for lunch and a quick walk around to snap a picture of Amman. It’s the financial capital of the Middle East, that’s why it’s so affluent.
    Breakfast of fresh bread covered with sesame seeds, cottage cheese and grapes and bananas. Our room, which sleeps eight gets very hot and the toilet flushes very noisily. I head off to Jericho and catch an Arab bus. At the Jericho end I meet with two Irish girls, Eileen and Cleona, who are travelling around Israel for two weeks.
    After breakfast it’s off to downtown Damascus to buy, buy and buy at the huge bazaar. Food here is so cheap. Soft drinks 10 cents, falafels 20 cents, beer 50 cents, ice cream 15 cents. The bazaar(s) consist of huge covered areas within the ancient stone walls of the old city.
    Down for an early morning swim. Peter and Martin swim the 1 km to the island fort. The water here is pleasantly warm and we all spend the morning splashing and swimming in the Mediterranean. Next it’s off to the town of Silifke to buy food. Lunch is a fantastic spread of fresh bread, cheese, cold meat, salad and parsley.
    6.00 am start (cooking again). We said au revoir to the girls from the other bus and headed off to Anzac Cove and Lone Pine, the landing places where the Anzacs attempted to gain a strategic foothold in Turkey during the First World War. There are graves and memorials.
  • We spend a few hours at the Yugoslav border, while the border officials eat their dinner. Four hours later we clear the border gate and drive through the night towards Belgrade. Early in the morning we drive through Belgrade and continue along the highway through Yugoslavia. Most of the day is spent driving through flat, boring countryside. In the late afternoon the scenery improves considerably, green hills now sporadically covered with pine forests are interspersed with small villages. The scents of the forests are so fresh and pleasant. We stop at a town to buy some food and visit some Yugoslav shops. People dress more trendily here. We push on to the Italian border where the police check our bus for drugs with a sniffer dog.
    I caught up with the others and we spent a very pleasant afternoon in one of the outdoor cafes. We wended our way back to the buses at twilight and I could see that this was a festival city. At Fuscina Camping we ate horse spare ribs and roast chicken. The celebrations continued.
    Up early and breakfast. We slept well due to the low overnight temperatures. There are queues for the showers so you have to get in early and you need a token for hot water. We caught the free bus into the grounds of the festival.
    We miss the 03.00 am ferry, but manage to secure a berth at 6.00 am.The bus is driven on and we head up to the upper decks which include a restaurant, duty free shop, cinema, poker machines, a bar and overnight accommodation. Our destination. In some ways it felt as if you were a new version of "Barry MacKenzie" visiting the motherland. Certainly Dekkers Hotel in Earls Court helped keep that image alive.
Our Take:
This OVERLAND journey which we did in 1985 gives you an experience of a lifetime. It's hard to believe that our bus included 20 people as well as a driver and a courier. There were permanent bunks up the top, and convertable bunks plus kitchen downstairs. it was one of the best value journeys for under 35s. The places we visited were amazing, and not so easy to get to these days.