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Tashi Delek Bhutan – The Himalayan Kingdom

Butter Lamp

This part of Trip Report is being continued from Hike to Tiger’s Nest – Paro Taktsang

For your reference again, here’s the itinerary that we are following :

1st Feb : Day 1 : Hasimara – P/Soling via Jaigon
2nd Feb : Day 2 : P/Soling – Thimphu
3rd Feb : Day 3 : Thimphu SS
4th Feb : Day 4 : Thimphu – Phobjika via Punakha
5th Feb : Day 5 : Phobjika – Bumthang via Trongsa
6th Feb : Day 6 : Bumthang SS
7th Feb : Day 7 : Bumthang – Punakha via Wangdue
8th Feb : Day 8 : Punakha – Thimphu
9th Feb : Day 9 : Thimphu – Paro SS
10th Feb : Day 10 : Paro – Day Trip To Haa
11th Feb : Day 11 : Paro – Hike to Tiger’s Nest
12th Feb : Day 12 : Paro – Hasimara via P/Soling & Jaigaon

Trip To Bhutan Series :
Part 1: Planning A Trip To Bhutan – For Indians
Part 2: Entering Bhutan – The Land of Thunder Dragon
Part 3: Capital of Bhutan – Thimphu In & Around
Part 4: Journey To Phobjika via Dochula
Part 5: The Most Historic Dzongkhag – Bumthang
Part 6: The Old Capital – Punakha
Part 7: Exploring Paro, Haa and Chele La Pass
Part 8: Hike to Tiger’s Nest – Paro Taktsang
Part 9: Tashi Delek Bhutan – The Himalayan Kingdom

12th February : Day 12 : Paro To Hasimara :
Well, we had to accept the truth that our long-planned trip was now about to complete. We really enjoyed each and every moment we spent here in Bhutan but now we have to go back to the same old boring life again.

With no excitement left in us, we started for our return journey at around 8:30 AM. But Tshering was not there, she left for Thimphu where she used to work. Surprisingly we all were sitting silently, even Raj didn’t even utter a single word.

At around 11 o’clock we reached Hotel Damview near Dam Chu where we stopped for lunch while coming back. I’m still not sure why I asked Raj to stop there suddenly, though none of us were hungry or had the plan to have anything.

After around 5 minutes we started again for Jaigaon. This time Raj tried to do all the funny things he used to do and said to me that “khabhi aap log akele aiyeye, gasa trek pe jayenge” (Sometime you guys come alone without these elder people, we’ll go for a trek to Gasa). We smiled and for the last time, we had lots of fun that we were going to miss.

Finally, we reached Jaigaon at around 12:40 PM. First, we went to BK to appreciate for the service he provided and we also had to exchange the Bhutanese Ngultrum that we had left. BK was really happy and asked me to recommend him if someone plans to have a trip to Bhutan.

Raj Lama

Raj Lama

Raj told us to have our lunch and he’ll come back within half an hour after getting freshen up and having lunch. He had another rented room at Jaigaon. So we went to Maa Annapurna Hotel to have our lunch. Aha…a complete Bengali lunch after 12 long days reminded me of home. The food at Maa Annapurna was much better than that of Hotel Tripti where we had lunch when we came here on 1st February. The rates are also much lower than that of Hotel Tripti. But to our bad luck, we couldn’t manage a seat here that day.

Finally, Raj drove us to Hasimara Railway Station and dedicated us the Nepali song he used to play and we really liked the tune of it. With tears in our eyes, we bid goodbye to him. We asked him to stay for some more time, but he replied “aap log the isliye me hospital se bhag ke aya tha”. (I ran away from hospital due to you guys only). We realised that not only he became like a family member to us, but we also mattered a lot to him. After all when you have a companion of your age, your partner in crimes (Haha…smoking at various places) for 12 long days, you are bound to develop a bonding that you are always going to remember.

Hasimara Railway Station

Now it’s time to summarize my experiences about Bhutan.

Getting There : Most of the Indians choose to enter via land border, Phuentsholing, which is connected with Jaigaon in West Bengal, as it’s most convenient and commonly used to enter Bhutan. Nearest Airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal and nearest Railway Station is Hasimara. Another two land borders, Samdrup Jonkhar and Gelephu is connected with Assam.

You may also choose to fly directly at Paro Airport which is operated few selected cities. You might also like to fly directly at Bagdogra Airport and enter via land border of Phuentsholing.

Though Passport and Visa are not required for Indians but you’ll need an Entry Permit to enter to Bhutan, which can be pre-collected from Kolkata Bhutan Consulate or else it’ll be issued at Phuentsholing Immigration Office / Phuentsholing Gate when you’ll cross the border. Remember that the above-mentioned permit is valid only for Thimphu and Paro and valid for 7 days.

Documents you’d require for Entry Permits are Original Passport or Voter’s ID Card (for Adults), Original Birth Certificate in English (for Childs), Two Colour Passport Size Photograph, Photocopy of Passport / Voter’s ID Card / Birth Certificate and Application Form duly completed and signed off. If you are applying for permission at Kolkata Bhutan Consulate and you don’t have Passport, remember that you’ll have to submit another supporting document such as PAN Card, Driving Licence, Aadhar Card or Ration Card along with Voter ID Card.

Update (April 2017) : Bhutan Permit System has changed a lot since the article was written. And it has become impossible to track down and highlight all the changes here. So I have come up with a more specific post focusing on the Permit system. You may please check the same at Bhutan Entry Permit – All You Need To Know

UPDATE (June 2017) : Kolkata Consulate has stopped issuing permits as per order by Bhutan Govt. Please check Planning A Trip To Bhutan – For Indians for more details.

If you do not have either of the Passport or Voter ID Card, then you have to apply for Identification Slip at Indian Consulate in Phuentsholing. There you have to produce any two documents from Ration Card, PAN Card, Driving License and Aadhar Card along with passport size photo. Once you acquire the Identification Slip from Indian Consulate you may approach the Immigration Office for Entry Permit.

If you are planning to visit any place other than Thimphu and Paro or extend your stay for more than 7 days, you’ll have to acquire Inner Line Permit from Thimphu Immigration office.

Remember that, your entry and exit border check post must be the same. But if you plan it otherwise, remember to mention it to the Consulate Officers. All your permits will be collected on your exit.

Though I have tried my best to compile the information one would ever need to plan a trip to Bhutan at Planning A Trip To Bhutan – For Indians, still if you need to know anything else, let me know in comments, I’ll be more than glad to help you out.

You can also refer Tourism Council of Bhutan for all the information you need.

Tour Operators : It’s not mandatory for Indians to travel through TCB approved agents, so you can plan the trip on your own. Otherwise, if you feel to go via Tour Operator check out TCB for approved list of Tour Operators.

Generally, Tour Operators on Bhutan side charges a bit more but you’ll have an amazing experience with them as they provide a full-time Guide with you and take care of everything end to end.

But if you are a budget traveller like us, you may contact Tour operators based on Jaigaon. There are multiple operators in Jaigaon, but I mainly communicated with BK Tour & Travels and Maruti Tour & Travels. Finally, I choose BK Tour & Travels over Maruti Tour & Travels due to his reputation.

Transport : You may choose to travel completely on your own via Bus / Shared Cabs. Most of them are Coaster Bus. Your one point stop for all the information required regarding Bus is RSTA. You can get the fares and schedule there.

But remember that, though the buses to Thimphu and Paro are regular and runs at multiple intervals, but buses to further places are rare and runs twice or thrice weekly.

You may also choose to hire a shared taxi or exclusive vehicle. Charges for exclusive vehicles in Bhutan side are more than that of the Indian side. So I’d recommend to contact BK Tour & Travels if you are interested in hiring an exclusive vehicle.

Shopping : You’ll come across a lot of Handicraft and authentic Souvenir shops at Thimphu and Paro. You’ll also get convenience stores like Eight 11 (Similar to Big Bazaar) for your daily needs in Thimphu and Paro.

Food : Let me keep it straight, if you are used to having Roti / Rice along with Dal, Sabzi or Non-veg items like Egg and Chicken, you’ll have no issues at all. At Thimphu and Paro, you’ll have a wide range of choice including Fish, but at other remote areas options will be very basic. You won’t find chicken at all places so be prepared for that if you can’t live without chicken.

Though I have seen, you’ll easily get noodles at various joints in Thimphu and Paro, but it’s hard to get the same in other remote places beyond that.

And remember that Beef and Pork is very common in Bhutan and make sure exactly what items are used while ordering dishes like Mixed Fried Rice, Mixed Noodles, Momo etc. At India, they generally use Chicken, Prawn and Egg in Mixed Fried Rice or Mixed Noodles, but in Bhutan, it’s very common to use Chicken, Pork and Beef on such dishes.

Remember that, nowhere you’ll be served dishes instantly, as they will prepare the same after taking your order. So be ready to wait for atleast 20-30 minutes after placing order. At remote places, you’ll have to order your dinner by around 6 – 7 o’clock, as in most of the cases I have seen they go to the market to bring the items after placing your order. Though this might be due to offseason and we being the only guests in the hotel. This might not be same if you are visiting on high season.

Make sure to try out Ema Datshi (Chilly Curry prepared in cheese), Kewa Datshi (Potato Curry prepared in cheese), Shamu Datshi (Mushroom Curry prepared in cheese) while in Bhutan.

Restaurants : I’d recommend Hotel Tandin (Indian Cuisine), Hotel Ghasel (Indian Veg. Cuisine), Bhutan Kitchen (Bhutanese Cuisine), Rice Bowl (Chinese Cuisine) at Thimphu. Hotel Sonam Trophel (Bengali Dishes) is a must-try at Paro. At other remote places, you won’t have any options other than having your dinner at the Hotel only.

Hotels : Well, let me specify that all the hotels and restaurants have a bar section. So don’t hesitate, it’s very common in Bhutan. All the hotels are equipped with Geyser and Room Heaters. But some budget hotels charge extra for room heater though. Well, another thing that I noticed consistently throughout Bhutan is that Double Bed Rooms means two Single Beds. Though if you are not healthy enough, one single bed would be enough for you else you always have the option to join yourself or you can ask hotel staff to do so.

WiFi : Most of the hotels have WiFi, but at some hotels it’s chargeable.

Tobacco : Consumption of Tobacco is strictly banned in Bhutan in Public Places. But you are allowed to smoke in your room or common passage in Hotels. But the selling of Tobacco is strictly banned in Bhutan and have consequences if caught. So if you are a smoker, you’ll have to bring it yourselves and have to pay 100% import tax for the same. Though smoking is prohibited in public but if one wants to smoke he can do so privately in a way escaping the common eye.

Though Tobacco is restricted in Bhutan, but all of them keeps chewing Doma (raw Areca nut) and Pan (Betel Leaf). As soon as you’ll enter Bhutan, you’ll come across a smell which is of Doma. Though you’d get acquainted with it later.

Currency : Bhutanese Currency popularly known as Ngultrum or Nu. in short is on par with Indian Currency and Indian Currency is widely accepted in Bhutan. Though TCB strictly mentions that bills 500/- and 1000/- Rs. 2000/- are not allowed, but in practice, they accepts all kinds of bills in Thimphu and Paro. Beyond that, in remote places, we came upon various instances where they don’t accept Indian Currency.

The Good :
Bhutan is a country, where growth is not measured by GDP, instead, they have implemented a unique concept Gross National Happiness (GNH). Our tour was a completely cultural tour as we wanted to experience the unique culture and traditions of Bhutan. You may plan for Trekking Activities or can plan to attend a Tshechu. (Tshechu means Festival in Dzongkha).

The Bad :
Well, you cannot compare countries just like that, but somewhere we felt, being a completely cultural tour, it was getting monotonous at some point of times, as the only thing we were visiting are Dzongs and various Monasteries.

The main thing that I didn’t like is their implementation of Minimum Daily Package which completely restricted backpackers. Being a budget traveller myself, I couldn’t support this. Though luckily we Indians don’t have such restrictions.

Cost :
All the accomodation charges are mentioned in the format of 1 Double Bed Room + 1 Extra Mat (For 4 pax) and 1 Double Bed Room (For 2 Pax)
Hotel Shelgoen, Phuentsholing : Rs. 1100 x 2 x 1 = 2200 + 300 = 2500/-
Hotel Zey Zang, Thimphu : Rs. 1100 x 2 x 3 = 6600 + 900 = 7500/-
Gakiling Guest House, Phobjika : Rs. 1800 x 2 x 1 = 3600 + 600 = 4200/-
Samyae Resort, Bumthang : Rs. 1900 x 2 x 2 = 7600 + 1400 = 9000/-
Kingaling Hotel, Punakha : Rs. 1500 x 2 x 1 = 3000 + 500 = 3500/-
Hotel Phunsum, Paro : Rs. 1100 x 2 x 3 = 6600 + 900 = 7500/-

Total Hotel Charges : Rs. 34,200/-

Transportation (Innova From Phuentsholing to Phuentsholing) : Rs. 3000 x 12 = Rs. 36,000/-

We also paid Rs. 700 x 2 = Rs. 1400/- for Pickup & Drop from Hasimara.

So Total Hotel + Vehicle Cost was Rs. 71600/-

  • Entry Fee for Crocodile Park, Phuentsholing was Rs. 20/- per head
  • Entry Fee for National Textile Museum, Thimphu was Rs. 50/- per head
  • Entry Fee for Folk Heritage Museum, Thimphu was Rs. 30/- per head
  • Entry Fee for Takin Preserve, Thimphu was Rs. 30/- per head

Our total fooding cost was Rs. 52000/- for the entire trip. That means around Rs. 750/- per person per day on average. But fooding cost was bit high in remote destinations like Punakha, Phobjika & Bumthang where we took our dinner at the hotel only whereas it was a bit low in Phuentsholing, Thimphu and Paro.

NOTE : I have omitted the cost of personal nature such as Shopping, Alcohol etc. I have also omitted the cost of travelling by Train To & From Hasimara.

Contacts :

Kolkata Bhutan Consulate : 033-4012-3999 / 033-4012-3924

BK Tour & Travels : +91-9593837520 (India), +975-17601325 (Bhutan). bktourandtravels@gmail.com

Hotel Shelgoen, Phuentsholing : +975-5253982, +975-77160283. shelgoenhotel@gmail.com. You can find my Review here.

Hotel Zey Zang, Thimphu : +975-17601658 / +975-17714622. You can find my Review here.

Hotel Ghasel, Thimphu : +975-2324002 / +975-17248826. ghaselhotel@gmail.com. You can find my Review here.

Hotel Tandin, Thimphu : +975-2323380 / +975-2323381. dorjeetandin001@gmail.com. You can find my Review here.

Gakiling Guest House, Phobjika : +975-17651577 / +975-77651577 / +975-77868677 / +975-17807233 / +975-17488355. hotelgakiling77@gmail.com. You can find my Review here.

Samyae Resort, Bumthang : +975-17852453 / +975-03631899. ktshed37@gmail.com. samyaeresort@gmail.com. You can find my Review here.

Kingaling Hotel, Punakha : +975-17536515 / +975-77377291 / +975-02480584. kingaling@druknet.com. You can find my Review here.

Hotel Phunsum, Paro : +975-272670 / +975-77290274. hphunsum@gmail.com. You can find my Review here.

Hotel Dragon, Paro : +975-8272174 / +975-17762628 / +975-17320473. bookingdragonhillresort@gmail.com

Hotel Sonam Trophel, Paro : +975-08274444 / +975-17604434. hotelsonamtrophel@gmail.com. You can find my Review here.

Raj Lama (WB-06C-1474) : +91-7602568237 (India) / +97517410750 (Bhutan)

Mr. Bhadra Man Subba : +975-17670742. (Who drove us till Trongsa from Bumthang).

Sonam Norbu (The Guide) : +975-17924986 (Who helped us entering Tiger’s Nest and explained the details).

Gratitude :
The various trip reports from Trip Advisor Forums helped me a lot understanding various things. But due to a different set of rules for Foreigner’s and Indians, Trip Advisor failed to provide end to end information that I needed to plan the tour on my own.

Then I came across India Mike Forums. And I must say if you are an Indian and planning for Bhutan the Our Bhutan Trip – a senior citizen’s effort to backpack! by Ashish Da deserves to be a bookmark on your browser. This one is a gem of all the threads in Crossing the Border Forum. Without this, I’d not have been able to plan this trip so wonderful.

But as I had planned for travelling to more remote places the above Trip Report failed to provide necessary information that I needed. Infact very less people travel beyond Thimphu, Paro and Punakha. Thus very less information exists on the Internet for those places. But again, Our Bhutan Trip – a senior citizen’s effort to backpack! proved to be a gem where Mr. Mehpra had posted a Trip Report on which he travelled almost end to end of Bhutan. So don’t skip the post and go to the end, instead take your time to go through all the posts. Most of your question will be answered even before asking.

Another gem that provides a lot of information on travelling via Bus is Bhutan – Walking in the Air by Mr. Ashoke.

I’d recommend subscribing Bhutan Updates if you want to keep track of the live updates in Tourism Sector of Bhutan.

Trip To Bhutan Series :
Part 1: Planning A Trip To Bhutan – For Indians
Part 2: Entering Bhutan – The Land of Thunder Dragon
Part 3: Capital of Bhutan – Thimphu In & Around
Part 4: Journey To Phobjika via Dochula
Part 5: The Most Historic Dzongkhag – Bumthang
Part 6: The Old Capital – Punakha
Part 7: Exploring Paro, Haa and Chele La Pass
Part 8: Hike to Tiger’s Nest – Paro Taktsang
Part 9: Tashi Delek Bhutan – The Himalayan Kingdom

About Author

Hi, I'm born and bought up in Kolkata in the midst of what bongs are best known for - Eating, Sleeping and Travelling. A developer by profession and a traveller by passion. As I was facing a lack of budget-friendly information on the internet while planning my travel, I started drafting my travel experiences here to help you all having a pocket-friendly smooth travel experience.

53 Comments

  • […] this, he never pulled back this topic and time flowed by. After returning from a wonderful Trip to Bhutan, one day, he came up to check out the photos and to gather information, as he’s also […]

    Reply
  • Vivek Gupta
    April 7, 2016 at 1:11 AM

    What a fantastic post! This is so chock full of useful information. Everything that I will need to plan my trip 🙂 All the posts are very well written and gave me a very good feel of Bhutan – On 2nd thoughts do I even need to go to Bhutan now !!! 😛

    Thanks a ton for putting this together…

    Reply
  • Somok Gupta Roy
    April 16, 2016 at 2:12 AM

    Hi Krishnandu

    An excellent set of articles on Bhutan. It gives all necessary information for travellers planning to visit the country. We are planning a 7 day trip in June and would need to decide between Phobjika and Punakha (Bumthang is not possible sadly). Based on your experience, which of the two do you recommend?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      April 16, 2016 at 10:24 PM

      Hi Somok,
      Thanks a lot for your complements 🙂

      Well Phobjika is only famous for Black Necked Cranes which is only available during winter.

      So according to my experience I’d always suggest Punakha over Phobjika even in winter.

      Reply
      • Somok Gupta Roy
        April 18, 2016 at 12:45 PM

        Hi Krishnandu

        Thank you very much for your reply. Have decided to go to Punakha finally 🙂

        Looking forward to future travelogues

        Reply
  • Anuj Kumar
    September 19, 2016 at 6:40 PM

    Amazing post brother. After reading this post of yours all the worries related to the planning of trip are gone. A hearty thanks to you.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      September 19, 2016 at 8:55 PM

      Thanks a lot Anuj 🙂

      I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

      Reply
  • Pavan
    October 4, 2016 at 8:18 PM

    Thank you Krishnandu, I am going to Bhutan in December and so glad to have come across your very informative and personalised posts. I do hope you managed to quit smoking though 🙂

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 4, 2016 at 8:49 PM

      Hi Pavan, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

      And no, I couldn’t quit smoking yet 🙁 I’m still a regular smoker.

      Reply
  • dishaa singhal
    November 11, 2016 at 10:07 PM

    hi krishnandu

    great blog and very informative.

    we are doing a trip in november and we are not much into birding, then which is a better place to visit between phobjikha and bumthang.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 11, 2016 at 10:18 PM

      Hi Dishaa, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

      Well, even I’m not interested in birding. But even except Birding Phobjika has to offer complete natural feeling.

      Between Punakha and Phobjika there’s nothing much attractive to stay. Wangdue used to be one, but after Wangdue Dzong got burned, there’s nothing to see. But you may stay at Wangdue though.

      But I must tell you, Punakha and Wangdue is located nearby. Around 20 – 30 minutes distance from each other. So I personally don’t think staying both at Punakha and Wangdue is feasible and required.

      Instead you may consider Phobjika even if you are not interested in Birding. As the place is very natural and if you like Nature Walk, the morning trail is something great to experience.

      Reply
  • Phyllis
    December 23, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    Nice blog:)
    any advice about the weather and the appropriate clothing to pack as we will be travelling to Bhutan in Feb next year..

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 23, 2016 at 8:54 PM

      Hi Phyllis, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

      February being winter will definitely be cold, so carry proper winter clothes. Do remember to carry woolen gloves if you are planning for high passes such as Dochula, Tongla, Chele La etc. Also make sure to carry clothes to cover your head and ear from the cold breeze.

      I think these should keep you warm and going 🙂

      Reply
  • Anonymous
    December 27, 2016 at 10:18 PM
  • SAMEER SHAH
    January 23, 2017 at 5:21 PM

    Excellent post my friend. very detailed and informative. well done

    Reply
  • rtob
    March 10, 2017 at 3:16 PM

    Hi, some informations provided by you needs some corrections, so here are few of them for readers better knowledge:

    1. Hotel Damview is not at Damchu, it is at a place called Wangkha, almost 60KM away from Damchu.
    2. INR of all denominations used to be legal tender in Bhutan, before the demonetization drive by Govt. of India, where the new INR denomination of Rs. 500 & Rs. 2000 are not allowed in Bhutan officially at present.
    3. “Most of the Indians enter via Land Border” is not correct statement. The Land Border is mostly used by budget tourist from neighbouring states of West Bengal and Assam. Bhutan do gets high end tourist from all parts of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and other big cities, where they prefer flying directly to Paro. Reputed travel companys like “Makemytrip” “Yatra.com” etc. have their permanent offices in Thimphu, and they bring in Indian Tourist from all over India by air, and the entire trip is planned very meticulously which is all together a different experience.
    4. Bhutan has one more rail border in Assam i.e. Gelephu (connected with New Bongaigaon Station) which is equally popular with tourist from Eastern States of India.
    5. Your post “You may also choose to fly directly at Paro Airport which is operated “only” from Kolkata Airport in India” is not correct. Paro Airport is connected by regular flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Gaya, Guwahati etc. Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines also operates numerous chartered flights to all other big cities in India during peak tourist season.
    6. Tobacco is allowed to bring in after paying 100% tax (from India), but the quantity is restricted. If you bring in more than the restricted quantity even after after paying tax, it is illegal and you may face penalties.
    7. “Doma” is not “rotten” supari or areca nut as described by you. It is raw areca nut, and not dried one (supari) that is widely consumed with Paan in Bengal.
    8. There are few more comments which I shall clarify at a later date.
    I hope the above clarifications will be useful to the readers of your blog and future visitors to our country. I am really happy that your experience in Bhutan overall was a enjoyable one.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 10, 2017 at 10:32 PM

      Hi Rtob,
      Thanks a lot for correcting me out!! I’ll surely modify them as soon as possible to help the future readers 🙂

      Would surely love to hear from you again, if you find more mistakes. And yes our trip to Bhutan was really incredible and I still miss those days 🙂

      Reply
  • piyush Agarwal
    March 27, 2017 at 12:45 AM

    Hi,

    Frist of all. Thank you for the detailed posts and sharing so much useful information in all your posts. I am planning a Bhutanese Honeymoon (not a familymoon) and these posts helped a lot.

    Not sure if you already did but can you also share a break down of expenses such a food, lodging and entry fees (if any). That would help people budgeting for the travel to a great extent.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 27, 2017 at 10:48 AM

      Hi Piyush,
      Thanks a lot and I’m glad that it helped you 🙂

      For hotel, I have already given cost on specific pages. Still for your reference, I’d say cost depends on choice of hotels, mode of transport, choice of meals and restaurants etc.

      Below is a budget costing for Bhutan
      Hotel : Thimphu / Paro – 1200/- – 1500/-. Punakha, Phobjika, Bumthang – 1800/- – 2200/-
      Food : Rs. 500/- – Rs. 800/- per head per day at budget restaurants and hotels.
      Car : A small vehicle would cost you Rs. 2200/- – Rs. 2500/- per day and an Innova would cost you Rs. 3000/- – Rs. 3500/- per day.
      Entry Fee : This is not much. Hardly it’s Rs. 300/- per person. But on a safe side keep Rs. 500/- per person for the entire tour.

      Reply
  • Vivek Reddy
    April 15, 2017 at 11:47 PM

    Cost for ur whole trip ?? Taxi and rooms ??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      April 15, 2017 at 11:56 PM

      Hi Vivek,
      Car was charged at Rs. 3000/- per day. And the total cost of hotels was 34200/-

      Reply
  • premanshu ghosh
    April 20, 2017 at 2:42 AM

    Hi Krishnendu,

    Amra 15th may 2017 bhutan jachhi, hasimarate nambo, return ticket 22th may, so kindly suggest the tour map, jate motamuti ghora jay, ami thik rout ta thik korte parchhi na, tumi jodi iktu guide karo very thankful to you

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      April 20, 2017 at 11:38 AM

      Hi Premanshu, You can do it like…

      15th : Hasimara – P/Soling
      16th ; P/Soling – Thimphu
      17th ; Thimphu Sightseeing
      18th : Thimphu – Punakha
      19th : Punakha – Paro & Paro Sightseeing
      20th : Day Trip To Haa via Chele La
      21st : Hike To Tiger’s Nest
      22nd : Paro – P.Soling – Hasimara

      Hope your return train is from Hasimara (Kanchankanya Express)

      Reply
  • Ratno
    April 22, 2017 at 1:11 AM

    Great post Krishna..very detailed to help all kinds if travellers

    Reply
  • Anonymous
    May 15, 2017 at 9:08 PM

    4.5

    Reply
  • bharat shah
    May 15, 2017 at 9:22 PM

    fantastic travelogue for BHUTAN! Thank you for this travelogue and other’s on indiamike.com’s Bhutan’s forum’s: Ashish da, Mr Ashoke , Mr. Mehpra. Mr. rtob and others. You all are doing great services to tourists!

    Reply
  • Anonymous
    June 8, 2017 at 3:44 PM
  • […] 12th Feb : Day 12 : Paro – Hasimara via P/Soling & Jaigaon […]

    Reply
  • DR. KAUSHIK MANDAL
    June 24, 2017 at 10:36 PM

    This travelogue must go to the Classics. Just fell in love with your impeccable narration with detailing, which is perfectly suited for the average Indian traveller like me. Here’s the ‘Bhromonshree’ medal for you on my behalf……..seriously ! Stay blessed bro…….

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      June 24, 2017 at 10:45 PM

      Hello Dr. Kaushik, Thanks a lot 🙂

      I’m glad that it helped you and you liked it 🙂

      Reply
  • Ravi mittal
    July 13, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    Hi Krishnandu,

    What an exhaustive blog on your trip to Bhutan. Loved reading all through, esp the photos!

    I have a few queries relation to a trip I am planning to Bhutan, it would be awesome if you can guide me:
    1. We are looking for a relaxed trip. We wanted to spend time in Timphu / Paro or other places where we could explore restaurants / cafes. I seen videos of Mark Veins on youtube where he explored many a cafes in Timphu. But you did not mention of any such. Are there cafes / coffee shops and restaurants to explore in Timphu / Paro. If yes, would you recommend them?

    2. If we plan to fly directly to Bhutan, who should we contact for the best airfare? I understand that these tickets are not available on regular flight booking sites.

    3. How tiring was the car journey from one place to another considering you were travelling between 1-3 hours from place to place?

    Looking forward to your advice.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM

      Hi Ravi, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

      1. Well Mark Wiens is a food cum travel blogger. I respect him alot and I myself is an ardent follower of Mark Wiens. But we do have different niche and our way of travelling also differs. But I have already recommended the places I found good, but definitely Mark would have an extensive list than mine, as he’s always on a food expedition 🙂

      Anyway below are my recommendations again…
      Thimphu : Hotel Tandin (Indian Food) / Hotel Ghasel (Indian – Veg), Rice Bowl (Chinese), Bhutan Kitchen (Bhutanese)
      Paro : Hotel Sonam Trophel (Indian – Best Food I had in Bhutan)

      2. You may book it yourself here : Druk Air

      3. It’s really a personal experience. I’m never tired of travelling even the ones ranges from 10 – 12 hours. Anyway if you travel within Thimphu, Paro & Punakha, it won’t be more than 3 hours and won’t be tiring at all. But if you plan to go beyond Punakha, then be ready to travel for 6 – 8 hours.

      Reply
    • Ravi
      July 14, 2017 at 10:41 AM

      Thanks for the really prompt response Krishnandu. Really appreciate your help and guidance in planning trip for others!

      Reply
  • Saurav sinha
    July 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    is b k tour and travel only provide car?
    then how can i book room in there?
    please comment.

    Reply
  • Anonymous
    July 28, 2017 at 5:14 PM

    1.5

    Reply
  • Sakthivel Manickam
    October 14, 2017 at 1:21 AM

    Hi Krishnandu,

    Am Sakthi living in Toronto(Canada). Am an Indian Citizen holding Permanent Residence status in Canada. Am planing to visit Bhutan March 15th to April 2nd 2018. Am traveling alone. Planning to cover Thimpu and Paro and also do hiking to some scenic spots. Am not sure whether I travel within Bhutan by Government bus? Do I need to hire Taxi? Please guide me.

    Sakthi

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 14, 2017 at 2:58 AM

      HI Sakthi, Yes you can definitely travel within Bhutan by Bus. But Buses are not operated by Govt. instead it’s private.

      However, I hope you hold Voter ID Card / Passport / PAN Card / Aadhaar Card / Driving License of India, else you won’t be allowed to travel on your own and mandatorily have to arrange your travel through authorised tour operators of Bhutan. In that case you won’t be able to travel by bus as your minimum daily fee would have a exclusive vehicle covered anyway.

      You may please check Planning A Trip To Bhutan For Indians for details.

      Reply
  • Anonymous
    November 18, 2017 at 7:34 PM

    0.5

    Reply
  • Anonymous
    November 18, 2017 at 7:34 PM
  • Brendon Mendonca
    December 7, 2017 at 3:48 PM

    Hi, Lovely Blog.
    We are a group of 6, 22-Year-old friends from Mumbai, we’re planning for a fast-paced trip to Travel to Bhutan from Kolkata by road and rail, ie – take an overnight train from Kolkata to Hasimara station, take a cab and go to the border town Jaigoan.
    Day 1 – Reach Kolkata, city tour and take a night train to Hasimara
    Day 3 – Reach P/soling by 1 Pm and get the permit by 4 pm, Followed by taking a cab and drive to Paro. Overnight Stay.
    Day 2 – Paro City Tour and Che la pass
    Day 3 – Early morning hike to Tigers Nest and in the evening around 4 drive to Phunaka, Overnight stay.
    Day 4 – Punakha city tour, Overnight stay ( can we go sightseeing to Wangdue or Pokjikha on the same day and return to Punakha by night?)
    Day 5 – Early morning leave for Thimpu, city tour and overnight stay.
    Day 6 – Early morning drive back to P/soling, City Tour and by 4 leave for Kalimpong, Bengal to continue our trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling.

    Also, I do not find any budget hotels on regular Hotel booking website.
    Please recommend budget-friendly hotels, their rates, and also cab rates. (we are looking to hire a round trip cab preferably an Innova fro/to P/soling for 5 days)
    We are open to all cuisines and ever-ready for any adventures, in the past we have been to Leh, Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Himachal, Agra, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa among others

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 7, 2017 at 9:44 PM

      Hi Brendon, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

      Well geenrally you should not do Tiger’s Nest in the beginning of your trip. It’s not recommended due to acclimization issues. But as I see you are an avid traveller, and have travelled Leh, Himachal, so you might be accustommed with the same which most people from plains are not.

      Also if possible, better try not to tick the places off your list and instead enjoy the journey. Paro is around 4 hours from P/Soling. And 8-9 PM there means ghost town depending on the season you are visiting. During summers it’s still okay. Also it’s not a good idea to drive post evening. So better halt at P/Soling.

      There’s nothing to see at Wangdue, except the Wangdue valley as of now. As the Wangdue Dzong got burnt several years ago and from then they haven’t restored the same. Phobjika is around 1-2 hours from there, but it’s not a place for Sightseeing. Nothing to see as in sightseeing. Instead you need to stay and enjoy the valley. I’d suggest to explore Punakha instead. Hurrying up through things won’t be of any benifit!!

      So instead, plan it like P/Soling > Thimphu > Punakha > Paro > P/Soling if possible as per your dates.

      Well, Bhutanese have preserved their culture, and thus they are still ages back. So internet, plastic money etc. are not very common. Only high end hotels, restaurants, souveniour shops accepts cards and are available in online. Tour Operators due to their nature of business have their online presense too. Rest you need to call and book them.

      Thus for Bhutan, my advise would be not to try booking through usual online hotel booking sites such as Goibibo / MMT etc. As a lot of tourists had to go through harrassment due to their decission. Because as I said, hotels in Bhutan do not have tie ups with them and doesn’t entertain them in any matter.

      Instead take a look at the contact details I shared above in this post. All are budget hotels. So give them a call. Don’t mail, instead call them directly. They hardly check mails and most of the time their inbox are full and thus mail doesn’t gets delivered.

      Generally budget hotels starts from 1100/- -1200/- onwards.

      You can contact BK for cab. Or else you can hire it on your own after reaching there, but vehicle price in Bhutan is more than that of India.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
  • Prabhar Ravu
    March 3, 2018 at 11:29 PM

    Hi Krish

    I also planning a Bhutan trip during this May with BK. I just got quote from him.

    Suggest some tips to follow there

    Thanks

    Reply
  • MONISH CHAKRABORTY
    August 31, 2018 at 9:53 AM

    hello Krishnanduda,

    Very nicely written blog.All information what i wanted got from ur blog.Thanks.
    A small information what i wanted is while coming back from Phuentsholing what is the procedure for exit. Do we need to show permit again and then wait for Monday to get the permit shown .

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 31, 2018 at 8:29 PM

      Hi Monish, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

      Nope. There’s no procedures to for exit. You would need to submit the permit at the last checkpost and that’s it.

      Reply
  • […] Tashi Delek Bhutan – The Himalayan Kingdom […]

    Reply
  • thedoubletdiary
    January 20, 2020 at 10:37 PM

    Very comprehensive blog,! quite helpful, I want your suggestion, planning for a family trip for 10 days in April , I am confused between north sikkim and bhutan, what would you suggest?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      January 21, 2020 at 7:53 PM

      Hi, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you found the blog to be helpful 🙂

      Well, both the destination have their own charm and generally it boils down to personal preference. However as you seek my opinion, I’d recommend Bhutan!

      Reply

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