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Old 1st December 2012, 22:03   #1
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Default Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Me and a bunch of my friends are planning a bhutan trip this coming week.
The Plan currently looks like this
7th Afternoon Leave Trivandrum
7th Night Chennai
8th Drive through AP, Reach Bhubaneswar at night
have a bath at a friend's place, leave Bhubaneswar

?????
14th Afternoon Reach Bhubaneswar (spend the rest of the day in bbsr, leave at night)
15th Chennai
16th Trivandrum

The question is what is achievable in the 5 days in between.
We are 4 guys who will be driving in shifts, The vehicle will be a bolero or a sonalika rhino, We will be driving all the time except for food/pee breaks or if all of us feel sleepy.
This is not a leisure trip, and we plan to stop and smell the roses only at bhubaneswar, Our destination in bhutan, and possibly calcutta on our way back. This trip is more of a "taking care of a bucket list item before our bachelor lives are over" trip, and 5 days is the max leave we could manage to squeeze out of our managers

Given our timeline, is thimpu doable, and what else can we fit in? I've gone through the other travelogues and HVK's site, have there been any changes after that ? any bad roads, maoist issues, that sort of thing is what we are worried about.

Any inputs welcome
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Old 2nd December 2012, 18:05   #2
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

I did not drive to Bhutan but took a flight from Chennai to Bagdogra and then from there to Paro. I personally liked paro a lot. From there on, we took cabs and buses to get to Thimpu and Bumthang and back to Thimpu. On our return, we took a bus from Thimpu to Phuentsholing. From there we hired a car to Bagdogra airport and then a flight to Chennai. This was done over 10 days. I did not notice any issues with roads anywhere or any political problems at all there.
If you decide to hit Bumthang, do not miss the Swiss Guest House.

I am sure somebody will come along and answer your specific questions shortly.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 18:46   #3
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Very interesting proposition @greenhorn, and quite adventurous given the present road condition along NH34 and NH31.
Your journey should continue like this, assuming you are having night stay at Bhubaneswar on 8th.
9th Bhubaneswar to Maldah using NH5, NH6, NH2 and NH34. You are on the golden quadrangle till a place called Darjeeling More where from you have to take a right turn and use the Panagarh-Moregram expressway and meet NH34 which leads you to Maldah. This entire stretch from Darjeeling More to Maldah road is not very smooth. The expressway is being widened and the stretch from Moregram to Maldah is pretty undulated.

10th Maldah to Funtshelling via Siliguri from where you can proceed to Thimpu, which is a 6 hour drive from Funtshelling. You need about one hour at Funtshelling to get the papers and all. Please remember, Bhutan is a no-smoking country but you are allowed to carry 20 sticks per person from India.

Your return journey has to start on 11th itself if you want to spend time in Calcutta. Otherwise, 12th if you are targetting to reach Bhubaneswar on 14th afternoon/evening.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 22:04   #4
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

If the idea is just to tick something off your bucket list, then yes.
Am sure you are doing your research. Can't really add anything more than that.
If I remember rightly, you were in OR before. Why didn't you do it then?

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 3rd December 2012, 00:07   #5
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
Very interesting proposition @greenhorn, and quite adventurous given the present road condition along NH34 and NH31.
Your journey should continue like this, assuming you are having night stay at Bhubaneswar on 8th.
9th Bhubaneswar to Maldah using NH5, NH6, NH2 and NH34. You are on the golden quadrangle till a place called Darjeeling More where from you have to take a right turn and use the Panagarh-Moregram expressway and meet NH34 which leads you to Maldah. This entire stretch from Darjeeling More to Maldah road is not very smooth. The expressway is being widened and the stretch from Moregram to Maldah is pretty undulated.

10th Maldah to Funtshelling via Siliguri from where you can proceed to Thimpu, which is a 6 hour drive from Funtshelling. You need about one hour at Funtshelling to get the papers and all. Please remember, Bhutan is a no-smoking country but you are allowed to carry 20 sticks per person from India.

Your return journey has to start on 11th itself if you want to spend time in Calcutta. Otherwise, 12th if you are targetting to reach Bhubaneswar on 14th afternoon/evening.
Thanks subratasenn, in all probability we will have a few hours stop in bhubaneswar in the to journey -but we will have an extended stop on the return journey. The first worry was if this was doable within the timeframe. I'm assuming we can manage 60 in most stretches. What speed will the darjeeling more - maldah route slow us down to, and are there any unsafe (maoists etc) stretches or routes we should drive during daylight ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
If the idea is just to tick something off your bucket list, then yes.
Am sure you are doing your research. Can't really add anything more than that.
If I remember rightly, you were in OR before. Why didn't you do it then?

Regards
Sutripta
Yes, in fact we had this idea when I was in orissa, and my friends wanted to drive to bhutan before coming to chennai, but then I had a few apprehensions about taking my car that far (It wasn't in particularly good shape then) and all my friends could not manage to get leave at that point, and it had remained on our long term agenda until we all managed to decide to do it now.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 00:27   #6
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
I'm assuming we can manage 60 in most stretches. What speed will the darjeeling more - maldah route slow us down to, and are there any unsafe (maoists etc) stretches or routes we should drive during daylight ?
Yes, you can manage 60 in most stretches, on an average you'll be able to manage 70-80. The stretch is particularly bad between Murshidabad to Maldah via a small stretch in Bihar. The road is safe though, no problem with Maoists and is quite traffic heavy. You can safely drive after sundown.

I would suggest a night halt at Maldah. If you are driving at night from Maldah to Siliguri, be in a convoy with other night service buses or cars with police escorts (police will provide this) and not alone. Not Maoists, but stray dacoits who might spoil your journey.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 01:21   #7
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Bhutan must be really cold in the months of December. Thimpu is expected in between 15 degree C and -1 degree C. brrrrrr.

what kind of weather protection do you have for yourself and the car?
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Old 3rd December 2012, 01:37   #8
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
Yes, you can manage 60 in most stretches, on an average you'll be able to manage 70-80. The stretch is particularly bad between Murshidabad to Maldah via a small stretch in Bihar. The road is safe though, no problem with Maoists and is quite traffic heavy. You can safely drive after sundown.

I would suggest a night halt at Maldah. If you are driving at night from Maldah to Siliguri, be in a convoy with other night service buses or cars with police escorts (police will provide this) and not alone. Not Maoists, but stray dacoits who might spoil your journey.

I would strongly recommend not to go through Malda and to avoid NH 34 all together.
Instead travel from Darjeeling more through Dumka and Bhagalpur to Siliguri.
Distance is more but the time taken is shorter.

Check this before you finalise your route- : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ding-nh34.html (Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34)
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Old 3rd December 2012, 05:07   #9
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

can someone give the details of the bhubaneswar - siliguri route?
Is Bhubaneswar - Kharagpur- Bardhaman - Bolepur - Siuri - Malda - Siliguri fine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by noidea View Post
the last post in that thread said that the route via malda was fine.

Last edited by greenhorn : 3rd December 2012 at 05:18.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 11:44   #10
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
can someone give the details of the bhubaneswar - siliguri route?
Is Bhubaneswar - Kharagpur- Bardhaman - Bolepur - Siuri - Malda - Siliguri fine?


the last post in that thread said that the route via malda was fine.
I was talking about exactly this route i.e.: Bhbaneswar-Kharagpur-Bardhaman-Siuri-Maldah-Sliguri. You don't actually need to touch Bolepur and can take a bypass from Darjeeling More.


Quote:
Originally Posted by noidea View Post
I would strongly recommend not to go through Malda and to avoid NH 34 all together.
Instead travel from Darjeeling more through Dumka and Bhagalpur to Siliguri.
Distance is more but the time taken is shorter.
I have never travelled on this route. Somehow I feel psychologically safer traveling through Bengal than through long stretches in Bihar.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 17:47   #11
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
can someone give the details of the bhubaneswar - siliguri route?
Is Bhubaneswar - Kharagpur- Bardhaman - Bolepur - Siuri - Malda - Siliguri fine?


the last post in that thread said that the route via malda was fine.

Yup, it seems things have shaped up a bit. I travelled in October, so maybe they have repaired the roads since then.

If that be the case then this is a much direct route.

Cheers.

Last edited by noidea : 3rd December 2012 at 17:50.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 21:57   #12
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post

I have never travelled on this route. Somehow I feel psychologically safer traveling through Bengal than through long stretches in Bihar.

A specific community might take offence to that statement.

No disrespect intended towards anybody or any group. 66A at work here.


Mods please delete if this is inappropriate, and sorry for the back to back posts though they are a few hours off from each other.

Last edited by noidea : 3rd December 2012 at 22:00.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 23:11   #13
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Nothing to take offence about, since it the maoist problem he is talking about.

Anyway, i would like to inform you that i do the bhubhaneshwar-jamshedpur-bhagalpur-purnea-siliguri route very frequently. The route is awesome with no patching or bad roads at all from Dumka onwards. From Jama more to dumka, a bit of patchwork & construction is there, but from the U-turn at Jama more, its bliss. Some pics attached as reference. Dhabas are in plenty, though some petrol pumps sometimes do not have fuel at times. Believe me, you will really like it.

Note: Instead of jamshedpur-ranchi-dumka you can also take up the following route, shorter and better. We always use this one. But a note of warning. use it only if you know the route perfectly. Too many turns and diversions.:

bhubhaneshwar-Jamshedpur-Balrampur-Purulia-Chittranjan-Palajori-jama More-Dumka

Link to google maps : https://maps.google.co.in/maps?hl=en...ed=0CAUQ_AUoAA

Near naugachia (after bhagalpur & before purnea)
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Maintaing a constant 90-100 kmph is not a problem at all.Name:  2.JPG
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just after hasdiha More
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Cutting across the NH2, which falls on the GQ.
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A view from the Innova's cabin showing the silky road.
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Mandal Dhaba, in Palajori, recommended for light snacks.
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Old 4th December 2012, 07:39   #14
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by searchingheaven View Post

bhubhaneshwar-Jamshedpur-Balrampur-Purulia-Chittranjan-Palajori-jama More-Dumka

Link to google maps : https://maps.google.co.in/maps?hl=en...ed=0CAUQ_AUoAA

Attachment 1021866
Thanks so much, this is great feedback.

Google maps link shows purulia and not the whole route. Could you please post again.
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Old 4th December 2012, 09:57   #15
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Default Re: Chennai to Bhutan and back in 8 days?

Link To the Google Maps Driving Directions from Jamshedpur to Siliguri

Detailing the route below:

Jamshedpur
Balrampur
Purulia
Raghunathpur
Chittranjan
Palajori
Jama
Maharo
Hansdiha
Bhagalpur
Naugachia
Kursela
Purnia
Dalkola
Kishanganj
Islampur
Siliguri


Also attaching a PDF for the same, in case the link doesn't work.
Jamshedpur, Jharkhand to Siliguri, West Bengal - Google Maps.pdf

Excuse me for providing the wrong link before. Slow net connection.

Last edited by searchingheaven : 4th December 2012 at 10:01. Reason: Adding some information
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