Experiencing Peace in the land of thunder dragons, Bhutan

Tripoto
22nd Jan 2015

Prayer bells on the way to Taktsang

Photo of Prayer bells on the way to Taktsang by Ajanta Boro

Trail to Taktsang

Photo of Trail to Taktsang by Ajanta Boro

Taktsang

Photo of Taktsang by Ajanta Boro

Reflection-sunrays in the water

Photo of Reflection-sunrays in the water by Ajanta Boro

Snow

Photo of Snow by Ajanta Boro

View of Taktsang fromTaktsang cafe

Photo of View of Taktsang fromTaktsang cafe by Ajanta Boro

Cafe not to hang-out but to hang-in for long

Photo of Cafe not to hang-out but to hang-in for long by Ajanta Boro

Dochula pass

Photo of Dochula pass by Ajanta Boro

108 stupas in Dochula

Photo of 108 stupas in Dochula by Ajanta Boro

Takin-national animal of Bhutan

Photo of Takin-national animal of Bhutan by Ajanta Boro

Dream is to bike to this cafe from Thimpu

Photo of Dream is to bike to this cafe from Thimpu by Ajanta Boro

Butter-tea"Suja"

Photo of Butter-tea"Suja" by Ajanta Boro

Bird's eye view of Thimpu Town

Photo of Bird's eye view of Thimpu Town by Ajanta Boro

Buddha Point

Photo of Buddha Point by Ajanta Boro

Tashichho Dzong

Photo of Tashichho Dzong by Ajanta Boro

Enjoy a local match(Changlimithang Stadium)

Photo of Enjoy a local match(Changlimithang Stadium) by Ajanta Boro

Way to Paro from Thimpu

Photo of Way to Paro from Thimpu by Ajanta Boro

Standing Buddha

Photo of Standing Buddha by Ajanta Boro

Clarification: Cost of the trip would have been halved, had I not taken a flight for the return journey (shortage of time ) and with temperature in minus, invested on a medium budget hotel and booked a cab twice on my own (had I taken the shared ones, cost would have halved further).

Trains till Hasimara from Howrah/ Seldah are the best option. Half an hour shared rickie ride from there on you reach Jaigaon. Cross-over and you are in Phuentsoling in Bhutan. Reached there at 1:10 PM(IST) and realised it was lunch time for the immigration office. Luckily, IST+30 mins is BST, but better be ready for a long wait in the immigration office as there is always a long queue before you even enter. Luckily, help from a friend made the process a smooth one and bingo! I got my permit in 10 mins. Shared Cabs at Rs 600  Rs 1000 per person or personal cabs at Rs 2600 are available. Took 6 hours to reach Thimpu but that was because me and the cabbie were enjoying Bhutanese music and chatting along. One moment that took my breath away was -driving through Gedu, a place always covered in fogs even during broad daylight. Peaceful countryside which made my brain plot out plans for camping out( have to explore that option) 

Thimpu was a clean small city and it was real cold but I could see youngsters heading out for "Party" to pubs/bars which stay open till 1 am on Fri and Sat.

The next day was a trek to Taktsang which usually people cover in 3 hours but I took double that time as I was busy absorbing the views and smiling back at the happy crowd who were returning back from Taktsang. Cameras are not allowed inside the monastery and if I try to describe it in words- the monastery is built on a cliff and once you are inside, can't make out where the mountain ends and the monastery starts, prayer rooms are breezy and there is room marked "Tiger's nest" - one can climb down the rocks and explore (which I couldn't). On the way back, Taktsang cafe is a cool palce to sit and enjoy a sip of coffee as you look towards the far-off view of Taktsang and the sun setting in.

Dochula Pass is another place to explore, especially the view of the 108 stupas and the history behind it was interesting. Just half an hour drive from Thimpu, one needs another permit to vist the pass. Buy apples from the road stalls on the way to Dochula( available all round the year). Buddha Point and the Tower Point are other places in Thimpu to be explored- one can get majestic bird's eye view of Thimpu.

Places I missed out were the Haa Valley, Chelela pass and Bumthang valley which I heard were really awesome.

Food I will miss are the Thukpas, the local pork dish with red-rice and the butter tea. Druk Pizza has been recommended too.

I passed by many cyclists on my way to Dochula .I know now of  how I am going to explore Bhutan, the next time I am here-MTBs are available on rent here.

Also, Thimphu town is lined up with many karaoke lounges which can be explored.Shopping can be quite expensive, especially in the handicraft bazaar but the shops in the town are good enough- one can get memoribilias to take back home.

Another place to hang-out in the evening is the national stadium,a place one can sit and watch a football match that's being played by the locals.

The last day was a beautiful ride from Thimpu to Paro early in the morning. Paro airport has been described as the most dangerous airport and only nine pilots in the world are certified to fly there. But as I flew back home, the only thought that crossed my mind was that I am certainly coming back, there's so much more to explore, so much more to know and so much more to learn.

Peaceful and offers a view that needs to be absrbed slowly.
Photo of Taktsang Trail, Paro, Bhutan by Ajanta Boro
Butter tea to be sipped as you enjoy the breath-taking view of being surrounded by snow-capped mountains
Photo of druk wangyel cafe by Ajanta Boro
History of the place
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Ajanta Boro
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Ajanta Boro
Photo of Changlimithang Stadium, Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan by Ajanta Boro
View is awesome
Photo of Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu, Bhutan by Ajanta Boro