Buckle up, buttercup.
Come along for the ride and let’s see where the journey takes us.
”It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” This is a quote you’ll have heard thousands of times. Yet for me, it wasn’t until many agonising road trips in remote, far-flung places that the quote hit home. And now…. well, I can’t quite get enough of road trippin’.
This beautiful and often over-looked Southeast Asian country retains a slow, old-fashioned charm. Known for the Mekong River, mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture and Buddhist monasteries. Oh and the BEST food ever (in my humble opinion).
In December 2021, Laos got a boost in domestic travel with the new EMU train service. It runs from the northern border town of Boten to the Laotian capital city, Vientiane. With the options of a normal train or fast train (with fewer stops), it’s now easier to discover northern Laos. You can travel in comfort and still on a decent budget. Book tickets 2 days in advance at stations. No option for online booking yet.
Prefer a slower pace? Why not take the slow boat from Huay Xai (border town with northern Thailand) to Luang Prabang. This 2-day boat trip provides the perfect opportunity to slow down and breathe. With a constant stream of fresh air, you are more able to absorb your surroundings. The journey is in no way luxurious but it is one I took over 20 years ago and still remember to this day.
A self-drive journey through the country of Zambia is an experience in itself, and not a trip for the faint-hearted. The condition of the roads is disastrous, potholes litter every road, the landscape is dry and rugged, and towns are few and far between. BUT if you tackle all these challenges, you’re rewarded with an endearing, humbling, immersive road trip experience.
Zambia is a destination for adventure lovers. The Livingstone to the Tunduma-Nakonde crossing into Tanzania is a straight forward route. Start at Victoria Falls from the main town, Livingstone, then head northeast. Stop at the small towns and villages, chatting to the friendly locals along the way.
Also, check out South Luangwa National Park to watch waterbucks, giraffes and buffalos wander on the wide-open plains. The best park in Zambia and one of the most majestic in Africa. Watch in awe at the African sun as it sets in a bursting flames of red and orange. You’ll never want to leave.
For decades, Nepal has been the Himalayan destination of choice for all adventurers. Drawn to its deep-rooted spirituality, endless adventure offerings, and those sky-piercing peaks.
Self-drive rental cars are not available in Nepal, but it’s easy to hire a vehicle with a driver or hire a motorbike – check your paperwork is in order. Roads are in very poor condition and rules flouted. So use caution and vigilance at all times. This is not a country for novice drivers or motorcyclists!
Despite the poor road conditions, Nepal offers some spectacular road trips. Take the 81 mile drive from Pokhara–Gorkha in the Middle Hills for history and heritage. Drive 34 miles from Dhulikhel to Nagarkot for the best Himalayan vistas. Get off the beaten track in Eastern Terai, Janakpur–Ilam; 199 miles. Adventure sports enthusiast? Drive the 52 miles of Araniko Highway, Dhulikhel–Kodari. Want the best plains-to-the-hills drive? Take the Tribhuwan Highway, Birgunj–Kathmandu; 72 miles.
Wales is home to some of the UK’s most beautiful drives. A place I know well, being the destination of choice for my family as I was growing up, and also once the home of my maternal grandmother.
The drive along Cardigan Bay, on the west coast, is about 180 miles and takes you past seaside coastal villages and secluded beaches. Don’t forget the village of Portmeirion too. Best road trip for sea views and beaches. Drive the 185 miles through the middle of Wales from Cardiff to Conwy. Pass through the Brecon Beacons, Powys and Snowdonia National Park. Best road trip for mountain scenery. Take a short north coast drive from Mold to Holyhead (only 75 miles). Offering you a chance to encounter Welsh history, language and culture in a spectacular setting. Visit castles in Ruthin, Conwy and don’t forget to save time for a detour to Caernarfon Castle. Best road trip for castles and culture.
This one will definitely be a trip of a lifetime. Trek the re-opened, 403 km Trans Bhutan Trail. For the first time in 60 years, it now will allow people to walk, run, or cycle from Haa in the west to Trashigang in the east. The trail dates back to the 16th Century, when legendary runners crossed the country on foot to deliver messages between Bhutan’s fortresses.
The Trans Bhutan Trail is set to become one of the greatest long-distance treks in the world. The footpath passes through 27 gewogs (villages), four dzongs (fortressed monasteries), 21 temples, and 12 mountain passes, and takes 36 days to complete. You can walk sections, you don’t have to do the whole thing. But, a guide is compulsory to walk the Trans Bhutan Trail. All proceeds go toward maintaining the trail and supporting local communities.