An Asia overland trip has to be up there in anyone’s list of classic journeys. The trail was blazed first by the hippies who found their way out of Europe, through the Middle East, and into India and Nepal. Hundreds of years before, travellers took the Silk Road into Central Asia and China. Today, a trip to Thailand is the first foray into travel that many backpackers take.
It’s an enticing part of the world to visit. Cheap flights allow you to hop all over Asia fast, on a budget. But if you do that, you’ll only see half of Asia. Overland is the only way to really do this part of the world justice. This is a land of ancient temples, pungent street food, tropical beaches, lush jungles, and the world’s highest mountains. To name just a few things!
If you only have time to overland in one Asian country, make it India. From the vastness of the Himalayas to the north, to the beaches of Goa and Kerala: it has it all. China is Asia’s other big-hitter. Explore remote mountains, absorb Buddhist culture and take in teeming Shanghai. Just north of China, take in the endless and beautiful wildernesses of Mongolia.
In South East Asia, you can see the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia: an all time travel ‘must see’. Sleepy Laos is a great place to recharge batteries and experience life as it used to be lived. Busy Vietnam is a favourite with motorbike overlanders, although the roads can be terrifying! And Thailand is everyone’s favourite: the Land of Smiles delivers some of the world’s best beaches, an incredible and vibrant capital city in Bangkok, and some still-remote highlands.
There is much more to see on an Asia overland trip such as the vastness of Russia, ticking off the multitude of ex-soviet republics with unpronounceable names ending in ‘stan’ (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan!). Island hopping in Indonesia, experiencing the unique culture of Japan and much more. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.