My friend once said, Bhutan is D most beautiful country… So I had to visit Bhutan to validate this 😉 Turns out its true…While in Bhutan, you are surrounded by rugged mountains, river valleys, trees, lots of oxygen 😂…(Its a carbon negative country) Bhutan was once marked as the happiest asian country.
When I started planning my trip, I had so many questions like how to reach Bhutan, how to get entry permit etc etc.. I started googling, reading travel blogs. I have seen many people having same doubts who are planning Bhutan trips. From then untill now I have shared details with so many people orally. This was my main motivation to start this blog.
Bhutan was our honeymoon destination. We had a very little time to plan and Bhutan was on our wishlist. Indians do not need Visa, so that was a plus point. We planned our trip with the help of travel triangle. They took care of everything except flights and meals. Total cost was around 50k for both of us plus food and flights extra. (5 days in Bhutan and 2 in West Bengal) Many local agents offer Bhutan tour packages. Ours was taken care by Harish(Gemini tours) via travel triangle. We used to call him for every single thing and he was there for us.
- How to reach Bhutan
- Flight till Bagdogra, then by cab
- Train till Hashimara station, then by cab
- Direct flight to Bhutan
- Better to book a cab for the whole trip(From Phuentsholing). Using local mode of transports could be difficult because of the frequency and roads.
- Throughout the trip, all roads were hilly. If someone has motion sickness then better to carry pills etc.
- Getting Bhutanese Ruppe is optional. Indian currency can be used. We exchanged some amount from agent to be on safer side.
- Bhutanese Sim card can be availed at Jaigoan. Harish arranged it for us. Coasted 400 rs.
- People understand hindi. Hindi tv channels is the main reason I suppose 😉
- Permit issued at Phuensholing is only for paro and thimpu, if you want to explore more cities, you need to get another permit from thimpu office.
- Documents required for permit : pan card/passport/driving liscence and 2 photos for Indians. For others its a very different process.
For more information : http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/travel-requirements
- Almost everything closes down by 6/7 pm. Try to have all meals on/before time.
- Dishes we tried – Fried rice, different variations of noodles and Datshi’s, Fish/chicken preparations, local butter tea. Many hotels serve Indian food too.
- Cities we visited – Phuentsholing(Hotel Damchen), Paro(Galling resort), Thimpu(Hotel Sambhav), Punakha(Pema Karpo), Lataguri(Green touch resort)
- Travel – Booked a return flight from Pune to Bagdogra(West Bengal). From there, cab was arranged for us.
Day 01 – Pune to Bagdogra flight
cab was arranged from airport to Phuensholing (3+ hrs journey) overnight stayed at Phuensholing.
Day 02 – Phuentsholing
Phuentsholing is a small colony like town next to Jaigoan. India border ends at Jaigoan and Bhutan border starts at Phuentsholing. Permit process takes min 10 mins, max half a day. Better to check public holidays and office timings before planning. When we reached bagdogra, we received call from agent that permit office will be closed tomorrow (Friday) because of cleaning campaign. So no point in going Phuentsholing and instead he will help us arranging himachal tour. But we decided to stay and check by ourselves. Fortunately office opened up. We got our permits done in around 2 hours that too because of office had some internet issues. Another permit is required for car and driver who was accompanying us throughout the trip(that agent took care of). We left Phuentsholing by 3pm. We had dinner on our way. As we were moving up, it started getting colder. When local people say ‘Upar jana hai kya’, they are referring to Bhutan, its literally going up. Reached paro by 9pm.
Day 03 – Paro
I woke up to an absolutely beautiful view. Small city surrounded by green mountains, blue river flowing through. First point on the list was Tiger’s nest monestry. Its called Paro taktsang, loacted at approx 10,000ft, one of the prominent sacred temple. One can either trek or pay and get pony ride till the top. For me it was a tiring(probably because of high altitude) but fun trek. Trek way passes through pine trees and colorful prayer flags. Its a beautiful monastery built around cave. By the time we came back it around 4. He had food on our way and went back to hotel.
Day 04– Next day, we visited Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, National museum. Local sightseeing places are all around paro village, its a beautiful ride through mountains around village. We loved paro. Bhutanse style homes, people wearing traditional outfits, farms, monestries, monks, cold fresh breeze, clean roads. Made me completely forget my hectic, crowded, fast urban life. There are few places where you can try traditional outfits and get clicked. After lunch we left for Thimphu. It takes 2 hours to reach to the capital. Recommending Hotel Shochey for Indian food in paro.
Day 05 – Thimpu
Thimphu is comparatively crowded and is centre for all main govt offices and Kings palace. Had breakfast in hotel and proceeded towards permit office to get Punakha permit. Hardly took 20 mins. Then local sightseeing like Big Budhha, Tashichho Dzong. National park was closed as it was monday but as we moved up on the hill towards a view point, we got a full view of national park from there. We got a chance to see Takin(national animal). Left for Punakha.
Day 06 – Punakha
Its a small city located near another small place called Wangdue. Had breakfast in hotel and left for Punakha dzong. Its a big beautiful river side monastery. Next amazing place was suspension bridge which stretches around 1km connecting small villages. Chimi lakhang which is also called as Fertility temple is considered to be a holi temple for those who are blessings to beget children.
From there we drove back to Thimphu via Dochu la pass. 108 memorial stupas have been built here. Weather was so clear that day, we could see Himalayan snow capped picks.
By the time we reached Thimphu it was evening and we were in time to attend flag ceremony.
Recommending Hotel Foodball near clock tower for dinner.
Day 07 – After breakfast we left for Lataguri(West Bengal), long downhill beautiful drive through mountains. Overnight at Green touch resort.
Day 08 – Lataguri
Early morning Gorumara jungle safari. Tickets can be availed at the main gate. Unfortunately, we could not see elephants though this national park is famous for elephants. Our auto driver took us to deer park. We had fun feeding biscuits to deers. Post lunch we left for Bagdogra airport.