Between the mid-1950s and late 1970s, Hippie Trail was a hit. Groups of people used to pack their bags and travel from Europe to Asia in buses. Now, Gurugram-based travel company Adventures Overland that offers road trips and cross border drives across six continents, is working to replicate that idea with their ‘Bus to London’. This first-ever hop-on/hop-off bus service between India and London will cut through 18 countries, covering 20,000 km in 70 days.
“We tried and tested this route in 2017, 18 and 19, with a 50-day journey from Delhi to London in customers’ self-driven cars. At that time, we got requests from people wanting to travel in leisure. So, we thought of a bus,” says Co-Founder, Sanjay Madan.
A 45-seater bus will be converted into a 20-seater bus with business class seats. The number of buses and journeys will depend on the number of bookings. The ceremonial flagging off will be done from India Gate in Delhi in May 2021, but the actual journey will commence from Imphal as the road route will proceed from Myanmar.
“We will take charge of documentation, paperwork, visas, and permits to ensure that the participants get to completely focus on experiencing the journey. An experienced English speaking local guide will travel with the group to ensure smooth communication,” adds Co-Founder Tushar Agarwal, 39.
Madan and Agarwal met in 2011 when the two had registered their names in the Limca Book of Records. While Madan had become the first Indian to drive to the world’s highest motorable road at Khardung La (5,602 m) in a Tata Nano (626 cc), Agarwal was the first Indian to drive from London to India.
“Since both of us were on the same page, we got together and formed this company in 2012. In 2013, we did several trips, and we went on to make 14 Limca Book Records together,” says Madan. Till date, the duo has taken passionate road trippers to more than 70 countries around the world. And with the Bus to London, they hope add another record.Out of 70 days, 45 days are chalked out for travel and the rest for sightseeing and stay.
Madan, 44, says, “For instance, we will go to France by bus and from there, then cover a distance of 100km out of the total distance of 20,000km in a ferry. The total cost of the one-way trip amounts to `15 lakh per person.”
The duo has not started taking bookings yet. “We are waiting for the new travel guidelines post COVID. The plan is to have one bus but we can make it two buses also, one after the other,” informs Agarwal and Madan adds, “When we start taking bookings, submitting a COVID-19 negative report will be made compulsory.”
Like every other travel firm, the pandemic has impacted their business. “Our last trip was the Winter Drive to Russia in February. After that till now there has been no trip. But, we wanted to do this bus trip, and the lockdown gave us the time to plan it. We are also planning domestic trips to Rajasthan in December. Let’s see how things change by then,” adds a hopeful Agarwal.
On its return journey from London, the bus will be renamed ‘Bus to India’, and participants have the option to join for the entire duration or one or more legs.
To sign up, log on to: bustolondon.in