After a resounding success in 2018, here we are once again with our 2nd edition of the 18,000 kms, Great Eurasian Road Trip. The 2020 edition of this road trip was stopped on the starting blocks by the COVID-19 - and with vaccine on the horizon we are hopeful that we would make this trip in 2021. This ride of a life-time goes around half of the world taking the roads less travelled of Asia to Europe by road (specifically the most accomplished world city of London).
We have read in our history books about Indians of 19th and 20th centuries taking ships to London and then affluent Indians post Independence boarding a flight to London. All that is now passe - in the connected world of today, you can actually start a bike or SUV just outside of your home in India, and ride all the way to London. That has become possible recently - after the borders in many parts of uncharted Asia and erstwhile USSR dominated Central Asia and Eastern Europe have opened to tourism.
This is the mother of all road trips – one of the best road trips in Europe, in fact - you will exit India at Moreh Border in Manipur, pass through unexplored Myanmar, sophisticated Thailand & enchanting Laos, to traverse the massive West Chinese landmass - that very few have had opportunity to explore. We then wade through the enigmatic Stans of Central Asia, enter the unexplored Southern Russia to reach the megacity - Moscow. Ride then enters Baltic Eastern Europe at Latvia and roll on to Poland, Germany, Holland, Belgium & France - to sail the English Channel from Calais to the famed white cliffs of Dover. And finally we drive to the World City of London.
The people who did this in past with us found this to be the most rewarding experience of their life and probably the biggest thing they would ever do. Fulfilling a dream like this has been their biggest tick on the bucket list. As for those who did this with family, have confessed, that this is the best gift they can ever give to their family and more so young children. On many level - this has been the most satisfying experience of their lives.
Travel from Asia to Europe is something everyone dreams of doing and only the chosen few have the courage to do!
01 May 2021 is the big day, when we all would arrive in Imphal, the graceful capital of Manipur - with a dream in our heart that would unfold in most diverse Geographies of the world over next 50 days. It would be a day of meeting your ride mates on this world trip, some detailed paperwork, final checks and a Ride briefing - followed by a Welcome Cocktail and Dinner. From this day you have to open your mind and heart and become a true traveler, a learner and embrace the journey as it comes.
Crossing our first border at Moreh - Tamu, we enter the enigmatic Myanmar.
Now is the time to visit and see this extraordinary land, scattered with gilded Pagodas and virgin Lakes, where the traditional old ways of Asian culture endure the dawn of modernisation. Its a land in transition that was thus far off-limits to the World and has recently opened its doors to the discerning traveler. You would first hand see how this time warped country is a world apart form rest of Asia and World.
The top thing that you would notice as you drive to the right of road in Northern Myanmar is the simplicity and the daily lives of locals. The people of Myanmar are distinctly - gentle, humorous, engaging, considerate and inquisitive. Two top spots to visit we have chosen for you are - the first Burmese Kingdom of Bagan and the awe-inspiring Inle Lake. Top two things to do for anyone coming to Myanmar.
Bagan Plains is the site of first Burmese kingdom of 11th century, and a sea of over 3000 Pagodas, most famed to be seen from the sunset viewpoint. A view that would stay with you forever.
Inle Lake is the ink blue water body, and a home to an intrinsic culture, foot-pedalling fishermen, floating homes, canal highways, shore markets, lotus products & lake gardens.
We cross over from Eastern Myanmar to the Mekong served Golden Triangle of North Thailand and onto Laos People’s Democratic Republic.
In a day that we spend in Chiangrai, you would notice the distinct modernisation of Thailand and the prime place it occupies in the ASEAN region. A nation that avoided being a victim of colonisation - has retained its distinct Thai culture like no one else. A visit to the White Temple - Wat Rong Khun, would make you wonder at the intricate fusion to modern art with traditional culture.
Once in Laos across the mighty Mekong River, we enter the world’s most relaxed population on earth, living unbelievably simple lives in their kaleidoscopic villages dotted among pristine jungles. We continue to drive on the right of road, along decent roads - and we do meet trucks from China bringing in goods and supplies to be sold in ASEAN markets. Luang Namtha is a fine place to spend a night and witness the warmth, simplicity and love of nature.
On this gigantic trip, China gets a lion’s share of your attention - we spend 18 days out of 50, traversing the 6000+ kms of most diverse off-the-scale massive landscapes. After-all it is the oldest continuous civilisation of the World.
With three decades of full throttle development, China of today is in a different league and its all there for you to discover as you ride through.
Its antique yet up-to-minute, outwardly urban but quintessentially rural, conservative yet path-breaking, space-age but old fashioned - you will find China a land of mesmerising contradictions. The head spinning infrastructure is easily contradicted by the number of police posts that would test your patience and slow you down as you ride various provinces of China.
We would have some of the finest experiences in China - Giant Leshan Buddha - whose ears itself measure 7 m long, the Giant Panda in Chengdu - which is already an extinct species in wild, the Multi coloured mountains Gansu - like nowhere else, a chunk of the Great Wall of China and some amazing Grottoes at Jiauguyan - before we reach the colourful melting pot of cultures at Kashghar. Driving in from the Tibetan plateau - a rooftop of the World to the areas below the sea level, from cold snowcapped Himalayas to the hot windy Gobi desert … the landscapes never stop to spice up your ride.
One thing that would need a whale’s patience on the part of riders is the unending police checks and a constant struggle to find fuel as we go North in China. Well you are on the famed Silk Route .. that once famous explorers Huen Tsang or Marco Polo would have traveled.
As we move west on Silk Route and exit the police controlled China, the change is more than evident. The ride enters the warm, welcoming and eminently hospitable Stans of Central Asia - Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
From Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan to Timurlane, we now are in the Asia’s page turning historical landscapes. With its medieval blue domes cities, busy bazaars and ever helping people, Central Asia encapsulates the romance where once the Silk Route Trade flourished.
For decades or even centuries, since the Silk Route trading stopped, much of the World knew little about this heartland of Asia - it drew a blank on the map, an off-limits no-go area in a middle of no-where place. This precisely fits into the exploration that this road trip is meant to bring to you - the roads less traveled.
We enter Stans at Kyrgyzstan, the Gateway to Central Asia and make our way up the Iskeshtam Pass. Its a country less in cities and more in the joyously unspoilt mountain-scapes and rolling summer pastures filled with nomads, sheeps, horses and ponies.
Uzbekistan, next on the road to London, is the region’s cradle of culture for over 2000 years. Its spell binding architecture and the fascinating history of the silk route makes it Central Asia’s biggest draw and the most impressive show-stoppers are the cities of Tashkent and Samarkand.
Kazakhstan, is the world’s ninth biggest country and its abundant oil & mineral reserves makes it the economically most advanced of all the stans. Our ride takes us through to the endless Western steppes grasslands, camels & horses in the wild, and not to forget the eclectic Turkistan, the Timurid architecture of country’s holiest site.
As we go drive North and West the time zones keep changing - and its interesting to keep a tag of it.
For centuries the world has wondered about Russia. A land of unbelievable riches and indescribable poverty, cruel tyrants and great intellectual minds, beautiful ballads and industrial monstrosities … Russia remains the mystic land of contrasts.
As we drive along the very interesting Southern cities of Orenberg, Samara and Penza - you cannot miss the renewed energies that have been infused since the fall of Soviet Union. Once at Moscow, well you are definitely over-awed by this iconic megacity, with understated elegance. After the ASEAN, China & Stans this would be a welcome revert back to modern life - a beginning of the first world landscape.
Moscow also allows us an opportunity to service our bikes and cars if required. We exit Russia at Latvia border. Yet another new chapter awaits to unfold.
The pace of the drive will now pick as the world class modern roads beckon you. We cross Russia into the Schenegen regime at Latvia. We would hereafter need no more border formalities and countries would just pass your by indicated on but just a board. In Europe, well the most enticing is the Baltic countries of Eastern Europe.
Tucked between the Estonia to the North and Lithuania to the South, Latvia and its capital city Riga is the meat of the Baltic Sandwich. Baltic countries you know were under USSR influence … and hence less Europeanised. You have to see to believe the amazing energies and vibes of this amazing city of Riga. Among my personal favourite city on the road to London.
Today we do a hat-trick of countries. On a single day we drive Lativa - Lithuania - Poland, landing in Warsaw by evening - with next day reserved to see capital up-close. Poland has the most eventful history of all, caught between wars, invasion and occupation - it has retained its distinct culture. And you can see it all trapped in the castles, city squares, churches, layered windows, street cafes and pastel coloured homes.
Next stop is Germany - and two things that define the edgy & vibrant capital city of Berlin are the questions - Beer or Wine? And Have you seen the Berlin Wall? Among the few events that have altered the course of history, I would consider the fall of Berlin Wall as one of them. A visit to Check Point Charlie and the Graffiti on Berlin Wall is a must.
The ride now rolls into Netherland, the beautiful country of Master-pieces, Windmills and pristine Canals. And of course the warm, friendly and funny dutchmen of Amsterdam. We would stay out of hustle-bustle and camp on a countryside fishing village on the rim of city.
The next stop is Brussels in Belgium - the unmatched city that is also the European Union Capital. This grand capital city has a unique architecture of Grand Palace square, affable Tintin and a remarkable range of culinary delights - waffles, wine soaked mussels, and beers like no-where else.
Well here is our big day, when we cross over from the French port of Calais, across the English Channel to the famed white cliffs of Dover. There is a sense of immense achievement when we ride out of the Ferry to touch the United Kingdom.
We then take a few more hours to ride to the world city of London. As for London, you could spend a lifetime exploring this city - its history, magnificent art, Victorian culture and the way it evolves to keep pace with changing times.
As for the riders and families, its a mission accomplished, a dream lived, and a journey of a lifetime that you would always be proud of. There are not many things in your life, that would compare to this feat in terms of geography, proportion and diversity. It sure is a proud day - and am sure you would have summoned you family and friends to meet you in London.
Qualitative or Behavioural Requirements...
Expeditions are different from how we live our daily lives. And to do such big expeditions successfully is not everyone’s cup of tea. While it tests your capabilities, it also is an amazing learning experience. So here is what is desired from anyone who aspires to take an expedition of this proportion :
- The participant is required to respect others and be sociable.
- He/She needs to be a Team-person, seeking and providing support to expedition members.
- He/She should be Self-disciplined, punctual and should adhere to the norms and conduct rules of the expedition.
- He/She has to be Adventurous in mindset - have patience for unforeseen circumstances, face odds of weather and terrain, understand that there would be ambiguity and uncertainty - and that needs to be taken in a stride.
- Have a Love for Road Trips - long hours of driving/riding while enjoying the journey.
- Should have an SUV Or a 650 cc (min) motor-bike and know his SUV/bike well. You would be doing your own maintenance of vehicle in the remote areas. Of course we are there to help.
- He/She has to be medically certified as fit to undertake this road expedition that passes tropical jungles, cold grasslands, windy Gobi desert and high altitudes of East Tibetan Plateaus.
- In the near past, the participant should have had a - a riding endurance of riding / driving - 7 days, 400+ kms daily
We would need the following documents from you :
- Participant : Passport valid till 31 Jan 2022, DL valid for car or bike, IDL valid till 31 Oct 2021
- Mandatory papers for visas - bank statements, financial status documents etc
- SUV or Bike : Registration, Insurance valid till 31 Aug 2020, PUC, Authorisation to drive if SUV not in your name
- Consent and indemnity form before commencement of Expedition
Well if you think you have all above qualities - you are generally good for the expedition of this proportion.
|Biker on own bike||INR 18 lacs, USD 27,500|
|First Person in own SUV||INR 20 lacs, USD 31,000|
|2nd Person in same SUV (eg. Wife)||+INR 15 lacs, USD 23,000|
|3rd / 4th person in SUV or pillion on bike||+INR 13 lacs, USD 20,000|
|Single occupancy room||+INR 2 lacs, USD 3000|
|To arrange the shipping of your Bike back to India (Upto Bombay Port) from London||+INR 1.25 lacs, USD 2000|
|To arrange the shipping of your Car back to India (Upto Bombay Port) from London||+INR 2 lacs, USD 3000|
- A seasoned Tour Mentor & Leader
- Complete hand holding and guidance of trip from the moment you book in, till you complete it
- All the Basic Visas as per itinerary ( not express, and not multiple visas)
- All border Permits and ministry permissions in various countries
- Mandatory Pilots / Guides in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and China
- Local vehicle registrations, road worthiness checks & local driving licences - as applicable in various countries
- The Carnets CDP valid for a year ( It does not include the Refundable deposits that Automobile Association requires)
- 51 Nights Stays in good hotels with B’fast
- The City Bus / Boat Tours in tourist places ( Bagan, Inle Lake, Chengdu, Moscow, Riga, Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, London)
- A best in class Personal World Adventure Travel Insurance that includes emergency helicopter evacuation (if reqd)
- Mandatory 3rd party vehicle insurances in each country
- Fuel for the mentioned itinerary
- Branded trip merchandise for the iconic trip
- One time Return flights from London to Delhi / Bombay economy class
- Logistic Pick Up truck for support and emergencies
- All parking charges in hotels
- GST as applicable
- Anything not mentioned in Inclusions above
- Lunches, Dinners, Drinks, Tea / Coffee, Water enroute
- Servicing or repairs on your vehicle enroute
- Cost of transporting your vehicle back to India ( we sure can help you do it through a trusted partner)
- Additional expenses incurred for unforeseen delays or changes in itinerary
- You mobile SIM cards
- Refundable deposits that Automobile Association requires for Carnets
- Rs 2 lac Booking Advance - This amount is not-refundable.
- Any cancellations till upto 90 days before the ride - 25% of cost is charged, 75% is refunded
- Any cancellations from 89-60 days before the ride - 50% of cost is charged, 50% is refunded
- Any cancellations from 59-15 days before the ride - 75 of cost is charged, 25% is refunded
- Cancellation of trip less than 15 days from start of ride - No refunds as all arrangements would have been made and paid for.
“A World Road Trip has been a long cherished dream. This family ride to London is the proudest thing we have ever done, and our children Teesta (19) & Tanay (14), now have a larger perception of life”