Book review | Road To Mekong by Piya Bahadur

Author: Piya Bahadur 

Genre: Travelogue, Non-fiction, Biography 

No. of pages: 200

Published by: Pan Macmillan India 

Published on: 21st October 2019

Format: Paperback 

My rating: ★★★★☆

For fifty-six days, four women left their ‘regular lives’, homes, families and comfort, to ride their motorbikes through scenic landscapes, inhospitable terrain and diverse regions. In this process, they covered 17, 000 kilometres through six countries. What inspired them to follow this dangerous, and at times maddening, adventure trail? In road to Mekong, Piya Bahadur recounts her once-in-a-lifetime journey through Southeast Asia. With little prior experience in expeditions of this nature, The group successfully planned and executed an exhilarating trip from Hyderabad, through the East Indian Coast and the Northeast of India, weaving through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, along the river Mekong, and finally to Cambodia. By the time they returned, the lives of these audacious women had changed forever. Piya takes the reader along on her travels through places rarely visited by the itinerant Indian and shares the new World that unfolds as she journeys from being a working mother constrained by her own inhibitions to a confident traveller accepting of whatever adventures life has to offer.

Road To Mekong is an incredible tale of inspiration and bravery, of four daring women riding 17000 or so kilometres across Southeast Asia. As author Piya Bahadur narrates her heroic journey along with her fellow bikers, across a vast expanse of unknown land, you will feel a sense of awe, reading her story. The author lays it all out in her book, starting from being born in a travel-enthusiast family, to successfully completing a task that very few women have dared to undertake. 

Reading this book has given me a newfound respect to the people who travel, to each and every person who can be even remotely related to the great outdoors. As the author describes her experiences, starting from the day they planned it out in front of the Telengana Tourism officials; her misgivings and second thoughts about travelling the entire route because she was worried about her family; to her entire riding experience; and finally the warm reception they received once they reached India; you will feel a sense of pride in yourself for these four ladies who dared to fulfill their dreams. 

I loved reading the book and took a lot of learnings from it. Who would have known that the country of Laos still suffers from the bygone wars. This book is awe-inspiring and filled with trivias about some of the Southeastern Asian countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. The author and her co-travellers' sheer determination and their outlook on the shortcomings they faced during their journey makes this book a worth read. But this book is not just about the female bravado, it's about family and friendship as well, it's about the smiles they help spread during their journey - be it the videographers and technicians who were travelling with them, or be it the locals who whole-heartedly welcomed them to their lands. 

This is a good book to pick up if you love non-fictions and travelogues, or would love an inspiring read. 

Piya Bahadur went to the US to do her master’s and lived there for several years until, one day, she felt that her two daughters needed to be closer to their grandparents and moved back to India. Before the motorcycling bug bit her, Piya was Regional Officer at the US-India Education Foundation and before that, worked at the Indian School of Business. Piya is currently working at her startup, which makes software to help small businesses, especially women-owned, run more efficiently. She is happiest when she is on long walks with her children, or on the road, singing along to Kishore Kumar songs. Now that both her daughters are in college, Piya lives in Hyderabad with her husband, their cocker spaniel, and a black cat that pretends to be their pet. 

I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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