Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bhutan Trip Day 7 & 8

Day - 7

24.12.2010 (Friday) Thimpu -Bhutan to Local Site Seeing Zoo, Museum, Local Immigration Office & Art & Craft Museum = 23 kms

  • Starting Place: Hotel Singey Thimpu (Bhutan)
  • Starting Km Reading: 5620 km @ Hotel Singey
  • Starting Time: 10.45 A.M. Morning
  • Closing Km Reading: 5643 km @ Hotel Singey
  • Closing Time: 18.00 P.M. Evening

Day - 7 started with a very relaxed mood a bit of lazying and reluctuance to leave the warm bed as we had reached our final destination after 6 days of continuos driving except for night halts.

We all got ready by 10.30 A.M. and had a good break fast. Hotel Singey has a good kitchen & cooks and they served good dishes.

Once we were ready we went outside to get the feel of the warmth of the morning Sun.

We took some photos with the warm sun heating us after a very cold night the sun felt really great.

HVK had advised us to first go to the Thimpu Immigration office and apply to get new permits to visit other restricted areas such as Punaka, Wangdu, Trongsa, Bumthang, Jakar, Mongar, Samdrum Jhonkar and exit through Ringey into Guwahati India.

I went to the immigration office & filled up the necessary form and attached all photo copies of our pass port photo-ID etc and wrote in the form very clearly that I wanted to visit all these places which are in central part of bhutan & finally exit through Ringey into Guwahati India.

The permits will be made ready & you have to collect them by late afternoon / evening.

After the immigration office we went to the Zoo to watch the national animal of Bhutan the TAKIN and we also visited a museum near by and an art & craft centre. It was interesting.

Young lady you need a Driving Licence!!!

Utham Anna is counting his Bhutan currency !!!

FIAT Linea parked infront of Thimpu Immigration office building

We are at the Folk Heritage Museum @ Kawajangsa. It was very interesting place.

Musuem In-charge

Choki Handicraft is just adjacent to the museum & we visited this place

We are on our way to visit the Zoo where the National Animal of Bhutan TAKIN can be seen.

We met couple of families who had come from Kolkatta & they were surprised to see a car with TN number plate that had come all the way from Tamil Nadu & were even more surprised to know that we had come driving all the way from Coimbatore to Bhutan covering 3300 odd KMs.

They were taken aback when they came to know that there was only 1 driver in our team of 4. These guys are members in TBHP & said they know about HVK, who doesn't know HVK?? In fact these guys had also stayed in the same Hotel Singey.

I dont recollect their names now but they were happy to meet a fellow Indian.

Bhutanses love DOGs & you can see a whole lot of them roaming freely in all places. Well these DOGs look pretty healthy with thick fur and well fed, mind you these are street DOGs.

After the visit to the Museum & Zoo by evening 4.30 PM we went to the immigration office to collect our special permit to visit other restricted areas.

It was a complete MESS. They had issued me permit to visit Punaka, Wangdu, Trongsa & Bumthang but I had asked Jakar, Mongar, Trashigang, Samdrup Jhonkar & exit to Guwahati through Ringey. Now with this permit I could not go to all the places I had planned to visit.

I had to start from Thimpu & return back after visiting all the 4 places they had given permission & return back from Thimpu to Phetsholing back to India.

This permit did not help me at all. Unfortunately being Friday evening the staff had left and I had to just bang my head at the service counter.

The next 2 days were holidays & my best laid plans went through the window.

This is how I felt like doing below.

We returned back to the hotel & called up HVK and informed him. He too was disappointed nevertheless he encouraged us to look at the brigther side.

The temperature was hovering at zero & less than zero at nights & early moning hours at Thimpu itself and we felt extremely chill, it meant the central part of Bhutan which we had planned to visit would be even more extremely chill and might go down to minus 4 or 5 making it very difficult for the kids to bear extreme cold.

There might be snow fall & ice formation on road. So we had to use the 2 days left Saturday & Sunday to visit PARO & Punaka & Wangdu only. Visit to other places was ruled out.

Both the kids enjoying themselves in the room watching cartoons & doing their painting & art work. The time was 6.30 P.M. and since it becomes very dark we all hit the bed by 10 P.M. after a tasty dinner.

It was extremely cold at night and the 2 room heaters & blankets just about kept us warm.

Day - 8

25.12.2010 (Saturday) Thimpu (Bhutan) to PARO, Bondey Airport & Local Site Seeing = 139 kms

  • Starting Place: Hotel Singey Thimpu (Bhutan)
  • Starting Km Reading: 5643 km @ Hotel Singey
  • Starting Time: 06.35 A.M. Morning
  • Closing Km Reading: 5782 km @ Hotel Singey
  • Closing Time: 18.00 P.M. Evening

Day - 8 started with a very a feeling that the previous day's permit issued at Immigration office at Thimpu was messed up & it felt really bad but we had to accept our fate.

We decided to use today to visit PARO.

Going to Trongsa & Bumtang was ruled out as we did not get permit to visit Jakar, Mongar, Samdrup Jhonkar & to Ringey  to exit out to Guwahati.

As a last try I told my wife we will go to the Police Head Quaters & went by 8 AM and we met the Station In-charge & told him our problem of not getting permit to visit other areas.

He was helpful in listening but said these are immigration matters to be dealt by that dept only. Being Saturday & next day Sunday the immigration office was closed & no one to help.

The officer gave me the number of Director of Immigration & I spoke with him by 9.30 AM. The gentleman was on leave & heard me out & was apologised for the mistake made by his staff inspite of me clearly mentioning the names of all the areas I wanted to visit.

He told me if I am there on Monday I could come & meet him at his office and he will reissue the permit. Unfortunately that would competely delay my return as I had a deadline commitment to be back in Coimbatore by 2nd January 2011. I thanked him for his help & wished him a happy week end.

Photos of Uthamkumar & Shri Meenakshi taken at 5.30 AM morning.

So on Day - 8 we planned to visit Paro

Photos taken outside the Hotel Singey of a view of Thimpu city & traffic & main road time was 9.48 A.M.

The landscape & drive to PARO was fantastic.

Buddist prayer wheel. Locals come here & turn this wheel & say their prayers.

We stopped at this water fall where rain water was coming down from the mountains down and there was heavy wind & chilly. This place was nice.

We have to stop at this check post & show the papers & register our details.

This water comes from mountains & is considered as holy water & it is rich in minerals. Most of the travellers stop here and collect this water & drink it. We did the same.

There is this beautiful river that flows long way when you drive to PARO and you can see this water a long way. We found a place where there were some local boys crossing this river in some sort of winch and enjoying. We too stopped at this place and both my kids & my wife had whale of a time throwing stones & pebbles into the river.

They were not ready to leave this place.

The water was chill & very cold & as we just dipped our fingers we had remove them immediately.

This river water was crystal clear & you could see the river bottom & clean flowing river. In a way BHUTAN is blessed to have so many small rivers flowing & brining in mountain rain water.

The view of PARO Bondey Airport is simply superb. I waited some some time hoping to see if any aircraft would land or take off. No luck.

Paro city is neat & clean and in a way beautiful. You will see a lopt of high end SUV cars imported mostly Toyota, KIA, Hyundai, Pajero, Prado etc

We saw this very old lady & I requested her that I will take a photo by showing my camera. Another lady was with her & she explained to the old woman that I wanted to take a snap, initially she refused and I had to plead & she agreed to be snapped. Thanks Great Grand Ma.

We saw a monkey in the wilderness while coming back to Thimpu from PARO. This was a langur monkey.

We finally returned back to Thimpu city by 6 PM evening and went around for some local shopping.

We were back to our hotel room & retired for the day by 10 PM.

Read the next Day - 9 Blog click on this link.


  1. Sad that the Immigration Office made the gaffe in not issuing you the permits for East Bhutan - or did they really make a mistake? I think not - maybe it was best that way, I would have expected sub-zero temperatures in Trongsa and Jakar and also possibilities of snow blockading the Trumsingla Pass between Jakar & MOngar, so maybe what happened was best. There is always a next time.

    Team-BP is everywhere, am impressed that you met someone who knew me in Thimphu!

    MN, you also bought a local SIM card for your mobile, right? How much did that cost and how was the connectivity?

  2. Quite an assemblage of photos of buildings in Bhutan - the traditional architecture looks even more greater through your lens!

  3. HVK Sir, In a way I was very disappointed as you had mentioned in your Bhutan Trip blog that central part of Bhutan is supposed to be very beautiful and I had told this to my wife & shwon some pictures from your blog. I really fely sad that I did not get the permit to visit those areas which I dont know why they did not issue. In fact from Wangdu we could have continued to Trumsingla Jakar & Mongar rather than coming back to Thimpu. I don't know whether it was due to possible snowing / extreme cold or due to the fact that during that time roads will be having no traffic & it is not safe for non bhutanses to travel alone..what ever as you said What ever happens..happens for good.

    I asked the hotel staff Tanka Prasad Sharma aka TP to give me a SIM pre paid card & paid him some Rs.500/- he said I can discard it once I exit out of Phuetsholing on the way back to India. Connectivity was good sir. Gtting some local help to get a SIM card is the only best option as you will find it difficult to get a SIM otherwise due to address proof etc.

    In fact what caught my eye while we were in Thimpu & other places is the very fact that the local Bhutanses civil engineers are still maintaining their age old tradations in building their new building still in the same old fashion design. That really gives a major traditional look similar to the old taravadu houses in Kerala. In fact on that day I was using my other stand-by Sony camera which I had brought along with me (it belonged to my co-brother) and was a 12.5 MP. My camera was a Sony 10 MP. Some how I felt my camera performed over all better than the other camera as it had a blurring effect at many photos. I was very happy to see the old design building rather than the concrete jungle we see so often in India.

    Although I missed to visit some places in Bhutan, I am sure I will never ever be able to visit them. Sometimes it is good to have some regrets in life..who knows some 10 years later we can try again to see these places.

  4. The traditional architecture is State-imposed. I think there is a law in Bhutan which requires all buildings to be built n traditional style, hence the compliance!

  5. owh what a intresting blog and also a nice place realy its imaging...
    Bhutan Trips

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