The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is a place worth visiting. North east India, Nepal and Bhutan form the famous eastern Himalayan circuit. From the Indian border the near tropical southern is at an altitude of 300 meters and the land rises to over 7000 meters peaks of the Himalaya in the north. Bhutan is one of the most beautiful countries of the Himalayan region with sparse population, small and beautiful destination. This Kingdom is a peaceful country with traditional values. Till date the respect for the royal family and awareness among common citizen for the environment exists and they are all religious minded. This Kingdom is the world’s last Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom in the world. The country has preserved its cultures and traditions all these years. The magnificent views of mountain ranges, its architecture is imposing, its art is superb and it gives the guest the pleasure of the tour. Nepal and Bhutan are the two neighboring countries which is assessable from Siliguri and has never been conquered or ruled by another foreign power. The northern part of Bhutan is glaciated mountain peaks with an extremely cold temperature. Bhutan as a country is least populated and most of the area is assessable only by road. The Himalayan range in this part of the world is over 23000 feet / 7000 meters. The highest point is the Kula Kangri at an elevation of 24780 feet / 7553 meters. The black Mountains in form a watershed between two major river systems namely the Mo Chhu and the Drangme Chhu and these rivers have carved out deep gorges in the lower mountain areas. The other rivers are Torsa, Raidak, Sankosh and Manas. The country is known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Driving past the ancient forts, well adorned monasteries, Chorten dotting the landscape, fluttering flags, prayer wheels turned by swift water of mountain streams are unforgettable experience especially in Bhutan.
Monsoon are severe yet enjoyable due to the greenery around. Winters are long summers shorter with heavy rainfall and snowfall in the northern part. Guest enjoying winters can visit from November to March is brilliant due to the clear sky and the chilling cold. Spring and autumn are the best season to visit Bhutan. Generally, October – November and April – mid – June are the best times to visit as rainfall is at the minimum and temperatures are conducive.
The places of tourist interest in Bhutan are many. Most of them are within the reach of Tourist yet due to the rugged terrain and distances one has to travel a lot. For some of the longer holiday trip in Bhutan places like Trongsa, Haa are far flung. Paro, Thimpu, Wangdue Phodrang, Trongsa, Haa, Bumathang, Punakha, Lhuentse, Mongar, Trashigang are some of the most sought after destinations. Kytchu – Lakhang, Phajoding, Vhunzom or Confluence, Chella / Sela Pass, Gasa, Taktsang (The Tiger’s Nest) and Kyichu are some of the well known spot to visit and are nearby the main destinations. Adventure, Cultural, Nature, Spiritual and Wellness, Trekking, Tshechu and Festival tours are also conducted by us.
Places of interest in Bhutan are:
Thimpu - The capital city and few years old with atypical traffic system worth mentioning. It was built by the late king Jigme Dorje Wangchuk with the intention to replace the ancient capital of Punakha. Punakha is one mountain range away from Thimpu. It is situated at an altitude of 7710 feet in the fertile valley of the Wang Chu River. This city is a blend of the old and the new. The law states that the building should have traditional style of construction including the motifs and forms of Bhutan’s traditional architecture give Thimpu a delightful structural harmony. Most striking and visual landmark in Thimpu is the magnificent Tashichho Dzong. It is the seat of the Royal Government and Central Monastic Body. Thimpu is a capital city with traditional architecture of its houses and buildings is striking. The city is surrounded by forests which make the city look even greener.
Bumthang – This beautiful region has four separate valleys known as Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Together they are known as Bumathang valley. Incidentally the whole district is known as Bumthang valley. The dzongkhag is of historic importance and is known for its number of ancient temples and sacred sites. There is one of the two most ancient temples of Bhutan and Nyingmapa temple called Tamshing Lhakhang. Other than this Membar Tsho (Burning Lake), Kurje Monastery, Jakar Dzong, Jambay Lhakhang is some of the nearby places of interest. Bumathang is situated at an altitude of 3750 meters. The part of road that runs through Thrumshingla Pass connecting Bumthang and Mongar is the highest in the country. The scenic beauty is spectacular and the destination is a hotspot for tourist.
Paro - Paro is ideally located to house the only international airport of Bhutan. It is said that Padma Sambhav known as Guru Rimpoche reached here in the 8th century with the message of the Lord Buddha. Paro is situated at an elevation of nearly 7382 feet and has a spring called Tsechu and a number of sights and monuments to entertain the tourist. Among the most important sight seeing in Paro is the view of Mount Jhomolhari, the monastery of Taktsang, the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, the National Museum. Paro is a nice valley with a congenial climate, people and beauty. Bhutan has three entry points, Paro is one of them and it is only by air. The other two are by road. Phuentsholing is one of them connecting through the Indian state of West Bengal. Paro is bordered by Haa dzongkhag to the west, Tibet to the north, Thimpu to the east, and Chukha dzongkhag to the south. Old and expensive stamps are exhibited at the National Museum in Paro. The Paro and Bumthang valleys are especially impressive.
Punakha - This was the earlier capital city of Bhutan and now a tourist hotspot. It is located between the confluence of two rivers Pho chhu and Mo chhu. Punakha is bordered by Thimpu, Gasa and Wangdue Phodrang dzongkhag. This old capital city is three hour drive to the east of Thimpu. Superb examples of Bhutanese architecture exist here. The Punakha dzong majestically stand on the bank of the river Punakha. With abundance of trout’s, the Punakha River is considered an angler’s paradise. Punakha is nearly 77 kilometers and a drive of three hours and half hours drive northeast of Thimpu. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and, even today, it is the winter home of the central monk body.
Phuentsholing - Phuentsholling is the entry point of Bhutan from the state of West Bengal in Indian side the other is Samdrup Jongkhar is in the south east of Bhutan nearly 110 kilometers from Guwahati. This is another commercial hub other than Thimpu. Phuentsholing also doubles up as the only other town after Paro where entry and exit of outsiders are allowed. Phuentsholing is the gateway city along the sole road which connects India to Bhutan via Jaigaon. As a destination Phuentsholling requires a stoppage for issuing the permit to enter Bhutan. The Crocodile Breeding Centre on the banks of the river near the bus station – Chukha Hydrothermal Project – Karbandi Monastery can be visited from here.
How to reach Bhutan
By Air –Bagdogra international airport (IXB) is a drive of 3 – 4 hours, nearly 190 Kilometer from Phuentsholing. Bhutan’s national air carrier, Druk Air, operates several flights per week from Bangkok to Paro. Delhi, Kolkata and has regular flights from this airport. Spice jet, Kingfisher and other domestic carrier land in Bagdogra daily. Airbus A – 319 jet carry passengers through one of the most spectacular flight paths in the world i.e. is the stretch between Kathmandu and Paro one cross 8 of the 9 highest peaks of Himalayas in the world.
By Rail – Jaigaon is the Indian border town is 180 kilometers from Siliguri a drive of 3 – 4 hours by road. Phuentsholling in Bhutan is approximately 186 kilometers by road from Siliguri and takes the same time. Phuentsholing is 3 to 4 hour’s drive from Bagdogra / New Jalpaiguri and 4 – 5 hours drive from Gangtok or Darjeeling. The Royal Bhutanese Government runs a service to Phuentsholing from Kolkata daily. These buses depart from Kolkata Esplanade bus station and reaches Phuentsholing via Siliguri.
By Road - There are no railway in Bhutan. Government of India is planning to set up a railway network as per a recent understanding between the two countries. Yet one can travel close up to the Bhutan border by Indian Railway. This Indian railway have regular trains stopping at Hashimara and Alipurduar from where one can take local vehicle to Phuentsholling a drive of maximum one hour.