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Old 13th May 2011, 17:06   #1
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Default Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

After seeing myself travelling Bangalore-Delhi-Bangalore, my younger brother is planning to do following :

Delhi - Gangtok - Bhutan - Delhi

In this respect, please advise me on following :

1. Route to be taken ?
2. Road Conditions
3. Places to halt enroute
4. Places to see enroute
5. Place to stay with good Vegetarian Food ?
6. Availability of Petrol as he is planning to do it in Logan - Petrol
7. Suitability of driving on these routes considering that he will be the only person driving all the way and co-passengers will be his wife and 6 yr. old daughter

I look forward to your concrete suggestions with full details at earliest.

Also I need contact info of fellow BHPians on this route in case of any help is required.
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Old 13th May 2011, 19:42   #2
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

Please find attached the route plan from Delhi to Bhutan, which I prepared for a friend of mine - and which trip was also completed as per plan last month.

Route is as follows:

Delhi-Agra-Etawah-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi-Sasaram-Aurangabad-Barhi-Asansol-Raniganj-Dubrajpur-Siuri-Morgram-Malda-Dalkola-Kishanganj-Siliguri-SEvoke

To go to Gangtok, turn off at Sevoke and go via Rangpo to Gangtok.
To go to BHutan, go on from Sevoke via Birpara & Hashimara to Phuntsoling (Bhutan border).

You can also take teh Bihar route if you are confident of safety issues there. Rads are much better nowadays. On teh contrary, roads in WB are not good of late.

If you wish to go via Bihar, you have 2 choices:

Kanpur-Lucknow-Ayodhya-Gorakhpur-Kushalnagar-Gopalganj-Muzaffarpur-Samastaipur-Barauni-Begusarai-Purnea-Dalkola, towards Siliguri

or

Varanasi-Dobhi-Gaya-Patna-Begusarai, and onward via Purnea to Siliguri.

I can also give you the route profile for the Gorkahpur route which I have taken before.

No problem with hotels, food, petrol or other facilities.

If you are interested, you can read about my Gangtok-Bhutan trip in this travelogue:
kumar'snortheastdrivingholiday - hvkumar
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File Type: xls Pradeep-Bhutan.xls (120.5 KB, 1296 views)
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Old 13th May 2011, 23:09   #3
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

Dear Kumar

Thanks for the info.

I request you to provide the route profile for the Gorkahpur route which you have taken earlier.

I'll forward it to my brother who is planning to start next Fri/Sat.

Also request you to forward me the route plan for Gangtok.

Also, do we need any permit to go to Bhutan and whether Passport is mandatory for Indians or any Photo Identification will do to enter Bhutan.
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Old 14th May 2011, 09:27   #4
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

You can check out the attached log book which has the Siliguri-Dalkola-Purnea-Begusarai-Muzaffarpur-Kushalnagar-Gorakhpur-Ayodhya-Lucknow-Kanpur route.

Getting permits for yourself at Phuntsoling:

- Carry your passports along (those below 10 years not required)
- Visit Bhutan Immigration Office at 9 am local time
- Fill up form, state your itinerary
- Carry passport photos
- Receive visit visa in 1-2 hours
- Visa will be issued here only for Thimphu & Paro

If not carrying your Passports, have either your election card or driving license. Election card is also accepted as evidence of Indian citizenship the same way as Passport.
But if using driving license as ID proof, you have to go first to Indian Consulate at Jaigaon (Indian border town) and get it attested before going to Phuntsoling Immigration office. That means some extra time, crowds, etc

Arrive at Immigration Office ASAP to beat crowd of workers getting work visas.

After getting visit visas, go to the RSTA (equivalent of RTO) some 500 metres away (inside the bus stand building complex).
-Apply for your car/mobike permit
- Keep all car documents in original
- Pay daily permit fees, based on number of days intended to stay
- Get permit within 1-2 hours

You should be out with both visa/permit in under 3 hours, which means you can start by 12 noon for Thimphu which is 200 kms (or 5-6 hours) drive from Phuntsoling.

Immigration office does not normally take applications in afternoon, and does not work on holidays. There is no provision to issue you visa-on-arrival at the check posts.

Keep many copies of visa/permits to be shown at 4 check posts on the way to Thimphu/Paro.

If you are planning to go anywhere else in Bhutan (Other than Thimphu/Paro), you have to repeat the procedure at Immigtaion/RSTA in Thimphu.
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File Type: xls s2s.xls (387.0 KB, 834 views)
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Old 15th May 2011, 00:46   #5
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

Avoid the Varanasi-Dobhi-Gaya-Patna-Begusarai, and onward via Purnea to Siliguri route. Stay on Malda route, it is better and faster.
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Old 15th May 2011, 10:54   #6
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

Just back from Sikkim & Bhutan trip,

Some more info,
Keep Voters ID or passpost for taking permits

for 6 yrs old you need to take Identity proof from Indian Embassy. We took it from embassy in Phunsholing(around 500mtr from immigration office, you can drive to save time). You need to take kids school ID card or birth certificate(any other indentity proof of the kid) original & 2 copies each. 2 photos required. They open at 10am & it will take around 30mins if crowd is not there.

i think this is a new rule & many of the visitors were surprised by this new rule of taking identity certificate for 5-10 yrs old kids.

also at RSTA issues permits from 9am to 11am & again from 2pm to 4pm. i doubt you will be able to complete all the formalities, take permits & reach RSTA within 11am.

If you were not able to reach RSTA by 11am you can finish your lunch bit early & start from RSTA by around 2.30pm.. process at RSTA may take between 10 to 30mins.

We took around 5 hrs or less to drive from Phunsholing & thimpu with a 30min break. Beware of incoming traffic, some parts roads are very narrow & speeding vehicles may be bit tricky.
Keep original Driving licence if you are driving, at all check post they will check this.

Its very expensive to shop at BHutan. atleast 2-5 times the rates at Gangtok. Just buy some souveniers for memory rest all you can shop at Gangtok/Darjeeling/Siliguri (in order of expensive to cheap).

Buy personalised stamps at GPO at Thimpu.. its the best souvenir you can buy at a reasonable price. stay closer to main town.. we stayed at Hotel pedling just next to Swiss bakery. very nice place to stay & very hospitable staff. rates 2200/day

At siliguri you can check at Golden paza for good thailand & chinese stuff at a very reasonable prices..

Stay near MG marg at Gangtok, its very nice..

do plan for a 2 night & 3 day trip to North sikkim. atleast for me its the best part of our trip. its a expensive trip, once you cross chung thang every thing is double the MRP.

You need to take a local vehicle for North sikkim trip. You can negotiate for a vehicle like Scorpio/Xylo/new Sumo grade kind of vehicle.. food is very expensive, you can carry some bread/noodles/packed food from gangtok. you can just negotiate for just vehicle & stay.. rest all if you can manage, then the prices will be much cheaper.. finally its your call.

Try out river rafting enroute to gangtok.. go for rs4500/11km option.. its worth every penny.

At Gangtok we stayed at Hotel Golden Nest(nam nam road) which is 100mtrs from MG marg, 1200/day & very spacious rooms.. we never tried food at this hotel.. there is vey nice food court(only veg) on MG marg..(its just before Rasoi restaurent, in basement just opposite to Apna Dhaba)

Last edited by Tiger : 15th May 2011 at 10:56.
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Old 16th May 2011, 09:42   #7
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

Quote:
for 6 yrs old you need to take Identity proof from Indian Embassy. We took it from embassy in Phunsholing(around 500mtr from immigration office, you can drive to save time). You need to take kids school ID card or birth certificate(any other indentity proof of the kid) original & 2 copies each. 2 photos required. They open at 10am & it will take around 30mins if crowd is not there.

i think this is a new rule & many of the visitors were surprised by this new rule of taking identity certificate for 5-10 yrs old kids.

also at RSTA issues permits from 9am to 11am & again from 2pm to 4pm. i doubt you will be able to complete all the formalities, take permits & reach RSTA within 11am.

If you were not able to reach RSTA by 11am you can finish your lunch bit early & start from RSTA by around 2.30pm.. process at RSTA may take between 10 to 30mins.
Tiger, surprising news this. My friend who went to Bhutan last month did not have to carry any ID papers for his daughter (since Immigration told him that none were required for kids <10 years old).
The Immigration Office was open (as always) from 9 am BST onwards (830 am IST), and all of us, including myself, have managed to get both the permits (Immigraton and RSTA) before 11 am, and leave Phuntsoling before lunch.

In the Immigration Office, if you are the first in the Q at opening, you will beat the workers crowd which comes in 30-60 minutes later, delaying issue of all permits. If first in the Q, then you should get your permit in 30-60 minutes.

I hope the change in timings that you mentioned is only temporary since the staggering of Immigration and RSTA permits will delay departure from Phuntsoling and result in reaching Thimphu or Paro after dark, a pity since you will miss the lovely vistas on the route.
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:19   #8
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

[quote=hvkumar;2352786]Tiger, surprising news this. My friend who went to Bhutan last month did not have to carry any ID papers for his daughter (since Immigration told him that none were required for kids <10 years old).
The Immigration Office was open (as always) from 9 am BST onwards (830 am IST), and all of us, including myself, have managed to get both the permits (Immigraton and RSTA) before 11 am, and leave Phuntsoling before lunch.

Dear HVK,

Planning my third Long Drive to Bhutan in Nov 11. Coupling this drive with attending my daughters friend wedding at Meghalaya on 02 Dec. So in all it will one helluva long drive.
Any special preparations for Bhutan-in Nov??

Been to the first Bhutanese town-Samrud Jhonkar in 1978, for taking permission to fire our Arty Guns onto the range which falls within their borders.
Just me and wife (as usual) will be making this trip in our Ritz. Will be retiring (second time-first from the Army)from my present Company in Sept therefore we will be fancy free!!

Jude
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:46   #9
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

[quote=Judemayne;2352845]
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Tiger, surprising news this. My friend who went to Bhutan last month did not have to carry any ID papers for his daughter (since Immigration told him that none were required for kids <10 years old).
The Immigration Office was open (as always) from 9 am BST onwards (830 am IST), and all of us, including myself, have managed to get both the permits (Immigraton and RSTA) before 11 am, and leave Phuntsoling before lunch.

Dear HVK,

Planning my third Long Drive to Bhutan in Nov 11. Coupling this drive with attending my daughters friend wedding at Meghalaya on 02 Dec. So in all it will one helluva long drive.
Any special preparations for Bhutan-in Nov??

Been to the first Bhutanese town-Samrud Jhonkar in 1978, for taking permission to fire our Arty Guns onto the range which falls within their borders.

Jude
Bhutan in Nov will be fine. Good weather (post North East Monsoon) and good roads. Will be cold though, but no snowfall anywhere till end-Dec.

Road to exit Bhutan via Samdrup Jhonkar is in terrible condition both sides of the border (in Bhutan road is being widened, but in India, roads are bad because it is India!)

You could enter Bhutan via Phuntsoling (from Sliguri side), do the entire West-East run from Thimphu via Punakha, Trongsa, Jakar, Mongar & Trashigang, and exit Bhutan at Samdrup Jhonkar to reach Guwahati 100 kms away. Without entering Guwahati, you can go on to Shillong. Trashigang to Shillong is just a day's drive.
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Old 17th May 2011, 18:49   #10
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

we were the first to enter immigration office. the delay was because of taking Indentity proof from Indian embasy which opens at 10am. Take 30min for process & again we have to come back to immigration office. by the time we took permit it was already 11.30am..
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Old 18th May 2011, 12:17   #11
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

@Tiger

The plan is finalized by my brother and the tentative date of departure from Delhi is Sat. 21-5-2011.

The planned route is Delhi-Agra-Faizabad-Ayodhya-Gorakhpur and onwards.

Please advise the road conditions on this route or any other safer route.

Can you provide phone no. of Hotel Golden Nest at Gangtok.

Also if you have any contact no. of TRavel agent who can make arrangement for trip to North Sikkim

Also in case of we go to North Sikkim, then is there any provision at Hotel to leave our vehicle in safe custody till we return from North Sikkim Trip.
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Old 18th May 2011, 18:59   #12
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by micrographics View Post
Can you provide phone no. of Hotel Golden Nest at Gangtok.
The telephone number is (03592) - 227008. Please see this for more information about that hotel:-
http://www.thehotelgoldennest.com/
Regards,
Rahul Biswas
Calcutta

Last edited by rahul4640 : 18th May 2011 at 19:01.
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Old 18th May 2011, 20:10   #13
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

i have not travelled on Delhi - gorakhpur road..HVK is the right person for this..

For north sikkim trip you can refer Tamang - 9434241425 or 9635878121, they are nice & will help you out for leaving your vehicle at Gangtok. They own a Innova & Sumo(has run around 1.9lac kms). they use this sumo for north sikkim trip , but you can negotiate for a better vehicle like new sumo, scorpio or xylo.

For Nathula Innova can be used. we paid rs7000 for this trip.

Plan for a 2N & 3 D trip to North sikkim, you can skip Choptha valley & negotiate a lesser price. when we took quote they asked 18000 for 2N & 3 D trip

In these 3 days, First day you will travel to Lachen & stay
second day early morning around 4am you will leave to Gurudongmar & back by around 1pm to lachen, have lunch & leave to lachung which is 2-3hrs drive
3rd day leave to Yumthang & Zero point and travel back to gangtok.
During this trip food may not be great & will be basic dal, rice & vegitable.
while chatting with the hotel guys at lachung we came to know that they charge 120rs for BF (just 4 pcs of bread), 140rs/meal for lunch & dinner (veg). any additional food is charged extra. So its your choice whether to carry some noodles & bread/jam to save some cost.
On the way between sevok & Rangpo do try to do river rafting (11kms one is good)

for how many days you have planned to travel?
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Old 18th May 2011, 20:31   #14
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

I have not travelled in the Delhi-Gorakhpur route lately, but a friend of mine did and some of the things I heard are that from Lucknow onwards 4 laning is not complete but roads are mostly good.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 17:31   #15
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Default Re: Delhi-Gangtok / Bhutan - Planning

Dear HK Kumar and others who have contributed to the thread. Need your advise I am planning to drive Fortuner from Delhi to Darjeeling - Gangtok and Bhutan I did some basic calculation on the travel plan which I am attaching below. Pl. validate the same and feel free to edit. I am travelling with my wife and two kids 10 and 12 yrs. so do not want too much of long drive. Also if you could suggest decent hotels or other good accommodations along the route. Will really appreciate the help. Thanks
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