What did travel look like when you first headed off into the great unknown?

Did you pack your worldly possessions into a suitcase, board a plane (in a time when smoking was still permitted on flights), pool your funds to buy a cheap car – even better if it was a clapped-out Kombi – or stick your thumb out at the side of the road and chase the sun across Asia to Europe?  

This year, we put together a very special itinerary, recreating part of the famous Hippie Trail from Bangkok to Istanbul, through India, Nepal, Iran, and finishing in Turkey. If you travelled in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it’s a chance to revisit your first grand adventure, fill in the blanks, and experience its wonders in a little more, well – comfort. If you weren’t able to see it back then, now’s your opportunity to enjoy it for the first time on a small group adventure.

 

What was the Hippie Trail?

The Hippie Trail was an overland journey, made famous in the ‘60s and ‘70s by wandering travellers, most notably, members of the hippie subculture. The route wound its way from South East Asia to India, through Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, and on to Europe. Hitch-hiking between towns was the most common way to get around, with backpackers meeting up in hostels, bars and gathering spots along the way to share stories, connections and ideas (it was the ‘60s, after all). It was a search for adventure, with everyone seeking the ultimate: enlightenment.

 

A journey of firsts

For many, travelling on the Hippie trail was a time of firsts: the first time away from the comfort and security of home, the first time trying eye-wateringly hot curries and sweet chai tea, the first time hearing the melodic and sombre call to prayer. It was the first time we struggled with language, the first time we were truly in the minority, the first time we embraced that spirit of adventure to just… go with it. 

Famous people along the trail

Beat poet Allen Ginsberg moved from New Jersey to India in 1962, embracing it as his ‘promised land’ and embarking on a spiritual journey across the country. Cat Stevens visited the area and penned his famous ‘Katmandu’ song (spelt without the H) as he sought out the treasures of the ‘mystic East’. The Beatles travelled to Rishikesh, amid a cloud of publicity, to attend a workshop in transcendental meditation – along with psychedelic folk singer Donovan and Mike Love from the Beach Boys. During their time in India, the group penned multiple songs, many of which ended up on ‘The White Album’ and ‘Abbey Road’. Who knows? You might end up creating your own magnum opus after an adventure on the trail! 

How adventure has changed

The rise of budget airlines and high-speed rail networks has made travel considerably cheaper, and – these days – there’s no need to line up to use the phone at the post office, send letters home via airmail, or stick your thumb out for a ride to the next town.

The Trail - then and now

Many destinations along the Hippie Trail are no longer recommended to travellers, due to war, political unrest and extremism. Afghanistan was – for a time – relatively peaceful, as the country began taking steps to a more westernised way of life; Pakistan had a burgeoning film industry and live music scene (nightclubs were banned in 1977); and Iraq’s capital Baghdad was an elegant, prosperous city. Similarly, countries that were difficult to travel in at the time – due to the Vietnam War, Cambodia’s horrific Pol Pot regime, and military rule in Myanmar – are significantly more accessible today, and are, in fact, welcoming travellers with open arms. Those places you may have missed the first time around are now ready to be explored; you can finish that unfinished journey.

Hippie Trail 2018 

We’ve pulled together a few of our favourite tours along the overland route to create a newer (more comfortable) option for crossing the Hippie Trail. Visit your favourite spot along the trail, or throw yourself into a grand adventure and book all seven! Our friendly sales team are standing by to assist with bookings, additional accommodation requirements and flights. 

 

Trip Name Departing Date Departing City Finishing Date Finishing City Days View Trip
Total Thailand 08 January 2018 Bangkok 26 January 2018 Phuket 19 View Trip
Magical Myanmar 05 February 2018 Yangon 18 February 2018 Yangon 14  View Trip
Colours of India 20 February 2018 New Delhi 16 March 2018 Trivandrum 25 View Trip
Colours of Nepal 17 March 2018 Kathmandu 27 March 2018 Kathmandu 11 View Trip
Ancient Persia in Depth 05 April 2018 Tehran 18 April 2018 Tehran 14 View Trip
Glimpse of Turkey 21 April 2018 Antalya 29 April 2018 Istanbul 9 View Trip

... Then continue your journey onwards to Europe View Trips 

Create your own Hippie Trail with these tours from Peregrine

From the Trail