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Old 19th September 2011, 16:23   #1
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Default Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

We take every year a long break around September for our Annual Vacation. We also have also been following a pattern of going having a "really long" driving holiday (More than 5K Kms) in the first year of the vehicle itself. The Getaway was bought in April this year with the aim of doing Ladakh as well the North East of India properly. Initial plan was to join HVK in August for the Ladakh trip but due to Bidisha's pending deputation to Delhi, I had to pull out.

Finally with the schedules becoming slightly clearer, we are planning to head out Tawang but want to see Sikkim and Bhutan as well. Even though the dates haven't been finalised, the tentative itinerary looks as follows

Name:  NE Travel Plan  1.jpg
Views: 11320
Size:  110.5 KB
The route we are planning to take is Hyderabad - Shillong
Request help in the following:
  1. Are day-wise travel sectors appropriate?
  2. Is skipping Darjeeling advisable given we are going to Gangtok?
  3. Any passes near Gangtok wherein we can see/experience some snow?
  4. What all are required for Bhutan? What all to see?
  5. I know Thimphu - Tawang is a stretch for a day? What would be the ideal night stopover?

Please bring on all the info!

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by MileCruncher : 19th September 2011 at 16:26.
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Old 19th September 2011, 18:02   #2
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Assume you are not intending to do the drive in the next couple of weeks as the areas in and around the north-east are going to be highly unstable with plenty of landslides after yesterday's earthquake.

Siliguri-Gangtok road has been reported to be ravaged and was closed earlier today.

All the best for your drive.
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Old 19th September 2011, 18:09   #3
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Assume you are not intending to do the drive in the next couple of weeks as the areas in and around the north-east are going to be highly unstable with plenty of landslides after yesterday's earthquake.

Siliguri-Gangtok road has been reported to be ravaged and was closed earlier today.

All the best for your drive.
This is being planned for the year end. December / January. Want to see snow and snowfall!
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Old 19th September 2011, 18:13   #4
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Amazing planning Ani. However, I see that the distance covered for Hyderabad-Bhubaneswar and Bhubaneswar-Siliguri is about 1000 kms each. Is each of this leg doable in a day? Just wanted to know.
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Old 19th September 2011, 18:28   #5
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
We take every year a long break around September for our Annual Vacation. We also have also been following a pattern of going having a "really long" driving holiday (More than 5K Kms) in the first year of the vehicle itself. The Getaway was bought in April this year with the aim of doing Ladakh as well the North East of India properly. Initial plan was to join HVK in August for the Ladakh trip but due to Bidisha's pending deputation to Delhi, I had to pull out.

Finally with the schedules becoming slightly clearer, we are planning to head out Tawang but want to see Sikkim and Bhutan as well. Even though the dates haven't been finalised, the tentative itinerary looks as follows

Attachment 611929
The route we are planning to take is Hyderabad - Shillong
Request help in the following:
  1. Are day-wise travel sectors appropriate?
  2. Is skipping Darjeeling advisable given we are going to Gangtok?
  3. Any passes near Gangtok wherein we can see/experience some snow?
  4. What all are required for Bhutan? What all to see?
  5. I know Thimphu - Tawang is a stretch for a day? What would be the ideal night stopover?

Please bring on all the info!

Thanks in advance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Assume you are not intending to do the drive in the next couple of weeks as the areas in and around the north-east are going to be highly unstable with plenty of landslides after yesterday's earthquake.

Siliguri-Gangtok road has been reported to be ravaged and was closed earlier today.

All the best for your drive.
Yes beware of the earthquake threat. But I think the highway is semi open as the Disaster relief force just went past me in siliguri as i was driving back home. And they were heading for Gangtok by road in 5-6 Mahindra Maxx's.

Plus Gangtok to Thimpu in 1 day is not really possible and not recommended. This route would be around 480 kms and not 380 (+/- 10 kms). Get to Phuntsuling before 12 as the immigration offices close for lunch break between 12-2pm. You will need to go to 2 offices, one to get permits for individuals, then you will need to go to another office 1 kms away to get permits for your car.

I would recommend darjeeling for 1 day But your plan is as follows:
Monday : Siliguri- Darjeeling
Tuesday: Darjeeling
Wednesday: Darjeeling - gangtok

Instead i would suggest you leave Siliguri early in the morning monday at 6 or 7 am and you will be in darjeeling by 10:30 - 11:30 am monday itself. Then you can spend half a day there. and leave for Gangtok on tuesday instead of Wednesday. If you love looking at mountains and are travelling around Oct/ nov then stop over at darjeeling and go to North point and you will see Mt. Kangchenjunga up really close. But you will need the blessing of the weather gods as cloud cover is very very common.

I live in Siliguri so if you have any questions regarding the Siliguri-darjeeling-Gangtok-Thimpu sector pls feel free to ask as I have done regular trips to Darjeeling and Gangtok and 1 bike trip to Thimpu.
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Old 19th September 2011, 18:35   #6
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Request help in the following:
  1. Are day-wise travel sectors appropriate?
Name:  NE Travel Plan  1.jpg.jpg
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Se-La pass will fall on your way, both while going to Tawang and also while returning.

Why have you kept one day for Tawang - Se La Pass - Tawang?

Just yesterday at lunch, Ravveendrra told me that I should do Guwahati - Tawang over 2 days with a break at Dirang while going passing Se La Pass without stopping at it.

On the return leg, I should take a break at Se La Pass and also do Tawang - Tezpur in a single day and no further.

He also said that I should set aside at least 2 days for Tawang.

So, for you, Thimpu - Tawang - Shillong should have at least 7 days and this is if you do not face closure of Se La Pass.

I was talking Christmas 2012 with him for my trip. Now my trip is scheduled for Dusherra 2012.

I do not think Tawang - Shillong is a single day journey.

Last edited by hyd_traveller : 19th September 2011 at 18:48.
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Old 19th September 2011, 18:48   #7
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

You can experience snow in Nathula pass in Sikkim and take a couple of snaps with the Chinese guards there. Also December and January is a good time to see snow in Tawang/Sela-pass.

I would suggest you take a break at Guwahati or Tezpur for the Thimpu-Tawang stretch.
Also Tawang-Shillong is going to be very difficult and tiring.
I have driven from Guwahati to Tawang but had to take a break in Bomdila.
It took 11 hours to cover a distance of 300 kms (Guwahati-Bomdila). But our drive was undertaken in a very relaxed manner without any hurry.

The stretch from Bhalukpong to Tawang is mostly hilly and the roads are narrow and lots of hair-pin bends.
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Old 20th September 2011, 20:33   #8
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
We take every year a long break around September for our Annual Vacation.
....
Please bring on all the info!

Thanks in advance.
Hi,
Off the top of my head:-
You are blitzing through the countryside. No intention of stopping to smell the roses?

You need to be in Phuntsoling in the morning for your permits. You will need permits in Thimpu also. The offices are open only on working days.

Thimpu - Tawang in one day. Don't think so.
SeLa or BumLa?

I would say most of your driving time is very optimistic. And you need buffer time in hand. Roads can get snowed in, bandhs called, frequent jams etc. Maybe a less ambitious, but more thorough itenary? Like why leave out Gurudongmar. Or drive through Bhutan, coming out at Samdrup. Or ...

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 20th September 2011, 22:48   #9
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Or drive through Bhutan, coming out at Samdrup. Or ...

Regards
Sutripta
Bhutan mountain roads will be snowed. Sorry for the wrong suggestion.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 21st September 2011, 14:41   #10
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
We take every year a long break around September for our Annual Vacation. We also have also been following a pattern of going having a "really long" driving holiday (More than 5K Kms) in the first year of the vehicle itself. The Getaway was bought in April this year with the aim of doing Ladakh as well the North East of India properly. Initial plan was to join HVK in August for the Ladakh trip but due to Bidisha's pending deputation to Delhi, I had to pull out.

Finally with the schedules becoming slightly clearer, we are planning to head out Tawang but want to see Sikkim and Bhutan as well. Even though the dates haven't been finalised, the tentative itinerary looks as follows

Attachment 611929
The route we are planning to take is Hyderabad - Shillong
Request help in the following:
  1. Are day-wise travel sectors appropriate?
  2. Is skipping Darjeeling advisable given we are going to Gangtok?
  3. Any passes near Gangtok wherein we can see/experience some snow?
  4. What all are required for Bhutan? What all to see?
  5. I know Thimphu - Tawang is a stretch for a day? What would be the ideal night stopover?
Please bring on all the info!

Thanks in advance.
Hi Milecruncher,

The plan is very aggressive and as Sutripta rightly says, where is the time to smell roses?

I would strongly recommend that you take out Tawang and Shillong from this which you can club it comfortably whenever you plan the North East trip. I can see you are hardly giving any time in Guwahati or Shillong wich is pointless to me. Also not visiting Nameri on the way to Tawang is not done. So, pls don't club these places with Darjeeling - Sikkim - Bhutan.

I would recommend the following

a) A day in Calcutta to see the city assuming that you haven't seen it before.

b) Two days to explore Darjeeling including a ride in the toy train.

c) Atleast four days to explore Sikkim. Since you are going all the way to Sikkim, not exploring the state is pointles.

d) Four days in Bhutan

e) You can also plan a deviation to Manas from Sikkim and then to Bhutan as well.

That leaves you with eight days of road driving. You can rework accordingly.

By the time you go to Sikkim, things would have setlled down. So no worries as such.

Also keep a day or two as buffer to cater for road blocks or any eventualities beyond your control.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Hi,
Off the top of my head:-
You are blitzing through the countryside. No intention of stopping to smell the roses?

You need to be in Phuntsoling in the morning for your permits. You will need permits in Thimpu also. The offices are open only on working days.

Thimpu - Tawang in one day. Don't think so.
SeLa or BumLa?

I would say most of your driving time is very optimistic. And you need buffer time in hand. Roads can get snowed in, bandhs called, frequent jams etc. Maybe a less ambitious, but more thorough itenary? Like why leave out Gurudongmar. Or drive through Bhutan, coming out at Samdrup. Or ...

Regards
Sutripta

Well said Dada.
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Old 21st September 2011, 14:45   #11
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
a) A day in Calcutta to see the city assuming that you haven't seen it before.
Fauji, I really doubt if MileCruncher would be spending a whole day seeing Calcutta. I guess, MC will +1 on this here. MileCruncher as you all know on TBHP is also called as Anirudha Basu by the Non-BHPians. I guess, the surname is a giveaway to who MC is. He can stroll every lane of Calcutta blind folded, hence I doubt if he would spend a whole day seeing Calcutta.
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Old 21st September 2011, 14:54   #12
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

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Originally Posted by traveloholic View Post
Fauji, I really doubt if MileCruncher would be spending a whole day seeing Calcutta. I guess, MC will +1 on this here. MileCruncher as you all know on TBHP is also called as Anirudha Basu by the Non-BHPians. I guess, the surname is a giveaway to who MC is. He can stroll every lane of Calcutta blind folded, hence I doubt if he would spend a whole day seeing Calcutta.
i did not know his real identity!!! That's why i placed a caveat "if not seen before".

That gives him additional day to explore Sikkim or deviate to Manas.

Alternately, if Anirudha feels the threat of Earth quake, he ca do a glorius trip of North East covering Guwahti - Shillong - Kaziranga - Dibrugarh - Tezu - Ziro - Tawang - Nameri - Guwahati

Last edited by Fauji : 21st September 2011 at 15:00.
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Old 21st September 2011, 17:25   #13
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Plan is looking good MC. It is doable. My suggestion to skip vizag local sightseeing, and try to be there in bhutan side for longer time. Vizag can be covered any time as it is a just a overnight journey from hyd.
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Old 21st September 2011, 18:05   #14
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by traveloholic View Post
. He can stroll every lane of Calcutta blind folded, hence I doubt if he would spend a whole day seeing Calcutta.
Yes, he can tell you the locality name by smelling the Rossogullas cooking there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by contactme27 View Post
Plan is looking good MC. It is doable. My suggestion to skip vizag local sightseeing, and try to be there in bhutan side for longer time. Vizag can be covered any time as it is a just a overnight journey from hyd.
+1 to this viewpoint. I've also mentioned this to MC personally. I feel he can skip Sikkim fully and plan for only Bhutan and Tawang.
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Old 21st September 2011, 18:30   #15
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Tawang via Bhutan: What to do in a 20 day vacation?

Dear MileCruncher,

Based on my travel experience ( https://picasaweb.google.com/vijusnn )

- Day 7 ( Gangtok to Thimpu) 380 km: This entire route is scenic , go slow. With 380 km as target, you won't enjoy your drive in this route.
- You need 3-4 hours in Bhutan border to get permits or may not get same day !
- Thimpu to Tawang : 830 km . You need to re-plan.
- Tips: If you have friends in Siliguri / Kolkata , transport your car. You can enjoy 2 more days in mountains.

PM/ ring me if you need additional help.

Cheers,
Viju
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