Amazing Bhutan

Bhutan, a Buddhist country on the eastern Himalayas is abode to the most breathtaking landscapes. Surrounded by countries like Nepal and India, the kingdom of Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world and soon they could become 100% organic in their produces.

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Best Time To Travel

Spring, which is Mar to May and Autumn which is September to November. Bhutan receives snow from December to February and rain from June to August.

Although I went in November and it is supposed to be autumn the temperature would go as low as 1 degree at certain villages.

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How did I reach Bhutan

I flew to Bagdogra from Bangalore, took a bus from Siliguri government bus station to Jaigaon. The bus started at 12:30 PM from Siliguri and dropped at Jaigaon bus stand at 5:30 PM. From there I took a shared taxi to Phuntsholing which was barely 200 meters away. So Jaigaon is the border in India and Phuntsholing is the border in Bhutan. To cross the border if asked one might need to show their govt. identity proof.

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How to get entry permit in Bhutan

With the exception of visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors travelling to Bhutan need a visa. An entry permit is a must. One can get the permit in the immigration office in Phuntsholing. There is one in Paro as well. One need to carry government photo identity proof/passport, 2 passport size photographs and photocopy of the hotel booking confirmation for the same day. This permit is valid for Paro and Thimphu, and for a week. For extension and entry to anywhere apart from these two places, one need to get the extension permit and entry permit done in Thimphu immigration office. I covered Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Phobjikha. So for Punakha and Phobjikha I had to get the entry permit in Thimphu. At every check point one need to show the entry permit.

 

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Brownie Points

  1. Cabs are available at Bagdogra airport and Siliguri taxi stand for Jaigaon/Phuntsholing.
  2. Bhutan is a beautiful place with no pollution at all. Please maintain the cleanliness.
  3. Bhutanese are among the best people I have come across. Please treat them with respect.
  4. Bhutan is a religious country, please respect the sentiments of the people and maintain the sanctity of the place.
  5. People are helpful and kind, ask for help without any hesitation.
  6. Carry winter clothes if one is travelling in Autumn and Winter.
  7. It’s a trekker’s and photographer’s paradise. Hence carry trekking shoes, track pants and click a lot of pictures. Please ask before clicking pictures of any locals.
  8. While crossing the road, please walk on the zebra crossing. Any moving vehicle will stop/slow down.
  9. Please follow the dress code in immigration office and monasteries.
  10. There will be brokers at the immigration office in Phuntsholing, ask for help if you get confused with the whole process. My hotel people introduced me with a broker who helped me around.
  11. One can fly down to Paro if travelling from Delhi. There was no direct flight from Bangalore to Paro hence the nearest airport for me was Bagdogra.
  12. People flying to Paro need to get their permit done in Paro immigration office.

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Budget per person

Siliguri to Jaigaon -> Rs 120
Cab from Jaigaon to Phuntsholing -> Rs 100 (drop at the hotel)
Broker charge at the immigration office, Phuntsholing -> Rs 150
Food -> Rs 300 – 500

This post is about how to reach Bhutan and how to get the permit to travel in and around Bhutan. In my next posts I’ll cover Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Phobjikha.

 

4 thoughts on “Amazing Bhutan

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