From ages The Kingdom of Bhutan or The Land
of Thunder Dragons is famous for its breadth-taking landscapes. Other than its most popular scenic
beauty, the socio-economic history of Bhutan needs a special mention. This Buddhist country
has never been colonized. In 2008, Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to
a constitutional monarchy. The first general election to the National Assembly of Bhutan
was held in that year. Bhutan is renowned as one of the most peaceful countries of South
Asia. The financial centre of this country is Phuntsholing.
You can reach Bhutan by train, air or road from India. By train, first reach Hasimara
or New Alipurduar or New Jalpaiguri station. From each station you will get taxi or bus
service to reach Indian town Jaigaon. If you are travelling by road, then also reach Jaigaon
first. The distance of Jaigaon from Hasimara is 17 Km and it is 44 mins drive. From New
Alipurduar, the distance is 60 Km and it will take 1 hour to reach Jaigaon by car from New
Alipurduar. From NJP, Jaigaon is 148Km away and it is a 3 and half hour drive.
At Jaigaon, complete all formalities at the immigration office and get the permit to enter
Bhutan. You can take Indian car to Bhutan but it will require separate permit. Indians
don’t need a visa to enter Bhutan. You will have to produce 2 copies of passport size
photograph and your photo identity proof at the immigration office to get your permit
free of cost. Remember this permit is only for travelling Thimpu and Paro. You will have
to take separate permit from Thimpu immigration office tovisit other places of Bhutan. After
getting the permit cross the border of two countries and reach Phunsholing of Bhutan.
By air, directly reach Paro international airport. From India, you can avail the flights
of Drukair, Royal Bhutan airlines to reach Bhutan. After reaching Paro complete all formalities
at Paro immigration office and get your required permit.
On Day-2 go to Thimpu from Phuentsholing or Paro.
The distance of Thimpu from Phuentsholing is 164.6 Km. It will take 4 hours and 40 mins
to reach Thimpu from Phuentsholing. On your way visit the confluence of two Bhutanese
rivers Thimpu Chu and Paro Chu. The distance of Thimpu from Paro is 50.8 km
and it will take 1hr 20 mins to reach Thimpu from Paro via Thimpu highway.
On day 3 go for local sightseeing in Thimpu. The must visit tourist attractions are:
Clock Tower Square Clock Tower Square is a famous landmark in
the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. The tower has four clocks one on each side and has some
beautiful artistic carvings and paintings. The tower is located below Norzin Lam in the
centre of Thimphu. Don’t miss the cuisines served at food joints
nearby. Tango Buddhist Institute (Thimphu)
The Tango Bhuddist institute was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa in 13th century. The
place is famous for the beautiful monastery set in the background of stunning natural
beauty. The Institute is located 14 kilometres from Thimphu. Changangkha Lhakhang
Hanging on top of a ridge above Thimphu, Changangkha Lhakhang is the oldest temple in Thimphu.
The temple was built in 12th century and houses the central statue of Chenrizig, a manifestation
of Avolokitesawara with eleven heads and thousand arms. It is just 10 minutes drive from the
main market of Thimpu. National Library
National Library of Bhutan or NLB was established in 1967 and possesses a wide collection of
6100 Bhutanese and Tibetan books, xylographs and manuscripts as well as 9000 printing boards
and wooden printing blocks for religious books. Dochula Pass (Thimphu)
Dochula Pass is a scenic spot located more than ten thousand feet above sea level. It
is one of the most renowned destinations for tourists in Bhutan.
The Pass is located at a height of 10,171 ft on east-west Road from Thimpu to Punakha. Buddha Dordenma (Thimphu)
One of the largest Buddha statues in the world, Buddha Dordenma is a masterpiece of architectural
wonder. The massive bronze statue is over 50 meters in height and is covered with gold.
Apart from this it also houses 125,000 other Buddha statues that are placed surrounding
the Buddha Dordenma statue. Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong)
Tashichho Dzong is a remarkable architectural structure which currently is the house of
the throne room and seat of the government. The Dzong was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung on
the grounds of Dho Ngon Dzong which was earlier built by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa.
Motithang Takin Preserve Motithang Takin Preserve is a wildlife reserve
region to protect the national animal of Bhutan, Takin. Apart from Takins, you can also find
sambars and deer. It is 15 minutes drive away from the Thimphu bus station.
On 4th day early in the morning, go to Punakha from Thimpu. Punakha is 86km away from Thimpu
and it takes 2 hours 30 mins to reach Punakha from Thimpu by car. The local cab fare for
the trip is around Rs900. On your way to Punakha visit Gangtey Goemba
in Phobjikha Valley. Upon reaching Punakha go for local sightseeing.
Places of interest are: Chimi L’hakhang Temple
Chimi L’hakhang is one of the most sacred temples of Bhutan and is considered as the
temple of fertility dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the Divine Madman.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten The majestic temple on top of the hill, Khamsum
Yulley Namgyal Chorten is an example of beautiful traditional architecture of Bhutan. The temple
was built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother to bring peace and harmony to all the living
beings. Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong is a beautiful architecture and offers a stunning view of the glowing
white washed walls on a bright sunny day. Golden, red and black painted woods add to
the charisma of this striking architecture. On 5th day, go to Paro from Punakha. The distance
is 127 Km and it will take 3 and half hours to reach Paro from Punakha. Local car rate
is around Rs 1000. Upon arriving Paro go to visit Chele La Pass.
It is a 2 hours drive from Paro. Situated at an altitude of 3988mt above the sea level
it is the highest point of Bhutan Highway. You will get a beautiful view of mount Jomolhari,
the second highest peak of Bhutan from Chele la pass.
On day 6 go to Taktsang Monastery. On your way to Taktsang Monastery first visit
Paro Chu River. It is a river of western Bhutan and is a branch of the Wong Chhu.
Taktsang Monastery is 10 km away from Paro town. Located at a height of 1200 meter on
top of a hill it is a two hours trek. The trek is famous for its stunning natural beauty.
Enjoy the fresh greeneries on your way up and down.
The temple was built in 1692, near the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave. As per the legend, Padmasambhava
(Guru Rinpoche) flew to this place from Tibet on the back of a tigress. That is the reason
this place is also known as Tiger’s nest. On 7th day return back for departure.