Living in a van in India
BoBear
India > Community Forums > India Expat Area
#1
| Member

Living in a van in India

Hi,
I hope I am posting this in the right forum. I am planning to buy a van and move around Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. I do not want to live in any hotels. The idea is to have a mattress in the back and a camping stove and other camping accessories. Is this doable? Any ideas, opinions, advice appreciated.

83 Replies

#2
| Maha Guru Member
Have you driven in India or failing that in that Italy.?
#3
| Maha Guru Member
Have you been on the roads in these areas. I have, by bus, with experienced drivers, and wow are these roads scary!
#4
| Senior Member
Yes it is doable. Driving is not as bad as some people say it is.

What exactly are your concerns?
#5
| Loud Noisy Bird

Originally posted by: edwardseco View Post

Have you driven in India or failing that in that Italy.?


Have you driven in and around Sallisbury? Stonehenge is actually an early attempt at managing traffic on the A303.

Mountain driving? I'd take on anything with some sort of wall between me and the chasm --- but the real stuff, where it is just a drop, I have neither the skill nor the courage for.

There are legal aspects to buying a vehicle in India as a visitor, which is that you can't; but some people seem to do so anyway.

But what about advice for BoBear on the other practical aspects including safety and security of stopping and sleeping, etc?
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#6
| Maha Guru Member
I've driven (or ridden I should say!) a motorbike in Himachal (Rohtang Pass) and that was hairy enough with only a two foot width, I certainly wouldn't try it in a van!

As for safety, there's plenty of stories of tourists going missing in HP, and it's certainly not somewhere I would stay in the back of a van or camp unless with a guide.

NB
"See the World, then see India - because the World is an anti-climax"
#7
| Maha Guru Member
Though it might be difficult to buy one in India, you can surely bring one in from the outside with a carnet de passage. Saw a RV at Agonda , Goa once from Europe.

They had driven it all the way from Europe.:cool:
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#8
| Member
Thank you for all your replies. I think I can manage getting a vehicle. I am more concerned, as Nick pointed out, with stopping and sleeping. Some more advice on that will be great.
I drove a friend's car and a motorbike in Chennai few years back when I visited. Yes, it was a nightmare.
I have heard of disappearances near Manikaran. Did some research on that.
A little more about me: I am of Indian origin. I have an OCI card.
I have lived in a van in Canada in the BC mountains in the winter. I know India is not the same. I don't usually drive all day. I find a new place every few days. Wild camp for a while in one place before moving on. I am all equipped for extreme snow conditions. I have a high tolerance for cold.
Any more advice based on all the above information will be appreciated.
#9
| Loud Noisy Bird
I drove a friend's car and a motorbike in Chennai few years back when I visited. Yes, it was a nightmare.


Damn... I'd rather drive here than Salisbury! Seriously! I was in UK last July, had planned to hire a car for a week, and chickened out of driving at all. You get used to it. In fact, once I started, I soon realised that it is easier than being a pedestrian here.

This is my creed on holiday driving anywhere, whether it is India or the A30: your passengers get to see the view, you get to see the road. But at least you are not new to India so new newbie illusions.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#10
| Maha Guru Member
http://www.amsterdamhouseboats.nl/india_camper.htm

And apparently buying a car is the same as buying a motorbike. Not impossible,
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#11
| Loud Noisy Bird
Not impossible.... just not legal! :laugh:

There's a thread somewhere here where the relevant rules and regulations were dug out and posted. I'm on my fourth (third in my name) car in India: it is not a problem at all if one is resident.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#12
| Member
I understand what you mean Nick. I just need to get used to driving in India.
Thanks ananda2193 for that link. That was very encouraging.
#13
| Loud Noisy Bird
you might like to take at look at Team-BHP.com. It's a pain to get membership, but freely open to browse. Some of the travelogues might well be of interest to you, especially as people are writing about driving, not just touring.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#14
| Maha Guru Member
Saw a western couple in a old truck/SUV type of vehicle in Jageshwar. They were young and hippiesh looking. Don't know if they were on a Tourist visa or other? Didn't talk to them because I saw them out my hotel room window and as soon as they arrived, they left. The hotel must have been full.

You probably already know this

https://www.internations.org/india-expats/guide/driving-in-india-15620/foreign-drivers-in-india-legal-aspects-2

http://thisisexpatindia.com/applying-for-a-driving-license-in-india-as-a-foreigner/
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#15
| Member
Thanks Nick. I'll look up the Team-BHP site. Very helpful checklist in the Internations site ananda2193. Thanks you. I have an international permit from the AA in the UK. I would eventually try to get an Indian licence.

Ten more hours for my flight to India!