The four women riders at the reception of the Embassy of India, Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - A group of four female motorcycling enthusiasts from India have reached Vietnam as part of their journey to cover UNESCO World Heritage Sites in seven nations along Mekong River.

Their 17,000-km expedition, which started on February 11 from Hyderabad of India, covers India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh in seven weeks.

The team plans to visit 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in five countries and promote tourism in the 35 UNESCO sites in India by biking through the newly built India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral (IMT) Highway.

The main objective of the expedition, also called Road to Mekong, is to promote tourism in India and showcase the rich culture and tradition of the country as well as its shared historical and cultural roots with the extended Indian subcontinent.

Additionally, the ride will highlight safe tourism opportunities for women travellers in India and encourage international travellers visiting other ASEAN countries to include India as an extended travel itinerary through the IMT Highway.

On their arrival, the motorcyclists were welcomed by Parvathaneni Harish, India’s Ambassador to Vietnam.

“The expedition coincided with the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue relations,” said the ambassador, stressing the significance of the expedition’s mission.

According to Jai Bharathi, the Road Captain, it took them nearly eight months to prepare for the trip, “because it covers many countries and includes quite many people. Everything has to be documented so we wanted the production crew along with us as well. In total, there are 12 people in the trip,” she said.

Besides conquering new paths, the team has been organising evenings and tea breaks at selected pit stops in major cities and district headquarters in which they can interact with locals about India’s culture and history.

The indispensable companions of the four women riders in the expedition are four 400cc bikes manufactured by India-based two-wheel manufacturer, Bajaj Dominar.

“The bikes are too good and easy to handle,” said Bharathi. “As we are promoting our country’s tourism, it’s important that we use motorcycles made in India.”

The team will have seven days to drive across Vietnam after visiting the country’s heritage sites, including Ho Dynasty Citadel in the central province of Thanh Hoa, Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Hue Imperial City in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and My Son Sanctuary in the central province of Quang Nam.

They are expected to leave Vietnam on March 16 and reach India on March 27.-VNA