The Bhutan-ical Garden of memories – Part I

This post is special! It’s not just because it’s the first time that I am writing about a country other than India here but also because I am writing about THIS particular beautiful country in this post! My first visit to Bhutan happened long back when my dad was posted in Assam and we had driven down to the place. That must be some 17 years ago or so. I remembered bits and pieces of it but since I was very very young back then, I wanted to go again and experience it all over again (I still would love to visit the country again, you can never get enough of Bhutan πŸ™‚ )

This trip was a continuation of my trip to Sikkim, however I went here with a different set of friends whom I met in Gangtok and then from there proceeded towards Jaigaon (this is the last Indian town touching the Indo-Bhutan border).

We had left early morning and had taken a shared taxi from Gangtok. We reached JaigaonΒ almost 7 hours later, with the taxi stopping in between for lunch. The drive was boring and exhausting but the thought that we were getting closer to Bhutan with each passing moment was keeping us happy.

Once we reached Jaigaon, it was almost 4-5. We quickly went and got our permits made at Phuentsholing, which is the town at the border on the Bhutan side. It didn’t take us long and thankfully since there were 5 of us, 3 of us girls got 2 Bhutanese sim cards made while the other 2 guys spoke to a travel agent and got a taxi arranged and found out about a hotel we can stay in at Thimphu for the night.

The Β journey from Phuentsholing to Thimphu is almost 4 and a half hour long and since we covered most of the distance in the dark, it took us more time plus it was very scary. You see, the moment you enter Bhutan you’ll see the terrain change. Hills start emerging where there were none and the Indian plains begin to disappear. In that kind of a hilly road where there was a lot of fog all through (in some places the fog was so thick we couldn’t see anything at all even if it was immediately ahead of us), travelling in the dead of the night in a new country was a little worrying.

Nevertheless, we somehow reached Thimphu and settled down into our rooms that day waiting for the next day to arrive really soon and with bated breath! πŸ˜€

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Bhutan’s roads are such a welcome change, they’re clean unlike most of the ones in India! The sky is so blue it’s almost unbelievable and the population is very less so it’s a lot more peaceful and less buzzing (just the way I like it! :D)

The next day was spent in roaming around Thimphu, we discovered the market here (one of their local festivals was on at that time so there was a lot of crowd here!). I had done most of my shopping at Sikkim itself and thankfully so, almost all the stuff available in Bhutan is similar to the stuff in India. Everything about these products is generally same, except obviously their price! πŸ˜› Which needless to say, is higher in this country…

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One fascinating thing you might notice here is that almost all the Bhutanese know and speak Hindi. Your Indian rupees are easily accepted here and are of the same value as their Bhutanese currency (1 Ngultrum = 1 Rupee).

On our day here, we visited the palace, here there was some cultural activity going on where Bhutanese people were dressed up in various attires and masks and were performing.

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After this, we checked out a couple of eateries and hogged on interesting food. We tried out a blueberry cheesecake in one of these cafes that we visited and unfortunately, I didn’t like the cheese they had used (it was probably yak’s cheese but it was not something that suited my tastebuds).

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We also visited the Buddha Dordenma statue which is a massive Buddha statue and is almost 170 feet high.There is a hall below the statue that had innumerable smaller Buddha statues kept in it which looked absolutely lovely together πŸ™‚ The view from the top is also breathtaking and makes this place a must visit.

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We visited a number of Dzongs and a Chorten here. I’m sorry I don’t remember the names of these places 😦 I’m still putting up pics of these places, if any of you recognises these places, please please do let me know πŸ™‚

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We decided to completely shift to Paro the next day. It was an altogether different experience as compared to Thimphu πŸ™‚ I’ll cover that in my next post. Have you visited this marvelous country? Do share your experiences if you have and if you haven’t, do pay this beautiful place a visit! ❀

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I’ll cover our stay at Paro in the second part of this blog post πŸ™‚ Until next time! Keep dreaming about Bhutan and get packing for a trip you’ll never forget…

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