Leaving in early July we intend to take approximately 6 months to reach Sydney. The only time constraint that we have is our entry into China, which has to be pre-approved and organized through an agency there. Because of this we will need to be flexible about certain parts of the route in case we encounter any unforeseen problems or a change in the political situation. Our chosen route currently takes us through Europe in approximately a month, passing through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. We will then move on into Turkey around mid-August, taking approximately 10 days to reach the Iranian border and stopping in Istanbul and Ankara.
Upon entering Iran we will head for Tehran and then continue south, aiming to cross into Pakistan after approximately 10 days. We plan to spend 7 days in Pakistan, staying in the south of the country to avoid trouble spots, such as those near the borders with Afghanistan and Kashmir. Once we enter India we have allowed 3 weeks to reach the border with China. However, we have also added an extra buffer week to make sure that we have ample time to get there in case of any problems or delays earlier in the trip. This means crossing into China in early October. Our route through China has to be fixed and timetabled with the Chinese agency before we leave and cannot be changed. All in all getting from the Nepalese-Chinese border to the Chinese-Laos border will take us 21 days. Entering Laos at the end of October we will head towards Cambodia, if possible using the Mekong as a means of transport, giving us a welcome break from driving. After spending approximately a week in Cambodia we plan to enter Thailand around the middle of November. Stopping in Bangkok, we will head south towards Malaysia, possibly making a detour to some of the islands, such as Ko Samui and Ko Phagnan.
We hope to have arrived in Kuala Lumpur by the end of November but by this stage our timing is far less critical. Having spent some time in Singapore we will return to Kuala Lumpur where our van will be packed up ready to be shipped to Sumatra. From Sumatra we will island hop eastwards, working our way towards West Timor. It is expected that this will take us between 4-6 weeks, including 2 weeks spent on Borneo. Once in West Timor we will say goodbye to our van while it is shipped to Darwin. Making this crossing ourselves, either by boat or by air, we will be there to meet it when it arrives. Reunited with our van we plan to spend 2-4 weeks travelling down the east coast of Australia. With 6 months of driving behind us we will finally complete our journey, arriving in Sydney in January 2005.