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Old 11th January 2017, 20:09   #46
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

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Originally Posted by Mad Max View Post
Amazing travelogue. Thanks for sharing.

I am impressed that the older folks in the vehicle took the ride so well. And Innova, what can you say? It's the workhorse that puts a smile in everyone. Thanks for listing the tips as well. Will come in handy for the rest of us who daydream and may do this some day.
Thank you Mad Max! It's good to daydream, cause you end up doing it. Even I used to daydream after I read BHPian Samba's travelogue and still can't believe I did this trip.

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Originally Posted by alphadog View Post
What a wonderful travelogue. Thanks a lot for all the amazing pictures and succinct narration. Bhutan and the seven sisters seems to be the places to go to, gathering from the interest seen in this forum and others.
It is good that the elderly folks could do a trip like this and good to hear that it went ok without any major issues.Also, another feather in the cap for the Innova too, I guess.
Five stars from me.
Keep traveling and keep it coming.
Cheerio!
Thank you alphadog! Very kind words, glad you enjoyed reading the travelogue.

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Originally Posted by centaur View Post
Amazing thread Shanksta. I loved the thread so much that while reading it I got a call from my friend and ended telling him about this thread which got him intrigued as well. Hes isn't a member but I am sure he will read it as well.

6000 kms in 15 days is a really big number if you ask me. I think one of the reasons to be able munch so many miles was the mile muncher - the Mighty Innova. I can say this because our year old Innova is already tipping the odo north of 50k kms.

Hope to do a trip like yours sometime and yours would be one of the thread I would surely refer for details especially around the permits. Thanks for sharing and hope you have many more such miles.
Thank you centaur! Good to know you loved the travelogue.

Yeah 6000kms was a lot to do in 14days. Only the first 2 days of the onward leg was long. While returning I took a day extra and that really showed me how much more relaxing it can be.

50+k kms in a year! That is a lot of love shown towards your car. Well what can I say about the Innova, that hasn't been said already. I have already told my dad that it must cannot be sold.

Last edited by Shanksta : 11th January 2017 at 20:12.
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Old 13th January 2017, 01:20   #47
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Nice & Informative Travelogue

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Originally Posted by Shanksta View Post


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)

It's 23, you missed Gosthani River. Which is right after Vizag on the way to Srikakulam.
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Old 13th January 2017, 05:13   #48
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

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Nice & Informative Travelogue



It's 23, you missed Gosthani River. Which is right after Vizag on the way to Srikakulam.
Thank you Vikram.vns!

Oops! My bad, didn't even see that river until you mentioned it. But don't remember crossing any significant bridge too.
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Old 13th January 2017, 06:18   #49
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Thanks Shanksta for putting up such an excellent travelogue! Your lucid writing made it much more enjoyable to read. Honestly, it feels good to hear about the stretches of the road which we frequent, in the words of a fellow travelller from the far south. Keep it up .
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Old 13th January 2017, 20:59   #50
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Thanks Shanksta for putting up such an excellent travelogue! Your lucid writing made it much more enjoyable to read. Honestly, it feels good to hear about the stretches of the road which we frequent, in the words of a fellow travelller from the far south. Keep it up .
Thank you gmhossain! Glad to know you enjoyed the travelogue.

West Bengal roads were for the most part a delight to drive on. Wherever they weren't, the scenery more than made up for the roads.
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Old 16th January 2017, 20:26   #51
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Amazing travelogue there Shanksta. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and did so in one go! I am planning to do Bhutan trip this year and when I do, this is the post I will come back and refer to
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Old 16th January 2017, 21:54   #52
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Hey, great write up, Shanksta! Loved every pic, makes me want to pack up and leave for a trip right now. The pictures, especially the ones with the rivers are straight up wallpaper material. And I continue to be amazed at the reliability of the Toyota, look at it, still chugging on without a squeak at 1Lakh km. Really, come what may, I still think reliability is synonymous with Toyota, especially the countless Innovas on our roads, prove it again. Lovely travelogue, beautiful pictures, you fulfilled my appetite for a good read today.

Cheers.
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Old 17th January 2017, 16:52   #53
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Fantastic Travelogue Shanksta. Your write up is crisp & entertaining. Loved the details that you have provided. Knowing all the river that you crossed

Keep Traveling & Keep Writing

Regards,

Pawan
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Old 17th January 2017, 17:49   #54
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

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Originally Posted by ragh_bhushan View Post
Amazing travelogue there Shanksta. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and did so in one go! I am planning to do Bhutan trip this year and when I do, this is the post I will come back and refer to
Thank you ragh_bhushan!! Glad to know my travelogue will be of help. All the best for your impending trip.

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Originally Posted by Doc_nikhil View Post
Hey, great write up, Shanksta! Loved every pic, makes me want to pack up and leave for a trip right now. The pictures, especially the ones with the rivers are straight up wallpaper material. And I continue to be amazed at the reliability of the Toyota, look at it, still chugging on without a squeak at 1Lakh km. Really, come what may, I still think reliability is synonymous with Toyota, especially the countless Innovas on our roads, prove it again. Lovely travelogue, beautiful pictures, you fulfilled my appetite for a good read today.

Cheers.
Thank you Doc_nikhil for your kind words! As another BHPian said, just took her for a spin after the run-in period.

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Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post
Fantastic Travelogue Shanksta. Your write up is crisp & entertaining. Loved the details that you have provided. Knowing all the river that you crossed

Keep Traveling & Keep Writing

Regards,

Pawan
Thank you PapaBravo! Glad to know you enjoyed reading the travelogue.

With such encouraging words, will definitely write more as and when I travel.
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Old 17th January 2017, 20:52   #55
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Oops! My bad, didn't even see that river until you mentioned it. But don't remember crossing any significant bridge too.
This river is near to Thagarapuvalasa and in periphery of Vizag.

It's difficult to notice this small bridge.
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Old 21st January 2017, 14:12   #56
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

You see you could have avoided Vijayawada. You can as well go via Khammam,Vyra,gopalpuram to Vishakapatanam to reduce the distance by about 130 km.
I went from Hyderabad to Siliguri to Gowhati to Shillong and back on my bike HONDA 250cc very recently and wrote a travelogue also. It was a total of 5530 km.
I followed the same route as yours like Vishakapatnam,Kharagpur,Berhampur,Islampur,Kolkott a , Siliguri etc., while returning
but I did not enter Bhutan. I met Bhutan border police near about Nagrakata and had photograph with them. That Frakka bridge you had shown in photograph had full of holes.

Last edited by venuraja : 21st January 2017 at 14:13.
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Old 21st January 2017, 19:02   #57
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

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You see you could have avoided Vijayawada. You can as well go via Khammam,Vyra,gopalpuram to Vishakapatanam to reduce the distance by about 130 km.
That seems to be the shortest distance from Hyderabad. But from Chennai driving via Vijayawada is the shortest route.

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I went from Hyderabad to Siliguri to Gowhati to Shillong and back on my bike HONDA 250cc very recently and wrote a travelogue also. It was a total of 5530 km.
Will read it!

Quote:
That Frakka bridge you had shown in photograph had full of holes.
That was the small bridge before the Farakka barrage. Yeah Farakka barrage is full of deep potholes. But I guess they cannot afford to close it down for repairs, since it is the only connection to the other side of Ganges for miles.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 14:47   #58
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Default Re: Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!

Hi Shanksta

Your travelogue got posted exactly at the time I was finalising my travel plan to Bhutan and contemplating which places I should visit. I have also connected with HVK Sir to get the perfect travel itinerary as I and a friend of mine plan to visit mid March 2017.

I therefore would request you to help me with a few things, some of which you must have encountered or experienced. Its a Hyundai i20 which will be driven from Thane (Mira Road) to Bhutan and the prospective pitstops (halts) are - Bhopal 13.3, Muzzarfurpur 14.3, Lucknow 15.3, Phuntsholing 16.3.2017 respectively

1) Insurance - where and how did you get the additional rider for the car insurance in Bhutan, we will be there from 16.3.17 to 22.3.17. It would be great if you could share the details of your agent
2) Stay - how are the places to stay in Bhutan. We are two or perhaps three men driving and would need a good place to stay - facility wise. Would be great if you can tell me if you booked the places in advance? Approximate cost for the night
3) Any particular elements we should be careful about whilst going to the country. Road conditions, best places to visit (scenic) and eateries

I believe this is perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity and would want to absorb all good that can come my way in this fortnight.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards
Sal
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Old 23rd February 2017, 18:48   #59
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Hi saildrive! Please find my replies to your queries below.
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Originally Posted by saildrive View Post
Hi Shanksta

Your travelogue got posted exactly at the time I was finalising my travel plan to Bhutan and contemplating which places I should visit. I have also connected with HVK Sir to get the perfect travel itinerary as I and a friend of mine plan to visit mid March 2017.
March is a good time to go. The cold would have passed and an added bonus is you'll be escaping half the population of West Bengal, that seem to be in Bhutan, due to Board exams.


Quote:
I therefore would request you to help me with a few things, some of which you must have encountered or experienced. Its a Hyundai i20 which will be driven from Thane (Mira Road) to Bhutan and the prospective pitstops (halts) are - Bhopal 13.3, Muzzarfurpur 14.3, Lucknow 15.3, Phuntsholing 16.3.2017 respectively
Hyundai cars are widely used in Bhutan, so no problems with regards to service. It can easily make the same circuit we did ( Phuentsholing - Thimphu - Phobjikha Valley - Punakha - Paro). Road works, as in they were making roads by excavating the mountains between Punakha and Phobjikha Valley . This is one road I would strongly suggest caution while driving due to mud, slush and sharp rocks. Otherwise The other roads in west Bhutan connecting the major cities of Thimphu and Paro are very good. Do not honk or overtake until the person ahead gives you way.

Quote:
1) Insurance - where and how did you get the additional rider for the car insurance in Bhutan, we will be there from 16.3.17 to 22.3.17. It would be great if you could share the details of your agent
You need to get a Geo clause mentioning other countries as an add on on your existing insurance. You can do this online or just visit your respective insurance company office. It costs about Rs.500-1000. I hope this is what you were asking. Frankly, we forgot to get insurance since it felt like just an extension of India ( ).

Quote:
2) Stay - how are the places to stay in Bhutan. We are two or perhaps three men driving and would need a good place to stay - facility wise. Would be great if you can tell me if you booked the places in advance? Approximate cost for the night
3) Any particular elements we should be careful about whilst going to the country. Road conditions, best places to visit (scenic) and eateries
You have pocket friendly, decent and lavish places of stay in Bhutan. I would suggest the decent kind viz. resorts. In Thimphu we stayed at Hotel Khamsum Inn which was the cheapest accomodation on Expedia that looked decent ( the Hotel was actually lavish in reality). Fish around on online travel websites for good deals. The costliest I saw was a whopping Rs.44k per night per room at Taj Tashi.

I stayed at Galing resort in Paro, Damchen resort in Punakha. Also since it is only 3 guys I would suggest you staying at Jaldapara, Birpara on 16.3 rather than Phuentsholing. You will easily save 2-2.5k on room cost and you can use that for better places in Thimphu, Paro. Also the above mentioned places are 30-35kms from Bhutan border, ~40 minute drive. You can reach Phuentsholing at 9AM on 17.3 and procure the entry permit and car permit in 2 hours and can push off to Thimphu. Trust me there is nothing to see in Phuentsholing other than monasteries, unless you're really into architecture.

Food is good in Bhutan. you get everything from Dosa to Gnocchi. Sienna pizzeria in Thimphu on Dondrub Lam in Norling Shopping complex is a must try. Center restaurant in Khuruthang is a must try for Samosa, chai and aloo parathas.




Quote:
I believe this is perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity and would want to absorb all good that can come my way in this fortnight.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards
Sal
It definitely is a great place to go to. Bhutan is all about the scenery and the culture. It is unadulterated raw beauty at its peak. No matter how many pictures you click in whatever resolution they will still not look half as good as what our optical nerve processes. Be very respectful towards their culture, they are very sensitive people. Never forget to make entries for your vehicle and show your immigration permit at the check-posts, that are there every 60-70kms. Also National speed limit is 50KMPH.

Regards

Shanksta
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Old 24th February 2017, 12:17   #60
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Thanks for your detailed revert Shanskta. 44k for night's stay is like some Royal Retreat

I still one query that is still unresolved.

We will be driving in my friend's i20; the insurer Liberty Videocon's customer service agent told me that they do not provide any insurance cover outside Indian boundary!! I was told to write a mail to their customer care and they would revert. Below is what is stated on their website:

What are the events and losses not covered in this policy?
WHAT DOES THIS CAR INSURANCE POLICY NOT COVER?
Some of the major exclusions under the policy are:
• Consequential loss
• Depreciation; wear and tear
• Mechanical and Electrical breakdown; failure or breakage
• When the vehicle is used outside the geographical area
• When used contrary to limitations as to use
• When driven by a person other than the driver stated in the driver’s clause
• War perils, nuclear perils and drunken driving

My worries are:
What if we are not given a cover (extension/rider) by them? What are our alternatives?
Do any other insurance company (near Phuntsholing border) issue such insurance covers?

I really dont want to waste any time on any additional element of activity, it may only extend our runups to these offices / agents enroute our journey to Bhutan which I want to avoid

We are writing a mail now, hope they revert in the next 48 hours, as today is a holiday!
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