A Trip to the Land of Thunder Dragon, Bhutan – Part 2

Beautiful Punakha Dzong - Trip to Bhutan

Hope you have read and enjoyed the Part 1 🙂 If not, here is the link to Part 1 – Trip to Bhutan – The Land of Thunder Dragon

Day 5: Travel to Phobjikha Valley, explore Punakha and travel to Paro

I woke up first by around 6 am and the weather was cold at that time. So, it was really a tough task to get out of the warm blanket. After struggling for a couple of minutes, I successfully got out of the bed, opened the balcony door and stepped out into the balcony while yawning. I took a pause, rubbed my eyes and then forcibly called my roommates (Ashish and Ashwini) and asked them to come out. We all were amused by the view as it was literally like the sceneries and painting that we used to see in the books.

If I jot down my words, there was a big and clean river flowing just behind our hotel through a valley, tiny houses & huts situated at a distance from each other and lush green mountains which encircled the entire region. To enhance the same amazing experience, there was a cool and fresh breeze, soothing sound of the river, chirping of birds and a positive light music of prayer from a distant monastery. I can say that I had one of the best mornings at Punakha during my trip to Bhutan. We also did yoga to get the best experience out of it.

View of Punakha from our hotel balcony - Trip to Bhutan
View of Punakha from our hotel balcony – Trip to Bhutan

After refreshing ourselves and had breakfast of yummy Aloo Paranthas, we got ready and proceeded towards the most beautiful valley of Bhutan, Phobjikha Valley. The valley was 80 km far from Punakha and situated in the Gangtey region. Phobjikha Valley is known for its incomparable beauty and black-necked cranes. We started our drive from Punakha towards Gangtey and the road was narrow and full of road pits but the drive was scenic. We took a few breaks amidst the journey and captured photos. It took us 3 hours to reach the valley.  

The valley was whopping and it was girded by huge mountains from all directions. In the middle of the valley, there was a vast plain green meadow on which cows and horses were grazing. We didn’t find any black-necked cranes at that time as this wasn’t the season. The best thing about this place was that it was very less populated and full of greenery. Our driver took us into the middle of the valley and stopped the car. It was an amazing experience in exploring the valley. Now we could proudly say that we have seen the true beauty of Bhutan.

While traveling to Phobjikha Valley - Trip to Bhutan
While traveling to Phobjikha Valley – Trip to Bhutan
First view of Phobjikha Valley - Trip to Bhutan
First view of Phobjikha Valley – Trip to Bhutan
Amazing view of Phobjikha Valley - Trip to Bhutan
Amazing view of Phobjikha Valley – Trip to Bhutan
View of Phobjikha Valley - Trip to Bhutan
View of Phobjikha Valley – Trip to Bhutan

After exploring the valley, we began our return journey to Punakha and visited Punakha Dzong there. Punakha Dzong is considered the most beautiful Dzong and this is why it the most famous place in entire Punakha. The Dzong is situated between the two rivers namely Mo Chu and Pho Chu. We bought the tickets which cost us 300 bucks per person and went inside the Dzong through a cantilever bridge which was constructed over the Mo Chu river. The Dzong was as beautiful from inside as it looked from outside. There were three courtyards which were consisted of few temples, stupas, Bodhi tree and residential quarters of monks. The architecture was great.

Punakha Dzong - Trip to Bhutan
Punakha Dzong – Trip to Bhutan
Entering a temple in Punakha Dzong - Trip to Bhutan
Entering a temple in Punakha Dzong – Trip to Bhutan
Punakha Dzong - Trip to Bhutan
Punakha Dzong – Trip to Bhutan

After finishing with the exploration of Dzong, we had our lunch of delectable Manchurian Fried Rice at a restaurant near the Dzong and then we visited the Punakha suspension bridge which was the largest suspension bridge of Bhutan. The bridge was constructed over the Pho Chu river and the view was scenic. We spent some time there and then proceeded towards another beautiful and famous place in Bhutan, Paro. It took us 4 hours to drive down to Paro. We reached there in the night so there wasn’t anything to explore. Later, we checked in into the hotel and had our dinner there. We were a little tired after a long day so we slept early without playing UNO or playing cards.

Longest Suspension Bridge of Bhutan - Punakha - Trip to Bhutan
Longest Suspension Bridge of Bhutan – Punakha – Trip to Bhutan

I was asleep and suddenly someone pulled off the blanket and started beating me and waking me up. Yes, it was my birthday. The time was 12 am and everyone was ready to celebrate my birthday. Initially, I felt that everyone forgot as they pretended like the same. I was already having a perfect day and this surprising celebration made it more than perfect. I can say now that I had one of the best birthdays ever.

Day 6: Trek to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Taktsang Lhakhang)

This day was reserved for the trek to Tiger’s Nest because it was my birthday and I wanted to do the trek on this day only. We got ready by 10 but it was raining so we waited for the rain to get stopped or slowed. Other people in the group were also the thinking to postpone the trek due to rain but I was determined to do the trek on the same day. Finally, we left the hotel by 11 am and traveled towards the starting point of the trek. We quickly bought the tickets that cost 500 bucks and began the trek. The trek was 4.5 km long as informed by our driver. The monastery was visible from the starting point and it was settled on a rocky mountain cliff. The trail was marked so we didn’t take the guide.

First view of Tiger's Nest Monastery - Trip to Bhutan
First view of Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Trip to Bhutan

The initial trail was through the forest and it was mild uphill. After walking for half an hour, we found two routes, one was a shortcut and another one was the main route. We took the shorter one as we always take the route less traveled by and to avoid the crowd & the mule shit. The further trail was also not that much steep however it was a bit narrower than the initial route. We continued the trek without any break. It took around 2 hours to reach the last leg of the trek. We found a few shops and restaurant also at the midpoint but we didn’t stop as we were short of time.

Now, we were at the point from where we could see the monastery right in front of us but on another mountain. The trail already got finished and the further route was through the stairs. Firstly, we had to climb down through the stairs, cross a bridge and then again climb up through stairs. This part of the trek was a bit tiring but it was easily doable. It took around 20 minutes and we reached the entrance of the monastery. There we deposited all the gadgets and then went inside.

Tiger's Nest Monastery - Trip to Bhutan
Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Trip to Bhutan

The monastery was dedicated to Guru Rinpoche and he came here on a tiger that’s why the place is called Tiger’s Nest. There were several small temples dedicated to different Buddhist gurus. We were lucky as we attended a prayer too accompanied by tiny monks. The monastery was full of peace and solitude. One monk also showed us the cave through which the Guru Rinpoche came here on tiger.

After exploring the place, we began the downhill trek. While coming down, we also witnessed the mesmerizing sunset and amazing view of beautiful Paro valley, full of paddy fields. We finished the trek by 6 in the evening and came back to the hotel. As it was my birthday, our plan was to go to any night club for some booze and dance.

View of Paro from Tiger's Nest trek - Trip to Bhutan
View of Paro from Tiger’s Nest trek – Trip to Bhutan

We searched on the internet and went to one of the most popular clubs of Bhutan, viz, Club Ecstasy. Unfortunately, the club was closed. 🙁 Closed as in, there was no dance and booze. One could only have food there. Now, we were left with cafes only, so we explored and found one named “mountain café” at the main street. There we tried several lip-smacking cuisines and of course delicious burgers. Later, we visited a few souvenir shops to buy magnets and t-shirts.

Streets of Paro - Trip to Bhutan
Streets of Paro – Trip to Bhutan

Now the shops were getting closed and we had nothing to do so we went inside a dance bar that our driver informed us. As we entered, a lady came and offered us a seat. There was a podium or stage on which girls were dancing and giving performances. In the starting, we were feeling comfortable and liking the atmosphere. Soon, that comfortable feeling turned into awkward when a bar girl came and sat quite close to us. Then weird things started happening and we quickly finished our beer and came out. It was a very different experience for all of us. Later, we played few games in our room and slept.

Day 7: Chele La visit and Paro Sightseeing

This was our last day in Bhutan and it was scheduled for Paro local sightseeing. We started with a visit to the Highest Motorable pass of Bhutan, viz Chele La. The pass was situated at an altitude of around 3800 meters. We got out from the car and walked up to the top of a hill along the Tibetan prayer flags. The place was quite windy so we did not stay there for longer time. We climbed down and had a piping hot tea with noodles, which was needed at that time.

Chele La Pass - Highest Pass of Bhutan - Trip to Bhutan
Chele La Pass – Highest Pass of Bhutan – Trip to Bhutan
Chele La Pass - Highest Pass of Bhutan - Trip to Bhutan
Chele La Pass – Highest Pass of Bhutan – Trip to Bhutan
Ashwini, Ashish and Me - Trip to Bhutan
Ashwini, Ashish and Me – Trip to Bhutan

We then headed back to Paro and had lunch at one of the cafés located there. After having lunch, we visited the National Museum of Bhutan followed by Paro Dzong. The museum was a good place. We learned and got to know many new things about Bhutan. After exploring the place, we spent our evenings strolling near the Paro Chu river.  Later, we came back to our rooms and started packing our stuff as it was the time to bid adieu Bhutan.  

View of Paro town from National Museum - Trip to Bhutan
View of Paro town from National Museum – Trip to Bhutan
View of Paro Chu river - Trip to Bhutan
View of Paro Chu river – Trip to Bhutan

Day 8: Travel back from Paro to Phuentsholing and then to Siliguri

We checked out from the hotel after having breakfast and began our drive to Phuentsholing. Everyone was a little low because we were about to leave this beautiful land but still we enjoyed the journey by listening to our favorite songs. We reached Phuentsholing by 12 PM, completed all the payments and also tipped the driver. Our driver “Mr. Lobzang” is an amazing man and we had a great time traveling with him. We walked through the Bhutan gate and entered in our country.

After entering, we turned around and had a view of Bhutan last time. The roads were clean, all the cars were parked in an organized manner, people were dressed in national uniform, no honking and people seemed calm and happy. In India, the first thing we noticed was a big road pit just near the border gate. It was like a way of welcoming people that people would automatically get to know that they are coming to India. Then, there were autorickshaws continuously honking, shouting vegetable hawkers and of course the pollution. We could literally feel the change in the air. Still, whatever it is, this is our India and we love it. The feeling of coming back to your country after 6 days spending in a foreign nation is also amazing.

As we were starving, we ran towards Dominos to have some pizzas and then traveled to Hashimara railway station because we had to catch the train to Siliguri. In the evening, we reached Siliguri and took a hotel to spend the night. Later, we went to a mall to watch Venom and had a good time.

Day 9: Fly back to Delhi

Last day of our trip. We boarded the flight by 3 PM and reach Delhi by evening. And our trip ended here.

We had a wonderful time exploring Bhutan, the Land of Thunder Dragon. We liked all the places that we had been to and all the cuisines that we had. We also tried red panda beer and several wines including the peach and red one. They were good and quite cheap. The best place we found was the Phobjikha valley.

Let me know in the comments if you like the blog. Will be sharing an informative guide to Bhutan soon.

Happy Traveling 🙂

About

An engineer and a travel blogger. Loves trekking and doing bike road trips. Burger lover (want to try every burger in the world). Clinomaniac. Sports fanatic. Likes technology but not a technology addict.

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