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Outside of Africa, travellers from Europe have the best air access to Gabon. There are direct flights to Libreville from Brussels, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Geneva. Most travellers consider Air Gabon to be one of the three or four best African airlines serving central and west Africa. There is no departure tax. You can take the train from Brazzaville to Mbinda, make the hop to Franceville via a series of bush taxis, then take the Transgabonais to Libreville; the total trip should take a minimum of six days. The other border crossing between Gabon and the Congo involves a string of trucks and bush taxis running from Loubomo, Congo, through Doussala to N"Dendé; it"s about two days from N"Dendé to Libreville.
The stretch between Loubomo and Brazzaville is normally done by train and takes about six days. Travelling by bush taxis and minibuses between Youndé, Cameroon, and Libreville takes about three days. The crossing is between Bitam and Ambam. Coming from Cameroon, you absolutely must get an entry stamp in Bitam from immigration. The standard fine for infractions is over 60.00. The Libreville-Bata (Equatorial Guinea) route is via the town of Cocobeach, where (if you"re going north) you should spend the night, as accommodation is a problem until you get to Mbini or Bata. The leg between Libreville and Cocobeach is 2.5 hours by pick-up. Getting between Cocobeach and Acalayong involves taking a pirogue (motorised dugout canoe) across the Estuaire du Muni. The pirogues leave when full and take about four and a half hours to cross. You"ll be charged an "exit fee" of around 10.00 at Cocobeach and a similar "entry fee" at Cogo, but the latter fee is negotiable. There are pick-ups from Acalayong to Mbini and there are others from there to Bata.
There are occasional freight boats that ply between Libreville and Douala that may take passengers. Fares are negotiable, but don"t expect any comforts and bring your own food and drink. Enquire at Port Môle (the old port) in Libreville about the possibility. The Solmar II sails between Libreville and São Tomé on a fairly regular schedule; the one-way fare is under 100.00.


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There are frequent flights to Rio from all major cities in South America and from a number of major airports in the USA and Europe. Other gateway airports in Brazil include São Paulo, Recife - popular with German package tourists - and Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon basin. Varig, Brazil"s national airline, flies to many major cities in the world. For international flights, the departure tax is a whopping 36.00, but this is often included in the ticket cost.
Brazil has land borders with every other country in South America, with the exception of Ecuador and Chile, so while some travellers may bus in from Uruguay or Argentina in the south, others arrive via the trem da morte (death train) - named after the fate that befalls many who hitch a ride on the train"s roof - from Bolivia. By river, many travellers take a slow boat along the Amazon from Iquitos in Peru or into the Pantanal via the Rio Paraguay from Asunción, Paraguay.

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India"s major international airports are Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras); there are other international airports at Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore and Kochi. Delhi is the cheapest place to buy air tickets in India, followed by Kolkata and Mumbai. International flights to neighbouring countries can be very cheap, especially between Kolkata and Dhaka (Bangladesh), Delhi and Karachi (Pakistan) and Tiruchirappalli and Colombo (Sri Lanka). The departure tax on flights to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal is approximately 5.00, but to other countries it"s 10.00. The most popular overland routes between India and Nepal are Birganj-Raxaul Bazaar, Sunauli-Bhairawa and Kakarbhitta-Siliguri. If you"re heading from Kathmandu or Pokhara to Delhi or elsewhere in northwestern India, then Sunauli is the most convenient entry point; to reach Kolkata or most of eastern India, Birganj is the best place to cross the border; and to get to Darjeeling, it"s easiest to go via Kakarbhitta. It"s fairly easy to travel between Kolkata and Dhaka overland. The only border crossing currently open between India and Pakistan is at Attari between Lahore and Amritsar. This and all other border crossings are by road only.

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