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Road To Bangkok 2016

7 February, 16

Anyone can take a flight to Bangkok, but it takes someone with mettle to attempt the drive! Driving all the way from India to Bangkok came in limelight back in 2015 when a part of IMT Trilateral Highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand was opened.

With all this buzz about the cross border India Bangkok road trip and with an inbox filled with uncountable emails from enthusiastic travellers, we decided to launch the first ever cross-border road trip from India to Thailand giving people to drive across three countries in a convoy and named it “Road To Bangkok”. We had already covered this route during our “The Great Indian World Trip” and it gave us an added advantage while planning this challenging yet complicated expedition. Over the next few months, we arranged the paperwork, visas, vehicles, carnet, special overland permits, hotel booking and more to ensure smooth flow during the expedition.

Officially the journey begun on 23th January 2016 when all the our fellow travellers joined us at Imphal, the start point of our first “Road To Bangkok” expedition. We were a group of 20, with people from Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa.

The first days and last days of a journey are particularly interesting as you witness the start of some of the most beautiful friendships being formed when you travel together.

The next day was a big day as we crossed our first land border at Moreh. There was a lot of checking at the border due to cocaine and narcotics smuggling. But having all the documents and a local team from Myanmar helped us clear the border formalities with ease. Having crossed our first border with the start of the journey filled the group with much enthusiasm.

    Some of the highlights from the expedition were:

  • WW II era bridges – Crossing 46 iron bridges, all within 100 km. These bridges were built during the world war 11 and is maintained by the Border Road Organization of India
  • Bagan – The city of temple: Bagan is home to around 4,456 pagodas. It was such a sight to visit this place as no matter where we looked, we could see the ancient, magnificent temples. It is a sea of pagodas, and while you’re there, you will be able to feel the calm, peace and vibrations of this holy land.
  • Inle lake – This beautiful freshwater lake located in the Shan Plateau, is home to the Intha people, who are known for their unique leg-rowed traditional boats.
  • Mandalay – The former capital of Burma, Mandalay has a rich and exotic past. This city houses the historical prison where famous Indian freedom fighters like Bal Gangadhar Tilak were imprisoned during the British Raj. Half of Burma’s monks reside in this city, and it has its share of royal palaces and monasteries.
  • Golden Rock – Soaking in the atmosphere charged with magic and devotion as we visited the huge and stunning golden rock. It’s a rock coated in gold and topped with a stupa, balancing itself on top of a mountain and enjoys the status of being the holiest shrine for the Buddhists.
  • Mae Sot border – The end of our drive through Myanmar and the beginning of our drive through Thailand – our destination. The spirit of the group was palpable as realized that their dream to drive from India to Bangkok is just a few km away.

Over the period of two weeks, all of us experienced new highs, dealt with breakdowns and other obstacles together as a team, sampled exotic food, drove long hours at a stretch for many days in a row, and finally, together, achieved the common goal — reaching Bangkok by road all the way from India. The journey connected us, and has made us friends for life. Driving for over 10,000 km through three countries, Road to Bangkok was a test of mettle and skill, with the curious, the brave and the crazy ones who joined us!

Road to Bangkok has definitely paved the way for more cross-border expeditions in future by Indians.

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