A bunch of friends, a backpack, an amazing playlist and a car— these are some ingredients of a classic road trip! Indeed, road trips give some valuable and idyllic travel experiences one can seek. The journey itself becomes adventurous and roads come alive, calling out driving enthusiasts every now and again. Road trips are a source of freedom. A slice of history along with wildlife safaris, beaches and hill stations can make road tours memorable. The increasing passion for road trips has compelled insurance companies to design travel insurance policies for them.
‘Take that road trip’, these are the common words that are there on everybody’s bucket list. But ever thought of stretching your bucket list a little bit and going on a foreign trip? Yes, a foreign road trip from India is an achievable reality today! Last year, a family of four took a 111 days road trip from Bangalore to Paris and drove across 11 nations. While it is mandatory to have a travel insurance policy when you travel to Schengen nations like France, Austria, Germany, etc., there are other countries that have simplified their norms for travelers.
So like me, if you’re struck by wanderlust, here’s the list of eight international road trips that can be taken from India.
Distance From Delhi (via NH 28): 1,944km
Time: 37 hours
Bordering India and China, Bhutan is a surreal kingdom that has remained elusive so far. The first thing that you notice as soon as you enter the country is the smiling faces of local people. If you ask someone why it is so, they will happily tell you, Bhutan is known as the happiest country in the world!
Known as the land of thunder dragon, the picturesque scenery of mountains and Buddhist monasteries like Tango, Cherry, Tongsa, etc., will amaze you to the core. There is a sense of mysticism about this enchanting Himalayan Kingdom as their king believes that it’s good to be “modernized” but it’s not good to be “westernized”.
Interesting facts about Bhutan
- There is no dessert in Bhutanese cuisine
- Rather than using Gross National Product (GNP) to measure the health of economy, Bhutan uses Gross National Happiness through four pillars— sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance
- First nation to officially ban smoking
- Bhutanese enjoy their tea with salt mixed in it
- Bhutanese work for fixed hours only and there is no sense of urgency. Sunday is a complete holiday and even there is no newspaper on Sunday
- Chilli and cheese are two main ingredients of Bhutanese cuisine
- Archery is the national sport of Bhutan
- Throughout Bhutan, there is no traffic light on roads
- Plastic bags have been banned since 1999
Distance from Delhi (via NH2): 1,756km
Time: 31 hours
India’s eastern cousin, Bangladesh is a beautiful land of vibrant culture, historical ruins and fabulous history. In this land of greenery and friendly people, if you travel to a remote location, you may be the only tourist at many such places. It is a best opportunity to visit these locations before the secret leaks out!
Due to the presence of a large number of rivers and the largest river delta, Bangladesh is abundant in natural resources. From India, it is easily accessible by road and you can reach the country from different entry points like Siliguri, Kolkata and Agartala.
Interesting facts about Bangladesh
- The Royal Bengal Tiger is the national animal
- The left hand is considered unclean, so always use your right hand when eating or passing drinks
- Although kabaddi is the national game, cricket is more popular in the country
- The national anthem of Bangladesh was written by Rabindranath Tagore
- If someone invites you for a party, it is rude to bluntly turndown the invitation. People usually say, ‘I will try’ even if they know they will not go
Distance from New Delhi (via NH 28): 2,942km
Time: 54 hours
If you find happiness even in small things or enjoy living with limited resources, Myanmar is the place for you. The country is known as a glorious land with glittering golden pagodas and white stupas. With its legendary kingdoms, marvelous landscapes, diverse people and fine examples of architectural marvels, Myanmar is a home to some of the amazing tourist places like Mandalay, Yangon and Bagan, which intrigue you with their beauty. Backed with cultures of over 100 ethnic groups, the country leaves you wonderstruck with its ethereal nature and sojourns.
Interesting facts about Myanmar
- People use yellow paste made from bark of Thanakha tree as a sunscreen
- You need to blow a few kisses to get the waiter’s attention at a restaurant
- Long necked women of the Kayan tribe in East Myanmar wear brass coils around their necks to protect themselves from neighboring tribesmen. The brass weight pushes the women’s collar bone down, thus, compressing their rib
- There are no bikes in downtown Yangon
Distance from New Delhi: 1,012km
Time: 30 hours
Popularly known as the ‘Roof of the World’, Nepal’s cultural landscape is every bit as diverse as its physical state. Squeezed between India and Tibet, Nepal stretches from rich tropical forests to high Himalayan regions and from tiger habitat to vertiginous hunting grounds of the snow leopard. The country sits in the shadow of Himalayas, but shines with multitude treasures. Nepalese people are extremely friendly by nature, so wide smiles will greet you wherever you go. You shouldn’t be surprised if you are invited by a stranger for tea. A road trip to Nepal will surely bring some of the most picturesque sights, be it the highest peaks of the world that seem to be too close to you, or the stupas and prayer flags that add more beauty and grace to the rugged landscape.
Interesting facts about Nepal
- Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha
- The only country in the world with a non-rectangular flag
- Greetings in Nepal are similar to greetings in India. People bring their palms together and then bow their forehead, saying Namaste
- Saturday is the official holiday and Sunday is a normal working day
- The only living goddess “Kumari” can be found in Nepal
Distance from New Delhi (via NH7): 3,552km
Time: 78 hours
With its miles of golden beaches and abundant natural resources, Sri Lanka is the top tropical paradises in Asia. It is also known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ and ‘Teardrop of India. Ringed by a necklace of beaches, its mountainous interior rears up in a hinterland, which is an abode for elephants and leopards. There are many ferries in Srilanka offering drive in and drive out facility for cars. Most of the places are inter-connected, and therefore, you can easily fit in a bunch of activities in a short span of time.
Interesting facts about Sri Lanka
- When Sri Lankans mean ‘Yes’, they don’t nod their heads up and down but rather waggle it from side to side, so it looks like ‘No
- Sri Lanka finds its place in the great Hindu epic: Ramayana. According to Hindu mythology, Ravana built his kingdom in Sri Lanka
- It is the largest exporter of tea
Distance from New Delhi: 5,568km
Time taken: 90 hours
With rainforests, mountains and skyscrapers, Malaysia truly lives up to its slogan: “Truly Asia”. It presents a perfect blend of a vibrant cultural melting pot, where Hindu temples, Chinese joss houses and mosques jostle for space alongside towering skyscrapers. Then there are beautiful tropical resorts and islands which are popular for scuba diving. Away from the hustle and bustle of cities, the untamed nature awaits you in the form of coral reefs and jungles filled with rare species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
Interesting facts about Malaysia
- Malaysian brides put their engagement ring on the fourth finger of their right hand. It is placed there by a senior female relative of the groom and not by the groom itself
- The Sarawak Chamber in the country is the largest cave chamber in the world
- You should always remove shoes before entering any Malaysian home
- Chinese Malaysians are believed to visit graveyards in the midnight in the hope of receiving lucky lottery numbers from their dead relatives
- Nasilemak is the national dish of Malaysia that is cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in a banana leaf and served for breakfast
Distance from New Delhi (via NH 28): 4,180km
Travel time: 72 hours
With over 16 million foreigners flying into the country every year, Thailand is Asia’s most popular travel destination, which offers a myriad of places to visit. Although the country has absorbed western influences it has maintained its rich cultural heritage. Known as the ‘land of smiles’, this amazing country has attracted everyone from backpackers, billionaires to adventure seekers. If we talk about relaxation, what could be more relaxing than a massage on the beach? Indeed, Thailand is a place of adventures. Beaches and islands call out to scuba divers, water sports enthusiasts, rock climbers and all such people who want to experience thrill and adventure. From fine restaurants, night markets to temples and churches, it is hard to summarize the diversity of Thailand.
Interesting facts about Thailand
- Thailand has a separate school for monkeys— Thani Monkey College. Here monkeys learn street performing tricks and how to pick coconuts from trees
- Every year, ‘Monkey Buffet Festival’ is held in Thailand. Local residents see it as a way of thanking monkeys for bringing thousands of tourists. It is a very big buffet, including two tons of meat, ice cream, fruit and other dishes
- Celebrated annually in Thailand, Songkran is one of the world’s largest water festivals
- It is rare to find a nuclear family as most people prefer to live in extended families
- Thais bow their head whenever they meet anyone older or more important than them
- It is illegal to drive a vehicle without wearing a shirt
Distance from New Delhi (via AH 2): 5,926km
Travel time: 91 hours
Boasting of its historical landmarks, exciting activities and vibrant culture, the island country of Singapore is endowed with the best of natural and man-made attractions. Known as the “Garden City”, and the “Lion City”, Singapore offers more than just luxury hotels and high-end shopping malls. There is a vibrant culture and diverse ethnic quarters to discover, along with other lovely attractions that make visiting this country worthwhile. From traditions of Chinatown to beautiful aromatic delights of Little India, a few days in Sizzling Singapore would be perfect for a fun-filling and adventurous vacation.
Interesting facts about Singapore
- It is a city of man-made waterfalls and trees
- The World Toilet Organization was formed in Singapore. You could be fined for not flushing toilet after use. Public toilets are equipped with Urine Detection Devices that detect the smell of urine, sets off an alarm and closes the door until the police come!
- The anthem of the country is printed on the back of the S$1000
- It is considered rude to eat, wave and greet with left hand
Travel Brings Power and Love Back to Your Life
Many of the great stories of life start with a couple of friends randomly jumping in car and driving to magnificent locations. They roll down the window pane, increase the volume of music and cruise into new adventures. Indeed, road trips make you a better or should I say more energetic and awesome person.
However, when it comes to travelling, heading abroad is a completely different thing from your typical annual family beach vacation. Not only overseas trips tend to be longer, there are various things that you need to keep in mind for a safe journey. Even if you are travelling by road, you should have a passport or any other government document. Also, make sure that your car is in a good condition. Depending on where you are travelling, carry special vaccinations and medicines as a precaution against ailments. Moreover, if you are planning to do only a half of your journey by road and the rest by air, don’t forget to buy a travel insurance policy. This insurance ensures complete coverage against unforeseen events like loss of passport, baggage loss, personal accident, hospitalization. Your overseas trip should be free from hassles and worries, and a comprehensive travel insurance policy ensures the same.
No matter where you travel and how you travel, travelling gives you a chance to see the world and learn about new places where you’ve never been before. So, start travelling as it is the most important way to enjoy your life and explore something new. As after all, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”: St. Augustine