Alternative trip statistics

As of 15.07.10:

Number of countries visited:38

Number of border crossings: 54 (48 by land, 2 by sea, 4 by air)

Days since we left the UK: 395

Miles driven do far: 42,900

Number of breakdowns: 4 (ECU problem in Bangkok, luckily not in the middle of nowhere... unlike the next two, within a week of each other 40 and 60km outside towns in Laos; gearbox issues throughout Europe)

Scariest moment: Stuck in an iced-up river in Mongolia during a blizzard

Most drunken moments: Nina - Hong Kong (thanks to a Peter Heber-Percy dinner party); Charlie - Georgia (thanks to a security guard at the Kindzmarauli vineyard organising an impromptu morning wine tasting)

Number of times we’ve towed others / been towed: 5 / 2

Number of items held together with duct tape: 19 (including: air intake hose, roof box, GPS aerial, mossie net, Charlie’s flip flops, tyre dust caps (until they got nicked), rear brake lights, Nina's egg cup, various mudflaps / wings….)

Worst major road: Mongolia's major roads are a joke - the entire 5 day, 900km stretch from Ir-Uul to Olgiy being the worst we encountered.  The 1200km stretch from Atyraw to Aralsk, Kazakhstan; a total of 25 hours over 2 days, is probably still the most soul-destroying...

Longest days’ drive (hours): Kailakhum to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 15 hours (175 miles), followed by Shubarkuduk to Aralsk, Kazakhstan 13 1/2 hours.

Longest days’ drive (distance): Ushbilik to Almaty, Kazakhstan: 520 miles (followed by Shubakuduk to Aralsk, Kazakhstan: 483 miles and Varanasi to Calcutta: 440 miles)

Highest altitude (driving): 5,600 metres, Tong La Pass, Ladakh, India

Lowest altitude (driving): -46m towards the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, -15 metres, most of The Netherlands

Most dangerous road (other drivers): Dhaka – Chittagong Highway, Bangladesh

Best drivers: The Dutch, and over their own treacherous terrain, the skillful Mongolians

Worst drivers: The Chinese, closely followed by the Indians, Bangladeshis and the Vietnamese.  The relaxed but inexperienced Lao aren't great either.

Longest border crossing: 6 1/2 hours crossing from China to Mongolia - 5 of which spent trying to get the car out of China, bless'em...

Number of unsuccessful border crossings: 2 (both attempting to get the car into Vietnam from Cambodia)

Most corrupt border officials: Kazakhstan (very useful)

Least corrupt border officials: Vietnam (unfortunately). Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkmenistan’s officials seem admirably straight following government anti-corruption campaigns in all countries

Best view from a hotel window: Looking out over the Hunza valley and Mt Rakaposhi (7,788 metres) from The Eagles Nest Hotel, Karimabad, Pakistan

Number of books we’ve read: 27

Most peculiar thing seen on the back of a motorbike: A cow (alive), (Hanoi - Halong highway, Vietnam)

Most peculiar thing seen on the top of a bus: 3 sheep (alive), (Amritsar - Srinagar highway, India)

Most peculiar thing seen on the top of a lorry: Another lorry, with a car on top of that – rather like an automotive Russian doll (Gobi Desert, Mongolia)

Best value accommodation: Motherhome Guesthouse, Siem Reap, Cambodia - $13 per night for amazing 4 star rooms (it may have been a money laundering outfit – who cares!)

Worst nights (paid for) accommodation: Chilas, Pakistan – antiquated air conditioning that sounded like a jet engine and didn’t manage to cool the room below 32C, enormous ants on everything, zero sleep… Some pretty grim ex-Soviet hotels in regional Mongolian towns too, especially Kharkhorin and Olgiy

Number of garages / mechanics visited: 26

Cheapest & quickest repair: Rear dampener sheared off: removed, re-threaded and refitted in 15 mins for $5 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia (although special mention to the Kyrgyz mechanics in Osh who refabricated and refitted our front right suspension dampener in 3 hours for $10)

Most scenic roads: Karakoram Highway, Pakistan; Kara-kol to Osh, Kyrgyzstan; Lahic to Sighnaghi, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Most touristy country: Thailand (11 million per year, feels like we saw most of them)

Least touristy country: Second time around in Russia (Altai region) - not a single one! Kazakhstan and off-season Mongolia a close second with two tourist sightings in each.

Most remote place (in actual hours it would take to get back to the UK): Hsipaw, Myanmar - and most of Mongolia outside UB.

Nicest beach: Kep, Cambodia. The Caspian sea front at Turkmenbashi is surprisingly nice too.

Worst beach: Daman, India

Number of times Charlie’s nose has got sunburnt: More than 10 (have now lost count!)

Number of photographs taken: 33,356… and counting

Number of loo rolls purchased since we left the UK: 1

Number of items 'lost' in the car: 4 (Nina's phone sim card, bright pink torch, universal plug, USB stick)

Number of days without booze: Nina 45, Charlie 31 (including his birthday!!)

Best (paid for) meal: Fish curry at The Silver Oak restaurant, Calcutta, India

Best (self cooked) meal: Fresh sturgeon on the beach at Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan

Worst (paid for) meal: Numerous candidates, all in Myanmar. Cold, oily curries, beef like biltong and foul fermented fish paste flavourings. Mongolia outside of UB doesn’t fare too well either – salty tea and boiled mutton…

Number of visas & stamps in passport (so far): 76

Amount spent on visas (to date): Dread to think!!!

Deepest river crossing: 4ft (Rampur, Madhya Pradesh, India)

Days of illness (combined): 5 (including 1 each in India and 2 for Charlie in Tashkent – typically, food poisoning after eating in a smart restaurant)

Number of flat tyres: 1 - on a Chinese expressway doing 70mph.

Longest time driving in the wrong direction: 1 hour – a total of 25km, in Ladakh: driving south to Zanskar instead east to Leh (we thought there was only one road…)

Longest distance driving the wrong way down a one way street: 1.5km, Luang Prabang, Laos - after another boozed up night with Ivan Scholte...

Longest number of consecutive nights with free accommodation: 20 (Scandinavia)

Cheapest (paid for) accommodation: £3 in Tikse, Ladakh, India and 'A Lodging' (uncertain of the name!) in Ban Tha Long, Laos.

Most expensive (paid for) accommodation: £47 Cheoung Fat Tze Mansion, Georgetown, Malaysia

Number of haircuts: 9 (Charlie 6, Nina 3)

Number of haircuts by a transvestite: 2 (one each in Luang Prabang, Laos).  Actually, very good haircuts for the princely sum of £2 each.

Number of speeding fines paid: 3 (2 in Russia, 1 in Kazakhstan)

Number of times stopped for speeding and been let off: 14 (2 in India, 5 in Thailand, 2 in Cambodia, 2 in Laos, 1 in Kyrgyzstan, 2 in Turkmenistan)

Number of fines paid for totally fictitious offences in Kyrgyzstan: 5 (all Charlie, over 3 days)

Pairs of flip flops worn through: 4 (Charlie 3, Nina 1)

Best tourists: The Japanese (courteous, friendly and no desire to leave the beaten track). The Dutch, Swiss and Austrians always a pleasure too.

Worst tourists: The Thais (general karaoke bus-style insensitivity) knock the Spanish (dreadlocked, chippy and unwashed) off top spot

Greatest number of border crossings into / out of one country: Thailand, 8 (from Malaysia, in and out of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos (3 crossings))

Print Email