Beyond The Border: Road Trips You Can Make From India

Beyond The Border: Road Trips You Can Make From India
Spectacular view from Bhutan border, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Come explore destinations beyond the Indian borders with us because we are taking overland travel a notch higher with this one

Precious Kamei
November 28 , 2018
05 Min Read

Points To Ponder:
1. Did you know that there are eight countries that we, as Indian citizens, can visit visa-free? Indonesia, Bhutan, Fiji, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles and Serbia are the famous eight.
2. India shares its geographical border with six countries—Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, China and Pakistan.

What do you do if you have four out of six neighbouring countries (excluding Pakistan and China) that you can visit fuss-free and that too, overland? Before we go any further, here are some more points to consider before you start packing your bags:

a) As per the Nepalese Immigration rules, Indian nationals traveling to Nepal must carry either a passport or a valid Driving License with photo.

b) Indian nationals travelling to Bhutan are required to carry any of the two valid travel documents—Indian Passport with validity of minimum 6 months and/or a Voter Identity Card.

Nepal
Colorful wooden masks on sale in Thamel, NepalIf you are travelling from Delhi, you can take a train to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh (from 1180 approx (AC3). From Gorakhpur it's a three-hour bus or jeep ride to the Nepalese border town of Sunauli (India). Once you reach Sunauli, you'll have to visit the Indian Passport Office for the exit stamp. Bhairawa is the Nepalese border town and here you can change your currency. From Bhairawa (also called Sunauli), you'll find buses and jeeps to Kathmandu You can also reach Nepal via Varanasi. A direct bus from Varanasi to Kathmandu run by Uttar Pradesh Road Transport Corporation or a local bus ride to Sunauli from Varanasi are some of your options. From Siliguri in West Bengal, one can take a local bus to the border town of Panitanki (India) or you can even hire a taxi from New Jalpaiguri to Panitanki. Once you cross the border, you'll be in the Nepalese border town of Kakarvitta. You can take a thirteen-hour overnight bus from Kakarvitta to Kathmandu.

Why Visit Nepal?
Mount Everest. Kathmandu. Pokhara. Thamel. Patan. These are just some of the many aspects of Nepal that attracts travellers from all around the world. From the great heights of Everest to the historically and culturally rich Kathmandu and Patan, from food to fashion, Nepal is destination waiting to be explored.

Myanmar
An Intha fisherman rowing the traditional way (one-leg) at Inle Lake in MyanmarTo visit Myanmar, Indian passport holders need a proper visa. With an eVisa, your movements will be restricted only to the airports at Yangon, Mandalay and Nap Pyi Taw. With a proper visa one can stay in the country for 28 days (with no provisions for extensions). To get to Myanmar by road from India, you need to get to Manipur first. India and Myanmar shares the border at Moreh (India) and Tamu (Myanmar). Imphal, the capital city of Manipur is accessible by air from all major cities in India. Roughly four hours ride from Imphal will bring you to the border town of Moreh. Recent developments have led to scraping of strict overland travel rules which included hiring a licensed guide at a fixed cost at Tamu border and also a special land route permit. Myanmar visa can be obtained from Kolkata and Delhi. There's a plus side here: since Manipur is in the middle of all these, it's a great chance for all first-timers to Manipur to visit the gorgeous Loktak Lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park, Kangla Fort, Ima Keithel and Mapal Kangjeibung (oldest functioning polo ground in the world)

Why Visit Myanmar
Bagan, Mandalay and Yangon are rich in heritage with plenty great sightseeing options like Inle Lake, Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda. Street food in Myanmar is a big hit among visitors.

Bhutan
A Buddhist monk performing Cham dance in BhutanWhen Land of the Thunder Dragon calls, you answer. Bhutan is definitely on any travelbug's wishlist. Indians are lucky for no visa is required to visit Bhutan and all we need to carry with us is either a passport or a Voter Identity Card. Those who are entering by land are required an Entry Permit which one can get from the border town of Phuentsholing. This Entry permit is valid only for Thimphu, Paro and Phuentsholing. Visitors who wish to explore further can get a Route Permit from the Royal Govt. of Bhutan Immigration Office at Thimpu. DO NOT think of travelling on Saturdays, Sundays and any Govt. holidays because Phuentsholing Immigration Office will remain closed. Phuentsholing is a 4-hour drive from Bagdogra Airport and 3 hour 45 minutes from Siliguri. You can even take a direct bus from Kolkata, run by the Royal Bhutanese Government (daily 7:30am and 1:30pm), to Phuentsholing. Once you reach the border town, there are plenty of local buses that will take you to Thimphu.

Why Visit Bhutan
Why not? Bhutan is popular for its monasteries, beautiful landscapes, culture, traditions and food. A visit to Bhutan is incomplete without a visit to Taktsang monastery, also known as Tiger's Nest.

Bangladesh
A floating bazaar in BangladeshTo visit Bangladesh, Indian travellers need a valid passport; it's visa-on-arrival for Indians. Crossing the India-Bangladesh border at Petrapole (India) and Benapole (Bangladesh) is your best option as it is also the only point, where land border crossing is concerned, that issues visas on arrival. One can also take a direct bus from Kolkata to Dhaka. Another option is to visit the Bangladesh border via Tamabil or Dawki in Meghalaya. Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad, earlier this year, inaugurated the Maitri Dwar or India-Bangladesh Friendship Gate. However this border is more like Wagah Border between India and Pakistan. For travelling purposes we suggest take Petrapole and Benapole route.

Why Visit Bangladesh
When in Bangladesh, visit the Sundarbans, home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. The capital city of Dhaka was the erstwhile Mughal capital of Bengal and many historic palaces and mosques are there to prove it.


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