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Old 25th January 2015, 15:11   #1
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Default Bangalore to Bhutan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya

Any journey where the trip-meter reads 9218.6 km at the end of it must be fun. Add to it the breath-taking beauty of Bhutan and North East India, and you have a journey that is bucket list worthy. North East was on our list of journeys for a long time but the immediate inspiration came from a recent malayalam movie about two guys from Kerala who hit the road and travel all they way to Kohima and Tawang on their bullets with a lot of experiences on the way. After poring over google maps, team bhp travelogues I got help from other bhpians Vinod Bollini, J.Ravi and Wanderer4*4 who answered my queries (Bangalore to North East - Advice needed)

Prep -

December seemed to be the best time where I could manage enough leaves and I took off from work for three weeks. For my two kids, we had to convince the school authorities about the importance of travel in educating a child . My travel happy in-laws too were game and came to Bangalore to join us for the trip.

Working on the route map and timings we figured that if we continuously drive to Kolkata we can save a couple of days but since it was difficult to drive continuously with kids, we decided to split up for the onward journey to Kolkata. We booked the train to Kolkata for my wife, kids and in-laws while I would drive with a driver to Kolkata where we would meet up for the rest of the journey. The return journey had many stops on the way so we planned to come back together.

Next problem was luggage. We usually try to keep the last seat of the Innova free so that one of the kids can sleep, so we thought about buying a roof mounted luggage box to hold all the luggage. The Thule roof rack and luggage box was available at Methods Bangalore, but it was around 80K and beyond our budget. Tropicool India and Ajanta were out of stock in boxes and a weeks notice was not enough for them to get new ones. We decided to go with a normal Hiker roof rack with a tarpaulin from Decathlon to cover the luggage. From accuweather.com we figured that the temperature was sub-zero at Bhutan and Arunachal and generally cold at most places we were going so we packed in our cold weather clothes. I also packed in my Puncture kit and did an oil change service for the Innova.

Day 1 - Start from Bangalore -

We started on December 12th. I dropped the family at the Yeshwanthpur railway station where they boarded the Bangalore Howrah express at 7 PM. Then we wound through the heavy Friday traffic in Bangalore city, and headed out on NH4 to Kolar. The intention was to hit the Golden Quadrilateral after Tirupati. Roads were very good till Kolar after which it became two lane and trucks coming opposite wouldn't blink their headlights causing us to crawl to a snails pace. We ate dinner at a roadside dhabha after Hoskote and continued on to Tirupati.

Day2 - Drive to Kolkata

We turned left from NH4 at Chittoor and hit the Tirupati road. We crossed Tirupati at around 2:00 in the morning. We finally hit the GQ at Naidupeta. The road was double carriage four lane but was broken at places. The road got significantly better as we crossed Nellore and we reached Guntur at around 08:00 in the morning. We did not find any good restaurants on the highway so we went into Guntur town for breakfast. It was a bad idea. The town was crowded and we took a good 1.5 hours to have breakfast and hit back to the highway. After another hour of driving we hit Vijayawada. There is no bypass and going through the city considerably slowed us down. We continued on the excellent highway and reached Rajamundhry at around 03:00 where we stopped for lunch at a restaurant called Dolphins which had some amazing Andhra Biriyani. We continued up the coast and following Google maps decided to bypass Vizag at Anakapalle just before the city. It was a bad idea again, the bypass was a single lane road with a ton of truck traffic which really slowed us down. On my way back we went through Vizag and realized that it would have been much better to go through the city. We continued again through Srikakulam, Brahmapur, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack and Balasore reaching West Bengal at the crack of dawn the next day.

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GQ at Nellore

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After Vijayawada

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Crossing the Godavari at Rajamundhry

Day 3 - Reached Kolkata. Shopping and some great food.

The GQ in West bengal is four lane double carriage, but there are many diversions as construction is still going on. We took a right from Kharagpur for Kolkata. and reached around 11 A.M. My family had already reached Kolkata and had checked in to the "Check in Check out" hotel at Alipore which was a comparatively nice budget hotel. We had an amazing lunch at Bhojohori Manna and my wife went shopping after that while I hit the bed in the hotel for some well deserved sleep. Just want to note here, for anyone planning a trip, if you destination is North East India, you dont have to necessarily go through Kolkata. You can go from Kharagpur, to Bankura, Durgapur, Asanso, Dumka Bhagalpur Siliguri.

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GQ in West Bengal.

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Second Hoogly Bridge Kolkata

Day 4 Heading to Siliguri
We had to collect the ILP for Arunachal Pradesh from a good friend of ours who helped us with the permits (You can also collect permits from Tezpur or Guwahati). By the time we left Kolkata it was around 09:00 A.M. Our next heading was for the "Chickens neck" of India or more specifically Siliguri. We were warned a lot about taking Farakka Barrage, Malda route and had already decided to go via Dumka and Bhagalpur. But we didnt know that we were in for a surprise there. The highway to Dhanbad via Burdwan, Durgapur is awesome and we made good progress till Asansol where we had to hop off and head towards Dumka in Jharkhand. The roads were a bit broken but there wasn't too much traffic and we could make progress. We crossed the dry Ajai river and entered Jharkhand. The roads were still two lane but better. It was election day and there were BJP and JMM flags everywhere. People were sitting on top of buses and Bolero's probably to go for voting. It was fun to watch the dance of democracy. We had a late lunch at a small roadside restaurant near Hansidha and headed out towards Bhagalpur in Bihar. The road in Bihar was a stunning surprise for us. I have never seen such bad roads in my life. It was really like driving on the moon with vehicle sized craters in the road. Most vehicles were Scorpio's and Bolero's and for good reason. We inched our way though to Bhagalpur at around 06:00 P.M. The sun had set early as it was winter and visibility was pretty bad with a lot of traffic coming opposite to us. Surprisingly though people were pretty disciplined about dimming lights and that gave some relief. I hoped that the roads will get better from there Bhagalpur but no such luck, we crossed the Ganga at Vikramshila setu near Bhagalpur and the roads got worse with even more trucks. (On my way back I actually found a small detour after crossing the Setu that ran parallel to the bad road and reached Tetari avoiding the horrible stretch). At Tetari we hit the East West Corridor road ( NH 31 ) which is a superb four lane highway. It was 07:30 in the night and we still had a good 250 km to reach but at least the road was good. We had a very good dinner from a local dhabha. I was really tired after negotiating millions of potholes and my wife took over the rest of the driving to Siliguri. The road was good, but we got stuck at the border where there was a huge pile up of trucks and we got into the wrong lane. Luckily for us there was one opening in the divider and a couple of trucks moved to let us through but we lost a good 45 minutes by that time. We finally reached Siliguri and crashed into the Sevoke Valley Residency - another budget but clean hotel which we had booked online. I will advise anyone taking the Kolkata Siliguri trip to start early if you want to reach at a decent time.

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Starting on the Durgapur Highqway

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Road to Asansol

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Entering Jharkhand

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Roads to Dumka in Jharkhand.

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Some bad roads in Jharkhand.

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Election day in Jharkhand. BJP Campaign.

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Bad roads in Bihar after the Vikramshila Setu

Day 5 - Entering Bhutan and stay at Paro
Our next destination was Phuentsholing the border town of Bhutan. I knew that the entry formalities might take time and there was another 5 hour drive to Paro, so we started from Siliguri at around 07:00 A.M even though we were not fully rested from the previous days long drive. We went via Jalpaiguri, Dhupgiri, Madarihat. The road was two lane but there was little traffic opposite and we could make good progress. We saw flat tea estates in Assam for the first time. Pheuentsholing is around 150 km from Siliguri and including stopping for breakfast we reached at around 10:30 A.M. We went to the immigration office which is a little distance after the arch into the town on the right hand side. We filed in the forms and submitted it with copies of our passports to get permits. You can also use Voters ID. For children even school ID will do. You can save some time if you pre fill the forms which are available at the Bhutan Government Website. Next was to get the vehicle permit which is at the Road Safety and Transport Authority which is towards the left after the arch. You will need your RC book and Pollution certificate. The entry permit is Rs 230. It was 01:30 P.M by the time we got all our permits and we decided to have lunch at one of the Bhutanese restaurants and we didnt regret it at all. Bhutanese dishes are generally spicy and we loved it. After the filling lunch, we headed out again to our destination for the day - the Aum Om homestay at Paro. Just as we leave Phuentsholing and start the climb into the Mountain Kingdom there is a checkpost. You have to get your permits stamped there. They dont really stop you there, but if you dont get it stamped, they will send you all the way back from Thimpu so please be careful to get it stamped. Another thing to take care of is to switch of data in your phone and be careful making and receiving calls because it is billed at international rates. Ideally you should take a Tashi cell phone at Phuentsholing itself which we didnt do and regretted later.

We climbed up the winding roads with some pretty good scenery. We could feel it getting colder. The sun set by around 04:30 P.M India time (Bhutan time is 30 minutes ahead of India) and we continued driving. The roads are fairly good and there isn't much traffic, but it is a sheer cliff to one side most of the time so you have to be careful. One thing you notice is that there are many SUV's like Landcruisers, Hilux's etc in Bhutan. We drove for another 3 hours and reached a checkpost which was also the junction where we would take a left for Paro and Thimpu was straight. We showed our papers and proceeded to Paro. We crossed Paro International Airport to reach Paro town. Most shops were closed as it was around 08:00 P.M. I struggled a bit with directions to the homestay as I did not have data on my mobile so had to ask around. There were no public telephone booths too to call the Homestay. Finally a shopkeeper called the homestay and gave us directions. Finally after 2 days of almost continuous driving we were in a nice place with warm water and some hot Bhutanese butter tea which tasted heavenly in the cold. The Aum Om homestay is owned by a person called Tashi who stays in Thimpu and there is a nice couple who stay nearby and take care of the homestay. Dead tired from driving we crashed into bed.

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Somewhere near Jalpaiguri on the way to Phuentsholing

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Flat tea estates in Assam

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Bridge over Teesta

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Teesta River

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Entering Bhutan

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Road in Bhutan

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Road in Bhutan

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Road in Bhutan

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Roads were bad in some places

Day 6 - Taktsang Monastery , the Tigers Nest
Next day morning, we woke up lazily but the kids were up and running and had already found new friends in the neighborhood and were playing near the Paro Chu (River). Our plan for the day was to visit the Taktsang Monastery, the first and most important Monastery in Bhutan and also one of the most popular tourist destinations. We can literally see the monastry from the homestay but it is very high up on a mountain and a good - 3-4 hour trek. We headed out at around 10:30 A.M after breakfast and reached the base of the mountain which was just around 5 km away. We realized that trekking will take time and it will be dark by the time we come back so we decided to take horses up to around 80% of the way. It costs around Rs 1000 per horse but it is really worth it. The Monastery is perched on a sheer rock and it is a spectacular sight to see. There was a bit of snow as we approached the monastery and I was told that by January there will be a little more snow. We soaked in the view and the silence and started heading down. It was already 02:30 P.M and the only option for food was a cafeteria on the way down which had a fairly good buffet, but it was a bit expensive at Rs 600 per head. We headed down and reached the base by around sundown and headed back to the homestay where we crashed.

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Paro River

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My Innova's windscreen is frozen

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A view of the Taktsang Monastery or Tigers Nest.

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Me at the Tigers Nest

Day 7 - Thimpu town

Next day, the plan was Thimpu, and my wife was excited at the prospect of shopping again. We started a bit late at around 10:00 and stopped in between at the Bhutan telecom shop in Paro to get a sim card. We reached Thimpu at aroun 12:00 P.M and headed straight to immigration as we wanted permissions to drive through Bhutan to Samdrup Jongkhar ( The permissions at Phhuentsholing are valid only for Paro and Thimpu. For all other locations in Bhutan you have to get permits in Thimpu ). The immigration officer smiled when he heard our plans and told us that it will take a full two days to drive to Samdrup Jongkhar because driving through the mountains is very different from driving through the plains of India. The other option was to go out through Galephu (another border town but is exit only) which was possible in a day and he modified our application accordingly . Permits done we hit the streets of Thimpu for some good shopping of local handicrafts. We had lunch at the Ama restaurant in Thimpu which was recommended by the locals and had some good Bhutanese food.By evening we went to the Buddha point which has a huge statue of Buddha and you also get a Panoramic view of Thimpu. We retired back to the homestay at Paro and packed our stuff in for the long drive out of Bhutan the next day to reach Kaziranga in Assam.

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The Highway from Paro to Thimpu

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At the Paro Chu

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At Thimpu Town

We had another 18 days to go through Wangdue, Galephu, Kaziranga, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and a long drive back to Bangalore Via Konark and Vizag. I will be back soon with the next leg of the travelogue.

Last edited by Aditya : 4th May 2015 at 12:26. Reason: Please upload images only via the attachment system. Thanks!
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Old 25th January 2015, 21:41   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya

Aaha!!! Lovely thread and perfect timing. Thanks for the detailed account on the roads. Im looking forward to all the detailed information you can provide. Glued to this tread.
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Old 26th January 2015, 11:35   #3
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I enjoyed the first part of your informative travelogue, robbythomas79.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbythomas79 View Post
We finally reached Siliguri and crashed into the Sevoke Valley Residency
This hotel has received very good reviews and ratings in tripadvisor.in. Does this hotel has car parking? Your review would be highly appreciated. If possible, post some photos, if you have. TIA. I am considering this hotel for stay during my forthcoming drive to Tawang.
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Old 26th January 2015, 15:09   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
This hotel has received very good reviews and ratings in tripadvisor.in. Does this hotel has car parking? Your review would be highly appreciated. If possible, post some photos, if you have. TIA. I am considering this hotel for stay during my forthcoming drive to Tawang.
Hi J.Ravi, yes the Sevoke Valley hotel is good, clean, budget bed and breakfast hotel with friendly staff. You will get a better price if you book online. It has parking and a pretty good restaurant so I stayed there on my way back as well. There are some mosquitoes so please remember to collect a Good Night from the reception.
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Old 1st April 2015, 09:02   #5
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Day 8 - Drive out of Bhutan via Galephu and reaching Kaziranga

From our Kolkata-Siliguri experience, we had realized that daylight is precious in these parts especially in winter and we should start early. We started at aroudn 03:30 A.M, reaching Thimpu at aroudn 04:30 A.M. From Thimpu our route took us through Dorche La (I was hoping that the sun will come out when we reach Dorche La Pass where there is a beautiful Monastery, but it was still dark and I had to make do with a long exposure night shot with my camera). The road after Thimpu all throughout Wangdue province was pretty bad. There is a lot of construction with many Hydro Electric plants being built and so there are many heavy Trucks on the road, possibly the reason for the roads being in the state they are. We crossed Wangude and the road continued to be broken and our progress was slow. On one side we had the Puna Tsang Chu river. There is no protection on the sides on the road and it is a sheer drop into the river so I kept mostly to the center of the road. The valley views were awesome, but the road continued to be bad till we reached Tsirang and the highway crossed over to the other side of the river. After that the road was pretty good. The climate became a bit more warmer and the road was full of Tangerines which were ready for plucking which was an awesome sight to see. Finally by around 02:00 P.M we reached the border near Galephu after a full 11 hours of driving covering just 250 km. We thanked the immigration officer in our mind for advising us against attempting Samdrup Jongkhar (Not that it was a bad drive but it would have completely upset our schedule ). We crossed the check post and entered India. The route shown in Google maps is blocked by the Indian Army because of Militant presence in the area. Incidentally the attacks by the militant outfit NDFB(S) against adivasi's in December '14 happened the same night we crossed over into India and the whole area was tense. We had to travel again on a border road and reach Galephu town to re-enter India. We made our entries at the army check post in India and headed towards the East-West corridor highway at Bongigaon. The road from Galephu to Bongaigaon is just 49 km but is broken in many places and we reached Bongaigaon at around 03:30 P.M and had a late lunch at the Rendevouz restaurant. The highway at Bongaigaon was four lane but many vehicles come in the opposite direction on the fast lane and we had to be very careful. Its a good 380 km from Bongaigaon to our destination Agoratoli resort in Kaziranga and we realized that we are going to be quite late. The traffic thinned after Nalbari and we could go faster. We reached Tezpur at around 08:30 P.M and had a quick and nice dinner at a roadside dhabha. We finally reached the resort at Kaziranga at 01:00 A.M tired but excited at the prospect of the elephant safari and seeing rhino's in the morning.
Benoy and Uttam at the resort waited up for us till late and gave us directions, because the default route shown in Google maps is not the best one.

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Road near Dorche La

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Bad Roads after Dorche La

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Roads get a bit better after the power projects.

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Good roads in Tsirang

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Beautiful Valley Views

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Taking the previous pic

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Tangerines in Tsirang

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After Galephu, entering India

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From Galephu to Bongaigaon

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East West Corridor Highway. Vehicles coming opposite

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East West Corridor Highway.

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East West Corridor Highway.

Day 9 Kaziranga and Brahmaputra

Despite having arrived late, we all woke up at 05:00 A.M to catch the elephant safari which starts at 06:00 A.M. Even the kids were up excited at the prospect of seeing Rhino's. Benoy from the resort took us in the resorts Jeep to the Kohora range of Kaziranga where the safari starts. I realized that the big difference between an Elephant safari and to a Jeep safari is that since the Elephants are much more silent, you get to see more animals even in dense forests like Kaziranga. The ride took an hour and we saw many Rhino's and deer, but couldn't spot a Tiger. We headed back to the resort where we had a nice breakfast of Bread Omlette and Puri's and lazed around the resort in the morning. Uttam suggested a boat ride on the Brahmaputra along with lunch which we too figured was a good idea. Uttam and Benoy helped us pack in a lunch with a variety of Assamese fish dishes. Following Uttam's instructions, We and a couple of other families took our car's through a mud road in the Agaratoli range through settlements of Mishing tribals. Interestingly, a lot of the houses had solar panels on top of them because electricity had not yet reached there. We reached the banks of the Brahmaputra where the boat was waiting for us. The river was very cals, and the boat ride was peaceful and slow and we enjoyed the lunch on the deck of the boat. On the river, there were people moving large bamboo barges downstream (practically living on the barges). It was December so the river was divided up with many sandbanks in between, but we could feel the massive size of the river in full spate. We also witnessed a heartrending scene which soon became a heartwarming scene of an elephant stuck in the mud on the banks of the river and crying out. While we were contemplating calling the forest department, another elephant came out of the forest and pushed it to safety. We returned at sundown to the comfort of the resort and a warm dinner. Next day was the long and (we were told) arduous journey to Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh.

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Early Morning safari at Kaziranga

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Rhino's in Kaziranga

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Solar powered Mishing village

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Cruise on the Brahmaputra

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Kaziranga Elephant Stuck

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Kaziranga Elephant Rescue

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Kaziranga Elephant rescue

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Birds on the Brahmaputra

Day 10 Drive from Kaziranga to Thembang

In the morning we had breakfast at the resort, and set out at 08:00 A.M our next destination - Thembang, a small village in Arunachal Pradesh, a little after the district capital of Bomdila. We traced our route back to Tezpur and stopped around 09:00 A.M at the KF hotel on the Tezpur bypass to buy some snacks. The hotel was recommended by Rocky and Mayur in their book - "Highway on my Plate" (Which I had on my e-Reader) so we wanted to give it a try. The road from Tezpur to Bhalukpong (the border town in Arunachal) was single carriagway but quite good. We showed our permits at the border and entered Arunachal Pradesh. The road was even for the next few kilometers as we followed the Kemang river, and then started the climb to Bomdila via Tenga valley. The road was good till but narrow with very little protection and a sheer drop into the valley below which is masked by vegetation. We reached Tenga at around 02:00 P.M and had lunch at a small hotel a little after the town. The road condition deteriorated significantly after Tenga as we started the climb to Bomdila. The vegetation had decreased significantly, so now we could at least see the sheer drop into the valley below. After many hairpins, we crossed Bomdila at around 04:30 P.M, catching the first glimpse of the snowy peaks of the Mighty Himalayas. While most people break their journey from Tezpur to Tawang at one of the lodges in Bomdila, I had read about a village stay in the "Highway on my Plate" book by Rocky and Mayur and googled out the stay at Thembang. The village is on the shortlist as a Unesco world heritage site because of the ancient Dzong and unique Flora and Fauna. It is a 15 km detour from the main highway to Tawang from a small junction called Munna camp. It was sun down by the time we reached the village and we tucked ourself into the Village headman, Mr Satyen Jorme's house which has a couple of additional rooms attached to it to support the eco-tourism initiative of the villagers. The temperature was below freezing and the sky was so spectacularly clear that we saw a couple of shooting stars within around 30 minutes. Everyone huddled around Mr Satyen's kitchen stove for heat as the family prepared a nice warm dinner of local bread, vegetables and Yak meat. After dinner and some chit-chatting with Mr Satyen, about the village and the very old Dzong which is next to his house, we signed his guest book (Which was also signed by Rocky and Mayur just a couple of lines above ours) and retired for the night.

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Starting at the resort

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Crossed Tezpur

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The road to Bhalukpong

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Bhalukpong - the border town at Arunachal

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The Kameng River

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Bhalukpong to Tenga

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The snow capped peaks of the Himalayas at Bomdilla.

Pics of Thembang in the next post as I have reached the limit of 30 pics per post.

Last edited by Aditya : 4th May 2015 at 12:35. Reason: Please upload images only via the attachment system. Thanks!
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Old 1st April 2015, 10:12   #6
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Delighted to see you resuming the thread again. Nice travelogue and waiting to read the rest of your experiences.

I followed you to Agoratoli a month and a bit later . By that time, the water level in the Brahmaputra had come down so much that the river safari was not possible.

How come you came down to Kaziranga from Bhutan and then went back up again to Tawang ? Perhaps you wanted a break from the mountains !

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Old 1st April 2015, 14:47   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya

Hi Robby,

This is an Awesome trip that you did considering the no. of miles you crunched with family in tow. Looking forward to more pics and details concerning the expenses incurred i.e. Fuel, Accomodation, toll etc. Thanks again.
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Old 1st April 2015, 21:56   #8
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How come you came down to Kaziranga from Bhutan and then went back up again to Tawang ? Perhaps you wanted a break from the mountains !
Hi Secretariat, I had to come to Tezpur Anyways to go to Tawang, so thought of getting a couple of days rest in the plains first. But my next destination after Tawang was Kohima, so I ended up travelling on the Tezpur - Kaziranga sector three times, which is 100 kilometers each time. The roads were good so didnt feel it that much, and also it was night once and day two times, so didnt feel like I repeated the same stretch three times.

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Hi Robby,

This is an Awesome trip that you did considering the no. of miles you crunched with family in tow. Looking forward to more pics and details concerning the expenses incurred i.e. Fuel, Accomodation, toll etc. Thanks again.
Hi Sami, Thanks. Yes, I have two more weeks to go in the trip. Will be posting soon
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Old 3rd April 2015, 12:37   #9
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An amazing read! Cant wait to read more..! I had recently done a trip to the North East.. Although it was a back pack trip, what started as a trip to Ziro, took me all the way to Mawlynnong, a stone's throw from the Bangladeshi border (not that i repent it ! :P).

Your drive is amazing, do continue the thread!! waiting......!
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Old 4th April 2015, 15:59   #10
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Wonderful travelogue. Since you took the Bongaigaon-Nalbari highway, can you confirm if the EW-Corridor here has been completed?
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Old 11th April 2015, 23:11   #11
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An amazing read! Cant wait to read more..! I had recently done a trip to the North East.. Although it was a back pack trip, what started as a trip to Ziro, took me all the way to Mawlynnong, a stone's throw from the Bangladeshi border (not that i repent it ! :P).

Your drive is amazing, do continue the thread!! waiting......!
Sooshan, I too went to Mawlynnong. Will cover it later in the travelogue. I am planning to go backpacking this year to Ziro . Will need help from you.

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Wonderful travelogue. Since you took the Bongaigaon-Nalbari highway, can you confirm if the EW-Corridor here has been completed?

Hi Sumit, yes the EW corridor here has been completed, but a lot of vehicles come on the opposite side of the double carriageway. We could keep up 80 kmph on the road but had to be extra cautious. A navigator is essential.
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Old 12th April 2015, 07:25   #12
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Since you took the Bongaigaon-Nalbari highway, can you confirm if the EW-Corridor here has been completed?
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the EW corridor here has been completed, but a lot of vehicles come on the opposite side of the double carriageway.
Sorry to butt in. I drove from Rangpo to Guwahati via Sevok, Hasimara, Bongaigaon and Nalbari on the night of 9/10 April 2015. The four-laning of the NH is far from completion. There were frequent diversions without signages. There were incomplete sections, again without signages. The vehicles coming in the opposite direction in front of you is due to these diversions. On one stretch, I was just driving only to find a huge gaping valley because of demolition of a bridge without any sign of construction activity. I took a U-turn, drove through the nearby village on the old highway to join the new 2-lane completed highway. I paid toll only twice in the entire stretch, ₹ 35 and ₹ 60, IIRC. So, in nutshell, the completed 4-lane section is far less than the incomplete ones. In most of the sections, one carriageway of two lanes is completed. I have already decided to return via Goalpara.
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Old 12th April 2015, 09:41   #13
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Sorry to butt in. I drove from Rangpo to Guwahati via Sevok, Hasimara, Bongaigaon and Nalbari on the night of 9/10 April 2015. The four-laning of the NH is far from completion. There were frequent diversions without signages. There were incomplete sections, again without signages. The vehicles coming in the opposite direction in front of you is due to these diversions. On one stretch, I was just driving only to find a huge gaping valley because of demolition of a bridge without any sign of construction activity. I took a U-turn, drove through the nearby village on the old highway to join the new 2-lane completed highway. I paid toll only twice in the entire stretch, ₹ 35 and ₹ 60, IIRC. So, in nutshell, the completed 4-lane section is far less than the incomplete ones. In most of the sections, one carriageway of two lanes is completed. I have already decided to return via Goalpara.
I have always been saying this, when travelling from Siliguri to Guwahati, its always better, at the moment, to take the Siliguri-Sevoke-Falakata-Cooch Behar-Tufanganj-Gauripur-North Sialmara-Goalpara-Dudhnai route. It may be a 2 lane highway but is better in many respects. It has very little truck traffic. It is more safe in terms of frequent bandhs which happen on the Bongaigaon-Nalbari-Guwahati route. I had once taken the Bongaigaon-Nalbari-Guwahati route but had vowed then that I will never again take it. I have done the Goalpara route in wee hours (2, 3AM) on several occasions and never have come across any problem whatsoever.

If someone is interested, I have a .kml file which elaborates this route in detail.

About the EW-Corridor from Bongaigaon to Guwahati, its been in the making for donkey years now and this (un-marked diversions, half complete bridges, broken pavement) has been its condition for several years. The only time I took it was in 2011 and it seems nothing has changed since then. The problem being contracting firms not being allowed to work by the BLT militants and the local politicians demanding regular protection money. I don't see this being completed for another 5 years at this pace.

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Old 13th April 2015, 23:43   #14
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Sorry to butt in. I drove from Rangpo to Guwahati via Sevok, Hasimara, Bongaigaon and Nalbari on the night of 9/10 April 2015. The four-laning of the NH is far from completion. There were frequent diversions without signages. There were incomplete sections, again without signages. The vehicles coming in the opposite direction in front of you is due to these diversions. On one stretch, I was just driving only to find a huge gaping valley because of demolition of a bridge without any sign of construction activity. I took a U-turn, drove through the nearby village on the old highway to join the new 2-lane completed highway. I paid toll only twice in the entire stretch, ₹ 35 and ₹ 60, IIRC. So, in nutshell, the completed 4-lane section is far less than the incomplete ones. In most of the sections, one carriageway of two lanes is completed. I have already decided to return via Goalpara.
J.Ravi, I reached Bongaigaon from Galephu and the road from there to Nalbari was mostly complete (Which is one of the reasons why I took that route, coming back from Shillong to Siliguri). But on the way back to Siliguri the road was not good from Bongaigaon and I realized that the Goalpara route was probably better after reading Sumit's post.
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Old 16th April 2015, 16:30   #15
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I have two more weeks to go in the trip. Will be posting soon
Wonderful article

I have always wanted to go to northeast and you have shown us that its possible and how to do it!!
Waiting for your remaining updates..

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 20th April 2015 at 07:45. Reason: Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission.
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