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Old 2nd July 2011, 19:48   #16
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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I also do Bombay-Delhi (1500 kms) in a day, although many are aghast.
Theoretically, driving Guwahati-Tawang is possible in a day, but for a first-timer, definitely not that way.
There are many photo opportunities on the way.
Roads can be terrible at some times of the year and reaching Bomdila from Bhalukhong itself can be an ordeal.
Se la Pass is no push-over either.
And definitely I would like to arrive in Tawang before it is dark if I am not familiar with the roads.

I have myself driven Tezpur-Tawang from 3 am to 3 pm, and the previous day, I had driven in from Guwahati in 3 hours, so definitely it could be done.
But the high altitude driving to Tawang also take sits toll and it is best that one starts fresh from either Tezpur or Bhalukhpng.

Therefore, let me rephrase my statement earlier - Guwahati-Tawang on the same day is possible, but is it desirable for a tourist?


Please read my previous post properly, I have clearly mentioned that ghy-tawang is a bit difficult. But tawang-ghy can be done without much of a fuss, as while returning one would have crossed the hills well before sunset and can reach tezpur by 5-6pm and from there on, its an easy deal to reach ghy in 4-5 hrs, though one will reach ghy by 10-11pm...its quite manageable/feasible. But as even you have mentioned, doing ghy-tawang is difficult and not advisable but doing the reverse is surely possible even for a tourist, as he would have noticed and remembered the route while going.


Regarding photo opportunities, if someone is really interested into photography then he/she can spend days in that route clicking pictures of the beautiful scenery...as there are lots ot lakes near bomdila and dirang, dirang also has hot water springs. I have laid out the plan keeping in mind the important places that one should visit in that tight schedule. Otherwise the journey period will have to be expanded as there will be tons of photo spots all along the journey right from bangalore.
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Old 2nd July 2011, 19:52   #17
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

Holyghost all the best for your trip, some suggestions Nathula permit has to be obtained in Gangtok one day prior and better to start early and return in the noon the weather gets extremely chilly post lunch around Tsogmo lake. Weather is also unpredictable you got to be there before the snowfall begins. In Shillong check out the St Joseph Museum one of the best museums in India, you will get total info on North eastern states, plus some DVDs are sold state wise. In Gauhati don t forget to visit the Kamakiya temple. You can check out my travelogue for Sikkim, Assam and Megalaya http://indiabackpacker.blogspot.com/...-shillong.html

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Old 2nd July 2011, 19:54   #18
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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Please read my previous post properly, I have clearly mentioned that ghy-tawang is a bit difficult. But tawang-ghy can be done without much of a fuss, as while returning one would have crossed the hills well before sunset and can reach tezpur by 5-6pm and from there on, its an easy deal to reach ghy in 4-5 hrs, though one will reach ghy by 10-11pm...its quite manageable/feasible. But as even you have mentioned, doing ghy-tawang is difficult and not advisable but doing the reverse is surely possible even for a tourist, as he would have noticed and remembered the route while going.
I missed that! Yes, I agree, Tawang-Guwahati is easier because you are in the plains before sunset.

Any idea about the current condition of the road - before rains and now after rains have begun? I guess Bhalukhpong-Bomdila must be already breaking up?
Are taxis still sticking to a 2-day drive or they are also taking tourists in 1 day?
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Old 2nd July 2011, 20:30   #19
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

I have not been there recently, so do not have first hand information about current condition, last I went was in 2006 dec...roads were okay as other hill roads but not as good as the ghy-shillong road. With passing of time and more tourists visiting, roads might have become better.


As far as taxis are concerned, while going most taxis take tourists in the 2 day drive plan...stopping at bomdila overnight. But regular travelers do ghy-tawang in a single day starting early, but mostly in summers and good weather condition. While returning most of them cover in a single day, unless the tourist prefers to stay in beautiful dirang. I have always wanted to spend some time in dirang, but never got an oppurtunity due to limited time.
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Old 3rd July 2011, 00:45   #20
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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An update for Purnea to Patna route -
Hi,
Great that someone can update us about road conditions in that part of the world.

Always wanted to do NH31 end to end in one shot. So Barhi to Dalkhola, how is it?

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Old 4th July 2011, 07:45   #21
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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Hi,
Great that someone can update us about road conditions in that part of the world.

Always wanted to do NH31 end to end in one shot. So Barhi to Dalkhola, how is it?

Regards
Sutripta
Hi!

Talking about Barhi in Jharkhand?

There are many routes you may take. Two are via Bhagalpur.
1st route is via Jamui, 2nd is via Deoghar.

Not too sure about the Jamui one, but had been to Deoghar in March and the route is okay.

However, the most popular route to go over is via, Barauni, Bakhtiarpur as the road conditions are comparatively better and is a safer route.

Just the day before yesterday, road robbers felled a tree on the Deoghar route and robbed ex-cops even. It is in Jharkhand. I find Bihar to be relatively safer.

I can up-date most routes from this side, if not via me, then via taxi guys. It shall take a couple of hours max to get the desired info.

Thanks
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Old 4th July 2011, 11:02   #22
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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Just the day before yesterday, road robbers felled a tree on the Deoghar route and robbed ex-cops even. It is in Jharkhand. I find Bihar to be relatively safer.
I thought these things are not so common nowadays! This sounds bad.
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Old 4th July 2011, 12:07   #23
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Just the day before yesterday, road robbers felled a tree on the Deoghar route and robbed ex-cops even. It is in Jharkhand. I find Bihar to be relatively safer.
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I thought these things are not so common nowadays! This sounds bad.
Sheel, you are scaring me! I am on the verge on finalising my route from Shillong to Delhi and back and I have been suggested by Kumar Sir to take the Malda route to Delhi and it will involve us crossing Barhi in Jharkhand!

Kumar Sir, please comment.

Would it thus be advisable to avoid Jharkhand?
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Old 4th July 2011, 12:12   #24
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Sheel, you are scaring me! I am on the verge on finalising my route from Shillong to Delhi and back and I have been suggested by Kumar Sir to take the Malda route to Delhi and it will involve us crossing Barhi in Jharkhand!

Kumar Sir, please comment.

Would it thus be advisable to avoid Jharkhand?
Absolutely no problem on NH2 (GQ) day or night from Calcutta through to Delhi via Barhi.
The sector which Sheel has referred to is in interior Jharkand, which is not in your route.
Maybe things have improved in both JH and BR, but my experience on NH31 has been terrible and I prefer to avoid it (no offence meant to Sheel) and take the NH2 and WB roads through Siuri & Malda to Siliguri.
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Old 4th July 2011, 12:14   #25
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Absolutely no problem on NH2 (GQ) day or night from Calcutta through to Delhi via Barhi.
The sector which Sheel has referred to is in interior Jharkand, which is not in your route.
Maybe things have improved in both JH and BR, but my experience on NH31 has been terrible and I prefer to avoid it (no offence meant to Sheel) and take the NH2 and WB roads through Siuri & Malda to Siliguri.
Thank you Sir, you have been reassuring, as always! Will stick to the route suggested by you. In the meanwhile, I am updating the original query with a few more route suggestions and will appreciate a response.
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Old 4th July 2011, 18:13   #26
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Hello all!!!

My first post beside my Intro so please bear with me.

My thoughts on the itinerary (Day 5-Day14) for the trip. I have not searched previous older threads so excuse if nonsensical.
This is my humble suggestions only with no offence to anyone.

D1: Bangalore - Hyderabad
D2: Hyderabad - Nagpur
D3: Nagpur - Reva( Madhya Pradesh) ... there is a fort in reva, which you have see while moving out of reva.
D4: Reva - Patna

D5:Patna-Siliguri-Gorubathan-Lava-Algara-Rishi (Sikkim Entry)-Pedong-Rhenock-Rongli
Siliguri to Rongli will take approximately 5 hours compared to 4 hour drive to Gangtok from Siliguri via. NH31A. But NH31A has nothing to offer except huge traffic jam , dusty roads and BRO machinery. Infact NH31A may take longer by 2-3 hours because of constant stoppage of traffic due to rock blasting. Last week It took me 6 hours to reach Bagdogra from Singtam which normally takes 3 and 1/2 hours at the max due to BRO work and the jam. Siliguri-Rongli via Rishi is one of the best drive will minimum traffic. You will love the pine forest and the scenic drive. This way you will also not have to repeat any roads in Sikkim. DC office at Rongli also issues permit for Nathula Pass

D6:Rongli-Zuluk-Nathula-Chhanggu Lake-Gangtok-Phensang-Mangan-Lachen
Rongli-Zuluk-Nathula Road is longer (Approx. 4 hours) compared to route from Gangtok (2 Ĺ hour) but is one of the most beautiful drive in Sikkim. I would prefer to go to Nathula everytime via Rongli. I promise you that you will not regret this route. Enjoy Nathula and Chhanggu lake go to Gangtok and proceed to Mangan/Lachen since you donít have much time. Gangtok in Oct-Dec will be crowded with tourist mostly from west Bengal. Nothing much to enjoy compared to places like Gurudongmar lake/Lachen/Lachung/Chungthang/Uttary

D7:Lachen-Thangu-Gurudongnar Lake-Lachen-Chungthang-Lachung-Yumthang-Mangan
Gurudongmar lake at 18000 ft-no need to describe except three words -haven, Haven, HAVEN)

D8:Mangan-Dikchu-Makha-Ravangla-Lagship-Geyzing ĖPelling-Uttary
I have been upto Pelling nice, beautiful and tranquil place. somehow I missed Uttary-I have heard this place is better

D9:Uttary-Kaluk-Naya Bazar (Sikkim Exit)-Teesta-Kalijhora- Bagh Pool(Coronation Bridge)-Jaigaon/Phuenstholing
You will have to stey one night at Jaigaon/ Phuenstholing for Permit-No other way. I donít think one can reach Thimpu on same day

D10: Phuenstholing-Thimpu-Tongsa

D11:Tongsa-Tashigang

D12:Tashigang-Guwahati-Shillong

Shillong is beautiful town but after your Sikkim/Bhutan leg you are will not be much impressed- I had hard time finding booze there because of it being Sunday evening (I think).

D13:Shilong-Cherapungi-Guwahati
Drive between Shillong and Cherapungi is heavenly. I would love to go again. If I remember correctly road is really good with minimum traffic - nice hilly roads with smooth curves . Lots of grassy hills on the way.I could not much see the seven sisters fall because of fog but I loved the drive and the place. Nice place to spend 1-2 nights.

D14:Guwahati (Post lunch)-Bomdila
In my humble opinion Guwahati has nothing to offer except temples. Guwahati is quite similar to any other city on plains such as Siliguri with similar weather. Early morning you can visit major temples such as Khamakya Devi temple/Sukleswar temple/Tirupati temple and after early lunch proceed to Bomdila for onward journey to Tawang

D15: Bomdila-Tawang
(I have been only upto Tezpur so canít comment )

D16: Tawang
D17: Tawang - Guwahati
D18: Guwahati - Siliguri
D19: Siliguri - Kolkata
D20: Kolkata - Behrampur
D21: Behrampur - Vijayawada
D22 : Vijayawada - Bangalore

Note:
If time limitations is exactly 21 days then you can re-plan between Day7 and Day9 when you are there by deleting few places in between to do it in 2 days.

Personally I would prefer to travel in November rather than December because (i)Not to Cold compare to December. (ii)Better chances of witnessing snowfall as higher chances of avalanches in December at higher reaches and altitude. (iii) and also monsoon recedes from North East latest by mid-October.

Regards
Dinesh
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Old 4th July 2011, 18:39   #27
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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Originally Posted by dinesha View Post
D5:Patna-Siliguri-Gorubathan-Lava-Algara-Rishi (Sikkim Entry)-Pedong-Rhenock-Rongli
Siliguri to Rongli will take approximately 5 hours compared to 4 hour drive to Gangtok from Siliguri via. NH31A. But NH31A has nothing to offer except huge traffic jam , dusty roads and BRO machinery. Infact NH31A may take longer by 2-3 hours because of constant stoppage of traffic due to rock blasting. Last week It took me 6 hours to reach Bagdogra from Singtam which normally takes 3 and 1/2 hours at the max due to BRO work and the jam. Siliguri-Rongli via Rishi is one of the best drive will minimum traffic. You will love the pine forest and the scenic drive. This way you will also not have to repeat any roads in Sikkim. DC office at Rongli also issues permit for Nathula Pass

D6:Rongli-Zuluk-Nathula-Chhanggu Lake-Gangtok-Phensang-Mangan-Lachen
Rongli-Zuluk-Nathula Road is longer (Approx. 4 hours) compared to route from Gangtok (2 Ĺ hour) but is one of the most beautiful drive in Sikkim. I would prefer to go to Nathula everytime via Rongli. I promise you that you will not regret this route. Enjoy Nathula and Chhanggu lake go to Gangtok and proceed to Mangan/Lachen since you donít have much time. Gangtok in Oct-Dec will be crowded with tourist mostly from west Bengal. Nothing much to enjoy compared to places like Gurudongmar lake/Lachen/Lachung/Chungthang/Uttary

D7:Lachen-Thangu-Gurudongnar Lake-Lachen-Chungthang-Lachung-Yumthang-Mangan
Gurudongmar lake at 18000 ft-no need to describe except three words -haven, Haven, HAVEN)

[b]D10: Phuenstholing-Thimpu-Tongsa

D11:Tongsa-Tashigang

Dinesh
Is it easy to get permits for Zuluk sector at DC's Office in Rongli? Do they also work to office timings on weekdays only?

I always thought it was difficult to get permits (for own car) to North Sikkhim? Have things changed? Earlier, I recall they one had to run around to Police Commissioner's Office and all that to get the permit after some wrangling?

After obatining permits at Phuntsoling, it is impossible to reach Trongsa teh same day. You will take at least 5 hours just to reach Thimphu before sun down. Moreover, I thought the idea was to see Thimphu, Paro & Punakha and not just drive out of Bhutan via Trongsa? Another factor is that you have to go to Thimphu to obtain permits for East Bhutan, at Phuntsoling they issue permits for only Thimphu & Paro.
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Old 4th July 2011, 22:30   #28
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Is it easy to get permits for Zuluk sector at DC's Office in Rongli? Do they also work to office timings on weekdays only?
Some error in my post above. Sorry for that. Permit issuing officer is SPDO (Sikkim Police Divisional Officer) in Rongli. Current SPDO resides at Rhenock. He comes around 10:00 AM and is usually there atleast until 4:00 PM. Permit is issued on all weekdays and Saturdayís (Except 2nd Saturday), I donít think it is issued on Sunday. But if needed I can enquire exact status about Saturday and Sunday.

I think permit from Rongli is fairly easier, it being small town with comparatively lesser number of tourist taking this route.

Quote:
I always thought it was difficult to get permits (for own car) to North Sikkhim? Have things changed? Earlier, I recall they one had to run around to Police Commissioner's Office and all that to get the permit after some wrangling?
We took our own vehicle when we went last but then our trip was so rushed. The itinerary drawn above is too rushed and Holyghost will be doing nothing but driving. He needs to expand the trip to atleast 30 days.
Anyways, Permit is easier if you contact Hotel owners in Gangtok. They can pre-liaison with the authority and get the forms ready. A traveler needs to bring ID (Passport/Voter ID Card/Driving License), passport photos and vehicular documents with him/her and things can be done in ziffy.

In any case if there is difficulty in getting the permit. A taxi can be pre-arranged to pickup and drop from Mangan (As holyghost will have to return to Mangan anyhow) . This way one is saved from hassle of arranging permits and also driving in high altitude.



Quote:
After obatining permits at Phuntsoling, it is impossible to reach Trongsa teh same day. You will take at least 5 hours just to reach Thimphu before sun down. Moreover, I thought the idea was to see Thimphu, Paro & Punakha and not just drive out of Bhutan via Trongsa? Another factor is that you have to go to Thimphu to obtain permits for East Bhutan, at Phuntsoling they issue permits for only Thimphu & Paro.
Yes Paro and Punakha is the place to see but then to do all places in 21-22 days the above ineneray entails flag hosting at some places. So I did just drive through the Bhutan. Trongsa is about 9 hours from Thimpu. My mistake I did not take allowance for permit at Thimpu otherwise Thimpu to Trongsa would have been one long drive nearly comparable to Guwahati-Tawang leg.

I guess my itinerary covers most of the places that are must see. But the number of days are limited and as written above the trip requires atleast 30 days. My humble suggestion to add few more days such as to give:

1 more day in Bengal (Stay overnight at Reshi/Rishi-proceed to Rongli next morning get the permit and reach early to Gangtok via Nathula)

2 more days in Sikkim.
(Get permit for North Sikkim in Gangtok and relax-1 night, 1 day for Temi Tea Garden-Damthang-Namchi)

2 more days in Bhutan
(Phuntsoling to Thimpu, Thimpu-Punakha, move towards Tashigang)

1 day in Assam and 1 day in Arunachal.
(For Kaziranga, Guwahati and Tawang)

1 Extra Day for unforeseen things and pleasure.

The other option is to reduce some places but my humble request and suggestion to Holyghost would be to expand the trip by few more days then to be rushed or miss some vital place and regret later.

Just My Humble Opinion.

regards
Dinesh
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Old 4th July 2011, 23:01   #29
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Default Re: Bangalore - Shillong - Bhutan

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Absolutely no problem on NH2 (GQ) day or night from Calcutta through to Delhi via Barhi.
The sector which Sheel has referred to is in interior Jharkand, which is not in your route.
Maybe things have improved in both JH and BR, but my experience on NH31 has been terrible and I prefer to avoid it (no offence meant to Sheel) and take the NH2 and WB roads through Siuri & Malda to Siliguri.
Indeed, there is absolutely nothing to worry on NH 2 or the GT road as it is fondly called.

I am not sure about the roads between Siuri and Maldah, though post it, it is okay.

NH 31 is nowadays better, things are improving, though not at the pace which we would like to see

@Sutripta - I inquired at few places and Barhi to Dalkola is 450 kms via Barauni-Bakhtiarpur. Other routes are best avoided.
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Old 5th July 2011, 22:51   #30
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You are quite a wanderer Holyghost! Putting the safari to good use! First Laddakh and now NE!
I have to do justice to my conscience for spending so much for a 4x4 . I really enjoy being on the road, and sometimes off it. True Story!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
An update for Purnea to Patna route -

That particular bridge is under going construction (for past few months) and there is a huge jam, almost always.

I shall up date on this route once you so desire and would happy to help/assist if the need arises.
Thanks for the information. Since you said that it is going to take an year to complete, I will definitely check with you for an update before I start in Nov/Dec.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravi_23 View Post
... though one will reach ghy by 10-11pm...its quite manageable/feasible.

Regarding photo opportunities, if someone is really interested into photography then he/she can spend days in that route clicking pictures of the beautiful scenery...
I would prefer to keep my drive time to be 15Hrs max. Even if it includes all the unnecessary stops, photoshoots, breaks for smoking, I wont plan a drive for more than 16 hrs.
I think if I can stick to this I can avoid some of the mistakes I did during my Leh trip. You wont believe, but we were forced to drive Kargil - Leh at night (eventually stopped on the way after finding it difficult to drive) and while returning we crossed Rohtang Pass at midnight .


Quote:
Originally Posted by ukderebail View Post
Holyghost all the best for your trip, some suggestions Nathula permit has to be obtained in Gangtok one day prior and better to start early and return in the noon the weather gets extremely chilly post lunch around Tsogmo lake. Weather is also unpredictable you got to be there before the snowfall begins.
Thanks for the information ukderebail. I will keep that in my mind while planning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Just the day before yesterday, road robbers felled a tree on the Deoghar route and robbed ex-cops even. It is in Jharkhand. I find Bihar to be relatively safer.
To be frank, I do feel a little scared. Hope I wont have to face such situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinesha View Post

D5:Patna-Siliguri-Gorubathan-Lava-Algara-Rishi (Sikkim Entry)-Pedong-Rhenock-Rongli
Siliguri to Rongli will take approximately 5 hours compared to 4 hour drive to Gangtok from Siliguri via. NH31A. But NH31A has nothing to offer except huge traffic jam , dusty roads and BRO machinery. Infact NH31A may take longer by 2-3 hours because of constant stoppage of traffic due to rock blasting. Last week It took me 6 hours to reach Bagdogra from Singtam which normally takes 3 and 1/2 hours at the max due to BRO work and the jam. Siliguri-Rongli via Rishi is one of the best drive will minimum traffic. You will love the pine forest and the scenic drive. This way you will also not have to repeat any roads in Sikkim. DC office at Rongli also issues permit for Nathula Pass

D6:Rongli-Zuluk-Nathula-Chhanggu Lake-Gangtok-Phensang-Mangan-Lachen
Rongli-Zuluk-Nathula Road is longer (Approx. 4 hours) compared to route from Gangtok (2 Ĺ hour) but is one of the most beautiful drive in Sikkim. I would prefer to go to Nathula everytime via Rongli. I promise you that you will not regret this route. Enjoy Nathula and Chhanggu lake go to Gangtok and proceed to Mangan/Lachen since you don’t have much time. Gangtok in Oct-Dec will be crowded with tourist mostly from west Bengal. Nothing much to enjoy compared to places like Gurudongmar lake/Lachen/Lachung/Chungthang/Uttary

D7:Lachen-Thangu-Gurudongnar Lake-Lachen-Chungthang-Lachung-Yumthang-Mangan
Gurudongmar lake at 18000 ft-no need to describe except three words -haven, Haven, HAVEN)

D8:Mangan-Dikchu-Makha-Ravangla-Lagship-Geyzing –Pelling-Uttary
I have been upto Pelling nice, beautiful and tranquil place. somehow I missed Uttary-I have heard this place is better

D9:Uttary-Kaluk-Naya Bazar (Sikkim Exit)-Teesta-Kalijhora- Bagh Pool(Coronation Bridge)-Jaigaon/Phuenstholing
You will have to stey one night at Jaigaon/ Phuenstholing for Permit-No other way. I don’t think one can reach Thimpu on same day

D10: Phuenstholing-Thimpu-Tongsa

D11:Tongsa-Tashigang

D12:Tashigang-Guwahati-Shillong
Shillong is beautiful town but after your Sikkim/Bhutan leg you are will not be much impressed- I had hard time finding booze there because of it being Sunday evening (I think).

D13:Shilong-Cherapungi-Guwahati
Drive between Shillong and Cherapungi is heavenly. I would love to go again. If I remember correctly road is really good with minimum traffic - nice hilly roads with smooth curves . Lots of grassy hills on the way.I could not much see the seven sisters fall because of fog but I loved the drive and the place. Nice place to spend 1-2 nights.

D14:Guwahati (Post lunch)-Bomdila
In my humble opinion Guwahati has nothing to offer except temples. Guwahati is quite similar to any other city on plains such as Siliguri with similar weather. Early morning you can visit major temples such as Khamakya Devi temple/Sukleswar temple/Tirupati temple and after early lunch proceed to Bomdila for onward journey to Tawang

Personally I would prefer to travel in November rather than December because (i)Not to Cold compare to December. (ii)Better chances of witnessing snowfall as higher chances of avalanches in December at higher reaches and altitude. (iii) and also monsoon recedes from North East latest by mid-October.
Welcome to T-bhp Dinesh. A very helpful first post indeed. Now I have a lot of choices and need to pick which ones to visit and the ones to drop.
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