My travel plans are jinxed. No, I am not exaggerating; its a fact.
I make plans, book tickets, pay for everything & just before the trip I have to cancel. Jan this year I was planning a trip to Dubai with my friends – everything was booked including my slot for sky-diving which has been on my list for last 7-8 years. Just as luck has it I underwent a surgery, was hospitalised & then was on bed rest for more than a month.Even before this trip, my leave was not getting approved but I was determined to make this trip happen just to break the jinx.
On a random day couple of months back, I pinged Bhalla (@nomadnari) my friend in Delhi & asked her if she wants to plan a trip to Bhutan. Yes, was the immediate response & hence started all the planning.
Few of my friends had visited & loved it.
One of the most beautiful countries close to home.
Absolutely Safe – this was really important for me as it was just the 2 of us. I was even fine with doing this trip solo thanks to the safety.
And then began the research – blogs, travel groups on Facebook, agents, etc etc
We made our own itinerary & then reached Burn Boundaries for inputs. The call helped us plan better with some really important tips like – hiring an agent, which car to pick, etc With all bookings done & plans in place, all we were doing was counting days!!!!
So finally the day arrived. Left home(Mumbai) & reached the airport for my 7 am flight to Bagdogra with a short pit-stop in Guwahati. Landed as per schedule I stepped out, picked my luggage & waited for Bhalla’s flight to land. Next 15-20 mins we were united. Both famished, we decided to have lunch at the airport’s restaurant. But before heading for lunch we enquired on the taxi/bus that will take us to Phuntsholing(Border town in Bhutan). Having heard that it’s absolutely safe to travel, we were planning to take the bus till Phuntsholing. To our surprise there are frequent buses, but they leave from Siliguru & it was approx. an hour drive to the bus stop from the airport. Confused on what is to be done we decide to do “Pehle pet pooja, phir kaam dooja” ☺
We reached on the 1st floor & entered the Airport restaurant. As basic as it gets – so we decided to have dal, roti & aloo kulcha. Service is quite slow but the food is nice. Will our tummy full, we came down & decided to take a cab directly to Phuntsholing which costed us Rs 2510/- Must say I was glad to leave the airport, it’s a small one but really crowded. “AC ka extra paisa lagega” (ac charges will be extra) said our lanky driver the moment we sat in the car. A long & bumpy ride with few pit-stops in between later we reached JaiGaon, the border area on the India side. Crowded with loads of shops, taxis & people – not a pleasant site. A few calls, a small traffic jam later we entered Bhutan. STARK DIFFERENCE – the moment you enter Bhutan, I remembered all the things I had heard from people who had visited. Clean, Quite, Big & Nice roads – Wow!!!! Literally 100-meter away, you will see the absolute contrast. We entered Bhutan at about 6:30 pm & reached our Airbnb. Located in an apartment complex, this is a furnished spacious 2 bhk. Clean & well-maintained, we left our luggage & decided to head out for dinner. Recommended by a local, we visited Asian Kitchen in the main market area. Ditching the standard seating, we choose to sit down in one of the corners. Ema Datshi – the most famous Bhutanese dish had to be tried ☺ So we ordered for Momo’s, Thukpa, Mushroom Datshi & rice. The Momo’s served with the spicy chutney were amazing. The thukpa was spicy yet good. The mushroom datshi didn’t quite impress me. Walking back to the airbnb, we saw very few locals walking around. It felt like it was close to midnight but was just around 8:30 pm.
But to our horror, our luggage was attacked by red-ants & there was no drinking water at the place. We were asked to buy it from the store just across the road. Thanks to the wi-fi, we could connect with folks back home & uploaded insta-stories ☺
Spacious with wifi connection & 5 mins walking distance away from the immigration office & main market area, the airbnb was just fine.
We had an early start the next day as we had to get our permit’s done & were told to reach by 7ish as there would be a long line. Co-ordinated the same with our guide & we called it a day.
Day 2 – Click Here