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Old 8th November 2011, 11:35   #16
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by amrisharm View Post
Speaking from personal experience, My friends and I, we reached the Last check-post before reaching Thimpu (40 kms before thimpu) at roughly 10pm. And they did not mention anything about night curfew.
I am not sure about the current rules. I lived there in the late 80s and early 90s. Night driving back then was not officially allowed unless there was some sort of emergency. However, I used to reach my home in Mongar from Samdrup at 10 pm in the night by bus.
The trip that I made in my own car was done a few years ago - I think 2009. And frankly I didn't look at the current night driving rules as I had no plans for driving in Bhutan at night.
Also, I shall not be surprised if different Bhutanese officials had different interpretations of the same rule, like in India.
BP - If night driving is not an issue with you, I would suggest Calcutta-Siliguri section at night rather than P'ling-Thimphu, even if rules permit. What HVK says has merit from an aesthetic point of view.
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Old 8th November 2011, 20:00   #17
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
I have heard that there is a better route now through Bihar though it is a bit longer. Does anybody have any idea about that?
Hi,
Regarding the Bihar route, contact another member Sheel.

No further advice to give except that Bhutan is cash country. Indian currency is legal tender there, except 500 and 1000 rupee notes!

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 8th November 2011, 21:44   #18
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Hi,
Regarding the Bihar route, contact another member Sheel.

No further advice to give except that Bhutan is cash country. Indian currency is legal tender there, except 500 and 1000 rupee notes!

Regards
Sutripta
Nowadays, the recommended route is Asansol-Dumka-Bhagalpur-Kagariya-Purnea-Dalkola. Roads are apparently god throughout and the best alternative for those from Cal going to Siliguri. No safety issues also, I am told, but you are advised to travel by day.

In Bhutan, you have to make do with 100s notes, although I was able to give my 500s in petrol pump in Thimphu. Problem is acute in interior areas.

Royal Bank of Bhutan has ATM in Thimphu but I don't know whether it is compatible with Indian ATM and other international networks (should be, I guess).
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Old 8th November 2011, 23:18   #19
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Royal Bank of Bhutan has ATM in Thimphu but I don't know whether it is compatible with Indian ATM and other international networks (should be, I guess).
It wasn't when I reached there a month after you.
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Old 8th November 2011, 23:30   #20
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Royal Bank of Bhutan has ATM in Thimphu but I don't know whether it is compatible with Indian ATM and other international networks (should be, I guess).
I did some internet research and the good news is that there are many ATMs in Bhutan,
ATM - Bank of Bhutan
and further, looks like they will accept all international cards.
"Bank of Bhutan Ltd offers you the convenience of ATM Services in Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Paro, Trashigang, Gelephu, Wangdue, Gomtu, Punakha, Damphu, Samdrup Jongkhar, Tsimasham, Gedu and Samtse. We are further continuing to expand ATM Services at our branches in other Dzongkhags."
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Old 9th November 2011, 10:01   #21
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Nowadays, the recommended route is Asansol-Dumka-Bhagalpur-Kagariya-Purnea-Dalkola. Roads are apparently god throughout and the best alternative for those from Cal going to Siliguri. No safety issues also, I am told, but you are advised to travel by day.
Kumar Sir, it is Naugachia and not Khagaria. Khagaria is between Beguasarai/Barauni and Naugachia.

Prior to Dumka take the Masanjor route and avoid Barmasia. The Barmasia route is pretty bad (approx 15-kilometers)

As HVK mentions, travel during day time till Dumka, post Dumka it isn't much of a bother. You can practically travel from Bhagalpur to Siliguri at any time of the day/night you wish to. This stretch is pretty safe.



Hi!

1100d was supposed to do this route somedays back, hope he up-dates up. I am just back from Bhagalpur and the odd 90kms are still in very good condition save for 2kms of very bad stretch prior to Purnea.

Just yesterday I spotted 2 rally Cars bearing Calcutta's registration passing through Bhagalpur on way to Purnea & maybe to the hills. Along came a white MH-04X Safari and a Gypsy. All were pretty loud & caught a lot of attention. The Cars were a black Esteem & a white Cedia.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta
Hi,
Regarding the Bihar route, contact another member Sheel.
The CM of WB has probably done the NH34 route recently and asked the PWD department to look into it. Though with road widening in progress, I don't think they can do much.
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Old 9th November 2011, 11:06   #22
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post

Just yesterday I spotted 2 rally Cars bearing Calcutta's registration passing through Bhagalpur on way to Purnea & maybe to the hills. Along came a white MH-04X Safari and a Gypsy. All were pretty loud & caught a lot of attention. The Cars were a black Esteem & a white Cedia.

There is some kind of a rally taking place from siliguri to the Dooars region in Jalpaiguri district. I too spotted the White Cedia at around 7 pm near my place here in siliguri. There was also a Sumo Grande decked out in stickers, i had never seen a grande participating in any rally before.

It must be a fairly low key affair as there is not much publicity or advertisements for the rally. I tried online as well and no info there either.
Sorry
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Old 11th January 2012, 15:20   #23
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

The Bhutan trip did not happen as some of the friends were not able to make it, instead wifey and me travelled to Binsar. The route was Kolkata-Lucknow-Binsar-Nainital-Agra-Kolkata (approx 4500 Km). Will put up a separate travelogue for that. Next to next week, we are planning to visit Gangtok. Is there any update on the Kolkata-Siliguri route? Has NH34 been repaired or do we need to take the Asansol-Dumka-Bhagalpur-Kagariya-Purnea-Dalkola route?
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Old 11th January 2012, 17:36   #24
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Is there any update on the Kolkata-Siliguri route? Has NH34 been repaired or do we need to take the Asansol-Dumka-Bhagalpur-Kagariya-Purnea-Dalkola route?
I am sorry I do not have much idea about the current road condition of the total length of NH 34. But just last Sunday I drove to one of my office colleague's farmhouse near Ranaghat. The road was slightly better than before, as some patchwork job appeared to have been carried out. The road surface was certainly uneven although the potholes were gone. I took the Kalyani expressway, which is now satisfactorily repaired, except few kilometers just after the Sodepur connector, where road repair is presently being carried out.
Hope I may be of any help.
Regards,
Rahul
Calcutta
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Old 12th January 2012, 00:32   #25
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

Hi everybody
I am also keen on knowing the current condition of Calcutta to Siliguri NH 34.
Also if somebody has done Siliguri to guwahati recently please can you share your experience
Thanks and regards
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Old 13th January 2012, 10:13   #26
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
I am sorry I do not have much idea about the current road condition of the total length of NH 34. But just last Sunday I drove to one of my office colleague's farmhouse near Ranaghat. The road was slightly better than before, as some patchwork job appeared to have been carried out. The road surface was certainly uneven although the potholes were gone. I took the Kalyani expressway, which is now satisfactorily repaired, except few kilometers just after the Sodepur connector, where road repair is presently being carried out.
Hope I may be of any help.
Regards,
Rahul
Calcutta
Is Kalyani Expressway 4-laned?
Do you think it is a better option to take Kalyani Expressway and join NH34 north of Barasat to avoid the heavy traffic in the Barasat-Dum Dum sector?
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Old 13th January 2012, 21:03   #27
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Is Kalyani Expressway 4-laned? Do you think it is a better option to take Kalyani Expressway and join NH34 north of Barasat to avoid the heavy traffic in the Barasat-Dum Dum sector?
No HVK Sir, It is a two lane toll road. But the only advantage of taking this road is that it is much less congested than NH 34. In the morning NH 34 remains awfully crowded with roadside markets, pedestrians, cycle rickshaws, autos, bikes, the motorised three wheeler van-rickshaws, etc, etc. I am sure these will slow you down and I admit that I find them disturbing to drive.
The advantage of Kalyani Expressway is that it is almost free from these problems. You may go almost up to Kalyani and turn right to reach NH 34. And when you enter NH 34, you have already crossed all the densely populated suburbs of Calcutta.
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Old 13th January 2012, 21:12   #28
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

^^^
My choice too. Only point is that the 3Km approach through Birati is enough to dissuade any non local! Pt to note- The 'expressway' has a number of toll points. a ticket at one point is valid for the whole length.

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Sutripta
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Old 3rd February 2012, 14:36   #29
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by faustus77 View Post
Hi everybody
I am also keen on knowing the current condition of Calcutta to Siliguri NH 34.
Also if somebody has done Siliguri to guwahati recently please can you share your experience
Thanks and regards
Hi Faustus77, we went on a 5 day trip to Gangtok and Darjeeling from 25th to 29th January. Started at 10:30 p.m on 24th and reached Siliguri at 11:30 a.m on 25th via NH34 (Kolkata-Krishnangar-Malda-Dalkhola-Bagdogra-Siliguri). The road has been patched up in many places, but it will need a car with very good suspension to maintain speed comfortably on the NH34. We travelled in an esteem and it was quite uncomfortable. A logan or similar car will be much better off on those roads. There were several big potholes also interspersed with some good surfaces. While coming back, we started at 12 p.m from Darjeeling on 29th and reached Kolkata at 4:30 a.m on 30th. Siliguri to Kolkata stretch was done in about 13 hours. Please let me know if you need further infromation.
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Old 6th February 2012, 13:40   #30
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Default Re: Calcutta-Bhutan-Calcutta road trip queries

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
^^^
My choice too. Only point is that the 3Km approach through Birati is enough to dissuade any non local! Pt to note- The 'expressway' has a number of toll points. a ticket at one point is valid for the whole length.

Regards
Sutripta
Alternately, there is a point on the Belgharia expressway, from where you can off road to get inside Birati. Then you need to reach "Majerhati more" to get onto Kalyani expressway. But a vehicle with good ground clearance is required to get off from Belgharia expressway.
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