Bhutan – The land of dragons

Tripoto
3rd Oct 2012
Photo of Bhutan – The land of dragons by Mishti
Photo of Bhutan – The land of dragons by Mishti
Photo of Bhutan – The land of dragons by Mishti
Photo of Bhutan – The land of dragons by Mishti
Photo of Bhutan – The land of dragons by Mishti
Photo of Bhutan – The land of dragons by Mishti
Photo of Bhutan – The land of dragons by Mishti

Adventure yet peace then this is the place. Bhutan has everything within it - scenic beauty, pleasant climate, trekking, rafting, shopping, religious, good people, and happiness. Most of us would know, Bhutan measures its economy with GNH - Gross National Happiness, so the trip was all about happiness. 

Our journey starts from Delhi, so it was a long way and budgeted too. We took a Train from Delhi (ANVT) to Siliguri (NJP). We reached NJP somewhere at 7ish AM, it was journey of 22 hours. From the station itself we hired a prepaid taxi for Jaogaon, thats the India border for Bhutan. Day 1 - We took a taxi which took around 4.5 hrs to Jaigoan, the route wasn't that great, most of it rode on kachcha road. The driver dropped us close to 12ish around 200m away from the Huge Dragon Gate which stands on the land of two country. We walked to the permit office beyond the gate and got our permit done. For "Smoker" - there is a separate permit is issued which takes some time (I know this cos we lost say around 2-3hr cos of the smoke permit). Also, smoke is expensive up at Thimphu, so, better carry it from Phunetsholing, its the Bhutan side land called, basically the land beyond the Gate. Our next destination was Thimphu, as thats the heart of the city and our hotel was booked there, so we took a sharing taxi from Phunetsholing to Thimphu @ ₹300/-per person. Even buses are available and since the road is beautiful, bus is recommended as it costs @ ₹50/- Since the frequency of bus isn't many so we missed the last bus. The drive to Thimphu was fun & risky as there was rock rolling down from hills, hail storms, complete foggy, I guess the driver was accustom of driving in such situation. We started somewhere around 4ish pm and reached Thimphu around late 9ish, all thanks to the sudden change in the weather. We checked in and rested that night, the weather wasn't too pleasant to step out and we were tired too. Day 2 - At Phunselling, Permit office issue permit for only Thimphu & Paro, rest is issued at Thimphu. So, we got our permit for Punakha, Wangdue & Haa. Throughout the day, we walk around the city and explore few Dzong, food joints and of course, I shopped a little while my guy friends were catching up with drinks ;) The city is superb safe, people are very helpful, most of them understands Hindi. We ended our day at Tower clock, its an awesome place to relax. We also figure out a driver to take us out of the city and also within. Day 3 It was Punakha day. We left our hotel post breakfast say 8ish and drive straight to Punakha. The place is called Switzerland of Bhutan and it justifies it completely. The most beautiful place in Bhutan. We straight headed to Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery as our driver suggested the earlier we reach the better n beautiful it is. Its a peaceful and tranquil place, I could have stayed there forever. It's a place where young nuns do their studies meditation & prepare for future priests.It has a 14 feet bronze statue with 11 heads & 1000 arms. Situated on pine valley has excellent natural scenic beauty. We spend there some 2 hours . Our next destination was Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, this is situated on a hill top and can be reached by walking through paddy fields and trekking uphill through the forest The hike starts after you park next to the Punatsangchhu river and then cross a suspension bridge (made of iron, I suppose). Crossing the bridge itself is fascinating as the river underneath is full and in a hurry to reach somewhere! Our driver was all the time with us to support. The scenery of the chortan on the other side of suspension bridge was a delight in itself,a journey I would have made even if I had to reach there in half hung position via the suspension bridge. Our third spot was Punakha Dzong, situated between two rivers Pochu (male) & Mochu (female). The Dzong is picturesque and peaceful, we spend say around 2 hours there. I can't write much about the place, could still feel it and always want to go back to the calmness of that deep. On way back to Thimpu, we stop at few more places such as Chimi Lahahang Temple, some lake, one Dzong which isn't much known. Basically, our driver has the patience to stop everywhere we wanted to, he was very co-operative and friendly. We reached Thimphu late 9ish, by then all the shopping centre and most of shops were close. Since, throughout the day we compromised on food, so we went to one of the bestest of the food joint and HOGGED...day ends here. Day 4 - Wangdue & Thimphu - Wangdue being a small village, there isn't much to see. But where ever there is peace, you can't ignore. We also witness Archery practice between the Ministry & local public for some upcoming Archery festival . This was first time in life I saw Archery competition, people were dressed like highland dress and shooting their arrows targeting to touch it sky, I was so amused. Rest of the day we explore Thimpu. Since Thimphu is capital of Bhutan, its a unique place where traditional meets with Modernity and becomes picturesque and lovely. we started with Thimpu Dzong which was built in 12th century and many times shaken cos of earthquake and fire but still holds the beauty. Then Thimphu Chorten, this chorten was crowded with locals as it is easily accessible, it has a gigantic praying wheels at the top which is a unique point of it. we also went to Buddha Dordenma. In the year 2012 this was under construction. Built at height so that Buddha can keep an eye on whole of Thimphu, this is what our driver told us and it seemed to be true as you can see this 169 ft statue of Buddha from anywhere of Thimphu . We also explored few of the culture places such as Tango Buddhist Institute, Choki Traditional Art School and also to a small zoo. Other sight seeing places such as where officers of the Thimpu stays, few Parks, few schools & colleges and one beautiful stadium and look at our LUCK, the same day King of Bhutan was playing football there, thats where or day ends...ending up seeing The King of the Bhutan playing football.
Day 5 - This was our Tiger Next day...so we woke up early morning and left the place by 6ish, Paro is just 60km away from Thimpu, so we should have taken say one an half hr to reach but we halted at few places like few falls on the ways, Paro Airport, and to have breakfast too. With all charged up, we thought The Taktsang Monstery trek would be best fitted thing and so we went for it . We reached there say late 8ish and started our trek early 9ish. We carried a bag pack stuffed with water bottles (2lt) but please don't do this mistake as while trekking up all you need to be light, moreover there are lot of waterfalls on the way which is hygienic and good to drink. Everything else we left in the car and trust me when we came back even a piece of paper didn't move, Bhutanese are real honest people. Hiking was fun, we met lot of people from different part of the world, chit chatting, enjoying the weather, hoping to kiss the destiny soon we kept going up. In mid way, they have a cafe - a tiny food joint @ premium price with toilets facility. Hitting the rocks, passing the trees, listening to the music played by the waterfalls, We took 3 to 3.5 hrs to reach the Tiger Nest, and everything was worth for the view & the peace which was built supremely high. Standing high there I was wondering who could built something so beautiful & unique at such a height. Across the tiger nest, flows a waterfall, calm yet so fast, cool yet so much heat within, warning not to come close or might take along, though I didn't get the message, so crossed the bridge to sit on the rock from where water was flowing, please dont do that, its risky and too slippery, the monks became red at my dare, later i realised it wasnt a dare but stupidity. The whole trek would happily take a day, so no more exploring in Paro for the day. We spend the night at Paro. At Paro there are few good restaurant. So, don't order food anywhere. Next day was the last day for the Dragon Country and it was our Paro day ...so we went to a Mask Museum, Few Dzongo, one beautiful park and post lunch left for Phuentsholing. For the all drive the cab took 3K. The cab dropped us at the place from where we took a auto to the nearest railway station, from there we took a train to NJP, ending the beautiful journey.
1 Comment(s)
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hi! I'm planning to travel Bhutan this May! and solo!! will I be able to get a permit!? Kindly do share info regarding this! Thank you! :)
Sat 04 16 16, 00:28 · Reply (2) · Report
for Paro & Thimpu, rest you get in Thimpu. the best time to visit Bhutan is Oct. But May too gonna be pleasant. Happy Journey!
Mon 05 16 16, 21:21 · Report
Hey Athul! getting a permit of Bhutan isnt difficult for Indian, its easier if you carry for passport along. For smoking permit they might check your luggage thoroughly which takes time but permit is granted. At Phunetsholing you get permit either
Mon 05 16 16, 21:19 · Report