Pakistan Stories and Tips

Taftan to Quetta by Bus

Typical Pakistani bus Photo, Pakistan, Asia

After the crossing of the Iranian-Pakistani border, I had to wait for several hours in Taftan, a deadly boring dusty village full of smugglers. There are several cafeterias where I could eat and drink. However, I did not have much choice, compared to Iranian restaurants.

My first taste of Pakistan was a glass full of milky tea, but which tasted more like hot water with milk and sugar. I guess I was the main attraction of the village that day because everyone had a laugh seeing me full of dust and sweat. After my tea, I ate the national Pakistani meal: dhal with rice. I did not know then that it would be my everyday meal for three weeks until I left Pakistan.

Taftan was also the place where I got my first diarrhea in two weeks. Luckily it stopped after my visit to the local dirty toilets…

My bus was normally leaving at 4pm and was next to the customs checkpoint…I had arrived in Taftan at 10am. Six hours in nowhere! The most boring wait of my life!

Do not expect buses to leave on time, especially in the Indian subcontinent! My bus left one hour late because of a problem with heavy luggage on its roof and also a small problem with the motor battery.

Also do not expect to see tourists in Taftan. Everyone was staring at me and saying hello. I had to answer at least one thousand times to the Indian subcontinent number one question: ‘wherrrrrre arrrre you frrrrom?’

My most unusual experience in a bus happened there. The bus, crowded with Pashtos and Balutches was riding at full speed on an empty road, sometimes crossing coloured lorries (also called 'wagons' in Pakistan) when it suddenly stopped in the middle of nowhere, in the Baluchistan desert and every man got off while the women stayed inside. It was sunset time, the time for the most important prayer of that day! Every man outside grabbed sand and washed their hands, arms and feet with it, then removed their turban and put it on the sandy ground and started praying Allah then got back on the bus.

Although the Quran says that people do not have to pray while travelling on long distances, these guys were so religious that they could not afford to miss their prayer and postpone it on the next day.

After a dinner break in a desert pothole, I managed to feel asleep even though I had very little space to relax my legs. I was woken up around 5am by a sudden brake. The same scenario was repeating itself: in the middle of nowhere, people were getting out of the bus for their morning prayer.

That stop was longer than the last ones, because many people needed to piss, or smoke their first cigarette of the day while getting to know their travel mates.

I arrived in Quetta (see my review) in a state of exhaustion at 9am, 24 hours after I had crossed the border. I was not mentally prepared for such a cultural shock that I needed three days to go past that initial shock and start enjoying Pakistan.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip