Exotic Himalayas (Bhutan-Darjeeling-Gangtok)

Thrilled, excited, frightened …. Yes! The trip to Bhutan, Darjeeling & Sikkim started with all these mixed feel when the situation enforced me to plan the trip by myself. A million thanks to the bloggers, trip adviser reviews/suggestions and the guidance received from office friends, which gave me loads of confidence to board the flight along with by brother on 27-Mar-18.

One of my dreams is to travel long distance thru local transport and to connect with vicinities to understand and to witness their own way of living. My office friends suggested to take shared taxi and minibuses which ply frequently between cities, if I wish to experience real Bhutan life and north east life. So started the 9 days’ journey by just booking the flight tickets and stay alone.

Day 1-Jaigaon

(27-Mar-18) Bagdogra-Jaigaon

Started from Bangalore by 9:50AM and reached Bagdogra Airport around 2:30PM. Just before the exit gate at Jaigoan Airport you can find the Prepaid Taxi booth on the left hand side.  Read More…

Flight Cost – Rs 8600 | Shared Taxi – Rs 600 | Hotel Satyam – Rs 900 | Food – Rs 300

Places lived for 9 Days

Bangalore – Kolkata – Bagdogra – Jaigaon (India Border)- Phuentsholing ( Bhutan Border)- Thimphu (Bhutan Capital)- Punakha – Chimi Lhakhang – Paro – Jaigaon – Siliguri – Darjeeling – Gangtok (Sikkim)- Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandhir near Nathula Pass (China Border)- Bagdogra- Bangalore

Day 2 - Phuentsholing

(28-Mar-18) Phuentsholing - Thimphu

The permit process is absolutely hassle free and within an hour we got the permit at the Phuentsholing immigration office. And one can start to experience the purity, neatness and discipline, even in crossing the road, driving the moment you step inside the Bhutan gate.

Taxi Cost – Rs 700  | Travel time – 5 Hrs | Stay – Rs 1500 (Hotel Ghasel)

Amazing scenic drive from Phuentsholing to Thimphu with huge mountains and valley. Read More…

Day 3 - Punakha

(29-Mar-18) Thimphu-Punakha-Wangdue

Morning by 9:30AM we got the permit extended at theThimphu immigration office and headed towards Punakha

Places to see:

Dochula Pass, Royal Botanial Park Lampelri, Punakha Dzong,Punakha Suspension Bridge, Authentic Bhutanese home food at Chimi Lhakhang Village, Wangdue Dzong, Wang chuu and Pa chuu rivers, White water rafting.

Time required : Full day, start early morning to cover all the places

Things to Explore: Yak cheese, Authentic Bhutanese home food at Lhaki Yangchak, Chimi Village, Ema Dashi – Chilli & Cheese food and Pork

Shared Taxi – Rs 300 (one way) | Breakfast – Rs 70, Lunch – Rs 350, Dinner – Rs 80 | Stay Rs 1500- Hotel Ghasel ( for 2 people) Read More…

Day 04 -Thimphu

(30-Mar-18) Thimphu - Paro

2 hours is enough to explore Thimphu city through local cab, Cost Rs 400 per person.

Places to See:

Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Lhakhang , Folk Heritage Museum, Tashichho Dzong, Dechencholing (King’s  Palace), Semtokha Dzong, Kuensel Phodrang(Bhudda Point), National Institute of Zhorig Chusum, Handicrafts Museum, Dechen Phodrang Local market at Hill top, Tango Monastery, Cheri Monastery, Clock Tower Square for evening walk.

Thimphu to Paro is 45 minutes mesmerizing drive between rustic mountains and Paro river. After hotel check in at Hotel Lhaki Yangchak, immediately we headed to Chele la Pass.

Chele la pass:

Lovely winding roads, birds eye view of Paro city and airport was treat to eyes and crossed few small villages to reach Chele la pass, which lies at 13084ft  and one of the highest motor able road in Bhutan. Top of the peak was too windy with the super cool breeze and it was 2 degree when. 360-degree view of Himalayan mountains was enthralling.

Things to Explore: Hot rice paneer soup, noodles and night life in Paro city. Read More…

Shared Taxi from Thimphu – Paro – Rs 100 (WagonR) | Ama’s Home stay – Rs 1000 | Chele la Pass – Rs 500 | Food Rs 80+Rs 100 + Rs 100

Day 05 - Paro

(31-Mar-18) Paro - Jaigaon

Tiger next trek

Guru Padmasambhava mediated here in 8th Century and in 1692 the monastery was built. One of the most stunning mythical and magical monastery in the world which is constructed on a cliff with enormous Himalayan Valley facing. Colorful prayer flags, waterfalls, prayer wheels, pine trees, snow fall and a mill drizzle added more pleasure during the trek. Enjoy every moment and the viewpoint during the trek.

Overall, it took 5 Hours for trekking. Lots of local shared taxis available to reach this place and the same driver dropped us back. Don’t forget to collect his contact number for return journey, instead of reserving the taxi for a full day.

Paro – Phuentsholing/Jaigaon

Then we traveled back to Phuentlsholing on the same day from Paro. Read More…

Reserve Taxi for Tiger Nest – Rs 100 for one way (Wagon R) | Tiger nest entry fee – Rs 500 | Paro – Phuentsholing Rs 100 in shared taxi | Food – Rs 400 | Stay – Rs 900 for 2 people (Hotel Satyam)

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Day 06 - Darjeeling

(01-Apr-18) Jaigaon-Darjeeling

Jaigaon – Siliguri – Darjeeling

First time travelled by local bus service and got the bus in front of the hotel itself by 6AM, to reach Siliguri. From SIliguri we travelled by shared taxi (Sumo) to Darjeeling.

Darjeeling is nestled among the rolling mountains in the Himalayan foothills at West Bengal at an elevation of 6700ft, we experienced the Tibetan influence in the craft and culture

Places to see : Himalayan Steam Toy train, Evening walk to Chowrasta, Happy valley tea estate, Sunrise at Tiger Hills (view of kanchenjunga / Mt Everest), Tinchuley Village, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, Bhutia Busty Gompa Monastery, Ghoom Museum, Batasia loop.

Things to explore : Momo , chow mein noodles, Darjeeling tea and shopping Read More…

Bus Ticket -Rs 100 (Jaigaon – Siliguri)   |Shared taxi – Rs 150 (Siliguri – Darjeeling) | Local Taxi to reach hotel-Rs 100 | Toy Train – Rs 1300

Toy train ride Darjeeling

(02-Apr-18) Darjeeling-Gangtok

Day 07 - Gangtok

Sunrise view at Tiger Hills

Tiger hill is located at an elevation of 8482Ft from Sea level and the highest point in Darjeeling, Its around 11Kms from Darjeeling. We reached at 4:15 AM and found a suitable place to see both sunrise on the East and the Kanchenjunga peak view on the opposite side. And the much awaited Sun started to show up by 5AM with a huge welcome applause by the crown and it was amusing to watch and lucky to see the Kanchenjunga peak when the sun rays hit the peak, which was a feast to eyes.

Darjeeling – Gangtok

Around 9AM we reached the taxi stand to head towards Gangtok through shared Taxi and paid Rs 250 per person.

Distance: 96Kms | Travel time : 3:30 Hrs

Gangtok is nestled among the high peaks of the Himalayas at an elevation of 5410ft, northern Indian state of Sikkim. Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim blend with tradition and modernity, one of the most famous hill station in India

Places to see in Gangtok:

Tsomgo Lake, Menmecho Lake, Nathula Pass, Hanuman Tok, Banjhakri Water Falls, Shiv Mandir @ slow clad peak, Baba Mandir, Do Drul Chorten Stupa, MG Marg & Shopping, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Rope car, Khanchenjunga view, Seven Sisters Water falls Read More…

Day 08 - Tsomgo Lake

(03-Apr-18) Sikkim

Also called as Changu lake is a freezing lake in East Sikkim and 40Kms from Gangtok and located at 12,310 ft above sea level. The interesting fact is the climate was keep changing every hour from mild sunny weather, cold wind, mild to heavy snow fall and rain fall. Read More…

Cost – Rs 500 (Sumo) Shared Taxi | Hotel Helia – Rs 1700 | Food – Rs 400 | Local Site seeing – Rs 200

Day 09 - Bagdogra

(04-Apr-18) Gangtok-Bangalore

Places to see in Bhutan-Darjeeling-Gangtok