Sorry for being late with this newsletter, we have our house up for sale and its hellish stressful, after 10 years its hard to pull up your roots. We had a great holiday in Malaysia & Phuket and plan to go back to Thailand as soon as all this house business is settled.

Hope you all have a great Christmas & next Year is not as bad as they are predicting! - Derek

Coco Houseboats
Life in India is changing if this email I received is anything to go by. What happened to the leaking fishing boats that used to ply the Kerala Backwaters?

Dear Sir,
We are grateful to give our houseboat tariff to you on coming season.

We have one room houseboat, two room houseboats, 3 room houseboats, 4 room houseboats, and the boat cruise through that backwater, lagoons & canals.

About the houseboat.
Room with attached clean toilet with comfortable bed room, special personal chef on houseboat, Day time cruise through the all villages and islands, night at middle of the lake, Fishing rode, Water safety equipments, Experienced 3 boat crews, private cook will serve food.

Food is preparing on board. (Veg. food/Non.Veg food/Jain food)
Lunch: Rice, fish fry, 3 type of veg, Salad, Curd.
Snacks: Tea/Coffee, Biscuit/banana fry.
Dinner: Rice, chicken, Chapatti, dal curry, salad.
Breakfast: Bread toast & Butter/Jam, (kerala breakfast if you prefer).

Seasonal fruits like papaya, grapes, Pine apple, Mango, Jack fruit, banana, apple etc will be made available at no extra cost, bed time glass of hot milk, candle light dinner on Houseboat.

More Info & Pictures

The Ramblings of an "Overland Driver"

Hello Derek,
My colleague sent me a link to your website. Bloody marvellous.
I used to lead Exodus Trans Asia trips from 1982 to 1984. I am Scottish and drink warm beer!
After I left the company I cycled from Edinburgh to Sydney following much of the overland route.
I am now living in Melbourne working as an Adventure Travel Consultant.

Attached is a wee story I had published a few years ago. Also one on Mt Ararat on the bicycle trip. I used to work with John Meyer.

Yours Aye - Colin Hood

Dogubayzit was our destination that day and lies only 30km from the Iranian frontier. "Doggy-Biscuit", as it is affectionately known by overland travellers, was only 80km over the hill but it was to be a very eventful day. The day started with several bowls of mercimek corba (Turkish lentil soup), and several glasses of sweet cay (tea) while watching the front yard turn into a mudbath due to the incessant rain. "Tuvalet, tuvalet" Louise enquired gesticulating her need for the toilet. The owner took her out into the mud and slid their way around the back where he showed her a 4ft square hole with two very weak looking planks placed across. After a few years travelling you become used to the various unhygienic dunnies of the world but this one was unbelievable. I mean what happened if you slipped...... and with your pants at your ankles? Needless to stay we found an alternative.

It was still pouring down when a Turkish Truckie carrying spares for the Iranian war machine invited us to put our bikes on the back and join him for the ride to "Doggy-Biscuit". After jamming our bikes and sodden panniers into the back Louise and I climbed into one cab while Dave went with one of the other truckies. " You cannot obtain beer in Iran" the truckies said " so we have our fill before we cross the border." Three beers later we were on our way again, climbing slowly over the shoulder of Agri Dagi (Mt. Ararat). The rain turned to sleet then to snow as we labouriously gained altitude where the snow quickly turned to ice on the road. The only chains in this part of the world are around the necks of the ferocious, man-eating sheep-dogs which stand about three feet tall and love chasing after panicking cyclists. "Where is the snow plough?" my mind said to itself "What snow plough?" I thought. Of course there wasn't one so we just kept going and hoping. Our biggest fear, our only fear at that moment in time, was being wiped out in a head on collision with a downhill truckie in top gear speeding toward oblivion.

Read this story in full plus a great tale of cycling from Scotland to OZ

Links from Colin

Stumbled across your web site whilst doing a search, have just registered so not 100% sure yet how to navigate the whole site or the forum but I'm sure with a little time I'll be sorted!
Noticed that you have had no input from ex Tentrek drivers. (Incidentally your site shows Tent Trek, the actual name was Tentrek Expeditions Ltd, they were based at Sidcup, Kent). I worked as driver/courier (or trek leader as we were so called) from 1979 for 4 years and thereafter was office based. (more pics here)


Mail Bag
Thanks for the recent emailed newsletter. My wife Gina (Warburton) and I worked with Ashley Butterfield when we were at Trailfinders in London from 1975 - 80. He is an amazing character, and Trailfinders sold thousands of Ashley's "Butterfield Rover" ..... "Indian Rail Rover" and the unescorted "Asian Rover" during those years. (see the last newsletter for more details)
When I tell people that you could buy a book of vouchers for about 50 Pounds that would take you from London to Delhi on local transport ..... and take a year to do the trip ..... they are amazed !!! We provided the passengers with the "Asian Rover" Handbook which detailed where to exchange coupons for local bus tickets, plus recommended accommodation and sites to visit etc ..... Ashley updated and administered all the payments to local transport agencies etc and because so many Aussies and Kiwis took these trips, Trailfinders eventually began to provide cheap air tickets to connect passengers from Delhi or Kathmandu back home. Ashley was / is loved by his passengers ....... with a great sense of humour and sense of adventure ...
We also have fond memories of working with Geoff Hann from "Hann Overland" ..... specialising in the Middle East and Asia Overland ....... Dick Cjiffers from Capricorn Tours ...... Kirk Cumming from Sundowners ....... Tony Jones from Encounter Overland and John ????? from Exodus Expeditions ...... and later the Top Deck Team
Trailfinders then went on to expand the public transport tours to include the "Nile Rover" and "South American Rover" and I think even the "Trans Siberian Rover" using some terrific young Tour Leaders who spoke the local languages etc ........ but Ashley was by far the most successful and well known ......
Thanks again for the newsletter update.

Bruce Thomas

I saw a posting on the website from Servet Gokkoyun who used to run the Magic Bus with Sammy Pilder out of Istanbul. I have been trying to get in touch with him (we lived together in Istanbul from 1976 – 1978). Do you have a contact e-mail for him?
I would appreciate any assistance you could provide.

Thank you very much for your response. I continued to view your website and did find it myself. We have reconnected, its great.

My sister also drove buses for Magic Bus. She was a passanger once then drove two trips from Amsterdam to Kathmandu. I showed her the website. She said she would have to dig up her old pictures. I think she drove from 1976 to 1977. I booked passengers for her out of Istanbul to the East. Anyway, she especially liked the series of pictures of those old buses stuck on the side of the road - evidently that brought back many memories for her.

Thanks again for your help.

Susan Starr

Hi Derek,

Thank you a lot for this great DVDs. Yesterday we had a look at that one with the restored coach which was run by Swagman Tours in the seventees. Perhaps you should now that we have a coach from 1964 and we use it as a camper. It is in a rather good condition (not really restored) but I think a "trip" to India would not be possible. The attachments show you the coach in current use and as it was used in the sixties (it is the one at the bottom of the black
and white page).

By the way, there is always only information available about the trips from Europe to India/Nepal. What about travellers from Australia to India/Nepal or about travelling overland from Australia to Europe in the sixties and seventies?

Good luck with the further “work” on the overlander subject!
Best wishes - Thomas Link

To help premote the India Overland website would you please Recommend us to a Friend. Just use this link to spread the word.
If you have any stories or pictures related to the Overland I would love to get a copy. Lists of passengers or just the ones you can remember would be a great addition to this project. To view back issues of this newsletter use this LINK. You can post anything to the Forum if you prefer, all info would be greatly received.

If you would like to be removed from this newsletter please send an email to Make sure you ask me to remove the email address that it was sent to not one it is redirect to, thanks.

This new letter is produced by Derek Amey - Gold Coast Australia.