If you haven’t heard already, a section connecting the Myawaddy-Thinggan Nyenaung-Kawkareik stretch of the Asian Highway has been put into service linking 3200 kms of the great India-Myanmar-Thailand highway. With its advent, the opportunity of an unforgettable road trip on the India-Thailand highway beckons all Ecophiles.
If you’re looking for pitstops along this highway to heaven, look no further.
Spots on the India-Thailand highway
First up on the Indian side, make sure you stop at Guwahati, a northeastern delight with its buzzing life and splendid view of the Brahmaputra river. A cosmopolitan cultural hub, Guwahati is the largest city of Assam and the gateway to the Indian northeast. Historically home to the ancient kingdoms of the fourth century Varman dynasty, the surrounding areas of the city are home to several excavation sites and archaeological treasures unearthed.
Kaziranga National Park, India
If you decide to hang around Assam for a while, don’t miss the gorgeous wildlife at the UNESCO World Heritage site Kaziranga National Park. One of the last bastions of the majestic one-horned Indian rhinoceros, the park is home to 75 per cent of their global population roaming wild and free. Lying in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra, this park harbors 15 species of India’s threatened mammals including the Indian elephant, the Panthera tigris, the leopard, the Ganges dolphin and the water buffalo.
Heading farther south, you may want to stop by one of the many beautiful waterfalls outside Shillong like Bishop Falls, Spread Eagle Falls and Sweet Falls. The most popular being Elephant Falls, only 12 kms outside Shillong, near its highest peak.
Dzükou Valley, India
Drive by the scenic Dzükou Valley and hike the Japfu peak near Kohima, Nagaland. These lush valleys are famous for their mystical beauty and the rare Dzükou lily unique to this landscape. Also a great destination, the Intaki Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the Hoolock Baboon, the only gibbon in India.
Loktak Lake, India
In Manipur, lies the largest fresh water lake in the northeast of India — the Loktak Lake. Famous for the floating phumdis — a heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, thickened into a solid mass, the lake is a unique tourism destination, home to the world’s largest and the only floating park, Keibul Lamjao National Park.
Crossing over the border at Moreh, you are now in Myanmar. The ancient city of Bagan holds over 2000 pagodas and temples, the majority of which were built in the 11th to 13th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of the Myanmar dynasty.
A couple hours drive from Mandalay lies Monywa and its formidable collection of Buddha depictions — over 500,000 of them. Add to this the pair of giant Buddhas at Bodhi Tahtaung, one 424 feet high standing and the other 333 feet long reclining, and this surreal destination becomes a must-see.
Mandalay — the last royal capital of Myanmar and its contemporary cultural center is rich and colorful with the history of both the Burmese monarchy and the British colonial rule. With the splendor of the Royal palace and the stunning Kuthodaw Pagoda on display, Mandalay lives up to its regal reputation.
The former capital of Myanmar and also its largest city — Yangon or Rangoon is an exotic cosmopolitan hub of culture and history. Its 2600 year old Shwedagon Pagoda, is the oldest Buddhist stupa in Myanmar and the world. At night, the Shwedagon lit up in a galaxy of shapes and textures is an absolute marvel, as is the Karaweik Barge on the Kandawgyi Lake.
Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand
Crossing over to Thailand, a visit to the historical park of Kamphaeng Phet will give you a glimpse into the stunning ruins and archaeological remains of ancient sites like Mueang Chakangrao, the Wat Phra Kaeo temple and Wat Phra Si Iriyabot.
Khao Laem National Park, Thailand
Situated in western Thailand, the park surrounds the Khao Laem Reservoir in Kanchanaburi province. The lake boasts over 3000 square kilometers of pristine waters which get refreshed every year. With lake house safaris, wildlife sanctuaries, stunning waterfalls — this beautiful destination has a ton of gems on offer.
Uthai Thani, Thailand
A land of history and great ethnic diversity, Uthai Thani is also home to pristine jungles and abundant wildlife. With sights like temples of Wat Chantaram, Wat Ubosatharam, and the floating village on the Sakae Krang River, it is a treasure trove of cultural delights.
Thailand’s capital, this bustling metropolis is for most tourists a quick starting point on their Thailand adventure. But Bangkok has its own breed of rich culture in the opulent Grand Palace, the splendid Wat Arun, Wat Pho’s gigantic Buddha, the floating markets, sprawling waterways, and its salacious night life.
So if you’re up for a road trip of a lifetime — get on the India-Thailand highway and witness the inimitable marvels of this glorious land.