During the first few years of our life on the road we didn’t encounter many overlanders, especially farther in the orient. Today, few daredevils travel the once well-trodden hippy trail from Europe to India, and because South East Asia is tough to reach overland without a shipment even fewer overlanders venture there.
Overlanders in Asia
This is an overview of images I could find of overlanders we met along this journey. Mind you, there are more vehicles and fellow travelers glued to our minds but we just forgot to take photos of them.
Read More: Frequently Asked Questions
Our first meeting with fellow overlanders was in Istanbul on a campground when having the Land Cruiser’s first serious repair done at the Toyota dealer: A family of four in an intriguing looking VW/2CV contraption.
And just before crossing into Iran, in eastern Turkey, we met the incredibly courageous Magali and her animals.
Next was the first Toyota in a long line of Toyotas. And strangely, most of them were white.
Surely the “best 4x4xfar” wasn’t too far away.
Read More: Sign Boards in Pakistan
Our first and only encounter with a Renault 4×4 was on the border of Iran and Pakistan, where we met three pensioned Italians.
Just before buying our Land Cruiser, I (Coen) was smitten (still am) by the looks of the Land Rover Series. We came very close to setting off in one and that might have led to a completely different adventure.
On the one and only Official Foreigners Campsite in Islamabad we met up with loads of overlanders and I regret not having taken images of all the nice people we met and their rigs.
But the few we have here left a lasting impression in one way or another.
We had been looking into this big-ass MAN truck called Nosy, which was for sale for a reasonable price. The downside was we would have to get a special driver’s license to drive it. It proved too much hassle and we abandoned the plan. Spotting it in Islamabad with its new owner and dog brought big smiles to our faces.
Read More: The Journey
Some chose out-of-the-ordinary modes of transport, like this Vespa.
We decided to backpack a stretch into China from Pakistan and in Kashgar (read about it here) we met up with Stephen Stewart and his gang who had made the choice to cross China with 5 vehicles.
Another Series at the Medina Guesthouse in Gilgit, Pakistan.
We met Andreas on several occasions, but having camped together at the highest Polo Tournament of the world was something special. The T2 holds something special for us and we admire it for its incredible space inside. The latter is something we can miss in South America (in particular Patagonia), where due to the cold climate a rig with a bit more comfort inside is nice.
Philippe bought a very nice Land Rover V8 from a bankrupt Paris-Dakar team, but he soon discovered that the petrol costs were going to be his bankruptcy.
Not really an overlander as he bought his vehicle in India but worth a mention anyway: Tony has lived in North India for many years where he bought a sturdy Royal Enfield and has been roaming the country with it.
The first Pinzgauer we met had six wheels and harbored a sweet family of three from Switzerland. We spent a week camping together in Ladakh, India (read here).
When we headed down the road to Manali (north India), we noticed a familiar orange flag in the distance and we thus recognized my namesake on his bicycle: Coen. We had met earlier in east Turkey just before entering Iran.
We first met up with Irene, Pierre and Tobias in Erzurum, Turkey while waiting for our Iranian visa. And we kept meeting them on intervals between there and India. Every time we spotted the special green T2 van we couldn’t help ourselves smile from ear to ear.
The name Agonda beach (Goa) has been whispered from Overlander to Overlander for ages. This special little beach didn’t have the necessary amenities to call itself a campground but most overlanders who visited the beach didn’t care for that as most were ready for a break from hectic India.
We shipped our car from Bangladesh to Singapore and learned Emil and Liliana had done the same from French Guiana. We met up with these two amazing Guinness Book of Record holders and shared beers with ice cubes.
Farther up the peninsula, in Malaysia, we meet a well equipped BMW with their owners, whom we got hooked on the Settlers of Catan over the weekend we spent camping near the Cameron Highlands.
In Thailand we met the first overlander trailer combination. Dirk and Marieken were testing out their RTT on the trailer. Later they converted to a bigger Toyota, but kept the trailer concept.
We met these two young guys with a hunger for kilometers in the north of Thailand.
In Laos we met our first cool Mercedes truck. Plenty of room in there!
We met this Chinese rig right under the Potala Palace, Tibet, and they seemed thrilled to meet us and left us with a bunch of DVDs of their trip.
In Cambodia we met yet another Dutch couple with a Land Rover.
Okay, this awesome rig doesn’t fit the description of overlanders as the two young Thai owners were merely escaping the big city for the weekend, but it is equipped to do so one day. We met at a jungle camp near the Laos border.
The last overlanders in Asia we met on driving a brand new Toyota and were on their way to Japan and Russia: Mario and Maria were on the last stretch of their 8-year journey.