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Old 19th February 2015, 12:51   #16
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Default Re: Jamshedpur - Siliguri - North East - Bhutan

Originally Posted by kaushik60 View Post
1. Bhagalpur (or any other intermediate place between jamshedpur and siliguri)
2. Bomdila
3. Tawang
4. Phuntsholing
5. Thimpu

Thanks a lot!
No idea about 1, 2 & 3.

For Pheuntsholing, you can either stay on the Indian side at Hotel Shivam (800-1K INR) which is a decent and a good option. On the Bhutan side, there are many options close to the border gate which should see you within 1-1.5K INR. The Bhutanese side is noticeably cleaner and quieter than the Indian side.

In Thimphu, Hotel Tandin (close to Norzin Lam; which is the central place) is a nice, comformtable and yet economical stay option. The food at the restaurant is finger-licking good!

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Old 19th February 2015, 13:57   #17
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Default Re: Jamshedpur - Siliguri - North East - Bhutan

Originally Posted by kaushik60 View Post
Can anyone please help me with stay options at the following places? Will be travelling with 2 bikes and 1 car, and will also have ladies in the group. So looking for decent, economy options with safe parking facility.

1. Bhagalpur (or any other intermediate place between jamshedpur and siliguri)
2. Bomdila
3. Tawang
4. Phuntsholing
5. Thimpu
Inside Bhagalpur town limit, I think Hotel Rajhans is the best staying option. It has a decent parking area too. But compared to the amenities and services they offered, it appeared to me that it was unnecessarily overpriced.
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Old 19th February 2015, 15:52   #18
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Default Re: Jamshedpur - Siliguri - North East - Bhutan

Originally Posted by kaushik60 View Post
We stayed at Centennial Hotel 2008 at Phuentsholing, Bhutan in April 2012. We walked to the Immigration Office from the hotel. It had a secured car parking. We paid ₹ 1,100 for one night stay for a double room.

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Last edited by J.Ravi : 19th February 2015 at 16:13. Reason: Permits added.
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Old 5th March 2015, 16:54   #19
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Default Re: Jamshedpur - Siliguri - North East - Bhutan

Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
I tried applying online including all my proposed destinations in the 'purpose of visit' box and after a few days, my application got rejected! Now, I am thinking of applying to the resident commissioner, New Delhi by post well in advance.
Super-fast action taken by the Resident Commissioner, Government of Arunchal Pradesh, New Delhi in issuing the inner line permit [ILP] dated 3 March 2015 for me and my wife, which I received just a few minutes back in Chennai. I had applied for it on 28 Feb 2015 from Bangalore. Those, who wish to apply for ILP in advance, can do so by sending a written request in plain paper including the personnel data of the applicants, the destination and the proposed dates with 2 passport-sized photographs per applicant, identification documents [voter ID or Aadhaar or passport - I had sent Aadhaar], a self-addressed and stamped to a value of ₹ 40 to enable return speed-post and processing fee of ₹ 100 per applicant by way of demand draft in favour of the Resident Commissioner, payable at New Delhi and send them by speed-post to the Resident Commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021. Telephones: 011-23013915/23013844. I had a talk with them before sending the documents and I got the ILP promptly more than a month in advance! I am thankful to our Distinguished-BHPian, hemanth.anand, for his detailed steps, which prompted me to apply for the ILP offline.

Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
If you are going to Arunachal Pradesh, then the first thing is the ILP
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Old 25th April 2015, 23:36   #20
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Default Re: Jamshedpur - Siliguri - North East - Bhutan

Hey folks!

We completed the proposed trip between 1st and 19th March. I know its awfully late to be posting road and hotel updates, but its better late than never. Right after this trip, I continued on for another trip and after 45 days on the move, finally reached home only a couple of days back. So here goes!

This update is just for the route we took and the hotels we stayed at. One of my co-travellers is writing a blog on xbhp which you can access here if you're interested.

Vehicles: 1 Ford Figo, 1 Bajaj Pulsar 220F, 1 Honda CBR250R
Route: Jamshedpur-Bhagalpur-Jalpaiguri-Guwahati-Shillong-Cheerapunji-Guwahati-Bomdila-Tawang-Bomdila-Guwahati-Phuntsholing-Thimpu-Paro-Phuntsholing-Siliguri-Darjeeling-Siliguri-Deogarh-Jamshedpur
Distance:4,300 km over 18 days

Day 1: Jamshedpur-Bhagalpur (08:00 departure - 19:30 arrival)

Jamshedpur-Chandil-Purulia-Raghunathpur-NH2 cross: Good road surface. Slight traffic within Chandil town. Purulia bypass was blocked, and so we got delayed there also.

NH2 Cross-Jamtara (turn right towards Dumka) - Join Sarath Dumka Road - Bypass Dumka through Jama : Some patchy roads and multiple railway crossings delayed our progress. Bypassing Dumka through Jama was not the best idea, and we had to do some offroading in that bit. (Needless to mention, our Ford Figo did not appreciate the offroad bit. At all.)

SH17 and SH19 from Dumka to Bhagalpur - Dhaka More (left Turn) - Banka (Right Turn) - Bhagalpur: This was definitely the worst part of the day. Huge lunar craters all over the road. Navigating this with the Figo was a pain in all the wrong places. The bikes ended up playing pilot and guiding the car for the whole stretch. At Dhaka More, we decided that we'd take some traffic over another 40 kms of Pathetic road. So we turned left, navigated the extremely crowded Banka town and made our way to Bhagalpur through the SH25. This road, though not brilliant, was a huge improvement over the SH19.
All in all, a long hard day.

Accommodation at Bhagalpur: Hotel Bhawna International- 1100/- Double non- AC room (taxes as applicable). Decent place with available parking space. The hotel has a restaurant which serves decent food but is slightly overpriced.

Day 2: Bhagalpur-Jalpaiguri (07:00 departure - 18:00 arrival)

Bhagalpur-Purnea: A look out of our hotel room window indicated the huge line of trucks waiting to cross the bridge across the Ganga, and that served as good enough motivation to leave by 7 AM. Just before and after the bridge the roads are full of potholes. After clearing that stretch, it is smooth sailing on really wide 2 lane roads till Purnea.

Purnea-Dalkhola-Islampur-Ghoshpukur: 4 lane highway, with decent roads. The surface is broken in many places, and few unexpected potholes to maneuver around.

Goshpukur(right turn)-Fulbari bypass: Disastrous road for about 20 mins or so. The figo’s underside took a hit more than a few times.

Fulbari-Jalpaiguri: NH31D, 2 lane, good roads, but a lot of traffic which led to processional drivers behind painfully slow trucks with very limited overtaking opportunities.

Accommodation at Jalpaiguri: Hotel De’l Pretom. 750/- Double AC room, 300/- extra bed (taxes as applicable). The rooms were nice but there were cockroaches all over the place! The restaurant serves decent veg and non-veg food. Hotel seemed to have shady guests at night, not recommended for families.

Day 3: Jalpaiguri-Guwahati (06:30 departure - 19:00 arrival)

Jalpaiguri-Dhupguri-(turn left)-Falakata-Cooch Behar-Bakshirhat: NH31 throughout. Mostly decent roads surface except for some towns (Cooch Behar, especially). Some really narrow (and shaky looking!) bridges.

Bakshirhat-Gauripur-Chapar: Roads widen out immediately after entering Assam, but we were in for a rude shock soon enough. Around Gauripur there is a 15 km stretch where road work was going on which was really bad and took us an hour to cover.

Chapar-North Salmara-Bridge across the Brahmaputra-Dudhnoi-Boko-Guwahati: Really good roads, pretty sparse traffic until 30 kms out of Guwahati. Peaceful drive.

(Note: If you want updates on the other route through Bongaigaon-Gossaigaon-Alipurduar, scroll down to Day 11. We took that on the return)

Accommodation at Guwahati: Hotel Upasana. 1000/- Triple bedded non- AC room, 800/- Double non- AC room. The rooms looked decent but were badly maintained. Dont go by the pictures on the website. No hot water was available in the bathrooms. The hotel has a kitchen and you can order food to the room. Good veg and non-veg food at reasonable rates.

Day 4: Guwahati-Cheerapunji (13:00 departure - 18:30 arrival)

Guwahati-Jorabat-Nongpoh-Shillong: One of the few 4 lane highways through ghat sections in India, as far as I know! Absolutely brilliant surface quality and well banked curves. Boy, did the bikers have fun! A note of caution though, we found many local jeeps coming in the opposite direction in the FAST lane. It caught us a little by surprise at one blind corner. So dont really expect clear roads around every corner. Yet, a brilliant road for some controlled fun.

Shillong-Mylliem-Sohra: Once you clear Shillong traffic the road is a treat. Good surface, well marked speed breakers, fascinating view. A very enjoyable drive.

Accommodation at Cheerapunji: Sa-i-mika Resort. 2400/- double bedded cottage. Dorms available at 400/- per bed [prices are negotiable]. The manager of the resort, Atanu, is a very friendly guy and is also unbiased when you ask for his advice on which local cuisine to try out at the restaurant. The best place we stayed at throughout the entire trip. Students can ask and obtain crazy deals here. We loved the resort so much that we extended our stay in Cherrapunji by a day!

Day 5: Cheerapunji (local)

Cheerapunji-Tyrna-Cheerapunji : Similar to the Shillong Cheerapunji stretch.

Day 6: Cheerapunji-Bomdila (04:00 departure - 19:00 arrival)

The longest day of our trip.

Cheerapunji-Shillong-Guwahati: *Already updated on Day 4*

Guwahati-Nagaon bypass: 4 lane roads, concrete roads, so not as comfortable for the folks on the bike. Sparse traffic meant we averaged good speeds.

Nagaon bypass-Kaliabor (left turn)-Tezpur: 2 lane roads, average surface quality, considerable increase in traffic.

Tezpur-Bhalukpong: 2 lane roads, really good surface quality. The only traffic are the ones headed to Tawang.

Bhalukpong-Tenga-Bomdila: 100 kms took around 4.5 hours. After about 15 kms the roads become pretty narrow. Surface is broken in most parts. The local drivers dont honk even at blind turns, so really watchful driving was needed. We had to take one diversion due to a collapsed bridge, but apart from that there were no other problems. From Tenga to Bomdila, there is doubling work going on, which means very dusty bumpy roads. I shudder to imagine how we would navigate those during the rains.

Accommodation at Bomdila: Hotel Elysium. 1000/- Double non-Ac room. Decent rooms but no heater was available. Only veg food (and egg) is served. Food quality and quantity both pathetic, very overpriced!

Day 7: Bomdila-Tawang (Departure 07:00 - Arrival 18:00)

We ended up leaving the Figo at Bomdila and hired a local Tata Spacio for the Bomdila-Tawang-Bomdila leg. This was after discussion with few locals, and feedback from another friend who has done the route just the previous week. The Figo’s ground clearance was not very encouraging and since we had to take her all the way to Bhutan and back to Jamshedpur, we decided to play it safe. So, we proceeded on 1 Tata Spacio and the 2 bikes.

Bomdila-Dirang-Sela-Jang-Tawang: Doubling work doing on throughout. Bomdila-Dirang is mostly bad, but things improve after Dirang. The climb to Sela was epic with quite some snow, but nothing unmanageable. After Jang the roads improve only to deteriorate again just before Tawang. The mindblowing scenery more than makes up for the aching muscles. The drive is possible even on hatchbacks, but it will definitely be slower. Those planning to go on hatchbacks must halt at Dirang instead of Bomdila and start early from Dirang towards Tawang.

Accommodation at Tawang: Hotel Nefa. 1000/- Double non AC room. 1200/- Four bedded non Ac room. Nice, cosy rooms! There were frequent power cuts and no heaters were available. But we could go sit in the kitchen area around the water boiler and chat, whenever we felt cold The hotel does not have a restaurant but there are a lot of good places to eat in the same lane as Hotel Nefa. We were regular customers of Hotel Woodland, which served delicious thupkas and chow!

Day 8: Tawang Local

Tawang-Y Junction-Madhuri lake-Tawang: Tawang to Y junction was very tricky on the bikes with plenty of slush and snow. The local spacio of course had no problems. The army folks at Y junction disallowed us from going any further on bikes, so we parked them there and all piled into the spacio. After this day, we all wondered why Indians need to flock to the swiss alps when we have such heavenly places here in India itself!

Alternate Accommodation at Tawang: Hotel Siddhartha. 1100/- Double non Ac room. Heater available for 100/-. Good rooms and great veg food! Recommended over Hotel Nefa.

Day 9: Tawang-Bomdila (Departure 07:30 - Arrival 17:30)

Tawang-Dirang-Bomdila: It had just been one day since we had completed the onward journey, but the return journey was a lot easier. This was because the BRO folks are building roads at a furious pace there. There were stretches which were really dusty, rocky and bad on the onward stretch, but were transformed to beautiful black tops by the time we returned. Salute to the BRO!

Alternate Accommodation at Bomdila: Doe-Gu-Khil Guest House. 1700/- double non AC room with balcony. Heaters available for an extra 100/-. This is the guest house of the monastery in Bomdila. The rooms are amazing! There is a dining are on the first floor of the guest house, where dinner (veg and egg) is served. The booking for the guest house needs to be done in advance. (I was a bit disappointed with the attendant/manager of the guest house. Was expecting him to be honest and not scam money while paying the total bill during checkout). All in all, a beautiful place and definitely recommended.

Day 10: Bomdila-Guwahati (Departure 07:00 - Arrival 19:00)

*Already updated on Day 6*

Alternate Accommodation at Guwahati: Hotel Tibet. 1800/- Triple bedded non AC room. Okayish place to stay. It was pretty crowded, but somehow dint get a good vibe. Not recommended.

Day 11: Guwahati-Phuntsholing (Departure 08:00 - Arrival 18:30)

Guwahati-Golpara Bridge-North Salamara: *Already updated on Day 3.

North Salamara-Bongaigaon-Gossaigaon-ALipurduar bypass-Buxa forest-Hashimara-Jaigaon (Phuntsholing): We spent too much time negotiating traffic through Bongaigaon. (Maybe going through Hapachara would have been better, though it is longer by a few kms). From Bongaigaon onwards till Gossaigaon and the WB border, the roads are 4 laned with a lot of stops and diversions. Nobody knows which lanes are actually open to traffic due to very poor signage. This makes it a free-for-all, and people drive in any lane they want, in any direction. Road surface is good though and we could maintain good average speeds. Nearing Alipurduar, the roads become 2 lane with occasional potholes. The stretch through Buxa forest was deceiving, but sudden huge potholes, and local buses swerving like crazy to avoid the potholes. Once past Hashimara, there is quite some traffic right till the gate to enter Bhutan.

Accommodation at Phuntsholing: Kuenga Hotel. 1400/- Four bedded room. 150/- extra bed. Excellent, spacious rooms, very well maintained. Lip-smacking veg food available at the restaurant.

Day 12: Phuntsholing-Thimpu (Departure 13:30 - Arrival 18:30)

Phuntsholing-Gedu-Chapcha-Thimpu: Roads here are maintained by the BRO and are top notch. Traffic is much more disciplined and honking is very rare. It was a treat to drive in Bhutan! A stretch of about 30 to 40 kms is pretty treacherous with only a single lane road, but even here there are periodic bylanes where slower traffic can give way to faster traffic. After Chapcha we reached the turn off to Paro and from here the roads are absolutely epic. The views are really good and driving is not taxing at all. In Thimpu city, everyone strictly follows the speed limit of 50 kmph. Traffic police are very strict and fine anyone violating the rules. U-turns are not allowed even on 2 lane roads except at certain spots.

Accommodation at Thimpu: Hotel Destiny. 1200/- Double non AC room. Neat cosy rooms. Hotel had a restaurant cum bar. Food was not up to the mark.

Day 13: Thimpu-Paro-Thimpu

Really good, well marked mountain roads throughout. We had to struggle a bit to find the starting point of the trek to the Tiger’s nest, as this isnt well marked.

Day 14: Thimpu (local)

Day 15: Thimpu-Siliguri (Departure 07:30 - Arrival 18:00)

Thimpu-Phuntsholing-Hashimara: *Already updated on Days 11 and 12*

Hashimara-Birpara-Telipara: Crazy truck traffic and some stretches of bad roads.

Telipara (turn right)-Nagrakata-Sevoke-Siliguri: Beautiful 2 lane roads through tea estates. There was quite some traffic from Sevoke onwards.

Accommodation at Siliguri was at a friend’s place, so no update!

Day 16: Siliguri (local)

Day 17: Siliguri - Deogarh (Departure 07:30 - Arrival 17:00)

Siliguri-Islampur-Bhagalpur: *Already updated on Day 2*

Bhagalpur-Banka-Deogarh: Roads are good, but the traffic drove us mad. There were villages literally every 10 kms almost till katoria which really slowed us down.

Accommodation at Deogarh: Hotel Yashoda International. 800/- Double non AC room. Decent place to stay with good food!

Day 18: Deogarh - Jamshedpur (Departure 07:00 - Arrival 17:00)

Deogarh-Giridih-Gobindpur: Good roads, 2 laned.

Gobindpur-Kulti: NH2 GQ roads. Enough said!

Kulti-Raghunathpur-Purulia-Chandil-Jamshedpur: *Already updated on Day 1*

Whew, A really long post I know. Hopefully its organised enough for it to be useful to those looking for information on this route.
Safe travels!

Last edited by kaushik60 : 25th April 2015 at 23:38. Reason: Updating the link
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