Book Sandakhphu Tour Package
Verify your phone number
We've sent you an OTP code to verify your phone number and prove you're a human.
Didn't receive one? Resend OTP.
Thank you! Your enquiry has been sent. Our travel partners will get back to you soon.
307 Kms from Sandakhphu
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.
Digambar Jha, chairman of the state-run Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), said in Kathmandu on Wednesday that once the services are successfully established in the Everest region, they will expand to other areas such as Annapurna Base Camp as well.The availability of free internet at Mount Everest might seem like a move in the wrong direction to some, but in the age where information means sharing every breath and step with the world, this progression seems to be in the right direction, as it will save lives if not get you enough likes.
Kathmandu is a world unlike any other you've ever been to. A riot of sounds, sights and smells engulfs you and you emerge utterly besotted. Imagine alleyways jammed with cows and rickshaw-pullers, temples dotting the entire city with chants of prayers reverberating in the air and mix it up with hawkers selling everything from flowers to food, on the streets – that's Kathmandu for you. It is a city that lives with the motto of 'Atithi Devo Bhav' or 'guest is equal to God' and that is how tourists are treated.
Day 6, going Back to Kathmandu-ThamelHeading to the Bus Terminal in the early morning and going back to Kathmandu city with again 7 hour ride on the Bus..reach the Hotel at Thamel distric, this time I booked the hotel near the garden you should visit if you reach Kathmandu City.. it is Garden Of DreamsGarden of Dream , it was created in 1920, with 6 pavilions, fountain landscape,its design with europeans Gardens, really enjoying the view, you can sitting there relaxing with doing some activity like reading books, or taking some pictures ,you can visit the Museum ,and also you can sitting in the restourant inside enjoyig the coffee or some meals.
Day 1, Kathmandu -Thamel
The ride to Kathmandu was a short and smooth affair. We stopped for lunch at small joint in Khandichaur and enjoyed local fish meals served like thalis. Entering Kathmandu via Bhaktapur brought back congested roads and slow-stuck traffic bringing the city blues back again. Kathmandu is densely crowded and still lives in the aftermath of the horrendous earthquakes of 2015. With the town covered in dust and smog throughout, every face on street has a filter mask on. By evening we reached Hotel Manaslu (a traditional Nepalese hospitality experience) in Lazimpat.
Marriage is a very sacred affair in India. Hence, there is no better place than Kathmandu to start a marital relationship where spiritualism will aid the couples to help understand each other from within as well. As soon as the flight starts descending at the Kathmandu airport, one can witness a sea of temple peaks from the window. And the experience only amplifies manifold from thereon. Wherever the honeymooners stroll around in the city, they will be followed by the distinct soothing sounds of a spiritual center nearby. But that doesn’t mean there is a dearth of entertainment zones and world-class casinos here. There are plenty of things to do for every kind of couple and the fact that each Indian rupee is equal to 1.6 Nepali rupees also ensures that a honeymoon here is not a costly affair.
74 Kms from Sandakhphu
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...
Drive from Lachen to Gangtok.Duration - 5 hours
New Jalpaiguri to GangtokStay at Gangtok for a day and enjoy the different things to see around. One of the best places to visit the Enchey Monastery and to party at Cafe Live n Loud.Duration (NJP to Gangtok) - 5 hours
Day 9The morning started with a disaster! I found that my phone was completely formatted and all my pictures, videos and data were lost. For convenience sake, I had clicked all the pictures and the videos of this ride on my phone but it was lost forever, including the proposal video. It was heart shattering news.We somehow managed to pull ourselves together and decided to seek some peace at the Rumtek monastery. Within a few minutes we were our cheery selves as there was nothing which we could do about the lost video. We consoled ourselves by saying that the video is sure to be in our hearts till the rest of our lives. Thanks to Facebook and WhatsApp we managed to at least salvage the pictures we had uploaded and shared.
Day 8There is a term in Bengali called "Lyadh-Khawa" which basically translates to lazing around. That is exactly what we did on this day and we deserved every bit of it. We woke up at noon, had brunch on our beds, shopped at the M.G. Marg in the evening, saw the whole city from the ropeway and went to a place called "Cafe Live and Loud" at night. Now I have visited the famous Someplace Else in Kolkata and the Hard Rock Cafe in Delhi but the whole feel of this cafe was different. The local band which was playing was extraordinarily good; the food was lip smacking and they best part was that they had got their LIITs right. We let our hair down and simply had a blast!
Day 7Yet again, we were welcomed by a landslide after riding for a few kilometres. Compared to the size of the landslides we had seen in the past days this was a small one and we were sure that it would be taken care in a couple of hours. Since the last two days we had been riding in continuous rain and every piece of cloth that we were wearing or we had in our bags was wet. The sun was shining brightly after days and since we had nothing better to do while waiting for the road to be cleared, we decided to open our own clothes wholesale shop at the side of the road.
Yakten is only 35 km from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim.Nearest Airport: Bagdogra is the nearest airport and is 145 km away.Nearest Railhead: New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest Railway head.From NJP or Bagdogra, you will get shared as well as private vehicles to Gangtok. From Gangtok, you have to book a car to Yatken.
Gangtok is a hub for exploring Sikkim. It is a beautiful hilly city with several options for tourists to enjoy and explore.Here are some things to do in and around Gangtok.
To promote winter tourism, the Sikkim Tourism Board organizes a winter carnival every year, in the months of December and January. Recently, the carnival has been renamed after the Red Panda, the state animal of Sikkim. The festival is organized in state capital Gangtok.
There is one major problem in Gangtok that no cab is allowed to move before 10 am. due to which we had to change some of our plans but it was also good to rest a little more in our rooms. We left for Lachung at around 11 am. On our way were some really amazing waterfalls, the sight seeing of which was also included in the package. We reached Lachung at around 6 pm after many stops at waterfalls. Keep in mind that Lachung & Lachen are two different places.The price to Lachung and back was around INR 1200-1500 per pax which included all the meals, stay & travel and excluded the charges to visit "Yumthang Valley & Zero Point" which costed INR 2500 for whole cab, which can accommodate around 10 people. We also wished to visit the "Katao Military Base Camp" which also costed another INR 2500 for the cab. Our companions in the cab were pretty good people and agreed for the same.
We reached Gangtok at around 11 am. , settled and had lunch at 'Chopsticks' (situated on main M.G. Road, had delicious chinese food). We started our 1st day of sight seeing from the Hanuman Tok which is considered the highest point in Gangtok and has a spectacular view of whole Gangtok.
187 Kms from Sandakhphu
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...
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.
Day 3, Nov 3rd, 2017: Our hotel was right opposite to the clock tower which is supposed to be the most happening area of Thimphu. We strolled in the beautiful clean streets of Norzing Lam, which was surrounded by green mountains & pine trees everywhere. The mountains were running parallel to the road & the air was so fresh that you instantly will feel the happiness within you. We were amused to find that at 08:00 hrs no shop is open for breakfast or anything. They have this protocol of everything opening at 09:00, to which they strictly adhere to..Sharp at 09:00, we met Vishnu, our trip guide at the reception of the hotel. His attire, posture, body language everything was very formal & gentle.
The bus dropped us at the taxi stand in Thimphu by 7:30 pm. Our hotel was about 2 kms from the bus stop. While we were bargaining with the taxi driver, someone asked us if we wanted a lift to the hotel. My friend was a bit sceptical as we were new to the place and being from India, it is not easy to trust strangers; but later we agreed to take the lift. While driving us to the hotel, he introduced himself as the Chief Auditing Commissioner of Bhutan. Yes, that was when we realized how helpful Bhutanese people are to their guests. He not only dropped us to the hotel but also helped us plan places we should be visiting the next day.
1. Thimphu - We landed at the Paro International Airport from Kolkata and headed to Thimphu for a 2N stay (due to some delay in airlines departure from kolkata we reached Paro later than expected). The evening was spent exploring Thimphu on foot. This capital city is unique in the way that there are no traffic lights at intersections! All traffic movements are on mutual consent and needless to say, they rarely have any road accidents.
Only a 2-hour drive from Paro, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is the most happening town of the country. Here, you can give your honeymoon a touch of fun, frolic and party!Where To Stay:
National Institute for Zorig Chusum in Thimpu is a must visit! It’s a government initiative to preserve local art and craft. It offers courses on Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts which includes calligraphy, painting, sculpture, wood carving, casting, pottery, embroidery, tailoring, weaving, masonry, silver and gold smith workshops. The discipline and skills that the students exhibit is extremely impressive!
Next day, hail a cab and travel to the capital town, Thimphu. Aim to keeping this cab to get around in Thimphu, as it be a more convenient and cheaper option since cab fares are high there. Moreover, the cab drivers in Bhutan are very gracious and will always indulge in a conversation about His Highness, Bhutan, and Buddhism. Thus, you'll be learning a lot while you're in transit. You can contact Mr. Mangal Singh at +975 17607472 to book for a trip.** (Read Part 2 for Thimphu, Punakha and Haa Valley)Cover Image Credits: http://www.mountainechoes.org/
306 Kms from Sandakhphu
Patan : 3rd Busiest city of Nepal after Kathmandu and PokharaTake a taxi to Patan and indulge in more temples sight-see...
I liked the Patan Durban Square cultural heritage.
172 Kms from Sandakhphu
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...
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!
The morning drive from Thimphu to Paro was exciting. Paro is a very small town compared to Thimphu. Thimphu has ATMs but I found few in Paro. Once reached, I set out for Chelela Pass. Clouds were floating by and freezing wind was blowing. In the midst, prayer flags were fluttering as if they were protectors of this remote and mythical land.
4. Paro - The drive from Haa to Paro was a memorable one through the Chelala Pass (the highest motorable road in Bhutan). Chelela Pass was full of snow and we had a lot of fun engaging in snowball fights and making a ridiculous looking snowman. It was sunny up there and the air free of any pollution made the sun literally burn our skin. We had to take off our jackets and then too we were sweating with snow all around us.
Paro Tshechue/Paro Festival which happens in the month of April at the Rinpung Dzong is a series of dance performances by the monks and laymen wearing ornate costumes and masks. It is said that one gains merit by attending these festivals. (WooHoo! Brownie points for being a part of this) We woke up at 3am (we surprise ourselves by doing things like these :p ) to witness the Thongdrel festival – which is an unfurling of a massive embroidered painting of Guru Rinpoche. It is considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrel unfurl is said to cleanse one’s sins!
Tiger’s Nest or Paro Taktsang monastery in Paro is by far the most iconic symbol of Bhutan. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. Hence the name – ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The trek takes about 6 hours which includes the tour of the monastery. The trail is uphill but not very steep, pretty doable we must say. It is tiring yes, gives you a serious fitness check (if you don’t believe in any form of exercise, like us!) but believe us, once you reach the top and inhale the pure and serene air, you will forget the aching bones and the gasping you experienced. The scenery over the valley is just mind blowing – completely lined with prayer flags and prayer wheels.
Day 4: On our way to Paro. 2nd important city and in fact only city with airport in Bhutan.. 1.5 hr ride from Thimpu .. 50 kms.Bhutan major attraction - Tiger nest.. Have always been enticed by its wallpaper like pics.. Time to turn imaginations into reality..Taktsang, or the Tiger's Nest Monastery, is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan. one of the most challenging monasteries to get to. Located at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Taktsang is the birthplace of Bhutanese Buddhism.
294 Kms from Sandakhphu
After visiting the capital for a few days, I visited Bhaktapur, an unique, small city with a special charming. There, th...
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.
217 Kms from Sandakhphu
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 ...
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.
158 Kms from Sandakhphu
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...
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.
We got our local visa sorted at the passport office right next to the border and it roughly took an hour and a half. You can only take passes for Thimphu and Paro from this office, for all the other areas, you will have to take passes either from Thimphu or Paro. We took a traveller from Phuentsholing at around 2 pm and reached Thimphu around 8-8.30 in the night where we were welcomed by our amazing host at the pre-booked Airbnb Villa.
Day 3: The zeal was at its par once we reached to New Alipurduar from there we took mini bus to Pheuntsholing- The gateway of Bhutan by road from India.The next spot to explore was Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang: This city centre temple represents the heaven of Guru Rinpoche. Again the chilled evenings waited for the sun to rise with every single day getting close to summer.
Today, after breakfast drive back to Phuentsholing - the gateway to the south and thriving commercial trade centre on the northern edge of the Indian plains. On arrival, check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Phuentsholing (B)
We went to Bhutan for a getaway as a small trip and it turned out to be as great as any other place we've been to. We reached the border town of Phuentsholing by train from Guwahati and checked into the Druk Hotel which is one of the good ones in this border town. Getting into this border town doesn't take any special permits or formalities since Bhutan and India are on very friendly terms. We only have cross the border gates and these close after 11pm.
This is First part of the 14 day bike trip to Sandakphu and Sikkim . Second part (Sikkim Version) would be available soon.
There are several places to stay along the route. In Sandakphu, I stayed in Sherpa Chalet because of its rooms with great views of the peaks. There is no electricity at these places and the lodges use solar lights for some hours at night. So do not expect luxury amenities like TV etc. However cell phones do work for most part of the route. Room rate is 1200 in ground floor and 1600 in 1st floor.
After so much ascending, we finally reached at the top. woha !!! We were at the topmost point of West Bengal and at the acme of our trek. It was dusk and we all started layering up to get some shield from the cold. Some of us played kickball, some of us ascended a small cliff and had a look at the majestic Sleeping buddha as we could not wait till other day sunrise only to get a more beautiful view. we then relished on the soup, enjoying some indoor group mingling games followed by dinner. Then we broke into our allotted rooms and wished to fall asleep as soon as possible. due to windy weather, tents could not be pitched and it was decided to stay in a lodge.Night temperature drops to -10 and can even go to as low as -15 due to winds from the Kanchenjunga mountains. Nonetheless, do get out and look at the stars.Some of the fellow trekkers were on the course of diamox tablets. at higher altitudes, reduction in atmospheric pressure results into thin air i.e. less dense oxygen. This may give feeling like head ache, nausea. Diamox helps in thinning of blood and helps to get relief. As our trek leader told, it is perfectly okay to go on a diamox course, but the irony of this liberty is that you have to hydrate yourself more than normal. Now Imagine yourself at midnight when the temperature outside is dipped to -10 with blowing winds; you have to get up removing blanket layers, step out of room, go out in open for peeing. :D :D Their plight at midnight is one of the memories being cherished right now.
Sandakphu at 3636 metres was an anticlimax – I expected to see views that would last a lifetime but all that I found on the top were lodges and an acute water shortage. I did not even try to locate the Kanchendzonga, the way I did at previous camps – imagining where it should be and then superimposing the postcard I bought. Post the ritual of room allocation, we settled down for a nap. Later in the evening, our YHAI guide – Abhijit Roy, took us to the sunset point, although by now fog had entirely enveloped us and the visibility was a few metres, as we set out to see the sun which was millions of kilometers away. Instead of being a sunset point it was truly a wind point – for it was super windy and cold there! It became tough to maintain balance. I remember Sowmya exclaiming – “It’s so windy I won’t fall” with her back to the wind. The moment reminded me of the Battle of Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings, when Aragorn would summon the ghost army as it swooped across the war plains decimating the foe. Meanwhile, our tea champion – Soumya found a nice shop for tea, twenty bucks a cup, served hot in chinaware, while some among us had maggi. The night yet again was cold and windy, blatantly challenging us, the outsiders, as we hid in the warmth of the lodge, meekly giving up against the will of nature.Gurdum our next stop was 14 km away, all downhill. Easiest of the easy paths passing through a Rhododendron forest and then through the sovereign of bamboos. Earlier in the day, I woke up at 3 to see if the Kanchendzonga had presented itself to the stars, but the veil wasn’t lifted. By around 5, all gathered to see the sunrise – to witness the burning peaks, braving the cold winds; but the warmth of our hope dismissed the conditions as we sat facing the now purple crimson horizon. We waited and waited, for the sun was late – as if the great peaks were forbidding the sun to appear, till it was high enough to hide them away. And then we saw the reddish purple sphere, we saw it through the conifers, we saw it from the glass cabin, we saw it through the fluttering prayer flags at a point higher than any found in West Bengal, we saw what 7 billion others see everyday but the mountains made it different. Back in the cottage, there was a picture of Sandakphu captured sometime in December, with pristine clear views of the Kanchenjunga, as pristine as the snow that had covered the cottage – perhaps I had chosen the wrong season to travel here.We arrived in Gurdum by 2 PM just in time for lunch. After being on a diet of rice, dal, potatoes and cabbage, the fresh peas and soybean was a delight. The courtyard was skillfully lined with flowering plants, all blooming to their full glory – roses, orchids, daisies, poppies, succulents and so many more whose names I barely knew.In the evening we had a small ceremony in the community hall where everyone was asked to put up atleast one performance. The group of Tushar, Kishor, Mayur and Akshay sang Bawara Mann, while Geetha, Honey, Giri put up a solid dance performance. Our group of Akash, Soumya and Abhinav opted for skit enacting Tony Greig and Navjot Sidhu. The other Sowmya put up a breathtaking solo indian classical dance performance. Amidst the darkness lit by torch light with sounds effects using Bluetooth speakers the night indeed became memorable.
After having a tough night in Tonglu as we tried to adjust to the heavy cold we dragged ourselves to look for what we had come for. As luck would favour us we got one of the best rooms of the guest house. It has one side facing the mountain range made of glass and one can sip tea/Coffee from the comfort of ones bed as one enjoyed the view. We woke up and went to the small tent like structure made especially for viewing the sunrise. We had a host of other travelers already ready. The sunrise happens to the right of Kanchenjunga and it rays is intercepted by mountain range casting an orange glow. Nothing seems more delicious than hot Thuppa served at whim. If you want to have chicken you need to buy the same from Manebhanjan and carry with you till Tonglu. There is no electricity here so carry extra batteries for camera and also power bank for charging mobile though the same would be out of network.