- Title: Road to Mekong by Piya Bahadur
- Published: 2019
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
- Pages: 202
- My Rating & Recommendation: 5/5, must read for travel enthusiasts
I finished reading Road to Mekong about a week ago but in reality, it never really finished. This book chronicles a journey so mesmerizing that it continues to replay in my mind, evoking emotions of awe, inspiration, admiration and wonder, if ever I would be able to chronicle a travel tale so absorbing!
Piya Bahadur, the author has woven a wordplay so strong that it leaves a indelible mark on the reader. Piya is blessed with a powerful plot comprising lead characters in women bikers (a phenomenon that is rare, in the subcontinent at least), a road trip (a unrelenting hook) and 6 countries which brings in flavors of diversity and ultimate travel stories. It’s a hands down winner, but Piya does justice to the plot and makes it all the more gripping with finesse in storytelling.
The Inspiring Story
It’s a story of four women who undertook an extraordinary 56 days and 17000 Km journey on motorbikes across 6 countries. The team comprised of Piya Bahadur (author), JB (team leader and seasoned rider), Shanthi (a cop in Telangana), Shilpa (a veteran motorist). Only two of them are seasoned motorcycle riders though, while Piya and Shanthi are uninitiated! They started from Hyderabad in Telangana, India and rode through Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia before returning to Hyderabad via Delhi. This is a story of sheer courage, a determination to break the barriers and most importantly, a deep rooted fascination for adventure and of course, the love of riding!
Piya, a mother of two, recounts her internal struggles and the apprehensions she faced before signing up for this journey; who will take care of my children? Is it the right time? Will I be able to complete this? and more such similar questions which chain most of us to routine and comfort. Piya and JB, the team leader also struggled through the bureaucracy as they sought Indian Government and Tourism Ministry’s sponsorship for this adventure. It took time coming but worked as a shot in the arm for them and as they finally not only got the government funding but also a full time bus to accompany them with a shooting crew to capture their adventure. Incredible India they say!
Details of the mesmerizing Journey
Road to Mekong is informative; it captures details of approvals, driving permits (carnet), paperwork and experience at border check posts of the countries they traveled through. It also is a irresistible tease for the readers as the details of travel emerge from the pages. The testing road conditions in north east India, crossover from India to Myanmar through Moreh, pagodas in Myanmar, infectious energy and sublime roads of Thailand, Luang Prabang in Laos, the war ravaged countryside and the Shiva temple in Vietnam , Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the beauty of river Mekong engulfing the region, the picturesque landscapes all through and long winding roads including the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, and meeting the Prime Minister of India, all of these meticulously woven details charm the reader into submission and lure him to experience a journey similar, if only some parts of it.
This book is a must read for anyone who dares to dream, and eventually musters the courage to live the dream. More so for travelers and adventurers, that unassuming character in all of us. This book is fast paced and easy to gulp down, just like these women gulped down 17000 Kms across countries on their motorbikes. I enjoyed reading it, hope you will too. Happy Reading!
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