A Trip to the Land of Thunder Dragon, Bhutan
Every person in this world plans something unique for his birthday and tries hard to make the day memorable. For me, nothing could have been better than traveling to celebrate my day. So, I planned a trip to Bhutan with my college friends to celebrate my 24th birthday. Also, it was my first international trip so the excitement level was at its top. 😀
We planned to travel in August end and booked the flights in July to get a bit cheaper tickets. We also booked a few hotels in advance so that we could get the permits with ease because hotel booking vouchers are required to get the permits.
Now, as our departure date started coming closer, we started packing and arranging other important stuff.
- Day 1: Fly from Delhi to Bagdogra. Travel to Alipurdwar
- Day 2: Jeep Safari at Buxa Tiger reserve. Travel to Jaigaon.
- Day 3: Enter Phuentsholing in Bhutan. Get permits and travel to Thimphu
- Day 4: Sightseeing in Thimphu. Travel to Punakha
- Day 5: Travel to Phobjikha Valley, back to Punakha and Travel to Paro
- Day 6: Trek to Tigers Nest
- Day 7: Travel to Chele La pass and back to Paro
- Day 8: Travel from Paro to Phuentsholing and then to Siliguri
- Day 9: Fly from Bagdogra to Delhi
Day 1: Fly from Delhi to Bagdogra. Travel to Alipurdwar
We were a group of five, out of which two were coming from Hyderabad and Pune and the rest three (including me)
It took us 2 hours and we reached Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. Though we couldn’t get a view of Everest
Finally, Rahul arrived at the airport, and we rushed out to catch a taxi to the New Jalpaiguri railway station. After bargaining with some taxi walas, we finally booked one and moved towards the railway station. The taxi driver was also wicked. He did rash driving and drove too fast on the road because we told him that we would not give the tip if our train gets missed. We reached the station after a thrilling drive and found what we were sure of. The train was late by 15 minutes. Haha! Thank You Indian Railways 😀
At 7:45 pm, the train arrived and we boarded. Now, the next 3 hours we had to spend on the train. We had no other option so we started playing UNO and playing cards. We also did the recce of the complete train and did some pranks too. Reached Alipurdwar at 10:30 pm and after searching for
Day 2: Jeep Safari at Buxa Tiger reserve. Travel to Jaigaon.
Woke up and got ready for the Jeep Safari in the Buxa tiger reserve. The weather was humid and there was no electricity since midnight. We also had a small fight with the hotel owner because he didn’t turn on the generator. So we just wanted to leave that place. We inquired from taxi
We crossed the gate and entered the dense forest having tall trees on both sides. The guide told us that the forest is home to animals such as leopard, tiger, deer,
After finishing the safari, we boarded the taxi and it dropped us at the outer gate. Now we had to go to Jaigaon from that point and the day was about to be set. There were no autos/taxis available directly to Jaigaon. So without delaying further, we hired an auto up to Kalchini and decided to take another auto to our destination, Jaigaon.
We started our drive in the autorickshaw and after 5 minutes of the drive, the driver suddenly asked us to focus on the road and the surroundings. We asked him “why?” He replied that we are traveling through the dense forest and there is a high possibility that any animal can come on our way. We asked further “what will happen if a leopard or an elephant come?”. The type of answer he gave was quite funny but it thrilled us and made us alert. He told that “agar leopard aa
The driver told few forest stories also and we thoroughly enjoyed the journey. After reaching Kalchini, we took another auto rickshaw and continued our drive towards Jaigaon (a town nearest to Bhutan border). It was an hour journey to Jaigaon and there was no more forest so now we could travel freely but it was obvious how things could go normally with us? So it started raining and t was not a mild rain, it rained like cats and dogs. We could hardly see a thing outside. Somehow the auto
Jaigaon was a small town situated at the bottom of a hill and known as the border town for Bhutan. From here, one can cross the Indo-Bhutan border on his feet. There is a gate situated called Bhutan gate through which one can reach Phuentsholing, a town in Bhutan. We roamed around a bit and after having dinner, we relaxed in our rooms.
Day 3: Enter Phuentsholing in Bhutan. Get permits and travel to Thimphu
After 2 days of traveling in India, now today we were going to enter Bhutan. We got ready by 8 am, checked out from the hotel and started walking towards the Bhutan gate. It was hardly 500 meters from our hotel. We went through the frisking center and finally, we were standing on the land of Thunder Dragon. We then walked a few meters and proceeded towards the immigration office to get the permits.
At the gate, we met some people asking for taxis. We talked to them and booked a taxi for 6 days including the sightseeing of Phobjikha Valley and Chele La. It
The driver took our passports and we went inside the office for the ID and fingerprint verification. Finally, our passport got stamped and it was the first stamp so we were hell excited. It took us around 1 hour in doing all the formalities and then we started our drive towards the capital of Bhutan.
Thimphu was around 160 km from Phuentsholing and the whole drive was through mountains. The drive was scenic like any other mountain drive and it was comfortable like no other mountain drive. We took a halt at a village called Gedu to have our lunch and after that, we continued our drive and reached Thimphu by 6 in the evening. The city was looking lively and beautiful at that time. The weather was also quite pleasant.
We put our luggage in our rooms and got out to roam on the streets to have dinner. The receptionist of the hotel already informed us that in Bhutan most of the shops and restaurant get closed by 9 pm except few clubs. So he advised us to not get late for dinner and we did the same. The next 2 days were going to be long as it included more traveling so we slept
Day 4: Sightseeing in Thimphu. Travel to Punakha
Got ready and went down for having breakfast. We started our day with the sightseeing in Thimphu. Every country capital has a list of places to visit. We shortlisted the best ones as per our interests. First, we went to the immigration office and applied for permits of Phobjikha Valley and Punakha. Then we visited the Buddha point which was a Buddhist temple situated in the outskirts of Thimphu on a hill. As the temple was on a hill, there were around 100 stairs which we had to climb to reach the main temple premises.
There was a big statue of Lord Buddha sitting on the roof of the temple. The temple was alluring from inside due to the colorful textures and paintings and the view of the surroundings was also mesmerizing. The entire town of Thimphu was visible.
After spending time there, we proceeded towards another Buddhist temple and then had lunch. Now our plan was to visit the National Zoo but we changed the plan at the last moment because we got to know that there were no red pandas. So we decided not to go there and instead of it, we visited the Bhutan king palace. The palace was huge and the architecture was great. I can say it was one of the best buildings of Bhutan.
We then began our journey towards Punakha. Amidst the way, we crossed one of the high passes of Bhutan, viz, Dochu
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