3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D)

Tripoto
2nd Aug 2018
Photo of 3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D) by Saurabh Sachan
Day 1

Day-1: Arrival in Phuentsholing, Arrival in Thimphu

It was my(the white tee guy) first time visit to a foreign land( although without any visa). I was joined by my two childhood friends Nishkarsh(the green tee guy) and Satyam( the know pain know gain guy) in siliguri(west bengal),who were coming directly from new delhi via flight(nearest airport- bagdogra(siliguri)) and whenever the trio unites, fun & frolic was expected to happen.

We decided to start our journey early in the morning via train. We boarded siliguri passenger at 5:00A.M and it took around 3hrs to reach Hasimara station(near Alipurduar).This train journey could not be missed as it gives a mesmerising  view of tea estates, dense forest, rivers, hills along the route. By 08:30 A.M. we left for Jaigaon(border district of India) by auto. You could easily get auto or cab outside station to jaigaon at reasonable fare. Distance to Jaigaon from Hasimara is around 20km(or 30min). You will see various tea estates along the route. After reaching jaigaon, we crossed the historic Bhutan Gate to enter into phuentsholing( no id proof required). Remember, In order to visit other cities of Bhutan, U need to have your itinerary preplanned and hotel bookings to be made in advance. So, without wasting much time we began to search for a travel agent.After searching for 1-2 hours, finally we got one, who agreed to provide 5 nights,6 days itinerary at Rs 9000/person that includes lodging and vehicle(wagonr) throughout the trip excluding meals. (We were lucky, that we were visiting in the off-season, else the cost would be too high). I would suggest to have a travel package in advance along with a vehicle for easily maneuvering between cities and also for sight-seeing, as the option of public tranport is very limited and time-bound. For getting the permit, you can provide xerox of either voter identity card or passport as proof of identification and 2 passport size photos. Permit allows to visit Thimphu, Punakha and paro districts of bhutan for a maximum of 15 days. However, To explore further parts of bhutan, you need to extend the permit from thimphu. Permits  are issued free of cost and the Immigration Office is open only on weekdays (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Bhutan Standard Time). Provide these proofs, photos to the travel agent, who will then complete all the formalities and get the permit from the immigration office. If you don't want to hire any travel agent, then simply go to the immigration office, which is just at a distance of 100m from bhutan gate,fill the permit form, produce the documents, itinerary list and get the permit. (Generally, in peak season you will find heavy queues, that will take even 1-2 days to get the permit). Also, Remember to have sufficient cash for your trip in 100 or 500 indian denomination notes or get it exchanged from the currency exchange counter in the immigration office. Upto Rs 500 indian currency notes are easily accepted throughout Bhutan. You could also purchase a bhutanese sim card from the immigration office. We got permit at around 16:00hrs and without causing any further delay we left for Thimphu- The Capital city of Bhutan.

## THIMPHU CALLING...

The drive from Phuentsholing to Thimphu (174kms/5-6hrs) goes across spectacular landscape with waterfalls, mountains, villages and towns and with constantly changing vegetation. As the night falls upon, temperature dips to 15-20 degree celsius, jackets came out and all we were searching for roadside eateries to refill our tummies and tea/coffee to keep us warm. Finally we got one DamView Restraunt(Damn,what a view...my inner voice said), ordered chole-bhature and tea(never thought that chole-bhature was this much famous in bhutan. However, its the only indian dish that was in the menu). As it was monsoon season, we were experiencing moderate showers throughout the length, but the road conditions were good,as it were maintained by India's Border Road Organisation(BRO). We reached our first destination at around 21:30hrs and was delighted to see the Thimpu city welcoming us. It was such a pleasure to watch city slip into darkness with all its lights on. Then, we reached our hotel, Hotel Welcome Home, olakha, Thimphu. It was located at the entrance of the city, however, on the outskirts of the main central Thimpu. Hotel was good for backpackers, hot and cold water arrangements were provided but the wi-fi was only limited to the dining area. First day of the expedition was a burnout, after having some dinner, we soon gone to bed to relax and collect some energy to explore more of Thimphu tomorrow.

The Three Muskeeters ????????????

Photo of Phuentsholing, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Go left for Jaigaon ↖️

Photo of 3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D) by Saurabh Sachan

The Tea Estates ☕☕☕

Photo of 3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D) by Saurabh Sachan

The Phuensholing city

Photo of 3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D) by Saurabh Sachan

Damn! View Restraunt ...Chole-Bhature!!!

Photo of 3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D) by Saurabh Sachan

Mind the curve!!!

Photo of 3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D) by Saurabh Sachan

Welcome to Thimphu... A dream came true!!!

Photo of 3 Musketeers on a Foreign Land, Explore Bhutan: A Secret Getaway to Happiness(5N/6D) by Saurabh Sachan
Day 2

Day-2: Thimphu Sight-seeing

Good morninggg...Thimphu. This morning was far different  from the usual days, watching beautiful sunrise enlightening the valley from the window looks so pleasant and enticing, which u can't give a miss. We began our day with a lighter breakfast from a corner eatery which gave a feel of landing in a lumberjack's camp. Everything was wooden including table, chair, stairs, floor giving an artistic interior look. We preferred koka (bhutanese maggi) and tea/coffee for breakfast. After breakfast, at around 09:00 hrs we began to explore Thimphu, our first stoppage was

a. National Memorial Chorten
     (Entry Fee- Rs 300 or 300Nu/person)

This is a large three tier Tibetan style chorten, where bhutanese people gather around for their daily worship. They come here to spin prayer wheels and walk around the chorten in a belief that it would bring good karma. Inside the chorten, you could see the main idol, standing tall behind the glass wall. People make their offerings in front of the idol that ranges from biscuits, chips, maggi or any edible item. The Walls had paintings of various deities and their preachings. Its a must visit place and also a delight to the photographers. After clicking some selfies and capturing moments soon we headed for our next stop. This time it's...

b. Buddha Dordenma statue(Buddha Point)
    (Entry Fees- zero)

To reach here, we have to drive up the hill in a zigzag. What we saw on reaching the top was a bliss to the eyes. It's so huge that Golden Buddha can be seen shimmering in the sun from almost any part of Thimphu. Perched on a hill, in all tranquility and peace, the 170 feet high buddha statue stands overlooking Thimphu 24x7 and bestows blessings to the world. But there's a secret, you are not looking at just one buddha, there are 125000  miniature buddhas encapsulated inside the glimmering golden chest. The statue was surrounded by bodhisattva's idols, the miracle sons of buddha offering their prayers, that were also very beautiful . There was a vast platform in front of the statue from where you get a breathtaking view of the valley, a paradise for nature enthusiasts & photographers. You could easily give 1-2 hours for the serene and peaceful environment.
At around 12:00hrs, we headed for lunch. Our driver stopped by in a restraunt near Norzin Lam. For the first time, we're trying Bhutanese cuisine. We ordered Thukpa and Bathuk(a variant of soupy noodles). I couldn't let my cravings wait for the bhutanese cuisine. However, The food was very delicious and i instantly became a fan of bhutanese food.
After the lunch, At around 13:00 hrs, we were now heading to...

c. Royal Takin Preserve, Motithang -
    ( Entry Fees - Rs100 or 100Nu/person)

Which is home to the national animal of Bhutan. Takin is an endangered  species whose head looks like a goat and body of a cow. We didn't enter the preserve and took shots of takin from a distance, as our time was precious. In my opinion, this can be skipped if you are short on time. Then, we headed for our next stop...

d. Royal Textile Museum
     ( Entry Fees - Rs 50 or 50Nu/person)
Its a museum dedicated to the textile history and culture of bhutan. Here, you could learn about the process of weaving of bhutan traditional dresses, Gho(for men) & kira(for women). Ground floor of the museum is dedicated to royal Gho, that includes the wedding dresses worn by the king and his wives. Upper floor focusses on traditional dresses, weaving techniques etc. The museum also have a shop where you could purchase some interesting books and  hand-made textiles & jewellery. However, photography NOT allowed. This stop will take your 15-20 minutes, without wasting much time we headed for our next stop...

e. Changangkha Lhakhang Monastery
      ( Entry Fees - zero)

This was our first visit to a bhutanese buddhist  monastery, situated over a ridge in Central Thimphu. The atmosphere was very calm and peaceful humming with pilgrims activity. Traditionally, parents come here to get auspicious names for their newborns or seek blessings for their children from the protector deity Tamdrin. Monastery was surrounded by a lane full of black and gold prayer wheels. Its a ritual to spin prayer wheels in clockwise direction so as to accumulate good karma and purifies negativities(bad karma). This place gives a serene view of central thimphu, we clicked some selfies and landscape shots and then headed for our next stop...

f. Simply Bhutan
    ( Entry Fees - Rs 300 or 300Nu/person)

Its a museum cum restraunt that also showcases an art gallery that would provide an enriching bhutanese experience. Here, you would get acquainted with a brief history of Bhutanese culture and tradition through  artifacts, music, dance performances, food, games and much more. Firstly, we were served with traditional wine in a traditional cup as a welcome drink, then a brief introduction began on various aspects including art, dance, music,weapons, utensils etc. The brief chat ended with an amazing game of archery. Here, you could also try traditional bhutanese dresses. The place is a must visit for sure, would take 30-45 mins of your time. Then we headed for our next stop...

g. National Folk Heritage Museum
    ( Entry Fees- Rs 30 or 30Nu/person)

Again one of the museum dedicated to preserving the traditional and ethical values of  indigenous and rustic lifestyle of bhutanese people. Here, you will learn about 17th century household tools and farming equipments, leopard skin bags, yak hair hats,
Water mill stone and much more. You would also  find the courtyard full of apple trees. However, plucking of apples is strictly prohibited. This place could be skipped if you are short on time. Soon, we headed for our next stop...

h. Tashichho Dzong-
      ( Entry Fees - Rs 500 or 500Nu/person)

It's a fortress located at the banks of river Wang Chhu. It serves as a monastery and also as the main secretariat for Bhutanese government in summer. It also has a throne room which serves as the seat for the ruling monarch. Its one of the most beautiful dzong in bhutan. It was around 17:00hours. and we were lucky to witness the royal change-of-guard/ flag de-hoisting ceremony from one of the view points, it was such an exciting experience. Its a bliss for photographers to capture spectacular  views of the beautiful dzong standing tall amidst nature. In the night, the fortress gets completely lit-up giving a magical appearance and breathtaking views to the eyes.
Things to remember- Always be in proper formals and never point fingers to anyone inside the dzong.
Its a must visit place. Till now we had covered almost all the view-points and there was still some time left for the sunset, so we decided to visit the market area of thimphu, so now we headed for...

i. Clock Tower Square, Central Thimphu

It is one of the most popular site among visitors, surrounded by hotels, restraunts, cafe's and souvenir shops. People usually visit  here in the evening to enjoy the night life, to attend a concert or a play(if only you're lucky), to spend some priceless moments, to go out for shopping or for some hangout plans. There  are nice and affordable restraunts in abundance around the clock tower that offer delicious bhutanese as well as indian delicacies.
After spending some quality time here, at around 18:30 hours. we headed back to the hotel. The sun began to lose its shine behind the  mountains, darkness slowly began to take cover over the city, citylights undergoing transition to illumination, it was like a Hide & Seek game in motion. With our day coming to an end, we had already started thinking about the dinner. After reaching hotel, we had tea/coffee that refreshens us slightly, a session of watsapp calls(thanks to hotel wifi),and then had light dinner.
Thimphu had an enthralling nightlife,ranging from casual bars to nightclubs featuring live music, dj sets and plenty of good times. Locally produced drinks were served here such as Druk lager(beer) and whiskey K5. However, you could also prefer red wine and peach wine which you could readily get from the liquor store at an affordable price.
Today was a slumber day, with no time for rest. We covered most of thimphu today, pleased with ourselves, now its time to fall onto the beds and get drifted to deep sleep.

FunFact-
# Bhutan doesn't have traffic signals... Seriously!!..m i not kidding??? Yes, every single one, including the children follow the traffic rules.
# You wouldn't find KFC, Macdonald's, Burgerking, Starbucks or any other western food chain in Thimphu.
# Cars like landcruiser & nissan leaf is a common sight here, which we don't normally see in India.

The Lumber's camp...our breakfast corner ☕

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The National Memorial Chorten

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The one with the chorten...!!!

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

What are they staring at ???

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The Buddha Dordenma Statue or Buddha Point

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The one with the Buddha...

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The Bodhisattva's...Beautiful !!! Aren't they??

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Tu khich meri photo!!!

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

What's in the menu for Lunch???

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Lunch is served... Let's attack ???

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Spot the takins ??? @ Royal Takin Preserve, Motithang

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Watching Sui-Dhaga @ Royal Textile Museum

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Keep it rolling!!!..Prayer wheels @ Changangkha Lhakhang Monastery

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Simply Bhutan... A Living Museum

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Traditional Wine in Traditional Cup

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Cheers to Bhutan!!!

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Who wanna sit on this horse saddle..???

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

What the folks??? @ National Folk Heritage Museum

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Apples khatte hai??? Bcz you can just look, can't pluck them...

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Buddha statue @ river front, Chhogyal Lam

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Day 3

Day-3: Dochula Pass, Punakha sight-seeing, Arrival at Paro.

It was a delightful morning again, and the thought of leaving Thimphu was also in our mind. Soon we got ready and backpacked our stuff. We thought of a heavy breakfast, so we preferred puri-sabji that was hopefully available in the hotel menu. It was now time to bid adieu to Thimphu with a heavy heart, and we promised ourselves to visit again, whenever the opportunity calls.

##PUNAKHA CALLING...
It was 09:00 hours and we had hit the road to Punakha that is a 3 hours journey (approx. 90 km) via Dochula Pass. However, we made our 1st stop at Dochula Pass.

j. Dochula Pass
   ( Entry Fees- zero)

Situated at 25km distance( 45 min ride) from Thimphu at an altitude of 3100m, this is one of the beautiful mountain passes from where you get to witness breathtaking picturesque of the snowladen himalayas. As soon as we stepped out of the car, chilly wind and foggy weather made their presence felt.
The place is a concentration of 108 memorial chortens or stupas(a.k.a Druk Wangyal Chortens) made in the honor of 108 bhutanese soldiers who died in the military operations. This place also hosts the annual Druk Wangyal Festival with grand vistas where you could witness the exquisite bhutanese art and culture. This should be a must see place on the list for the nature-lovers and the shutterbugs, it would easily take 1-2 hours of your time.
After countless panoramic photoshoots later, at around 12 noon, we finally hit the road with classic bollywood music in the background.
One hour later, our driver stopped by at a chorten on the way, from where we replinished  fresh and clean drinking water that is seeping from the mountains. At around 14:00 hours, we reached our destination..Punakha, we were quite exhausted and hunger was getting on to us. Options for meals were also very limited here. We took lunch in one of the restraunt, indian food was also available there. However, the food was average just to refill our tummy. Soon, we headed for our first stop in punakha.i.e.

k. Punakha Dzong
   ( Entry Fees-Rs 300 or 300Nu/person)

It is situated on the confluence of rivers Pochu(male) and Mochu(Female). Pochu has very strong and sturdy flow, whereas Mochu is very calm and gentle. It is one of the most majestic Dzongs in Bhutan. Its sheer magnificence is a delight to the onlookers. It serves as the monastery as well as the administrative office of bhutanese government  in winters. A walk across the wooden bridge would lead you to the main entrance of the Dzong. A steep flight of stairs would take you to the courtyard, where you could witness the presence of a big stupa and Bodhi tree. You would be amazed by the beautifully carved white walls, artistic doors and windows depicting their art and culture. Soon, a buddhist monk came in to guide us through the brief history of the Dzong, But don't expect  anything from me as i was busy clicking shots.
Then we entered the monastery that hosts a huge buddha statue along with various other statues perched on a platform. The walls were decorated with detailed paintings and scriptures that depicts the entire life-history of buddha. A few young monk scholars were invoved in deep study in unison. The entire atmosphere was so quiet and peaceful. This is also the venue of the famous royal wedding of king and queen of bhutan. This is also a must visit place on the list, it would take around 1.5-2 hrs of your time. After having a royal experience, now we were heading to our next stop which was 10-15 min away from the dzong. It's...

l. Suspension Bridge
      (Entry Fees- zero)

As we reached the venue, we were just awww  by the elegant & the breathtaking picturesque. The marvellous iron chain bridge is suspended over the robust Pochu river & spans around 160-180m connecting the Punakha Dzong to the rest of the valley. The bridge is draped with prayer flags all along the way and is a perfect spot for nature enthusiasts and the photographers. The bridge has iron mesh provided on the deck instead of wooden planks that makes walking across the bridge a thrilling experience. It would give  goosebumps and panic attacks to a few as the bridge sways a bit due to strong winds from the river beneath. Its a must visit place for adrenaline junkies. You could easily give 30-45 mins for the place. As we were short on time, we soon left for our next stop. This time it's...

m. Chimi Lakhang- The fertility temple
     ( Entry Fees- zero )

The temple requires a walking of around 15-20 min across lush paddy fields & small village lanes & passing though local houses. We were literally flabbergasted by watching an unusual sight, it was huge phalluses(erect penis) painted on the walls of almost every house. The locals were also selling key-rings, paintings & other phallus shaped accessories. After a little hike, we reached the door of the temple. We couldn't see anyone around, it was an absolute silence, that also freaked us a bit. We gathered courage to enter inside the temple. It was quite dark inside, with a monk involved in meditation. The walls were covered with paintings of phalluses & scriptures, truly it looks quite scary inside. We soon came out of the temple and backtracked our route towards the car. Now, let me tell you the history behind the temple. It's built for a "Divine Madman" who killed a demoness & buried outside the temple under the mound of a hill. Couples who have problems in conceiving offsprings visit the temple & are blessed miraculously with children.

It was our last stop in punakha & we decided to spend our night in Paro. So now, we hit the road to Paro. That's it from punakha...!!!

##PARO CALLING...

It was 17:00 hrs in punakha and we have to cover a distance of 130 km(apprx. 4 hrs)  to reach paro. Our half of trip have been completed. We were soo tired that we soon dosed off in the car itself.
It was 21:00 hrs, & we had reached paro. It was raining heavily, we thought of having dinner before heading to hotel. So, we stopped-by at a restaurant in the market area( a big relief, as the restraunts were still opened this late). After dinner, we headed to our hotel. On reaching there,  we found that its actually a resort situated on a hillock, from where the entire Paro city can be seen glittering in the night under the dark cloudy sky. The rooms were well-furnished and all the basic amenities were provided. After, a few good conversations & tommorrow's task of conquering the Tiger's Nest in mind, we dozed off.

Seriously!!! There are 108 of them @ Dochula Pass

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Let's climb the pass!!!

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Ye mera left profile!!!

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

What are they admiring???

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Panorama experts!!!

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Stop here!! For pure drinking water

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

On the way to Punakha...

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The beautiful Punakha Dzong

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Let's capture the moment of Freedom????????????

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Take a steep flight of stairs

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The monastery @ Punakha Dzong

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Cuddling a new friend!!!????

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Beautiful!!! Isn't it...

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The beautiful picturesque of Punakha Dzong..

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Baba...You are beautiful!!! @ Suspension Bridge

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Mesmerising scenic from suspension bridge

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Wanna do rafting???

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Getting my feets wet @ chilly waters⛄⛄

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Gateway to Chimi Lakhang Temple...

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

On the way to temple, through lush green paddy fields

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Day 4

Day-4 : Trek to Tiger's Nest( Paro Taktsang)
             
n. Paro Taktsang(or Tiger's Nest Monastery )
     (Entry Fees-Rs 500 or 500Nu/person)

It was a beautiful morning in Paro. After having a simple breakfast, we were ready for the hike. Remember to wear warm comfy clothes, have a raincoat/umbrella as showers are always expected & a bluetooth speaker as music will energise you to conquer the hike( but try to keep the volume low, as it should not disturb the fauna).
At around 10:00 hours, our driver had dropped us at the Taktsang base. Tiger's Nest  monastery is perched atop the edge of a cliff hiding over the clouds, at an altitude of around 900 m from the base. The hike to tiger's nest was a complete dirt trail, Our youngest punter Satyam rented a hiking stick for Rs 50( he's the one, jiska abhi se hi bhudapa aa gya hai), however, me & nishkarsh were confident that our legs won't defy us & we would reach atop without any support. But within 5 mins of the hike, we all started sweating and finding a place to sit. After crossing the trees surrounding the parking area, we got a first glimpse of the mighty tiger's nest. Along the route, we passed  through tons of colourful prayer flags, which were left by the locals or travellers as a mark of their presence at this holy place. As we were getting higher up the hill, the scenic beauty was also getting better. The hike to mid-way takes around one-and-half hours, the  path got muddy due to intermittent showers and we were feeling a slight cold. Two hours later,(thanks to us, we were taking break after every  5-10 mins) we were halfway, there was a Taktsang cafe, we had chai(tea) & biscuits. We also ate chocolates which we brought from the base( remember to bring some chocolates & snacks as you won't find anything much here to eat). Our legs had began to cramp, after resting for 5-10 mins & gaining some energy,  soon we were back on the trail. Now, we could clearly see the tiger's nest playing hide & seek with the clouds. It was simply beautiful. One-&-half hours later,  we reached a viewpoint from where we got an iconic view of the Tiger's Nest. After having a painful ankle & a laboured climb finally we were blessed with grace. From here, its a short walk down the staircase across the bridge over a mighty waterfall originating from top of the cliff. The view was so breathtaking that it will give you goosebumps. Up ahead, its a steep climb through stairs up to the monastery. Here, you will need to deposit your belongings, camera, phones, shoes etc. to the security staff just outside the monastery. Legends say that this is the birthplace of buddhism in bhutan, which was introduced by Guru Rinpoche, who arrived here from Tibet on the back of a tigeress, thus giving it the  name " Tiger's Nest". The premises consists of four temples, each having various deities statues perched over a platform. Inspite of being a tourist attraction, the monks perform their daily rituals in unison. Being here, feels like you are in paradise & you would never wanted to go back. Make sure to capture all the photographs because these memories about bhutan you want to look back forever. Then, we began to backtrack our path to the base, the return was easier & took only 2 hours to get to the base. It was 17:00 hours & our driver was waiting to pick us up , then we headed to our hotel, in route we purchased a bottle of zumzin peach wine to celebrate the conquering of the mighty Taktsang. From the resort, we could see the sparkling paro valley & the beautiful paro dzong shimmering in night . It was a very tiring day for us ,however full of adventure. Our legs were literally cramped and it felt that someone would give an awesome massage, that would take away all the pain & tiredness. We took dinner in the hotel itself & after a few good conversations, we dosed off.

Yesss...Up there is our destiny ☝️☝️

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Halfway through Taktsang...????????????

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The Giant wheel

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Keep it rolling...

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The colourful prayer flags

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The cairns... Let's make a wish.

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Wanna stop for a click...????????????

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Let's rest for a while...

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The Paro Taktsang a.k.a. Tiger's Nest

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The beautiful Paro valley

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The giant waterfall

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Don't count the steps... Just keep going

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Finally!!! Our destiny????????????

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

A must thing to try... ????????????

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Day 5

Day-5: Paro sight-seeing, Chele la pass

It was a refreshing morning, the pain & tiredness had almost gone. After having a simple breakfast, at around 10:00 hours. we headed for our first stop of paro sight-seeing.

o. National Museum, Paro
     ( Entry Fees - Rs 50 or 50 Nu/person)

The museum preserves the heritage of bhutan and promotes this through preserved artifacts such as fine arts, paintings, stamps, jewellery, traditional dresses, handicrafts etc. Those who are interested in the cultural heritage of bhutan must visit this place. Near to this place, we had Rinpung Dzong( or Paro Dzong), but we gave it a miss as we had already seen thimphu & punakha Dzong & all the Dzongs are almost similar in architecture.
Now, we were heading to...

p. Paro Airport viewpoint
    
Its one of the most stunning & beautiful airports in the world surrounded by lush green  valley, vibrant blue sky above, high mountains along with the gushing noise of the paro river making it an adorable picturesque. However, we were lucky enough to saw the landing and departing flights which in itself is a beautiful  experience. Then, we headed to our next stop, this time it's..

q. Chele La Pass :
     (Entry Fees- zero)

It's around 40 km or one-&-half hour ride from paro, travelling through zig-zag mountainous roads to reach one of the highest motorable passes of bhutan that connects paro valley to haa valley. Standing at an altitude of around 13000ft (or 4000m), it's one of the favourite  destinations for hiking & trekking adventures. There is a Chele la ridge hike, where the path is lined with thousands of colourful prayer flags along with white cremation flags at some spots, thus giving a surreal view of the surroundings. The pass is famous for beautiful Himalayan peaks views specially Mt. Jhomolari which have an altitude of around 22000ft that could be seen clearly, also you get to witness the mesmerising view of the beautiful  haa & paro valley. Amidst strong chilly winds, we couldn't resist ourselves to had something warm to eat. Hopefully, there's a mobile stall here, we had warm cup of tea, momos & maggi. Although,  the prices were a bit high, but its all worth it for the moment. I always had wished of having tea & maggi at such an high altitudes, that wish had finally fulfilled. After enjoying for almost 2 hours, we finally headed back to paro. Rest of the day, we spent in hotel taking rest, collecting memories, having some good conversations with friends & enjoying the last few moments in Bhutan.

National Museum, Old building

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The mesmerising Paro Valley

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

National Museum, Paro

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Paro Airport

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

At 13000ft altitude... Chele La Pass

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Scenic view from chele La Pass...

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

The colourful Prayer Flags... @ Chele La Pass

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Tea Break ☕☕☕

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan

Maggi Time... ????????????

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Saurabh Sachan
Day 6

Day-6: phuensholing arrival, Bid adieu to Bhutan, Back to India

## INDIA CALLING... 🇮🇳
We had an early start at around 04:00 hours from Paro, a long drive later we reached phuensholing at around 08:00 hrs. We deposited our permit papers at immigration, which is mandatory. With a heavy heart, we bid adieu to Bhutan & promised to come back again to cover the rest of bhutan. Soon, we crossed the historic Bhutan Gate & put our first step in the homesoil, the contrast hits us again. We took  an auto to reach Hasimara railway station, from where we boarded train to reach siliguri junction. At around 13:00 hours, we reached siliguri, then we took lunch for the last time, shared so many unforgettable moments. Then I bid a heartly farewell to my friends Nishkarsh & Satyam who had a flight to board for New Delhi. We had one of the most enlightening travel experiences, exploring the ancient monasteries, Dzongs, cultural diversity, traditional festivals, magnificent landscapes, prayer flags & wheels, learning about buddhism & immense happiness of its people.

Therefore, Plan your trips to bhutan as it is one of the majestic hidden gems of the earth.

For any detailed itinerary for your Bhutan trip,  feel free to write, I'll be glad to help.
Cheers!!!

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