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Old 25th May 2009, 14:42   #16
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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
.

We checked into Hotel Sinchula which is a decent mid-market type hotel. It's actually one of the very few in the city offering AC rooms.
We stayed in this hotel. Rs 1300 per night after hard bargaining

Attachment 139520
Old memories revived, I stayed in this hotel in the year 2002 while on a visit to Tala hydro project. We took a right turn just before Gedu.

Beautiful pictures, keep them coming. I simply love the greenery in Dooars, so refreshing! Did you take a picture of coronation bridge?

Last edited by breezydrive : 25th May 2009 at 14:47.
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Old 25th May 2009, 14:50   #17
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Old memories revived, I stayed in this hotel in the year 2002 while on a visit to Tala hydro project. We had turned right from Gedu.

Did you take a picture of coronation bridge?
Here is the photo taken by my friend and tbhp member kesri during our trip
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Old 25th May 2009, 16:16   #18
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Other side of the bridge.. Taken by me last year..
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Old 25th May 2009, 16:47   #19
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Wow! amazing and eventful thread. Am thoroughly enjoying it.
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Old 25th May 2009, 17:36   #20
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There you are Sudipto-da. Nice start and welcome back to Kolkata. Hooked on to your travelogue. Keep them coming. I have not been to Bhutan, looking forward to the pics.
I could exactly identify the place where you were stuck at Binnaguri. On our way to Jaldapara, we were looking out for an ATM and that SBI ATM was the only one available on the way, just beside the cantonment gate.
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Old 25th May 2009, 17:37   #21
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Thanks, HVK sir & Cyclops for posting!
I had taken a picture of coronation bridge from NH-31 A ( Gangtok side ), people in my earlier office were using it as default image. I lost it somewhere along with my Photo Cds.
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Old 26th May 2009, 09:41   #22
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Delightful writeup and pictures, Sudipto. Nice details too. Keep them coming!

Curious about a few things:

1) Is Hindi understood in Bhutan? What language do you survive on?
2) Is Indian Rupee accepted there? I suppose you had forex.

thanks
Jay
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Old 26th May 2009, 09:47   #23
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Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
Delightful writeup and pictures, Sudipto. Nice details too. Keep them coming!

Curious about a few things:

1) Is Hindi understood in Bhutan? What language do you survive on?
2) Is Indian Rupee accepted there? I suppose you had forex.

thanks
Jay
Sorry to barge in, but here I am:

- Everyone speaks Hindi. The local language is Dzongkha (did I get that wrong?), a Tibetan dialect, but you have no problem communicating with anyone. Like in India, all signboards are in English. Wherever you have to interact with government as a tourist (such as for permits, etc), English is in use.

- Nu is the currency of Bhutan. 1 Nu = 1 Re, their currency is pegged to Re. Freely interchangeable, no need to change money. You give Re, you get Nu and/ or Re back as change. Just make sure you exhaust all your Nus or change back to Re before leaving Bhutan.
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Old 26th May 2009, 10:24   #24
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Thanks hvk. Looks like one can feel quite at home there in spite of being in another country.
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Old 26th May 2009, 10:59   #25
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Hi Everybody
Sorry to keep a few eager watchers of this thread waiting. Yesterday would be remembered in Calcutta's history as the day Aila hit the city and devastated it by uprooting millions of trees, sending large parts of the city into darkness and keeping net connections off in many homes.

Therefore there was no power till the wee hours of the morning in my house. This morning I checked - there was no net connection at home either. Calcutta is very slowly limping back to normal.

Therefore image posting will take time till the lines are restored. Right now I am writing from work where I don't have the images. I really feel bad to keep you guys waiting.

HVK - you are most welcome to "barge in" !! with your/your friend's pictures and comments. In fact since I am the lone photographer-cum-driver of the trip I don't have too many roadside images in my stock. So any such addition would be simply great. This thread can then remain a good source of information and images about Bhutan.

Regarding the question of language in Bhutan, Hindi is understood in most hotels and public places. Villagers wouldn't know the language. Dzongkha is the official national language and spoken by people in western Bhutan and other educated people in the country.

The Shemgang region speaks Khengpa. Eastern Bhutan speaks Sharchhop and Kurtoep.

There are several other small regional dialects all through the kingdom. Some of them are strikingly different from each other.

The other unofficial language that is understood and spoken by most Bhutanese who are in hotels or the roadside towns is Nepali. But use it only when you know that the people around are speaking it. Otherwise don't. Language and culture is a sensitive issue in Bhutan.

Regarding currency, as HVK says rupee and nultrums are freely exchangeable at 1:1. But try not to carry too much of high denomination Indian notes. There is a resistance to accept them.

Use of credit card is virtually unheard of in Bhutan. ATMs have just been introduced but they are not on the Visa Electron network. So, carry loads of cash only.
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:00   #26
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Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
Thanks hvk. Looks like one can feel quite at home there in spite of being in another country.
NOT REALLY!

- No honking
- Strict lane discipline
- No littering
- No spitting
- Pehle aap (after you......)
- No hafta (meaning no bribes)
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:06   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post


Regarding currency, as HVK says rupee and nultrums are freely exchangeable at 1:1. But try not to carry too much of high denomination Indian notes. There is a resistance to accept them.

Use of credit card is virtually unheard of in Bhutan. ATMs have just been introduced but they are not on the Visa Electron network. So, carry loads of cash only.
Remember, in most places, they are reluctant to accept Rs 500 notes, mainly because of the problem of counterfit notes, although the petrol pumps are quite OK with them. So, I carried lots of small-denomination notes (Rs 100 or Nu 100) to get over this problem when I was travelling to the remote Central and East Bhutan region.
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:14   #28
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Saw a BP petrol bunk in one of the pics. Do all filling stations sell Indian fuel? I wonder how they can keep the prices that low ( Rs 36 for petrol!)
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:24   #29
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Saw a BP petrol bunk in one of the pics. Do all filling stations sell Indian fuel? I wonder how they can keep the prices that low ( Rs 36 for petrol!)
I think it's a case of lower taxes and absence of cess etc. BP and IOC are the two signs you see every where. And yes, they sell only Indian petrol. Bhutan doesn't have its own refinery (thankfully) !!!

Liquor is even cheaper for the same absence of tax reasons.
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:27   #30
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Nice travelogue, Sudipto. Bhutan is an awesome place. It is a pain to traverse that P'sholing to Thimpu stretch though. It should be a pleasure once the widening is completed. With Bhutan traffic being so orderly and courteous, driving in Bhutan is an absolute pleasure even though the roads are twisty and narrow.

Apart from the language, almost everything else in Bhutan is different. It is uncrowded, pristine, quiet (no honking), orderly and it is easy to get permits and all done. An amazingly colorful place to boot.

HVK sir, nice pictures there. Did not see the travelogue from your trip. Can you please share the link?

EDIT: Petrol is cheaper due to lower taxes. BP and IOC sell petrol in Bhutan. Most of the taxis found in Bhutan are petrol ones. Tough to find a diesel taxi there. The roads are maintained by our own BRO. The defense of Bhutan is also managed by India.

Sudipto, more pixs when you can. Hope Kolkata springs back to normal very soon.

Last edited by anurag_p80 : 26th May 2009 at 11:30.
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