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313 Kms from Gorkhey
Finally the day for the awaited trip had arrived.We boarded our flight to Kathmandu from New Delhi. Prior to that,taking...
Finally the day for the awaited trip had arrived.We boarded our flight to Kathmandu from New Delhi. Prior to that,taking advantage of the import free shops ,we dropped some exquisite scotch onto our shopping cart.We reached Kathmandu in noon.We were heartily Received by our freinds from Nepal.We grabbed a quick bite at a local hotel and coordinated our trip from there.The food was pretty much Indian.Thereafter we checked into a local hotel of Kathmandu in Thamel region.In the evening we went to the famous Pashupatinath Temple for the arti. Even an atheist would be moved seeing the faith of the people there. Afterwards we shopped local clothes from Thamel market and went to see the nightlife of Kathmandu.Of the many exquisite items some that can be bought are shawls,khukri, Nepali cap,stoles etc.There are multiple bars offering good music and djs.However to get the real feels one must hit the pubs and bars on friday evening which is like saturday night in India.It being a sunday offered as a lacklusture evening. We snacked onto the food and returned to our hotel pretty much satisfied with the first day at a foreign land.
The bustling capital lies at the center of all the amazing places to visit in Nepal. Kathmandu is so wonderfully diverse that it is a rather pleasant assault on the senses. The resilience of the city is evident in the fact that it endured one of the worst earthquakes of recent times and has continued to stand tall and strong. It therefore is one of the most significant places to visit in Nepal. The cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata have direct flights to and from Kathmandu but tickets need to be booked a lot in advance in order to save money. You could either hail taxis or cycle-rickshaws/tempos to look around or rent a 4WD for around Rs. 5000 a day.Amazing Things to Do in Nepal : Kathmandu
As I was on a bit of a budget I asked to take public transport rather than the private jeep that they offer to groups. Milan recommended against, arguing the case for comfort and the ability to stop when and where we wanted, but he understood my limitations and put plans into place. Therefore me and my guide Suma caught the 05:30 bus from Koteshwor and got underway on our 12 hour journey.Filled with anticipation, I was able to stay awake for the first stint of the journey, taking in the sights and seeing the sun rising over the corn fields, rivers and mountains. It was so picturesque that it made you forget about the unseemly hour (okay maybe a slight exaggeration).After two hours, we pulled over for a bite to eat. I was given with the choice of curried potato or sel roti (a kind of fried doughnut-bagel hybrid). Even after traveling in India, I wasn’t quite accustomed to having curry at such an early hour so I went for the sel roti. Straight out the pan. Very tasty.Back onto the bus I got, and within 5 minutes I was out. I am blessed with the ability to sleep on buses, so the rest of the journey went surprisingly quickly. I don’t think the drive will be too much of a problem for those who aren’t as fortunate however, as when I was awake I was treated to a variety of different landscapes making for a very scenic journey. We drove through little villages and forests, passed rice paddies and fields sprinkled with banana trees and palms, and all the while we could glimpse the mighty Himalayas to the north. Not your typical monotonous UK motorway, that’s for sure. They reminded me of the sorts of roads that the crew of Top Gear would go in search of in one of their yearly specials.Suma was also pointing out little places where they would usually stop in the jeep to pick fruit and get good pictures, as well as giving me little tit-bits of information about villages, their history, and some of their local dishes that he enjoys.As we approached Ilam the landscape changed again. I was quickly reenergized as the luscious green tea plantations of Kanyam came into view, and for 40km these gardens stretched before us; a patchwork of green covering the rolling hills and the steep mountain sides. Littered amongst the fields were the blue tin roofs of local homes, a feature that makes Nepal’s countryside so unique and charming. It was a breathtaking introduction to Eastern Nepal.The homestay at Shree Antu was very cute with a ski lodge kind of vibe and a pretty little flower garden out front. We were warmly welcomed by our hosts, and Suma and I were presented with a white shawl, a sign of welcome to visitors. They also brought out two what can only be described as metal towers to our table which contained a local eastern Nepali drink known as Tongba. The best description for Tongba would be a hot but slightly watered down red wine. I can’t really see it taking off in the UK, but it was okay, undeniably interesting in taste and something I hadn’t tried anywhere else. The east was certainly delivering on uniqueness.Our dinner of Daal Bhat was served at around 20:30 and it came with a lovely potato and green bean curry and pickled spinach. I was absolutely famished from the journey, and tucked in straight away. It was only until half the plate was gone that I realized I should be documenting the food. Must do better tomorrow.As we finished eating and we were letting the extremely generous portions settle, Suma told me about our plans for the next day. “Up at 4!” Shree Antu, he told me, is known in the district for having great sunrise views and they are not to be missed.So with that, we made way to our rooms for an early night, and another early rise on day two.
Langtang Valley trek is one of the lesser known treks of Nepal. It is also called the valley of glaciers treks. Infact, Langtang is the place from here you can get the majestic snow-capped mountains and the beautiful glaciers at close quarters. Langtang is only 8 hours drive towards the north of Kathmandu. This trek route was discovered by the famous British mountaineer and travel writer Bill Tilman.
Kathmandu stayOn 5th April , i reached Kathmandu . As soon we reached , people rushed into this shop at the airport to buy an NCELL SIM card . I bought an NCELL Sim Card and called my driver who was arranged by SNOWYODA . SNOWYODA EXPEDITIONS was the company who was responsible for our accomodations throughout the expedition . They took care of our rooms , trek guides , sherpas . I would definitely recommend them to anyone who wants to trek in the Nepal Region .Our ten member expedition team were accommodated in the streets of Thamel , main town of Kathmandu in a hotel called lemon tree. Its an amazing hotel with good wifi and free breakfast as a part of stay . Thamel is a busy shopping street with many shops for second hand trekking . Thamel Marg is the main place to visit . You will find exquisite restaurants and bars . The place is very economical for everyone . But do not forget to bargain .Few of places to visit in Kathmandu are Durbar square , Pashupatinath temple and Thamel Marg. Make sure to have masks in Kathmandu as dust pollution is one of its specialities .
My love for the Himalayas is unbound. To be precise, it borders on obsessiveness. Believe me, even spending months there like a hermit didn't help me a bit. I would trade living there with all the luxuries this life has to offer, and it is only a matter of time. Well that's a story for another time...Speaking of the Himalayan regions, Nepal, being our neighbour wasn't on my radar to be honest, despite being home to the world's largest mountains. But a press trip took me there, and something unexpected happened.I discovered that I was in a shopper's heaven in Kathmandu! Like a kid that drops its jaw at the sight of candies, I was blown away by all the things displayed in shops, that looked endless!I am not a shopaholic as such, but I do end up going on a shopping spree when I find something chic & cool. Happens with everyone, right?So I thought I'll share the details of things to shop in Nepal so that you could shop like a Pro!Without much ado, read ahead to find out what are things to look for in Nepal.
Once on a flight from Paro to Kathmandu, I had a chance to view Everest from the top. Since then I have always dreamt about going to the Everest Base Camp. But in those dreams, I was always walking with a load on my back, panting at every breath and finally standing in front of the World’s Highest peak.#bucketlist #dreams #TrektoEBC. *sigh…*But seemed like God had other plans for me, a relatively easier one.
63 Kms from Gorkhey
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 c...
Gangtok, a haven tucked away in north-east India is a quaint little town that exemplifies Buddhist culture and at the same time, provides breathtaking views that are characteristic only of the north-east. While most travellers only spend a night here, treating it as a mere base to get higher up Sikkim’s mountain ranges, there’s actually a lot that Gangtok has to offer. Here’s how you can spend a power-packed day in Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok.
Exploring GangtokSpend this day for Gangtok Sightseeing. There are 3 points, 5 points, 7 points and Mixed points tours available. Since you have the whole day in hand, it is better to opt for a mixed point tour. You will visit the Tashi View Point from where you would get a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga range. You will also visit the Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Bakthang Waterfall and Enchey Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. The mixed point tour also offers you to visit either the Rumtek Monastery or the Ranka Monastery. I would suggest you to visit the Rumtek Monastery.
My Name Is Helix . Iam Just 20 years old . Me and My Friend Amal Decided To go Sikkim on this vaction . He is two year younger than me we are traveling from Kerala Thrissur . Our greatest fear to Travel north east was we don't know hindi well And iam not good in english too . So we planned to travel gangtok and from there to North sikkim And South . We didn't See Snow Before And our wish became true we stayed gangtok for Sevendays in gangtok and the expense is jst blw 10k and covered North sikkim and South Sikkim By traveling in local transport and Eating Local food And Explored Beauty of sikkim
After you arrive at Gangtok, roam around the quaint capital city of Sikkim. Gangtok is situated at a height of 5410 feet in east Sikkim and is mainly inhabited by the Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. Stroll around the M. G. Marg and you will feel that you are not in India! Sikkim is a clean state and they do take their cleanliness seriously. So littering the beautiful boulevard is a big no. As the sun sets, the M G Marg becomes more beautiful with all the light and sound.And while you are roaming around the city, don’t forget to give your ID proofs and photographs to the travel agent so that they can get your permits for the next days.
Do Drul Chorten, Gangtok This huge Buddhist complex is located near the research institute of Tibetology. This beautiful structure is Biggest Buddhist stupa in the North East India.
GangTok:In morning at Jalpaiguri we had booked a package with a travel agent located nearby to railway station.
Gangtok is bustling town and capital of Sikkim. It is one the cleanest cities you would come across in India. This place would give you a mix of city vibes and mountain innocence. Gives a perfect view of Himalayan range. There are many places nearby which you can explore as well like, Yumthang, Lachung, Baba Mandir, Zuluk, Tsomgo / Changu Lake and Rishikola.How to reach:Same as North Bengal. From Kolkata you have overnight trains to New Jalpaiguri .From Jalpaiguri you have options of taking shared cabs or book a personal cab to any of the above mentioned places.
178 Kms from Gorkhey
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 wor...
Yes, we have all seen 'Eat Pray Love' and 'Queen'.Yes, simply uttering these two words ‘SOLO TRAVEL’ fill us up with euphoric, exotic thrill.It was something I always knew subconsciously, that I would someday do. And I would continue to do. I just didn’t know where and when to begin. But last month when my best friend took the plunge and came out victorious (she went to Bali for 12 days and came back in one piece), I decided it was time.For my first solo trip ever, I chose probably the safest place on this planet – Bhutan.Even though I booked my tickets on a complete whim, it didn’t take long for the excitement to get replaced by fear. I immediately realized that this was going to be a totally different experience from the one I’m living now, which was a nerve-racking thought to say the least!Plus, I didn’t personally know a single soul in the country I was traveling to and that naturally made me feel a little lost, vulnerable and child-like scared.But with solid push from friends, and some self- introspection, I decided park my fears aside and blindly take the plunge. I also kind of didn’t have an option - my tickets were already booked.And needless to say, just like my best friend, I too returned back in one piece. But that wasn’t all. I returned from my first-ever solo travel trip – which also happened to be the most memorable trip I’ve taken to date.So, through my solitude and my experience as a lone traveler, I wanted to share some of my bittersweet observations/insights on mindsets of travelers (especially Indian travelers, as Bhutan is majorly filled with Indian tourists) and their expectations from their travels. More like, let me burst some travel bubbles that Indians live in, when they set foot outside the comfort of their homes.MYTH #1: Travel/Traveling IS NOT a free flowing stream of ‘fun’Yes, by and large, it should be. Because you are on vacation, you are taking a break from your mundane routine lives and you are obviously spending your hard-earned money and time on doing something that will provide you a different kind of experience – positive experience. And it most cases, it does.But that doesn’t mean every second of your journey or travel experience will be pleasant. And that is actually a boon in disguise. That’s what converts your planned & predictable holiday into a wild and exotic adventure.So if something happens to you which was not mentioned in your itinerary, there is absolutely no reason to feel so miserable about. It’s another feather that needs to go on your traveling cap.Tell me, within the comforts of our home and daily lives, where we are so familiar with everything around us and equipped with the know-how of our surroundings, ever so often, our minds are flustered and troubled and consumed with multiple issues.Then, how do you expect, that in a completely new terrain, with unknown people, diverse cultures and unfamiliar traditions, you expect everything to go your way? Just because you spent a lot of time doing your research and making prior arrangements via virtual mediums - in real, physical space, nothing comes with 100 percent warrantee. And that is really the best part.· I got caught in immigration upon my return because I didn’t have the necessary permit. That wasn’t fun. But now that’s a permanent and significant memory, etched for life in my brains.· An old monk- looking man ( who was actually my hotel staff) walked into my hotel room with a master key in the middle of the night, while I was inside, getting ready to go to bed ( this was due to a co-ordination failure and more of an accident for which the hotel more than compensated) and that was scary. Not fun. Again, another permanent memory which also earned me free dinners in that hotel for the rest of my stay.· The hike to Taktsang Monastery in Paro was grueling, almost life-ending. No amount of warnings or sound advices can prepare you for what you’d endure because each person differs from another in terms of stamina and capabilities. And I realized my threshold to endure such things was beyond negative. The loser part of me kept telling me to turn back, because I was on a holiday and this experience was turning out to be hard work and negative and painful- why should I endure all that when all I am supposed to feel is good, relaxed and positive? But there was this other part, who wanted to push further and see the finishing line. And now, having done it, it went on to become one of the most inspiring and defining moments of my life.FACT #2: Travel can’t be LIFE TRANSFORMATIVENext time you come across someone who’s about to embark on a travel journey – ask that person what their expectations are from that travel and be prepared to get amused.99% of them will say- “I expect to be a changed person.My travel needs to help me achieve some deeper understanding of life, I need to overnight transform into a more matured, insightful, well balanced and sane individual, not to forget – also simultaneously become calmer, happier, saner”. How???Holidays make you come back feeling refreshed. I give you that. And that too happens for a logical reason. You get out of your mundane routine and distract your mind from your regular issues. You forget your day to day problems and focus on whatever experiences your holiday brings in ( good or bad). So when your travel comes to an end, and you are back to your routine, it all seems fresh simply because your mind was elsewhere the last few days. It only takes minutes, hours and at best days, for that feeling to go out of the window and the monotony of daily life to step in.So NO! Holidays don’t transform you as a human being. They give you a break from monotony and that too is short-lived. Nothing more. Nothing less.FACT #3: GROUP TRAVEL IS FUN TRAVEL – JUST FOR THE GROUPThis is something I have always wondered about. Especially because I come from a tiny nuclear family and we never really practiced the culture of traveling in big groups.Why is it that people who travel in a group- become so unempathetic towards others around?Just because you are traveling in a group, doesn’t mean the world ceases to exist beyond your circle, right?Group travelling seems all fun and jolly when you’re in a group but not so much so when you’re on the receiving end.You had planned your perfect getaway holiday; planned everything meticulously from start to end to be perfect but in the end; you end up with a group of travelers just waiting patiently for their next prey. The unsuspicious prey falls into their trap and suddenly they find themselves suffocated and escapeless. Trust me, I know from experience.Talking loudly amongst them is just the start of the problem. They become obnoxious and become oblivious of their fellow travelers and have a sense that they own the place. They not only disrupt your travel experience but the worst part is that the memory and pain you went through lingers on for the rest of your travel.· As the night fell in our quaint little riverside resort at Paro valley, and the weary guests made way to their respective rooms, the predator group stayed wide awake in the lawn, enjoying their vegetarian barbeque, for they must engage in multiple rounds of antaakshari. Their melody wasn’t melodious at all – to the tired guests, they were just harsh echoes which kept the whole valley awake. And when that died down, the babies woke up – whaling and crying till daylight.· Every time fresh parathas arrived in my breakfast buffet, cute little Chintu ran to pick up his parathas first. But alas! Chintu wasn’t just picking up parathas for himself. There was dadu, dadi ( old people- so sweet gesture), dad and mom ( always put parents first), Pammy aunty, Sunny uncle, Pinki didi, Sonu bhaiya, etc etc etc. The list simply went on. I gave up my hopes of eating fresh parathas or any parathas and instead settled for plain coffee.FACT #4: Indians love STICKING TO Indians, outside borders.Pledge of our country, India, says “We are all brothers and sisters”.Sometimes, Indians are way too patriotic. They are communal within the country but polar opposites outside. Even if they step out only for a short while.In my four days in Bhutan, I met Indian families from all across the country, everywhere I went. Right from the flight to immigration, hotel to restaurants, hikes to shopping - everywhere. And everyone felt an easy sense of sisterhood or camaraderie just because they met a fellow Indian.Friendships were formed over seconds, if not live, definitely on FB. Secrets were divulged over a single glass of wine. Shopping plans were made for the following day and numbers were exchanged to share pics on watsapp. After my 4 days solo stint in Bhutan, I have 3 new friends from Gujarat, 1 from Kerala and 3 more from Bengal. Sadly, not a single Bhutanese friend ☹ except my guide.FACT # 5: MY TRAVEL BETTER THAN YOUR’S!Doing things differently is what makes every travel experience unique. Checklists of places to visit, food to eat, things to buy etc. are made by almost everyone while travelling. But this process of comparing check lists and trying to prove how yours is better than the rest- I find it simply incorrigible.You may have the perfect holiday planned out every single step of the way, but one thing you cannot argue on is that your travel checklist is not the perfect one as everyone experiences their travel differently, even while doing the same thing.What you did in your travel might not be done by others but that doesn’t necessarily mean than their travel was any less enjoyable than yours. No checklist is better than the others- every list is unique from the rest and that’s what makes travelling a different experience for everyone. So instead of squabbling over checklist and exchanging notes, next time do yourself a favor and enjoy your stay the way you like it.FACT # 6: IT’S ALL IN THE GENESEverything comes in a full circle. In childhood days while going for excursion, holidays, etc. mainly our beloved Dad takes initiative and goes through a process of knowing the places thoroughly where we will be visiting, taking various precautions, summarizing the entire holiday span with activities, not planning a hectic tour, etc.It is the general habit of a child to inherit various qualities from their parents. Now as one grows up, he or she might be exercising those special qualities that their parents had implemented while going for a travel. Sub-consciously we start making those arrangements and take necessary steps that we have inherited from them.
THIMPHU: We went for sightseeing in Thimphu.First we vsited the huge 51m-tall steel statue of Buddha Dordenma commanding the entry to the Thimphu valley. The massive three-storey base houses a large chapel, while the body itself is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha. The Buddha looks best in morning light, or at night when it is illuminated.Next we headed to the Zoo which of much interest . There were some interesting recreation points on our way through Thimphu.Thimphu marketplace was very lively!!
3. Colours of Tshechu: Tshechu is the annual religious festival celebrated in every district of Bhutan. Colourful mask dances and other religious rituals are the main attraction of every Tshechu. The Tshechus are organized in honour of Guru Rimpoche. Every Dzong organizes Tshechu at different times of the year so one can plan the trip accordingly. We planned our trip during Thimphu Tshechu and attended the first day of Thimphu Tsechu. The courtyard of the Thimphu Dzong was packed with both locals and tourists. The locals came dressed in their colourful traditional attires and jewellery and took part in the festival with lots of funfairs. We too enjoyed every moment of this colourful extravaganza.
First thing we did was to submit a copy of our permits and fill a permit entry form for visiting Punakha & Haa Valley at the Immigration office. This is a very quick and easy process. Take photocopy of the permits (stamped at various checkposts) and submit. You’ll get your permit within an hour. You can also collect the same by evening.Places to visit in Thimphu1. National Heritage Museum: This is a good place to learn about Bhutanese heritage. You can see the display of tools used, taste Ara (Rice wine), etc. Entry Fee: Rs. 502. Art & Crafts School: Here you can witness live painting by students of this art school. An interesting place located opposite the heritage museum. Entry Fee: Rs. 100
Thimphu:We took one of those share-taxis amply available in the city to reach Thimphu the next morning. Thimphu is a city like no other. It is a capital with no traffic signals! A capital with only traffic police whistling to control traffic. We were lucky as the time we went in (September end) happened to be during their festive season. Hence we got to see the famous traditional masked dance happening in the Tashichö Dzong.
The one hour ride takes you to Thimphu, the capital city. For visiting the village of Punakha, you have to apply for another permit at the Immigration office in Thimphu, which I did on arrival. Later I hired a taxi to visit Buddha Dordenma, a huge Budha statue on the top of a hill.
DAY 5: THIMPUThere aren’t a lot of places to cover in Thimpu. You will be able to cover all the places in 1 day itself.Incase you plan to go to Punakha or any other places in Bhutan, please apply for a permit in Thimpu. It shouldn’t take more than 30 mins for you to get a permit.
You will have enough time to explore Paro (visit Tiger’s Nest perhaps!) and still reach Thimpu in time, because Paro to Thimpu is a short stretch of nearly 50km, and a smooth highway connecting two cities is moreover the best in the country, thus saving you enough time no matter when you leave.Since Paro has the only international airport in Bhutan, and Thimpu is the capital, the highway moreover stays good in shape throughout the year. It takes one and a half to two hours to travel between the two cities.
312 Kms from Gorkhey
3. Looking for Nepali handicrafts? Head to Patan
I liked the Patan Durban Square cultural heritage.
163 Kms from Gorkhey
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 l...
What I mean is- from my personal experience, my dad has always been a local-flavour chaser. In every of our travels, he loved living in the heart of the land – the epi center, interacted with the locals, tried every local cuisine and went to the local pubs. His guides were the local traffic cops, drivers or pedestrians and his company would be the local neighbors, shopkeepers. While we would go sightseeing and cover ‘viewpoints’ occasionally, what was undoubtedly in our to do list was visiting local markets, trying out local spices, absorbing and soaking in the place the way a person living there would- and not someone who was visiting. This is something that has really stuck with me. I can never imagine packing my schedule with 700 different things to do and places to visit. I would any day spend my entire holiday in one given place that suits all my needs.
1. Trek to the Takstang Monastery: Takstang monastery or the Tiger’s Nest is the most iconic monument of Bhutan. So a trip to Bhutan, without visiting this sacred monastery will be incomplete. Located outside the Paro town this monastery can only be reached on foot. Although the two hours (or maybe more) trek to reach the top may sound difficult for many, but it is worth the effort. Just like the exteriors even the interior sections of this monastery are also magnificent. Our guide explained the importance of all the sections and also shared some of the beliefs associated with the monastery. It is incredible, how the monks build such a massive structure on such a high cliff of a mountain.
Paro:This is where you land if you fly into the country. This beautiful little city located 2 hours away from the capital city is right next to the river, the Paro chu. As we reached by midnight the first thing we saw there was the Dzong beautifully lit in all its beauty.
Paro Tsechu Festival : Paro Dzong also houses “Paro Tsechu” the annual paro festival during the month of March/April. So, when we reached there, the area was swarming in vibrant colours and happy people. Unfortunately, we got a bit delayed after an exhilarating hike to tiger’s nest that we missed witnessing the mask dance performance. But, we did manage to see some other traditional dance performances.
DAY 4 : PAROTaktshang Monastery/Tiger’s Nest : The most photographed place in Bhutan. It clings to a cliff which is 3120 meters above the sea level. Legends says that Guru Rinpoche, father of Bhutanese Buddhism arrived here million years ago on the back of a tigress and meditated at this place
Day 3: The plan was to cover Paro, Thimpu and Punakha, in order. But rarely things go as per the plan. For eg: We had planned to reach Paro by noon, see a couple of places and do Tiger’s nest the next day. But, the immigration formalities took longer than expected, we ended up reaching Paro by evening, leaving us just 1 day to cover Paro including the tiring hike to Tiger’s nest. First because we landed on a weekend and wasting a day for the permit, second the never ending wait for the permit. Sigh!Okay! Coming to actually how day 3 went was as follows. We reached the immigration office at sharp 8.30 am, but there were already a so many people waiting before us. But, that didn’t really make a difference because as soon as they opened the shutter at 9 am, everyone just rushed in. It’s a huge mess inside, completely unorganised, people are clueless what’s the procedure and just chaos. The permit would have taken just an hour, if not for the uncivilized mad rush, it took us almost 4 hours. By the time, we got the permit it was 12.30 pm.Without wasting much time, we immediately called our driver and headed straight for Paro. The drive from Phuetsoling to Paro is beyond beautiful. As we moved further away from the border, the landscape became divine and air deeply serene. On the drive, the river flowed gently by the road overlooking rugged mountains. You will encounter small waterfalls and fresh streams of water on the way.
The journey to Paro to Phuentsholing takes nearly 4 hour if you’re driving, or 6 hours if you’re taking a public bus. The journey is rather impressive and enjoyable. From the sea level of Phuentsholing you only pretty much go uphill throughout the journey before you end up a much colder town of Paro located at 2100+ meter altitude above the sea level.The well maintained four way highway, built by Indian Border Road Organisation (BRO), moreover makes Phuentsholing to Paro & Thimpu a very sought after Himalayan Roads for motorbikers in India wanting to ride in Bhutan.Day 2: Paro To Thimpu
Paro to tiger’s nest (40 kilometers ride and 4-5 kilometers trek)The last time I had visited Takstang Monastery, also known as The Tiger’s Nest, I was mesmerized by it and I wanted Swatabdi to witness the same. We first rode to the Drugyel Dzong which is a monastery which was burnt in a fire and now lay in ruins. We then proceeded to the base of the trek to the Tiger’s nest. The difficulty level of the trek to Tiger’s nest is slightly higher because of the altitude and the steep trail. Huffing and puffing we kept walking one step at a time. Swatabdi felt like quitting the trek a couple of times but I etched her on. The sight of the monastery which kept getting bigger and bigger was also inspiring. After almost 4 hours we saw the awe-inspiring view of the monastery. I fail to fathom the effort taken to build this monastery so high in the mountain. The monastery seems as though it is almost hanging on a cliff and can fall down to the deep valley below any moment! The trek was worth the effort. The trek downhill was slightly easier and we reached the base late in the evening. The rest of the evening we spent riding around in Paro and watching the beautiful Paro Dzong and the national museum which were lit up with vibrant lights in the night. We had hired the motorcycle for 16 days which meant that this was the last day of our trip. We celebrated the last 15 days over my favorite beer, the Druk 11000; and a plate of delicious momos.
Jaigaon to Paro (180 kilometers)The embassy at Phuntsholing opens at 10 AM and we reached there at 9:45 hoping to be among the first people to get the permits. We were proven terribly wrong when we saw that there about a thousand people already waiting. The situation was similar to a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata. There was utter chaos. No one knew what to do or whom to approach for the permits. What made it worse was that there were agents who were standing in the queue with dozens of applications in their hands. For hours we stood in various queues which didn’t move an inch. There was a lot of pushing, shoving and shouting happening which pissed off Swatabdi. She went inside the embassy and somehow caught hold of an influential female officer and explained to her our situation rather sternly. In no time a new counter was opened for female applicants who were not in large groups and we managed to get our permits from that counter. By this time it was late evening and we rushed to the RTO office to get the permit for our motorcycle. There was a queue of drivers waiting for us and the office hours were coming to a close. Swatabdi again used the feminine card and we got preferential treatment and our permit was among the last to get approved that evening. Thousands had applied to visit Bhutan that day; only a lucky few were allowed to enter. While coming back from the RTO office I cut my toenail with the sharp side stand of the motorcycle and started our ride to Paro with a shoe on one leg and a bandaged toe in a flipflop on the other. We started for Paro with dying sunlight and braced ourselves for a cold ride. There was a brief spell of rain which made it worse. An hour into the ride my foot went numb. I somehow shoved my bandaged foot inside my shoe and continued riding. Thankfully the roads in Bhutan are good which made it easier to ride in the night. The cold though was still unforgiving. We reached Paro at 8:30 in the night and found most hotels to be either closed or fully occupied. Shivering and shaking we moved from one hotel to the other in search of a room. At a certain hotel Paro, the owner of the hotel took pity on our shivering souls and offered us a place to stay in the roof attic where the employees sleep. We took it! With temperatures dipping below zero and the roof attic becoming really cold, we tugged ourselves in the quilt, hugged each other tight and slept. It was a truly long day!
300 Kms from Gorkhey
For Nepal, another challenge adds up to their list – the volatile tectonic plates. Nepal witnesses earthquake almost e...
For Nepal, another challenge adds up to their list – the volatile tectonic plates. Nepal witnesses earthquake almost every 15-20 days; sometimes the vibrations are barely recognizable; on some other occasions, such as the one in 2015, it all went berserk, devastating almost everything this historic city had for its visitors to witness.Yet, there is an amazing sense of inner peace here. People are still lively and ever smiling, ever helpful along the way. They have learnt to live in harmony with the nature. ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ resonates in the air. It always forwards blessings and happiness for people here.Read More Stories from Nepal
4. Pottery is an art at Bhaktapur, Surely worth checking out!Bhaktapur is a place little away from the buzzing Kathmandu, and you'll instantly see how different it is from the vibrant and crowded Thamel.Around the attractions, you can find a lot of shops for souvenirs and clothes. But the main takeaway for shoppers in Bhaktapur is the traditional pots that are meticulously designed by the local artisans.Just close to Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the Pottery Square, where you'll find rows and rows of shops with plenty of pots. Dotted with paintings depicting Buddhist symbols to nature to abstract art, the pots come in all sizes.During the day time, the place is filled with tourists taking a look at the artists creating wonderful pots. Women would be found carrying on with the pottery making process like drying them by placing them in haystacks, arranging them or decorating the shops.It felt lovely to observe how pottery is not just another thing that people sold here, but a part of their culture. Their life revolves around pottery making, and the tradition is still strong, which is what makes it special.Not just that, you can also try your hand at making a pot as well!Cost: Between 1000 to 2000 INR. But make sure you get it packed very well, if you wish to take home in one piece!
After visiting the capital for a few days, I visited Bhaktapur, an unique, small city with a special charming. There, the wood artisans have decorated their streets and buildings for years. In the city you can also find an small, antique paper factory, in which rooftop you can find generous city views
Never miss to visit this Ancient City, Bhaktapur, as a tourist oustide Nepal and India, you must buy entry ticket for $15, well no wonder with the price, as in my Country when you entering Borobudur Temple( Indonesia), the Price will be the same for the Tourist who entering the Temple Area.Since the Earthquake on 2015, there are some temples broken, even its totally damage , and when I was there, there are still some renovation and rebuilt in some area as its totally flat with the lands, a tour guide with us at that time and he telling us all the story about the History of Bhaktapur City.. its more like the Journey of Budha and also the Hindu, as it is represented in the Buildings and the Temples arounds.
Later, proceed for an excursion to Bhaktapur, home of medieval art and architecture. It is also known as the 'City of Devotees' Bhaktapur is the third largest city in the Kathmandu Valley with a majority population of local Newars and is famous for its pagodas and temples dedicated to Hindu deities.Request A Call Back
Bhaktapur is a "living Heritage" displaying the vibrant depth of Newari culture. The main square of the city, is a conglomeration of stone art, metal art, wood carving and terracotta art and architectural showpieces. The golden gates, siddhi laxmi stone temple, taumadhi square, Durbar square and peacock window are the main attractions of Bhaktapur. This amazing city is not only displaying you its century old fabulous art, architect and cultural heritages but also offer its unique eastern hospitality, delicious newari cuisines, luxurious accomodation, unforgettable handicraft souvenirs, various restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, home stays and curio shops respectively.
Bhaktapur city is located 14 Kms east from Kathmandu. Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, is an open museum for everyone to see stand-still lifestyle & culture of ancient era. Entering the Durbar Square (palace square) through the Royal Gate, the sparseness of the temples is immediately apparent, compared to the profusion in the Durbar squares of Kathmandu and Patan. Many of the highly decorated buildings and shrines were destroyed in the 1934 earthquake. However, the main square still contains a few temples and other architectural show pieces; the Lion Gate, the statue of Bhupatindra Malla, the Palace of 55 windows, the Bell of the barking dogs, the Batsala temple, the Nyatapola temple and the replica of Pashupatinath temple. Bhaktapur is one the cleanest ancient city in Nepal.
225 Kms from Gorkhey
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 ...
26th May’18 – We had our breakfast in the hotel, checked out and left Lataguri for our journey back to Kolkata. This time we planned to have a stop at Malda. All thanks to Sanjukta Das and Pinaki Sarkar, we found a good and decent hotel, Continental Lodge in Malda Town.27th May’18 – After breakfast at the hotel in Malda, we headed towards Kolkata.Total distance covered – 1812 kms.
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.
152 Kms from Gorkhey
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...
Our jeep safari was later in the day at 3:30pm, so we thought of using this time to visit Phuentsholing (Bhutan) to have lunch at some nice Bhutanese restaurant and fill up my fuel tank (Price of petrol at Bhutan was only 59 INR!!). From Bhutan we returned back to Jaldapara Tourist Lodge for the Jeep Safari. We found rhinos, peacocks and elephants during the ride. The safari ended with a nice and rhythemic tribal dance.
Bhutan is barely 15kms from Hasimara. When you are done trekking through the forests and sipping lazy cups of tea in the Dooars, head over to Jaigaon and spend a day in Phuentsholing, the Bhutanese border town.Entry into Phuentsholing is free and without interruption. You can try one of the popular local bakeries or restaurants there, and splurge on some Thai goods sold in abundance in the shops that line the main market.Don't forget to get some local peach wine on your way back!Know more about Phuentsholing here.Epilogue:So, this was just a rough guide to give you a sense of the place. If you need any help visiting these places, read up and research thoroughly. I will be glad to send links and give travel tips as well.However, please do keep in mind that I do not organise trips of my own. I mainly travel solo but will be glad to have company at times during my trips. Give me a hola whenever you are in the Northeast or North Bengal.
Bhutan Permit: Getting a Bhutan permit is quite easy provided you have all the relevant documents. The immigration office is just a couple of minutes walk from the Bhutan entry gate and opens at 9 AM. You need the following documents:1. Entry Permit form – Fill in the basic details2. Passport / Voter ID (Mandatory) photocopy3. 1 Photo4. Itinerary of your trip5. Hotel Booking confirmation (For Thimphu / Paro)6. In case of no Passport / Voter ID, you need to carry original PAN / Aadhar / Driving License (Atleast 2 IDs are compulsory). Visit the Indian Embassy & submit the documents and pay a Army Welfare fund fee of Rs. 135 and get your documents verified by an official.Process for Bhutan Permit:Get all the documents in order and submit the same at the counter outside. Solo travelers face an issue generally in getting permit. Once the documents are verified by the 1st counter officer, you need to hang around for your name to be called.Once they call your name, get to the 1st floor office where the immigration officer will take fingerprint scan & photo. He may ask basic details like is this your first visit etc. Then, he will direct you to another counter to submit the form. After a while, they’ll call out your name for collecting the permit.The entire process was completed within 1.5 hours with zero charges. The permit is applicable only for visit to Thimphu / Paro and valid for 7 days. You need to get it extended / get another permit for restricted areas like Punakha / Haa Valley at Thimphu Immigration office.Tips: Get your documents ready beforehand and submit by 9AM so that you can complete the formalities and proceed to Thimphu or Paro on time.Indian currency of is accepted all over Bhutan. Bhutanese currency (Ngultrum) has equal value to Indian Rupee. 1 INR = 1 NGULTRUM. Carry more of Rs. 100 notes as some places do not accept Rs.500 and Rs. 2000 currency. We carried Rs. 10k per person and was enough for the trip.Vehicle for Trip:You can get a taxi from the taxi stand for your entire tour. It is advisable to have your own vehicle for the entire trip as public transport is scarce and local cabs may turn out to be expensive. We hired a Bolero car for 7 days at a cost of Rs. 2,900 per day. You need to bargain and get the best rate possible. A small car like Wagon R will charge at least Rs. 2,300 – 2,500 per day.We started off for Thimphu at around 1 PM. Thimphu is 170 kms and road passes through mountain terrain. It takes 5 – 6 hours to reach your destination. We stopped at a place called Chukha for evening snacks (Momos, Chowmein, Tea).We reached Thimphu at 7 PM and made our reservations at Hotel Ghasel (Booking.com) for a two night stay. It is a budget hotel located opposite clock tower which is near the main shopping area. The hotel was decent for Rs. 1,500 a night. The owner Dorji is pretty helpful. It has a vegetarian restaurant which serves good Indian food. You need to order your food and wait for at least half hour before it is served. This is the norm all over Bhutan as they start preparing from scratch.Day 3: Thimphu Sightseeing
Though Bhutan and India have multiple border crossings, the most convenient and common among all is from the border of Jaigao-Phuentsholing -- where Jaigao is the last Indian town and from Pheutsholing the Bhutanese territory starts. Opened Monday-Friday from 9-5, it is in the immigration office of Phuentsholing where nearly all border accessing applications for tourists arrive. Provide a photo ID and you get the permission in a couple of hours, depending upon how long is the queue.To get a permit for your motrobike you need toIf you manage to get the permission before 2 pm, it is well worth using the same day and travelling to Paro. Those not hurrying can even consider staying for the first night in Phuentsholing, which has enough to offer to a tourist. But for those short with time, a 4 hour journey to Paro (from Phuentsholing) can be easily made the same day they applied for a tourist permit.To enter in Phuentsholing, you need not have a tourist permit with you. Even an Indian number plate vehicle can pass through with no problem. But as soon as you exit Phuentsholing, towards Thimpu or Paro, there’s an immigration checkpoint that asks for a valid tourist permit.
Day 2, Nov 2nd, 2017: Next day morning woke up to find a faded white streak of the Kanchenjunga range as the train was approaching NJP station. I had figured out that the train was already running 2.5 hours late. A spur of nervousness aroused within thinking about the permit timings, but as the train was traversing across the dense forest range of Sevoke, the turquoise blue Teestha River & the green carpet of the tea gardens of Sukna, I took a deep breathe, decided to calm down & enjoy the moments for now.At around 14:00 hrs, after a delay of almost 4 hours, we finally reached Hasimara, which is the nearest railway station from Bhutan border. Boarded a cab, for 400 bucks & reached Phuentsholing at around 14:30 hrs.At 15:00 hours Karan who was appointed by Tashi to help us with our permit processes approached us & we rushed to the immigration office to get our permits done. I was almost shattered to find there that the person who was in charge of collection of the documents was kind of rude & was rejecting every requests made before us since it was closing time for them, but I do not know what Karan spoke in Bhutanese with the guy, that he chose to grant our permits. Mine was the last permit which was granted for the day.Karan dropped us to the bus station. At 16:00 hrs the bus started for Thimphu and as soon as we crossed Phuentsholing, we could feel the fresh air of Bhutan. I kept watching the glorifying setting sun, playing hide & seek in the range of mountains we were crossing. I kept gazing at the moon & had become nostalgic over the fact that we don’t usually see such bright moonlight these days. I had gone back to my childhood.The bus halted at Karma hotel at around 19:30 hours where I had Suja (Butter tea) for the 1st time & I must say it’s a must try. We hogged rice, dal & Bhutanese pork curry and started for Thimphu again.At around 22:00 hrs Bhutanese time, we reached Thimphu & Tashi had already send his person Jimmy to pick us up from the bus station. It was cold as hell & as soon as we reached the hotel, Norkel Chopyel, the 1st thing I saw was the bed & I passed out.
Day 7, Nov 7th, 2017: This time Tashi came himself to pick us up at 06:00 hrs to drop us to the bus station. I could not thank him enough for the wonderful stay & trip management he coordinated. We bid farewell to Thimphu & Tashi with loads of memories to cherish before we started off our return journey.I was eager to walk in to my country & have some Bengali food for lunch. We had “Mach Bhaat” at Jaigaon & my appetite was completely satisfied to finally have ghar ka khaana after a long time. This time as we had a lot of time in hand, we chose to go in an auto to Hasimara station instead of a cab which costed us around 200 bucks. Our train was bang on time & we boarded for Kolkata. After dinner, as I was trying to sleep, Bhutan & its beauty kept on hovering in my mind & I knew that this hangover had to be there for few days.
We got up early the next day and visited the city bus stop at 7am to get our tickets reserved for Thimphu. They operate 18 seater comfortable buses with no standing passengers. We bought 2 tickets for Rs.245 each to Thimphu for the 2pm bus and planned to get our permits and do some sight seeing in Phuentsholing by then. Private cabs charge about Rs. 3000 and share cabs about Rs. 750 per head for the same route.
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.