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Old 24th August 2010, 14:21   #31
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After having an early lunch and enjoying a nice warm cup of coffee in Thimpu it was off to Paro. It would be a short ride so we took our time getting to Paro. I think it is about 70kms from Thimpu to Paro. Along the way we made many stops and enjoyed the view as much as we could. And also a bit of goofing off, I guess boys will always be boys.

Below are pictures taken during the ride from Thimpu to Paro and also I have included Pics of the famous monastery from Paro. Enjoy guys.

Note: The pictures do not seem to appear in the sequence I uploaded them so my apologies for the inconvenience.
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Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-p1010319.jpg  

Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-p1010326.jpg  

Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-p1010347.jpg  

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Old 24th August 2010, 15:31   #32
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After resting up in Paro that night, the next morning we all decided to take a day ride to this place called Chelela which is about 30 kms north west of Paro. This place it seems holds the record for being the highest road built in Bhutan by our very own BRO. We were told that this is a great place to go bike riding, and the view from the top is quite fantastic as well. The ride up to Chelela took about 1.5 hours, and it was extremely cold with the roads in some sections covered in a thin sheet of ice. Below are pics of that day trip.

Once again the pictures do not appear in the sequence that I uploaded them, so my apologies for the confusion if any.
Attached Thumbnails
Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-p1010332.jpg  

Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-p1010339.jpg  

Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-picture-171.jpg  

Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-p1010343.jpg  

Bike Trip: Siliguri-bhutan (thimpu & Paro)-p1010345.jpg  

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Old 24th August 2010, 17:11   #33
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The next day after the Chelela ride we all headed home. WE were hoping to head to siliguri that very day but our start in the morning was a little late, then to make matters worse a friend suffered a puncture so that sapped 2 hours from our travel time. So we spent the night in Phuntsholing and then set out home a day later than planned.

The trip was great fun. the road leading to Thimpu was bad, but in and around Thimpu and Paro the roads were fantastic! I would absolutely recommend everyone to visit bhutan atleast once in a life time. Personally once the roads are somewhat complete, I will most definitely be travelling to this wonderful country many many more times through out my life.

Last of the pictures attached below. The expression on my friends face on the left of the picture says it all. After 6 days on our bikes, the return journey felt a lot more tiring. the second picture was taken back in Siliguri next to the local tea shop where the idea to go to Bhutan was first hatched.

Though the trip had its ups and downs, everyone on the trip will tell you that we have no regrets what so ever. A truly fantastic trip it was and we still talk about our adventure now and then whenever we all get time to have a get-together.

Thank you for your wonderful comments, and hope you all enjoyed this travelogue of ours to the land of the Sacred Dragon! what a fantastic country indeed!

Happy motoring to all.
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Old 24th August 2010, 20:11   #34
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Nice report Amrish.

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
And this is my bike on its 1994 drive to Bhutan, somewhere on the road to Thimphu - Apr 14, 1994.
If my memory is not betraying with me, this snap and a report of HVK's trip was published in Car & Bike International magazine in the year 1994.
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Old 24th August 2010, 20:34   #35
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Originally Posted by amrisharm View Post
The next day after the Chelela ride we all headed home. WE were hoping to head to siliguri that very day but our start in the morning was a little late, then to make matters worse a friend suffered a puncture so that sapped 2 hours from our travel time. So we spent the night in Phuntsholing and then set out home a day later than planned.

The trip was great fun. the road leading to Thimpu was bad, but in and around Thimpu and Paro the roads were fantastic! I would absolutely recommend everyone to visit bhutan atleast once in a life time. Personally once the roads are somewhat complete, I will most definitely be travelling to this wonderful country many many more times through out my life.

Last of the pictures attached below. The expression on my friends face on the left of the picture says it all. After 6 days on our bikes, the return journey felt a lot more tiring. the second picture was taken back in Siliguri next to the local tea shop where the idea to go to Bhutan was first hatched.

Though the trip had its ups and downs, everyone on the trip will tell you that we have no regrets what so ever. A truly fantastic trip it was and we still talk about our adventure now and then whenever we all get time to have a get-together.

Thank you for your wonderful comments, and hope you all enjoyed this travelogue of ours to the land of the Sacred Dragon! what a fantastic country indeed!

Happy motoring to all.
Liked the pictorial review of your trip to Bhutan. The kingdom is really so well kept and tidy. And your Pulsars did it through the terrain!
I was stationed in Gangtok during 2005 but could never make it to Bhutan though had planned it many a time.
Sikkim and Gangtok are also kept extremely tidy as most follow the rules, but Bhutan and Thimpu are truly something different.
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Old 24th August 2010, 20:40   #36
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gaddiwale, I don't think my trip of 1994 was published, but if you have seen something of that kind, would love to see it too.

My 1994 bike trip from Bombay was a fantastic experience since Bhutan was not even a speck on the map then and no one had heard of it, far less travelled to it. I was firtunate that a school buddy of mine had been there because his father was working on a hydel project there!

I did not know what were the roads or routes like, or what the immigration formalities were. I first reached Darjeeling from Bombay, made enquiries there and then was assured that I would not require a passport (if it was needed, I was planning to have it couriered to me from Bombay) and managed to get all the paperwork done at the border without any problems. They were surprised that a lone mobiker from Bombay was riding to Thimphu! Those days, there was no TV in Bhutan. There was just one English newspapers. I got myself hotel rooms in Thimphu and Paro for just Rs 50 a day.
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Old 25th August 2010, 11:35   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issigonis View Post
amrisharm,

Your travelogue makes me nostalgic, albeit vicariously.
My late father was in Bhutan for a period of six years and referred to Phuntsholing, Thimphu and Sherubtse unfailingly in his glowing accounts of his time there. Please keep your travelogue rolling.

One query : is a drive possible along your route in a car with low ground clearance- such as the Civic?

If so, I may be tempted to attempt a 'crazy' drive to these places.

Regards
Hey issigonis, now that you have seen all the pictures from my trip to bhutan what do u think? are u still tempted to make an attempt to this beautiful land in your civic?


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Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
Liked the pictorial review of your trip to Bhutan. The kingdom is really so well kept and tidy. And your Pulsars did it through the terrain!
I was stationed in Gangtok during 2005 but could never make it to Bhutan though had planned it many a time.
Sikkim and Gangtok are also kept extremely tidy as most follow the rules, but Bhutan and Thimpu are truly something different.
Hi anjan, thank you for your kind words, yes it really is a wonderful place, bhutan, if u were impressed with sikkim then you will love thimpu and paro too. I do hope you get an opportunity to go there atleast once. Hey did u get to see sikkim extensively? where abouts did u go in sikkim? any recommendations?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
gaddiwale, I don't think my trip of 1994 was published, but if you have seen something of that kind, would love to see it too.

My 1994 bike trip from Bombay was a fantastic experience since Bhutan was not even a speck on the map then and no one had heard of it, far less travelled to it. I was firtunate that a school buddy of mine had been there because his father was working on a hydel project there!

I did not know what were the roads or routes like, or what the immigration formalities were. I first reached Darjeeling from Bombay, made enquiries there and then was assured that I would not require a passport (if it was needed, I was planning to have it couriered to me from Bombay) and managed to get all the paperwork done at the border without any problems. They were surprised that a lone mobiker from Bombay was riding to Thimphu! Those days, there was no TV in Bhutan. There was just one English newspapers. I got myself hotel rooms in Thimphu and Paro for just Rs 50 a day.
Woow HVkumar, you seem to be quite a traveller. Attempting that journey on your own back then. Good on you! I just have a question to ask about entering bhutan. A friend of mine from Nepal saw my pictures and was thinking of entering Bhutan by road as well. Will it be the same procedure for him as for an indian where any photo document will do or what is the procedure to enter Bhutan for non-Indians? I was also told that non Indians are not allowed to enter Bhutan via road, is that true?
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Old 25th August 2010, 11:52   #38
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Originally Posted by amrisharm View Post
Woow HVkumar, you seem to be quite a traveller. Attempting that journey on your own back then. Good on you! I just have a question to ask about entering bhutan. A friend of mine from Nepal saw my pictures and was thinking of entering Bhutan by road as well. Will it be the same procedure for him as for an indian where any photo document will do or what is the procedure to enter Bhutan for non-Indians? I was also told that non Indians are not allowed to enter Bhutan via road, is that true?
Nepalis are not exempted, as are Indians and Bangaldeshis. Nepalis have to apply for a visa in advance and take a conducted tour only like all other foreigners. Only Indians and Bangladeshis are permitted to drive around Bhutan freely on their own in their own cars or bikes.

I think it is possible for other foreigners also to go by road, but that is strictly in car tours organised through the Govt and with a guide in tow.

Here is probably the only country in the world where Indians are not only wlecome but pampered
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Old 25th August 2010, 19:26   #39
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Originally Posted by amrisharm View Post
Hi anjan, thank you for your kind words, yes it really is a wonderful place, bhutan, if u were impressed with sikkim then you will love thimpu and paro too. I do hope you get an opportunity to go there atleast once. Hey did u get to see sikkim extensively? where abouts did u go in sikkim? any recommendations?
Thanks amrisharm, I will try and make it to Bhutan.
This is not a tourist season in Sikkim as you may be aware of and the hotel rates are at the rock bottom.Its monsoon there and its fury is well known in the hilly region. If you decide to go now you can bargain and get a discount in the Gangtok hotels.You can stay at or MG Road, Gangtok as all your movements for tourism will be convenient from this city centre.
Rumtek and Nehru Botanical Garden (25 kms) and places around Gangtok (the Nehru Zoological Park, Hanuman Tok, Tashi View point, Permanent Flower Show in Whitehall, Gangtok and the Buddhist temples around the city) can all be seen in one day.
Changu Lake, Nathula Pass (Chinese border) and scenic spots en route can be seen the next day.To go to Nathula a pass is required from the Army establishment in Gangtok.
North Sikkim is icy and very cold now.That needs two days as one has to night halt.But if you so desire, talk with the taxi operators who may guide you as to whether its fit for visiting? They are the best people around to divulge details about the routes that are motorable and unaffected by landslides. Please also see these links :

Pelling Tour, Pelling Travel, Pelling Hotels, Pelling Trek, Trekking in Pelling, Pelling tour packages, Pemayangste Monastery.

Sikkim Tours & Travels

North Sikkim Tour

Next you can pack up from Gangtok and go to Geyzing and do a night halt in a good hotel by taking a Kanchenjonga mountain facing room (get it booked from Gangtok).But being in Siliguri,the Kanchenjonga view is not a proposition for you.While going to Geyzing prefer to go via the Temi Tea garden route from Gangtok.The place has lots of green tea gardens and is very picturesque.The Darjeeling tea gardens however don't offer this green and pristine look. There's one good hotel (3 Star) owned by actor Danny Dengzopa at Geyzing . After a night halt, at dawn you can view the Kanchenjonga (if the sky is clear) and go around the Geyzing town.From here you can move back.
Darjeeling fades in scenic beauty and everything else before Sikkim.
However please note that there are always landslides on the National Highway connecting Siliguri to Gangtok.Also the roads to Nathula and North Sikkim.
Cheers
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Old 26th August 2010, 18:57   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Nepalis are not exempted, as are Indians and Bangaldeshis. Nepalis have to apply for a visa in advance and take a conducted tour only like all other foreigners. Only Indians and Bangladeshis are permitted to drive around Bhutan freely on their own in their own cars or bikes.

I think it is possible for other foreigners also to go by road, but that is strictly in car tours organised through the Govt and with a guide in tow.

Here is probably the only country in the world where Indians are not only wlecome but pampered
Well put Hvkumar, but i guess after the amount of financial aid and security they get from the Indian government, that is the least they can do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
Thanks amrisharm, I will try and make it to Bhutan.
This is not a tourist season in Sikkim as you may be aware of and the hotel rates are at the rock bottom.Its monsoon there and its fury is well known in the hilly region. If you decide to go now you can bargain and get a discount in the Gangtok hotels.You can stay at or MG Road, Gangtok as all your movements for tourism will be convenient from this city centre.
Rumtek and Nehru Botanical Garden (25 kms) and places around Gangtok (the Nehru Zoological Park, Hanuman Tok, Tashi View point, Permanent Flower Show in Whitehall, Gangtok and the Buddhist temples around the city) can all be seen in one day.
Changu Lake, Nathula Pass (Chinese border) and scenic spots en route can be seen the next day.To go to Nathula a pass is required from the Army establishment in Gangtok.
North Sikkim is icy and very cold now.That needs two days as one has to night halt.But if you so desire, talk with the taxi operators who may guide you as to whether its fit for visiting? They are the best people around to divulge details about the routes that are motorable and unaffected by landslides. Please also see these links :

Pelling Tour, Pelling Travel, Pelling Hotels, Pelling Trek, Trekking in Pelling, Pelling tour packages, Pemayangste Monastery.

Sikkim Tours & Travels

North Sikkim Tour

Next you can pack up from Gangtok and go to Geyzing and do a night halt in a good hotel by taking a Kanchenjonga mountain facing room (get it booked from Gangtok).But being in Siliguri,the Kanchenjonga view is not a proposition for you.While going to Geyzing prefer to go via the Temi Tea garden route from Gangtok.The place has lots of green tea gardens and is very picturesque.The Darjeeling tea gardens however don't offer this green and pristine look. There's one good hotel (3 Star) owned by actor Danny Dengzopa at Geyzing . After a night halt, at dawn you can view the Kanchenjonga (if the sky is clear) and go around the Geyzing town.From here you can move back.
Darjeeling fades in scenic beauty and everything else before Sikkim.
However please note that there are always landslides on the National Highway connecting Siliguri to Gangtok.Also the roads to Nathula and North Sikkim.
Cheers
Hey anjan thanks for the very detailed guide. Looks like u have extensive knowledge of this region, more than some sikkimese I know, haha. Yea some relatives of mine had gone to the far north regions of Point Zero and Gurudongmar lake in April of this year. I saw the pictures and instantly fell in love with the place! Hoping to visit that part after the monsoons with my family.
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Old 26th August 2010, 22:14   #41
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Hey anjan thanks for the very detailed guide. Looks like u have extensive knowledge of this region, more than some sikkimese I know, haha. Yea some relatives of mine had gone to the far north regions of Point Zero and Gurudongmar lake in April of this year. I saw the pictures and instantly fell in love with the place! Hoping to visit that part after the monsoons with my family.
Thanks amrisharm. You will surely enjoy your trip to Sikkim with family.The people are still very decent there as compared to some the characters we find in the plains everywhere these days.
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Old 2nd April 2015, 15:37   #42
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HVK Sir,

Need your expertise and advise on crossing over vehicles into Bhutan.

What's the procedure for crossing over rented bikes into Bhutan? Is it possible and what papers does one need to carry?

Also, if I don't rent a bike then in all probability I'll take my brother's Scorpio. Would it be possible to cross over a borrowed vehicle into Bhutan without the owner being present at the border?

Would appreciate any advise I can get on the above.

Ride Hard, Ride Safe!
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Old 2nd April 2015, 17:11   #43
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Originally Posted by maverick1741 View Post
HVK Sir,

Need your expertise and advise on crossing over vehicles into Bhutan.

What's the procedure for crossing over rented bikes into Bhutan? Is it possible and what papers does one need to carry?

Also, if I don't rent a bike then in all probability I'll take my brother's Scorpio. Would it be possible to cross over a borrowed vehicle into Bhutan without the owner being present at the border?

Would appreciate any advise I can get on the above.

Ride Hard, Ride Safe!
AFAIK, hired vehicles from India are not permitted into BHutan.
Normally, the owner has to be in the car, but I have known exceptions have been permitted presumably on the grounds that the owner is a close relative (so carry enough documentary proof and authorisation letter from the owner). But, like bureaucracy everywhere, there are friendly officers & unhelpful officers, so it is also a matter of your luck. Come what may, don't attempt to bribe anyone there.

I suggest you call up the RSTA in Phuntsoling and establish one-to-one with some senior officer there so that you cna clarify this issue and also take his help when you arrive there.

Don't forget to take overseas insurance for yourself and your vehicle.

Last edited by hvkumar : 2nd April 2015 at 17:13.
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