Fancy a trip to Bangkok? Not by air, as most would imagine, but a road trip. Promising a strong punch of excitement, adventure and experience of a lifetime, a self-drive expedition company that has been organising some offbeat trips is now offering to take those interested from Delhi to Bangkok by road, via Nepal, China and Tibet.
An initiative of Tushar Agarwal - who has been cited by the Limca Book of Records for driving from London to Delhi through 15 countries in 51 days - and Sanjay Madan, another travel enthusiast, this particular expedition that is due in June 2013 is one of the many that their three-month old company has been organising.
While its selling point is the fact that it offers you the option of a self-drive expedition - in which you are provided with a car and are assisted by the staff through a personalised itinerary on flexible dates - Journeys by Road, as the company is called, also lets you go for an assisted expedition in which the staff members travel with you.
"We have got a great response ever since we started this venture. What sets us apart from the travel agents is that we have actually visited those places and can advise you on the little-known eating joints or places to see, and in case you get stuck midway in a self-drive expedition, we can actually guide you through the journey over the phone because we have been through all those roads," Agarwal told us.
Admittedly, the company offers trips to a select few destinations with rich natural beauty - both in India and beyond the borders. So you have a tribal tour in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh; Ladakh; Leh-Srinagar; Lahul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh; Rajasthan; Uttarakhand; Bhutan and Tibet.
The experience of such a trip, Agarwal said, is unique since you can drive at your own pace, soaking up the beauty of a place, relaxing at will, exploring and witnessing the local culture. The other details, such as hotel bookings, food, and travel to the destination are taken care of by the company.
The cars are also equipped with GPS (for navigation), oxygen cylinders, medical kits and emergency food hampers.
"If one does not want to drive around, you can opt for a chauffeured car. The other option is a fixed departure, when an expedition is organised with us, and we have the itinerary drawn up - which is flexible - and one can join us," Agarwal said.
The trip to Bangkok is a fixed departure one, albeit a self-drive tour.
"The road from India to Thailand, via Myanmar, will come up in 2016. But we will travel from Delhi to Bangkok through a different route that will take us through China and Tibet, which, I promise, will be once in a lifetime experience," he said.
The 25-day, 7,000 km expedition which will be open to not more than 15-20 people, will take one through the majestic Kathmandu in Nepal to the Everest base camp, all the way to Lhasa in Tibet and then driving past one of the deepest gorges in the world in China. The journey, which in its itinerary has also a jungle safari thrown in, will then continue to Laos, and finally to Bangkok.
"The process of obtaining vehicle permits from China takes long; so we will do that as soon as the participants are confirmed by the end of this year," said Agarwal, who holds yet another record in the Limca Book for driving a Tata Nano from Delhi to Khardung La in Ladakh.
Another expedition that the travel duo is excited about is one to the Rann of Kutch this November. This is open for self-drive, although there will be a support vehicle, guiding the visitors through the salt deserts on a full moon night, a wildlife sanctuary, the Mandvi beach and a handicraft village.
The six-day trip will cost one Rs.30,000, including food, accommodation, sightseeing et al in an adventurous-cum-luxurious holiday itinerary. This however does not include travel to and from Bhuj.
"What more? If you would rather drive your own car, an SUV or any other, that too is possible - in fact that will cut down your expense. All that matters is an epic road trip with endless possibilities," Agarwal said.