Adventure packed xBhp Dominar Great Asian Odyssey Ride tour. Exploring Thailand, Myanmar and Laos on Dominar 400.
There’s a first time for everything. And I love to do things for the first time. The excitement of trying new things is what gets me going, and it was the reason that I took this opportunity of riding on foreign land for 7 days straight.
We rode across Myanmar, Thailand and Laos in 7 days. Crossing unknown territories, unseen cultures, tasting food like never before, but still enjoying every single minute of it in all its essence.
Kolkata, India to Yangon, Myanmar
After almost missing my flight to Kolkata from Mumbai, I somehow managed to reach on time for my flight to Yangon from Kolkata. Disciplined traffic was the first thing I noticed as soon as I reached Yangon. I was staying at the Pegu Lodge in Bago. It was a decent property with good facilities.
The look and feel of Yangon were very similar to India. Obviously, the locals and dialect are not so similar. I faced great difficulties to have conversations with the locals right from the beginning. Only the traffic rules were opposite i.e. the drivers’ seat was on the right and the incoming traffic was from the left.
Myanmar was not always a tourist attraction. It opened its doors to travellers around 2012. Yangon is the largest and most-populated city in Myanmar. You need to research before getting there. The city is closed during festivals and due to certain laws that can impact your travel plans. To be frank, I was enjoying exploring Yangon and was curious to know more and more.
Best Time to visit Myanmar
Late October to February is the coolest time of year in Myanmar. March and April have scorching temperatures, and the rainy season lasts from May through early October. All the seasons are great to visit Myanmar, depending on your preferences.
Things to do in Myanmar
This place is donned by some really beautiful pagodas that you should not miss. Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Kandawgyi Lake, Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda, and Bogyoke Aung San Market are some of the most famous attractions in Yangon.
Tourism is still a developing industry here, so while some parts are completely developed others are not even in the race. The locals are very warm and welcoming, but communication is a huge barrier that’s why a local guide can help you.
Pro Tip: One of the biggest challenges you will face is communicating with the locals. You will need a local guide at all times. You will need a local guide right from ordering food to getting places.
Yangon, Myanmar to Bago, Myanmar
The next day we left for Bago in Myanmar. Confusion increased as the incoming traffic moved from the left to the right. Bago is around 100 kilometers away from Yangon.
We reached our hotel Eternity Resort Hotel in Bago, a little before sunset. It’s preferable to reach your destination during the day and avoid riding during the night in unknown territories.
Things to do in Bago
Some of the things to do in Bago are watching the sunset from the top of Mahazedi Pagoda. It’s a striking view of a Buddha lying in between numerous pagodas protruding from the lush green surroundings.
You can easily spend one whole day here, and visit the 3-4 main attractions like Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda, The Shwethalyaung Temple, and Kyaik Pun Pagoda.
Pro Tip: Hire a motorbike for a day to explore more places in less time.
Kyaikto Golden Rock Myanmar to Mae Sot, Exploring Thailand
Mae Sot is a city in Thailand. It is a beautiful blend of cultures. With a majority of Burmese population, Mae Sot is the main gateway between Thailand and Burma.
While exploring Thailand I found that the traffic rules are not very different from that in India. I had to get used to it quickly as one day in Myanmar I’m riding on the right and the next day in Thailand we’re riding on the left.
Best time to visit Thailand
Mae Sot is blessed with a tropical climate. Winters are dry and warm during the day, but not so warm during the nights. It’s never unbearably cold here. So, if you enjoy places with a warm climate, you can think of exploring Thailand almost all parts throughout the year.
Things to do in Thailand
You can find peace while exploring Thailand, as it is filled with huge, beautifully made temples like Temple Wat Manee Praison and Buddhist temple Wat Chumpol Khiri. Mae Sot Market to buy artistic trinkets and souvenirs, Thararak Waterfall, Wat Thai Wattanaram Temple are some of the other things you can do if you’re around Mae Sot.
Pro Tip: Do not assume English is globally understood or accepted. Even the hotel staff didn’t understand English completely.
Mae Sot, Thailand to Mae Sariang, Thailand
To get to Mae Sariang from Mae Sot, we had to pass through a quaint town called Mae Hong Son. Riding in the curves of Mae Hong Son was one of the most exciting patches of exploring Thailand. Mae Hong Son is around 890 kilometers from Bangkok and 250 kilometers from Chiang Mai. It’s a small town close to the mountains of Myanmar border.
Mae Sariang is a small town of Mae Hong Son Province, surrounded by mountains and deep jungles. This bike ride was very smooth, with good roads and great scenery.
We left from Mae Sot in the morning and covered 243 kilometers by night. The roads were super smooth, with crazy curves. We were only halfway through some fantastic roads, and the sun was already about to set. Unfortunately, we had to complete the rest of the journey in the dark.
The bike’s auxiliary lights were superb and helped us enjoy the rest of the journey even in the dark.
Pro Tip: To ride out of India you need to arrange for a carnet. Arrange for all necessary documents beforehand.
Chiang Mai, Thailand from Mae Sariang, Exploring Thailand
Chiang Mai is a culturally colourful land of green but foggy mountains. Hardcore travellers love this destination as it’s a small hub of flea markets and adventures. Right from cooking classes to Thai massage parlours to shopping local handicrafts, this place had it all.
One of the drawbacks of motorbike tours is that you cannot truly explore the place. You cannot get to the root of the towns and you do not get to touch the heart of the place. You simply pass it by and wave as you go.
I noticed Chiang Mai had a lot of greenery, temples but was also well developed. The roads were well maintained. The views from the highways were to die for. We couldn’t stop ourselves from taking halts every now and then. This was the longest distance we covered in a day of around 400 kilometers.
Mae Hong Son curves are mind-blowing. They are perfect for cornering. I could see why bikers love these roads. We saw a lot of motorbikes and superbikes. Some of the friendly riders approached us and had a little chat before we continued our journey.
We had a quick dinner at Pai Walk Street at a small biryani joint. We thought of trying this place because we could get authentic biryani and fulfill our tastebuds for once. But to our dismay, the biryani was bland and not close to the delicious biryanis from India.
After a very long day, we reached our hotel in the night only to crash.
Pro Tip: Look for pin lock visor for anti-fog riding.
The best things to do in Chiang Mai, Exploring Thailand
Chiang Mai is rich in culture. The Old City is an attraction in itself. It hosts most of the best temples, museums, and other interesting things to do. Chiang Mai is filled with unique places to see and things to do while exploring Thailand.
Doi Suthep – a granite mountain, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Wiang Kum Kam – the Underground Ancient City are some of the things you cannot miss when in Chiang Mai. The vibe is warm and quiet. The white-walled temples are adorned by pink flowers, just out of a fairytale.
Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong, Exploring Thailand
Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai Province is not commercially famous but deserves much appreciation. Tourists and the locals pass through Chiang Khong when on the way from Thailand to Laos. It is famous for its amazing temples.
We visited Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai also called White Temple. Another place of attraction we visited in Thailand was the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai.
On our way to Chiang Khong, we came across an abandoned temple. We couldn’t help but stop to take a close look at the amazing temple with beautiful design. We were staying at a hotel very close to the Thailand – Laos border. From our rooms, we could see the river that separated both the territories.
Things to do in Chiang Khong
You can easily spend 2 days in Chiang Khong if you want to explore the hidden gems of this quaint city with majestic sites. There are many Buddhist temples, H’mong Waterfall and Golden Triangle are some of the other sight-seeing places near Chiang Khong, in Thailand.
Pro Tip: Do not keep plans too close to each other. Keep a buffer time for all your activities. Always expect delays.
Chiang Khong in Thailand to Luang Namtha, Laos
We left exploring Thailand towards the last stage of our journey, the last country for me, Laos. Upon reaching the Laos border, we had to go through a very systematic but lengthy process. They took our documents for verification and got our visa on arrival. The Visa stamp on the passport was pretty fancy.
The process took up most of the day, and we reached Royal Hotel in Luang Namtha in the night.
Luang Namtha is the capital of Luang Namtha province in Laos. The city is located close to Nam Tha River. Businesses and travellers from China to Laos use this city as a starting point for trading and trekking.
A lot of restaurants in Luang Namtha serve Chinese, Thai and Lao dishes. I found the food to be bland and didn’t really enjoy the food anywhere on this whole trip.
Things to do in Luang Namtha
Hiking is a common thing to do in Luang Namtha. Treks to the Luang Namtha and Nam Ha National Protected Area (NPA) are very common. You can explore the surrounding hill tribes with the help of a guide. Experience the untouched forest and mountainous terrain, and kayaking.
Interesting fact: Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world. Approximately 2 million tonnes of bombs were dropped on Laos.
Luang Namtha to Laung Prabang, Laos
We left in the morning to my final destination, from where I would bid my crew goodbye. The weather was pleasant, and I was already missing this place.
I tried to make the most of the little time left before my flight took off. We stopped at the small markets with natural eatables, something that tasted like groundnuts. The roads were not wide enough. Huge trucks and trailers speeding from the left was scary. Definitely not safe to ride after sunset.
I couldn’t explore Laos completely. We only managed to reach the city by sunset and we had to leave the next day. However, even in a few hours, I experienced an earthquake on my last day. I suddenly woke up and saw my bed was wobbling. I thought it was a dream. The shaking bed-side table confirmed my fear and couldn’t believe my eyes. On some quick research I found out there had been an earthquake in South East Asia as a matter of fact.
Pro Tip: Some hotels accept Thai Baht, some don’t. So, it’s better to exchange your cash in advance.
This was an amazing experience with Dominar 400, thank you xBhp for this opportunity. I would’ve missed a great deal if I hadn’t taken this up. Special thanks to xBhp, Rynox, Axor Helmets, Carbonado, Castrol, and MRF tyres for making this happen.
Thank you for making me a part of your day, you’ll see me soon in my next vlog.
Live your life, live your dream.