www.udhaya.com – Motorcycle Travel Log !!

February 3, 2010

Thunder Dragon Motorcycle Ride – 14 days – Bangalore – Bhuton – Gangtok(SK)


Thunder Dragon Motorcycle Ride – 14 days (19DEC09 to 01JAN10), 4080 Km, Bangalore(KA) – Kolkata(WB) – Siliguri(WB) – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Paro – Haa – Punaka – Siliguri(WB) – Gangtok(SK) – Siliguri.

1. Ride Name : I Planned to ride Bangalore to Bhuton &  decided to explore some near places based on day availability as much as possible. But I visited to Bhuton and Gangtok(Sikim – India) as part of the ride. I planned to ride Darjeeling(WB) from Siliguri, But because of gorkhaland issue, most of the days Darjeeling high way was closed. So I am not went to this place, even though its just 60km from my place.

Bhutan the land of the Thunder Dragon, Yes generally people call it as “Thunder Dragon Ride”. I am even thinking, we can call it as “Rice Belt Ride” also. I can see rice rice rice in all my route, start from Karnatka – Tamil Nadu – Andhra Pradesh – West Bengal – Bhuton !!

Initially I planned ride with one of my friend. But no one confirmed for this ride and finally I decided to ride solo. Anyway it won’t be that difficult other then some unexpected thing will happen for my bike. I felt, I have some basic backup kit for the bike and manageable. Let me ride and see, instead of doing too much of thinking and planning.

2. Ride participants: Udhaya Kumar.V in Royal Enfield Thunder Bird (Solo Ride)

3.City Crossed: Bangalore(KA) –NH7- Krishnagiri – NH46-Vellore – Chennai – NH5-Tada(AP) – Nellore – Ongole – Vijayawada – Visakhapatnam –NH5- Rambha(OR) – Bhubaneswar –NH5- Remuna –NH60 – Rupsa – Kolkata(WB) – NH34 – Krishnanagar – Berhampore – Malda – Dalkola -Kishanganj – Islampur – – Bagdogra – Siliguri(WB) –  Dhupguri – NH31C-Jaigon (Border City) – Phuntsholing – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Paro – Haa – Thimpu – Punaka – Thimpu – Siliguri(WB) – Sevoke – NH31A – Gangtok.

Indian State Crossed: Karnatka – > Tamil Nadu -> Andhra Pradesh -> Orisa -> West Bengal -> Thimput(Bhuton) -> Paro(Bhuton) -> Haa(Bhuton) – Punaka(Bhuton) – > Sikim

Country Crossed: India -> Bhuton

4.Ride Distance with duration: 4,080 Km covered in 14 days (19DEC09 to 01JAN10)

5.Day wise ride distance and route: (Day – Date – Distance – Route)

Day1 – 19DEC09 – 825 km – Bangalore (KA) –NH7- Krishnagiri – NH46-Vellore – Chennai – NH5-Tada(AP) – Nellore – Vijayawada(AP)

Day2 – 20DEC09 – 722 km – Vijayawada – Visakhapatnam –NH5- Rambha(OR) (Stopped 130Km before  Bhubaneswar)

Day3 – 21DEC09 – 643 Km – Rambha(OR) – Bhubaneswar –NH5- Remuna –NH60 – Rupsa – Kolkata(WB) – Barasat(WB)

Day4 – 22DEC09 – 584 km – Kolkata(WB) – NH34 – Krishnanagar – Berhampore – Malda – Dalkola -Kishanganj – Islampur – Bagdogra – Siliguri(WB)

Day5 – 23DEC09 – 173 Km – Siliguri(WB) –  Dhupguri – NH31C-Jaigon (Border City) – Phuntsholing

Day6 – 24DEC09 – 198 Km – Phuntsholing – Thimpu(Bhuton)

Day7 – 25DEC09 – 300 Km – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Paro – Haa – Thimpu

Day8 – 26DEC09 – 116 Km – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Dochula – Punaka – Thimpu

Day9 – 27DEC09 – 327 Km – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Phuntsholing – Siliguri(WB)

Day10 – 28DEC09 – 128 Km – Siliguri(WB) – Sevoke – NH31A – Gangtok(SK)

Day11 – 29DEC09 – 74 Km – Gangtok(SK) – Rumtek – Lingdum – Gangtok(SK)

Day12 – 30DEC09 – 0 Km – Gangtok(SK) – Nathula Pass – Baba Mandir – Tsongo Lake – Gangtok(SK)

Day13 – 31DEC09 – 116 Km – Gangtok(SK) – Siliguri(WB)

Day14 – 01JAN10 – 0 Km – Bagdogra(WB) – Guwahati – Delhi – Bangalore – In Flight

6.Total Expense – Rs.41,315

Travel Ready:

Ride Gear (Tank bag, Glose, etc) Purchase – Rs.5,300

Bike backup kit purchase – Rs.2,100

Bike Service – Rs.2,300

Travel Expense:

Petrol Expense for 13 days – Rs.6,820

Bike Service at Siliguri(WB) – Rs.2,122

Hotel Room Rent for 13 days – Rs.5,929

Food, Coffee, water, Taxi, Entrance Charge, Miscellanies for 14 days – Rs.4,326

Return Expense :

Siliguri to Banglaore Bike Transport charge in GATI – Rs.4,250

Siliguri to Bangalore Flight Charge + Taxi – Rs.8,168

7.Hotel stay:

Some good and economical hotels information to share. It may be useful for others while going with friends/family.

Orisa, 120Km before Bhubaneswar – Panthanivas, Rambha, Orisa Tourism Development Corporatoin Ltd

Siliguri (WB) –  Hotel “Air View Palace”, 9 Hill cart road, siliguri-1, Phone-(91-0353) 2528178.

Gangtok, Sikim – Hotel Highway, Near Tenzing & Tenzing, N H 31 A, Gangtok, Sikkim, Ph- 03592 203017.

Phuntsholing (Bhuton) – Paradise Palace hotel, its very near to Phuntsholing Gate & Immigration office.

Thimpu, Bhuton – Hotel Tandin, Norzin Lam, Thimpu, Ph – 975–2 –323380, 975-2-323381, email – hoteltandin@druknet.bt . This hotel in main city/road itself & reachable everything. Even well know landmark for local people. Even nominal rate in this hotel, yes I paid Rs.550 per day.

8.Bike Backup & Travel Kit :

Puncture Kit: Air Pump (Foot pump) , Valve tube removing key, Tire removing levers, Tube patches, Spare Tube

Bike Backup Kit: Clutch Cable, Accelerator Cable, Hand Liver, Foot Rest , Screw driver complete set, Spanner (full set in all size), Cutting player, Chain Lock, Hammer, Front Light, Spark Plug, Spare bike key , Engine Oil (20-40 W)

Other Kit: Road Atlas (Eicher)  maps book, Candle, Lighter, knife, Torch, Sony Laptop(w series) with TATA Photon connectivity

Ride Gear: Touring Saddlebag, Magnetic Tank bag, Armoured Riding Jacket, Ridng Pants, Riding Gloves

9.Ride Photo:

Single View – Bangalore – Calcutta – Siliguru – Bhuton – Sikim – Bangalore – 14 Days Ride: http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/BangaloreCalcuttaSiliguruBhutonSikimBangalore14DaysRide

Bangalore to Siliguri (Day1-19DEC09 to Day4-22DEC09): http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/BangaloreToSiliguriDay119DEC09ToDay422DEC09

Siliguri(WB)-Phuntsholin-Thimpu(Bhuton) (Day5-23DEC09, Day6-24DEC09, Day9-27DEC09): http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/SiliguriWBPhuntsholinThimpuBhutonDay523DEC09Day624DEC09Day927DEC09

Paro(Bhuton) and Haa (Day6 – 24DEC09 and Day7 – 25DEC09): http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/ParoBhutonAndHaaDay624DEC09AndDay725DEC09

Thimpu(Bhuton) and Punaka (Day6 – 24DEC09 and Day8 – 26DEC09 ): http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/ThimpuBhutonAndPunakaDay624DEC09AndDay826DEC09

Siliguri(WB) to Gangtok(SK), (Day10 – 28DEC09 and Day13 – 31DEC09): http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/SiliguriWBToGangtokSKDay1028DEC09AndDay1331DEC09

Gangtok, Sikkim (SK), India – (Day12-30DEC09): http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/GangtokSikkimSKIndiaDay1230DEC09

Gangtok, Sikim(SK), Sight Seeing, (Day11-29DEC09): http://picasaweb.google.com/udhaya.v/GangtokSikimSKSightSeeingDay1129DEC09

10.Road Map:

11. Ride Log:

Day 1, 19 Dec 2009, 1 – 825 km, 825 km – Bangalore (KA) –NH7- Krishnagiri – NH46-Vellore – Chennai – NH5-Tada(AP) – Nellore – Vijayawada(AP)

05.30 AM Started from marathally, Bangalore and planning to reach Chennai for breakfast. Its beautiful road little cold in the morning, but before vellore by bike break started giving some issue and fixed manually & Nothing much to worry.

10.30 AM Reached Chennai and started the traffic in the morning time. Any way crossed city and get into NH5. I can see name board for Kolkata from here. I have to ride three days to reach Kolkata. I am seeing this Name board(shows 1689 KM to Kolkata) several years. Good to feel, I will reach Kolkata by road.

Shows 1689 KM to Kolkata from Chennai.

I am seeing this Name board several years, Shows 1689 KM to Kolkata from Chennai

01.15 PM reached Nellore and took lunch. Three days back it was raining this places, I am lucky there is no rain now. Other wise I will stuck in this rain.

07.00 PM I reached Vijayawada and searching hotel to stay. Finally I found the hotel and checked in within city itself. I was rooming some time in the city after my dinner. I feel its small and very good city compare with other city/town in AP. That’s nice took very good Briyani, but its really heavy. I don’t know how one person can eat this much briyani.

I am planning to start early tomorrow, So that I will reach Bhuvaneswar tomorrow itself.

Day 2, 20 Dec 2009, 826 –1547 km, 722 km – Vijayawada – Visakhapatnam –NH5- Rambha(OR) (Stopped 130Km before Bhubaneswar)

05.30 AM: I planned to start early morning so that I can reach Bhuvaneswar in the same day. But took more time to bring my bike back from some common parking place in this City and started at 6.00 AM only.

12.00 PM: Any way its very good NH5 Road, so just keep riding nothing much worries. I can see complete rice farming land on they way. Yes AP filled by rice only.

2.00 PM: Entering in Orisa, yes we can see different type of the temple architecture and people. But common things still remains “rice farming land”. Even though Andhra and Orisa doing rice farming, But I feel at lest Andhra using advanced machine for agriculture and still Orisa people using old way of farming. Any way time to upgrade.

4.00 PM: Still NH5 under construction in Orisa, So atlest 150+ km will be bad road. I don’t think today I will reach Bhuvaneshwar, I am going slow because of the bad road in Orisa. Because of winter season don’t have much sunlight in evening. Not much sun light after 4.pm itself. After riding in this road, I realized I won’t get any town to find the hotel for night stay.

6.00 PM: I enquired with local police man, he said on they way I can find Orisa Tourisam Hotel at Rambha. Its good news for me. I reached Panthanivas, Rambha, Orisa Tourism Development Corporatoin Ltd hotel at Rambha (its 120km before Bhubaneswar). Its wonderful. Yes its very good hotel with garden & very neatly maintained. I booked one room and took dinner in this hotel itself. After very hard ride today, I stayed in very good hotel. Oooo reason for this hotel in this place ? famous tourist place nearby.

Temple at Orisa

Temple at Orisa

Day 3, 21 Dec 2009, 1548 –2190 km, 643 Km – Rambha(OR) – Bhubaneswar –NH5- Remuna –NH60 – Rupsa – Kolkata(WB) – Barasat(WB)

05.30 AM: Started very early ride again, don’t have good visibility because of fog. Today I am planning to reach Kolcata and stay. Any way today needs ride very less distance.

08.30 AM: I can see lot of road side small hotels for breakfast. Its good & took small idly. I can see every village having one temple with Pond.

12.00 PM: I need to switch to NH60 after remuna, from this place we can see two routs go to Kolkata. NH4 will be the shortest and fastest route. But unfortunate I missed to switch this road because of ongoing construction. But I realised this after 20km I am in longest old road. Good some of the local person guided me to reach NH60 again. NH60 – Its biggest road !! no vehicle no traffic.

02.00 PM: Stopped for lunch in some road side hotel. Good today I took Bengali meal with more fish. Very good lunch today.

4.00 PM: I reached Kolkata & first time I came to this city. Its very high traffic in the evening time. But good thing is, already I got the route detail from Sandeep(He guided me to reach NH34 route in Kolkata) & its really helped me to navigate. I took more and more time to cross the city & looks good.

07.00 PM: I took three hrs to cross Kolkata and reached Barasad. It’s outside of Kolkata and entry point for NH34. I found only one hotel and check-in. It’s not good at all, but no other go.

08.00 PM: I just spending some time in near places, but nothing much to see. I can start seeing more and more cycles. Tomorrow will be my hard ride, already I heard from Sandeep and Praveen.KM about this bad and nasty high way(NH34).

I reached Kolkata

Day 4, 22 Dec 2009, 2191 – 2774 km, 584 km – Kolkata(WB) – NH34 – Krishnanagar – Berhampore – Malda – Dalkola -Kishanganj – Islampur – Bagdogra – Siliguri(WB)

05.00 AM: I really really started very very early today. Because I know that I can’t ride fast in NH34 and will take more time to reach Siliguri. My plan to reach Siliguri at any point, if possible to ride further towards Phuntsholing. Cold and Fog – I really don’t have much visibility using standard bike lights. I have extra two fog light also in my bike, but I realized there is no use of this light other then just decorating the bike. Its really useless.

09.30 AM: I reached morgram and took breakfast.

01.40 PM: I stopped for lunch in some road side lorry hotels. Cycle Cycle Cycle !! All different types of the cycles I can see on this road. Local people using cycle for every purpose. They have cycle for travel, agriculture, selling vegetable, carriage, etc. But I am feeling some time I am riding with cycle, when every any town/village comes. Because, this high way filled by people and cycle at every village/town.

04.00 PM: no sun light. Its really different experience in east part of india.

05.30 PM: I reached Siliguri and decided to stay in this city itself. Already I can see very dark and cold in this time. I found one good hotel(Air View) and checked-in. Today its very slow ride with more traffic, out of this 100 km is very good road near to Siliguri.

07.00 PM: I was discussing with some local person for training availability between Siliguri to Bangalore. So I went to Siliguri railway station to book train ticket in Cycle Rickshaw. I noticed one thing in this town, I am not seen auto in this town & people using only cycle rickshaw to travel. Good to see “Eco Friendly” solution, but should grow soon. Its bad no train ticket available to Bangalore from this place now. I have to go back in flight only.

Riding towards Siliguri - NH34

Riding towards Siliguri - NH34

Day 5, 23 Dec 2009, 2775 – 2947 km, 173 Km – Siliguri(WB) –  Dhupguri – NH31C-Jaigon (Border City) – Phuntsholing

5.00 AM – I am started from siliguri and try to reach Phuntsholing to apply my permit. That’s bad, i am not able to see road at all. Its completely covered by fog. I am riding only at 40km. I have fog light also in my bike, but no use(nothing its showing) of this light. Its single road and filled by lorry nothing more. This high way connecting siliguri with Guwahati, so we can see some lorry traffic also.

I reached Dhupguri & stoped for tea, i have given 10 rs for tea and shop owner return the Bhuton(NU) money as change. That’s good, even in India people using Bhuton money.

08.40AM I reached Phuntsholing and checked in Paradise Palace hotel, its very near to Phuntsholing gate and Immigration office.

Phuntsholin Gate. Bhuton Entrance

Phuntsholin Gate. Bhuton Entrance

09.15 AM I reached Immigration office, filled permit form and submitted. Shocking news is they won’t allow single tourist in bhuton. Immigration officer said they wont give permit for me as per there policy. That’s bad news !! I explaining to him, i came through bike for Bhuton ride, etc. He is not ready to listen at all. He said, he will confirm this after one hr. I went after one hr, again he is telling same story like, he can’t provide permit for me. That’s bad again. Again I was start explaining about my complete ride, etc & finally he agreed to get some permission from his higher official. Good after some time he agree to provide permit only for 7 days. Any way its enough.

12.15 PM I got the permit & reached RSTA(Road safty and Transport Authority) to get permit for my bike. But already there morning working time is over and will reopen after noon from 2.00 Pm to 4.00 pm.

12.30 PM I went some local town ride and visited to near by river. This is twin city where Indian can enter without any permit.

02.00 Pm I reached RSTA and applied for permit and paid Rs.62 for my bike. Its typical government office, same way i have to go to five tables to get sign and pay amount. Any way I got the permit.

07.00 PM just spending some time in local place and came back to room. Today don’t have much ride other then roaming locally.

River at Phuntsholin City

Day 6, 24 Dec 2009, 2948 – 3145 km, 198 Km – Phuntsholing – Thimpu(Bhuton)

06.00 AM started at Phuntsholing to thimpu, it is 175km hilly ride. Initially I thought of it will take only four hrs, but i took 6 hrs to reach Thimpu, Most of the places there is no road and this high way under construction. Its very difficult manages it in single road. But you can see beautiful mountain/valley view in this ride. I keep stopping to click some photos on the way, Worst part of this day is cold .. cold. I am not able manage it morning, its went 5c & no use of my ride gloves. I purchased this winter ride gloves from cramstor store in banglaore, but no use of this gloves. Its very cold in this hilly ride and paining fingers. Near to thimpu i seen one of the beautify river & this high way following this river to reach thimpu.

12.00 PM I reached Thimpu and checked in Hotel Tandin, Norzin lam, Thimpu (ph-975-2-323380). Next my important work will be to extent my visit permit for Ha, Punakha & Wangdue. Yes off course I should get permit for my bike also.

2.00 PM I went to Immigration office and filled form for place extension, it took 1 hr to complete. Its typical government office, it means you need to go to next next tables to get document sign/approval. But this people are very friendly people and help you lot. So no need worry and will get permit.

2.45 PM I went to RTSA(ROAD SAFTY & TRANSPORT AUTHORITY) to extent the place for my bullet also. Its very simple process, they will just write extended places detail and put seal on existing “Route Permit” itself. It took just 5 mins & nothing to pay. Good its very easy.

3.30 PM I went to “DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE” (MINISTRY OF HOME AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS) to get the permission to visit restricted places. We need this permit to enter Inside the Tiger Nest, Tashicho Dzong, etc. I met chief cultural property officer and he filled the form for permission. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to pay anything. I explained about my ride plan, he excited and provided lot of Thimpu tourist places detail. Nice guy.

4.00 PM I reached “NATIONAL MEMORIAL CHOETEN” (Thimpu Monastery), its very simple temple and i can see lot of local people in this temple. I spend some time & its very cold also. So i decided to move out for next place.

5.00 PM I reached “CENTRE OF GOVERMENT & RELIGION” (TASHICHHO DZONG). This place visitor will be allowed only at 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm with special permission (Department of culture). I submitted the document and they asked me the detail about me & i can see some tourist coming with Guide. Good thing they send one of the police Peron with me as Guide. Its nice guy he shown all the places and explained purpose of the building also. I seen one of the beautiful Budhiest temple inside this campus. Its like our parliament in india. You can see King Office and all minsters will come to this place. I spend some time and decided go back to room.

06.30 PM I came back to room for rest. Day went well. Tomorrow I am planning for Parro. So i have collected some information.

08.00 PM Its very small beautiful city in valley and surrounded by mountains. if you ride 15 min, you will cross the city and go out. They have very strict rule to follow national architecture, while constructing any house in this country. So you can see all the building follows there national architecture. Its very beautiful to see. I book the hotel in one of the main place in thimpu, its very easy for me to move around by walk.

Day 7, 25 Dec 2009, 3146 – 3445 km, 300 Km – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Paro – Haa – Thimpu

06.00 AM: started riding to Paro. I have to go back in Phuntsholing route to reach Paro.

07.30 AM: I reached paro, on the way we can see paro air port. Bhuton having only one airport at paro. Even only Bhuton airways will use this airport not open for everybody. This airport having only one runway & designed middle of valley. This runway completely surrounded by mountains.

Paro: Its one more DZONG & well developed city compare with other city in Bhuton. Its very very small city but beautifully designed middle of valley with river. You can see all house architecture will follow the Bhuton heritage standard.

08.00 AM: I reached TIGER NEST MONSTERY, its looking beautiful on the mountain. Yes we can see monstery on rock mountain. But we have to truck and reach this place. At lest it will take 3 hrs to reach top of this mountain & all together 5hrs. I don’t want truck, i don’t think i can truck. I took some photo from this place and decided to move out.

TIGER NEST MONSTERY

TIGER NEST MONSTERY

10.30 AM: I reached DRUGGEL DZONG to check out. But this dzong not active, its very old and destryied stated. I decided to move to other place.

View from DRUGGEL DZONG

View from DRUGGEL DZONG

11.15 AM: I reached NATIONAL MUSIUM (above the paro dzong). Its very small museum its contain all Bhuton historical things. Yes its nice to see. But very important thing is this museum constructed on mountain. So from this place we can see complete Paro Valley. Its really wonderful view point.

NATIONAL MUSIUM (above the paro dzong)

NATIONAL MUSIUM (above the paro dzong)

Paro Valley

Paro Valley

12.00 PM: I reached PARO DZONG, its contain Buddha temple and some part of this place used for government Dzong administration purpose. I can see more government employees coming to this place. I met one employee (Agriculturalist) & he telling abount agree rules in Bhuton. He said its very difficult to convert farming land to construct any building. Process will be, farmer needs to apply for this and government will send person to inspect the farmer land. He needs to give certificate stating that, this land not useful for farming and this farmer don’t have any other land to construct his house. Even this inspection will happen in two levels to submit verification report. After that government will decide to approve or reject. In India its very easy to construct house in our land. No need to apply also. This agriculturalist said, he visited to Chennai to attend one week of agricultural seminars. He feeling like Chennai is very costly city. Good he is not visited to any other city in India.

Farming Land

12.30 PM: I started riding to HAA VALLEY. There is two way to reach this place. One I can go back to Chhuzom and reach Haa, But its longest safe route. Second one directly we can go from Paro to haa valley & only 65km. today morning I have enquired in local drivers for the road status, they said its good and no ice. So I decided to take this second route which is very short. But start riding in this road its just filled by lot of bends. Actually speaking local people not using this road in the winter season because of the ice & this is the highest motrable road in Bhuton.

I was riding two hrs and may be seen 4 cars, I am not seeing any house or people in this way. But I enjoyed this valley ride with more bend & very good valley view. Bad thing was started, I am start seeing ice. I was riding in 50km and did first skid because of ice. Not much damage happened for bike and me, other then foot rest/break damage. Any way I can fix this using basic tool, So no issue. So I was keep riding in this road again. i found ice filled on the road continuously, So I tired ride very slow on this ice. But again I fell down. Again I bring my bike back and tried to cross this ice, but keep skidding. Because of heavy weight of this bullet, I am not able to get grip to ride very slow also. Finally I decided I cant cross this ice and decided to go back and take other route. Already I was complete my 2 hrs in this route, any way no other go I should go back. Very important point is, I was fell down two different places in this road because of Ice, But I am not seen single person also in this road. “NOW I AM REMEMBERING WHY BHURON IMIGRATION OFFICER REJECTED MY PERMIT with reason of road condition”. I was riding back near one hr and met one Pulsar person and stopped that person. I informed to him to avoid this road because of ICE, but after talking to him I realized he is local person and stay at Haa Valley. I explained to him and I fell down because of ice and he said he will help me to cross the ices. So I decided go with him in the same road. Again I went to same ice place and not riding this type. He helped me to push the bike and cross the ice. Great !! We crossed one ice place, but still we can see this type of long ices in 2 more places also. Any way he helped me to push the bike and cross it.

Paro to Haa Valley

Paro to Haa Valley

2nd Skid on Ice

2nd Skid on Ice

Highest Point on Dantak Road - Altitude 3988 Mtrs

Highest Point on Dantak Road - Altitude 3988 Mtrs

03.30 PM: I reached HAA VALLEY. While riding in this road we can see this Haa valley complete view because any way we are riding on mountain only. This is not that much big city compare with Thimpu and Paro. Its very small place. We can see more Indian Army soldiers in this city and Indian Army building “Haa Dzong” in this place. This Dzong was hand it over to Indian Army to construct.

Haa Vally

Haa Vally

I met four Indian army soldiers in Haa Dzong and they said going back to Thimpu in this time will be difficult and take more time in this route. Any way I can manage to go. So I spend some time in this place and decided to ride back. I am getting very less ride time, even at 4.00 pm I am not able to see sun light. Its going dark soon. This is again complete mountain ride and small road. I should keep it maximum 60km, nothing more then that.

Haa Valley View

07.45 PM: I reached Thimpu hotel. Its really very hard riding day, in my complete ride.

Day 8, 26 Dec 2009, 3446 – 3561 km, 116 Km – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Dochula – Punaka – Thimpu

08.00 AM: Today I planned to spend my time near Thimpu, So i took list and try to reach BHUTON NATIONAL ZOO first. Its very near to Thimpu and build it on mountain. I expected some big zoo, but its very small zoo and only two type of the animals in this. Specially this zoo contain Bhuton national animal(Takin). I decided to check Dochula next.

BHUTON NATIONAL ZOO - Bhuton national animal(Takin)

BHUTON NATIONAL ZOO - Bhuton national animal - Takin

11.30 AM I was riding towards Punaka to reach DOCHULA(KING TEMPLE). We need extra permit to enter in this route. Any way already i got the permit for this place. Again its full of valley and no narrow road at all. This temple on mountain and filled by fog. I feel very cold in this place. I feel, its one of the beautiful Budha temple which I seen in Bhuton. This temple contains collection of buddha small temples also. Its very beautify view from this temple.

12.00 PM I have to still ride this same route to reach PUNAKA TOWN(its one more beautiful Dzong), but i checkd with some of the drivers and some police man. They said this route having ice in some places. So i decided to cancel my Punaka town ride. I dont want skid again.

01.15 PM I am riding back to Punaka and on the way i reached SINTOKHR DZONG, its one more beautiful buddha temple on the mountain. Its again one more beautiful dzong. First time i seen lot of buddhist munk in this temple doing puja. Its wonderful thing to see with very good back ground music. Yes offcourse entering inside this dzong need extra permit from Cultural Department. Any way i have. Its beautiful thing to see, but photos not allowed inside.

03.00 PM I reached TANGO AND CHERI, its opposite direction(25+km) from Thimpu. Its bad again i seen some of the ice on road, any way not much.

TANGO AND CHERI: Tango and Cheri is two separate mountain. This both mountain contain Buddha temples(you can see more munk) and buddhist munk school also. We need to truck and reach this place, yes offcourse we have road to reach this mountain. I met some of the munk, who is share his india experience, he said he went Bihar one time and afraid of everything.

One more monq brother said, his brother doing meditation in this temple for 3 months + 3 weeks + 3 days, after that he will go to buddhiest school.

On they way I was talking with small kids who is playing on the road to get the road direction. This kids always talking with respect and in good English. We can see Bhuddist behaviour from all bhuton lovely people. BUDDHA LIVING IN BHUTON !!

04.00 PM I reached hotel soon today.

Day 9, 27 Dec 2009, 3562 – 3888 km, 327 Km – Thimpu(Bhuton) – Phuntsholing – Siliguri(WB)

06.30 AM I have to say bye to Thimpu and lovely people. I started riding towards Phuntsholing, its very cold(0, 1c) in the morning. Its good thing in the bhuton, you can see the fire in all the police checkpost, generally policeman always keep this fire in near by check post. I have habit of stopping the bike in all the check post for this fire and chatting with police man. Generally this police man have very friendly behaviour and give lot of information also.

Thimpu – Phuntsholing will be 175 km, but it took 5.30 hrs to reach, out of this 50 km no road because of road construction. But you can see very good roads also in some places(they are extending road width). Its complete hilly ride. Any way its my last day to ride in the vally.

you can see the road top of the mountain - Thimpu to Phuntsholing

11.45 AM I reached Phuntsholing and went to same Paradise palace hotel to change my Bhuton(NU) money to Indian currency.

Already my bike break having some issue because of skid, so i planned to fix it in Siliguri today itself. I tried to call Royal enfield service center in Siliguri, thats bad !! today is Sunday !! non of the service centre will work.

4.15 PM I reached Siliguri and checked in same Hotel “AIR VIEW PALACE”, 9 Hill cart road, siliguri-1, Phone-(91-0353) 2528178. Its same hotel & stayed while going to Bhuton. Its decent hotel and located in main place itself.

6.00 PM Roaming in Siliguri streets and most of the shops closed today because of Sunday. I have checked some some of the Bengali sweets in stalls. Its good. Nothing muchi to see in this city & its not much active today because of Sunday. I went back to room.

Day 10, 28 Dec 2009, 3889 – 4016 km, 128 Km – Siliguri(WB) – Sevoke – NH31A – Gangtok(SK)

09.00 AM: I should service my bike before going to Sikim. I found the official Royal Enfield service center very near to hotel itself. I reached at 9.AM itself, but they open the service center at 10.AM. I am not seeing any bullets in north places. Even this official service center will get near 10 bike per day for service. So need to open very early.

11.00 AM: I met some local bullet riders (Harish, hiwan,etc) and they are interested to purchase Cramster bags and riding gears.

01.00 PM: My bike was ready and started riding towards GANGTOK, SIKIM in NH31A. I can able to see lot of people coming back in this road. NH31A high way was closed by Gorkha Jana Mukti Morchas/Gorkha Jana Vidharthi morcha from 12.00 Pm t0 4.00 PM. This is announced strike to get Gorkhaland as a separate state, This will continue every day. Its very surprise for me, yes this road was closed by women (90% of the women). They are stopping all the vehicle including Indian army vehicle and bring College students to show raise there voice. I was talking with this local women leader and one more Student wind leader. Its nice people and telling the same reason, they are not getting any Government job and benefit from West Bengal government, So they want to make Gorkhaland as separate States. One of the student wing leader said, they are fighting for this in last 103 years. I can see same problem and reason in Andhra Pradesh/Telungana also. I met the women leader(hima), she is explain the reason for this separate state. I should thank her, they provided free lunch for me. GooD.

04.00 PM: Road was opened and started riding to Gangtok. Its bad because of four hr road closed, lot of traffic in this single high way. I am sure, I will take more time to reach Gangtok in this hilly road. Initially I am not expected this will be hilly road. Yes its again complete hilly ride in single high way.

08.00 PM: I reached Gangtok. its only 116 km from Siliguri, but I took more time because of traffic and single hilly road. “GANGTOK – ITS BEAUTIFUL & SMALL CITY ON MOUNTAIN”. Once I reached this city, I realized its very difficult to get hotel because of Tour season. I enquired more then three hotel and finally booked one hotel to stay. As usual Indian standard, he started rate from Rs.750 and finally agreed for Rs.600 per night. I can see room rates are very high in this city because of more tourists.

Gangtok City, Sikim

Day 11, 29 Dec 2009, 4017 – 4090 km, 74 Km – Gangtok(SK) – Rumtek – Lingdum – Gangtok(SK)

07.00 AM: today I decided to spend my time within/near Gangtok itself, So that tomorrow I can go out of the city.

08.00 AM: I reached DO RULA CHORTEN. Its very simple Buddha temple, which is inside the city itself.

DO RULA CHORTEN

09.00 AM: I went to FLOWER EXHIBITION CENTER, I expected something big, but is very small building which contain local flowers. So not much to see. In nearby I can see WHITE HALL, but it closed.

09.45 AM: I went to nearby “THE PALACE”, Its Buddhist style palace which contact Bhuddha temple.

10.30 AM: I reached GANESH TOK. As simplest we can see Ganesh temple on the mountain. But we can have very good Gangtok view from this place.

12.15 PM: I reached SHANTHI VIEW POINT, this is next mountain from Gangtok. From this mountain we can see complete Gangtok.

01.15 PM: I reached RUMTEK MONESTORY, its Buddha temple and worth to visit.

RUMTEK MONESTORY

RUMTEK MONESTORY

02.15 PM: I reached LINGDUM MONESTORY, its Buddha temple and worth to visit. We can see Rumtek and Lingdum monastery in the same road. I was spending more time in this place. I feel, this two monastery looking good compare with all other places.

LINGDUM MONESTORY

LINGDUM MONESTORY

03.00 PM: I decided to go back to gangtok, on the way I seen very small falls called as “BAN JHAKRI FALLS, RANKA”.

04.00 PM: I reached “ROPE WAY” in gangtok. i took the ticket for two way. Its very small rope way was designed on Gangtok city. We can see very good view from this Rope way.

Gangtok ROPE WAY

Gangtok ROPE WAY

06.00 PM: I reached room.

07.00 PM: tomorrow I planned to go Nathu-La Pass(Sino-India Border) and Tsomgo Lake. These two places must see, if you went to Gangtok. I enquired in hotel for road map to reach this place, but they said we can see lot of ice in this road and currently we can see more snow also. So I decided, I don’t want go in my bike and booked local sharing tourist cab. Its very costly, I need to pay Rs.700 to visit only HarBhajan Singh(Baba Mandir), Nathu-La Pass & Tsomgo Lake in some sharing cab(10 person in one TaTa Sumo). They said they want to pay Rs.250 to government to get permit for each person & Rs.450 for travel.

Day 12, 30 Dec 2009, 4090 – 4090 km, 0 Km – Gangtok(SK) – Nathula Pass – Baba Mandir – Tsongo Lake – Gangtok(SK)

08.00 AM: I went to tax stand at 8.00 itself, but they started at 10.30 only. The reason is one of the couple booked this taxi and this driver waiting for those people. He needs to fill 10 people in this TaTa Sumo. Its bad. We are just waiting long time.

11.00 AM: Now I can see more ice on the way and more Indian Army camp. I feel, I took good decision I am not came in my bike, other wise its very difficult to survey in this ice. Some time this road was closed because of some road block.

On the way to NATHU-LA PASS

On the way to NATHU-LA PASS

12.45 PM: We reached near to NATHU-LA PASS(SINO-INDIA BORDER), But they are not allowed to go inside because we can enter in this pass till 12.00 pm only. We are requested the army people they said, its not safe going In this time and not ready to allow inside. It’s bad I am not able to go inside the pass, I can just able to see.

01.00 PM: We reached HARBHAJAN SINGH(BABA MANDIR) and spend some time.

HARBHAJAN SINGH(BABA MANDIR)

HARBHAJAN SINGH(BABA MANDIR)

03.00 PM: We reached Tsomgo Lake. Its one of the beautiful place to see.

Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo Lake

at Tsomgo Lake

at Tsomgo Lake

07.00 PM: We reached Gangtok and I went to MG Road in Gangtok. This is more active place in Gangtok. I did some shopping also.

08.00 PM: Tomorrow I planned ride to Darjeeling. I enquired local person, they said tomorrow again going to close all high way from 10.00 AM for GorkhaLand issue. So I decided to cancel my ride to Darjeeling. I initially planned to ride back to Darjeeling and spend a day and reach Siliguri. Any way its on the way to Siliguri.

Day 13, 31 Dec 2009, 4091 – 4206 km, 116 Km – Gangtok(SK) – Siliguri(WB)

05.00 AM: I need to say bye to Gangtok and started riding to Siliguri. My intention to go early so that I can avoid “Road Close” for Gorkhaland issue. I can see more cars going back to Siliguri in this time to avoid Gorkhaland Bandh. But again same issue, no visibility because of fog in hilly ride.

Teesta River at West Bengal

Bridge on Teesta River (Siliguri to Gangtok - NH31A Highway)

Bridge on Teesta River (Siliguri to Gangtok - NH31A Highway)

08.45 AM: I reached Siliguri and checked in the same hotel “Air View”. Third time I am staying in this hotel. Siliguri look like hub for this region. I need four more days to ride back to Bangalore from this place. Already I decided I need to go back by Train. One of my friends Suresh booked train ticked but its not confirmed. So no other go, I should go back in flight. So I called up GATI service to transport my bike. Its very easy. We need to call GATI service and book it one day advance. So they will come and pick the bike as you mention the address. Its very easy, but they charge more.(Rs.4000 to Bangalore).

05.00 PM: GATI people came and pick my bike. They said they will take 7 days to transport the bike to Bangalore.

Day 14, 01 Jan 2010, 4206 – 4206 km, 0 Km – Bagdogra(WB) – Guwahati – Delhi – Bangalore – In Flight

11.00 AM: I booked air ticket in Indigo (departure at 1.40 PM). Good we have BAGDOGRA AIRPORT near to siliguri. This airport used by Civilian and Army aircraft. Its just 17km from Siliguri main city.

01.40 PM: This flight flies BAGDOGRA -> GUWHATI -> DELHI -> BANGALORE. Two stop.

01.00 PM: I reached home. Its Great !! One more Wonderful Solo Ride !!

12. Tour Preparation Information:

12.1 Where is Bhuton Gate ?

There are only two legal entry points into Bhutan. Paro’s airport and the land border with India at Phuentsholing. A third border crossing from Samdrup Jongkhar in southeastern Bhutan into India’s Assam state, but only for exit.

12.2 Bhuton Language ?

Bhutanese people speak Hindi and English other then there local language. There education system completely based on English only, so local kids also speaks good english. No worry.

12.3 How to reach Bhuton by ROAD ?

JAIGAON in West Bengal is the town on the Bhutan border. Phunsholing is the twin town across the border. Before you go any further, you need to get your permits.

12.4 How to reach Bhuton by Air ?

Paro Airport (PBH) is the country’s sole international airport. It is in the south west of the country and served only by the country’s flag carrier Druk Air.

12.5 Indian Required Visa for Bhuton ?

NO. Indians do not need a passport or visa to enter into Bhutan. You can simply ride into the country or fly and get Permit using any identify card.

12.6 How to get Bhutan Permit(for Indian) ?

You need voter’s id (or) driving licence (or) PAN card (or) your passport + three passport size photos.  Go to Bhuton Immigration office at Phuntsholing at 9:00 Am & will take maximum 30 min to submit the form. After 2 hrs you will get permit.

Permit will be issued only for Thimpu and Paro. Still if you want to go for other places, you have to get permit at Thimpu again for you. It will take 30mins. If you have your own VEHICLE, You should get permit for your vehicle from RSTA for extra places at Thimpu. So you have to get permit for your self and Vehicle at Thimpu for other places.

12.7. How much fees for Permit ?

Rs.0. No fees to pay for Bhuton permit. Even no fees to get permit for all other places from Thimpu Immigration office. To get cultural department permit also free only.

12.8 What is Bhutan time different ?

Bhuton time is 30 minutes ahead of IST

12.9 Bhuton Currency ?

MONEY Ngultrum Nu is the currency of Bhutan. 1 Nu = 1 INR, their currency is pegged to INR. Freely interchangeable, no need to carry Nu. You can very well use Indian Currency at Bhuton. It means you can issue INR/Nu and get Nu/INR back as change.  Even you can see in North part of west Bengal, People will use Nu in India in all shops. Most of the shops in bhuton wont accept INR 500 , 1000 because of facks note. So please carry 100’s.

12.10 ATM Card / Credit Card will work in Bhuton ?

No ATMs at Bhuton. No Debit/Credit card used in Bhuton. You should carry cash. You can find one ATM at Phuntsholing only, Not in Bhuton.

12.11 Can I take my OWN VEHICLE to Bhuton ?

YES. Indian visitors can bring their own vehicle but you will have to get your documents endorsed from Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA). Once you get the permit for yourself, you can go to RSTA (Local people call it as Booking office, its very near to Immigration office) with all Vehicle document and pay permit fees( I paid Rs.62 for bike, Car – it should be less then 300Rs). This office will work till 3.00 PM only.

12.12 Single Tourist Allowed in Bhuton ?

NO, Single tourist not allowed in Bhuton by road. This rule because of unsafe roads in Bhuton. But you can get the permission after explaining valid reason. Some time you may not get permit. So avoid Single tourist. But I got the permit, even single tourist.

12.13 What is that Cultural Department Permit  ?

Its very important, you got the permit only for specified places. But if you go to any Temple/Cultural places they won’t allow you to go inside. It means you have see some places(its not for all, only for restricted places) from outside only. But you can very well get the permit from Cultural Department at Thimpu. So that you can go inside the temples, etc. While getting permit for other places in Thimpu, Just go to Department of Culture office and get Cultural permit for all planned tourist places.  You can find this Cultural office opposite to Unicef office in Thimpu & will take 30min for permit.

12.14 What about Bhuton People and Safety ?

You won’t find any beggars or any crime activity in Bhuton.

You can see lovely people and they will speck with respect.

Bhuton people basically they have helping tendency, So no worry they will guide you at any place. Even you can ask help from small kids and they can guide you. Yes I experienced.

You can really see, Buthur still living at bhuton with lot of love.

Bhuton all the government employees will wear Bhuton national uniform.  You can take any help/input from this people.

Bhuton Government Website ?

http://www.bhutan.gov.bt/

13. THANKS NOTE:

13.1 I should THANK following riders, who generally I disturbed lot to get road detail and other thing. Specially Praveen.KM for Bhutan details.

Samaresh Biswal

Praveen.KM

Sandeep Bagchi

Samba Sengupta

13.2 I should THANK Suresh.R , Who helped me lot to get return ticket and transport my bike.

Bye to Bhuton Ride !!

Bye to Bhuton Ride !!


Udhaya Kumar.V

udhaya@udhaya.com

http://www.udhaya.com

+91-98867-33607

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