Every biker has dreamt of going on a cross-country adventure. No matter how difficult the process may seem, it's always worth the effort. Thought of cross country-ing in Europe, riding through the Italian Alps or taking the Adriatic tour sure gives an adrenaline rush. But going across the world for a motorcycle adventure might seem intimidating.
Well, we have some good news!
There are few motorcyclists in India who took this feat and travelled across the borders for the same.
Niladri is an explorer, content creator and photographer. He has been riding bikes since 2009 and started going on trips in 2013. On his Bajaj Pulsar NS200, he has been on several circuits like Leh and Ladakh, Manali, Spiti valley, Rajasthan, Amritsar, Nepal, Bhutan, Northeast, Chennai, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam.
His Bhutan trip, though, was the most special. He’s visited Bhutan over 3 times.
Niladri: “Bhutan is a beautiful country with picturesque landscapes and kind-hearted people. Citizens of Bhutan don’t count themselves in the index of money but happiness. They live with simplicity and lead a very happy life where they don’t run behind the luxuries and most importantly, they respect everyone.”
If we had to list out places with utmost lane discipline on roads, Bhutan would be one of it. There are absolutely no red lights in Bhutan (except for a few localities) and the country is known for its low accident rates.
The police, too, are very calm and they don’t use whistles because they believe it may disturb the birds. They use simple gestures to maintain the flow of traffic.
“Crossing the border from India to Bhutan isn’t very difficult but there is a process you have to follow. You first have to park the vehicle at the immigration centre and get a personal guide to help with paperwork. They ask for your passport or voter id card. Along with this they also ask for your itinerary and hotel confirmations. Authorities of Bhutan want every immigrant and tourist to have a safe stay in the country. They don’t want anyone to be lurking around looking for a place to stay. This shows their dedication to being a good host! After the document verification, they do a thorough check of your vehicle and check for any damages that could put the tourist in danger.”
Bhutan is known for its peaceful and pleasant weather. Its snow-capped hills and roads are a treat to the eyes in winters. Even in summers, the conditions are very desirable and calm.
We asked Niladri about the challenges he faced on his trips. “As Bhutan is a small country with fewer services, finding a mechanic was difficult. Although I didn’t have any issues with the bike as I did an inspection before leaving India. Also, you cannot be spontaneous in a foreign land. In India, I’ve changed plans at the last minute but you can’t do the same elsewhere. The immigration officers ask for your plans and you have to stick to them.”
Niladri is also a content creator and has commendable posts on Instagram and useful information on YouTube. Prior to his trip he does a background check on the places he’d be visiting, makes a detailed to-do list, and reads about the rules and stuff he should be avoiding. He also carries his camera equipment for the same, starting from DSLR and has recently invested in a drone Mavic 2 pro.
He had a few suggestions for first-time bikers. “Always wear good gear. Helmet, jacket, apparels, and boots and make sure you’re comfortable in them. Many people fantasize about going on off-roading adventures. Please be aware of the challenges. Like our fingers are not the same, the same way not everything will suit you the best. Start with your comfort zone and then go on exploring. Also, know your bike, repair it until you find good service and carry tools.”
Niladri aims to keep creating content for his audience and exploring parts of India as well as neighbouring countries. There are many takeaways from this conversation, but the most important of all is that one shouldn’t limit themselves from trying new things. Bikers should take up interesting circuits apart from Leh Ladakh and Spiti valley, too!