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Old 14th October 2007, 08:56   #1
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Default Bangalore to Bhutan, by road!

My wife and I work as HR professionals with leading multinational corporations, based out of Bangalore. We are travel enthusiasts, having done many road trips from Bangalore. We are shortly, undertaking a feat which i wanted to share with the group.

Our upcoming endeavour is a road trip from Bangalore to Bhutan, i.e., to travel close to 5000 km by road, over a 20-day period, between 25th Oct and 12th Nov 2007. We would be doing this in our Toyota Innova (G4) and my wife and I would do all the driving, with no additional drivers supporting us.

We would be taking the following route:

Bangalore - Vijaywada - Goalpur On Sea - Puri - Konark - Cuttack - Kolkata - Siliguri - Kalinpong - Gangtok - Phuentsholing (Bhutan) - Thimpu (Bhutan) - Paro (Bhutan)

If any group member has any tips to offer for the above route (such as road conditions, sacurity concerns, lack of gas stations etc), i'd be grateful if you can share with me.

Last edited by Rehaan : 16th October 2007 at 05:33. Reason: HTML Tags removed
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Old 16th October 2007, 12:50   #2
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Hello there,

If you are taking route in NH-9 the route from Suryapet till Vijayawada is 2 lanes and some what patchy. Around 3 months before.

On NH-5 no problems 4 lanes till kolkatta.

Have fun and be careful. Avoid overnight journeys....

Let us know what you discovered in your journey.

All the best.
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Old 16th October 2007, 13:46   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhanasekaran View Post
Hello there,

If you are taking route in NH-9 the route from Suryapet till Vijayawada is 2 lanes and some what patchy. Around 3 months before.
where from suryapet come into picture?
from bangalore to viziawada it is via chittor-tirupati-naidupet-NH-5 till calcutta. no need for NH-9
from bangalore till vizag it is fine.
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Old 16th October 2007, 14:08   #4
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Ateet,

I have driven from Bombay to Bhutan and also on the East Coast to the North East (on the route that you propose).

Currently NH5 is in great shape except in Orissa where it appears as though an earthquake has ripped apart some parts of the road, nonetheless that has to be borne.

Assuming you are a fast driver, you should take 3 days to drive from Bangalore to Kolkata, even after allowing for detours to Gopalpur, Puri and Konarak. You can try the route via Krishnaprasad, ferry across Chilka lake to Puri instead of going on NH5 to Bhubaneswar, turning off before Rambha.

Kolkata to Siliguri is a reasonably-Ok road, should take you a day to reach Siliguri. You must try to push as much as you can to reach the Bhutan border (jaigarh-Phuntosling) on Day 3 since it should take you some time to get visit visas/car permits (please talk to Bhutan Tourism Office to tie up some loose ends). Please remember that these visa offices do not work on holidays and granting of visas takes some time. Bhutan RTO grants ou vehicle permits on teh spot at Phuntsoling.

Drive from Phuntsoling to Thimpu takes you 5-6 hours.

Thimpu is worth spending 2 days and so is Paro. You can also visit Punakha. Ensure that you take a visa permit for all these destinations.
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Old 16th October 2007, 14:09   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ateet.jayaswal View Post
My wife and I work as HR professionals with leading multinational corporations, based out of Bangalore. We are travel enthusiasts, having done many road trips from Bangalore. We are shortly, undertaking a feat which i wanted to share with the group.

Our upcoming endeavour is a road trip from Bangalore to Bhutan, i.e., to travel close to 5000 km by road, over a 20-day period, between 25th Oct and 12th Nov 2007. We would be doing this in our Toyota Innova (G4) and my wife and I would do all the driving, with no additional drivers supporting us.

We would be taking the following route:

Bangalore - Vijaywada - Goalpur On Sea - Puri - Konark - Cuttack - Kolkata - Siliguri - Kalinpong - Gangtok - Phuentsholing (Bhutan) - Thimpu (Bhutan) - Paro (Bhutan)

If any group member has any tips to offer for the above route (such as road conditions, sacurity concerns, lack of gas stations etc), i'd be grateful if you can share with me.
Immediately PM hvkumar, he will help you out...

There is my travelogue of Bangalore - Kolkata which can help you till Kolkata (I can say till Malda)

Abhi
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Old 18th October 2007, 10:27   #6
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Hello Kumar,

Just curious to know the road conditions prevailing in Bhutan.Is it OK or Good or Excellent?

From the border entry point to Paro and Thimpu what would be approximate distance?

What is the vehicle do you best suggest?

Will 800 with 5 gears can do in the lands of bhutan?
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Old 18th October 2007, 11:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhanasekaran View Post
Hello Kumar,

Just curious to know the road conditions prevailing in Bhutan.Is it OK or Good or Excellent?

From the border entry point to Paro and Thimpu what would be approximate distance?

What is the vehicle do you best suggest?

Will 800 with 5 gears can do in the lands of bhutan?
Roads are lovely in Bhutan - incidentally, they are constructed and maintained by India's BRO. Distance from Phuntsoling to Thimphu is 275 kms, or around 6 hours by road. Paro is almost the same distance, you have to fork off to the left a little distance before Thimphu. Road is not very steep although it travels at an altitude of 2-2,500 m MSL.

Any car can go to Bhutan - at least Thimphu/Paro, no need for any 4WD. I drove a TVS Suzuki 100 cc to Bhutan 13 years ago!
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Old 18th October 2007, 11:32   #8
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Since this is a good forum, can someone explain what is the whole "visa" process? I have read conflicting reports on the same. and yeah @ ateet - please maintain a good log and take pics. I am planning on doing the same route sometime april next year. so will look forward to your inputs.

Last edited by madan80 : 18th October 2007 at 11:34.
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Old 18th October 2007, 11:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madan80 View Post
Since this is a good forum, can someone explain what is the whole "visa" process? I have read conflicting reports on the same. and yeah @ ateet - please maintain a good log and take pics. I am planning on doing the same route sometime april next year. so will look forward to your inputs.
Indians don't need a passport to go to Bhutan. You only need proof of your Indian identity (driving license, etc). At the border, you will be issued a limited period/ specific place visa (or visit permit). For this, you have to approach the Indian Consulate at Phuntsoling (if only Indian ID) or the Bhutan Govt Office (in case you are carrying your passport along). These offices work only to office timings and on working days (no Sundays) and processing takes a few hours. As far as I know, there is no procedure to take visa in advanace, always issued on arrival.

For the car, you have to approach the RTO for a separate vehicle permit which is also issued on the spot. Please carry all your original documents.
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Old 18th October 2007, 11:58   #10
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Just browsing the (Department of Tourism, BHUTAN) very informative. As mentioned Indians do not require any visa to enter Bhutan.

Kumarji, I guess it is 175 kms instead 275 kms from the border till Thimpu
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Old 19th October 2007, 03:30   #11
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Ateet, Getting a permit is not so simple for driving in the country, so check with the Bhutan authorities before you set off.
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Old 19th October 2007, 09:31   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhanasekaran View Post
Just browsing the (Department of Tourism, BHUTAN) very informative. As mentioned Indians do not require any visa to enter Bhutan.

Kumarji, I guess it is 175 kms instead 275 kms from the border till Thimpu

You are right - that was a typo on my part. It is only 175 kms from Phuntsoling to Thimpu. My deepest apologies, thanks for pointing out the mistake.
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Old 19th October 2007, 11:09   #13
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I was going through various information in Bhutan websites and they have mentioned that Indians can reach land of Bhutan by Road with our Indian registered vehicles. Only restriction given is larges buses are not allowed as the roads aren't wider to commute.

Secondly, kumarji what about the availability of Quality Fuel from Photoshling till Thimpu and from Thimpu to Paro.

Any ideas about this. Also I have noted that Indian rupees will be directly accepted at par with thier local Ngultrum currency.
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Old 19th October 2007, 13:47   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhanasekaran View Post
I was going through various information in Bhutan websites and they have mentioned that Indians can reach land of Bhutan by Road with our Indian registered vehicles. Only restriction given is larges buses are not allowed as the roads aren't wider to commute.

Secondly, kumarji what about the availability of Quality Fuel from Photoshling till Thimpu and from Thimpu to Paro.

Any ideas about this. Also I have noted that Indian rupees will be directly accepted at par with thier local Ngultrum currency.

It is been a long time since I drove into Bhutan, but I did not have any problem getting my vehicle permit - took me 10 minutes.

Ideally, fuel up at the border and then drive to Thimphu - at that time, there were no petrol pumps in between. Fuel is sold by BPCL at Thimphu. Bhutan is a rich country and you have high quality fuel there - most of teh cars there are Toyotas, especilaly large SUVs.

Yes, you don't need to change currencies. Just ensure that you get rid of all the Ngs when you exit - they are accepted in Jaigarh (Indian bordr) also.

Yes, large buses don't ply on Phuntsoling-Thimpu. Even the bus services that run between teh two are on mini-buses.
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Old 22nd October 2007, 11:51   #15
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so is the trip still on? are you leavning on 25th?
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