A last minute trip plan to Bhutan via Darjeeling from Delhi
I have been staying in Delhi for the last 5 years with four of my childhood friends. We all stay in one apartment but work in different companies and this is the reason that we seldom get the chance of a get-together.
So, we all decided to make a trip together in December 2017 since our offices remain closed from Christmas to New Year. We had 7 days for going to any place and come back. However, we could not decide on the destination as we had lots of options. Lastly, my roommate Kunal suggested the name of Darjeeling and we were surprised why the name didn’t come up to our minds (maybe because we had visited it thrice before).
The journey begins:
We selected Darjeeling and on 25th December early in the morning we boarded the flight and arrived at Bagdogra Airport at around 9:00 am. We hired a car from the airport (as we did not pre-book it online) and set off towards Darjeeling. It took almost 2 and half hours to reach Mall Road where we had booked rooms at Delight Hotels Norling. The journey itself was quite enjoyable as the unique landscapes and lush greeneries reside on the way on both side of the road.
Sudden plan to Bhutan:
Without wasting time we went outside to explore the beautiful sightseeing places after checking in at the hotel. We were roaming from one place to another and when we were at Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, we met some of our college buddies who too were on a trip. This is when we got to know that it was their last day in Darjeeling and they were going towards Bhutan.
All 3 of them started describing their individual views regarding the beauty of Bhutan and why should we join them too. And after hearing so much from them, we could not resist ourselves from joining them. But a problem was still persisting there as we did not have any package to go to Bhutan. Our friend Dennis told us to contact Bhutan Packages which is a trusted tour operator in Jaigaon and they had got their package booked from them too.
We consulted them and booked our package for Bhutan group tour. We did not spoil the day instead we all visited a nearby bar and enjoyed some drinks and rock music there which felt to be the best way to rejuvenate. The next morning, our car rental was at the door of our hotel and after checking out from the hotel we moved towards the “land of thunder dragons” for enjoying our Bhutan Holidays.
Darjeeling to Phuentsholing on 26th December:
Phuentsholing is the border town where all the formality arrangements for travelers are being done. It is almost 190 km away from Darjeeling and the journey by road took almost 5 hours. But it was quite an exciting journey. We stopped at Deka Hotel near Birpara for lunch and again started the journey. And we arrived at Phuentsholing in the afternoon.
Checked in at the hotel and enjoyed the nightlife:
After the formality arrangements we checked in at Bhutan Residence Hotel and after taking some rest our group of 8 friends went to discover the nightlife of Bhutan. We tasted the delicious spicy food of the bars with some drinks and went back to our hotel at around 10 pm (as the country sleeps early).
Full day Bhutan Sightseeing Tour on 27th December:
Thimphu was decided as our first destination which is approximately 170 km away from Phuentsholing hence we checked out from the hotel and went towards Thimphu. We first checked in at City Hotel Thimphu and had our lunch and then went on to explore some sightseeing in Bhutan. All of us were excited to witness the beauty of the city of which we had only heard since then.
We visited Simtokha Dzong that stands on a low ridge 8 km down the valley from Thimphu. We also visited The Folk Heritage Museum which is popular for the three-story mud and timber traditional house that depicts the concept of an average household of the 19th century. We also visited the National Textile Museum which helped the Bhutanese textile to reach the new heights and the popularity that it enjoys today. Among other places that we visited Changangkha Lhakhang deserved to be mentioned here. It is a temple and monastic school that was established in the 12th century and gives an amazing surrounding view.
Thimphu to Punakha on 28th December:
Our tour operator took us to Punakha in the next morning which is another gem in Bhutan. Punakha is widely popular for Punakha Dzong which is built at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu River and offers a magnificent view of the region. After visiting the Dzong we checked in at Zhingkham Resort which is quite serene and offers good food. We tried Phaksha Paa which is basically Pork with red chilies and have to admit that it was finger-licking tasty. Then we started traveling for sightseeing again in the afternoon.
Half Day Punakha sightseeing tour:
We decided to visit some offbeat places in Punakha and Limbukha was the first destination where the farmers grow red rice which is said to have medicinal values. The place is also known for its love for peace and tranquility. Then we visited Ritsha Village, another famous village for rice farming. As we discovered that the village houses are made of mud and with a stone foundation. We also visited Nalanda Buddhist College which is which is locally called Dalayna.
Punakha to Paro on 29th December:
Paro was the last spot of our trip hence we thought of indulging in some adventurous activities there. We left early in the morning and arrived in Paro within 10 am in the morning and after taking breakfast we moved towards the famous Snowman Trek which extends over 5,400 meters and is one of the most challenging treks in the world. Later in the evening, we tried Ema Datsi in a local restaurant which is basically hot chilies and Yak Cheese. And we visited a Bar in Paro, Puku Café, and Bar and enjoyed a few hours there.
Return back to Bagdogra with heavy hearts:
The next day we traveled back to Bagdogra as we had our flight tickets booked on 30th December. Our flight was at 2 pm in the afternoon and we returned back to Delhi at around 4:30 pm with the wish of visiting it again. Though our trip was unexpected and was planned at the last minute to Bhutan, it was truly enjoyable in the true sense of the term.
Q. How many airports are there in Bhutan? And where?
A. There is only one airport in Paro in Bhutan.
Q. What should I pack for Bhutan?
A. Clothes you should pack for Bhutan are full sleeved shirts to be worn in monasteries, comfortable hiking/trekking pants, light woolens for winters and if you visit the southern part of Bhutan then do not forget to carry heavy woolens and jackets.
For more popular FAQs : https://www.bhutanpackages.com/frequently-asked-question.php