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India to Myanmar to Thailand Road Trip

It’s 2016, and the international highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand is operational, but we are far from making this trip happen. One thing I can promise you guys is we won’t give up on this dream. We are definitely going to make it one way or the other. It’s kind of difficult for me to write this post because I am very disappointed that we are not on this amazing road trip already, but we owe it to the people who follow our journey closely the update on our plan and stuff.

Breakfast & road trip 1

There is actually only one reason we can’t make this trip happen right now, and it’s about the money. We underestimated the cost of this trip in the beginning because it’s not only about gas, economy hotels and street food, but car permits and official paperwork are what allow us to actually drive on this trip.

But first, before I get into the headache, I want to show you guys our plan.

RouteMap_Full

Starting Point: Pune, Maharashtra, India

We live here so we will start this trip from here. We have a few groups of people who want to join us in this trip, but they live in Bangalore and Delhi so we will decide the meeting points later.

The Route

Breakfast & road trip 2

We have been back and forth about the route because Sadik actually wants to add Nepal and Bhutan in this trip. I think that will be too much. Also I want this trip to be about celebrating this new international highway so it should be all about this route at the moment.

And here is our route. This trip is about 6,000 km and 100 hours of driving. We will talk about this in detail in the coming post.

India

Pune > AhmadNagar > Shirdi > Manmad > Malegaon > Dhule > Indore >  Bhopal > Jhansi > Kanpur > Lucknow > Faizabad > Ghorakhpur > Muzaffarpur > Siliguri > Dhupguri > Alipurduar > Guwahati > Nagaon > Dimapur > Kohima > Imphal > Moreh

Myanmar

Khampat>Mawlaik>Kalewa>Monywa> Mandalay>Meiktila>Naypayitaw>Bago (Hpayar Gyi) > Waw >Kyaikto >Bilin> Theinzeik> Thaton >Hpa-An> Kawkareik >Myawaddy

Thailand

Mae Sot > TAK > Pistanulok > Nam Nao > Khon Kaen > Bangkok

*** We may change the route as per your feedback and further information. We will make sure you’re informed about this 🙂

Time

Pune- Kerala road trip 8

We are starting this trip on October 29th 2016, Saturday. 3 Weeks drive for one way trip. We are shipping the car back to India while we are going to take a flight home.

What to Look Forward to

roadtrip2013dec2.jpg

This is going to be one of the most important road trips of our life. We’re not only going to enjoy it, but we want to spread the messages about nature, adventure, food and cultures of the land we will pass through. We will visit the key cities where we can, hopefully, stop for a few days to absorb the vibrant cultures and make new friends. We are definitely going to be vlogging and blogging the entire journey. I want to take a lot of pictures as well so I can share with you guys and also use them to inspire myself in the future.

We are open for suggestions, contribution and collaboration and whatever going to make this trip happens and better. I think we can come up with a little coffee table book after this as well.

What Do We Need

Stuff from the trip 13

Like I said, we still don’t have enough budget to make this trip happen. I don’t mind driving my little car across the mountains and the ocean because I believe in us. We need car permit with a bank guarantee that costs as much as thrice the valuation of our car. I was like “Should we do this on auto rickshaw?” when I heard about this rule for the first time. Well, you will get the money back later when the car returns to India, but it’s still a huge amount for common people.

As for the paperwork, we have to work on it ourselves because we can’t afford the agent who asked USD 7,000 to just process it. It’s a very big challenge so we decided to give ourselves some more time to plan better and source some fund, hence aimed this trip during Diwali vacation this year.

How Do We Work It

Lavender Blood book 2013

Sadik and I have been thinking a lot about our budget and the way to make extra cash for this trip. We come up with random ideas, but we really do consider some of them very seriously. We are thinking of publicize my book, Lavender Blood, not only online, but hard copy as well. We think of selling our book while traveling, like at night markets and stuff. We also think of selling homemade products like curry paste and cookies and hope that we would make enough profit to help us. Our friends also suggest crowd funding and sponsorship programs to support our journey for which we might offer them something meaningful in returns.

How I feel

flower market Bangalore 6

To be honest, I am disappointed in myself quite a lot because I had so much time when I first envisioned this trip. Now that the road is actually ready to drive, we are stuck here. I should work harder, so by November, it can actually happen. But hey, look on the bright side, in November, the weather is going to be nice and chilly, and it’s going to be perfect for a cozy trip we’ve dreamt of. And how cool we will be celebrating holidays on the highways? It sounds good to me.

I will write about the key cities we wanted to explore in this trip in the coming post 🙂

Love,
Tes

135 comments to India to Myanmar to Thailand Road Trip

  • mike bourke

    TES, you started out on this blog by saying,,, its now 2017, a year later and no sign of this happening, if anything its more difficult now than two years ago. as I don’t see anyone, other than me commenting on here I can read this is a NON RUNNER anyway I will keep checking for INFO as other followers appear to have…gone to ground.. unless you have moved all this to a new BLOG ???????????????? regards MIKE

    • Tes

      Well, money is a big factor here, and I’m too very disappointed to say the dream seems faraway at the moment 🙁 I think a lot of people lost the excitement when they got serious about it and found out about the cost, too. But well, I’ll make sure my dream is still alive when we have enough money to go for it 🙂

  • mike bourke

    Good on you , KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE…not always easy. Yes as you say people lost interest when they found out about THE COST AND THE RED TAPE INVOLVED and the “agencies” in Myanmar “milking” motorists for totally outrageous sums of money but that is nothing new ….it would be easier for you to make a trip via Pakistan – Iran- Turkey to Europe… all you need is a Carnet and some visas .. buy a van and make it into a “simple” Campervan with a couple of beds and a cooker … keep it simple and travel light… a reliable older van u can stand up in NO ELECTONICS in the engine and anyone can repair if need be, also the value of the van is lower so Carnet is cheaper, …………….. Wilde camping along the…….. way as they say…..Come West Along The Road. FOOD FOR THOUGHT.. From not an “expensive menu”

  • sudhi

    I would like to visit myanmar in next year may for one day with bike. This one day trip what documents are needed

    • Tes

      You will need visa, permit, your hotel booking, your whole itinerary, international driving license, your vehicle paper and your vehicle permit. I don’t think you are allowed to ride unattended in Myanmar with your own vehicle so you will need to have a guide. I don’t recommend you to take your own bike if you plan to visit there just one day. It would be easier and cheaper to go by air and use public transportation there. But if you don’t mind spending a lot, go for it and it’s so much fun to ride in new places. I recommend you to contact travel agents to know more. They will help you more about the information and the estimate as well 🙂

    • Dhirendra saingh

      I am too planing for Bike ride to Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
      Do let me know ?

  • mike bourke

    ONE DAY…By the time you get thru Customs /immigration /and general run around you wont have much time to get anywhere…depending on opening/ closing hours/ 24hr open ?? or your day is 12 or 24 hour duration BUT seeing as I have not done this ..crossing.. from India I am only going on other blogs from Travellers who have made the trip. I have crossed on foot from MAE SOT in Thailand / day trip, 12hrs max. wishing you luck and safe travels……………….

  • mike bourke

    TES, I did not no that Indian passport holders are not allowed to drive in Pakistan BUT you holding a Thai passport and driving licence with a vehicle registered in your name will get thru, after that no problem once you have visas, no carnet required after turkey, no borders/ customs in mainland Europe…………………. RE BLOG ON 7th…… Come west along the road….

  • mike bourke

    an easier trip by far, no major outlay, apart from carnet, and that is calculated on the value of your vehicle. keep it simple, no 4×4 needed. good roads all the way Distance is probably less than to Khon Kean Iran is supposed to be very welcoming to travellers, and I have driven from Ireland to turkey, in an old van converted to a “campervan” no problems u can buy insurance at the border if required….. anyway something to do while you wait for the Myanmar trip….

  • mike bourke

    hi Tes ..did you give anymore thought to the trip to Turkey ????? regards Mike

    • Tes

      Not really, Mike.I kind of confused myself about what I really wanted to do. I’m still looking forward to doing the India- Myanmar-Thailand Trip. one of my new ideas is backpacking across the borders, thinking if I leave my own car out of the picture, I can knock down a huge portion of an expense. I’m still reading through online posts how other people did their trips as well. I remember reading a thread of a couple crossing the border from Myanmar to India that you shared earlier; and although it seems challenging, it’s quite doable. Still, driving ourselves would be much more fun though 🙁

  • mike bourke

    HEY TES, Now your > cooking on gas < that's the way to do it , SIMPLIFY.. ….. 0nce you are across the border MAYBE u can buy some kind of , Jalopy on a buy back basis ???? don't no if anyone has done this , only I cant imagine any one renting, But you could put the idea to some “dealers” and see what kind of a response you get , it would make a nice earner for an enterprising local ..(AFTERTHOUGHT if they did not buy it back, you would have to abandon it or sell for whatever you could get as you cant take it to India ) of course if purchase price was right, it could be a SACRIFICAL vehicle Don’t no what OFFICALLDOM and RED TAPE would be involved!!!even hire a guide with his own transport to ferry ye thru Anyway “just thinking out loud” think it over and see what you ideas it may inspire in you…………KEEP IT SIMMERING,IT WILL COME TO YOU WHAT “ADDITIVES” ARE REQUIRED >>>>>>> MIKE

  • mike bourke

    TES you will be back on TRACK soon….would you be on for allowing “OTHER LIKE MINDED PEOPE” to join you on this TRIP..I IMAGINE you will not be travelling before November (cool season) ????????? I am sure you would get lots of interested people and you have 5 months to plan it and it a FUN ADVENTURE and not A NAIL BITING ONE…. as the song says ” imagination leading us on ” nice trip for U TUBE Maybe get a MINIBUS if you go for that idea, now your costs are divided by the by the amount of TRAVELLERS ..>>><<< OK "THE BALL IS BACK IN YOUR COURT"_-__–__— MIKE

    • Tes

      Actually, I have a lot of enquiries about joining this trip, but most people abandon the hope when they found out about the cost (self-drive), now I will have to make another post to let people know that we’re considering backpacking.

  • mike bourke

    PS. do you have any “followers” in MOREH area who would do a bit of investigation for you.. and not ye be arriving and not knowing where to look or who to TRUST !! OK IF you can find a “private eye” it would be worth paying a few $$$ for reliable info >>><<<

  • mike bourke

    YEA .. If anyone is checking in on this blog from that area ,or have a contact there , they can let you no .>> If you get others to travel/ backpack or buy a “throwaway” vehicle, would it be possible to fly a “SCOUT” down a few days to check out What can Actually be done (crowd funding to pay or interested parties) HYATT HOTEL stay not covered. I am sure its easier to get INFO ON MOON TRAVEL A song by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush…Don’t Give Up. comes to mind

  • mike bourke

    HI TES, All is quiet on here. the restrictions on youre travel plans get Worse, THAILAND is not allowing in foreign reg. cars freely as before and also you have to have a local guide as in Myanmar etc. you have a very limited stay and give them a lot of money just copying Myanmar TRUE or FALSE ??.. I READ IT in a blog http://www.homeiswherethecaris.com Very interesting when you have time to check it out . IT is recent 2017 so cant be too far out ,<<<<>>> I am still on the look out, Take care……………Mike

    • Tes

      I didn’t know about the ban on foreign registered cars in Thailand, but yes, you need a local guide with you 24/7 while in Myanmar, which you’re also responsible for their accommodation and travel expenses. So unless you have the thick connections with some organisations or be rich, this road trip will continue to be a dream. I don’t think travel rules and regulations are going to get easy for this route anytime soon so I’m trying to work my way around other methods of traveling, yet I haven’t found one that suits my budget. Meanwhile, I’m saving every penny and looking at that Europe trip you earlier suggested 😛 By the way, any trip you’re planning over there?

  • mike bourke

    HI TES, YEA I was thinking of travelling overland to INDIA again, but it got put on hold as a close friend was at deaths door and departed at Christmas. So a bit late to do much. So I am checking at the moment on VISA and CARNET etc. for around mid September, also have to find at least one fellow Traveller,.. if that fails, I will go to MOROCCO No Carnet needed and Visa on Entry NO BS 3 month visa and it can be extended by another 3 months no problem no planning needed JUST LOAD UP SUPPLIES, Driving thru France Spain onto the Ferry 2 hours or so HELLO MOROCCO … Google VAN DOG TRAVELLER lots of pics. and info. that is no problem ALONE >>>> you can also travel on to Mauritania Senegal, Mali etc. but carnet is needed.. A DAY AT A TIME And see where the road takes us NO need of fixed plan for that trip OCTOBER TO APRIL no problem … avoid the winter in Ireland ,,>>><<< MIKE

  • mike bourke

    HI TES, Have you made any progress on your “Driving to Europe plan” ??…Mike

    • Tes

      Not yet, Milke, but it will probably be after the Dharamshala and Nepal treks in December- Jan. I do have a rough plot to take on the small destinations in Eastern European Countries and looking for the itinerary for the same.

  • mike bourke

    HI, which countries have you in mind. ???? Mike

  • mike bourke

    THE DIPLOMAT JULY 15 2017 WHY INDIA ISNT REALLY “ACTING EAST” IN MYNMAR …….BY JONATHAN TAI … THIS SHOULD INTEREST YOU,> 2020 OR “BEYOND” FOR COMPLETION OF ROAD TO THAILAND >>> MORE LIKLY BEYOND, BEYOND…Mike

  • mike bourke

    Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary. all left hand drive, you will need an International Licence. Are you flying in then hiring or what is “THE PLAN” ?? I have driven all 3 in my own van, a basic campervan, on the way to Turkey. Google DRIVING IN etc. and you will get lots of info >>>happy hunting <<< Mike

  • mike bourke

    INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT Available thru your motoring clubs

  • mike bourke

    yea you can, just Google the various countries and you see MOTORHOMES for hire. I put up some info BUT nothing appeared…..Mike

  • mike bourke

    http://www.beer and croissants.com/beginers-guide-campervan hire in Europe……..

  • mike bourke

    tes ,, ethnic cleansing taking place in MYANMAR WITH The Rohingya also India deporting them and they are used as Slave labour in the LAND OF SMILES SO really its a country to AVOID shooting bombing and landmines not something to contribute to by visiting n indirectly supporting a LOATHSOME Regime

  • mike bourke

    TES any updates on youre <<>>> ????

  • mike bourke

    tes, any update on youre European trip ??

    • Tes

      So far we have nailed down Ukraine and Romania in the draft of our itinerary. The boys wanna do a trek in one of these places so we’re kinda looking for a place in the route that suits our stamina right now. I figured we will be renting two separate vehicles because it will make our trip much easier. Still contemplating on staying at the budget hotels or just go with the campervan.

  • mike bourke

    campervan easier provided you can rent at right price / plenty trails everywhere

  • mike bourke

    Tes a blog that may interest you. themotorhomediaries.com/morocco.html it covers various countries.

  • shveta

    Hi Tes,
    This is shveta from new delhi, I have this dream too and need help in finding out where would I get the permits to enter Myanmar – like vehicle permit and that guide and escort vehicle for myanmar.
    I need to to find out what offices do I approach. if all goes well, we might have a seat free. so far 3 have confirmed – that is if I get all things get done in time for dec.’17 end. Pls share the info. at shveta1@yahoo.com

    • Tes

      Hi Shveta,

      This will be such an amazing road trip. For now, we have to keep this plan on hold because the expenses seem to be over our heads. So now we divert our minds toward Eastern Europe, maybe, after we’re done with Dharamshala.
      But I’m excited for you guys to take on this route. It’s definitely our dream trip as well. Actually, you can get the permit/visa from any known travel agent or you can even get e-visa now. But to be able to drive in Myanmar, you will need a government approved guide escort and local driving permit which you can get more info about these at Myanmar Tourism Federal and Ministry of Hotel and Tourism 🙂 For Carnet, you can contact FICCI. Please let me know how you guys solve all the problems, I’m actually gonna need your advice, too 🙂 By the way, have you guys heard of Adventures Overland? They have the packages that may suit you. But so far, we still need the trip to be cheaper for us.

  • mike bourke

    hi tes, this so called project looks like its bogged down.. as recently as AUGUST 2017 contracts were only being singed in India for a section of this road, and THE WHOLESALE SLAUGHTER OF THE ROHINGYA BY MYANMAR IN THE NORTH AND BY THAILAND IN THE SOUTH OF THAT COUNTRY “LAND OF SMILES”>>> why would anyone want to VISIT such INHUMANE places. 2020 maybe a good time to start thinking of doing this trip>>> that is if you don’t want to be HAUNTED by ” guides” and “blinkered” travel restrictions also as stated before > you enter and exit at same border >>> Mike

  • mike bourke

    Dhirendra,, you are right MYANMAR will still be there. Hopefully they will have their heads out of the Sand and their GREEDY HANDS out of travellers pockets >> and the Military REGIME in Thailand may do likewise. Lots of Interesting Countries to see that allow you Wander on any road or into any village that takes your fancy TES is looking at East EUROPE as you may have read >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> mike

  • mike bourke

    HI DHIRENDRA. There is a book and dvd LONG WAY ROUND BY EWAN MCGREGOR/ CHARLIE BOORMAN who have done this and other trips.. HORIZONS UNLIMITED Is a Bikers forum lots of info DVDs etc. maybe you no of it ? Hope this is of help to you >> Mike

  • mike bourke

    HI TES Any update on your QUEST .>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> MIKE

    • Tes

      I’ll probably be heading to Dharamshala in Jan, and hopefully, I can do the Europe road trip in May. I’m getting excited about the campervan idea, but I need to look into more blog posts or read more about it. What about you, Mike? Where’s on your mind?

  • mike bourke

    YEA May, June is right time for your trip.. I go in my Van TAKE Ferry to FRANCE Then drive France, Spain, Portugal following the coast roads and later get the ferry to Morocco 3 MONTH VISA at the PORT no charge vehicle details Stamped in Passport so as you don’t sell it… I leave first week December Ferry is usually quiet this time of year.. 22 hour crossing time IRELAND TO FRANCE but its got lots of facilities on board .. no rush anyway as I will be away 3 months nothing to book you have bed cooking toilet transport [campervan you will be renting will have toilet and HOT Shower etc ] miserable here in Ireland until FEB. SPAIN TO MORROCO FERRY 2 HOURS

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