Herat – Back to Afghanistan Again

From Mashhad ...

From Mashhad …

After being 3 weeks in Iran, virtually doing nothing, now I am back into my life, traveling around, in Afghanistan again.

I started quite early from a neighbourhood near the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad. When I was asking for direction for taking the bus, I was helped by a man from Tehran who was doing business in Jakarta and Bandung. He praised Jakarta to be a modern city and Bandung to be interesting traditional town (?).

I took the direct bus from Mashhad to Herat. It was 60,000 Real. I was warned by my friend not to take the international bus, despite of the cheap price, due to the massive check from the Iranian officials toward the Afghans. It was the case coming to Iran from Afghanistan, as Iran worried about smuggling of drugs from their cute neighbor. I thought it should not be the case for the opposite way, as Afghanistan usually doesnt worry of anything coming to their country, and as today was Friday, there should be not many people lingering around the border.

It was indeed a straightforward process. The luxurious Volvo AC bus only had 10 passengers, all Afghans but me, and there was no check at all along the way leaving Iran. The Iranian border also didnt check the luggage of the border crossers. We only had to queue for immigration stamp officer who only concerned about passport holder’s name, photo, and visa. It was very straightforward.

The Afghan side, I have never met any immigration check as laid back as this one. I gave my passport opened on a page which I wanted him to stamp, he just immediately put an entry stamp on it, no registration, no interview, not even bother to check my photo page or my Afghan visa. He thought I was an Afghan border crosser who just needed an entry stamp. It was indeed possible for me to come here without visa. The process only took me 3 seconds. The most efficient immigration process I have ever experienced. And of course, coming to Afghanistan there was no luggage check at all.

... to Herat

… to Herat

And now I am in Herat again. Arriving here, the Iranian driver was fighting with an Afghan passenger, included harsh punching and kicking, until the Afghan army came to the bus to stop the fighting. Iranians could be very rough in fighting, and I saw two street fightings on Mashhad street.

Would start the journey very soon through the central route of Afghanistan to Kabul and then rush to Tajikistan.

About Agustinus Wibowo

Agustinus is an Indonesian travel writer and travel photographer. Agustinus started a “Grand Overland Journey” in 2005 from Beijing and dreamed to reach South Africa totally by land with an optimistic budget of US$2000. His journey has taken him across Himalaya, South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, and ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. He was stranded and stayed three years in Afghanistan until 2009. He is now a full-time writer and based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Contact: Website | More Posts

4 Comments on Herat – Back to Afghanistan Again

  1. hi, i love to travel too. but i’ve never gotten as far as you have, that’s for sure.
    by the way i met your friend Jian Lian in Cambodia, and he told me alot about you.
    keep it up, and travel on!

  2. Adam Alexander Smith // September 18, 2006 at 01:28 // Reply

    Wow, so you’re “still” travelling? This must be a record by now, yes? How long have you been away? Must be the first time I’ve heard Afghanistan referred to as “cute” LOL. Sorry I haven’t been on your Blog for a long time now. Take care :)

  3. Hello ,Hongming.How are you.We–two other partners and I will start for Mongolia for around 9 days in Mongolia during late September to early October. ! Let me see what you have seen in your first individual journey.

    I have finished a 52-days long journey with some friends known along the road in Indochina(Laos,Cambodia and Vietnam)this summer vacation.Y@ng ,who wrote some comment above is the Chinese students studied in Singapore as a freshman.I got to know him accidently in the long-route bus between Sim Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia.And share one room in my second stay in Phnom Penh.

    You are surely the most hard-core individual traveller that I have ever seen. Although I also met some backpacker superman who spends 2-4 years travelling around the world–but most of them are lingering around those “traveller-friendly” countries like SE Asia and most of them avoid Afghanistan and other countries in Central-Southwest Asia. I just wish that everything with you is OK. And I also suggest you can contact with your family to make your mom and dad not worried for you… Anyhow every parent will be worried with their children if they do not see them for too long time.

    Take care . Best wishes

    My e-mail address is MSN is as well as the Yahoo Messanger.Wish to talk with you on Internet.

    Jian,Lian from Peking University.

  4. Wah, udah di Afgan… Syukurlah.
    Hati2 di sana Mas!

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