As soon as Delhi – Naypyidaw – Bangkok Highway became operational, my fellow amateur and professional travelers have started making plans. Everyone is just making plans and dreaming driving 4350 kms long mega road trip via Myanmar, full of adventure, driving in Guwahati between the clouds, Crossing down mighty Brahmaputra river, taking a nap close to highway, passing by the sign boards that say “welcome to India-Myanmar friendship road”.
Well, It all looks adventurous !! Indeed it is but not as easy as it looks. There are many disappointing aspects of this Road trip too.
Let’s just talk about Myanmar first.
1. You will still need an Agent prior to the Road Trip
It’s not like pack your bags, Start your bike and start riding. You will still need to contact local agents. While entering into Myanmar, you will need to get a Special overland permit and for that you will have to start preparing for this 40 days prior to the Trip. A road trip could be dangerous too, if it is raining there specially in May to October. So watch out !! There are many chances that constantly you will have to stay in contact with your agent.
2. It sucks when your IDP doesn’t work
Myanmar is a country that will not allow either of your licences. Neither your Indian licence nor your International Driving Permit (IDP). So, what now ? Go ahead, get through with all the formalities and attain a temporary driving licence. Once you get a temporary licence then drive carefully. It’s because according to the Myanmar’s law if you hit any pedestrian or any pedestrian hit you then no one is going to hear your excuses. Myanmar’s law are made in their favor.
3. Be prepared, Your International GSM might not work
Be advised International GSMs doesn’t work in Myanmar. I am just not sure about Indian GSM cards. So, If you are a Travel blogger, freelancer programmer or someone who continuously need to stay online then arrange their local card. (Later, share the steps of arranging the card with me) Or if you have any card from Thailand or Singapore then it will work well.
4. Local licensed tour operator is mandatory
If you are thinking that after attaining licence now you can travel without any hassle then you are wrong. Local licensed tour operator is mandatory. The Burmese government charges high prices if you travel there with your own vehicle. These prices can be reduced significantly if enough SUVs/bikes (people) can be found to join the convoy.
5. Forget Couchsurfing here
You are not entitled to stay at any place other than registered hotel. Couchsurfing is not legal here. So, if you are looking to save some money by staying with locals then you might get disappointed here again.
Those were some reasons that could disappoint you in Myanmar. Now it’s turn for Thailand.
6. Get ready to pay 200 percent Carnet fees
You will have to apply for Carnet De Passage. A carnet is simply a document that allows you to take your personal vehicle into a particular foreign territory. What sucks is – its carnet fees. To enter Thailand you will have to deposit an amount equal to two hundred percent of your vehicle’s value. It hurts, though it is refundable. Contact automobile association of India in this regard.
7. Keep in Mind that a Return Road Trip could be boring
It is always exciting to explore the unseen but when you start your return road trip then it gets little boring. Especially if it is a 15 days, 4500 kms long Road trip. Plan your Itinerary in such a way so that you find it exciting during your return trip too. I mean you can leave natural places like national parks, wild life sanctuaries for return trip and just watch historical monuments at the beginning or vice versa. Or may be keep watching all the places and once you reach to Bangkok, you may want to get a mobile phone service and just ship your bike or SUV back to the Indian port. (Hit me a mail for custom made Itinerary)
Useful links for this Road trip
Well, those were some reasons that could disappoint you for this Road trip but I must also say that it is once in a life time Road trip that you must do. If you are a desperate traveler then those obstacles can’t stop you. Here I am mentioning some links for your help –
1. Myanmar Tourism’s official site
2. Myanmar Embassy
3. Thailand Tourism’s official site
4. Customs Department of Thailand
P.S. – Don’t forget to make a checklist for carrying the essential items before the Road trip. And We don’t want to discourage you to take the trip but always know that you have an option to take a budget airline like AirAsia too.