Asia News

From London to India: introducing the world’s longest bus route

18 countries, 20,000km, 70 days…

This isn’t your average bus route. It’s the world’s longest bus route.

Set to launch in summer 2021, Adventures Overland’s ‘Bus to London‘ will traverse 18 different countries on its epic 20,000km journey. Starting from the UK, the route will head through northern Europe to Russia, from where it continues south through the Stans, China, Laos and Thailand before turning northwest through Myanmar to reach Delhi.

Highlights include the UNESCO-listed architecture of Lithuania and Latvia, the Silk Road treasures of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, stunning rock-cut pagodas in Myanmar and, of course, the Great Wall of China. Travellers will even get to enjoy a journey across the Caspian Sea as the bus makes its way from Russia to Kazakhstan.

Passengers can opt for the full 70-day trip, or can join one of the four different ‘legs’: Europe (16 days), Central Asia (22 days), China (16 days) or Southeast Asia (12 days).

Prices start from INR350,000 (around £3,500) per person, with the whole trip costing INR 15 Lakh (£15,000) each. All hotel accommodation, visas, walking tours and entrance fees are included in the price. Flights and meals are excluded.

You might think the prices are steep, but the state-of-the-art buses mean you’ll be travelling in style. All come with Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, entertainment system and USB port as standard, as well as a ‘mini pantry’ filled with snacks to keep you refreshed on the long drives.

Tours run by small, local operators are also included in the price, with the aim to encourage travellers to eat locally and experience a destination through the eyes of its residents. As stated in the brochure, ‘If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.’

Since starting in 2012, Adventures Overland has become India’s leading expedition company, offering a whole host of road trips and cross-border drives across six continents and more than 70 countries.

Founders Sanjay Madan and Tushar Agarwal are no strangers to long journeys. Together, the pair hold the Guinness World Record for the longest journey in a foreign country, travelling alone for 17,107km in Australia for 28 days in 2013. They also hold a dozen or so LIMCA records, including for the longest drive along the most countries, the longest trip in South America and the fastest trans Himalayan challenge.

The Golden Rock Pagoda in Myanmar: an undoubted highlight of the route

Speaking to The Mirror, Sanjay explained: ‘We share a common love for travel, and now we are thrilled to introduce the first bus service from London all the way to New Delhi with utmost comfort and luxury.

‘The route of this journey is tried and tested as we have already execute three back to back road trips from India to London on the same route so participants on Bus to London can get onboard with the knowledge and confidence that they are in safe hands.’

The idea for the ‘Bus to London’ is not a new one, though. Before its heyday as a popular backpacker destination, India was frequently explored by Western visitors on bus tours, the most popular among them was a 1957 trip organised by Oswald-Joseph Garrow-Fisher on a bus named The Indiaman. Departing from London on 15 April 1957, it reached Kolkata on 5 June, travelling through France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan before finally reaching India. Reportedly, a single fare cost just £85.