28.9 C
Singapore
Thursday, April 25, 2024
HomePressroomA Grand Homecoming

A Grand Homecoming

4 min read

Participants of the longest AUTOVENTURE to date finally reached Singapore after 98 days on the road

On Friday, 10 November, AA Centre was buzzing with excitement as it welcomed the participants of AA AUTOVENTURE™ London-Singapore’s Expedition drive. The team returned to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur to a resounding celebration at AA Centre. The centre was the final stop of their 98-day expedition. The total of 33 participants and convoy of 12 cars arrived at AA Centre at 11am, two hours earlier than expected.

A welcome party awaited them, and they arrived to cheers and hugs from their friends and loved ones. The event marked the homecoming of AA’s longest expedition drive that started in London on 6 August.

After such a long expedition which covered 22 countries, one would have expected to see the participants looking fatigued. But there was no sign of tiredness on their faces. On the contrary, all of them were in high spirits with one participant, Mr David Hoong, attesting that he felt “refreshed”.

The participants were warmly welcomed by the Automobile Association of Singapore’s Chairman, Mr Bernard Tay, who presented the Autoventure™ certificates from AA Singapore. “It is my great pleasure to be here with you this afternoon as we gather to celebrate the triumphant return of our convoy of adventurers who embarked on the 98-Day Autoventure London-Singapore Expedition Drive 2023”, said Mr Tay. Ms Kulpramote Wannalert, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) who was present at the Homecoming Celebration, also presented the goodie bags to the drivers.

Exciting AdventuresThe expedition which covered 21 countries was strewn with adventure. One participant, Mrs Sharon Loo, 64, recounted how their car broke down as they were driving up the mountains in Kazakhstan when their alternator stopped working Fortunately, AA Singapore was well prepared for unforeseen challenges and promptly assisted Mrs Loo. The Association’s dedication to offering a comprehensive experience for expedition members became apparent as the expedition leader swiftly addressed the situation. The expertise and resources of AA Singapore ensured that the participants received the necessary assistance, allowing them to overcome the mechanical challenge and resume their journey with confidence.

Her husband, Mr S Y Loo, 66, who drove his own car, a Subaru Forester, further recalled the tedious border crossings for some countries. “China was very strict, with a lot of formalities,” he noted. Another long border crossing was the one from Turkey to Iran too. It took as much as 20 hours, with the convoys only reaching their hotel at 4am, related Mr Teoh Boon Cheng, a Senior Events Executive at AA Singapore, and the leader of the expedition.

Travelling between continents, other challenges the participants had to navigate were the difficult terrain, high altitudes and extreme temperatures. Mr David Hoong, 70, recalls how it was snowing in some parts of China while the weather in Laos was exceptionally hot.

His daughter Ms Hoong Hui Min, 44, who flew to Turkmenistan to join her parents for two weeks, was awed by their indefatigable energy. “I was exhausted after driving for two weeks!” she exclaimed. A love for driving and the opportunity to see places that were off-the-beaten track clearly buoyed the group’s spirits. It helped that some of them like Mr Hoong were second timers who had previously joined AA Autoventure’s first-ever London-Singapore expedition that took place in 2019.

PRECIOUS MEMORIES

For the participants, the epic journey has left them with treasured memories and lessons they will cherish dearly. “There are so many highlights from the trip,” Mdm Evelyn Ong, 64, proclaimed. Two countries which stood out for her were China and Iran. “China is so beautiful and I found the people in Xinjiang to be friendly, not at all like what some media portrays. In Isfahan, I walked among the Iranians on my own and felt safe doing so,” she shares, adding, “When you travel around the world, you realise that people are all the same.”

China also made the greatest impression on Mr Hoong. “It had the best scenery, history and culture,” he asserted, with Central Asia being a close second.

Beyond that, the camaraderie between the participants was evident. As Mr Tay remarked, “Most of the participants embarked on the 98-Day London-Singapore Expedition Drive as strangers and today, they returned as a tightly knit community of autoventurers. I’m proud of their achievements and thankful for their dedication.”

The Homecoming celebration concluded on a positive note, with the expedition members expressing their joy and gratitude for the memorable trip. AA Singapore would like to extend our heartful appreciation to the Singapore Road Safety Council (SRSC), Nam Wah Battery Co Pte Ltd (Sole Distributor of AMARON Car Batteries in Singapore), Garmin Ltd, and Liqui Moly for their generous support and contribution towards the AA Autoventure™ London-Singapore Expedition Drive, and for helping to make this memorable trip for AA members possible.

Photos of the London-Singapore Expedition Trip

Previous article
Next article