It is time to finally come home. An almost-year long endeavour is winding down to its culmination – and I have to say the emotions are bittersweet. Even though we have gone through the Great Overland Adventure at a relatively slower pace than most would expect, it’s still been tough – tough driving, tough logistics and yes – tough to always make time for it when it demanded that from us.

So when it was time to plan the last leg, we knew we had to be extra efficient so that we don’t breach the 1 year timeline! The cars left Perth in Australia and began a sea voyage towards South-East Asia. While the initial plan was for them to port in Thailand, we then changed that to have them dock at Singapore instead. Not only was the paperwork much easier, but this way we got to add in two more countries – Singapore and Malaysia! Always nice to do that, and frankly if time and budget had permitted we would have loved to include Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam too. But if wishes were horses, we would have done so much more anyway!

So the cars were to exit customs in Singapore port and head straight to the local Mercedes-Benz dealership.

After all lets not forget they had been through a rather tough (albeit enjoyable and smooth) schedule in Australia that saw them cover almost 10,000 kilometres! So they needed a little TLC and that is exactly what they received. The Cycle and Carriage company that runs the Mercedes-Benz business in Singapore really astounded me by the level of care and service they carried out. Never before in nearly 40,000 kilometres of driving – across more than 20 countries and on 6 continents – had we received such brilliant service.

The cars spotless inside and out – shiny and looking almost new! Even the tyres had been cleaned and their sidewalls polished. The people were also immensely friendly and very nice to deal with – unlike some of the gruff and disinterested kind we had seen in some places! So it was a great start already!

Our plan is to drive the cars around within the small yet diverse city-state of Singapore and then cross the Johor Strait and head to Malaysia. Is it truly Asia? We won’t stay long enough to find out! Our plan is to cut across almost all of Malaysia the same day, and pit stop for the night close to the border with Thailand. In Thailand we will drive through the capital but again the idea will be to make haste. Why the hurry you may wonder? Thailand and Malaysia are not exactly unexplored – indeed we have also gone there several times for drives and auto-related coverage.

But once we cross the border from Thailand into Myanmar is when the true discovery will begin once more. And so I wanted to keep time for Myanmar. It is also the monsoon period and so with inclement weather known to pose many challenges is the reason, we wanted to keep time on hand for any delays caused by weather – rain in particular. We had heard of bridges being washed away and landslides that Myanmar had faced at this time last year – so we figured better safe than sorry!

From the south of Myanmar the cars will head north, but will make a stop at Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay – soaking in the lush countryside, meeting many new people and experiencing the richness of the Burmese culture and food.

There are some grand temples and Buddha statues to be seen too. So after spending a few days in Myanmar, the cars will head to the border town of Moreh in Manipur – and finally return to Indian soil! From Manipur the idea is to make a dash to Delhi, before taking on an overland adventure right here in our own home country – allowing people to see the cars and recount our experiences to them. After a pan-India drive they will be returning to the place it all started – the Mercedes-Benz plant in Chakan, outside Pune. I reckon we will cross 50,000 kms by then – and all I can say is – having been there when we crossed 10k, 20k, 30k and 40k – I certainly hope I am at the wheel of the GLA when the magical 50k happens!

#GLAADVENTURE
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