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Old 15th November 2013, 20:44   #1
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Post Delhi -> Assam Queries

Hello BHPians,

I am planning a solo bike trip from Delhi to Assam, this coming January. With a lot of help from HVK and Sanmoni Malakar from Bulls of Assam, I have plotted out the below mentioned itineraries. The up trip will be via Nepal and downtrip via the conventional route of Patna. The reason for taking the Nepal route is to bypass the traffic and heat of UP and Bihar, it will lead me directly into Siliguri from where I will have to ride to Digboi. This will also let me study and compare both the route leading into Assam. If anyone knows about any hassles of traveling via Nepal other than strict police supervision, please point it out.
_________________________________________

Itinerary for uptrip: http://goo.gl/maps/p59Sc

Details: Delhi-Palwal-Rudrapur-Mahendra Nagar-Butwal-Hetauda-Mechinagar/Kakkarbhitta-Siliguri-Srirampur-Sarupeta-Guwahati-Sivasagar-Digboi.


Itinerary for dowtrip: http://goo.gl/maps/0zFM7

Details
: Digboi-Siliguri-Patna-Mughal Sarai-Agra-YE-Delhi

_________________________________________

In uptrip, I plan to take major breaks at Guwahati and Sivasagar (sight-seeing).
_________________________________________

Now, the pointers on which I need some light:

1. NEPAL ROUTE: Nepal can be entered via UP from 3 points: Rudrapur (which I selected), Pilibhit and Gorakhpur. Is my decision correct in entering via Moradabad-Rudrapur section or the others more viable? But it should be borne in mind that primary object isn't to deviate from Nepal, just inquiring if the Pilibhit route may be more feasible?

2. STAY: I will be carrying tent with me. Is there any hassles in putting up tent in any of the area? Which all areas are more feasible for putting up tent? As I am doing this solo, hence I plan to travel economically. Also, are there any dhaba/ home stay available in the Nepal stretch which might suit my needs?

3. NIGHT BREAKS: Delhi-Hetauda is approx. 1000 kms. Should I take first night break at Butwal or should I try to push on to Hetauda?
PS: I have the experience and can easily clock 700-800kms a day, provided road conditions allow it of course.

4. STARTING TIME OF DAY: As it will be peak winter time, hence I plan to start riding at around 7AM in the morning. Fog will not let me extend riding beyond 6PM (max). So total riding time per day will be 11 hours, breaks to be deducted from this 11 hours. Any suggestions on this estimation and calculation?

5. BAD STRETCHES: The most hair splitting and time consuming part of a journey! Would like the advice of people who have done this route as to where I will encounter bad roads, diversions or any other dangers which may hassle the flow.

6. DOWN TRIP: The return trip is the conventional route which anyone traveling Delhi-Assam would take, i.e. via Patna. Plan to take first night break at - Siliguri> Patna> Mughal Sarai> Allahabad. However, can one day be saved by altering this night stops thus: Siliguri> Mughal Sarai> Delhi?
_________________________________________

So right now, these are all the pointers I would be needing help upon. If anything else, I shall add later. Thanks in advance to all you helpful souls.

Regards!
Suraj
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Old 15th November 2013, 20:50   #2
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6. Does it mean you will do the night halts @ Siliguri, Patna, Mughal Sarai and Allahabad or that you shall do it one day from Siliguri to Allahabad?

I did Delhi - Jorhat a few months back. The details are here on the forum.
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Old 15th November 2013, 21:00   #3
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Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
6. Does it mean you will do the night halts @ Siliguri, Patna, Mughal Sarai and Allahabad or that you shall do it one day from Siliguri to Allahabad?

I did Delhi - Jorhat a few months back. The details are here on the forum.
Thanks Vikram ji for replying, I shall be studying your thread tonight.
Yes, the most logical break sequence for return journey is: Siliguri, Patna, Mughal Sarai and Allahabad without putting much strain on myself. But Siliguri - Patna is around 500 kms which I can do easily in one day (provided road conditions are good). Thinking of extending it to Mughal Sarai for second night break, reason being Patna - Mughal Sarai is only another 300 kms; I think I can push onto Siliguri > Mughal Sarai in second day, what do you think?
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Old 15th November 2013, 21:48   #4
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Originally Posted by SJD@NewDelhi View Post
Hello BHPians,

I am planning a solo bike trip from Delhi to Assam, this coming January. With a lot of help from HVK and Sanmoni Malakar from Bulls of Assam, I have plotted out the below mentioned itineraries. The up trip will be via Nepal and downtrip via the conventional route of Patna. The reason for taking the Nepal route is to bypass the traffic and heat of UP and Bihar, it will lead me directly into Siliguri from where I will have to ride to Digboi. This will also let me study and compare both the route leading into Assam. If anyone knows about any hassles of traveling via Nepal other than strict police supervision, please point it out.
The East West Corridor route is 4-laned all the way to Siliguri, but has some terrible roads (~30 kms) around Gopalganj & some under-construction bridges and sectors around Forbesganj (both Bihar).

The Nepal route is superb. Enter from Banabasa (nearest to Rudrapur/ Tanakapur) and exit at Kakarvita. It is one highway across the plains of Nepal. Border formalities are easy & Nepal Police are friendly. Road is good, facilities are good. You can do 600-700 kms easily and cover the West to East Nepal in a day. However, I hear that the Banbasa border has specific timings to enter/ exit, so ensure that you reach the last Indian town the previous day so that you can enter first thing early morning. (I was on a drive to Nepal last month, so I found the overall situation pleasing & hassle-free).

However, you are going to face lots of fog in the Nepali plains and the rest of the Gangetic Plains.


Quote:
Details: Delhi-Palwal-Rudrapur-Mahendra Nagar-Butwal-Hetauda-Mechinagar/Kakkarbhitta-Siliguri-Srirampur-Sarupeta-Guwahati-Sivasagar-Digboi.
For Siliguri-Guwahati, I would prefer the Siliguri-Sevoke-Birpara-Cooch Behar-Ghauripur-North Salamara-Goalpara-Guwahati.



Quote:
1. NEPAL ROUTE: Nepal can be entered via UP from 3 points: Rudrapur (which I selected), Pilibhit and Gorakhpur. Is my decision correct in entering via Moradabad-Rudrapur section or the others more viable? But it should be borne in mind that primary object isn't to deviate from Nepal, just inquiring if the Pilibhit route may be more feasible?
Yes, MOradabad-Tanakapur-Banabasa route is the best for you.


Quote:
2. STAY: I will be carrying tent with me. Is there any hassles in putting up tent in any of the area? Which all areas are more feasible for putting up tent? As I am doing this solo, hence I plan to travel economically. Also, are there any dhaba/ home stay available in the Nepal stretch which might suit my needs?
I would strongly advise against it. Lots of jungle areas in the Banabasa-Butwal sector. Foreign country, better be as correct as possible, camping out in the Terai region is not normal. There are plenty of hotels in large towns like Mahendra Nagar, Butwal, Narayangad, Hetauda, etc.


Quote:
3. NIGHT BREAKS: Delhi-Hetauda is approx. 1000 kms. Should I take first night break at Butwal or should I try to push on to Hetauda?
PS: I have the experience and can easily clock 700-800kms a day, provided road conditions allow it of course.
If the border observes specific timings, you may not be able to enter the border the same day (I hear that the Banabasa border closes at 2 pm, but not sure since I entered/ exited from other borders). Ideally, you can leave Delhi the previous night to arrive at the Nepal border early morning or else consider a halt at Banabasa. Maybe you can also consider a half-day break in Souraha (10 kms off the highway) beyond Narayangad to see the Royal Chitwan WLS.


Quote:
4. STARTING TIME OF DAY: As it will be peak winter time, hence I plan to start riding at around 7AM in the morning. Fog will not let me extend riding beyond 6PM (max). So total riding time per day will be 11 hours, breaks to be deducted from this 11 hours. Any suggestions on this estimation and calculation?
Expect same foggy conditions that you see in UP & Bihar during January. Fog lift after 9 am and coming down again at 6 pm or so. So a 11 hour day should be fine.

Quote:
5. BAD STRETCHES: The most hair splitting and time consuming part of a journey! Would like the advice of people who have done this route as to where I will encounter bad roads, diversions or any other dangers which may hassle the flow.
Nepal has excellent roads. Bad roads you can face around Rampur-Rudrapur in India and also in Assam. All your documents should be in order. Nepal Police are mostly clean and polite as long as you follow the rules. Like in many parts of India, expect to see cows on the road.

Last edited by hvkumar : 15th November 2013 at 21:52.
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Old 15th November 2013, 22:03   #5
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post

The East West Corridor route is 4-laned all the way to Siliguri, but has some terrible roads (~30 kms) around Gopalganj & some under-construction bridges and sectors around Forbesganj (both Bihar).


Expect same foggy conditions that you see in UP & Bihar during January. Fog lift after 9 am and coming down again at 6 pm or so. So a 11 hour day should be fine.
HVK sir,
Today's Hindi newspaper here carried an article wherein they have mentioned that a stretch of about 90kms under a particular construction company around Gopalganj is not finished and that contractor has run away! So chances of bad roads are aplenty.

Secondly, fog can be massive at times in this side of Bihar(North Bihar) with your visibility restricted to less than a few feet, especially in month of January. So better to plan accordingly. A friend of mine rode his Harley from Gangtok to Gorakhpur in Jan 2013 and he had a horrid time.

SJD@NewDelhi
Please chalk out your plan accordingly as you would be doing a solo ride.
Best of luck for your journey.

Last edited by BoneCollector : 15th November 2013 at 22:05.
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Old 15th November 2013, 22:14   #6
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HVK sir,
Today's Hindi newspaper here carried an article wherein they have mentioned that a stretch of about 90kms under a particular construction company around Gopalganj is not finished and that contractor has run away! So chances of bad roads are aplenty.

Secondly, fog can be massive at times in this side of Bihar(North Bihar) with your visibility restricted to less than a few feet, especially in month of January. So better to plan accordingly. A friend of mine rode his Harley from Gangtok to Gorakhpur in Jan 2013 and he had a horrid time.

SJD@NewDelhi
Please chalk out your plan accordingly as you would be doing a solo ride.
Best of luck for your journey.
Yes, no work is going on in Gopalganj bypass sector (I saw no activity in May 2013, saw no activity in Sep 2013).

That road is impossible to drive even by day - so much of dust raked up by truck traffic. Night time driving is crazy. Fog driving is not feasible at all.
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Old 15th November 2013, 22:33   #7
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Thanks Vikram ji for replying, I shall be studying your thread tonight.
Yes, the most logical break sequence for return journey is: Siliguri, Patna, Mughal Sarai and Allahabad without putting much strain on myself. But Siliguri - Patna is around 500 kms which I can do easily in one day (provided road conditions are good). Thinking of extending it to Mughal Sarai for second night break, reason being Patna - Mughal Sarai is only another 300 kms; I think I can push onto Siliguri > Mughal Sarai in second day, what do you think?
Siliguri - Mughal Sarai would be slightly difficult if not impossible. Roads for a bike are manageable for even the worst parts but I would avoid travelling after dusk on this route. Plus after driving to Silliguri the first day your shoulders would be crying for mercy.
Patna-Allahabad is very doable.
Please check in the fog situation, this would severely limit your daily distances. Only plus would be that you would be running with the sun so with early starts will have more of sunlight hours at your disposal.
Plus I find your Digboi-Siliguri run to be very strenuous as well and if possible suggest shrinking your night halts more towards the east as you head west.
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Old 15th November 2013, 23:25   #8
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I would strongly advise against it. Lots of jungle areas in the Banabasa-Butwal sector. Foreign country, better be as correct as possible, camping out in the Terai region is not normal. There are plenty of hotels in large towns like Mahendra Nagar, Butwal, Narayangad, Hetauda, etc.
Point taken. Any idea how much it might cost me for a night stay in a single room at the minimum? Trying to calculate the cost associated as well in advance.

Plus, will the Nepal authorities create trouble if they find weapons like knives in my possession? I always travel with more than one knive in my possession while traveling in the highway, and till now (within India), I haven't got into any situation because of them.

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SJD@NewDelhi
Please chalk out your plan accordingly as you would be doing a solo ride.
Best of luck for your journey.
Yes, agreed! I will try to club Siliguri> Patna> Mughal Sarai into Siliguri> Mughal Sarai only if the road condition (primarily in Gopalgan) and fog allows me to. Thank you for the information and suggestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Siliguri - Mughal Sarai would be slightly difficult if not impossible. Roads for a bike are manageable for even the worst parts but I would avoid travelling after dusk on this route. Plus after driving to Silliguri the first day your shoulders would be crying for mercy.
Patna-Allahabad is very doable.
Please check in the fog situation, this would severely limit your daily distances. Only plus would be that you would be running with the sun so with early starts will have more of sunlight hours at your disposal.
Plus I find your Digboi-Siliguri run to be very strenuous as well and if possible suggest shrinking your night halts more towards the east as you head west.
Rest assured, traveling after dusk is not in my plans too as it will hinder more than benefit. Better to take rest a few extra hours which will revitalize me for next day's run.

As pointed out by BoneCollector above, I will only think of Siliguri> Mughal Sarai, if the road via Gopalganj is in proper shape, plus fog does not hinder me.

Regarding shrinking more at east than at west in return journey, well....I cannot answer now. It will be largely decided after I experience the stretch of Siliguri> Digboi in the uptrip. Shall be making a decision at that time regarding shrinking in downtrip, if nothing remarkable comes up by than.
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Old 15th November 2013, 23:39   #9
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Point taken. Any idea how much it might cost me for a night stay in a single room at the minimum? Trying to calculate the cost associated as well in advance.
Should not cost you more than Rs 500-700 in small towns.


Quote:
Plus, will the Nepal authorities create trouble if they find weapons like knives in my possession? I always travel with more than one knive in my possession while traveling in the highway, and till now (within India), I haven't got into any situation because of them

Carrying knives for protection is not unusual, but that will excite attention if cops search your bags. Besides, taking out "khukris" from Nepal has some restrictions & you should be careful not to run into trouble with Nepal Customs or Police in this regard.



One overriding word of caution: Elections are on in Nepal. Verdict is expected to be fragmented & political uncertainties can result in harthals, violence, disruption, etc, so watch political developments in Nepal in coming days.
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Old 15th November 2013, 23:51   #10
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Carrying knives for protection is not unusual, but that will excite attention if cops search your bags. Besides, taking out "khukris" from Nepal has some restrictions & you should be careful not to run into trouble with Nepal Customs or Police in this regard.

One overriding word of caution: Elections are on in Nepal. Verdict is expected to be fragmented & political uncertainties can result in harthals, violence, disruption, etc, so watch political developments in Nepal in coming days.
If you are keeping a knive, carrying it in a bag is just pointless. I carry a combat one in a camouflage-case which is attached to my belt at all times. Think this will be a problem? Will it be best if I outright declare it 'cause I just can't think of leaving it home for such a long journey (might sound stupid, but yes, the thought that I am carrying a weapon with which I can defend myself keeps me relaxed )

One more question: how many days permit I need? I have no plans to return via Nepal in the down trip.

And thanks for the heads-up for the Nepal election, will be keeping a watch out for the same.

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Old 16th November 2013, 00:45   #11
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If you are keeping a knive, carrying it in a bag is just pointless. I carry a combat one in a camouflage-case which is attached to my belt at all times. Think this will be a problem? Will it be best if I outright declare it 'cause I just can't think of leaving it home for such a long journey (might sound stupid, but yes, the thought that I am carrying a weapon with which I can defend myself keeps me relaxed )

One more question: how many days permit I need? I have no plans to return via Nepal in the down trip.

And thanks for the heads-up for the Nepal election, will be keeping a watch out for the same.
Yes carrying a knife with a blade more than 5" or serrated one more than 3" would get you arrested. Carrying a combat one without a uniform would get you into trouble for sure when carried in plain sight unless you have an ID card with you that will get you out of trouble. You can carry one hidden but trust me carrying a non lethal weapon like a pepper spray makes more sense and is safer.

And unless you really know how to use a knife, you can do nothing more than give the other person a slight gash and a super blown fuse.

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Old 16th November 2013, 00:57   #12
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Yes carrying a knife with a blade more than 5" or serrated one more than 3" would get you arrested. Carrying a combat one without a uniform would get you into trouble for sure when carried in plain sight unless you have an ID card with you that will get you out of trouble. You can carry one hidden but trust me carrying a non lethal weapon like a pepper spray makes more sense and is safer.

And unless you really know how to use a knife, you can do nothing more than give the other person a slight gash and a super blown fuse.
Heh heh, now this is putting me in serious doubts "You can carry one hidden" does that mean I can strap it somewhere into my bike (not essentially the tool compartment) Would not have persisted if carrying a weapon had not been formed into a habit and as something is better than nothing, you never know, lol.

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Old 16th November 2013, 02:20   #13
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A few things that HVK pointed out, putting it here as it might be helpful for other embarking on similar journeys too:

1. Border timings not documented anywhere. Banabasa border is open from 7 am till 2 pm. Kakarvita is open till 9 pm. In any case, exit is possible into India any time, it is only if you have to complete paperwork in Nepal for visas/ vehicle permits you need to be there at 6-7 am. Borders like Sunauli (from Gorakhpur) are open 24x7.

2. Night journey and staying in self styled camp should be avoided in Terai region.

3. Useful articles: http://kunzum.com/2010/07/15/driving...er-from-india/

and

http://blog.com.np/2010/10/27/an-exp...-india-border/

4. Do not carry Indian currency in 500 or 1000 denominations ever within Nepal. Get it all in X100 denominations.

5. Haggle over everything, never pay the stated MRP or price asked for, everything is negotiable.

6. Drive cautiously, beware of cows on the road, follow all traffic rules.

7. Do not carry liqour back to India.

8. There will be lots of checks of both documents & baggage, especially for customs & security purposes, especially when going towards border areas, such as towards Chinese border.

9. No credit cards accepted on highways.

10. Be within the dates of visit stated in your permits. Do NOT exceed the dates, that is the most important thing (dates of visit) that cops check when they inspect your permits.

11. Nepal is overall very tourist-friendly, but do not expect money-changers outside the large or border towns. Currency exchange is very simple at Rs 160 Nepal Rupees to every Rs 100.

12. You have to carry your entire cash in 100s only. Police search bags for 500s and 1000s currency notes, you will be in trouble if discovered. Permit process is very efficient, it took us (HVK) exactly 12 minutes - with a "faciltatator" charging us NRs 200 (~Rs 120) for that. No formalities in India, only in Nepal side.

13. Indian SIM cards shall not work in Nepal. Unless you have taken international roaming - which means you could end up paying upto Rs 16 per minute and get ripped off on data charges. Please do not use your mobile in Nepal, at best take international roaming but do not take or make any calls unless essential.

14. If you are carrying electronics like camera or laptop, get a customs declaration for these items or they will be seized later.

15. At Banbassa, the gate across the bridge to the border is open between 12 and 2pm. Beware of scamsters who try and ask you for a fee for this. It's free and legal. At other times, the gate is closed except for one hour in early morning and one hour at 6pm.


PS: It would be really helpful if anyone could point out the time when the Banbasa gate across the bridge is opened? I have come across quite a few conflicting time frames in different forums which have the possibility of being outdated too. Timings for winter is what I am looking out for.

Last edited by SJD@NewDelhi : 16th November 2013 at 02:45.
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Old 16th November 2013, 13:02   #14
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9. No credit cards accepted on highways.
Not even in cities - very very few places even in Kathmandu accept credit cards. Those that do, charge 3-4% extra as credit card fees.
Quote:
11. Nepal is overall very tourist-friendly, but do not expect money-changers outside the large or border towns. Currency exchange is very simple at Rs 160 Nepal Rupees to every Rs 100.
Nepalis refer to the Indian Rupee as IC - Indian Currency, and their own as NC. No services of money changers required. Make sure you spend your NC completely before leaving Nepal (shops return change in NC even if you pay in IC) - no one in India exchanges NC for IC that I know of.
Quote:
12. You have to carry your entire cash in 100s only. Police search bags for 500s and 1000s currency notes, you will be in trouble if discovered.
True. But a few used 1000's and 500's in your wallet won't make a difference, don't carry bundles of serially numbered new notes.
Quote:
13. Indian SIM cards shall not work in Nepal. Unless you have taken international roaming - which means you could end up paying upto Rs 16 per minute and get ripped off on data charges. Please do not use your mobile in Nepal, at best take international roaming but do not take or make any calls unless essential.
Not difficult to pick up a Nepali SIM, such as that of NCell, even as a foreigner. Any ID will do.
Quote:
14. If you are carrying electronics like camera or laptop, get a customs declaration for these items or they will be seized later.
Carry the purchase bills if you have them.
Quote:
It would be really helpful if anyone could point out the time when the Banbasa gate across the bridge is opened? I have come across quite a few conflicting time frames in different forums which have the possibility of being outdated too. Timings for winter is what I am looking out for.
Best would be to visit / call up / email the Nepalese embassy - http://www.nepalembassy.in/contactus.htm
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Old 16th November 2013, 14:23   #15
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Carry the purchase bills if you have them.
[b]
Best would be to visit / call up / email the Nepalese embassy - http://www.nepalembassy.in/contactus.htm
Thanks for the help, Doc The embassy link was particularly helpful and a practical approach, shall take this up personally with them and will be posting relevant info here.
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