Major milestones from the odyssey
- 1st group of Indian women riders to undertake a return journey covering 17,000 km.
- 17,000 km across 6 countries and 56 days of riding without a breakdown.
- A route across the newly laid India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.
- No flat tires. No modifications.
Watch the Dominar ASEAN Cross-Country Odyssey through a collection of pictures and videos
THE GRAND ASEAN ITINERARY
Leg 1 Hyderabad to Moreh
Our flag-off was done by Mr. Azmeera Chandulal, Minister for Tourism & Mr. Burra Venkatesam, Secretary Tourism, Govt of Telangana amidst several other staff from the Telangana Tourism department, Bajaj Auto, friends & family.
The initial route until West Bengal set the perfect tone for our long odyssey. The four and six-lane highways gave us a good chance to test Dominar’s Hyperriding abilities. Riding through the coast of Bay of Bengal, we crossed Vizag & Bhubaneshwar. In Bhubaneshwar, the Dominar Owners’ Club members came to see us off and rode with us to the city’s outskirts until we entered West Bengal. Our first country on the list was Bangladesh, but due to National Security reasons our visas were rejected, and we had to take a detour through Siliguri to reach Assam. Riding along the single-lane highways in West Bengal was an arduous task. With trucks on either side, the journey was a menacing experience. Followed by 200 KMs of potholed roads or under construction roads between Dimapur to Imphal, made it the most difficult part of this expedition. Clay roads leading uphill presented quite a challenge as well, but we somehow managed to ride through with ease due to the headlights of the Dominar. It even made riding in the dark a pleasurable task, especially during those North Eastern sunsets. The sight of the AH1 board kilometers away soon brought us relief.
We reached Imphal on 22nd Feb but had to spend another two days there as our entry-permits to Myanmar were from 25th Feb. On the 24th, the Manipur Bajaj Auto, saw us off as we ventured into the first international one on our list.
Note: Crossing land borders is the trickiest things but if planned well can be done easily. Most crucial is to have the Carnet for the bikes and MOT issued by Govt. of Myanmar (which is the mandatory permit to get into Myanmar).
Leg 2 Moreh to Samnua
The Myanmar visa is assigned only after getting an MOT applied by a local tour operator. We ventured on the route less taken through the golden pagodas in northern Myanmar to enter Thailand, where our local guide got them approved much in advance. As we crossed the Indian border, we rode across an iron bridge painted half in white and half in yellow. As we crossed the Indian border, we rode across an iron bridge that was painted white on the Indian side and yellow on the Myanmar front. Amusingly, we were given instructions to switch to the right-hand side of the road midway on the bridge. However, it took us a few kilometers of riding on the 'other side' to get accustomed to it. Hyperriding through the interiors of the country, is the best way to see the local culture. After crossing Mandalay, we reached Tachilek, the town bordering Thailand. A visa on arrival was issued, but the customs officials weren’t familiar with the Carnet. Due to such situations, always consider the time taken for border crossing formalities while planning the day-to-day itinerary. 6 hours at the border saw us through to Thailand and back to left-hand side riding. The international driving permit given in India wasn’t valid in Thailand and so we had to undergo a driving test at the local transport department to attain a two-year driving license.
After exploring northern Thailand, we proceeded towards Laos. Another round of border crossing and we were in the lap of the mountains in northern Laos. Terrain was challenging, with some of the roads under construction (being blocked at times) but the beauty of the majestic mountains set the wonderful riding conditions.
PS: It was mandatory to hire a local travel agency while riding across all the countries we visited. There are no shortcuts to pass the border, keep all your paperwork ready at all times for the authorities.
Leg 3 Samnua to Angkor Wat
Another round of border crossing and we entered Vietnam riding on highways passing through rich paddy fields. Vietnam city was a sea of 100 cc two-wheelers engulfing the roads. But that didn't stop us from Hyperriding till the coastline of the South China Sea. Cruising along the coast in northern Vietnam, with the view of spectacular mountain ranges on one side, we meandered our way through the south of Laos before crossing into Cambodia. On entering, we realized the Cambodian Bajaj Auto dealers had organized a grand welcome event to commemorate our journey.
Just as we were set to embark on our return journey, we faced another major roadblock - our entry into Thailand became a nightmare. Permits for our bikes were given at Poey Port; however, the port couldn't issue our visas. We had to stay back at the border for another day while our local guide traveled to the nearest Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh to get our visas from the embassy. This tested our spirits - terrains or difficult riding conditions are not the only difficulties you face on a motorcycle tour.
In this leg, we rode through extreme weather conditions - right from summers to winters to monsoons - and hyperriding through it all, is the best one could ask for in a cross-country expedition.
While in Vietnam, some local riders got to know about our expedition. Worldwide the biking community never ceases to surprise, they spontaneously decided to ride alongside us and escort us to the borders. Be it language or regional choices. For us riders, riding is the only common bond that brings us together universally.
Leg 4 Angkor Wat to Tamu
After losing valuable time at the border, we finally got our Thai visas and left Cambodia. Once again, we were back onto some of the best roads of our journey. The six and four-lane highways allowed us to rev up and Hyperride to cover the lost time. Soon, we made it to ‘every bikers’ dream road’, the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway.
Another set of border crossing and we were in southern Myanmar. Yet again, the Bajaj Auto dealers played host and organized a grand welcome. The roads were perfect to unleash the Dominar - we rode 630 KMs from Bago to Bagan, the longest ride on a single day. Enjoying the views of thousand pagodas, we rode all the way north towards the border town of Tamu. There, the roads were under construction but by then we had tackled terrain that was far worse.
The sense of accomplishment filled our hearts as we were getting closer to home.
Leg 5 Tamu to Hyderabad
Stepping back into our country and crossing the white and yellow iron bridge, a sense of patriotism and freedom filled our hearts. Riding back through the same old bad roads in NE wasn't very difficult.
Though Majuli wasn’t on our itinerary, we took an off-road detour to the world’s largest riverine island. For the first time, we got our bikes onto a ferry and crossed the Brahmaputra. Once on the island, it was another course of Hyperriding through the sand beds of Majuli.
Enroute we met several passionate riders before we reached the capital city of New Delhi. A grand welcome was planned by the India Tourism officials where we got a chance to meet our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji. In Hyderabad, a grand receiving ceremony arranged by the Telangana Tourism Dept. marked the end of our memorable adventure.
17,000 Km, 7 Countries and 7 Weeks Later, Hyderabad Women Bikers Return Home READ MORE
Women bikers ride across South East Asia READ MORE
Women bikers to cover 17000 km across 7 nations READ MORE
An overland expedition by four women motorcycle enthusiasts, covering seven nations in seven weeks on motorcycles READ MORE
All-women Indian motorcycling group arrives in Việt Nam READ MORE
DOMINAR ASEAN CROSS-COUNTRY ODYSSEY RIDERS
Jai Bharathi - Road Captain
The first female to win the GoUnesco Challenge in 2012, by visiting all 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India within a calendar year. She went a step further and took on a solo backpacking trip to Turkey and visited all the UNESCO WHS in just 11 days. She’s hyperridden Khardung La and completed the K2K Tour (Kanyakumari to Kashmir). She kickstarted the Hyderabad Chapter of The Bikerni, an all-women Indian motorcycle association in 2013.
A Regional Officer of the US India Educational Foundation, US Consulate General Hyderabad (USIEF) and a passionate rider; She is the mother of two, and daughter of a veteran rider who rode to Paris from Mumbai on a Yezdi in 1979. She wants to continue the legacy of long-distance biking expeditions that her father began.
Shilpa Balakrishnan - Road Marshall
Rode to Khardung La thrice and covered the entire South Coast (Peninsula) sparing the coasts of Bengal, Orissa and Gujarat. She completed the Saddle-Sore challenge of the Iron Butt Association, USA. She ventured on a solo-ride across India between Sep 2016 to Jan 2017 marking off all 29 States and 5 Union Territories.
A.S.D.Shanthi - Self Defence & Safety
A 2004 batch constable, and recipient of several cash rewards for 1" group firing with carbon weapons, blind stripling & assembling of pistol & SLR weapons. Worked at WPS Begumpet, WPS CCS, DD and now with SHE TEAMS. Shanti hasn’t had the opportunity to go on tour due to her economical background and this cross-country ride was the perfect way she could set an example for others who dream to go on an expedition.