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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

74 comments to India to Myanmar to Thailand Road Trip

  • mike bourke

    hi Tes,i see ure blog has moved but ure still determined,GOOD ON YA GAL… DID YOU GET A PRICE FOR RETURN SHIPPING, IS IT VIA MALAYASIA ??? THE EXTORTINATE BURMESE WILL HAVE TO MAKE THINGS SIMPLER OR THEY CAN KEEP THEIR COUNTRY AS I WILL NOT BE RIPPED OFF BY PAYING BACKHANDERS TO PEOPLE WHOSE JOB IT IS ANYWAY TO PROCESS URE PAPERWORK …….ANYWAY MAYBE IT WILL CHANGE BY OCTOBER ..BUT ..BUT.. ….MIKE

    • Tes

      Hi Mike,
      I really do hope I could somehow make this trip happen this year. I have talked to 2 shipping agents, and the cost of shipping our car is about USD 2,000 but there will be about USD 3,500 of quarantine and taxes on top of that. They also told us to expect minor fees to be paid to custom agent in India when the car arrives to avoid further delay. So some people suggest us to sell our car in Thailand, but then we won’t be getting that security deposit (twice the value of the car) back. The whole thing just doesn’t make sense to me because I thought a trip like this should be affordable for common travelers. We can ship the car from Samut Prakan, Thailand to Chennai, India. We live on the other side so we need to take a flight to get the car and drive back if it happens. Well, one solution is we have to drive the car back, but the boys will have to miss tons of school and work. Or maybe that’s a good thing hahaha. And yes, I hope the process is more reasonable by October.

  • mike bourke

    HI TES,, THESE COSTS ARE A DEFINITE NO NO FOR MOST CASH STRAPPED TRAVELLERS ….URE ASWELL DRIVING BACK MUCH BETTER FOR URE BOYS THAN SCHOOL LEARNIN AND THEY WILL CATCH UP ANYWAY … CAN YOU GET ANY OTHER TRAVELLERS SO AS YE CAN SHARE COSTS ETC, BUT THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK, UNLESS URE ALREDY ON THE ROAD…… “PEOPLE TALK THE TALK BUT DONT WALK THE WALK”…..I HOPE AS YOU SAY COSTS WILL BECOME “AFFORDABLE”IN SIX MONTHS TIME…….MIKE

    • Tes

      Mike, I just updated the deposit on the car to 300%. I just checked again and realized that Carnet de Passage to Thailand includes bank guarantee amount 3 times value of the car not 2 times.

  • Tes, I hope you will be able to make the trip. But what a ridiculous prices they are asking! I can’t imagine $7000 for paperwork. I’d pay $70; no way I’d pay $700; and $7000? How can anyone afford that?

    Hopefully you’ll find a solution and will be travelling in October!!

    • Tes

      Thanks, Judith. Yes, $ 7,000 will be the most expensive travel agent fee we have to pay if we go along with it. And even if we process the paperwork ourselves, the security deposit for the car is a huge amount of money that we are not ready for. I think the rule can be more flexible if a lot of travelers try to make this trip and talk about it more.

  • mike bourke

    tes RE Judith a lot of army chiefs to B R I B E …..AND I dont think you can bypass the system THEY LOVE PAPERWORK N SIGNATURES et al in ASIA even though they have computers etc ……….MIKE

  • Wow. Can I just say that I am amazed at your plan! I’m sorry you’re having difficulties in your plan but I really, really hope you can make it, and that it’ll all be worth it. Here’s wishing you and your family all the best Tes. You’re going to have the trip of a lifetime and I look forward to reading about it 🙂

  • Good Luck with your adventure.

  • This would be such an amazing road trip! Thanks for sharing Tes! 🙂

  • WOW! Inspired!!!
    I have been planning on doing something like this too and as much as I would love to join you guys, November is too quick for me to plan for something like this.
    Know that I can’t wait to hear from you about your journey..
    Please keep in touch with my email (navin[dot]matthew[at]gmail[dot]com.
    All the best!

  • Also.. is there anyway I can pitch in with a few thousand rupees or something? I know you said you’re planning to crowdsource for funds.. so if and when you do, please let me know.
    Again.. All the best!

  • Amazed.
    Wish you all the best.

  • It will come to fruition Tes, su su! I’ll be glad to make a contribution in any way possible for your dream trip:) I understand that gusto for this trip of yours. Cheers!

  • Prashant Madan

    Hi Tes…
    I came across your page because I was planning to do a similar trip with my wife early next year. It’s amazing that you’ve been planning it for so long!! I live in Mumbai and since you’re in Pune, I was wondering if we could come by and meet you to understand this maze of paperwork and formalities….your research on this will be very helpful for us.

    My email is prashant.madan@gmail.com

    We would love to hear from you
    Thank you!!!

    • Tes

      Hi Prashant, it’s so lovely to hear that you guys are planning this trip as well. Right now we are on road trip in the south of India. Will contact you soon 🙂

  • All the very best Tes! I’ll wait for your coming posts on this trip. Please do not forget to blog about all official formalities needed for this journey.

  • mike bourke

    hi tes ..did you check out http://www.tripoto.com also http://www.adventuresoverland.com/road-to-bangkok-2016 these guys have done the TRIP both ways……..mike

  • mike bourke

    hi tes …this is EXTORTION , NO WAY …leave it till another time when its…AFFORDABLE…2O,OOO USD FOR WHAT …NO WAY ..AHHHHH …..How are buses, trucks, etc going to operate … BUT WHY NOT WAIT TILL THE ROAD IS FINISHED ???? AND THAT IS YEARS AWAY…….MIKE

    • Tes

      I agree, Mike. I hope the process is easier and cheaper especially in the part of Myanmar where we need to spend a lot on local guide and for security vehicle to lead the way. I understand that’s it’s for safety, but I’m hoping if I wait a little longer, then these rules will be relaxed.

  • mike bourke

    Tes. WHEN EVER there is this, so called WHAT DO YOU NEED A GUIDE FOR ?????? I am sure it will be signposted, as in Thailand…ANOTHER WAY TO GET YOUR DOSH.IS THERE ANY INDIAN TRANSPORT MINISTRY THAT CAN GIVE YOU INFO OR AN AUTOMOBILE CLUB OR ARE THEY AS MUCH IN THE DARK AS EVERYONE ELSE ?? I AM AMAZED THAT SUCH A SIGNIFICANT PROJECT HAS NOBODY GIVING THE PRESS SOME INFO..HAS TO BE SOMETHING OUT THERE ….MIKE

    • Mike, I know I am butting into the conversation here, but could you please turn off the CAPS lock?
      Besides the fact that every message anyone posts here is getting broadcast to all her followers, all CAPS makes it look like you are yelling at her.
      Appreciate it if you could turn it off.

  • mike bourke

    SO CALLED
    MISSING IN ABOVE ..mike

  • mike bourke

    why has highway been deleted twice mike

  • mike bourke

    nevin …no problem,

  • mike bourke

    tes I came on another site ..Go-Myanmar.com, it may be of help to you…mike

    • Tes

      Thanks, Mike. That’s a great website. I know that we have strict itinerary in Myanmar so the trip has to be carefully planned in that section. I’m also thinking of dropping the whole car thing and just pack packing through it, but my husband is determined to drive. But in a month we will probably make a decision whether we are ready financially to do this this year or not. Otherwise we will just go trekking up in the north of India around December.

  • mike bourke

    TES. that sounds like a good idea . it is a lot of money to “write off” on such a trip, I can not find any info on the ACTUAL ROAD CONSTRUCTION on Indian side at Moreh or across the border in Myanmar. but it must be happening, like I said before the friendship bridge and customs post at MAE SOT. Thailand crossing is only being constructed but all the highway in Thailand is ready for some time right thru your home town on to the new bridge at Mukdahan to Laos and on to Vietnam …I have been to, and crossed at both on visa runs when in Thailand.. anyway we will keep “searching” and hopefully will more of your “followers” maybe you can put an ALERT out at the Indian border for INFO , …… mike

  • mike bourke

    Tes an article in one of your newspapers, dated June 2016 says 18 months before road is ready and travel agreements will be agreed …….> mike

  • mike bourke

    YEAH we can only hope, in the meantime I am sure you have plenty other “trails to follow”

  • mike bourke

    hi Tes.is Myanmar trip put in “cold storage” ?????

    • Tes

      I think so. As of now, we don’t have enough money to make this trip 🙁 It’s sad to think that we have to fly to Thailand on our next visit because it’s so much cheaper to do so.

  • mike bourke

    don’t be too sad. the day will come when you can drive to Thailand hassle free. too much money and red tape at present….”lots of other fish to fry”…. mike

  • BoBo

    Hi Tes, we also plan to made a ride to India end of this 2016. We’ll ride motocycle from Bangkok to Leh Ladakh. We wish you’re sucess for your trip. Any information from Thailand side that you may need, please ask … we will love to help !

    • Tes

      That sounds amazing to drive from Bangkok to Leh Ladakh. 🙂 and I will do my best to make this trip happen. I’m pretty much cool on Thailand side as my hometown is just in the Northeast but the Myanmar portion is gonna be tricky for me. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip 🙂

  • mike bourke

    After looking up Leh Ladakh, seemingly tis an over priced motorcyclists SHANGRI LA at present, cold and uninviting…but hopefully BOBO will make it thru and have some insight and info on the Myanmar travel situation…how much road etc. has been upgraded.. here is hoping and wishing them a safe and enjoyable journey…..MIKE

  • mike bourke

    better become a biker to savour it so, n lots of thermal clothing, one dream u can easily make a reality …..Mike

    • Tes

      My husband loves bike. He has a Classic Royal Enfield, and he wanna drive up north. I’m still trying to get over my fear of riding a bike after having a big accident 4 years ago. Maybe I should try more and get back on it again 🙂

  • mike bourke

    if you Google ,,Tow-Pac insta trike it may interest you. its an add on extra two wheels. anyway see what you think…Mike

  • mike bourke

    ps. you can also tow a trailer easier with this kit. its easily built by a good fabricator………………..

  • mike bourke

    thank you BoBo as you say, “Just do it” hopefully Tes will get back in the saddle before too long. Happy Trails>>>>>>>>>>>> see where the road takes you>>>>Mike

  • Nitin

    Hi, I am Nitin from India. I have been planing to go to Burma and this article helped me a lot to get the information about how can I get to Burma by road. I live in Lucknow. All I need to figure-out how much all the road trip would cost me after that I would like to start the journey.

    • Tes

      I’m so happy to hear that. The cost is what scares me at the moment, and my family has to postpone this trip because we’re not ready financially to do it. Let me know how you figure it out. Do share your story here 🙂

  • Ranjan Sharma

    I am from Nepal and would like to be a companion in your adventure. But so far as the cost is involved, i think it is unaffordable. Try to make the cost as comfortable as it is possible. We aren’t dollar winners but just ICs and NCs.

    • Tes

      Hi Ranjan, even we are struggling with the cost, too, so we are postponing the trip for now. We might go up north of India this year for vacation 🙂 I will keep you posted on the trip 🙂

  • nikhil

    Hi Tes, I am Nikhil from New Delhi, we friends are also planning for the similar trip next year from New Delhi to Bangkok via Yangon by hitchhiking. I know about the Carnet fee that is too much we can’t afford. we are also not ready financially, still making money. Even I am learning Burmese language as well. I have asked with one a travel agency in Yangon for MTT permit. we will fly from Bangkok to Delhi.

    • Tes

      Hi Nikhil,
      That’s something I have in mind as well because it sounds so much cheaper than driving in this trip. Let me know what kind of permit you need and how you are preparing it. I might try the same 🙂 Do keep in touch!

      • Nikhil

        First of all we have to take ILP (Inner Line Permit) for going beyond Dimapur near border area from Nagaland house located in New Delhi.
        Secondly,to get Myanmar Visa without knowing embassy that we are crossing land border, may be you know how.
        MTT permit for Crossing Indo-Myanmar Border from any legal Myanmar based travel agency. You need to send your Passport copy and visa copy through online to them with a payment of 80USD per pax. Normally it takes above 15 days to get the permission approval letter. When you get the permission approval letter,one of their guide who lives in Tamu, he will pick up you and send to the border gate.
        Next step is to get Thailand visa beforehand.
        As per my research, no such border crossing permit is required to enter into Thailand from Myanmar except a valid visa.
        Last but not the least we have to book some air tickets from Delhi to Yangon & Yangon to Bangkok, may be you know why, and one more valid air ticket from Bangkok to Delhi, because we will fly from there to our home.
        We can further discuss more about this trip through emails nikhilkanojiya8@gmail.com where we can share cost, itineraries and other things too.

        • Tes

          That actually sounds easier and much cheaper than bringing your own car. Some people also suggest that we can rent a car within countries if we want to drive. I haven’t done much research on renting car and driving permit in Myanmar, but in Thailand, it’s very easy. Yes, let’s talk more 🙂 I’ll contact you once I’m back from southern road trip.

  • mike bourke

    hi tes, all quiet on the “eastern front”….I read a blog on lonely planet, thorn tree forum…crossing Myanmar from Thailand to India by private car………….as of june 27, foreign reg cars will need permission to enter Thailand, apply 10 days in advance and pay fee etc./// you can look it up and see if you have carnet does it apply >>>><<<< I see the King of Thailand has died and their is going to be a year of Mourning, but why not a year of JOY to celebrate his life and what he did for his people ……………………mike

    • Tes

      I’ve heard people complaining about the expensive fee in this trip. And to be honest, it seems to me like price to pay for a luxurious trip now. I don’t know when the cost & the rules on this trip will be more affordable for regular travelers who just love road tripping 🙁

  • mike bourke

    YEA…from what I have seen on u tube with backpackers going thru by BUS, there is nothing LUXURIOUS about it…just a mini adventure, same as parts of Laos presently ..it was put up on u tube June 2016, the bridges being crossed were “dodgy” and >>> no sign of any road construction<< Yes its wait and see time, maybe SANTA will bring a solution…. happy trails………… mike

  • Nikhil

    First of all we have to take ILP (Inner Line Permit) for going beyond Dimapur near border area from Nagaland house located in New Delhi.
    Secondly,to get Myanmar Visa without knowing embassy that we are crossing land border, may be you know how.
    MTT permit for Crossing Indo-Myanmar Border from any legal Myanmar based travel agency. You need to send your Passport copy and visa copy through online to them with a payment of 80USD per pax. Normally it takes above 15 days to get the permission approval letter. When you get the permission approval letter,one of their guide who lives in Tamu, he will pick up you and send to the border gate.
    Next step is to get Thailand visa beforehand.
    As per my research, no such border crossing permit is required to enter into Thailand from Myanmar except a valid visa.
    Last but not the least we have to book some air tickets from Delhi to Yangon & Yangon to Bangkok, may be you know why, and one more valid air ticket from Bangkok to Delhi, because we will fly from there to our home.
    We can further discuss more about this trip through emails nikhilkanojiya8@gmail.com where we can share cost, itineraries and other things too.

  • Sriram

    I’m reading in some posts that MTT permit is issued only in case of entry and exit point being the same,

  • mike bourke

    HI.. looking thru www. lonely planet.com /thorntree/forums/asia-south-east-asia-mainland/myanmar/Myanmar-india-land-border-crossing-at-tamu-moreh-open.>>>>…. Looks like MTT is only valid for one border …in at India/Moreh–Tamu ….out same way. SAME for MAE SOT/Thailand >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> this post was 12 days ago…So looks like Myanmar don’t want the hassle of “independent” travellers wandering into places that they would prefer to keep “hidden”,, but nothing new in that area as they keep changing the visa rules depending on which way the wind is blowing ….. Hope this may be of help —- MIKE

  • mike bourke

    PS. the road thru cant be open so ????????????????

  • mike bourke

    HI TES, A blog that may interest your husband and you of two people riding a ROYAL ENFIELD from Delhi to Rangoon …. ridingtorangoon.com or you may have read it …….. mike

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