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ADV RidesRiding SeasonAutumn/Fall RideRiding “Two Up” from Delhi to Rangoon on a Royal Enfield

Riding “Two Up” from Delhi to Rangoon on a Royal Enfield

First foreigners to cross the Indo-Burma border in two decades.

Published on 02.05.2014

It started as just a crazy idea between Andy Benfield and his girlfriend Emilie Röell. They were discussing on the train how Andy still had his Royal Enfield motorcycle stored in Delhi, India from when the couple had lived there a few years earlier. They fantasized about picking up the bike and riding “two up” to their new home 4,000 miles (6,500 km) away in Rangoon, Myanmar.

Tiger's Nest Bhutan

Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan

The idea of visiting exotic places like Kathmandu and Bhutan along the way was irresistible to this well traveled couple. They imagined the unique cultures, views of snow-capped Himalayan peaks and hidden valleys they would experience. Eventually, the lure of adventure overwhelmed them and they decided to start planning the trip.

The major obstacle they would need to overcome was the fact that the border between India and Myanmar (Burma) was closed to foreigners. The border had been closed by India to curtail cross-border crime, including smuggling, drug trafficking, and insurgency. No independent foreign travelers had crossed the border for several decades.


Their route would also have to pass through some of India’s most dangerous states in the restive northeast region. They had heard stories of rebels, drug traffickers and rogue Indian army units. Bombings, hold-ups and robberies were an all too common occurrence.

Their route would take them on some of the harshest roads in the world riding through the Himalayas, increasing their chances of breakdowns. They would be riding a Royal Enfield, a motorcycle not known for its reliability. Without any mechanical experience, the couples chances of success looked bleak. There would also be a multitude of red tape involved in transporting a motorcycle across six international borders.

Riding Kathmandu Water Crossing

Riding in the mountains above Kathmandu

Undeterred by the challenges, they continued planning their trip.  Finally, the day arrived for them to start their journey and they landed in Delhi feeling a bit unprepared for what they were about to take on. After many trials and travails the couple would eventually make it to Rangoon. During their seven week trip they found that their expectations were completely different than what they experienced. Their odyssey is a true story of adventure. You can read more about their trip in this three-part series from the Myanmar Times…

Riding to Rangoon: Part 1
Riding to Rangoon: Part 2
Riding to Rangoon: Part 3

Adventure Bike Rider Magazine also published a story titled 5 lessons we learned while riding to Rangoon that details the misconceptions they had before going on their trip. You can also view the couple’s detailed ride report on their blog, Riding to Rangoon.

It’s good to see the border between India and Myanmar is starting to open up to foreign travel again and we applaud this brave couple for blazing a trail for the rest of the Adventure Touring community.

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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