The Hyderabadi bikerni quartet returns after driving 17,000 km throughout 6 international locations in 56 days!

After being on the road for eight weeks Hyderabadi bikernis — , , and — returned home to a rousing welcome from friends and family recently. Spanning 17000 kilometres across six Southeast Asian countries through the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, their road trip, ‘Road to Mekong’, was flagged off on February 11, 2018. The bikernis, who rode across Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and India, say it was a journey of a lifetime . “The feeling that we’ve returned from the road trip will take some time to sink in. It was an awesome experience. I think every motorbike enthusiast should ride to different countries, at least once in their life to know about diverse cultures, lifestyles and traditions. It’s been a dream come true for all of us,” gushes Shilpa Balakrishnan. Piya, the one who coined the title for the trip, says, “Our trip was called ‘Road to Mekong’
because Mekong River flows through all the countries we visited and it’s also called the Mekong region.”
For Jai, who led the expedition, the road trip marked the fruition of a long cherished desire to go on a world tour. “I always dreamt of going on a world tour and visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today, it gives me immense pleasure that all the hard work we had put in for the past eight months has paid off,” she gushes, adding, “The locales welcomed us with open arms.”
The bikerni quartet had a clear objective behind the road trip — to promote India in general and Telangana in particular, as an upcoming hub of adventure tourism and spread awareness about women empowerment. And wherever they went, they appraised the locals about the cultural and historical similarities India shares with its Southeast Asian counterparts. “We felt like we were representing India there and promoted Indian tourism wherever we went. We also wanted to show the strength of Indian women and that they can break gender stereotypes and achieve anything they want,” exclaims Shanthi.
When asked about the hurdles they faced on the way, they unanimously said, “There aren’t any to speak about”.
“We often rode for hours together without a break. Sometimes we rode till 1 am or started our day early by 3 am. In between our rides, we rested or even slept at petrol pumps at night. But you cannot term such experiences as hurdles, can you?” quips Shanthi.
The most tiresome part of the expedition though was getting the paperwork done to visit the countries. “Yes, it was a little tedious, but we managed. We also wanted to visit Bangladesh, but eventually had to drop the idea because we couldn’t get our visas,” says Jai.
To ride for 56 days enduring tough roads and harsh weather conditions sure comes with it’s share of challenges, but they all say every day had its good
moments, that made the hardships worth it. They sure seemed to have had the most memorable Holi of their lives. “On the day of Holi we were crossing Sai Mae, a tributary of Mekong. We thought of taking a dip before continuing with our journey and it ended up being a water fight. Though we had to ride in wet clothes, it was a fabulous experience,” said Piya, who also celebrated her birthday in Vietnam during the trip, signing off.

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