New Year in Bhutan – December 2013

Tour Date: 28th Dec 2013 to 3rdJan 2014

Travelers

1.   Mr& Mrs. Udayasimha Hindupur and their 2 kids aged 13 & 8 years
2.   Mr& Mrs. Suresh KT and their 17 year old daughter
3.   Mr.& Mrs. Vittal Vijay Kumar, and their 2 kids aged 11 & 8 years and.
4.   VishwanathHonnungar.
5.   VilasKadival

Travel Itinerary

28thDec – Reach Bagdogra and start to Phuentsholing, Bhutan
29thDec – After completing immigration formalities, start to Thimphu, capital ofBhutan
30thDec – Sightseeing in Thimphu
31stDec – Start to Dochula pass and then enjoy the new year in Punakha
1stJan – Start from Punakha to Paro. Evening sightseeing and shopping in Paro
2ndJan – Hike to Tiger Nest while the ladies can enjoy sightseeing and shopping.Reach Phuentsholing by night.
3rdJan – Early morning start back to Bagdogra for onward destination

Hotels:

1.   BhutanResidency, Phuentsholing
2.   TheRiver View, Thimphu
3.   DamchenResort, Punakha
4.   UgyenPhendeyling Resort Paro

Day 1: 28th December

We all met up at Bangalore airport and proceeded by Indigo Air. Vijay and family had reached two days earlier as they had planned to visit Calcutta and Siliguri. Thus, upon reaching Bagdogra, we were to meet Vijay and Tanu along with their children. At 3:45 pm, we reached Bagdogra airport and were out of the airport at 4:30 pm Vijay had already arrived in the bus and was waiting for us to come out of the airport. We stopped at the tea stall and then everyone were excited of the journey. Reached Phuentsholing by 9:00 pm and 9:30 IST, the gates close. Thus we were just in time before the authorities close the gate.

Bagdogra and Phuentsholing

After reaching Bagdogra at 4:30 pm, we started our journey to Phuentsholing. Also an opportunity to meet all the others in the team. Our fun just started and we stayed in Bhutan Residence

Day 2: 29th December

We started relatively early today and thanks to Vishwa that he was on his toes to wake everyone up. We had a nice climb to a nearby gradient before the ladies and children could get ready and explored Phuentsholing. After breakfast, we started towards immigration office and except for Suresh family, none of us had photographs. So, we took our photographs in a nearby studio and proceeded to the office. Ramesh who was our guide took care of all the formalities. Since we had more than an hour, we went to a nearby moastery Zanto Pelri Lakhang. Later we started to Thimphu at 10:00 AM Bhutan time (Bhutan is half hour ahead of India) Our first stop was to another monastery around 10 kms away from Phuentsholing called Karbandi Goemba which is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava the saint from India who spread Buddhism in this sacred land. We were fascinated by the awesome beauty of the region and next stop obviously was for lunch at Dam View resturant at Chukka. By late afternoon, we reached Thimphu and checked in to River View Hotel, a marvelous one.

Exploring Phuentsholing

Started from Phuentsholing after our clearances. By evening, we reached Thimphu, capital of Bhutan and visited Memorial Chorten. What an experience !!! It was also cold brrrr!!!

Day 3: 30thDecember
Today,after breakfast our plan was to explore Thimphu. Ramesh was waiting for us toboard the bus and then Vilas had some work to attend to and hence he could notjoin us. We started exploring Thimphu by first visiting Buddha Point and then onemore visit to Memorial Chorten and then to Takin Reserve to see a strangeanimal Takin which has face of the goat and body of the cow. Later we visitedThimphu Dzong and came back in the evening.

Exploring Thimphu

Today, we had lot of fun in Thimphi. As you could see, there are many places to visit and December seemed to us like the right season.

Day 4: 31st December


This New Year Eve day had lot of action filled events lined up. We were to visit Dochu La and then enjoy snow there followed with visit to Lampelri Botanical Park and then drive down to Punakha. Later enjoy the New Year Eve with dance and music. The whole day was fun-filled and it never seemed as though none of us were not known to each other for long. Eventhough we just met 3 days ago, it seemed to us as though we were friends for more than a decade. What a transformation indeed on the New Year Eve. Very surprising to find liked minded people in the bus who share common ideas and thus energized entire tour.

new year eve at punakha

Enjoying Dochu La Pass and Lampelri Botanical Garden. Later we reached Punakha. After reaching and refreshing, it was time to sing and dance along with good amount of drinks until the next day morning. What a way to enjoy new year eve.

Day 5: 1st Jan 2014
We were hit the bed by 2:00 AM and then woke up at 8:00 AM to pack our belongings and getting ready to Paro. The New Year Eve with fun and frolic had taken all of us in its grasp that we were unwilling to move on. Journey to Paro was wonderful experience. After breakfast, we passed through Pho Chu and Mo Chu (Father and Mother) merging at Punakha, at the bridge and from then on, it was an upward climb back to Doclu La and then to Thimphu. We had lunch at an Indian hotel and started our journey to Paro. By the time we reached Paro, it was late in night and weather very chill. The momemt we landed at the Hotel, the next thing we knew is to eat and sleep as we had planned to hike to Tiger Nest early in morning while the ladies would have a nice time around Paro town.

on way to Paro

Our journey from Punakha to Paro was no less than fun. On the way, we enjoyed scary bridge of Tachagong Gompa and reached Paro in evening and checked into hotel late in night. The food was ready for us.


Day 6: 2nd Jan

Well, as planned we woke up at 5:00 AM and were ready to start by 6:00 AM. But then the driver had gone out and hence had to wait another ½ hour or more before we could start. From our resort, it took us 20 minutes to reach the base of Tiger Nest. Tiger Nest is also called as Taksang Monastery. The ladies team stayed back and had other plans for themselves. Ramesh our guide was there with them to take them around whereever they wanted and this gave us little bit of freedom to explore Tiger Nest to greater extent. The hike to this wonderful place was most amazing experience which cannot be expressed in words. As we reached near the monastery, there were ice sheets and snow. Seeing the snow, Vishwa and Suresh jumped over and stood on top while the other 3 of us were scared of a fall if at all happens. But then Vishwa and Suresh returned back safely and we started our upward climb on the steps. There are are 740 steps in all and half of them are down and half upwards giving a fantastic exercise to the ankle and knee. Monastery was fantastic while we went from one temple to another meditating in each of them. Was certainly a rejuvinating experience like never before. By 2:00 pm, we returned back to see that the ladies team have not yet returned back. We searched them and Uday could find these ladies in a hotel. Since it would take 7 hours or more to reach Phuentsholing, it was decided to forget lunch but to proceed to Phuentsholing. In the bus, we sang and spoke for length and ate whatever we had stored. We reached Phuentsholing by 9:00 PM and proceeded to dinner and then a good sleep.

Taksang Monastery or Tiger Nest

Today, we hiked to Tiger Nest. What a feeling. It is called as “Lifetime Experience” and we just saw why it is said so. You need to visit once to experience the bliss. The team : Suresh, Uday, Vijay and Vilas

Day 7: 3rd Jan
All the fun came to an end when we started our journey from Phuentsholing at 7:00 AM. With dense fog engulfing the route, we were slightly scared on whether we could make to the flight. Enroute had breakfast which almost seemed like lunch. To our surprise, we reached airport at 10:20 AM with more than 2 hours to spare. Vilas had decided to stay back in Siliguri to meet his friend while we all started back to Bangalore. Our tour ended with landing back in Bangalore safely at 4:45 pm and back in our home by 7:00 pm remembering the time we spent in Bhutan. One of the must destinations which is so closer to India. Please don’t miss it.
back to Siliguri
It was indeed a memorable journey for sure and thank you very much for reading our travelogue.
In case you would like to get in touch to know more about Bhutan or the experience or when to visit or about our feedback on Himalayan Fantasy, please feel free to contact us by writing to us:

1. Suresh KT  – kt_suresh@hotmail.com
2. Udaysimha Hindupur – udayasimha@gmail.com
3. Vittal Vijaykumar – vittalvijayakumar@gmail.com

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