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Old 19th March 2009, 11:44   #16
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Thanks, Anurag, invaluable info.
I talked to the Ministry guys at Thimphu over phone, there is some confusion on teh Central/East Bhutan permits. While the website says it will be granted only at Thinphu, the Govt guy told me that it will be issued at Phuntsoling itself (I am sceptical!). Anyway, I will know the reality in the second week of April.

The RSTA (RTO) guy told me that their office is open all days (except National holidays) for issuance of road permit for own vehicles. But the Immigration guys work only on Mon-Sat (half day), and you need the immigration permit before you can apply for the road permit.
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:12   #17
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I cant wait for HVK's travelogue post his travel.
I salute him for the absolute details that he mentions in his travelogues and also for maintaining the same in his logs.
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:24   #18
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Thanks for the links, phamilyman. Very useful info on permits. And also useful info like road closures on Mon/Tue in Phuntsoling-Thimphu, and the procedure for obtaining permits in Sikkhim. I am now encouraged to drive on to Yumthang also which I had thought was out of bounds for private cars.
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:30   #19
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Hi HVK,
From Itanagar to Tezu, are you taking the NH-52? That road normally used to be in bad shape due to the floods. I don't know the current condition though.
Regards,
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:35   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Hi HVK,
From Itanagar to Tezu, are you taking the NH-52? That road normally used to be in bad shape due to the floods. I don't know the current condition though.
Regards,
Kaushik, thanks for this info. Yes, I was planning to take NH52 to Itanagar, but now looks like I will have to opt for NH37 till Tezpur, which I heard is in a good condition now. But I daresay they must have repaired the roads after the floods - example is of Nh37 to Goalpara, which was badly damaged last year, but is now reported to be excellent.
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Old 19th March 2009, 13:20   #21
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Phuntsholing gives permission only for Thimphu and Paro. For rest of the country beyond Dochula pass permits are given only by Thimphu. Apparently the Tashigang-Samdrup road can remain closed due to Indian army movement etc. They have a huge base in Yangphula - the highest point on the eastern sector.
HVK - virtually every little village in Bhutan (no matter how remote it is) would have a school and at least two Keralite and a Bengali teacher
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Old 19th March 2009, 14:09   #22
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thanks phamilyman, anurag_p80 ,Sudipto-S-Team ,hvkumar!! I want to do this desperately this time couldnt make it last year.
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Old 19th March 2009, 14:26   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
HVK - virtually every little village in Bhutan (no matter how remote it is) would have a school and at least two Keralite and a Bengali teacher
Hope there are some Mallus in the permits office too! Last drive to Bhutan, I was feted by the army guys from Kerala who were running a DANTAK canteen between Phuntsoling and Chuzom!!
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Old 19th March 2009, 17:12   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Hope there are some Mallus in the permits office too! Last drive to Bhutan, I was feted by the army guys from Kerala who were running a DANTAK canteen between Phuntsoling and Chuzom!!
It's highly unlikely, because immigration is a very sensitive subject in Bhutan and they want to keep that in their own hands. Don't bother too much about permits. You will get them.
And I am serious about the Malayali/Bengali teachers in some of the remotest parts of Bhutan. No matter which town you drive in to, go to the local school and you will find someone who can speak your language. He will be most happy to help you out if you are in a jam.
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Old 19th March 2009, 17:17   #25
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Now that I have read Sparsh Arun's blog on his bike trip to Sikkhim/Bhutan, am trying to get driving permits for Tsango-Nathu la and Lachen-Yumthang in Sikkhim. Talked to the Sikkhim Tourism guys (also faxed a request letter to Dept of Tourism) seeking special driving permission, but attitude is negative so far - any ideas?
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Old 19th March 2009, 18:17   #26
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I can give you the phone number of a travel agent in Siliguri. He might organise the smoothening of the permit issuance process. Taxi operators have a strong union which might raise issues. I am not too sure.
Within India money talks. Incidentally an American I know (you also know recently went to Burma and came back without any visa and without any stamping on his passport !!! Anything is possible sir.
Sudipto
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Old 20th March 2009, 10:25   #27
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Yes Koko Singh's Bhutan book is quite useful. i have a friend's copy of that with me.
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Old 20th March 2009, 10:40   #28
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I have all the Koko Singh books, but unfortunately, info that a driver requires on things such as permits, timings, procedures, etc is missing - otherwise, they are excellent books. I have referred both the books on Sikkhim and Bhutan for info regarding my route planning.
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Old 20th March 2009, 10:55   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I have all the Koko Singh books, but unfortunately, info that a driver requires on things such as permits, timings, procedures, etc is missing - otherwise, they are excellent books. I have referred both the books on Sikkhim and Bhutan for info regarding my route planning.
With all due respect to the author - I think those are just coffee table books for back seat drivers. Absolute bakwas is what I can say about them. At best they can be used for some overall idea about the place.
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Old 20th March 2009, 11:07   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I have all the Koko Singh books, but unfortunately, info that a driver requires on things such as permits, timings, procedures, etc is missing - otherwise, they are excellent books.
Absolutely, that is one aspect that is missing totally. Road conditions are also missing, so are info on petrol pumps etc. but overall there is lots of information for the traveller there. Not so much about driving, as places to see, the history behind them, how an itinerary can look like et al.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
With all due respect to the author - I think those are just coffee table books for back seat drivers. Absolute bakwas is what I can say about them.
I disagree. There is quite a bit of useful information in that book, from a tourist's perspective. What would you like to have in a "useful" driving book? Just to get an idea. Maybe we can collaborate and produce a definitive one. We do have hvk after all....hehe
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