So a rough plan for the next few months:
As mentioned we are heading to a tiger safari, which is at the end of February. After that we have a straight run to the Bangladesh border – probably with a day or two off somewhere if progress is good. We hope to finish this period in India by the second/third week in March. We had planned to go into Kolkata to get Bangladesh visas, but we can do this on arrival at the border, which means we can avoid cycling into a hugely populated city. Although the visa on arrival at the border will cost a bit more, the option to do it in Kolkata would take a few days, which would come with accommodation costs, so on balance avoiding Kolkata is our preferred option.
Once in Bangladesh we need to go to Dhaka to get new India visas – a bit of a pain in the arse as we’ve heard it’s not the nicest place and the traffic is reportedly pretty bad (apparently even compared to Indian cities!). We will have to stay there for approximately a week for our application to be processed.
With our new Indian visas we will head towards the north eastern corner of Bangladesh to cross back into India. Because of political tensions there are no border crossings between Bangladesh and Myanmar open at the moment, hence the move north back into India where there are a number of options into Myanmar. We have heard of numerous cyclists crossing up there recently so, barring any changes we should then be able to cycle all the way to Southeast Asia. We should be out of Bangladesh by early April, through northern India a week-or-so later, and in Myanmar by the end of April/beginning of May.
Myanmar usually grant a 28-day visa, which doesn’t give us a huge amount of time in country, but plenty to transit through and hopefully to visit Mandalay and a few other places.
We will then cross into Thailand and head south towards Bangkok. We don’t have much of a plan for Southeast Asia yet, but we hope to take in some of the following countries: Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. There is also a slim chance that we’ll get to go to the Philippines too.
Watch this space!