14 International Road Trips From India - Your 2020 Checklist
Travelling is an experience – it is as much about journeys as about the destination. While the destination may prompt you to pack your bags, the journey itself can exhilarate you. Local road trips set in the sense of familiarity and comfort, what if we told you that you could reach China & London via road? It’s true, and this article is precisely that - A list of global road trips you could venture on in 2020!
Nepal is not merely a convenience in terms of distance and immigration facilities but also promises some of the most beautiful landscapes and sights at the foothill of Mount Everest.
Distance (from New Delhi to Kathmandu): 1,125 kilometres Route: A drive from New Delhi to Kathmandu will take you across two states in India (New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, and you enter Nepal through Sunauli Border Duration: 21 hours (approximatley 2 days) Best time to visit: February to April Entry Requirement: Indian driving license. No other documentation is required. Visa Requirements: There is no visa requirement. Indians holding a valid passport, voter ID, driving license or ration card or any identification issued by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu can live and work in Nepal, without any restrictions.
Bhutan, the happiest country in the world, not only attracts the peace-seekers but also travel enthusiasts from around the globe. Besides a happy lifestyle, Bhutan also possesses rich and diverse natural beauty.
Distance(from New Delhi to Thimp): 1,546 kilometres Route: The route to Thimpu from New Delhi will take you across the states of Uttar Pradesh and Assam, from Guwahati (state capital of Assam), you will be able to move to the Bhutanese village Phuntsholing and then head to Thimpu. Duration: 32 hours (approximately 3 days) Best time to visit: March to May Entry Requirements: A travel pass and a vehicle pass will be required for entering the country. Both can be obtained from the immigration office at Phuntsholing for approximately BTN 300 per person. Visa Requirements: While there is no official visa requirement for Indians, Indians holding a valid passport (valid for atleast 6 months from the date of travel), voter ID and travel related documents can obtain a 7 days’ entry-cum-stay permit from the border office. (Note: Bhutan regulates the number of foreign tourists within their country!)
The tiny country of Bangladesh has often made news due to their weak political capital, but for travellers, the beauty of its landscape is unforgettable. Bangladesh’s Cox Bazar is the longest sea beach in the world, and Sunderbans’ lush greens are two prime attractions for foreign tourists.
Distance (New Delhi to Dhaka): 1,850 kilometres Route: To reach Dhaka, you will have to travel across New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and cross the border at Sonamasjid Sulka checkpoint or Petrapole–Benapole border to arrive in Bangladesh. Once you are on Bangladesh land, it will take you approximately an 8-hour drive to arrive in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Duration: 35 hours (approximately 3 days) Best time to visit: October to April Entry Requirements: Bangladesh recognizes Indian international driving permit. However, a carnet is required for you vehicle before you enter the country. Carnet is issued by the Automobile Association of India upon payment of a refundable bank guarantee/ cash/ cheque of approximately 200% the market value of your vehicle. Though expensive, Carnet is your vehicle’s visa for over 62 countries in the world. Visa Requirements: Indian nationals holding a valid passport are eligible to avail visa from the Bangladeshi embassy.
Known as the ‘land of gold’, Myanmar (Burma, to our forefathers) is a land of beautiful Buddhist temples and natural beauty. Characterised with distinctive architecture and a rich cultural history Myanmar is an absolute visual treat.
Distance (New Delhi to Mandalay): 2,959 kilometres Route: To cross the Indian border, you will have to travel across New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. You will enter Myanmar from the Moreh Border checkpoint and then head to Mandalay, and further down south to reach Yangoon. Duration: 64 hours (approximately 6 days) Best time to visit: November to February Entry Requirements: A special overland permit, a temporary customs import permit and a MMT permit will be required for travelling into Myanmar with your vehicle. The Myanmar government also issues an approved escort vehicle with a tourist guide and a liaison officer to accompany you during your stay in Myanmar (this is non-negotiable). Visa Requirements: A visa stamped from the Myanmar embassy is required before travelling into the territory of Myanmar. While Myanmar issues e-visa to Indians which allows a single entry permit for upto 28 days’ of stay – this may not be sufficient or appropriate for road trip into the country.
5. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is coastal beauty with a thriving cultural centre around its beaches, reefs and rainforests.
Distance (from New Delhi to Colombo): 3,533 kilometres Route: A journey from New Delhi to Colombo will take you across the length of India, crossing 6 states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, you can take the Nagappattinam ferry to Colombo. Duration: 78 hours (approximately 7 days) Best time to visit: Although the west coast and south coast are ideal during December to March, the best time to visit the east coast of Sri Lanka is in April-May. Entry Requirements: An international driving license, carnet and motor insurance should be obtained in advance. Visa Requirements: Sri Lanka grants a 30 days’ e-visa for a maximum of 30 days’ stay.
A retreat for the young at heart, Thailand attracts tourists throughout the year to its beautiful beaches.
Distance (New Delhi to Bangkok): 4,198 kilometres Route: The road to Bangkok, will travel across the north eastern states of India and will cross across Myanmar to arrive in Thailand. Many who have undertaken this road, suggest the following journey, head from Delhi to Imphal, cross Moreh, Kale, Bagan, Inle Lake, Yangon, Maesot, and arrive in Bangkok from Tak. Duration: 71 hours Best time to visit: November to early April Entry Requirements: Make sure you are also carrying the requisite approvals and documents for travelling across Myanmar. You can drive with an international driving license. Visa Requirements: Thailand allows e-visa on arrival for Indians holding a valid passport.
True to their motto, Malaysia presents ‘truly Asia’ attractions to lure tourists from across the world. While many prefer to enjoy the beaches, and natural landscapes, coasts and plantations, Malaysia is also soaring with luxurious hotels and adventurous theme parks.
Distance (New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur): 5,760 kilometres Route: To arrive in Kuala Lumpur, you will have to travel across two other countries – Myanmar and Thailand. Due to the travel mode, the visa/entry requirements for each of these countries will also need to be complied with (please see the specific requirements for each, above). Duration: 101 hours (approximately 8 days) Best time to visit: December to February Entry Requirements: Malaysia recognizes international driving license issued in India, and the carnet is sufficient for your vehicle’s entry and drive around Malaysia. Visa Requirements: Indian passport holders are eligible to apply for a single entry eNTRI visa, which grants permission to the traveller to stay in Malaysia for a maximum of 15 days.
Singapore preserves culture (take a graffiti walk alongside Little India or Pai Sho lessons in Chinatown), nature (Botanic Garden and the zoo) and the capitalist sweet-tooth (Marina Bay Sands) within a space of 375 square kilometres. Singapore engages tourists of all ages with enthusiasm and charm that it befits into a multi-cultural progressive island-nation.
Distance (New Delhi to Singapore): 6,118 kilometres Route: To reach Singapore from New Delhi, you will have to travel across three countries – Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. Due to the travel mode, the visa/entry requirements for each of these countries will also need to be complied with (please see the specific requirements for each, above). Duration: 105 hours (approximately 9 days) Best time to visit: February to April Entry Requirements: Singapore recognizes international driving license issued in India. Visa Requirements: Singapore grants an e-visa (valid for 30 days) to Indians holding a valid passport.
China is not only the fourth largest country in the world but also records the fourth-highest footfall of tourist every year. The country’s cultural heritage, the Great Wall of China, giant pandas in Chengdu and the fast-paced cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong are some of the top tourist attractions in China.
Distance (from New Delhi to Tibet): 1,142 kilometres Route: For arriving in China from New Delhi, one may take a route through Nepal via the Kodari — Zhangmu border. Duration: 40 hours (approximately 4 days) Best time to visit: Either the spring months of March and April or the autumnal September or October can be the best time to visit the country, depending on which you prefer. Entry Requirements: In order to drive in the territory of China, you will be required to obtain a special overland permit, a temporary driving licence and vehicle plate. The process of obtaining the overland permit takes over 3 months. In addition to these, you will also be required a liaise with the Chinese officials regarding your itinerary, whereafter a guide vehicle will be assigned to escort you for the duration of your travel. While Chinese do not rely on it, it is advisable to carry your international driving license with you at all times. Visa Requirements: Chinese visa from the Chinese embassy and Tibetan entry permit must be obtained in advance. In case you take the route across Nepal, the Chinese visa will have to obtained from the consulate of China in Kathmandu as well.
With its long and winding coastlines and green landscapes, Vietnam is slowly capturing travellers from across the world. The country is rich in culture and natural beauty which makes it’s a divine retreat.
Distance (New Delhi to Hanoi): 5,162 kilometres Route: A car ride from New Delhi to Hanoi will take you across Myanmar, Thailand and Laos before reaching Vietnam. Duration: 101 hours (approximately 5 days) Best time to visit: from March to May or from September to November Entry Requirements: Vietnam allows Indians to drive their own vehicles within the country with a valid international driving permit and a carnet. However, a local insurance will have to be obtained in Vietnam for the vehicle as well. Visa Requirements: Indians are allowed to obtain an e-visa prior to entering into the country, which is valid for a period of 30 days.
Turkey has been the fanciful dream of many civilisations and has been a capital city to several Asiatic and European kingdoms. With its rich history, the country has some of the most beautiful historical monuments, shelved between beautiful and breathtaking landscapes. The city of Istanbul is mainly known for its cafes, spices and hammam centres.
Distance (New Delhi to Istanbul): 4,546 kilometres Route: A car ride from New Delhi should take you across China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, before arriving in Turkey. Duration: 59 hours (approximately 6 days) Best time to visit: April to May and from September to mid-November Entry Requirements: Indian international driving permit will suffice for your drive through the country, but a special permit in addition to the Carnet will be required from Turkish authorities. Visa Requirements: Turkey grants an e-visa for Indians holding a valid visa or resident permit for either United Kingdom, Ireland, United States of America or any of the Schengen countries.
With centuries of history and cultural stories embedded in the ancient buildings in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva make Uzbekistan a prime holiday spot for those looking for a scenic retreat from the everyday routine.
Distance (New Delhi to Tashkent): 2,280 kilometres Route: While Uzbekistan may be closer through Afghanistan-Tajikistan, due to safety and logistical reasons the route via China may be preferred. Duration: 30 hours (approximately 4 days) Best time to visit: April to May, and September to early November Entry Requirements: Uzbekistan does not recognize the validity of India’s international driving permit and therefore, a special permit will be required from Uzbek authorities in advance. Visa Requirements: Entry into Uzbekistan requires special invitation letters, border crossing assistance as well as custom inquiry at several stages.
Greece is undoubtedly one of the most exquisite ocean landscapes and a medieval gem of cultural and architectural. To top it off, Greece is also a super-economical European destination for the perfect summer vacation.
Distance (New Delhi to Athens): 6,105 kilometres Route: Reaching Athens, will take you across 8 countries - China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Duration: 71 hours (approximately 8 days) Best time to visit: While the month of July endorses some of the most beautiful sunny days and sunset views with no rains, the period between April to mid-June and September to mid-October is also ideal for travel. Entry Requirements: Along with carnet and the international driving permit, you will be required to avail a special permit for driving in your vehicle in Greece. Visa Requirements: Greece is a European Union nation and therefore, a Schengen visa will have to be obtained for your stay in Greece.
One of the longest road trips from the country is London. With its aristocratic charm of Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge and the like, London is also the thriving cultural centre for the young – especially the Potter-heads should not miss out on the Warner Bros Studio Tour. 221B Baker Street for Sherlock Holmes’ fans or the holy field of your favourite football club.
Distance (New Delhi to London): 7,832 kilometres
Route: From those who have undertaken this enormous distance travel, the recommended route crosses over 11 countries to arrive in the United Kingdom. A car ride from New Delhi should take you across China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France.
Duration: Approximately 2 weeks
Best time to visit: March through May
Entry Requirements: UK recognizes international driving license issued in India.
Visa Requirements: Indians holding a valid passport can apply for a temporary stay visa for United Kingdom.
Which one of these would you like to be on? If you have travelled to any other country by road, let us know in the comments below!