Tips and tricks
 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking guide

 

 

 

 

 

To this day I have visited +40 countries and most of them by hitchhiking. This page is dedicated to all of the useful hitchhiking tips&tricks for every country I visited. List of the countries (click the name of the country you are interested in) Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Brunei Darussalam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Finland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macedonia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Montenegro, NetherlandsRomania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam...the list is still not complete, so please bear with me while I’m working on the updates.

 

 


      ALBANIA

Albania 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: In Albania, English is not widely spread, so unless you speak Albanian or Italian, it may be difficult to communicate with your drivers.

 

Hello = Tjeta (tje-tah)

Hitchhiking = Autostop (ow-toh-stop)

Yes/no = Po/jo (poh/joh)

Thank you = Faleminderit (fah-lehm-meen-deh-reet)

No money – no problem? = Jo para – jo problem? (joh parah - joh problem?)

I’m going… = Unë po shkoj … (oo-neh poh shkoy…)

Where are you going? = Ku po shkoni? (koo poh shko-nee…)

Can we go with you? = A mund të vij me ju? (a moond teh veey meh you?)

Can you stop? = Mund të ndalosh?

I want to get out. = Dua të dal jashtë (dua teh dahl YAH-shteh)

 

It's always a good idea to find some local person with good English who could write you a short letter in Albanian (for your drivers) explaining who you are, what you are doing and where you are going. If that's not possible, you can always Google Translate some short and basic phrases and questions that you can entertain your drivers with.

 

My experience: I hitchhiked around Albania with two boys and we have never had any troubles. People were friendly and willing to help. We got picked up even when hitchhiking from the center of the capital city, Tirana.

 

Pay attention: Some drivers will expect money, because private taxi is a major form of public transportation. Make yourself clear before accepting the ride. A simple “no taxi” (joh taxi) phrase should do the trick.

 

Albanian roads are really bad and be prepared to travel double the time than what you’re used to for the same distance in Europe.

 

Be aware of the open holes in the middle of the walkway especially if walking home tipsy after good night of partying. The holes are not marked and they’re pretty much everywhere.

 

Albanians are hospitable people and you’ll be offered raki, cigarette or weed quite often.

 

Be prepared to listen the worst music in the history of music when riding with the Albanian truck drivers.

 

Border crossing: We crossed from Montenegro to Albania (Bozaj - Hani i Hotit) and from Albania to Macedonia (Ќafasan - Qafë Thanë). We crossed both borders by foot and carried a guitar with us. We played music for the border officers and they let us go with a lot of laughter and no trouble at all. They couldn’t speak any English.

 

 

       AUSTRIA

Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Austrians speak German, but majority (especially younger population) speak at least basic English. Italian is widespread in the parts of Austria bordering Italy. In rural places, people older than 50 often don't speak English, so it can help to Google Translate few basic German phrases and carry with you.

 

My experience: People are friendly and polite, roads are good and Austria is pretty simple to hitchhike.

 

Pay attention: You’re not allowed to stand on the highway and I got warned by the police about it. Stick to the pay tools, rest areas and gas stations if possible. Be nice&polite with the police and they won’t cause you any trouble.

 

Few drivers mentioned they don’t usually pick up hitchhikers, because the law says if they end up in a car crash, the hitchhiker has all the rights to sue them.

 

Border crossing: Austria and all its neighboring countries are Schengen members so in theory there are no border controls.

 


     BULGARIA

Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: If you know any of the Slavic languages, you’ll get by just fine. If not, you better learn some Bulgarian lingua… 🙂

 

Hello = Здравейте [zdra-vey-te]

Hitchhiking = автостоп [av-to-stop]

Where are you going to? = На къде отивате? [Na kade o-tee-va-te?]

I´m travelling to ... = Пътувам към ... [Pa-too-vam kam ...]

Please stop here = Моля, спрете тук [Mo-lya spre-te tuk]

Motorway = магистрала [ma-gee-stra-la]

Petrol station = бензиностанция [ben-zee-no-stan-tsee-ya]

Thank you = Благодаря [bla-go-da-rya]

Bye = Чао (ciao as in Italian)

 

If you can’t pronounce the phrases, ask a local person who can speak English to write a short letter for you that will explain what you’re doing and where you are going. Show that letter to your drivers.

 

My experience: As most of Eastern European countries, Bulgaria is very friendly toward hitchhikers. Bulgarians understand the concept of hitchhiking and they won't ask you for money.

 

Pay attention: Drunk driving, breaking of the road regulations and driving way over speed limit is a national sport in Bulgaria.

 

Border crossing: I was asked to smuggle the cigarettes across the border for the bus drivers who picked me up. If you look around while waiting to cross the border, you will see black bags literally flying behind the backs of the border policemen. Corruption is still quite common in Bulgaria. I crossed from Turkey to Bulgaria (Kapikule - Kapitan Andreevo) and from Bulgaria to Serbia (Kalotina – Dimitrovgrad).

 


BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Bosnia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: You can get by with speaking any of the Slavic languages. It also helps if you speak German, because many Bosnians have their family or relatives in Austria or Germany and most of them speak a fair bit of German.

 

My experience: Bosnians are very warm and friendly people. Hitchhiking there can be slow, but once you get picked up you will most likely have a great experience. Be prepared to be invited for a coffee a lot, it's part of their culture.

 

Pay attention: If you get stuck for a night in the middle of nowhere, wild camping is probably not a good idea, because Bosnia has a terrible landmine problem. Stick to the marked paths, tire tracks and well grazed fields. If something looks too abandoned, stay away from it.

 

Border crossing: I hitchhiked a guy from Kosovo who was driving home from Switzerland in his fancy car that a border police suspected it was stolen, so the car got stripped down to the last screw. It didn’t help either that I was hitchhiking with my hippy-looking friend, so we got searched for the drugs. The outcome of the search was very disappointing as the car wasn’t stolen and my friend and I don’t use drugs. 🙂

 


        CHINA

China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: The official language is Mandaring, but there are 56 recognized ethnic groups in China and many of them don’t speak Mandarin. Don’t expect to get by with basic English either, because you won’t. Find a local person in every region you visit and ask them to translate your short letter that explains who you are and where you are going. Show that letter to your drivers.

 

Hitchhiking is not common in China, but some people will understand that you’re trying to hitchhike if you use the word da-bian-che. Don’t use your thumb for hitchhiking, because Chinese will understand the gesture as "good" or "OK" and raise it back at you without stopping. The best way to hitchhike in China is to outstretch your arm and gently wave the hand up and down.

 

Another way of communicating is to use a translator app on your smartphone. My phone got stolen in west China, but most of my drivers had a smartphone that made communication easy.

 

Try to master at least few basic phrases as the locals will appreciate the effort.

 

你好…ni hao = hello

搭便车…da bian-che = hitchhike

公路…gong-lu = highway/national road

謝謝…xie xie = thank you

服务区/服务站…wu-qu/fu-wu-zhan = service area

收费站…shou-fei-zhan = tollgate

我要去...wo yao qu = I need/want to go to . . .

你要去那里…ni qu nali? = where are you going?

在这里停就行…zai zheli ting jiu xing = please stop here

 

My pronunciation was terrible and no one seemed to understand me, so I copied few funny sentences from Google Translator on a piece of paper to entertain my drivers during the ride.

 

My experience: When you overcome the language barrier, hitchhiking in China becomes one of the best experiences. People are overly friendly, kind and respectful. Usually, when I’m hitchhiking alone, I rarely accept the ride when there are more than two men in a car. That rule didn’t apply to China and I didn’t have any bad experience. 

 

Few times I got stuck on the road, knocked on the door of a random house and got welcomed in for the night by different families (it was way too cold to sleep outside.) Several motel managers at the gas station offered me to stay at their motel for free when they noticed my intention was to sleep at the gas station.

 

One of my longest rides happened in China – I hitchhiked one truck for 3 days and 2 nights as well as hitchhiked the bus for 1000 km.

 

Pay attention: You are very unlikely to get the ride after the sun comes down. I tried and failed every single time. Chinese are too scared to pick up anyone during the night.

 

If you’re trying to communicate by hands (and happen to be a tall person) don’t wave your hands too much, because you will scare the people.

 

Chinese policemen are the best. If they see you standing on the highway, they will stop to pick you up and offer to take you to the closest city. If you’re hitchhiking further, ask them to take you to the next gas station.  They picked me up 7 times and one patrol even bought me a cup of tea. None of the patrols could speak any English, so we communicated by using the translator app on their phone.

 

Border crossing: Kyrgyzstan-China border is a mother-efer and it took me half a day to cross it. Before you arrive at the high altitude border, make sure that you have checked the weather. It gets freezing cold in winter with LOTS of snow. I crossed over the Irkeshtam pass and it was supposed to be the easy border crossing between Kyrgyzstan (Sary Tash) and China (Kashgar), and really, it’s not that easy (the landscape is spectacular though). Chinese won’t let you walk across the border or hitchhike and they don’t take any BS you try to serve them. They take your passport and threat you'll get deported back to Kyrgyzstan unless taxi was arranged in between both border posts. It all seems like an organized trick between police and taxi drivers. The police pretended to search my camera and laptop by turning them on and off. Double-check that there is no holiday on either side of the border. Crossing on Friday into China is tricky: if you get held up, you might be stuck there until Monday. There is little fuel, food or spare parts in these areas. And, the Chinese border operates on Beijing time.

 

China-Vietnam border (Hekou to Lao Cai) was super simple. Chinese let you walk over the Friendship bridge to Vietnam without any trouble or much waiting. The Chinese border is open from 8am until 11pm, (that’s 7am until 10pm Vietnamese time, because of the timezone differences).

 


 CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech Republic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: If you don't speak Czech, the knowledge of Russian and German will come in handy. Younger drivers usually speak at least  basic level of English.

 

Hello = Dobry den

Are you going to ...? Jedete do ...?

Thank you = Dekuji

Goodbye = Nashledanou

Yes = Ano

No =  Ne

Hitchhiking = Autostop

Next petrol station = Na dalsi benzinku

 

Overall experience: Hitchhiking is fairly easy in Czech Republic and the locals understand the concept of hitchhiking.

 

Pay attention: Hitchhiking on motorways and expressways is not allowed. Stick to the pay tools, rest areas and gas stations if possible. Be nice&polite to the police and you won't have any troubles.

 

Border crossing: Czech Republic and all neighboring countries are Schengen members, so there are no regular border controls any more.

 


      GERMANY

Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: German is the 1st language, but at least basic English is widely spoken especially among younger generation.

 

Hello = Hallo

Do you possibly drive in the direction of ...? = Fahren Sie eventuell Richtung....

Could I get a lift to...? = Könnten Sie mich bis ...... mitnehmen?

Gas station = eine Tankstelle

Parking place = ein Parkplatz

Service/rest area = ein Rastplatz

Along the highway = entlang der Autobahn

yes / no / no thanks = ja / nein / nein, Danke

I'm going to ... = Ich fahre nach...

Where are you going to? = Wo fahren Sie hin?

Can you drop me off here? = Können Sie mich hier raus lassen?

Thank you = Vielen Dank

Good hitchhiking spot = eine gute Trampstelle

 

Overall experience: Germany is very pleasant to hitchhike, because the people are friendly and majority speak at least basic English, the roads are good and Autobahns have no speed limit. Germany is a good country to hitchhike long distances in short time.

 

Pay attention: You're not allowed to hitchhike while standing on the Autobahn or its emergency lane. You are perfectly fine while hitchhiking at service stations, but keep in mind that service stations are private property or leases. Sometimes it happens that owners try to get rid of the hitchhikers from the stations. If that happens, just move to the parking space or at the exit sign and hitchhike from there.

 

Border crossing: Germany has signed the Schengen Agreement which means that borders with other Schengen countries are open. (Due to the refugee crisis in Europe some countries have reintroduced border controls. Check the latest news before traveling to avoid any unpleasant surprises.)

 


       FINLAND

Finland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Their 1st language is Finnish, but there is a large Swedish speaking minority on the west coast. Most people speak English, too.

 

Hello = Terve

Hi = Moi or Hei

Where are you driving to? = Minne ajat?

Hitchhiking = Liftaaminen

A ride = Kyyti

Thank you = Kiitos

 

Overall experience: Finland is pretty special to hitchhike, because during summer you can hitchhike 24/7 and during winter, people tend to feel bad for you standing outside and help you out any way they can. Locals are very friendly and polite. Women are not scared to pick up hitchhikers and they tend to stop as often as male drivers.

 

Pay attention: As in many EU countries, you’re not allowed to hitchhike directly on motorways (moottoritie and moottoriliikennetie), but the law is not very strictly enforced and you can get away with it. If you get in trouble with the police, it helps if you’re super polite.

 

Border crossing: There are no checkpoints between Finland, Sweden and Norway. In the summer, it's possible to hitchhike a sailing boat from Tallinn and Pirita marinas to get to and from Estonia. (Sorry, I don't have much info about other borders.)

 


UNITED KINGDOM

United Kingdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: English, of course.

 

Overall experience: Even though everyone speaks English and the language is not a barrier, the fear seems to be one. Locals admit to be afraid of terrorist attacks, road scams and criminals which doesn't help much if you're hitchhiking. Hitchhiking in UK is definitely possible, but you will need to be patient, because it doesn't always come easy.

 

Pay attention: The UK is infamous for its rainy weather (even though some parts of UK are surprisingly dry). Be prepared and always have waterproof clothes with you. The rainiest months are from October to January.

 

As in most EU countries, you’re not allowed to walk on motorways, and so hitchhiking is best done from the bottom of slip roads and at service stations (at discretion of the owner).

 

Border crossing: UK is not part of the Schengen Agreement.

 

 

        GREECE

Greece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Most of the people speak at least basic English and you can get by with it.

 

My experience: I hitchhiked through Greece three times and (apart from hitchhiking around the island), it was never easy. Once I got stuck with my friend for 5 hours, the 2nd time with two of my buddies for 7 hours. Both of these are my personal records for the longest waiting time ever.

 

Pay attention: Depending on who you’re getting lift from, it would be smart to avoid mentioning “Macedonia" as a country. Greeks call "Macedonia" the northern part of Greece and some of them get very upset about it.

 

Border crossing: (From Albania to Greece and from Greece to Turkey) always super easy, except the Turkish side of the border – Turks won’t let you walk literally 300m across the bridge to their border, BUT they will let you hitchhike and even ask the people around if they would like to give you a lift for LITERALLY 300 meters into Turkey. I hitchhiked over the bridge with Syrian guy and that was possibly my shortest ride ever. 🙂

 


       CROATIA

Croatia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Croatia is very touristic country, so most of people speak at least basic English. In case you hitchhike my mother – here is your lifesaving linga: 🙂

 

Where are you going? = Kamo idete?

Hitchhiking = Autostop

I’m hitchhiking to Zagreb. = Autostopiram za Zagreb.

Do you mind if I ride with you? = Mozete li me povesti?

Thank you! = Hvala!

Yes = Da

No = Ne

I’m from Australia. = Dolazim iz Australije.

I love Croatia. = Volim Hrvatsku.

You have the best daughter in the world. = Imate najbolju kcer na svijetu. 😀

 

My experience: Croatia is very hitchhiking friendly and waiting time rarely exceeds 15 minutes.

 

Pay attention: Croatians are friendly and hospitable, but not very open minded. Depending on who you are getting a lift from, keep your conversation light, cheerful, stay away from the topics that include Serbs, war, politics, gays and religion and you will have a great experience.

 

Border crossing: Croatia can be a bit tricky for hitchhiking during summer season. Most of the people going to Croatia for holidays will have their cars full, so it’s not so easy to get a lift. The waiting lines on the borders and pay tools are sometimes more than 10 km long, so it’s the best to get out of the car and walk between the cars in the lines and ask directly for your destination.

 


       HUNGARY 

Hungary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Apart from Hungarian, most of the people speak German or Russian. As soon as you are out of bigger and touristic places, you'll come across a language barrier - especially in rural areas.

 

Hello = Hello

Hitchhiking = Stoppolás, stop (shtopolash, shtop)

Could I get a lift to...? = El tudnál vinni ...? (al tuhd-nahl vinny ...)

Gas station = Egy benzinkút (ehdj benzeenkut)

Service area = Egy pihenő (ehdj pee-henoe)

Parking place? = Egy parkoló (ehdj paarkolo)

Yes / no / = Igen / nem /

I'm going to ... = Felé megyek…

Where are you going to? = Merre mész?

Can you drop me off here? = Ki tudnál itt tenni?

Thank you = Köszönöm

 

Overall experience: Hungary is very hitchhiking friendly country and it doesn't take long to get a ride even on the roads where the traffic is very low.

 

Pay attention: The hardest part of hitchhiking in Hungary seems to be finding your way out of Budapest. Don't you just love countries like that? 🙂

 

Border crossing: Hungary is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement. (Due to the refugee crisis in Europe some countries have reintroduced border controls. Check the latest news before traveling to avoid any unpleasant surprises.)

 


          INDIA

India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  English is widely understood and spoken throughout the country, but most of the people don't understand the concept of hitchhiking, so it's the best if you explain that you're simply walking by the road and asking for a lift when you get tired.

 

Overall experience: Hitchhiking in India is possible, but quite complicated. You need to be full of patience, because sometimes it takes more than half an hour to explain what you're up to. Always emphasize that you will not pay for a ride. Due to chaotic traffic, bad roads, common accidents and traffic jams, lots of waiting and explaining, don't expect to hitchhike more than 300 - 400 km in 1 day. 

 

Pay attention: Forget about western way of hitchhiking with you thumb up, people won't understand what you are doing. Outstretch your arm and gently wave the hand up and down at the drivers.

 

Due to many cultural differences, hitchhikers will be safer if traveling in pairs.

 

A ride may be sometimes difficult to get as some local hitchhikers actually turn out to be robbers who flag down vehicles and loot them.

 

Border crossing: Since 2014, there is one border crossing opened with Myanmar ( Moreh - Tamu in Manipur.) A special border permit is needed to enter Myanmar through this border, and it can be obtained via email through a travel agency in Myanmar.

 

India - Pakistan: Wagah is the only road border crossing that is open to foreigners that are coming from Pakistan. (I don't have info about other borders.)

 

 

           IRAN

Iran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: It’s smart not to use your thumb while hitchhiking, because it is an obscene gesture in Persian culture. The best way to hitchhike is to outstretch your arm and gently wave the hand up and down. There is no word for hitchhiking in Farsi, so the easiest way to hitch a lift would be to ask before entering a car "bee doona pool?"…meaning “without money?”

 

Be careful when somebody says a ride is for free, because it might in fact not be. Learn about Tarof before entering Iran – It is an Iranian custom of saying a white lie and it should be understood by both parties. The driver will say the ride is free, because his tradition dictates he should be extremely hospitable to guests. If you accept his offer without questioning it, it could cause offense, as it is an integral part of Iranian culture. EVERY SINGLE TIME in 44 days of hitchhiking around Iran I checked (after my ride was confirmed as free) with a question "Tarof nist?" (it's not Tarof?) When the answer is no, you can probably expect the offer to be genuine.

 

My experience: I could write the whole book about my experience of hitchhiking around Iran. Here are some points that could give you some idea: http://www.anabakran.com/surviving-iran-by-bakran-for-the-ladies/

 

Pay attention: Check out the link above.

 

Border crossing: From Turkey to Iran – fairly simple. My backpack was searched and I was warned by the border police that I shouldn’t be drinking while in Iran, because alcohol is illegal.

 

From Iran to Turkmenistan – my backpack, laptop and camera were searched in details.

 


          ITALY

Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: English is not widely spoken, so you better prepare ahead some useful Italian lingua. Knowledge of Spanish will come in handy as well as German around South Tyrol.

 

Hello = Ciao

Excuse me… = Mi scusi

Could I get a lift to...? = Mi darebbe un passaggio a...

Gas station / service area = Area di servizio

Yes / no = Si / no

I'm going to ... = Sto andando a...

Where are you going to? = Lei dove va?

Can you drop me off here? = Mi puo far scendere qua?

Thank you = Grazie

City centre = Centro città

Good hitchhikingspot = Un buon posto per fare l'autostop

 

Overall experience: Hitchhiking in Italy is not the easiest thing, but it's possible. You'll need plenty of patience. Some of my friends got stuck at the same place for 17 hours.

 

Pay attention: Hitchhiking on the autostrada (motorway) is not allowed (including petrol stations). The alternative is to hitchhike on the strade statale (state road) through the countryside.

 

Northern part of Italy is considered to be more safe than South, so pay attention.

 

Due to a high level of prostitution, make sure your drivers don't misread your intentions in order to avoid any trouble. Hitchhiking in pairs is probably a very good idea in Italy.

 

Border crossing: Italy takes part in the Schengen Agreement.

 


    KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: You’ll be alright if you can speak/understand a bit of Russian or if you speak any of the Slavic languages. If not, here is a cheat sheet for you:

 

Hello = Здравствуйте (zdravstvuyte)

Hitchhiking = автостоп (avtostop)

No money = (bez deneg)

Could you give me a lift in the direction of… = Вы могли бы подкинуть меня в направлении ... (vy mogli by podkinut menya v napravlenii …)

Thank you = Спасибо (spasibo)

 

My experience: Hitchhiking around Kyrgyzstan is not the easiest in the world, but it’s doable and so worth it.

 

Pay attention: Kirgiz hitchhiking experience can be confusing; there are no many places in the world where any passing car can double as a taxi. For this reason, don’t take a ride before you have clarified in advance that you are not willing to pay or have no money to pay for a ride. Despite the fact that it is expected to pay, a lot of people will be willing to take you for free if you can explain them your story.

 

It's not unusual to hitchhike on donkeys or horses while there.

 

Police is very corrupted there and best to be avoided.

 

Border crossing: From Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan - Dostyk/Dustlyk, main border crossing on the road between Osh and Andijon. Open from 7am to 7pm, closed for lunch 13.15 to 13.45.

 

From Kyrgyzstan to China: When attempting to cross the high altitude border, make sure that you have checked the weather. Double-check that there is no holiday on either side of the border. Crossing on a Friday into China is tricky: if you get held up, you might be stuck for 2 more days. There is little fuel, food or spare parts in these areas. And, the Chinese border operates on Beijing time. I crossed over the Irkeshtam pass and it was supposed to be the easy border crossing between Kyrgyzstan (Osh – Sary Tash) and China (Kashgar), and really, it’s not that easy (the landscape is spectacular though).

 


     CAMBODIA

Cambodia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: I Google Translated and copied on a piece of paper tons of phrases from English to Kmer and it worked very well. Many people speak basic English or French.

 

My experience: Cambodia was surprisingly easy to hitchhike. Roads are terrible, especially remote ones, but you will always get a ride on the motorbike or on the back of a pick-up truck. People are friendly, but they don’t understand what hitchhiking is.

 

Pay attention: Thumb doesn’t have any meaning there, so waving to the drivers would be the best way to hitch a ride.

 

Border crossing: From Vietnam to Cambodia - Bavet / Moc Bai - It’s the most popular crossing for the foreigners. Cambodian visa is available on arrival and the whole process takes 1 hour maximum. (It’s also possible to apply online for Cambodian visa and it’s even cheaper.)

 

From Cambodia to Laos (Voeung Kam – Dom Kralor) – both Cambodian and Laos border officials are corrupted. Both sides will ask you for “exit or entry stamp fees”, which are unofficial. Usually they ask for $1 on each side, sometimes they ask for $2. It’s a bribe. Even though it seems like money not worth fighting over, it’s not about the money. Giving in doesn’t help fighting the corruption, it’s feeding it. You can tell them you’ll pay if they can issue a receipt for your employer which they can’t. If you are serious and rude enough, persistent and threat you will call Cambodian embassy, they might let you pass. Usually they just keep repeating “$2 or go back”.

 


          LAOS

Laos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  English is not very common outside of cities and tourist destinations, so it would be the easiest if you can have a hitchhiking letter prepared in local language for the drivers. Prepare for doing lots of acrobatics while trying to make yourself understood. I Google Translated and copied on a piece of paper tons of phrases from English to Lao and it worked very well. Many people speak French.

 

My experience: I had no trouble hitchhiking around Lao whatsoever. Don’t expect comfortable rides though. Roads are bad, cars are crappy and most of the time I hitchhiked motorcycles, but the people are friendly and the country is beyond beautiful.

 

Pay attention: Some people will expect money for a ride.

 

Quite a lot of older people speak little bit of Russian.

 

Border crossing: From Lao to Thailand at Chiang Khong - Huay Xai. Walking or cycling across the friendship bridge from Laos to Thailand is not allowed. I lied at the border that I was walking all the way from Croatia to Laos for several years and I told them they were the only country that wouldn’t let me walk across the border. The police officers said they were going to talk to their boss and ask for a special permission. 30 minutes later I was allowed to walk across the bridge-border! 🙂

 


    MACEDONIA

Macedonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: You can get by easily if you speak any of the Slavic languages. German is helpful too as many people work or used to work in Germany.

 

Hello – Здраво! (ZDRAH-voh)

Thank you – Благодарам. (blah-GOH-dah-rahm)

Yes – Да.(dah)

No – Не. (neh)

Hitch-hiking – автостоп – (ov-toh-STOP)

I don’t have money. – Јас немам пари – (Jas ne-MAM PAR-i)

I’m going to … –  Јас oдам да (Jas odam do…..)

Can I go with you? – можам да дојдам со тебе? – (Dali moze jas da dojdam so vas?)

 

My experience: Macedonians are very friendly and ready to help. I hitchhiked there with 2 boys and never waited very long for a ride or had any trouble.

  

Pay attention: There are many truck drivers headed to the border of Greece but may be reluctant to take you through. This seems to be the case at the most borders within the Balkan area. Most of the times trucks will drive you to the border, ask you to get out and walk through the border and enter the truck again once both of you are through.

 

Border crossing: From Albania to Macedonia, Qafë Thanë – Ќafasan is very fast and simple.

 

From Macedonia to Greece - Gevgelija/Evzoni, along the E75 European route. It is by far the biggest crossing for those looking to hitchhike. Fast and simple to cross.

 


BURMA/MYANMAR

Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  I Google Translated and copied on a piece of paper tons of phrases from English to Burmese and it worked very well.

 

My experience: Absolutely amazing experience. Burmese people are very friendly and positively curious about the foreigners. I hitchhiked there alone and it was 100x better than expected.

 

Pay attention: Forget about western way of hitchhiking with you thumb up, people won't understand what you are doing. Outstretch your arm and gently wave the hand up and down at the drivers.

 

Start to hitchhike outside the cities/villages, because the people are too friendly and they will gather around you to see what you’re doing or try to hitchhike for you. With 10 people standing around you, it will be pretty hard to get a lift, so walk away to some better spot.

 

Police will ask for your passport all the time. I’ve been ID-ed around 20 times in 28 days of hitchhiking around Myanmar.

 

There is a decent road in the usual touristic circle between Yangon, Mandalay and (partially) to Inle Lake and it’s very simple and pretty fast to hitchhike. As soon as you’re off that road and try to hitchhike to more remote areas, the road is really, REALLY BAD and you will mostly hitchhike motorbikes from village to village. Apart from few trucks, there won’t be much else to hitchhike on a dirt road. It took me almost a week to hitchhike 700km. (As a crazy comparison – I hitchhiked 1500 km in one day in Australia.)

 

There are still many restricted areas around Myanmar that are out of the reach for the tourists. Don’t worry, you can’t accidentally end up in them, because there are police and military check points that won’t let you in. Protests, riots and police watches are quite common in certain cities, but you as a tourist won’t be the target. You should respect the police watch though.

 

Don’t get surprised by hitchhiking lots of army and police vehicles.

 

Don’t accept the offers from the locals to spend the night in their houses, because THEY will get in lots of trouble by the police. Camping and couchsurfing is illegal, too. I slept numerous times outside. Police would come to check my passport and tell me to move on, but I didn’t get in any serious trouble.

 

In general, you should know that a lot of information available online about traveling in Myanmar is wrong, because things are changing very fast there after opening the borders.

 

Border crossing: (From Thailand to Myanmar and back) Mae Sot/Myawaddy – They have separate window for the foreigners, so you don’t have to wait in a very long line with the locals. Crossing was super simple and fast. On the Myanmar side, the new road over the Dawna mountains - connecting Myawaddy to the rest of Myanmar - is now open (so you do not need to worry about the issue of the old single track road, with its alternating one-way system).

 


   MONTENEGRO

Montenegro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  If you speak any of the Slavic languages, you’ll get by just fine. Around touristic places, you can get by with basic English as most locals speak it.

 

My experience: I hitchhiked there with 2 of my friends and even for three of us it was pretty easy. People are hospitable and they kept giving us rakija. 🙂

 

Pay attention: The roads are below EU standard, so don’t count on a fast trip.

 

Border crossing: Crossing the border to Tivat from Croatia was very easy. Apparently the other way around (Montenegro-Croatia) is usually not so easy and many get searched for drugs and checked for stolen cars/smuggling.

 


     MALAYSIA

Malaysia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Even though Malay is the official language, most of the people speak at least basic English. In case you get unlucky, Malay is pretty simple to learn and here are few useful phrases:

 

Hello = Selamat pagi (am) / petang (pm) OR Hi

Where are you going? = Mana anda pergi?

I am going to (City) = Saya pergi (City)

I don't have money = Saya tidak wang

Can you help me? = Anda boleh tolong saya?

Thank you = Terimah kasih

Yes/No = Ya / Tidak

Hitchhiking = Tumpang (meaning exactly "have a lift" as hitchhiking is not known in Malaysia)

 

My experience: Malaysia is one of the easiest countries to hitchhike and one of the creepiest if you’re a single woman hitchhiker. In the 1st ten days of hitchhiking I saw 7 penises without asking. People would flash me all the time even when I was only walking on the street. They would unzip their pants and wouldn’t let me out of the car. I had to threat to them with my pepper spray quite often, but it was effective. I found the solution to my problem very quickly. I noticed the most trouble came from single Malay and Indian men, so I hitchhiked only Chinese men (always respectful), women and the families. With that strategy I didn’t have any more problems. I stayed in Malaysia for 8 months. Please note that all trouble happened in West Peninsula. Hitchhiking around Malaysian side of Borneo was nothing like West Peninsula. I have never had any problems around Borneo and I hitchhiked different tribes.

 

Pay attention: I got picked up by the police, they drove me for 300 km and they were very friendly.

 

Most roads are in a good condition on the West Peninsula and not so good around Borneo.

 

I managed to hitchhike a ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi (1st I got rejected at Kuala Kedah.)

 

Border crossing: I crossed the border to Malaysia from Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. Some borders by walking, some borders by driving or sailing, but all while hitchhiking and it was pretty simple. The only hectic border was the one with Singapore, because it was overcrowded by the cars. They have a separate line for the motorbikes, so I hitchhiked a bike and that worked amazingly well. That’s the best advice to avoid getting stuck for hours at the border.

 


      ROMANIA

Romania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: English is not very common. Knowledge of Italian or Spanish might help a bit. Romanian cheat sheet:

 

Hello = Buna ziua

Do you possibly drive in the direction of ...? = Mergeti cumva catre ...?

Could I get a lift to...? = Ma duceti pana la ...?

Petrol station = O benzinarie

Service area = O zona de servicii

Parking place = O parcare

Highway = Autostrada

Is the lift free? = E gratis?

Yes / no = Da / nu

I'm going to ...  =  Merg la ...

Where are you going to? = Unde mergeti?

Thank you = Multumesc

Can you drop me off here? = Puteti sa ma lasati aici?

 

Overall experience: It's usually easy to flag down a ride. Some of the drivers will expect the payment, so make sure everyone is on the same page before you accept the ride.

 

Pay attention: Most of the roads are bad, but that doesn't stop some drivers to drive like maniacs.

 

You will be offered Palinka (local homemade alcohol) and cigarettes quite often.


Border crossing: Romania is a member of the EU, but not yet a member of the Schengen zone. It shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the northeast, and Bulgaria to the south.

 


        SERBIA

Serbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  If you speak any of the Slavic languages, you’ll get by just fine.

 

Hello - Zdravo

Do you possibly drive in the direction of ...? - Izvinite da li idete u pravcu ...?

Could I get a lift to...? - Mogu li dobiti prevoz do...?

- a gasstation / a service area / a parking place? / along the highway - benzinska pumpa / odmorishte / parking / duz autoputa

pay-toll - naplatna rampa

motorway - autoput

Is the lift free? / I can't pay. - Da li je prevoz besplatan? / Ne mogu da platim.

yes / no / maybe / no thanks - Da / Ne / Mozda / Ne hvala.

I don't understand. / I don't know. - Ne razumem. / Ne znam.

I'm going to ... / Where are you going to? - Idem do.. / Gde vi idete?

Can you drop me off here? - Mozete li me ostaviti ovde?

Thank you! = Hvala!

 

My experience: I’ve hitchhiked numerous times through Serbia without much trouble. People are very friendly there.

 

Pay attention: Once I came across a very stubborn policeman who wouldn’t let me hitchhike from the pay-tools. I think I came across a guy who was having a very bad day or maybe he was just an everyday asshole. He wouldn’t let me hitchhike even though I was not standing on the highway and he wouldn’t let me walk. I had no other option to move from there, so I sat on the grass and waited to see what’s going to happen. At first he ignored me and then he started stopping the cars for me. It took him couple of hours to find me a ride, because he didn’t have a clue about hitchhiking – he stopped only the vehicles with the license plates from the city I was born…!

 

Border crossing: (From Croatia to Serbia and from Serbia to Bulgaria) Both crossings were pretty simple. Try not to get a ride to the border crossing by truck, because the queue is usually very long for trucks and you’ll have to wait for MANY hours. Better option is to get off the truck at the border, walk across the border and hitchhike a ride after the border.

 


      SLOVAKIA

Slovakia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Slovak is a Slavic language and you can get by with speaking any of the Slavic languages. Most of young rivers speak English, German or Russian. Little bit of Slovak lingua:

 

Hello (formal/casual) Dobrý deň/Ahoj

Hitchhiking = stopovanie

Please Prosím

Thank you Ďakujem

Highway Diaľnica

Are you going to ...? Idete do ...?

Goodbye Dovidenia

Yes Áno

No Nie

 

My experience:  Slovak people are incredibly friendly and polite.

 

Pay attention: Hitchhiking is not allowed on motorways, but you can hitchhike from entry ramps or ask drivers for a lift at petrol stations. On the country's national roads, you can simply stand wherever cars are going slowly and put your thumb up.

 

Border crossing: From Austria - super simple and fast.

 


       SLOVENIA

Slovenia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Even though it’s not their 1st language, you will find that people in Slovenia speak English quite good and German language can also come in handy.

 

My experience: Hitchiking on the highway will take you far and fast, but if you have time, hitchhike on the small roads – it’s truly beautiful. People are very friendly and hospitable.

 

Pay attention: Roads are in a good condition.

 

Hitchhiking in the rural areas is easy and a ride can be found even in the smallest roads.

 

If you don't speak Slovenian, standing with a sign will probably work better than trying to communicate.

 

Border crossing: Slovenia is in the Schengen Zone, meaning that at the border crossings with Italy, Austria and Hungary there are generally no controls. To enter Slovenia from Croatia, a passport or ID is sufficient if your visit will not last more than three months. (It’s different for the countries that need visa.)

 


      THAILAND

Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  I Google Translated and copied on a piece of paper tons of phrases from English to Thai and it worked very well. Here are just few basics:

 

Hello = Sawadee kap/kaa  ("Kap" is used by male speakers and "kaa" by female speakers.)

Where are you going? = Pai nai?

No problem = Mai penyang

Good / bad / a little = Dee / mai dee / nit-noy

I don't understand = Mai cautchai

Thank you! = Ko pun kap/kaa! ("Kap" is used by male speakers and "kaa" by female speakers.)

Where is... = nai...

Road = thanon

Temple = wat

to sleep = nun

 

My experience: Thailand was one of the easiest and the most pleasant&carefree countries to hitchhike around.  Be ready to spend a lot of time in the back of pick-up trucks, because that’s how most of the locals ride. There are lots of motorbikes in Thailand who are happy to pick up hitchhikers, but due to the strict law – you should have a helmet. I carried my own until it got broken, after which I could only hitchhike the motorbikes that carry a spare helmet. Still, my waiting time rarely exceeded 15 min.

 

Pay attention: Stray dogs were my biggest trouble in Thailand, especially after dark when some of them get very territorial. Not panicking and pretending not to see them while walking away seemed to work ok for me.

 

Border crossing: From Lao to Thailand at Chiang Khong - Huay Xai. Walking or cycling across the friendship bridge from Laos to Thailand is not allowed. I lied at the border that I was walking all the way from Croatia to Laos for several years and I told them they were the only country that wouldn’t let me walk across the border. The police officers said they were going to talk to their boss and ask for a special permission. 30 minutes later I was allowed to walk across the bridge-border! 🙂

 

From Thailand to Myanmar and back (Mae Sot/Myawaddy) – they have separate window for the foreigners, so you don’t have to wait in a very long line with the locals. Crossing was super simple and fast.

 

From Thailand to Malaysia (Sadao/Changlun) – it’s one of the most popular crossings used for visa runs in southern Thailand and it’s open 24-hours. I arrived in the morning and crossed it by foot.

 


  TURKMENISTAN

Turkmenistan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Basic knowledge of Russian will take you far in Turkmenistan.

 

My experience: I only stayed there 5 days because I was on a transit visa, so my experience was very short, but in the given time I hitchhiked across the country to Uzbekistan and made it without much trouble. It’s not the easiest country to hitchhike, because the roads are terrible and most people don’t own the car or expect the money for a ride. My longest waiting time was 2 hours after which I changed the plan (and direction) and got the ride immediately.

  

Even though Turkmenistan is very closed down country and known for its strict dictatorship, I didn’t have any troubles with the police while hitchhiking.

 

Border crossing: (from Iran to Turkmenistan, Sarakhs – Saraghs) Mashad to Sarakhs is about 3 hours by road. Opening hours of the border are 8am to 5pm. No transport goes right across the Iranian border and I didn’t want to take a shuttle, so I walked to the Turkmenistan border. They were really strict and overly serious on Turkmenistan border and wouldn’t let me walk to the next check point which was 10 km away. You’re forced to take a shuttle or you can return back to Iran – they don’t negotiate and don’t want to listen to any “creative proposals”. The shuttle was $10 in 2013. On entering Turkmenistan you have to pay entry tax ($12) and it can be paid in dollars only.

 

From Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan, Farap – Alat is connecting Bukhara with Turkmenabat. Opens at 9am, closes at 8pm. Lunch break between 1pm and 2pm. It’s only 1 hour from Turkmenabat to the border, but the problem is the pontoon bridge over the Amu Darya, where long queues sometimes cause big delays! The crossing to Uzbekistan requires a walk across no man’s land for about 1 km if you are not driving your own car. On Turkmenistan border the officials will search your laptop and photo camera. On Uzbekistan border, the officials will measure your body temperature. (I shit you not.)  

 

Pay attention: Their roads are so bad that people tend to drive around them, so be very careful when standing by the road and hitchhiking.

 

It’s the best to avoid talking politics in public or criticizing the government – it can get you in a lot of trouble.

 

Couchsurfing is illegal and pretty much non-existent in Turkmenistan. My host got visited by the police for hosting the travelers in his apartment. Locals are very hospitable though and they will invite you to their home despite the regime.

 


        TURKEY

Turkey2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: You might get away with some basic German in Turkey, but not with English. In order to avoid a major confusion, it's the best to learn some Turkish lingua.

 

Ş is pronounced sh, Ç as ch, ı as a "neutral" sound between "a" and "ee". It has no equivalent in English.

 

Hello = Merhaba

Yes = Evet

No = Yok

Thanks = Teşekkürler

Okay = Tamam

I'm going to... = ...'a gidiyorum

I'm married = Evliyim

I have a boyfriend/girlfriend = Erkek(M)/kız(F) arkadaşım var

Don't touch me! = Bana dokunma!

Help! = İmdat!

Stop! = Dur

I don't want = İstemiyorum

I want to get off = İnmek istiyorum

 

My experience: Turkey is considered a hitchhiking heaven due to the fact that almost every car stops and people are overly friendly and have a tendency to host you, feed you or at least make you drink chai. It’s not uncommon to get a ride from a very center of Istanbul. As heavenly as it sounds, hitchhiking in Turkey has its dark side in the form of predictably unpredictable Turkish men.

 

If you went through few months of Turkish “school” of hitchhiking, make yourself a diploma, because you are a pro now! Hitchhiking around Turkey as a woman will get you enough experience to get you ready for hitchhiking in any country. You will learn some valuable lessons there from your own experience and the experience of other hitchhikers you meet along the way. Everyone has at least one too good to be true and too bad to be true story from Turkey.

 

Here are some basic guidelines for women to hitchhike safely around Turkey: Western perception of flirting and Turkish perception of flirting is very different. Be aware that your eye contact, smile and friendliness can be misread in Turkish culture, because traditional Turkish women would have never ever been so “open” with a stranger. …not even mentioning hitchhiking.

 

Turkish men are obsessed with Russian women and have a perception that most Russians are easy or prostitutes. If you’re from Russia and hitchhiking alone, it would be better to come up with some other home country rather than Russia for your own good.

 

General Turkish perception of Western women is that they are all willing to have sex with random strangers and they won’t be shy to ask you about it. Make it crystal clear you’re only interested in getting to your destination, and nothing else.

 

If you’re trying to avoid the trouble, forget about hitchhiking in any short or revealing clothes, because you’ll be seen as a prostitute. Dress more modestly than you usually would.

 

If the driver is rubbing both of his pointing fingers against each other, he’s probably proposing to physical contact/casual sex (if you’re alone) or asking about your relationship (in case you’re hitchhiking with a male partner).

 

Even though it’s absolutely possible to hitchhike alone and be safe if you stick to the learnings, it’s less nerve wrecking to hitchhike in pairs. If you’re hitchhiking with a guy, it’s the best to pretend to be married. Turkish drivers (especially truck drivers) will often challenge the guy to check if the story is true and try to flirt with a girl. As a guy hitchhiking with a girl, stand your ground and always make sure to sit next to the driver.

 

If you’re a guy hitchhiking alone, it’s not uncommon to be asked for a sex by Turkish drivers. Some of them are clearly gay, but most of them are straight and unmarried men who are having tough time in extremely conservative society where pre-maritial sex guarantees terrible consequences for women.

 

Pay attention: Western and Eastern part of Turkey differ a lot. East is more conservative and undeveloped, but extremely friendly. While hitchhiking in the East, drivers will often roll down their windows and shout “Welcome to Kurdistan!” The East looks and feels like a different country (check the history and you'll understand why.)

 

If you are stuck without the place to sleep, your safest bet is the front hall of the mosque, on the carpet by the shoes closet. I slept in numerous mosques and never encountered any problems. Even for a prayer at 5 a.m., people were very considerate and tried not to step on me or make too much noise.

 

Hitchhiking is not a common sight in the East part of Turkey and you will attract a lot of attention while standing by the side of the road with your thumb up. It’s the matter of minutes until bunch of people surround you and try to help you out while hitchhiking FOR you with their thumbs up. Try to explain that you have a better chance of getting a ride on your own and if that doesn’t work, walk away from the group to some better spot. If you don’t leave the group, there is a good chance the police will come to send them off the street as well as search your bag.

 

During Ramazan, pretty much everything will be closed in the East side of Turkey until after the sunset. That's not the case in more touristic and liberal West side.

 

Border crossing: Greece – Turkey (İpsala-Kipi border) - Walking across the border is not permitted. However, there is a lot of traffic and finding a ride is not a problem.

 

Iran – Turkey (Kapikoy – Razi) 1,5 by car from Van, roads are not in mint condition on either side. Opening hours: 8a.m. – 6p.m. (Turkish time). Turkish side was easy to cross. I got searched and questioned at Iranian border, but nothing major.

 

Turkey – Iraqi Kurdistan: There is only one border crossing to Iraqi Kurdistan, just south of Silopi. You’re not allowed to cross it by foot. Some drivers will take you only if you smuggle some cigarettes for them across the border.

 


  UNITED STATES

USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: There won't be a language barrier if you speak English. 🙂 Hitchhiking in the States has a very long tradition.


My experience: My 1st hitchhiking experience ever happened in the States, 12 years ago and it was a failure as I got picked up by my friend who asked me what the F was wrong with me.

 

Hitchhiking in the States is simple and it can be done safely. It’s illegal to stand directly on the road (for obvious safety reasons), but standing on the side of the road, the shoulder, or a sidewalk is fine.

 

Pay attention: Each state has its own laws, though, and a few specifically ban hitchhiking. These include New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wyoming. Police officers may stop and question you, give you a warning, or fine you (in the worst case scenario).

 

If you're going for speed over a long distance (3+ hours), then the best bet is to stay on the interstates. Highways are better for shorter or more scenic trips.

 

Border crossing: Canada - USA, the border control is quite tight. Because of the strong security measures, it's probably the best to cross the border by foot and start again once the control is done. I'm not sure what's the situation on Mexican border.

 

 


    UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Basic knowledge of Russian will take you far. Russian/Uzbek phrases:

 

Salam = Hello (Uzbek)

Kuda ti idyosh? = Where are you going? (Russian)

Ya Hachu payti v... = I want to go to...

Dengi njet, Problema? = No money, problem?

Avtostop = Hitchhiking

Spasiba/Rakhmat = Thank you (Russian/Uzbek)

Kak ti? = How are you?

Kharasho = Good

 

My experience: There are not many cars, so the local hitchhike private cars every day, but the drivers expect money for a rid. Any private car can turn into a "taxi". That makes hitchhiking quite tricky, but not impossible. It's important to inform your driver that you're not willing to pay BEFORE you get in the car. Some drivers will drive off and some will pick you up anyways.

 

Pay attention: Make sure to declare all foreign money when you enter Uzbekistan. Taking out more foreign money than you brought into Uzbekistan can lead to heavy fines.

 

Books can be tricky. Don’t bring religious literature of any kind, or books about Uzbek politics or history. My hitchhiking buddy got into some serious trouble because of his book about Sufism.

 

Be careful with your photos. They checked my camera and laptop at the border for the pics of government buildings, military stuff and porn.


Border crossing: When travelling in Uzbekistan, you need to be registered by hotels or other licensed places to stay. If you fail to do so, you might have to pay a pretty big fine or a bribe. Your hotel will give you a registration slip free of charge, a little piece of paper saying you are staying there. Keep them safe, you might need to show them when leaving the country at the border. I was stopped at the police check point in Fergana to show my “registration slips”. I didn’t have them all, because I didn’t always stay at the hotels, so I mixed all the “paper slips” with my friend’s slips, so they looked very messy. The policeman was too busy (lazy) to put them all in order, so he just looked at few of them and let me go. Couchsurfing and wild camping as well as staying with the locals who invite you to their houses is illegal in Uzbekistan (if you don’t have a special permission), but I did it anyways). Be aware of the risk and the penalty, though.

 

 

 


       VIETNAM

Vietnam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua:  Vietnam is very hitchhiking friendly country. Even though people don’t exactly understand the concept of hitchhiking, they will stop to pick you up. Motorbikes, cars, buses, trucks…you name it. Make sure to ask "Miễn Phí?" ("free?") BEFORE entering the vehicle.

 

My experience: Don’t get discouraged as Vietnamese people will often tell you that hitchhiking is impossible. It’s definitely NOT.

 

If you can ride around 50km/hr you can consider it a good average in Vietnam. The roads are bad and the traffic is heavy.

 

Pay attention: Make sure you have a helmet while hitchhiking the motorbikes. The police can be quite brutal with the fines.

 

Drunk driving is very common, so be careful who you’re riding with.

 

Border crossing: From Vietnam to Cambodia - Bavet / Moc Bai - It’s the most popular crossing for the foreigners. Cambodian visa is available on arrival and the whole process takes 1 hour maximum. (It’s also possible to apply online for Cambodian visa and it’s even cheaper.)

 

China-Vietnam border (Hekou to Lao Cai) was super simple. Chinese let you walk over the Friendship bridge to Vietnam without any trouble or much waiting. The Chinese border is open from 8am until 11pm, (that’s 7am until 10pm Vietnamese time, because of the time zone differences).

 

 


     SINGAPORE

Singapore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Everyone speaks English.

 

My experience: Hitchhiking is not common within Singapore, mainly because public transport is very good, but it’s not impossible. You’ll get a ride in many fancy cars, because there are no old cars in Singapore. 🙂

 

Border crossing: I hitchhiked several times in and out of country and it wasn’t too hard. My longest waiting time was 30 min. Due to very crowded border during the working peak hours (many Malays travel from Johor Bahru every morning to work in Singapore and coming back in the evening) I hitchhiked motorbikes across the border. That’s the fastest way to avoid waiting in line for hours (especially on weekends). Motorcycles have a separate line and the entry across the border on both ends and it’s dead easy! Just make sure to wear a helmet, because the law is very strict there.

 

 


   NETHERLANDS

Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Even though 1st language is Dutch, most of the people, especially younger ones, speak at least basic English.

 

My experience: Hitchhiking in the Netherlands is quite simple. You are perfectly fine while hitchhiking at service stations, but keep in mind that service stations are private property or leases. Sometimes the owners try to get rid of the hitchhikers from the stations. If that happens, just move to the parking space or at the exit sign and hitchhike from there.

 

Border crossing: The Netherlands takes part in Schengen Agreement.

 

 


  SWITZERLAND

Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Most people will be able to understand some English. Depending on the area you are hanging around, the knowledge of German in the north and east, Italian in the south and French in the western part of the country will come in handy.

 

Overall experience: Hitchhiking is pretty simple in Switzerland, especially in the mountain regions and small country roads, where it is quite common to pick up wanderers and hitchhikers. It's also quite easy to get lifts with truck drivers from Germany to Italy and back.

 

Border crossing: Since the mid-December 2008 Switzerland is officially part of the Schengen.

 

 


       GEORGIA

Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Georgian is the official language. The basic knowledge of Russian will come in very handy. 

 

My experience: Georgians are very hospitable people. When hitchhiking in the evening or at night, there is a high chance of your driver inviting you to stay at his home. If you are seen at nightfall on the outskirts of a town, villagers may literally pull you into their homes. Unlike most European countries, usually no one cares if you hitchhike directly on highways, so it's not a problem to find a spot.

 

Border crossing: Foreigners with a valid Entry Permit can enter Abkhazia from Georgia, but have to return to Georgia. Travelling from Russia through Abkhazia towards Georgia is impossible, as you'll then be regarded as having illegally entered Georgia.

 

 


     INDONESIA

Indonesia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: English is not very common outside of touristic places. Knowing some basic phrases in Bahasa will be very helpful. Luckily, Bahasa is not very hard to learn. It's always a good idea to find some local person with good English who could write you a short letter in Bahasa (for your drivers) explaining who you are, what you are doing and where you are going. If that's not possible, you can always Google Translate some short and basic phrases and questions that you can entertain your drivers with.

 

My experience: Hitchhiking in Indonesia is usually very easy for foreigners. They will call you “Bule” outloud (meaning foreigner/westerner) and admire the shape of your nose no matter how bumpy it is. That alone will score you a ride most of the time.

 

Pay attention: The concept of hitchhiking is not always understood in Indonesia. Don’t use your thumb for hitchhiking, because Indonesians won’t understand the gesture. The best way to hitchhike there is to outstretch your arm and gently wave the hand up and down.

 

Border crossing: I hitchhiked the sailing boat across several borders and we have never had any troubles. (E-mail me for more details.)

 

 


BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

Brunei

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Malay is the official language there, but most of the people I stumbled upon could speak at least basic English.

 

My experience: I hitchhiked in and out of Bandar Seri Begawan. Quite a few people asked for the money for a ride, but even with that obstacle, hitchhiking was quite easy because in general many people stopped to ask what I was doing and they were willing to give me a ride. The concept of hitchhiking is not understood there.  

 

Border crossing: I hitchhiked the sailing boat across the border and we have never had any troubles. (E-mail me for more details.)

 

 


      AUSTRALIA

Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: There won't be a language barrier if you speak English. 🙂 Hitchhiking in Australia has a very long tradition.

 

My experience: Personally, Australia is my hitchhiking heaven. Friendly people, no language barrier and everyone understands what hitchhiking is all about. Distances between populated areas can be vast and the hitchhing a vehicle for several thousands of kilometers is not uncommon.

 

Pay attention: Hitchhiking in summer can be really unpleasant due to the heat. Carry plenty of water at all times.

 

Make sure your drivers know to drop you off at the gas stations or the settlement in order to avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, especially if you’re not a fan of the random wildlife. The traffic at some spots can be surprisingly low.

 

Australian truck drivers “truckies” are amazing. They are very friendly and super safe to hitchhike as most of them are tracked via gps, camera or a radio by their companies. They have pretty strict insurance limitations and rules by their companies not to pick up any hitchhikers, but most of them do it anyways, because they just want someone to chat with. Most of them have bunk beds in the truck and will offer you to spend the night in the truck if you’re going long distance.

 

 


       VANUATU

Vanuatu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhiking lingua: Most of people can speak English or French. Basic understanding of Bislama (simple, pigeon English) will come in handy.

 

My experience: There is quite large expat community around Port Vila and hitchhiking around Efate Island won’t be much of a problem. Locals won’t understand what you’re doing, but they will nevertheless try to help you and offer to give you a lift.

 

If you happen to be a single woman hitchhiking, be very careful of hitchhiking young male population as there is a big chance they will misjudge your intentions. Violence against women is pretty high in Vanuatu.

 

I kept safe while hitchhiking the families and women only.

 

Pay attention: Hitchhiking around other islands such as Tanna and Pentecost is completely different from Efate, because most of the rides will be shared with the community, because there are not many cars there. Hitchhiking is still possible there; just don’t expect the comfort and the good roads.

 

Border crossing: I flew to Vanuatu from Australia. 0 troubles at the border.

 

 

 

 

 
  • Marie Neren

    This is just perfect! Thank you so much for sharing!