scorecardExploring the world on wheels: International road trips from India
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Exploring the world on wheels: International road trips from India

Exploring the world on wheels: International road trips from India
TravelTravel6 min read
International road trips you can take from India    iStock
Going on a road trip is often synonymous with adventure, freedom, and discovery. While India offers a plethora of scenic routes and diverse landscapes, sometimes the wanderlust extends beyond borders. International road trips from India open up a world of possibilities, allowing travellers to witness different cultures, cuisines, and landscapes. From neighbouring countries reachable by road to far-flung destinations accessible via overland routes, here's a detailed guide to international road trips you can take from India.

Nepal: The Himalayan Odyssey


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Traverse the winding roads of the Himalayas on a road trip from India to Nepal.      iStock
Distance from India: Varies depending on the starting point.
Visa Requirement: Indian citizens do not require a visa to enter Nepal.
Nepal, home to the majestic Himalayas, offers an exhilarating road trip experience. From the bustling streets of Kathmandu to the serene lakes of Pokhara, every mile is a revelation. The journey typically begins from the bordering Indian states of Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. The scenic drive through the Terai plains gradually ascends into the foothills of the Himalayas, providing breathtaking views of terraced fields, lush forests, and snow-capped peaks.

Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon


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Discover the mystical charm of Bhutan on an unforgettable road journey from India.      iStock
Distance from India: Approx. 500-700 km from bordering Indian states.
Visa Requirement: Indian citizens require a permit to enter Bhutan.
A kingdom situated in the Eastern Himalayas. The journey offers a blend of spirituality, culture, and natural beauty. Starting from Indian states like West Bengal or Assam, travellers cross the border into Bhutan, where pristine landscapes, ancient monasteries, and traditional Bhutanese architecture await. The winding roads offer panoramic views of verdant valleys, cascading waterfalls, and Himalayan peaks, providing a soul-stirring experience.

Myanmar: The Road Less Travelled


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Go on an offbeat adventure to Myanmar from India's northeastern states.      iStock
Distance from India: Approx. 1,400-1,800 km from northeastern Indian states.
Visa Requirement: Indian citizens require a visa to enter Myanmar.
Embarking on a road trip to Myanmar from northeastern India is an offbeat yet rewarding journey. Travellers can start from states like Manipur or Mizoram, traversing through lush landscapes and remote villages. The route passes through the Moreh-Tamu border crossing, offering a glimpse into Myanmar's rich cultural heritage, ancient temples, and bustling markets. From the ancient city of Mandalay to the serene shores of Inle Lake, each stop along the way unveils a new facet of Myanmar's beauty.

Thailand: Land of Smiles


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Experience the Land of Smiles on a road trip from India to Thailand's vibrant landscapes."      iStock
Distance from India: Approx. 3,000-3,500 km from northeastern Indian states.
Visa Requirement: Indian citizens require a visa to enter Thailand.
Take on an epic road trip from India to Thailand, traversing through diverse landscapes and vibrant cultures. The journey begins from northeastern states like Assam or Manipur, with travellers crossing into Myanmar before entering Thailand. The route passes through scenic regions of northern Thailand, including the cultural hub of Chiang Mai and the historic city of Ayutthaya. From bustling markets to tranquil beaches, Thailand offers a sensory overload of experiences for road trippers.
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The Silk Route: A Historic Expedition


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Explore the historic Silk Route, connecting civilizations from India to Europe.      iStock
Distance from India: Varies depending on the route taken.
Visa Requirement: Multiple visas are required depending on the countries traversed.
For the adventurous at heart, the Silk Route presents an opportunity to go on a historic expedition spanning multiple countries. Starting from India's northeastern states, travellers can follow the ancient trade route that once connected Asia to Europe. The journey passes through countries like Myanmar, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and beyond, offering a glimpse into diverse cultures, landscapes, and civilisations along the way. From the rugged terrain of the Pamir Mountains to the ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, the Silk Route road trip is a voyage through time.

London: The Transcontinental Adventure


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Dream of distant horizons as you plan a transcontinental road trip from India to London.      iStock
Visa Requirements: Travellers going on a road trip to London from India will require a Schengen visa or a UK visa, depending on the route chosen and the countries traversed.
Distance from India: Approx.11,000 to 12,000 kilometres
Taking on a road trip from India to London is a transcontinental odyssey that captivates the imagination of intrepid explorers. While the allure of traversing diverse landscapes is undeniable, it necessitates meticulous planning, including obtaining visas and permits.

China: Exploring the Middle Kingdom


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Unravel the mysteries of the Middle Kingdom on a road journey to China from India.      iStock
Visa Requirements: Travellers embarking on a road trip to China from India will require a Chinese tourist visa.
Distance from India: The distance from India to China via road varies depending on the chosen route and starting point.
While direct road access between India and China is not feasible due to geographical and political constraints, overland routes through neighbouring countries offer adventurous travellers a glimpse into China's diverse landscapes and ancient civilisations.

Preparation and Tips:


  • Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained and equipped for long-distance travel.
  • Obtain necessary permits and visas well in advance.
  • Research border crossing procedures and entry requirements for each country.
  • Pack essentials such as navigation devices, spare tyres, first-aid kits, and sufficient supplies.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic rules, customs, and driving conditions.
  • Embrace spontaneity but plan your route and accommodations in advance.
  • Respect local cultures, traditions, and environments along the way.
Going on an international road trip from India is not just about reaching a destination; it's about immersing yourself in the journey, forging connections, and creating memories that last a lifetime. So, fuel up your adventurous spirit, buckle up, and hit the road to explore the world beyond borders.

Frequently asked questions


1. Is it safe to go on an international road trip from India?
While international road trips offer incredible experiences, safety should always be a priority. Research your route thoroughly, including potential risks, road conditions, and travel advisories. Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained and equipped with necessary safety features. Additionally, carry essential documents, emergency supplies, and travel insurance for added security.

2. What documents do I need for an international road trip from India?
The required documents vary depending on the destination(s) you plan to visit. Typically, you'll need a valid passport, appropriate visas or permits for each country you'll be crossing, vehicle registration, international driving permit (IDP), and vehicle insurance. Research and obtain all necessary paperwork well in advance to avoid any last-minute complications.

3. How do I plan accommodations for an international road trip?
Planning accommodations for an international road trip involves researching and booking hotels, guesthouses, or campsites along your route. Utilise online booking platforms or travel apps to find accommodations that suit your preferences and budget. Consider factors such as location, amenities, and availability, especially during peak travel seasons.

4. What should I pack for an international road trip from India?
Packing essentials for an international road trip includes clothing suitable for varied climates, travel documents, personal hygiene items, medications, first-aid kit, navigation devices (maps or GPS), roadside emergency kit (spare tyre, jumper cables, flashlight, etc.), snacks, water, and entertainment (books, music, etc.). Tailor your packing list based on the duration of your trip and the destinations you'll be visiting.

5. How do I navigate border crossings during an international road trip?
Navigating border crossings requires careful planning and adherence to the immigration and customs regulations of each country you'll be entering. Research border crossing procedures, opening hours, required documents, and any applicable fees or permits. Arrive prepared with all necessary paperwork, maintain patience during border formalities, and be respectful of local authorities. Stay informed about any recent changes or restrictions that may affect your journey.

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