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Old 29th May 2012, 17:34   #46
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Not as simple as it looks!
You cannot go from Pasighat/Ranaghat to Roing/Tezu because that road exists only on paper, there are broken bridges, total 4WD tracks & ferry crossings. So no one goes to Roing or Tezu this way, they come round through Chongkham or Parsuram Kund.
You have to be prepared to beat up your SUV in these tracks at the best of times. Sedan - forget it.Facilities are as good as non-existent, and you have to rough it out in terrible lodgings.
Route is mostly lonely terrain, anything happens to you or your car, you will have a task on your hands.
Most maps of Arunachal are wrong.
I have gone through your Log. Based on that I got the information about Kibithu and other places along with the routes. However as you have mentioned, the roads are non existent. Also you have mentioned that the ferry will not ply during Monsoons.

Also, I was not aware that the maps of Arunachal are wrong. Thanks for the update.

I have missed out on Kibithu because it is very difficult to fit it in our itenerary considering the 16 day limit and Bhutan East West drive. So I thought, we could atleast do part of your drive to Kibithu. So back to the drawing board for me.
Also thanks for the places Tuting and Mechuka. I will do more research and get back to bother you again.

I am prepared to beat my SUV. If anything happens to the vehicle, then, may GOD save me. That is all I can say. But that is a risk we are prepared to take.

I am now thinking that with so many uncertainties around, it is best to just get more information about all the routes and plan the trip on the go depending on where we are.
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Old 29th May 2012, 21:47   #47
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Hi,
HVK has taken the words out of my mouth! Assam/ Arunachal/ Meghalaya (and Bhutan) is not a place I would recommend for tourists during monsoons. (And that too for tourists from afar). However, now that the die is cast, would recommend that you stick to your original plan of Bhutan (W-E) and Tawang. Leave Arunachal proper for another day!

Don't plan on the go, but have contingency plans, and on the fly, decide which one to use!

Regarding Maps: Google maps has revamped its maps of Assam. It is no longer the work of fiction it used to be. But they have removed most of the minor roads!

Over the last few years we are seeing a change in weather patterns. Instead of the steady rain of before, we are seeing long hot dry spells, and then really torrential (and I say it with reference to normal Assam rain, which most people find heavy) downpour. One cannot predict what you will encounter.

Regards
Sutripta

PS In monsoons it will not operate. But ferrying your car across a major river on two lashed country boats with one foot of freeboard is an adventure alright!

Last edited by Sutripta : 29th May 2012 at 21:51.
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Old 21st June 2012, 00:39   #48
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Monsoons have hit south India and my trip to Bhutan and Tawang is coming up in 10 days. Any updates on weather there would be very helpful.

As per the information given by many team-bhpians, we have finally zeroed down on 3 places:

1. Bhutan W-E drive
2. Tawang
3. Shillong (Chirrapunjee and Mawsynram) if time permits.(This may be stupid idea considering it is monsoon season, but that is what we wanted.

If any of the above plans do not work out, our plan is to head back to sikkim and explore some of the East Sikkim or West sikkim depending on our mood at that point of time.
I have made notes about some of the routes in Arunachal based on inputs from Sutripa, hvkumar and others in this forum. We will check with the locals once we reach there and see if any of those routes are possible.

Thanks a lot for your help guys. Without these inputs, I doubt if I would have even tried to explore that region.

Since we are not trying to cover Arunachal pradesh extensively, do you think that we would need a 50 litre diesel can for spare? Based on previous posts, I thought that this would not be required.

What is the basic price of hotels in Bhutan? Any updates on this would be great. Based on hvkumar, I am expecting about 500 rs per head per night. We are open to cheaper options as well. All we need is clean toilets and clean beds to sleep in.
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Old 21st June 2012, 09:28   #49
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
Monsoons have hit south India and my trip to Bhutan and Tawang is coming up in 10 days. Any updates on weather there would be very helpful.

As per the information given by many team-bhpians, we have finally zeroed down on 3 places:

1. Bhutan W-E drive
2. Tawang
3. Shillong (Chirrapunjee and Mawsynram) if time permits.(This may be stupid idea considering it is monsoon season, but that is what we wanted.

If any of the above plans do not work out, our plan is to head back to sikkim and explore some of the East Sikkim or West sikkim depending on our mood at that point of time.
I have made notes about some of the routes in Arunachal based on inputs from Sutripa, hvkumar and others in this forum. We will check with the locals once we reach there and see if any of those routes are possible.

Thanks a lot for your help guys. Without these inputs, I doubt if I would have even tried to explore that region.

Since we are not trying to cover Arunachal pradesh extensively, do you think that we would need a 50 litre diesel can for spare? Based on previous posts, I thought that this would not be required.

What is the basic price of hotels in Bhutan? Any updates on this would be great. Based on hvkumar, I am expecting about 500 rs per head per night. We are open to cheaper options as well. All we need is clean toilets and clean beds to sleep in.
Rains are already underway all over the North East & flooding has been reported in some parts of Assam. Road to Twang was in a bad shape in some sections last month itself and I am sure the Bhalukhpong-Bomdila & Se la sections will be as good as motorable if rains intensify. Same applies to many of the interior parts of North East Arunachal where a road remains closed for days on end after a landslide.

Always a good idea to carry spare fuel, but there are very few sectors in North East where you won't get fuel, there are many around.

Rates in Bhutan hotels start from Rs 500 (double room) upwards, and you can get a very good room under Rs 1,500 (maximum). Go for the small family-run hotels, not the swanky looking ones. Now that rains have started and it is off-season, you can expect drop in hotel tariffs too.
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Old 21st June 2012, 11:01   #50
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
Monsoons have hit south India and my trip to Bhutan and Tawang is coming up in 10 days. Any updates on weather there would be very helpful.

As per the information given by many team-bhpians, we have finally zeroed down on 3 places:

1. Bhutan W-E drive
2. Tawang
3. Shillong (Chirrapunjee and Mawsynram) if time permits.(This may be stupid idea considering it is monsoon season, but that is what we wanted.

If any of the above plans do not work out, our plan is to head back to sikkim and explore some of the East Sikkim or West sikkim depending on our mood at that point of time.
I have made notes about some of the routes in Arunachal based on inputs from Sutripa, hvkumar and others in this forum. We will check with the locals once we reach there and see if any of those routes are possible.

Thanks a lot for your help guys. Without these inputs, I doubt if I would have even tried to explore that region.

Since we are not trying to cover Arunachal pradesh extensively, do you think that we would need a 50 litre diesel can for spare? Based on previous posts, I thought that this would not be required.

What is the basic price of hotels in Bhutan? Any updates on this would be great. Based on hvkumar, I am expecting about 500 rs per head per night. We are open to cheaper options as well. All we need is clean toilets and clean beds to sleep in.
Heavy rains have hit North Bengal, Sikkim Jalpaiguri and Dooars regions. Last weekend there was flooding in the Dooars region after we witnessed 48 hrs of non stop rains. Though these are not trip cancelling issues, utmost caution will be required. Pls do check the news, if there are prolonged heavy rains, the Dooars will be flooded for 12-24 hrs after that.

Also another issue that you will have to keep in mind now is the demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland has cropped up again after negotiations turned sour last week. The frontline for this issue has now shifted to the Dooars as to whether or not to include that region. So there could be sudden "bandh" calls. Do keep a look out for that as well and have a back up plan ready. Nothing extremely serious, but still a hindrance.
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Old 21st June 2012, 20:41   #51
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
Since we are not trying to cover Arunachal pradesh extensively, do you think that we would need a 50 litre diesel can for spare? Based on previous posts, I thought that this would not be required.

What is the basic price of hotels in Bhutan? Any updates on this would be great. Based on hvkumar, I am expecting about 500 rs per head per night. We are open to cheaper options as well. All we need is clean toilets and clean beds to sleep in.
I've normally found the botheration of carrying extra fuel not worth it. Good to have, but never really had to resort to it. (except thinking it is better quality than the local stuff, and so use it in preference). Space. Leakage/ spillage (esp on to other luggage). Your choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Rates in Bhutan hotels start from Rs 500 (double room) upwards, and you can get a very good room under Rs 1,500 (maximum). Go for the small family-run hotels, not the swanky looking ones. Now that rains have started and it is off-season, you can expect drop in hotel tariffs too.
The 'official' hotels are frightfully expensive. Essentially for the $200 a day Western Tourist.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 25th June 2012, 16:30   #52
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Assam flood situation worsens - Rediff.com India News
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Old 27th June 2012, 02:51   #53
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
This is definitely bad news. We are leaving in 2 days.
However, the article says only about villages being affected in and around Jorhat and Lakhimpur. However, our plan is not to reach upto these points. Our plan is only upto Guwahati - Tezpur and then to Tawang. We will assess the situation on our return journey from Tawang whether to head further east or not.

Thanks a lot for the update. Further updates would be helpful.

I am now very very excited about the trip and also very cautious at the same time.
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Old 27th June 2012, 05:51   #54
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
This is definitely bad news. We are leaving in 2 days.
However, the article says only about villages being affected in and around Jorhat and Lakhimpur. However, our plan is not to reach upto these points. Our plan is only upto Guwahati - Tezpur and then to Tawang. We will assess the situation on our return journey from Tawang whether to head further east or not.

Thanks a lot for the update. Further updates would be helpful.

I am now very very excited about the trip and also very cautious at the same time.
A friend from Kolkata was telling me that the road to Tawang is in a horrible condition at the moment,officially not closed but if rains continue this way he says it can b cut off any time.Drive safe
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Old 27th June 2012, 17:35   #55
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Looks like the flood situation is getting increasingly bad with more areas getting affected in the NE areas. Got similar inputs from friends in the NE. Some news links:

Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
Flood situation grim in Arunachal Pradesh - Economic Times

Drive extremely careful and keep yourself updated about the situation at every leg of your journey. Good luck. Enjoy and have a safe trip.
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Old 17th July 2012, 13:14   #56
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Finally completed the Bhutan W-E drive and Tawang. Just one word. Magnificent.
We all had a great time during our drive and all the places were worth the effort and time.
The floods did not affect the routes we have taken. But there was an Assam bandh last week. Hence we had to rush out of assam even if we had 2 more days that we planned for Chirrapunjee and Mawsynram and Shillong.

The Bhutan west east drive:
The roads through most part is in excellent condition. There are atleast 3 land slides that happened prior to our journey. So work was being constantly done at those place. In addition to that, there is road widening work going on. So lot of delays due to the work. They allow vehicle movement only during certain times of the day to allow the work to go on.
However the roads after Trashigang become from bad to worse. Almost all the roads are in pathetic condition. The BRO is working overtime improving the road conditions but just the amount of rains that these regions receive makes it highly impossible.

Roads to Tawang: Do not attempt this route in monsoons unless you have a 4wd. The news is that Tawang road is always open no matter what and army quickly moves to clear any road blocks due to landslides or otherwise. This seems to be a very important highway.

On our way up, the road was full of slush after crossing Bomdila. Lot of places the car lost traction but at no place it was stuck. The car's underbody got hit a couple of times. Lot of 2wd sumos were struggling to go up the inclines through slush. But they managed somehow. After crossing SeLa pass, the road becomes better (By better I mean that there is not too much slush. Just rocky roads). Overall Travel time to give you an idea:
Bomdila to Sela Pass - 6.5 hours. SeLa Pass to Tawang - 3.5 hours. Bomdila to Tawang is about 180kms.

Guwahati to Siliguri - 12 hours. Took the Boxirhat route. NH31 if I remember correctly. I heard bad reviews about the other route through NH31c.

between Siliguri and Kolkata:
Took 16 hours on our way from Kolkata to Siliguri and 24 hours on the return journey

Route : Kolkata - Siliguri onward journey:
Kolkata - Bardhaman -Rampurhut - Farakka - Malda - Raiganj - Islampur - Siliguri
The road upto Bardhaman is 4 laned and then it meets the NH34 at Rampurhut. This road has very less traffic but lot of potholes. These are the size of craters. So took 16 hours to cover the 600 odd kms

Return journey is same except we continued on NH34.
Siliguri - Malda - Berhampore - Santipur - Kolkata.
4 laning work is going on. Road surface is in pathetic shape. Was stuck due to accidents at 2 places. One near Raiganj and other at some uknown place. Each place, we were stuck for 3 hours minimum.
This road does not have as big craters as the other route , but it sure makes up in traffic. Heavy traffic seen on this road. blinding lights from oncoming vehicles and no one dims the light. Got tired very soon, but somehow managed Kolkata in 24 hours.

I will try and provide detailed road conditions in the travelogue that should hopefully be put up in 2 weeks time.

Last edited by himavanth_m : 17th July 2012 at 13:15.
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Old 5th April 2014, 00:24   #57
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

I am planning to drive from Ranchi to Bhutan and back between 28th May to 6th June 2014. I have drafted a rough route plan as of now and wanted to know if this can be done:

Day 1 (28/05/14): Ranchi-Begusarai-Purnia
Day 2 (29/05/14): Purnia-Siliguri-Phuentsholing
Day 3 (30/05/14): Phuentsholing-Thimphu
Day 4 (31/05/14): Thimphu-Paro-Thimphu
Day 5 (01/06/14): Thimphu-Punakha
Day 6 (02/06/14): Punakha-Pele La-Trongsa-Bumthang
Day 7 (03/06/14): Bumthang-Ura-Mongar-Trashigang
Day 8 (04/06/14): Trashigang-Wamrong-Samdrup Jhonkar-Bongaigaon
Day 9 (05/06/14): Bongaigaon-Alipur Duar-Siliguri-Purnia
Day 10 (06/06/14): Purnia-Begusarai-Ranchi

Also, is it possible to reach Siliguri on Day 1 and Thimphu on Day 2 itself? If I do a 5 am start from Siliguri and reach the immigration office at Phuentsholing by 8 am, I believe I can reach Thimphu on Day 2 by evening and save a day.

How good (or bad) are the roads in Bhutan? I am a little wary of the road conditions specially in Eastern Bhutan (Trashigang-Wamrong-Samdrup Jhonkar) as I will be driving my Honda City there. Are the roads doable in a sedan with relatively lower ground clearance?

Finally, is June a good time to visit Bhutan? I read in many online travel forums that Bhutan gets a lot of rainfall from June-August. Considering that I will be traveling in the last week of May and first week of June, will it be a good time to visit the place?

I will be really glad to get any leads and any inputs from the fellow BHPians, specially HVK Sir and adc Sir. Kindly let me know the finer details that I should keep in mind while driving in Bhutan. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by //M : 5th April 2014 at 00:27.
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Old 5th April 2014, 08:21   #58
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

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I am planning to drive from Ranchi to Bhutan and back between 28th May to 6th June 2014. I have drafted a rough route plan as of now and wanted to know if this can be done:

Day 1 (28/05/14): Ranchi-Begusarai-Purnia
Day 2 (29/05/14): Purnia-Siliguri-Phuentsholing
Day 3 (30/05/14): Phuentsholing-Thimphu
Day 4 (31/05/14): Thimphu-Paro-Thimphu
Day 5 (01/06/14): Thimphu-Punakha
Day 6 (02/06/14): Punakha-Pele La-Trongsa-Bumthang
Day 7 (03/06/14): Bumthang-Ura-Mongar-Trashigang
Day 8 (04/06/14): Trashigang-Wamrong-Samdrup Jhonkar-Bongaigaon
Day 9 (05/06/14): Bongaigaon-Alipur Duar-Siliguri-Purnia
Day 10 (06/06/14): Purnia-Begusarai-Ranchi
Day 1 - Attempt to reach Siliguri (as discussed below)
Day 2 - After permits at Phuntsoling, proceed to THimphu the same day
Day 3 - Spent in Thimphu itself. You have to get another set of permits in Thimphu to travel to East Bhutan. This could take anywhere from 2 hours to half a day. They have been denying permits to visit East Bhutan lately, so in case they do not allow you to go, you must have a Plan B.
Day 8 - Note that the Rangiya-Bongaigaon-Alipurduar road is in bad shape due to road-widening, Alternative would be to go via NOrth Salamara, Cooch Behar to Siliguri.

Quote:
Also, is it possible to reach Siliguri on Day 1 and Thimphu on Day 2 itself? If I do a 5 am start from Siliguri and reach the immigration office at Phuentsholing by 8 am, I believe I can reach Thimphu on Day 2 by evening and save a day
Exactly what I was about to suggest myself. Do as long a drive on Day 1 as possible. If you can reach Purnea by the end of the day, it is only another 3 hours to Siliguri. An early morning start from Sliguri (4- 5 am) will reach you in Phuntsoling in 4 hours. You could be in the Immigration Office & RSTA to your permits & proceed to Thimphu the same day, starting not later than 12 or 1 pm. There is no fun in staying in Phuntsoling.

Quote:
How good (or bad) are the roads in Bhutan? I am a little wary of the road conditions specially in Eastern Bhutan (Trashigang-Wamrong-Samdrup Jhonkar) as I will be driving my Honda City there. Are the roads doable in a sedan with relatively lower ground clearance?
Excellent roads all over Bhutan. Problem is only with roads in India.
You will find it difficult to get any service support for Honda City cars in Bhutan.

Quote:
Finally, is June a good time to visit Bhutan? I read in many online travel forums that Bhutan gets a lot of rainfall from June-August. Considering that I will be traveling in the last week of May and first week of June, will it be a good time to visit the place?
Bad time. It will be raining when you go there. That means clouded & rainy atmosphere, possibilities of landslides in the Phuntsoling-THimphu road, etc. I would recommend first half of May.
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Old 5th April 2014, 21:11   #59
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Thanks a lot HVK Sir. Most of the people I spoke to are suggesting me to postpone my trip to Oct-Nov. It would be absolutely impossible to drive during first half of May during to other prior commitments. Thanks a lot for your inputs, sir. I will keep you all updated if I go ahead on this trip or postpone it to sometime during end-2014.
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Old 7th April 2014, 20:02   #60
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

East Bhutan during Monsoons would be impassable to a city unless you are ready for some serious underbody bruises. Rest everything is doable and you can get permits for Paro from Pshling itself. Why dont you halt the first day at Paro and then next day drive to Thimpu via Haa? That way you keep continuing east all through with doubling back.
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