When we first started our overlanding adventure from New Delhi, we knew it was going to be a phenomenal journey! 16,000 Kms, 7 Countries and 60 days on the road – what’s not to love!
Here are some experiences which stood out and those we still recall and cherish. Our journey encompassed India, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand!
Friends for life:
Something you need to know about overlanders is that we’re not big fans of guides, groups and overarching “plans” in general. We like taking each day as it comes and charting our own roads as we slow travel through countries and continents.
However, the Myanmar law had different plans for us! With the need for a guide to cross over, it seemed best to do it in a group and share the cost. With 14 of us from all over the world, each with their own plans, their own different vehicle of choice (read: cars, bikes, caravans!) and with a combined apprehension of “group travel” we set out towards our Myanmar adventure.
Over the days, we realised that all the apprehension of the unknown quickly turned into camaraderie and a combined passion to explore and learn about cultures. We made friends for life, camped on a beach in Raygon with a couple from Argentina, explored Laos with friends from England and shared travel experiences which will stay with us forever!
One of the countries we knew the least about before we started and one that soon became our favourite in South East Asia!
The quaint hillside villages, the ever inviting and warm locals and the simplicity of the places is something we crave every single day!
Driving 200 Kilometers on dirt to Lima Site 20, the ex CIA airbase, (and one of the most secret places in the world in the 1970’s) and onwards to Phonsovanh – where we went in search for American Bomb Craters from the Laotian War, is a driving day we can never forget! We had our friends from the Myanmar overlanding group with us and it sure made for great company!
From watching the sunrise on a boat in Nong Khwai, tubing down the lazy river in Vang Vieng or exploring and taking in the vibe of Luang Prabang, the one thing that stayed constant were the friendly locals always there to help us and guide us!
If there was one country i’d go to again and again – it would be Laos!
When we started our journey, food was on the top of our list! We wanted to try authentic, local food away from big cities and large restaurants.
So many dishes that we knew of or had tried back home turned out to be so different from the authentic ones we tried in each country!
My idea of Khao Suey is now very different from what it used to be. It’s a staple clear noodle soup morning meal in Myanmar (at home i’ve always had it for dinner, with a coconut base)!
The Datsi (cheese curry) in Bhutan was soothing to say the least! What was amazing was we stayed with a family in Phobjika Valley, and they prepared it from scratch – even the cheese!
We’ve all had Thai food in India and across the world but the one meal that really stands out has to be a hot-pot meal at a home in Ban Krut, a small fishing village in Thailand. This family set out a few tables outside their place every night and served authentic hotpot! This is the best Thai food I’ve had!
Averaging 250 KM a day:
Ok ,so while most overlanders travel slow, and for long, that was not us! We drove 16000 KM in 60 days, home to home. So that averages to approximately 250 KM per day! The thrill of getting out on a new road, to explore a new route was enthralling.
While we love slow travel and do it all the time, this trip demanded a little more! We would definitely like to travel a lot slower through some of these countries butthere was just something about being on the road all day, and almost every day! We stayed maximum for about 2 nights in a location before moving on to our next adventure.
The Night at Loktak:
After 60 days across 7 countries, we have to say, if there is one night that stood out – It has to be the one at Loktak Lake. We drove from Imphal with a friend, who had recommended a secluded bamboo hut on one of the floating islands! We were the only ones on this side of the lake!
The calm night under the stars, local women singing folk songs, fresh food cooked for us, a beautiful boat ride in the moonlit lake and waking up to the sunrise – these magical memories are all etched in my brain!