Trips and Itineraries for Bhutan
Top Places To Visit in Bhutan 20 Spots
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,October,November,December
One would assume that Thimphu is still settling into its role as the capital of one of the happiest countries in the world, Bhutan. Simple at heart, grappling with growing commercialisation, Thimphu is bustling with energy and is the heart of the country. Thimphu is a delight to explore if history interests you and also if you want a break from the quiet and serenity of Bhutan. Brimming with cafes, nightclubs and restaurants, the city welcomes people from all over the world with open arms. While here, do check out Changangkha Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the National Folk Heritage Museum which offers a peek into the life of the Bhutanese people, especially the rural way of life. There are tons of parks, gardens and galleries in and around Thimpu and you cover most of these in a single day depending on your interests. The exhibits here range from archaic to contemporary and are definitely worth taking a look at. Read More
Only a 2-hour drive from Paro, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is the most happening town of the country. Here, you can give your honeymoon a touch of fun, frolic and party!Where To Stay:
National Institute for Zorig Chusum in Thimpu is a must visit! It’s a government initiative to preserve local art and craft. It offers courses on Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts which includes calligraphy, painting, sculpture, wood carving, casting, pottery, embroidery, tailoring, weaving, masonry, silver and gold smith workshops. The discipline and skills that the students exhibit is extremely impressive!
Next day, hail a cab and travel to the capital town, Thimphu. Aim to keeping this cab to get around in Thimphu, as it be a more convenient and cheaper option since cab fares are high there. Moreover, the cab drivers in Bhutan are very gracious and will always indulge in a conversation about His Highness, Bhutan, and Buddhism. Thus, you'll be learning a lot while you're in transit. You can contact Mr. Mangal Singh at +975 17607472 to book for a trip.** (Read Part 2 for Thimphu, Punakha and Haa Valley)Cover Image Credits: http://www.mountainechoes.org/
Day 2: Phuntsholing -> ThimpuWe woke up early on Day 2 and met our guide Sangay who took us for our immigration process. We took around 3 hours at the Department of Immigration to get our permits and then after lunch we were off to Thimpu. There was initially some concern about the weather but the rain wasn't heavy enough to spoil our plans.
Next day morning, we geared up as soon as the 5AM alarm went off to capture the first light hitting Thimphu, Bhutan. A small hike to a nearby monastery with frozen dew all around the place was totally worth it. Sunlight falling on the mountain range behind the Thimphu city was quite a spectacular sight to watch.
Thimphu city is spread out along the side in a north-south heading on the west bank of the valley framed by the Raidāk River, which is known as the Wang Chuu or Thimphu Chuu in Bhutan. It is also the third highest capital in the world in altitude. The ancient capital city of Punakha was replaced by Thimphu when it was established as capital in 1955, and in 1961 Thimphu was declared as the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan by His Majesty the 3rd Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Day 4: The way towards Thimphu started. The first stop to visit was kharbandi gonpa ( the monastery built by Royal Grandmother , Ashi Phuntsho Choedron in 1967). The beautiful and magnificent himalayan ranges were seen to the road which took upto the hills. The Toorsa river had its silent flow irrespective of the aura around. The small town of Chimakothi has its own culture maintaining its individuality. Finally the day or to be more appropriate the year ended with a theme based party in Bhutan.
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Bhutan has gradually become a popular tourist destination. And if you are visiting Bhutan, you can't possibly miss the lovely city of Paro. Considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, it is definitely a must visit! A perfect mix of culture, beauty, nature and history, Paro offers you an experience unlike another. Do visit the unofficial Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest, which is a delight for trekkers and explorers! Located on a hill, the trek to this monastery is something you'll always remember. Do carry water, wear proper shoes before you start your trek lest the number of halts increases your trek time. Another wonderful place to visit is the National Museum of Bhutan which is located in a former watch tower and hosts a collection of artefacts tracing the history of Bhutan. Among other places to visit, Rinpung Dzong and Drakhapo are definitely worth visiting. The Paro market is also a great place to explore and makes for a perfect location for an evening stroll. If you don't want to stay in the city, Paro is where you should head to. The lush valleys here are a delight to explore and the streams and meadows are nothing less than a postcard. Read More
Paro Tshechue/Paro Festival which happens in the month of April at the Rinpung Dzong is a series of dance performances by the monks and laymen wearing ornate costumes and masks. It is said that one gains merit by attending these festivals. (WooHoo! Brownie points for being a part of this) We woke up at 3am (we surprise ourselves by doing things like these :p ) to witness the Thongdrel festival – which is an unfurling of a massive embroidered painting of Guru Rinpoche. It is considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrel unfurl is said to cleanse one’s sins!
Tiger’s Nest or Paro Taktsang monastery in Paro is by far the most iconic symbol of Bhutan. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. Hence the name – ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The trek takes about 6 hours which includes the tour of the monastery. The trail is uphill but not very steep, pretty doable we must say. It is tiring yes, gives you a serious fitness check (if you don’t believe in any form of exercise, like us!) but believe us, once you reach the top and inhale the pure and serene air, you will forget the aching bones and the gasping you experienced. The scenery over the valley is just mind blowing – completely lined with prayer flags and prayer wheels.
Day 4: On our way to Paro. 2nd important city and in fact only city with airport in Bhutan.. 1.5 hr ride from Thimpu .. 50 kms.Bhutan major attraction - Tiger nest.. Have always been enticed by its wallpaper like pics.. Time to turn imaginations into reality..Taktsang, or the Tiger's Nest Monastery, is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan. one of the most challenging monasteries to get to. Located at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Taktsang is the birthplace of Bhutanese Buddhism.
After breakfast, drive till the base of the world famous Taktsang Lhakhang. Taktsang Lhakhang or the Tiger's Nest is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site and temple complex in Bhutan. Visible from afar, this stunning and highly revered monastery is perched on a high granite cliff at an altitude of 10,236 ft., overlooking the northern Paro valley. The rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Overnight in Paro (B)You can stay at-
After breakfast, visit National Museum, Paro Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang. The National Museum of Bhutan is housed inside the revamped Ta Dzong, which was formerly a watchtower. It showcases an intriguing collection that illustrates the rich and unique cultural heritage and tradition of Bhutan, including ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts.
This morning, drive to Paro, en route visit Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. Built in 1637-38, this massive architectural edifice is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. In addition to its structural beauty, it is renowned for containing the preserved remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan as well as a sacred relic known as the Ranjung Karsapani, a self-created image of Avalokiteswara. On arrival, checkin to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the local markets. Overnight in Paro. (B)
Best time to visit - March,April,May,September,October,November
Nestled in the midst of the breathtaking sceneries of Bhutan, Punakha is famous for its picturesque beauty and Buddhist majestic dzongs. Among the many fascinating things to explore here is the Punakha Dzong, which is a stunning piece of architecture with an amazing view of the sparkling water. This dzong or palace is also the administrative centre of the Punakha district. Discover your spiritual self at the Chimi L'hakhang Temple, which can be reached by hiking through some charming paddy fields. The Punakha suspension bridge here gives you a perfect bird's-eye view of the surrounding mountains and the magnificent river flowing below. This bridge is an adventure in itself, and is definitely not for the faint hearted! You can enjoy some river rafting at the Druk Rafting Service, which makes for a fantastic experience. Although the rapids are small, but they are enough to get the adrenalin flowing! Punakha is an ideal destination to savour the authentic flavours of Bhutan. The Chimi Lakhang Cafeteria and Dochula Resort Restaurant are great for some authentic food. Since Punakha is quite popular with tourists, one can easily find suitable accommodation here. Endowed with natural beauty, Punakha is sure to make for a memorable trip!Read More
House of Juliet, Punakha had a real version of Romeo (Singye) and Juliet (Galem) from the 14th century. It’s a touching love story of two ordinary people and their extraordinary love for each other, who reunited after death. This historically built house which is in ruins now, belongs to Galem (Juliet). News has it that it is getting converted into a museum of love!
After breakfast, drive to valleys of Punakha, en route visit the Dochu La Pass and Chimi Lhakhang temple Dochu La Pass - a mountain pass in the snow covered Himalayas. The Pass on a clear day offers a magnificent view of the snowcapped mountains of the Himalayas.Request A Call Back
This morning, drive to valleys of Punakha,en route visit the Dochu La Pass - a mountain pass in the snow covered mountains. The Pass on a clear day offers magnificent view of the snowcapped mountains of the Himalayas.In the afternoon, visit the majestic Punakha Dzong, majestically located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. One of the most picturesque ancient fortresses, it was constructed in 1637-38 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and was the seat of Bhutan's government until Thimphu was established as the new capital in 1955.You can stay in-
Punakha - Hike & Raft!Our day started with a refreshing hike to Khamsum Yule Namgyel chorten (a temple above a small hill which takes an hour to hike). Cab driver took Rs. 300 to take us to the starting point of the hike. The hike was not very strenuous. We could reach the chorten in 45 min. The view was amazing from up there with the river zigzagging across the valley. Clear blue skies with thick white clouds made the view even more spectacular. The chorten was a 4 storeyed temple with Guru Rinpoche on the Ground, 1st and 2nd floors and Buddha on the 4th floor which also is a sort of small terrace with a breathtaking 360° view of the valley.
It was on offer for Rs 2500 then which now would cost 4500INR. The food is local and costs 500 for each meal. The staff is very friendly. One can indulge in their local sport, archery or go trekking to the nearby hills! They are extremely friendly and lovely people!Read More
It was on offer for Rs 2500 then which now would cost 4500INR. The food is local and costs 500 for each meal. The staff is very friendly. One can indulge in their local sport, archery or go trekking to the nearby hills! They are extremely friendly and lovely people!
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Lying on the India-Bhutan border, Jaigaon is not a tourist place, but is frequented by tourists on their way to Bhutan. The border area is the location of the majestic Bhutan gate, which brings you face to face with Bhutanese architecture. The gateway is covered in beautiful illustrations of dragons and has authentic Bhutanese artwork all over it. The town has many small and big hotels, where you can halt the night before moving on to get the visa at Phuentsholing, on the other side of the gate. The border area has some street side food stalls, which sell momos and chowmein. The Jaigaon region is quite small and can be easily covered on foot. This destination also houses the very unique Dalsinghpara Buddist church, which is an amazing amalgamation of Buddhist engineering and Christian spirit. Read More
We boarded our train from Ahmedabad, yes you read it right. We started on a 52-hour journey from Ahmedabad to New Cooch Behar (Somewhere in West Bengal). The train got delayed, obviously while crossing UP and Bihar, and we reached our destination 16 hours late. Yes, we were in that train for 68 hours. After reaching Cooch Behar, we found a hotel to stay overnight and left for Phuentsholing the next morning. Jaigaon is the last town before we crossed the border and reached the beautiful country of Bhutan. The difference in the two sides, though just divided by a large gate, was clear and there were no honks, roads were clean, drivers were obeying traffic rules and you could sense the calm surroundings.
-The grilled wall running between the two villages is the Indo-Bhutan border.The friendship of the two countries is directly exhibited by the smooth traffic flow through the Bhutan Gate near Jaigaon. The Royal Kingdom Of Bhutan welcomes the Non- Bhutanese visitors with a stamp on their passports.
Gangtok to Thimphu via Phuentsholing Following the only plan we had, we took a shared cab from Gangtok and after crossing through a numerous tea garden on the route, we reached Jaigaon. Jaigaon is as 'India' as it can get. Excuse the adjective but what I mean is crowd, of thousands, traffic for over a kilometre and vendors on the streets, chilling like everything is just fine. And I'm too habitual to detest any of it.
As Bhutan immigration office was closed, I had to stay back at border town of Jaigaon. It is small place and mostly people who have come to visit Bhutan and are taking a day off for rest post their long journey stay there apart from locals. Interesting thing about this place is that they except Bhutanese currency. I suggest you take a Bhutan sim because if you have automatic network selected on your phone and get in Bhutan network you will be charged heavy roaming. I took Tashi sim. They have tourist sims of 1 month validity. Get it from their Phuentsholing office. Internet is really good throughout Bhutan on Tashi Network even at Tiger's Nest trail in Paro :D.Eat- Momos, Chowmein.
Best time to visit - March,April,May,September,October
A thriving commercial centre and a gentle mix of various ethnicities, Phuentsholing is a beautiful small town located in southern Bhutan. This is the town where the gorgeous big Bhutan gate is located and also where you can get your visa to visit Bhutan. While you wait for the visa, you can visit the Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang, a small temple representing the heaven of Guru Rinpoche, located at the city centre. This temple houses statues of manifestations of Guru Rinpoche and paintings on Buddha's life and times. The Kharbandi Goemba situated in the city is a charming monastery illustrating the life of the Buddha. From the monastery garden, you can get a fascinating view of Phuentsholing town and its surrounding plains. The local landscape and markets are fun to explore and offer the first peak in Bhutanese life! Phuentsholing has a great food scene as well. Don't forget to try the delicious meat dumplings and the chicken corn soup at the Zen restaurant. Once you are done exploring the quaint towns and completing all government formalities, take a bus or cab forward to visit Paro or Thimphu. Read More
Day 1: Delhi -> Bagdogra -> PhuntsholingWe, a group of seven people had finalized our Bhutan trip in April. As four of us stay in Delhi and three were coming from Kerala, we opted for landing at Bagdogra Airport and then taking a cab provided by our travel agent to cross the border gate and reach Phuntsholing. We reached Phuntsholing in around four hours around 10 PM and instantly the unique and intricate building designs let us know that we have left our country behind. We went to our hotel to sleep, eagerly waiting for our trip to kick start properly the next day.
We got our local visa sorted at the passport office right next to the border and it roughly took an hour and a half. You can only take passes for Thimphu and Paro from this office, for all the other areas, you will have to take passes either from Thimphu or Paro. We took a traveller from Phuentsholing at around 2 pm and reached Thimphu around 8-8.30 in the night where we were welcomed by our amazing host at the pre-booked Airbnb Villa.
Day 3: The zeal was at its par once we reached to New Alipurduar from there we took mini bus to Pheuntsholing- The gateway of Bhutan by road from India.The next spot to explore was Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang: This city centre temple represents the heaven of Guru Rinpoche. Again the chilled evenings waited for the sun to rise with every single day getting close to summer.
Today, after breakfast drive back to Phuentsholing - the gateway to the south and thriving commercial trade centre on the northern edge of the Indian plains. On arrival, check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Phuentsholing (B)
We went to Bhutan for a getaway as a small trip and it turned out to be as great as any other place we've been to. We reached the border town of Phuentsholing by train from Guwahati and checked into the Druk Hotel which is one of the good ones in this border town. Getting into this border town doesn't take any special permits or formalities since Bhutan and India are on very friendly terms. We only have cross the border gates and these close after 11pm.
PhuentsholingFollowing a late start, we got slowed down due to bad roads, lot of constructions on the road which slowed our progress. The weather also din't help, and we took a right at alipurduar towards Bhutan. Bad roads and heavy rains again slowed us down and we reached Bhutan past the chaotic traffic on the indian side of the border by 1:30PM.
If the hotel doesn't give you the form, don't panic, you will get at the immigration office. Process takes 1 - 2 hours, because of long queue and slow execution. If you are taking a car on hire or driving your own car ( India registration number), the car and the driver too need the immigration approval. Saturdays and Sundays, office remains closed. So, plan accordingly.Spent the night at Phuentsholing. To go further into Bhutan, we booked a cab for our entire 5 day trip at a total cost of 2800/day.25 October, 2016Started for Thimpu from Phuentsholing at 10. 30 am and reached Thimpu at 3.30 pm.Here, on this route, you actually start witnessing every aspect of the 'Happiest Country of the World'. A drive through beautifully pitch-paved mountain roads, waterfalls on the way, rolling mountains and valleys, small village settlement with a cluster of 50-75 houses, meandering rivers, white fluffy clouds hanging down from a clear azure sky, thin air and a pleasant nip! Bliss.
Phuntsholing :As I was travelling in winter, it was cold. From -4 to 10 degrees, the climate changed. I was OK with that. So in the morning, i gave the place a try. I was accustomed to Bhutan tradition. I came to know the various temples and the people behaviors. Temples or Monasteries are called Dzongs. The thing you note about Bhutan is their Prayer flags. They are tied such that, their customs and tradition be spread along the air. I found a trail which showed me a way to a river called Torsa River.
You can see the difference as soon as you enter the gate. People of Bhutan usually follow dress code. You can even buy those in the market for around 2000 Ng. The roads are clean, People are friendly, It is happy Bhutan after all.As it was late, there were no busses and I had to stay in a hotel there for the night and thought of exploring Phuntsholing first. Remember Bhutan is 15 minutes ahead of us. If you cross the border, the time is different. If you have booked anything, follow BST not IST. If you reach Jaigon at 5:00 pm. It means it is 5:15 pm in Bhutan.
Phuentsholing is the first border town you enter. To win the permit race you have to reach the immigration office well in time. You get a 15 day window in Bhutan, so make the best of it. Taking a Druk-Air flight to Paro is a smoother option if comfort is priority. Passport is not mandatory, any other government authorized document (preferably Voter Id card) will do. Don't forget to carry 2 passport photos for the formalities.Time & MoneyThe currency (Ngultrum) is at par with the Indian Rupee sparing you of all the mental math. Also, Indian notes are accepted everywhere making it more convenient. Time Zone is GMT+6 i.e. half an hour ahead of us, so chances are you will always be running late.Elements of BhutanPeople and Culture
Hotels and Homestays in Bhutan 60 Hotels
Weekend Getaways from Bhutan
292 Kms from Bhutan
We chose to arrive in Lhasa by travelling on the world’s highest railway, a journey of breath-taking beauty that lasts 24 hours from the Chinese city of Xining, and crosses the Tanggula Passat 5072m. Arriving late at night, we were greeted by our guide in Lhasa with khatags, the white silk ceremonial scarf that is commonly given in Tibet as a sign of welcome. This was the first of many khatags we received. Lhasa literally means 'The abode of the gods'.Read More
We chose to arrive in Lhasa by travelling on the world’s highest railway, a journey of breath-taking beauty that lasts 24 hours from the Chinese city of Xining, and crosses the Tanggula Passat 5072m. Arriving late at night, we were greeted by our guide in Lhasa with khatags, the white silk ceremonial scarf that is commonly given in Tibet as a sign of welcome. This was the first of many khatags we received. Lhasa literally means 'The abode of the gods'.
The land of the abominable snowman,they call it.Our first major destination in Lhasa was the Potala Palace.The entire site was as clean as it was touristy. We were limited to a visit of only 1 hour due to the integrity of the structure (it could risk collapse from the weight of too many visitors) but all in all it was absolutely gorgeous. The temples were just breathtaking and I enjoyed watching the monks walking from room to room continuing their daily tasks all the while examining the hundreds of different rooms, shrines and statues.After taking in the Potala Palace, we were set free to enjoy Johkang Temple and the surrounding vicinity that’s known as the Backhor Streets. It was quite interesting to see the layers of culture in such a small place. Lhasa was a much larger city than I had anticipated. Shops and stalls lined every corner and were filled to the brim with Tibetan prayer beads, necklaces, singing bowls, yak blankets and many other ornaments. Tibetan & Chinese restaurants filled the streets with an almost intoxicating smell of yak meat, bread & other cultural foods.We then explored both the Drepung Monastery & Sera Monastery. The Drepung Monastery, which happened to be the Dalai Lama’s old winter residence (up until the 5th Dalai Lama moved it to the Potala Palace), happened to house the largest amounts of monks in Tibet. We were very lucky to arrive just as many of them were gathered for their afternoon lunch and meditation sessions. The energy that protruded from them was nothing short of intense!Later, we passed through Gangbala Pass with a quick pit stop at Yamdrok Lake where we took some very scenic pictures of turquoise blue waters that were overlooked by snow-peaked mountains.
161 Kms from Bhutan
Best time to visit - October- April
Often called as the "Queen of all Hill Stations", this is one of the most popular in the whole world. This place is wrapped by everything beautiful nature has blessed the Earth with. Darjeeling is located in the lap of the Mountain Kanchenjunga and crowned by the mighty Himalayas, there is tranquility everywhere you see. There is the bright red hue of blooming rhododendrons, the peaceful white of the magnolias and also the silvery white firs all spread over the hills and the stretches of hills covered with the emerald color tea bushes. If you are out during the early mornings, the clouds will cross across your face. This is a perfect place for a tourist, ornithologist, trekker, a photographer and children too. The famous toytrain of Darjeeling is now a Heritage of Bengal. The other nearby attractions are Mirik, Mall, Batasia Loop, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Dooars Valley. A trip to this beautiful place is sure to fetch you a lot of memories to be etched in your heart forever.Read More
The hotel is located within a few minutes distance from the Gandhi Road. The property was actually a residential family property. The couple came up with the idea of constructing a hotel for the tourists. They constructed the upper floor for lodging and the ground floor was kept for the restaurant and café.
Things to do: Take a ride on the Himalayan Railway to the Ghum Monastery; have a candlelight dinner at the iconic Glenary's; take an hour-long walk from the main town to the picturesque Happy Valley Tea Estate; try your luck at spotting a red panda at the Singalila National Park.
DarjeelingThose who want to avoid the Darjeeling crowd can stay at Rangaroon and yet get all the taste of Darjeeling tour. You can easily make a day trip to Darjeeling and visit all the places of attraction. Visit the Darjeeling Zoo, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling Mall and other places of interest. You can also take a visit to the Ghoom Monastery and the railway Museum at Ghoom Station.Stay At:There is only one homestay at Rangaroon. – Khaling Cottage Homestay. It is a very beautiful homestay having 4 rooms in total. The hosts are really friendly and go all out to make your stay comfortable and memorable. Their motto is "Come as guests, Leave as family". And the will really become your family after your stay.
How wrong can I be?! The climate at Tiger Hill – the famous spot to see the mighty mountain, put the one at Pelling to shame. The huge crowd gathered on the hill sadly started walking back with disappointment.Like at Sikkim here also the tour was arranged by the hotel people. The morning tour included two more spots also for which I didn’t bother to get up from the seat at all in that rainy climate.Another cab came around 9.30 AM for the next round of sightseeing called the 5 point tour. The climate was villain again at many spots.
We got ready by 4:30 in the morning , as we were scheduled to watch the Sunrise from the Tiger Hill. But the driver got very angry. As per him , 3:30 would be the best time to depart. And while our journey to we realized why. There were hundreds of vehicles were going from there to the same destination. The roads were filled up with cars. As we were already late, the only way to got there before sunrise was fastening our seat-belts and allow the driver to drive as fast as possible. That exactly what we did. That was heck of a driving. Never forget that. But despite of the furious drive, we actually thanked the driver when we reached at Tiger Hill 5:25 am.
"You need to come out from your comfort zone, for your career, for you traveling as well" It was a lazy morning , I got up really late. We were about to go for sightseeing at about 2:00. So, I was just enjoying the fresh morning. And then we got the news. Dipu's friend , who was told to book the returned ticket, failed to do so. There were no train for return. We were about to return on the next day. Nobody's data network was working except mine. It might not been happened if we planned it and executed it ourselves. Regarding train, there was no other option except returning in unreserved coach. But there is no point of thinking on the matters you don't have your hand. There's nothing we could do until next day. So , we moved out for sightseeing. The roads were full of cars. Most of them are narrower than the city's one way road. We forced to skip few places for traffic. We should have started in the morning. Some places we missed - Singallila National Forrest ( Famous for rear Red Panda), Tenzing Rock (offers rock climbling).What we enjoyed -
We have planned only half day for darjeeling but most of the points are to be visited early in the morning starting from sunrise at Tiger Hills, so we are hopeful that we will be able to do it.We are ready to travel while raindrops pouring down from sky. We are having only one rucksack with rain covers. Our raincoats are ready and we are planning to go slow on wet roads. Separate poly bags are packed for keeping wet clothes, wallets and mobiles. Shoes and tough to dry clothes are avoided. Gears are packed, tickets are booked and we are all set to have an adventurous, energetic and drizzling bike trip. See you on the other side of the journey. Bye Bye.
Shopping (if needed) must be done in the evening as everything shuts early night due to fog and low visibility.The best season to visit Darjeeling is from March to May or October to November. Monsoons offer wonderful experience but there are chances of landslides. Winters are chilly and it sometimes snows in Darjeeling.
115 Kms from Bhutan
Best time to visit - September to December
Gangtok is the capital city of the north Indian state of Sikkim. Built up as a Buddhist journey site in the 1840s, the city got to be capital of an autonomous government after extinction of British principle, however it joined India in 1975. Today, it remains a Tibetan Buddhist focus and a base for climbers sorting out licenses and transport for treks through Sikkim's Himalayan mountain ranges. Settled inside higher crests of the Himalaya and relishing a year-round gentle calm atmosphere, Gangtok is at the center point of Sikkim's tourism industry. The accommodation business is the biggest business in Gangtok as the city is the main base for Sikkim tourism. Summer and spring seasons are the most prominent visitor seasons. Large portions of Gangtok's occupants are utilized specifically and in a roundabout way in the tourism business, with numerous inhabitants owning and working in Hotels. Ecotourism has risen as an essential monetary action in Gangtok which incorporates trekking, mountaineering, stream rafting and other practices. Read More
HIDDEN TREASURE OF EAST SIKKIMJust when my travel hang-over was not settling anything for less, after my 20 day long trip from South East Asia. Six day holiday started giving me crazy travel itch all over again. And, I decided to give festive chaos a miss, and escape to the land of wonder-"Sikkim" absolutely unplanned. "All I knew that I needed to head somewhere up in the hills to get some respite from the atrocious humid climate of Kolkata".So, with just a bus ticket that I manage to grab last minute, I arrived with my bag full of excitement and some bare essentials in Siliguri, after 17 hours of arduous journey (P.s. Kolkata to Siliguri highway is not really in perfect condition, so keep the road trip as a last resort). After managing to put myself in a ready-to-go further state, I grabbed another state bus ticket for Rs. 150 to Gangtok, which was about 125 kms from Siliguri (4.5 hours journey). Reached Gangtok at around 8.30 pm and quickly marched into the famous M.G. Marg, where I had thoughtfully pre-booked a bed & breakfast accommodation. Although, there are plethora of good and budget hotels/guest house in this strip.I had already visited Gangtok quite a few years back, so wasn't very keen on doing the city sightseeing again. As my initial idea was to head somewhere, where it was absolutely peaceful.Yes of-course, to get the glimpse of Gangtok city in a single day, some of the must do places are Nam Nam view point, Chorten Monastery, Cable car ride, Flower Show, and some of the other attractions are the Changu Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathula Pass which would require 1 full day and an inner line permit to be visited.
The capital state of Sikkim is the most favourable place to go, as Sikkim is one of the best tourist destinations in India. It’s beautiful scenic views of the Himalayas & Kanchenjunga doesn't hurt either! The residents of this city are very helpful & peaceful people. You can explore so many monasteries & stupas while here in Gangtok. There’s also an amazing mall road where you will get some very fashionable clothing on budget prices!
We left for Gangtok at 6 A.M the next morning. Usually a 5 hour drive from Pelling, we reached Gangtok at around 12 P.M as we stopped at the Alpine cheese factory and the Ravangla Buddha Park in between. If you love cheese as much as I do, you MUST check out the Alpine cheese factory right outside of Pelling. The staff there is extremely nice and would be happy to show you around the factory and answer all your questions about how cheese is made. You can also buy freshly made cheese from their factory outlet. The Ravangla Buddha Park too cannot be missed. With a 130 foot hight Buddha statue right in the centre of a beautifully landscaped park, you will fall in love with the spiritual and serene ambience of the park. After we reached Gangtok we quickly checked into hotel, Netuk House, a beautiful traditional Sikkimiese home built in the 1950’s with great facilities and service. After a quick bite at one of the eateries on our way the town centre, we started our site seeing for the day. We started with the beautiful Do Drul Chorten Stupa. Post that we went on the Gangtok ropeway, which I really enjoyed as the views of the town and the valley from up there were stunning. After that we checked out M.G Marg, the main shopping centre in Gangtok and picked up a few souvenirs. We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling in the flower exhibition centre and the Himalayan zoological park. You might also want to check out the Himalayan mountaineering centre. We went to the Hunuman tok to watch the sunset behind the Kanchenjunga. TOTALLY worth it. After a long and exhausting day of travelling and site seeing, we decided to relax, get early dinner at the famous roll house and check out the nightlife in Gangtok, which is indeed pretty happening. If you are someone who loves cozy and small bars with live music, then you will love the bars in Gangtok. We spent the night bar hopping, as most of these places are in close proximity, until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore. We got some amazing dessert at the Coffee Shop, which is extremely popular with the locals and went back to hotel to catch up on some sleep.
So after 4 hours of travel from New jalpaiguri (NJP) we reached Gangtok at around 6.30 or 7 pm . Before that we found a travel agency in NJP railway station from where we booked our stay of 5 nights and 6 days stay in Sikkim which includes free breakfast and lunch too.So the first day in Gangtok was scheduled for the local site seeing around Gangtok which includes really awesome places such asENCHEY MONASTERYHANUMAN TOKGANESH TOKRUMTEK MONASTERYHANDICRAFTSSo that day was really amazing but we were tired also at end of the day . One more thing is that after the local site seeing which will end at around 4 or 5pm you can explore MG MARG which is the heart of the Gangtok city.
Travel from Gangtok to Lanchung which is 118k away and will take you 4 hrs 30 mins by road. Best to hail a cab or bus to Lanchung, enjoy the view of the majestic Teesta river that flows along the winding road. Lachung has a lot to offer in itself, so plan to leave early from Gangtok.
DAY- 4Exploring Gangtok ( East Sikkim)
After visiting Tourism office at Gangtok thought of what could be done on day 2. While reading the brochure I found there is a place for paragliding. Since the morning had cleared up and sun was back was hoping there would be no rain. From the taxi stand inquired how to go about with it. Taxi people are friendly in Sikkim. So booked the taxi for whole day and he would take me to must visit places in Gangtok.First we went to Ban Jhakri Falls. There is a theme park coming up soon.
3. Adventure Junkie- Experience for life time!Are you young and energetic looking for adrenaline rush. Sikkim offers you several adventure activities to test your limits and over come your fears. Recently during my visit I tried Paragliding and White River Rafting and was an experience for life time. Once you soar high up in the air you break free like a bird and forget all your sorrow. The adrenaline rush in the fierce chilling water of Teesta is refreshing which rejuvenates your mind body and soul. Apart from that Sikkim also offer other popular activities like Cycling, Mountain Biking, Trekking.
2. Monasteries- Into the land of Monks!Are you fascinated by Buddhist culture and Monasteries. Sikkim will fulfill all your wishes which you are mesmerized by those colorful ribbons and flags with OM MA NE PADME HUM mantras tied high up in the air. The believe attached with it that the more higher it is tied up in the mountains the more sooner the mantras will reach into the GOD's ear. The monks which you have always imagined to experienced it and those prayer bell which you have seen only virtually in movies. Here are the few clicks from my recent visit in Gangtok:
250 Kms from Bhutan
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October
Tawang has always been in the midst of conflict and controversy. But if you look beyond the controversy, you'll discover beauty incomparable to any other. Tawang is well connected from Tezpur by air and rail and summer is the best time to visit and plan a holiday. The major tourist attraction here is the Twang Monastery, which is celebrated as the birth place of the 6th Dala Lama. Besides the monastery, the Sela Pass and Jang Waterfalls are also touristy places and should definitely be a part of your itinerary. The Penga Teng Tso Lake is frozen for 5 months in a year, but makes for a wonderful sight all through. Do book a cab to visit the lake since the roads are a little tricky and are best managed by a local. Tawang is especially colourful in February when the Monpas, the native tribe, celebrate the Losar Festival (Tibetan New Year) and it really is a great time to be here. For foreign nationals, special permission is required to visit Tawang so do have all your papers in order. Before planning a holiday to Tawang, it's wise to research and also build contacts with the locals there to discover all the wonderful secrets of this splendid district!Read More
I spent a day in Tawang exploring its famous monastery. It's massive, to say the least. The Tawang Monastery is said to be the largest in India and the 2nd largest in the world.
The picturesque town of Tawang. It is known for its tranquil beauty and vibrant soothing energy. Talk of the hospitality or the amiable nature of the residents, the towering mountains overhead or the speeding thundering valleys. Tawang touches your soul in every amazing way.Rediscovering Northeast. 'Tawang', A MUST visit.
I somehow knew that my scars would continue to fester until I embraced a geographical change. Well, recruiting friends for company is difficult with most of them busy with their jobs, some were broke and a few simply not the game for it. I faced with the dilemma of whether to sulk in unhealthy dose of self pity or travel without a company. It didn't took me long to recognise that travelling made room for much needed self-reflection and a decluttering of the mind. I was pretty much impressed by Buddhism on my earlier trips to Ladakh. My Boss was kind enough to give me a 7 day break to reboot and refresh my mind for I had not taken a vacation in the past 6 months. Tawang was a natural choice for me, though the region is prone to heavy rains and landslides during May-June. I was skeptic about the whole idea initially, but the vision of beautiful valleys and lakes for photography was too exciting. How to reach Tawang?The nearest airport is Tezpur which is about 300 km away. In addition, there are a very few flights to Tezpur from rest of India. The best option, therefore is Guwahati which has one of the busiest airports in the entire northeast. Guwahati is located 480 km from Tawang and is connected to all the major cities in India. One can drive down to Tezpur from Guwahati Airport, which is about 4 hours away. Tata Sumo, Mahindra Bolero or Maruti Eeco are easily available for hire from Tezpur to Tawang. Taxis charge approximately ₹ 7k-8k. It's a 16 hours long journey from Tezpur to Tawang which holds you tight with its unparalleled beauty and the gift of nature displayed in every inch of the land. On the way, you would be able to see the beautiful Tenga Valley, Bomdila, the spectacular Sela Pass and lake, the Jaswantgarh Memorial and the famous Nuranang or Jang falls. While at Tawang A lot of good hotels are available in Tawang which provide comfortable stay and great food as well with charges ranging from ₹ 1000- 3000 per night. It gets extremely cold at night so carrying woollens and warm clothes is a must. The hotels generally have tie ups with local travel agents to provide vehicles to visit in and around Tawang. They charge around ₹4000-5000 to take you to all the places around Tawang which includes the Tawang Monastery, Tawang War Memorial, Bum La, Taktsang Gompa, Shongatser Lake and Pankang Teng Tso. The journey from Tawang to Shongatser lake is a mesmerising one with a number of isolated lakes and beautiful valleys. The best time to visit Tawang is Feb-Mar, Oct-Nov and Apr-July. You got to watch out for extreme cold and unhygienic roadside food. And hey, the civilians require something known as the Inner Line Permit (ILP), as Tawang is located near the international border with China. ILP can be easily obtained from Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Tezpur and the Tawang district headquarters It takes approximately 10-12 hours for the process. It's the best to apply for it at Tawang itself as you can plan a day out there itself. For more details you can visit the Arunachal Pradesh tourism website. Tawang is a heaven for photographers and nature lovers out there. Don't forget to carry your medicines for motion sickness, sun-tan lotion, sun hat, goggles, raincoat and an umbrella. For all you hesitant solo travellers, don't let your fear stop you. Travelling solo allows us to know ourselves a little better. And, remember you hold the power to your feelings and being your own doesn't equate with loneliness. So, chuck that damn phone away and strike a conversation with yourself. Bon Voyage!
Since I had to return the next day, I got in touch with the one of the local tour operators for my return to Tezpur. Next day morning I boarded the cab from the guest house and said good bye to our beautiful host Dehra Lama and he wished me all the best in his own unique gesture of folding the hand. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture with him (forgot to take one).Being a curious guy myself to know more about the places and people. I had good interaction with the migrants here (mainly Bengalis and Biharis) and how they have come to be here and doing business. Also, interacted with ITBP personnel and his experience. All these talks gives us a fresh perspective into a life outside ours and changes our thinking in some way or the other.I stayed overnight in Tezpur at one of the guest house nearby the bus stand. Next morning, I took the Volvo to Guwahati and then reached airport in a cab to board my flight in the afternoon.My journey ended with lots of beautiful memories which I have tried to put above. I would suggest to go out and explore. Life is meant to be enjoyed and experienced and what better way than travelling and meeting people.I am now locating a new place to visit. Signing off. Inbox me for contacts and any suggestions if you want visiting these places.
TawangAfter 5 long hours of driving through the hilly terrain we reached our elusive destination Tawang. Tawang is synonymous with the Tawang Monastery, the mammoth structure very easily visible from far away in the hills. It is the soul of the Tawang hill people. Spirituality flows from here. The monastery is the 2nd largest in the world after the Potala palace in Lhasa.
After Sela you will pass the Jaswant Singh War Memorial. He fought the Chinese in the Sino-Indian war of 1962. You can google more on this place. Jaswant Singh has been elevated to the position of a saint and the local believe that he protects the valley from disaster. This war memorial has on the outside beautiful quotes engraved on the walls and the stones. One thing in Buddhism is that they have heart touching quotes.
This picturesque town in Arunachal Pradesh is located at an elevation of 2,669 meters and is cradled in the Himalayas. Covered in glistening snow for most parts of the year, Tawang has an exotic elegance, with its pristine wildness, criss-crossed by gushing streams, surrounded by deep valleys and glassy lakes in a mountainous backdrop, making it one of the perfect places to visit in May in India. The streets are dotted with monasteries, as most of the people residing here are Buddhists. The whisper of the Tashi Delek can be heard all along the valleys as one treks along the region, seeking pleasure in adventure!How to get there: Tezpur in Assam is the nearest major transit point to Tawang and is well-connected by rail, air and road. From Tezpur, government and private buses ply at regular intervals, SUV s could be hired as well.
Why go? The geographical position of Tawang at the northeastern edge of the country makes it a truly offbeat travel destination. This picturesque town lies 10,000ft above sea level, bound by Tibet on the north, Bhutan on the south-west and the cultural uniqueness sets it apart from any other destination in India.Things to do: Tawang Monastery, Taktshang Gompa and Urgeling Gompa are the chief religious attractions in Tawang. Beautiful lakes surrounding Tawang include Shonga-tser, Pangateng Tso and Nagula Lake. Gorichen Peak and Nuranang Falls are other great attractions in the vicinity.Budget tip for Tawang: Stay at Radiance International and earn up to 1000 JPMiles on booking with JetPrivilege hotel partners.
Tawang's Buddhist community is deeply rooted in the political history of the place, as until early 20th century it was a part of Tibet. This hill town in Arunachal Pradesh is home to the Tawang Monastery, which is largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. In Tibetan, the monastery is called Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to "celestial paradise on a clear night". The city preserves the culture and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in the magnificent Himalayas.Where to eat: During your stay at Tawang, definitely check out the small street vendors in the main market that sell the most delicious momos and other snacks. The Woodland Restaurant is known for its salt tea and Dragon Restaurant for chopsuey.Where to stay: There are several stay options in Tawang, and most are widely available on the internet. Check out this page to get exact details, names and contact numbers of available hotels. Radiance International is one of the most popular hotels in Tawang.How to reach: The nearest airport is in Tezpur (143km). From there you will have to either take a local bus or taxi to the Tawang Monastery, which will take up to 8 hours.
166 Kms from Bhutan
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,December
Kurseong, located about 30 km from Darjeeling, is for travellers who are looking to get away from the chaos of typical hill stations. With tea gardens as the region's landscape, Kurseong is as charming as it is lively and a perfect weekend destination if you are in West Bengal. There are a number of spots here that promise you an overwhelming view of the enveloping mountains – the most significant being the clear views of the mighty Kanchenjunga. Like any other hill station, Kurseong has its share of lovely touristy spots including Dow Hill, Eagle Craig and various tea estates including Makaibari Tea Estate (which is said to be the oldest tea estate in the region). If you are looking to explore the town completely, it's best to get in touch with some locals and discover hidden gems including trekking sites and birdwatching spots. Read More
299 Kms from Bhutan
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July
The twin towns of Malda and English Bazaar make for an unusual holiday destination. Serving as a gateway to Bengal, one usually spots Malda on the way to Siliguri from Kolkata. Malda is a very small city, though the places surrounding it are considered to hold great architectural significance. Some of these destinations are also mentioned by the Archaeological Survey of India, including Gour, Farakka Barage and Jouhra Kali Bari. Gour, the erstwhile capital of Bengal is home to the original footprints of Lord Mohammad and it is very well preserved here. Adina is home to a beautiful mosque and if you have a few hours to spare, this small town deserves a visit. If you are a history buff, Malda will be a pleasure to discover, though you'll have to do a little research before setting out to explore.Read More
When we reached at Malda it was already 12:30 am. We reached Souma's Aunt's place. Had some dinner , get some sleep for about 2:30 hrs. We had slept only 2-3 hrs in the last 24 hrs and traveled more than 300 km by road that was too in uncomfortable conditions.We boarded on the train from Malda at about 6 o'clock. Not that its the best place I have ever visited , but something was special about the Darjeeling trip. There are a lot of things I have learnt from this trip , most importantly -1. Never delay when you need a trip, no matter whatever it takes.2. Unplanned trips are better, but only for off seasons.3. If you want to go for unplanned trips always make sure of two things that you know about the place , and you are physically fit for any type of situation.4. It is hard to go for a unplanned trip that even in budget. But if you are physically fit enough to stay in any type of room, travel in uncomfortable conditions and not allergic to local foods , you can travel anywhere without planning and within budget too.5. Traveling makes you wiser, happier and more fearless - if you trust this you can travel anywhere no matter the hurdles comes in your way.
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