Picture of the border from the train. Very deserted area as you can see
There are only 2 ways to cross the India-Pakistan border: walk across in the north at the Wagha border or take the train across the south. We heard about the Thar Express (train that crosses border once a week) from a CSer but could not find hardly any information on it online or at train stations in India. Finally, in Jodhpur (where the train departs from) we found the nearly abandoned station that is only in use for the special Thar express.
From the time we arrived at the train station in Jodhpur at 10 pm to the time we arrived at the station in Karachi about 5 am, we'd spent nearly 31 hours waiting, going through security checkpoints, sleeping, chatting, eating local food and our mangled peanut butter sandwiches, trying to sleep more - it was quite the journey. Schedule: 10 pm
Arrive Jodhpur station, train departs at 1:30 am 7 am
Arrive Munabao on Indian border for security/customs/immigration check 3 pm
Depart for border crossing 3:30 pm
Arrive Zero Point on Pakistani side of border for Pakistani security/customs/immigration check 9 pm
Depart for Karachi 4:30 am
Though tiring, I have to say that we felt safe
Sleeping on the train
We had the upper bunks on the first train. Not really the most comfortable place to sleep but not awful either.
the entire time, everyone was very nice and helpful, and the conditions of the train and stations weren't too bad.
At the station in Jodhpur, a young girl saw me crouched on the ground with my heading bobbing up and down as I tried to sleep - she came over and offered me to go and lay down on her family's blanket. As I lay there half awake, I heard her and the other women kind of chuckling about how I had said "thank you very much" a couple times. Meanwhile, Waldo made friends with her brother and played the "dot game" with him. We met up with them again at Zero Point and played hangman - really cute and friendly kids.
While going through security at Munabao and Zero Point (keep in mind we were the only non-Indian or Pakistanis), we were asked why we chose to go on this route. I replied, "well, we planned to walk across the border in Lahore (which is more common for foreigners), but with the recent bomb attacks, we decided the train was better)." On the Indian side, the guy asked why we didn't fly and I said "too expensive"
Imagine this times 100. Families had toooons of bags... probably 2 large bags per person. Everyone had blankets and most brought homemade food to eat. Just sitting around waiting and waiting...
as he flipped through my passport and saw the many visas and stamps and he replied, "but you've traveled all over the world"... good point. When I said it was a difference of $700 flying versus about $15 on the train, he seemed to understand. On the Pakistani side, the guy asked, "what, are you afraid of bombs?" I just kind of gave him this look and small chuckle saying to myself, "uhhh, yeah kinda."
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