Shipping & Guides


Azerbaijan (Baku) to Turkmenistan (Turkmenbashi)

Ticket office location: See Lonely Planet Map very accurate.  It’s a rail freight service, using very old decaying vessels.  Make sure you take your own bedding.

The ships do not have a fixed timetable, and leave once full, we have heard on some occasions the ships can be stuck at sea for an extra two days due to storms or the port just being blocked. Our ship did have a restaurant on board severing food and drinks (No Alcohol).

The first thing to do is go straight to the shipping office, and find out when the next boat is going.  The customs compound is another 500m down the road, where you can leave your car or bike safely.

Entering Azerbaijan they will only give you 72hours in the country with the vehicle on a 5 day transit visa. If you’re running out of time just check your vehicle in to the customs compound, you can then use up your full five days visa.

The costs of the shipping are as follows:

Cabin $90 Per person                 $180

Shipping $50 per metre            $250 Max (they will normally round this down and split the cost savings, i.e bribe)

Total                                                  $430  (We paid $390 plus and an extra $10 to get the car on early)

Tip, make sure you are the last to load, last in first out,we had to wait several hours for other trucks to unload before being able to leave.

On entering Turkmenistan, if using a guide, you will not be allowed to leave customs until they arrive, once there there you will need to agree a route with the officials and pay a foreigner fuel levy and many other small taxes, etc, also be prepared for a $50 bribe, if you have a UK vehicle.


For Turkmenistan, we used Stan Tours,

Our route was as follows:

Turkmenbashi – Ashgabat – Darvaza  – Köneürgench

This can be completed in three days.

Unfortunately, we would not recommend them again, the accommodation provided was way over priced and very poor quality despite accommodation being so cheap there.  We found David at Stan tours to be unresponsive to complaints, and see no use in using Stan tours as broker, as they simply contract local agencies in Turkmenistan.

During our stay, we did however meet other local agencies, if you would like their details please let us know.

In hindsight, we would recommend that you travel through Turkmenistan on a Transit visa and avoid the extra costs of a guide.  You can obtain an LOI which will allow you to board the boat and obtain the transit visa on arrival.  This is important in case the ferry is delayed , which will in eat in to your permitted transit time.  The import process is time consuming but not difficult, you will then also have much more freedom in the country.


We were recommended Ayub Kan from another overlander, and have to say we would highly recommend him too.  He really made our trip through Pakistan enjoyable and safe.  He was able to arrange us crossing Attabad Lake, all the accommodation, and is able to arrange treks to K2 base camp etc too.

His prices are very reasonable.

Email: Web:

Attabad Lake, two options,

1) Local boats – expect to pay 10,000rp

2) Army Craft – expect to pay 60,000rp

India (Chennai) to Malaysia (Port Klang)

We searched the Hubb for info on shipping, however did not find much, in the end we searched the internet and called and emailed over 15 different companies, the two listed below, came across as the most professional, quick to respond and were reasonably priced:

The costs for each are detailed below for a 20ft Container:

Ben Line Rado Shipping
$ $
Ocean Freight 25.00 *1
Documentation Charges 50.00 543.00 *2
Customs clearance charges 70.00
Labour Charges 90.00
Handling Charges 50.00 86.96
Container Movement 180.00
Terminal Handling Charges (THC) 85.00 90.00
B/L 30.00 21.74
Carnet 70.00
625.00 741.70
Service Tax 81.25 96.42
Total 706.25 838.12


Clearance Malayasia

On arriving in to Malaysia we used Aseantex to clear our vehicle for us.

Malaysia (Port Klang) to Indonesia (Medan)

We originally planned to ship by onion boat, however when we went to see Mr. Lim (Cakra) he told us that they do not ship cars on these boats any more, just motor bikes.

We therefore obtained quotes from both Aseantex and Cakra for a 20ft container.  Given that Carkra appeared to be unreliable, giving us the run around a few times, and the longer transit times from Penang, we decided to ship with Aseantex from Port Klang.

No 9 & 9A, Lorong Cempening ,
P.O.Box 151 , Port Klang
Selangor , Malaysia .

+603 3168 0000
+603 3167 1600


Domestic Ferries – Indonesia

From To Frequency Duration Price*
Sumatra – Bakauheni Java – Marak Every 30min 2 ½ hours 234,000rp
Java – Ketapang Bali – Gilimanuk Every 30min 30 mins 114,000rp
Bali – Padang Bai Lombok – Lembar Every 2 hours 4 Hours 660,000rp
Lombok – Labuhan Sumbawa – Poto Tano Every 45 min 2 Hours 348,000rp
Sumbawa Flores  Daily 8 Hours 800,000rp
Flores – Labuan Bajo Sulawesi – Bira  Weekly Tuesday  27 1/2 hours  964,000rp
Sulawesi – Bira Flores  Weekly Sunday  N/a N/a
Sulawesi – Makassar Java – Surabaya  Monday & Friday  36 Hours  2,675,000rp
 Flores – Larantuka  Timor – Kupang  Monday & Friday  16 Hours  1,170,000rp

*Two persons and a car

PT. Dharma Lautan Utama (PT DLU) –

PT. Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia (PELNI) –



More in formation can be found in the Overland Sphere Fourm