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India Overland

Overland the Adventure of a Lifetime

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Welcome to the Overland Forum, if you traveled the overland or are just curious you should find something of interest, use the search function to help find anything in particular i.e. people, companies or places. The forum was getting 10 to 15 spam registrations a day so I have disabled direct registration. If you would like to join the forum just mail me derek(at) & I will email you a login...

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The oldest passenger on the August 1974 Tour East/Budget Bus to Kathmandu was a 76-year-old Mauritian named Joe Edouard, who passed away a couple of years after completing the trip.

Joe's daughter Marie recently contacted me after reading my account of the journey, and has dug out some of his photographs.

Here is a shot of the bus interior, probably taken at Kavala, showing some of my fellow passengers:

My regards to all of them.



There are a surprising number of bus enthusiasts out there, for which I am grateful.

The bus was apparently a 35 seater Bedford VAS with a Duple Bella Vista body.

It had a 13'8" short wheelbase, 16 inch wheels, and probably a VAS diesel engine.

Unfortunately I didn't catch the 'number plate', which might have revealed more.



Your Quote 'This would make it a Bedford SB with a Duple Bella Vista body and a Bedford engine.' sounds right to me and I suspect the year the Bus was manufactured was around 1963.Emil of Budget Bus used to prefer his subcontractors to use these type of Bedfords because, as you mention, spare parts could be obtained most places on route and as the coach body was built of metal and wood with a seperate chassis it could be modified or repaired if necessary. This was unlike say German vehicles which were a monocok construction-all one piece steel/metal body and chassis. These vehicles were well built but if anything went wrong such as an accident to repair the 'all in one body' could be a bit of a nightmare.
   In those days the cost to buy one of these second hand Bedfords would vary between


hope the info. above is useful

Many thanks. I had been Googling for "Bella Vista", a phrase burned into my memory.

This would make it a Bedford SB with a Duple Bella Vista body and a Bedford engine.

To clarify, the bus was cream/yellow with an orange flash and a white roof (my camera was cheap).

George was naturally proud of his bus, and I remember him praising the engine, which sat between him and Ram and often had the cover off. As others have mentioned elsewhere spare parts could be obtained in several places en route (though not in the wilds of south eastern Turkey unfortunately).

"There are two types of passengers - those who get out and push, and those who don't."


Kashmiri houseboat where I celebrated my 19th birthday, September 1974



Reading the brochure again after all this time was fascinating.

Some of the text seemed unfamiliar, but I hadn't seen it since 1974 and it would certainly be the same one I was sent - it even mentions the trip I was on as the company's next departure (apparently the first under the Tour East banner). I'm pretty sure I used the booking form in the back.

I will also have known a few passengers that used other buses on this site - two of my old girlfriends did the trip (one in 1973 and one in 1977) and almost everyone I knew in those days did too, some driving their own small buses. Their London homes often hosted people they met on their travels.

When air travel became affordable in the late seventies we all jetted to Morocco or India as casually as taking the train to Totteridge, but the overland trip was the one to remember.

My warmest regards to George, Ram and my fellow passengers, wherever they are.

I think I have read every word on this site in the last few days - thank you.


Buddha in the woods at Swayambhu Nath, Kathmandu, October 1974


The purple? bus shown in your photo is, if I remember rightly, a Bedford SB 41 seater probably with a Bedford 330 engine but I'm afraid Ive forgotten the exact model - next time I speak to Emil and Wende(They used to run Budget Bus )I'll try to remember to find out the make.The picture below is of my bus (which I subcontracted to Budget Bus) and was a slightly older model -  a 1960 Bedford SB8 with a Leyland 350 engine 41 seater.
Incidentally you may be interested to know that I did the full 10 week Middle East trip under the company TOUR EAST, which was jointly owned by Myself and Emil, in 1975 (or was it 1976?)via Turkey,Syria,Ante-Lebanon,Jordan,a quick trip to Israel without Bus, and then Jordan through Iraq(We got visas with difficulty in the UK)to Baghdad before Iran (visiting Isfahan and Persepolis) and then the usual route.Below is the front cover of the TOUR EAST brochure and if you are interested click on the link below to see the whole brochure.

The link to the TOUR EAST brochure is **I've just seen your 'post' on the link I just mentioned ** Anyway hope the info. above is useful.


Can any knowledgeable person tell me the make of George's orange Budget Bus?

I remember push-starting it in the Afghan desert, but nothing about the manufacturer.



The photo shows the Budget Bus at Kavala campsite in August 1974. George the driver is in the doorway.

As an eighteen-year-old I bought a one-way ticket on the extended Budget Bus trip that took in Lebanon and Kashmir (though not Iraq as planned, we were refused visas) and which was supposed to terminate at Kathmandu.

George the driver had done London-Delhi before but everything off the direct route was new to him. He could be gruff at times but he had a tough job and I retain respect for him. He got us as far as Delhi, where a handful of the passengers (including me) were transferred to another bus for the final stage up to Nepal. I fondly recall the rooftop party in Agra where I said goodbye to George, Ram and the Budget Bus.

My full account is online: The Hippie Trail 1974

This photo shows the hanging sign outside Sigi's Hotel in Kabul, 1974.

Good food and rice pudding!

Bom Shankar!