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Old 12th May 2009, 16:13   #1
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Default finishing up the northeast

writing now from gangtok. rainy day. met with sudipto in siliguri the other night. he and the family are now in bhutan i am guessing. i should be back in Ktown in 2 weeks or so.
rainy weather has sort of cut the trip a bit and i think i need to come back on another trip in another month of the year.


just some notes of which i will be adding to soon.

the road up to sela pass and tawang is being widened and should be beautiful soon. now, its a tough slog through the fog and mud by the pass. and the part from about 20 kms north of balukpong for 30 kms is pretty treacherous too.

avoid sadia/saikhowa ghat at any cost! especially in the wet season. although the NH52 north of the river is being widened and surfaced. if you want to go from tinsukia to tezu, turn right at dumduma and take the long way via pasaram kund. the road is fine and the scenery fantastic.

if you do not carry a boat large enough to carry your vehicle, you will not get from roing to pasighat. you must either go back via tezu or use the dastardly sadia/saikhowa ghat ordeal.

to go from tezu to roing you must come back down through assam and then up.

the road from pasighat to aloo is not nice. but the one going up to yingkiong is very nice but for a few small areas.

ferry times from paltan bazaar in dibrugarh going north across the river are 815, 1015, 1115, 1230, 1330, 1400. IR130 with the bike and two hours in time.
return times are 0830, 0915(2 boats), 1000, 1030, 1230(2 boats)

ferry from near jorhat at nimatighat to go to majuli island is IR37 and one hour going to majuli and 2 hours return(against the current). times from nimatighat are 0830, 1030, 1430, 1545.
return times are 0715, 0830, 1330, 1500

towns i liked for their ambience are sibsagar, north lakhimpur, miao and majuli. majuli island has a special feeling and is so laid back. the people are friendly and so slow moving you feel so relaxed there. they say during the monsoon there are no boats. they are completely cut off from the 'mainland'!
their famous satras were nothing special by my reckoning but, if i were hindu, they might mean something nice.

leaving guwahati for siliguri, i took the lower NH37 via goalpara and up to north salmara and into bongaigaon. that is all very fine road. but, from bong and into west bengal the road is completely under construction and dusty and muddy. there are no dhabas on this stretch so eat in bongaigaon and bring water. i was starving along the way there and no shade even to stop and eat a ration of biscuits and water! a few joints with charpoys for the truckers but all the road dust blowing inside and i dont want to eat a 4dayold samosa sitting in the sun and dust...sorry! lol
btw, guwahati to siliguri was 480 kms. i took 12 hours to do it.

and, when i get back to Ktown in a couple of weeks, i will, with the help of sudipto figure out how to put up some pictures on the site. i promise.
later
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Old 12th May 2009, 16:37   #2
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MitchOnTheRoad, I thought you will never leave the North East. It has been an amazing journey yours, and we have all gained immensely from your experiences.

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Originally Posted by mitchontheroad View Post
the road from pasighat to aloo is not nice. but the one going up to yingkiong is very nice but for a few small areas.
Did you go up to Tuting too? I was tempted to do so, but the 300 kms to Tuting (from Along) put me oiff me and I decided to carry on to Pasighat instead. How long did you take to reach Yingkiong?

Quote:
ferry times from paltan bazaar in dibrugarh going north across the river are 815, 1015, 1115, 1230, 1330, 1400. IR130 with the bike and two hours in time.
return times are 0830, 0915(2 boats), 1000, 1030, 1230(2 boats)
Great info that. Incidentally, those who own cars cannot take the Pasighta-Dibrugarh ferry - too small. Ideally, take the ferry from Bogbil (south of Pasighat), where the first boat departs at 740 am and the last at 400. I am told that there is a boat once every hour during the day. Each boat can take 3-4 cars. When I went, we were 2 Scorpios and 2 Altos in the same boat. Car cost is Rs 750! Approach road at Bogbil is messy and confusing, and at the Dibrugarh end (Ferry is west of Dibrugarh at Kareng) it is treacherous.

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leaving guwahati for siliguri, i took the lower NH37 via goalpara and up to north salmara and into bongaigaon. that is all very fine road. but, from bong and into west bengal the road is completely under construction and dusty and muddy. btw, guwahati to siliguri was 480 kms. i took 12 hours to do it.
I also took NH37, but at North Salamara, took truck driver counsel and took NH31 instead via Gauripur, Tufanganj and Cooch Behar which is in good condition. The Bongaigaon route you took is the new East-West corridor that they are converting into a 4-lane road and hence the mess. In comparison, I took just 8 hours to drive from Guwahati to Siliguri.
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Old 12th May 2009, 18:33   #3
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Default hey all

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Did you go up to Tuting too? I was tempted to do so, but the 300 kms to Tuting (from Along) put me oiff me and I decided to carry on to Pasighat instead. How long did you take to reach Yingkiong?
no, didnt make it up to tuting. from where the road splits off to yingkong it was only a few hours since the road is so nice. about 90kms. you would do that in what, 20 minutes?!

QUOTE]Great info that. Incidentally, those who own cars cannot take the Pasighta-Dibrugarh ferry - too small.[/quote]

i THINK there was 2 cars on my boat and i was next to them.

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I also took NH37, but at North Salamara, took truck driver counsel and took NH31 instead via Gauripur, Tufanganj and Cooch Behar which is in good condition. The Bongaigaon route you took is the new East-West corridor that they are converting into a 4-lane road and hence the mess. In comparison, I took just 8 hours to drive from Guwahati to Siliguri.

yes, i came in that way when i entered assam but i wanted to try another way this time. i stayed in cooch behar one night. 8 hours for you but...you fly!! lol so, i dont feel so bad taking only 4 more hours than your rocket turbo never stopping to rest machine!

one other note on accomodation. i stayed in many govt run places. i rank them in comfort.
1 tourist lodges.open to everyone.restaurant and parking always.
2 ngo lodges.few and far between but usually nice.
3 circuit houses. you will need to go to the DC office and get permission to stay. but its usually just a formality and they are nice.
4 inspection bungalows. you will need a favor to and call ahead to stay here. it is too easy for them to say no.
5 DAK bungalows. very spartan and reserved as an emergency type of lodging for govt workers on the road. usually with no phone. they like to keep their rooms free until about 6pm in case someone comes by. if you arrive after that they will reluctantly let you stay.
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Old 13th May 2009, 16:19   #4
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Putting ash on my enemy's face (to transliterate a popular Bengali saying) I have made it to Bhutan (right now in Thimphu), despite a crippling strike by the adivasis of Dooars and terrible rains and landslides in western Bhutan. Given that monsoon has already set in and we crossed a 5-km long (and very fresh and grim) landslide zone north of Gedu we have dropped the idea of going to the east. Because east can get a lot worse than the west.
So this time it's going to be Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Punakha and Wangdi only.
Going east with my own vehicle and wife and daughter in this weather might well be suicidal. So east will have to wait for another time.
Regards
Sudipto
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Old 13th May 2009, 16:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
So this time it's going to be Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Punakha and Wangdi only. Sudipto
Great going Sudipto-da. Bhutan is what you wanted to do for a long time and surely you will have a wonderful travel - not to speak about the past memories that you had of Bhutan.

Do keep an eye on the adivasi strike at Dooars - it is indefinite as they say but surely it wont last long.
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Old 13th May 2009, 17:27   #6
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Hopefully, the weather will improve and you will also go East!
But Haa is another great place, I am told. You can go from Paro itself via Chele la without coming back to Chuzhom or Thimphu. So you can do a Paro-Haa-Chuzhom-Thimphu ride.

Don't forget to take the permits for Haa, Punakha and Wangdue.
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Old 14th May 2009, 00:42   #7
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Waiting for your travel description HVK, had gone through the photos posted by KS but surely the story will be that much interesting if not more!
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Old 14th May 2009, 06:16   #8
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" Bhutan " is a heaven on earth, I have been to different parts
of the world but nothing like Bhutan. I did a trip from 28/April
to 5/May. everything was fine , only held up was a nasty communal
violence at Jaigaon , which holded us up for a day in Jaigaon,
luckily WB Police were very helpful to escort us out .

I took diversion ( What they call factory road ) till Gedu since
the Main road was closed during daytime .

Sudipto Hope you enjoying too.

Anirban Thanks for your tips prior Journey.

Cheers
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Old 14th May 2009, 09:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captdey View Post
I took diversion ( What they call factory road ) till Gedu since
the Main road was closed during daytime .
Was it because of the weekly off for the road - I heard they close the Thimphu-Gedu road on Tuesday?
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Old 14th May 2009, 16:23   #10
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As the Local said the Main Road from "Rinchending" to "Gedu" is only
opened during 1730 - 0530 Hrs, and the Factory Baypass Road to Gedu
is Operational between 0530 - 1730 Hrs ( Including sundays and saturdays ),
So basically Main Road opened during night and Bypass during the Day,
Since I was driving during the day I took bypass , which was okay except
some patches where a newbuilding bridge is on.

Bypass Road was 19 Kms longer than the Main Road .

Cheers

Last edited by Captdey : 14th May 2009 at 16:24.
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Old 14th May 2009, 16:28   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captdey View Post
As the Local said the Main Road from "Rinchending" to "Gedu" is only
opened during 1730 - 0530 Hrs, and the Factory Baypass Road to Gedu
is Operational between 0530 - 1730 Hrs ( Including sundays and saturdays ),
So basically Main Road opened during night and Bypass during the Day,
Since I was driving during the day I took bypass , which was okay except
some patches where a newbuilding bridge is on.

Bypass Road was 19 Kms longer than the Main Road .

Cheers
Surprising, I took the Rinchending-Gedu road on Apr 15 during the day time, leaving the CP at 1130 am (local time). The main highway is also in a mess since they are widening the road till Gedu and beyond.
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Old 14th May 2009, 17:23   #12
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We have managed to completely hijack Mitch's thread. Hi from Punakha. Staying in Kuruthang. I didn't know Haa needs special permits. I will get it if needed.
Bye for now. Sorry Mitch.
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Old 14th May 2009, 20:09   #13
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Nothing Much at "Haa" , except a nice Indian army's golf course , but
road paro to haa is beautiful with "Rhdodendron" in full bloom at this time
of the year , Chelela is the Highest point on Dantak Roads, while returning
from Haa I had severe Hail storm and temperature went down to 2 degrees
at 2'o clock in the afternoon, carry some hot cofee in Thermos . just
to sip at Chelela . by the way you must have seen lot of " Magnolia"
on the both side roads towards Punakha. it's magnificient.

Cheers

Last edited by Captdey : 14th May 2009 at 20:11.
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Old 16th May 2009, 18:46   #14
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Default ooh, my thread! lol

hey its all about the same area,no?

i told sudipto to furnish the wife with their own bow and arrows to protect the car! in the states its called riding shotgun after the old west. the guy next to the stage coach driver was the security for outlaws and, you guessed it.......indians! bhutanese bandits never made it that far west!

i'm in gangtok still and enjoying it very much. had great weather the last 3 days but pouring now. plan to try for pelling tomorrow.

i missed praveen as his cell was turned off and i hadnt gone on the web to get his other number. its a shame we missed each other again. when we did talk, i was here and he was in pelling.

as a foreigner here i cannot get a permit to go to tsongo lake or the other lake in n sikkim on the bike. only in a tour group with a travel agent and only with other foreigners. ok, so i dont see the lakes.

does anyone (besides rocketman hvk!) think i can get from darjeeling to shantiniketan in one day? if not, i will just stay in raiganj or ugh, malda for the night.
later guys
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Old 16th May 2009, 21:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchontheroad View Post
get from darjeeling to shantiniketan in one day? if not, i will just stay in raiganj or ugh, malda for the night.
later guys
I saw a nice motel in Dalkola on the highway itself just before entering town (and the new flyover).
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