First things first, one has to get permit to enter Bhutan by road from Phuentsholing. Easier thing to do, would be to get hold of a local guy who will help you out with all the formalities. Ask any hotel in the area to put you in touch with an agent. The Permit office in Phuentsholing is at a walkable distance of 500 metres from the Bhutan gate.
One should take entry permission for themselves and the vehicle. The permit taken here is only valid for Paro and Thimphu. For own vehicles the permit for Punakha, Phobjikha and beyond should be done from Thimphu's permit office. Before you leave for Punakha ensure you have taken the necessary permission from Thimphu. Take the permit application from your hotel itself and go to the "Thimphu Immigration Office", submit your application for permit extension. The officers take two hours to process the application, after which you need to take your permit for stamping to the RSTA office.
At every checkpoint, one should stop and get a stamp of clearance. This will be checked on your return at the final checkpoint.
Renting a bike has become easier than ever with the bloom of many online platforms. You can choose one of the vendors or can go to the rentals directly. A good Thunderbird 350 from "Royal Riders" will cost you Rs 1,100 per day.
Ensure you have an extra clutch cable, brake shoe and puncture kit. Carry floats or butt cushions, knee guards, a good jacket, gloves and off-course solid helmets for the rider and the pillion. All of the above can be rented as well.
1. Bhutan is half an hour ahead of IST, set your watch accordingly.
2. Indians are allowed in and out of Bhutan via Bhutan gate after 6.00 am and should return by 9.00 pm if you are staying in Jaigaon on the Indian side of the border.
3. Alternately you can also stay in Phuentsholing, on the Bhutan side of the Border without permit.
4. Google maps will not help you much for commute within the city, asking the locals is the best way.
5. There are no road dividers, no one honks your ear off and very few traffic cops around. Learn and respect their traffic rules.
6. While crossing the roads use zebra crossings only. You will be surprised at the immaculate rule following.
7. Adhar/PAN is no longer valid hence carry your voter ID or passport.
8. Immigration office is closed on weekends and public holidays
Now that we have the permits and bike in place let's get into the detailed itinerary.