Bhutan Itinerary – A week in the World’s Happiest Country
10th April 2016 marked the inception of RoadtoTaste and it has been a wonderful year of professional blogging and sharing our stories with the world. As we were about to reach the milestone of 1 year, what better way could it be to celebrate our happiness by spending a week in the world’s most happiest country. No requirement of visa for Indian tourists visiting Bhutan was also one the reasons for choosing it. The planning for the trip started around two months back as we wanted to make the most of it within the stipulated time frame. We planned to reach Bagdogra by flight and continue on a road trip to Bhutan from there. Here we bring the day-by-day Bhutan Itinerary – A week in the World’s Happiest Country!
We reached Darjeeling by the evening after admiring the tea estates and nature’s beauty on the way and checked into our hotel Pink Mountain. This was a small property closer to the mall road and apt for an overnight stay. As it had been a long day and we wanted to visit the Tiger Hill early morning for the sunrise, we slept early.
Man proposes, God disposes. This day started on the same note as the weather wasn’t favorable for a visit to the Tiger Hill. However, without being dejected, we decided to cash on the time and explore Darjeeling locally before heading for Bhutan.
Dareeling Toy Train has been an engineering marvel and one of the most integral part of West bengal tourism. The sight of a toy train running parallel to the vehicles on the road was truly fascinating. We visited the Batasia Loop and War Memorial, the place which also serves as a stop for the toy train.
After capturing some beautiful pictures of the national heritage and exploring the local markets nearby, we headed for Phuntsholing, the border town of Bhutan.
We reached Phuntsholing by the evening and checked into the Park Hotel, all excited and thrilled to start exploring Bhutan in the days to come.
It was 10th April, a big day for both RoadtoTaste and Vishu. Both the babies were happy and excited for their birthday and started the day with cake cutting. While we were busy celebrating the birthday of the babies, we were also waiting for our permit to explore Bhutan from the immigration office. All thanks to RS Travels who helped us get everything sorted like a breeze.
As soon as we got the permit, we headed to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Our ride for the journey through Bhutan was a Toyota Hiace car. We were traveling in the Hiace for the first time and were really satisfied by the comfort of it. Our guide and driver Shauk made sure we have a very smooth ride along with quick stops at important points not be missed on the way.
Our first big stop on the way was Gedu College of Business Studies in the Gedu Town of Bhutan. Although we didn’t enter the college, we were quite impressed by the aura and surroundings of this educational institution.
As it was late in the afternoon and we had our hunger bells ringing, we visited the Momo Corner and Bar near the college for a quick bite. We feasted on some chicken momos, veg Maggi with tea and coffee. The icing on the cake was a game of carrom with the locals there.
After a not-so-quick stop, all thanks to Carrom, we started again for Thimphu. Thimphu was very warm and welcoming metaphorically as the town seemed very composed. We checked into our Hotel Ariya, near to the main market and loved it for its luxury.
This day was dedicated to Punakha, a small town and also the administrative hub of Bhutan. To visit Punakha you need a special permit which can be obtained from Thimphu’s Immigration Office. Help from RS Travels came handy again as our permit was arranged by our guide and driver Shauk before we started.
On the way to Punakha from Thimphu we crossed the Dochula Pass located at an altitude of more than 10000 ft. The view of the Himalayan peak from the pass was spoke of the grandeur of the Himalayas. The pass is also known for it’s 108 chortens also called the stupas.
Punakha is known for Punakha Dzong which is the site of King’s Coronation and also the administrative office. The Dzong on the banks of the river Punakhan Chu provides a picturesque view to be captured in our memory.
The next stop was the Punakha Suspension Bridge over the PhoChu River. This bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the world and it became a perfect photography spot for all the photo freaks in us. After having a good time throughout the day we retreated back to Thimphu as it was a 2 hours drive from Punakha.
It was time for us to explore the city of Thimphu. Starting with a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel Ariya we headed out to the Buddha Point, a famous stopover in the local sightseeing of Thimphu city.The Buddha Point houses a giant Buddha statue of almost 170ft known as Buddha Dordenma and also has many other small statues of Lord Buddha. This place was also the viewpoint for the entire Thimphu city as we can see the city spread far and wide.
After the Buddha Point we went to exploring the Folk Heritage Museum of Thimphu where we learned a lot of things about the history of this country. We also enjoyed the local cuisine at the museum restaurant which served a complete platter to our gastronomical cravings.
However, a lavish lunch was enjoyed at the Ambient Cafe which served amazing delicacies in the cosiest of ambience. A must try for anyone visiting the Thimphu city. This was followed by a visit to a local deity temple, Changangkha Lhakhang. The oldest temple in Bhutan is considered auspicious for any newly born kid in Bhutan who is brought here to get their names from the deity.
The last stop for the city was the General Post Office. The post office of Thimphu offered to send postcards from Bhutan to various parts of the world. One can also get their personalized stamps printed at the post office by paying a nominal fee which we did. Love from Bhutan in the form of post cards is definitely worth sharing with your dear ones. We headed for Paro from Thimphu which is almost a 2 hours drive. After a check in at the Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, followed by bonfire and dinner, we started preparing ourselves for the next big day.
This was the second biggest day of the trip, first being the birthday. A trek to Tiger’s Nest was an important part of our trip to look forward to. After getting to the base camp and procuring our tickets, we were all set to trek on one of the hardest terrains possible.
The trek to Tiger’s Nest is difficult. And for people like us who spend the most of their day at a desk job, it becomes all the more difficult. This trek was a way to test our physical limitations and it did put us to test, both physically and mentally.
A 3.5kms trek which was covered in a bit more than 3 hours ensured we learn a lesson and start working out immediately. But it’s worth the pain and endurance when we reach to the top. Apart from the beautiful landscape and a walk through nature, the feeling of completing this trek was beyond words. After a day long trek to the Tiger’s Nest and back, we didn’t realize when we dozed of at our resort after dinner.
This day marked the beginning of our journey back home. After enjoying some good archery sessions at the resort to trying the local attire, we started our journey back to Phuntsholing.
The travel time from Paro to Phuntsholing is about 6 hours with 1-2 stops on the way. We had to spend a night at Phuntsholing before we head out to Bagdogra the next day. The flight from Bagdogra to Delhi marked the end of our trip to Bhutan with some of the fondest memories of the worlds happiest country.
PS: This trip was sponsored for RoadtoTaste by RS Travels Jaigaon and the experiences or views shared are solely of the author and is not influenced in any way.
For more information on RS Travels, you can check their website or connect with them on Facebook.
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