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Old 8th January 2017, 01:53   #16
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WHAT I LEARNT? DO's and DON'Ts :

* Do make a excel sheet with your tentative itinerary. Makes life easier by giving you a clear idea of your plan.

* For a road trip spanning 14 days with 5 adults, a 7/8 seater car is just about right. Travelling this distance with 8 adults would have been very uncomfortable. You need space to stretch and do not wanna wiggle about. So decide on the number of vehicles accordingly.

* Don't blindly believe the times shown on Google maps. At the start of this trip only checked the times on google maps to plan the overnight halts. Google does not factor in food stops, my fault was too excited. It was a little strenuous for my grandmother during the onward leg. Return leg was relaxing.

* In Case elders are gonna be travelling with you. Space out the drive well, don't clock more than 500 - 600kms a day. The five of us varied from age groups of 21 - 65 years.

* On average all dhabas and restaurants stops up North take an hour. So plan accordingly. Pure vegetarian restaurants are hard to find. But you get Daal, chawal, roti and paneer subzis everywhere. So plan accordingly. Only a few dhabas in WB smelt of fish (I eat non-veg so no problems but my Grandma does not like the smell). Curds is another problem so buy some whenever you see it.

* Do take a printout of all your booking details and required photocopies of documents from home. Also file them neatly, saves a lot of time and energy. I had taken everything from home and found it damn easy and convenient.

* Do take into account the fact that it becomes pitch dark by 6:00PM in the East. I did not think of this account and ended up driving quite a lot in the dark.

* Don't drive fast in unknown territory. For instance maintaining 80 - 100 kmph through Odisha was able to dodge many two-wheeler riders who popped out onto the highway suddenly.

* I booked OYO rooms (No affiliation to OYO) for my overnight halts in India. Only downer being you have to book the rooms without knowing which hotel it would be, so it can go either way. Every booking had complimentary breakfast, but not even a single hotel had the breakfast ready nor were they serving even chai before 8:00AM. So keep that in mind if you wanna leave early. We carried a loaf of bread, jam, peanut butter and fruits to avoid stopping anywhere.

* Many petrol bunks have clean restrooms maintained specifically for women. Don't hesitate to stop in bunks since hotels/restaurants are few and far apart.

* AP - OD and OD - WB border checkposts are poorly regulated. Whether you like it or not, you have to drive on the wrong side to cross them fast. Follow a local vehicle and you will easily cross these jams in under 10 minutes.

* Do respect the traditions and culture of Bhutan. The Bhutanese take offence easily.

* Bhutan has only Bharat petroleum bunks and except the ones in Phuentsholing, none of the others have credit card machines. So carry enough cash in hand. Indian currency is 1:1 with Bhutanese Nugyal and they widely accept Indian currency.

* At the end of the day it does not matter if you are late. Always drive safe. Remember one wrong move/judgement can cost you your trip/life. The home - stretch is the worst cause you can literally smell your bed . So plan it in such a way that the last day of your trip is the shortest possible, without straining yourself too much on other days.


HOW DID YOUR CAR PERFORM?

Like a dream.


Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!-img_1232.jpg

Come rain, ice, wind, sun, slush, gravel, deep potholes, rocks and tall speed breakers, my Innova took everything in its stride. Did not have even a single problem during the entire trip. Even after being rattled to the core on the way to Phobjikha or hitting its underside on a couple of tall speed breakers in West Bengal it kept performing the same way it has been doing so for the past 7 years. Nothing other than the 1,00,000km service and air check was done prior to the trip. *Touchwood*

Plus she is only 1 lakh kms young.

Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!-pano_20161222_152146.jpg

Also my Innova was super excited seeing so many Toyota Hilux, Prados, LC 200s, LC150s, Coasters, Hiaces, RAV 4s and Avanzas in Bhutan. Not forgetting Hyundai H1s, Velosters, a Tiburon, Kia Soul, Kia Sorentos, Kia Sportages, Ssangyong Tivolis, Nissan Navaras, Nissan Leafs, Subaru Outback and many more previously unseen cars.

Last edited by Shanksta : 8th January 2017 at 14:20.
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Old 8th January 2017, 02:24   #17
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OVERALL TRIP STATS:

Total Distance: 5855.1 kilometers

Total paid per kilometer: 74.4 paise

Number of toll booths: 76

Best Stretch of road driven through in India: Ongole - Vijayawada

Worst stretch of road driven through in India: Khargram - Botolbari

Most scenic Stretch of road driven through in India: Botolbari - Rudel - Dhantola

Best stretch of road driven through in Bhutan: Thimphu - Lobesa

Worst stretch of road driven through in Bhutan: Lobesa - Dungdung Neysa

Number of rivers crossed: 22 (Kosasthalaiyar, Arani, Swarnamukhi, Penna, Krishna, Godavari, Vamsadhara, Rushikulya, Mahanadi, Subarnarekha, Hooghly, Ajay, Ganges, Mahananda, Balason, Teesta, Jaldhaka, Torsha, Wang Chu, Thimphu Chu, Paro chu and Puna Tsang Chu)

Lowest Temperature: -1 degree Celsius at Paro.

Number of times stopped by cops: 2

* One officer in Siliguri wanted to know what TN stands for.
* Another is the speeding ticket issued in Ongole.

Highest Altitude reached: 10,836.61 ft

Number of suicidal dogs avoided: 8

Number of suicidal humans avoided: Countless

Fuel cost per kilometer: Rs. 5.38 / km

Highest Mileage: 13.65 kmpl

Lowest Mileage: 10.17 kmpl

Road trip tentatively for 2017: Seven sisters or Leh - Ladakh.

A big thank you to BHPian Samba whose Travelogue (Ecstatic Bhutan and lush green Dooars in a Toyota Etios) on Bhutan was of great help. Also this post (Chennai-Vizag-Bhubaneshwar-Thimphu-Paro) by HVK sir was of great help.


Major picture credits goes to my younger brother who shot 80% of the pictures you see in this thread.



This is my first ever travelogue and it was a long one. Hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed penning it down. If I've missed out on anything do let me know. All views that were expressed in this travelogue were IMHO, kindly do not take offence.

Last edited by Shanksta : 8th January 2017 at 13:30.
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Old 8th January 2017, 17:37   #18
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Moving out of Assembly line, thanks for sharing - Support team
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Old 9th January 2017, 01:17   #19
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Default re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanksta View Post

*Proceeds showing BHPian Samba's brilliant travelogue*

Dad: Ok lets do it.
Feels great to see my travelogue helped you for planning a trip to Bhutan. But i must say, your travelogue came out better than mine. Awesome pics and detailed narration made it an interesting read. Rated a duly deserving 5*.

My Toyota welcomes your Toyota at Bhutan!

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Last edited by Samba : 9th January 2017 at 01:22.
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Old 9th January 2017, 01:27   #20
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Default re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Feels great to see my travelogue helped you for planning a trip to Bhutan. But i must say, your travelogue came out better than mine. Awesome pics and detailed narration made it an interesting read. Rated a duly deserving 5*.

My Toyota welcomes your Toyota at Bhutan!
Yes, your travelogue definitely helped me planning this trip and also luring my dad to do it.

Glad that you liked the travelogue.

My Toyota thanks your Toyota for reporting the prevalent terrain conditions of Bhutan.
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Old 9th January 2017, 08:29   #21
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Beautiful narration, this does makes me think about a Bhutan trip, much nearer to my home. Now to convince my parents or anyone opposing my plan, this thread needs to be shown.
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Old 9th January 2017, 10:19   #22
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Beautiful narration, this does makes me think about a Bhutan trip, much nearer to my home. Now to convince my parents or anyone opposing my plan, this thread needs to be shown.
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed reading it. After you've convinced your parents, do put up a travelogue once you are done with you trip.
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Old 9th January 2017, 11:03   #23
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanksta View Post
OVERALL TRIP STATS:
One of the most informative, yet crisp travelogues I've read in a long time.

Just enough masala, yet intriguing and to the point.

Great job, rating it 5 stars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanksta View Post
One officer in Siliguri wanted to know what TN stands for.
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Old 9th January 2017, 11:23   #24
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Thoroughly enjoyed your travelogue. Thank you very much for sharing. It is still a dream for me driving to Bhutan. When I do, I am also thinking about going to the eastern end of the Country. Did you do any research on that part as well?
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Old 9th January 2017, 12:46   #25
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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
One of the most informative, yet crisp travelogues I've read in a long time.

Just enough masala, yet intriguing and to the point.

Great job, rating it 5 stars.
Thank you ! Glad you enjoyed reading my experience.

Even I was when the cop asked me what TN stands for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rameshnanda View Post
Thoroughly enjoyed your travelogue. Thank you very much for sharing. It is still a dream for me driving to Bhutan. When I do, I am also thinking about going to the eastern end of the Country. Did you do any research on that part as well?
Thank you for your kind words. Driving to Bhutan is easy but long. No, I did not do any research on the North eastern states. But from what I've heard and also read here on the forum, it seems to be tougher. There was brilliant travelogue by a fellow BHPian on the seven sisters. He had driven down in his Hyundai Xcent from Bengaluru if I recall correctly.

EDIT: Found the Thread (Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters).

Last edited by Shanksta : 9th January 2017 at 12:51.
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Old 9th January 2017, 12:50   #26
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Excellent report that made for very nice reading , a very detailed and informative one , I might add. We now have two back to back Bhutan threads running , one from BlackPearl and one from yourself, provides a real feast for the eyes. This double dose really makes me feel very nostalgic , it is really a wonderful country to visit.

From my own trip several years back (Into the smiling embrace of “Druk Yul” – The Last Shangri La) - would you know whether they still observe every Tuesday as a pedestrian only day and restrict movement of private vehicles on the city streets ?

Hope you do not mind , if I repost a fond memory of the lit up Tashichho Dzong.

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Old 9th January 2017, 13:07   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanksta View Post
OVERALL TRIP STATS:

Total Distance: 5855.1 kilometers
Great Narration and 5 starred
I have been planning the same trip since 2013. Due to various chorus, it has been missed till date.
Hopefully i'll be making it this year. Most of your points will be useful during the trips.

I just did a 3000 kms Kerala trip in my Silver Streak Linea with wife & 2 kids instead of Gujarat trip which was actually planned for 2016
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Old 9th January 2017, 14:15   #28
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Originally Posted by DriveTrain View Post
Excellent report that made for very nice reading , a very detailed and informative one , I might add. We now have two back to back Bhutan threads running , one from BlackPearl and one from yourself, provides a real feast for the eyes. This double dose really makes me feel very nostalgic , it is really a wonderful country to visit.

From my own trip several years back (Into the smiling embrace of “Druk Yul” – The Last Shangri La) - would you know whether they still observe every Tuesday as a pedestrian only day and restrict movement of private vehicles on the city streets ?

Hope you do not mind , if I repost a fond memory of the lit up Tashichho Dzong.
Thank you! Happy to know you enjoyed the travelogue. I entered Bhutan on a Tuesday but it was not a pedestrian only day. The thread by BHPian Blackpearl has mad me wanna visit Bhutan again when I get a 4x4.

The more the merrier. Do post as many pictures as you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aks_karthik View Post
Great Narration and 5 starred
I have been planning the same trip since 2013. Due to various chorus, it has been missed till date.
Hopefully i'll be making it this year. Most of your points will be useful during the trips.

I just did a 3000 kms Kerala trip in my Silver Streak Linea with wife & 2 kids instead of Gujarat trip which was actually planned for 2016
Thank you aks_karthik! Remember enjoying the ownership review of Silver Streak.

Bhutan is a nice place to visit and very peaceful.

Looking forward to reading a travelogue on your Kerala trip.
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Old 9th January 2017, 14:48   #29
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Great travelogue Shanksta and very proud to see a Chennaite driving all the way to Bhutan. Truly inspiring!

Special thanks for the Trip Stats and the Do's and Dont's sections. Very insightful and well written.
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Old 9th January 2017, 15:32   #30
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Two back to back travelogues on Bhutan, yours and Blackpearl 's one. Excellent write up, photos and finished reading it in one go. I am also feeling very proud to see someone from South driving all the way to Bhutan, inspiring and commendable. But must be very tiring for your grandma however I assume that she had enjoyed this road trip across countries.

Also nice to green rural India, especially the green fields of West Bengal - relief for eyes and mind. Miss travelling on those roads.
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