The curious Highwayman

DECCAN CHRONICLE | NAMITA GUPTA
Published Dec 8, 2015, 10:20 pm IST
Updated Feb 23, 2016, 2:43 pm IST
Vikram Ahuja made a road trip from India to Bangkok on the new Asian Highway.

He’s doing his bit travelling the world and making it seem easier than others might think. After the Asian Highway Network opened the new route linking multiple South Asian countries recently, Vikram Ahuja decided it was time to look beyond the staid travel itineraries to something offbeat. That’s when Vikram of Byond designed this road trip from India to Bangkok. The plan, three countries, 4,300 km, one road trip of a lifetime!

Spilling the beans on the road trip from India to Bangkok, Vikram reveals, “We have spent three months planning every detail of the trip, from the route to ensuring all paperwork and documentation required to cross three international borders are in place and also worked with the ministries of tourism in both Myanmar and Thailand to get all the necessary permits for the road-trip. It is going to be intense. To be able to maintain that level of stamina and fitness for 16 days will be challenging.

Inle Lake in Myanmar.

Since no one has organised a group expedition by road on this route before, I also look forward to the challenges of managing and coordinating the group, especially at border crossings and immigration points. While the route has been carefully chosen to cover a variety of terrains, it will be interesting to see how we navigate through off-roads, World War 2 bridges, 16-lane highways and some of the most unexplored spots in Myanmar, all in the same trip! We are going to be crossing many places along the way — Bagan, for example, is lined with the most beautiful pagodas and architecture. We will also stop by the Golden Rock and Inle Lake as well as Yangon.”

The engineer from RVCE, Bengaluru and a business school graduate from IESE, Barcelona and UCLA, Los Angeles, Vikram, was bit by the travel bug. “I grew up travelling extensively all over India as my parents were in the Indian Navy. However, my passion for travel really took off when I was studying and living in Europe. Given the short distances and cheap flights, I got the opportunity to travel a lot! I’ve visited more than 35 countries and travelled extensively in many. My most memorable are the ones where I’ve explored countries with locals and hung out as the locals do.

Some particularly memorable ones include being in a remote town in the South of Brazil where they had seen no Indian tourists and being there when the most popular soap opera on TV was about Indians; I was almost treated like a celebrity! My most memorable travel was the Burning Man Festival in 2011 where 50,000 people gather in the middle of the desert for a week to celebrate the most amazing week of arts, music and culture. And of course Trinidad and Cuba were special as I learnt how to roll a cigar! I also loved Kenya and eastern Europe.”

Location: Karnataka

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