Hippie trail

Hippie trail

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The hippie trail is a term used to describe the journeys taken by hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

s and others in the 1960s and 1970s from Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 overland to and from southern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, mainly India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

. One of the key motivations was the desire to travel as cheaply as possible, mainly to extend the length of time away from home, and so journeys were carried out by thumbing (hitchhiking
Hitchhiking
Hitchhiking is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other road vehicle to travel a distance that may either be short or long...

), or cheap, private bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

es that travelled the route. There were also train
Train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

s that traveled part of the way, particularly across Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 through Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 (with a ferry connection across Lake Van
Lake Van
Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, located in the far east of the country in Van district. It is a saline and soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes . The original outlet from...

) and to Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 or east to Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. From these cities, public or private transportation could then be obtained for the rest of the trip. The journeys were partly inspired by the 18th-century custom of the grand tour
Grand Tour
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage...

.

Typical route


Such journeys would typically start from countries in western Europe, often the cities of London or Amsterdam. Many from the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 took Icelandic Airlines to Luxembourg
Luxembourg (city)
The city of Luxembourg , also known as Luxembourg City , is a commune with city status, and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in southern Luxembourg...

. Most journeys passed through Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, from where routes divided. The usual northern route passed through Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

, Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 and Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 to India. An alternative route was from Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 via Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Pakistan. All travellers had to cross the Pakistan-India border at Ganda Singh Wala
Ganda Singh Wala
thumb|alt=Full-length It is the snapshot of Ganda sing border kasur where the flag lowering ceremony is underway in feb 2010|Ganda Singh Wala Border, Flag Lowering CeremonyAbout=...

 (or later at Wagah
Wagah
Wagah is the only road border crossing between Pakistan and India , and lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Lahore, Pakistan and Amritsar, India. Wagah itself is a village through which the controversial Radcliffe Line was drawn. The village was divided by independence in 1947...

). Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

 (then called Benares), Goa, Kathmandu, or Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

 were the usual destinations in the east. Kathmandu still has a road, Jochen Tole, nicknamed Freak Street in memory of the many thousands of hippies who passed through. Further travel to southern India, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 (then called Ceylon), and points east and south to Australia was sometimes also undertaken.

The overland trail suffered from political changes at the end of the 1970s. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 invaded Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

 was deposed by an Islamic revolution in Iran. Still, the travel organizers "Sundowners" and "Topdeck
Topdeck
Topdeck Travel is a tour operator providing trips for passengers aged 18 to 30s throughout Europe, Africa and Egypt. The company was founded in 1973 by Graham "Skroo" Turner, who later went on to found Flight Centre in Australia.-Early Days:...

" pioneered a route through Baluchistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

. Topdeck continued its trips throughout the Iran-Iraq war and later conflicts, but took its last trip in 1998.

With a loosening of immigration in Iran the route has again become somewhat feasible, although continuing conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 make the route difficult to negotiate.

Guides


The BIT Guide, recounting collective experiences and reproduced at a fairly low-cost, produced the early duplicated stapled-together "foolscap
Foolscap
Foolscap may refer to:* Foolscap folio, a paper size of 8½ × 13½ inches * A paper size of 17 × 13½ inches * A book by Michael Malone-See also:*Jester, an entertainer employed by a European monarch, often wearing a fool's cap...

 bundle" with a pink cover providing information for travellers and updated by those already on the road, warned of pitfalls and places to see and stay. The BIT information was often reproduced, without credit, by the later well-known commercial guides. The first BIT Guide was produced by the BIT Information & Help Service in London in 1970. The BIT guide reached its peak under the control of Geoff Crowther, who arrived at BIT in 1972.

The 1971 edition of The Whole Earth Catalog
Whole Earth Catalog
The Whole Earth Catalog was an American counterculture catalog published by Stewart Brand between 1968 and 1972, and occasionally thereafter, until 1998...

 (The Last Whole Earth Catalog) devoted page 302 to the Overland Guide to Nepal. The guidebook company Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world. The company is owned by BBC Worldwide, which bought a 75% share from the founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 2007 and the final 25% in February 2011...

 got its birth when its founders published writings from their overland trip, driving from the UK to Australia. Paul Theroux
Paul Theroux
Paul Edward Theroux is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work of travel writing is perhaps The Great Railway Bazaar . He has also published numerous works of fiction, some of which were made into feature films. He was awarded the 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his...

 wrote a classic account of the route in The Great Railway Bazaar
The Great Railway Bazaar
The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia is a 1975 travelogue written by the American novelist Paul Theroux. It recounts Theroux's four-month journey across Asia by train, travelling through Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, before finally returning via the...

(1975).

Tony Wheeler, the creator of the Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world. The company is owned by BBC Worldwide, which bought a 75% share from the founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 2007 and the final 25% in February 2011...

 guidebook
GUIdebook
GUIdebook is a website that contains screenshots of computer software.It shows a visual history of the software's user interface. It includes operating systems like Mac OS and Windows, desktop environments like GNOME and KDE, portable operating systems like Newton OS and Windows CE, and...

s made in his early days a publication on the hippie trail called "Across Asia On The Cheap". He made this 94-page pamphlet of travel experiences gained by crossing Western Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and Iran from London in an Austin minivan they bought for $130. After having travelled through these regions, they sold the van in Afghanistan and continued on a succession of chicken buses, third-class trains and long-distance trucks. They crossed Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and arrived nine months later in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 with a combined 27 cents in their pockets.

Two travel books Magic Bus (2008) by Rory Maclean
Rory MacLean
Rory MacLean is a Canadian travel writer living in the UK and Berlin whose best known works are Stalin’s Nose, a black and surreal travelogue through eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Magic Bus, a history of the Asia Overland hippie trail.-Biography:MacLean was born in...

 and The Wrong Way Home (1999) by Peter Moore retrace the original hippie trail.

Prior to the publication of Across Asia on the Cheap many travelers used the 375-page Student Guide to Asia by David Jenkins, which covered 24 countries.

The bulk of travelers comprised Western Europeans, North Americans, Australians, and Japanese. Ideas and experiences were exchanged in well known hostels and hotels along the way, such as the Pudding Shop
Pudding Shop
The Pudding Shop is the nickname for the "Lale Restaurant" in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey. It became popular in the 1960s as a meeting place for hippies and other travelers on overland route between Europe and India, Nepal, and elsewhere in Asia - the 'hippie trail'...

 in Istanbul, Sigi's on Chicken Street in Kabul or the Amir Kabir in Teheran. Many carried a backpack
Backpacking (travel)
Backpacking is a term that has historically been used to denote a form of low-cost, independent international travel. Terms such as independent travel and/or budget travel are often used...

 and, while the majority were young, older people and families occasionally travelled the route. A number drove the entire distance.

In the mid-1970s a number of operators attempted to commercialise the route. Some of the more successful at taking paying passengers included Transit Travel, AutoTours, Sundowners and Top Deck
Top Deck
Top Deck may refer to:*Top Deck , a defunct brand of carbonated soft drink sold in the United Kingdom.*Top Deck an American Thoroughbred stallion born in 1945*Top Deck , a defunct gaming magazine published by Wizards of the Coast....

.

In September 2007 a new bus service, Ozbus, started between London and Sydney over the route of the hippie trail.

New trails


In recent years, due to the increase of budget airlines and low-cost flights, new hippie trails have been formed and have accompanied the original hippie trail of the '60s and '70s. Examples include hippie trails are being formed towards North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 (Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, etc.) and other destinations that are reachable by low-cost airlines. In addition, there is the Banana Pancake Trail
Banana Pancake Trail
The Banana Pancake Trail is the name given to the well-trodden and constantly growing routes around South East Asia travelled by backpackers and other tourists...

 to Asia.

See also

  • Association of Special Fares Agents
    Association of Special fares Agents
    The Association of Special Fares Agents, or ASFA, consists of Airline Consolidators, Bucket shops and Discount Travel Agents.-Aims:The main purpose of ASFA is the exchange of knowledge in regards to discounted airline tickets on the same air route offered in different markets.-Founding:After a...

  • Grand Tour
    Grand Tour
    The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage...

    - 17th-19th century Continental tour undertaken by young European aristocrats, partly as leisure and partly educational.

Further reading

.
  • Dring, Simon (1995) On the Road Again BBC Books ISBN 0 563 37172 2
  • A Season in Heaven: True Tales from the Road to Kathmandu (ISBN 0864426291; compiled by David Tomory) - accounts by people who made the trip, mostly in search of enlightenment.
  • Hall, Michael (2007) Remembering the Hippie Trail: travelling across Asia 1976-1978, Island Publications ISBN 978-1-899510-77-1

External links