BHUTAN - Country of Thunder DRAGON!
My Dream of an International Bike Trip Begins!!!
Importrant info for all the Travelers : To enter in Bhutan, Indians don't need Passport, What you need is a Permit which you can get it at Thimpu, Phuentsoling ( From where we took ) or other entry points of Bhutan. ID proof is required for a permit. You should carry the Voter Id card which is more than enough. Though I suggest taking a Passport, as it will be easier and faster to get a permit. A permit will be checked at 2 places if you enter from Phuentsoling. You need to show permit and do entry as well as exit at both the places. If you want to visit Punakha, you need another permit which you will get from Thimpu.
Importrant Info for Bike Riders : If you are coming on a bike then after getting your own permit, you need to take permit for your bike as well. Royalty for you as well as for your bike is 100rs/day.
My itinerary was Phuentsoling -> Thimpu -> Dochula -> Thimpu -> Chelela -> Paro -> Tiger's nest monastery -> Phuentsoling
PHUENTSOLING - Part of the journey I wanna forget
International lag of our Bike trip started from today. Well, I heard so many good things about Bhutanese culture and people but at the border when I met few policemen as well as locals they were completely different than what I expected. One cop told us, “You Indians! Don’t come back to Bhutan!” As they say - You may forget 1000 good things but A single bad experience will forever stay in your mind. Whatever! If I hadn’t have done all the bookings, I probably would not have visited but I am delighted that I visited Bhutan because whatever happened after Phuentsoling is what Bhutan is all about - Good road, Better Food, Best cultural values and people with of course jaw-dropping Scenery!
Capital of Bhutan - THIMPU was the destination of the day. This was the first time I was driving outside India, it was a completely different experience for me. LANE - it were not just some lines drawn on the road but it actually carried the meaning, People were following traffic rules and things that amazed me a lot were: No overtaking, No HONKING & Following strict Speed Limits! At first it irritated me on following so many rules but later on, I enjoyed it. Overall today’s ride was all about getting used to traffic rules of Bhutan.
Explore the Capital - THIMPU
Unfortunately, Google map does not work in Bhutan so riding within the city was really painful! So we decided to roam around THIMPU in a CAB with DORJI KARMA, our driver-cum-Guide. We wanted to visit Do-Chula pass but for that, a permit was required which would generally take up to 2 hours. So we decide to have brunch meanwhile. Mr. Dorji had suggested a restaurant which only a local could suggest. It turned out to be the best Bhutanese food we had in Bhutan. After that, we were roaming in THIMPU city. I saw a boy sitting at Bus stand with Guitar and asked him if I can play it. TUM SE HI is what I played. Always wanted to play the guitar in the street and finally, I did! That applause was a priceless memory which I will never forget!
Meanwhile our permit was ready and we resumed our Journey of Dochula pass. It has a historic value for Bhutanese. They had a war with rebel and won at an expense of their brave martyrs. In their memory, they built 108 STUPA! On the way Mr. Dorji explained many things like the meaning of many white flags - if someone dies than for his soul’s peace they tie white flags; Colouring flags - It has Mantra return on it and it spreads positivity via Wind; MANI - They put 100s of Thousand paper/clothes on which they write mantra. When you rotate them, it is equivalent to chanting 100s of thousand mantras OM MANI PADME HUM is one of the mantras. STUPA is equivalent to Dargah in Buddhism.
Next was the giant Buddha Statue. It was really huge and located at the top of the mountain. View from there was breathtaking. Panoramic view of the Capital with setting sun had made our evening special. There was monastery as well. I meditated for some time.
Unfortunately time didn't permit us to visit Thimpu Dzong still we managed to see the lightings of the Dzong. Dzong means Castle. As "Ye Jawani Hai Deewani movie taught me, Life me Kuch to miss Hoga, what's important is to enjoy the place where you are currently!" Definitely A day very well spent and now I know more about Buddhism than before.
Last Destination - PARO
It was time to ride to the last Destination of the Trip - PARO. On the way we visited CHELE LA Pass. A pass connecting HAA Village with PARO district. A place full of flags. Thousands of flags were around the place. You can feel Buddhism in the air. Flags always make me happy so did Chele la pass. Now its time to check in to our resort.
PARO is famous for handicraft items and it was time to buy some souvenirs which I can keep with me as a memory of this lovely country. I did some shopping for my sister, mom, and flags for my love - Bumble Bee ( RE Thunder Bird 500x ) & KARIZMA-R.
Show stopper - THE Tiger’s Nest Monastery
A Bhutan trip is incomplete without a visit to Tiger’s Nest Monastery. It’s a trek which needs 6-8 hours of walk up and down. This is the monastery which inspired me to visit Bhutan. Trek wasn’t so difficult. On my way, I saw a few people way above 60 and still climbing / trekking. Truly inspirational! Every viewpoint was taking me closer to this incredible monastery. And here we come! A place from where you can see Tiger’s nest monastery built on the cliff of the opposite hill. Almost all the tourists take pictures of this monastery from here. This one I wanted to capture by imitating a movie character Bunny from YE JAWANI HAI DEEWANI which I feel describes my personality/passion. The pose was the ILAHI one!
The monastery has so much history and many more stories associated with it. It’s about Swami Padmasambhava - 2nd Buddha after Gautama Buddha! 5 monks live there permanently and meditate while others travel daily. One of the monks explained to us the importance of this monastery, history of all the Buddha Statues, how it was built etc. It’s really interesting and one who likes reading about History should google it for sure.
My Fav pic of the Trip - Ranbir's pose from the fomous song ILAHI ( Ye Jawani hai Deewani)
This one was the best day I spent in Bhutan. Definitely, Trip to Bhutan is incomplete without a visit to Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
Pork, Various delicious Bhutanese curries, A CARBON -VE Country with +VE Happiness Index, true Cultural Values and Tiger’s Nest Monastery will remain in my heart from the Country of Thunder Dragon Bhutan!
LET’S GO Baibbbyyy!!! Let's go Home...
Being an Indian and riding most part of my life in the metro cities of India, I was missing life without traffic rules and honking. So when I exited from the Bhutan Gate, I wasn't much disappointed. As I can honk or overtake other Vehicles anytime unlike in Bhutan where you can't.
The ride back home was really scenic as It has countless Tea Gardens on both sides of the roads for almost 150kms.