Sikkim & Bhutan -20

Hello all, This is post is about our last couple of days while coming back from Sikkim & Bhutan but you can read here what all we have done so far.

Planning & Research Courtesy: Insignia

After visiting Punakha Dzong , which the most beautiful Monastery so far I have seen, It felt so nice at to finish the journey with a beautiful note. We returned to Thimpu after that and relaxed next day while exploring some remaining place like Post Office.

Post Office, Thimpu!

Post Office, Thimpu!

We got our personalised stamp here. I got clicked by the post office personal and she returned beautiful postal stamps with Bhutan in back ground. These stamps can be used for postal purpose.

It was a good day to relax and have coffee and eat after marathon of 15 days, however we did not rush our journey any where but still joy of just being and not having next destination in mind, sleeping and then eating again is amazing. It costed us couple of places at the end but one place for which I would definitely go back to Bhutan probably would be Bumthang, which also houses a National Park. Nevertheless that would be for some other day.

Next day we bought our drive back to Phuntsoling by Toyota Coasters which was mentioned in arrival post as well but now you can take look too.

Toyota Coaster Bus in Thimpu

Toyota Coaster Bus in Thimpu

Exiting Bhutan!!

Exiting Bhutan!!

After reaching to Jaigaon. India we explored local shop for couple of hours before resuming our journey to Siliguri, West Bengal. It took whole and next day we had our flight back from Bagdogra Airport.

IGI Airport Delhi!

IGI Airport Delhi!

We had great time during this journey exploring Darjeeling, Gangtok, North Sikkim, Thimpu, Paro, Punakha. We did not cover all places those are normally mentioned in travel guides but we are content with what we did. I personally hope I get more chances to come to this region few more times as it is a wonder place to trek and be with nature.

I hope it was my introduction to the region and there many more to come.

So what the this journey has come to its end part but we have some more things to discuss yet and you will see that in next post.

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Sikkim & Bhutan -12

So far we roamed in Darjeeling, Checkout Gangtok

Explored North Sikkim District.

Planning & Research Courtesy : Insignia

We headed to local Bus & Taxi Stop to enquire about transport to Jaigaon ( India) /Phuentsholing ( Bhutan) and after gathering information about our next days plan, we came back and surfed the local market, prepared for the paper work for Immigration at Bhutan Border and called it a day.

Hotel’s front desk person Mr. Vishesh was very kind who woke us up and asked a shared
taxi to wait for us for some time while we get ourselves together along with our stuff and get loaded into the cab.

We reached Siliguri by noon and then there after took a bus to Jaigaon which is last village at India – Bhutan Border on Indian side. Many people may not find this bus journey very nice and it might be advisable to hire a cab for comfort tourists.

It took us around four and half hour & three different mode of transport ( Shared Taxi, Bus, Shared Tuktuk)  to reach Jaigaon and we were lucky to reach in time for immigration office, Phuentsholing. Phuentsholing is the town on Bhutan Side, separated by a concrete wall from Jaigaon, India.

Indian nationals can just walk in without any hassle and get their permit done at immigration office. It took us almost half an hour to get our permits and start to Hotel hunting

The Gate at Indo- Bhutan Border.

The Gate at Indo- Bhutan Border from Bhutan Side

Ahh! We are in Bhutan now and hell! We see it all around us. Roads, dresses, buildings, people, Vehicle registration plates everywhere. It was our turn to get introduced with Bhutan and we did it nicely with a Bhutanese dinner at a local restaurant.We had Datsi among other Bhutanese dishes of soupy noodles, which is made in Yak butter and potatoes. It was tasty and filling.

Before going for dinner we checked into a hotel had some rest (if you take a bus ride to Jaigaon you are definitely going to need it). I even had a bath to get fresh feeling which turned out to be great idea as we roamed around a bit in Phuentsholing after dinner to check for local bus stand to get going to Thimpu next morning.

After saying good bye to Indian border we slept to start for amazing journey ahead.

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To know more about Bhutan, keep reading , stay happy!!!

Sikkim & Bhutan – 5

You read, We have finished our day at Darjeeling on the same day earthquake rocked Nepal and rest of Indian subcontinent

We decided to go further on our journey without being intimidated by earthquake and reached the Taxi Stand for Gangtok on next morning. The stands looked like

Taxi Stand for Gangtok in Darjeeling!

There is this ticket booth where you can go and reserve your seat, get a receipt stating the time of departure, cab registration number, seat number, amount paid, date of journey etc. One can also book these cabs in advance. Time of departure is a tricky thing as cab does not leave as far as it does not get it share of passengers which is 10 passenger excluding driver. You are made to sit in 2 (front)+4 (middle) +4 ( back) fashion in TATA Sumo or Mahindra Bolero SUVs. ( Similar like Siliguri to Darjeeling)

You can expect to struggle for your space as these vehicle are normally designed for 1+3+3 pattern but these taxi operators has their own rules so either you can buy a extra seat or you have to go with what they say. We were supposed to leave Darjeeling by 10:30am as per our ticket but it only started around 11.20am

You are suggested to make good conversations with your fellow passengers as it help to be little less uncomfortable during almost 5 hour journey. If you have foreigners in the same cab you can expected to spend more time at Border of West Bengal and Sikkim where foreigners have to show their papers which can take any where between 15 minutes to half an hour.

During our time in this region it was raining almost every day and this day was not any exception. The journey happens to be pleasant ( I am not counting the seating arrangement part anymore) and if you are an observer you can spot many changes coming in your vicinity ranging from Registration Plates of the vehicles to the way drivers behave, the food, atmospheric temperature, chill in air etc.

We had some Israeli people along with an Indian Army personal who was going back his post and a cute local lady who offered us ( all 10 people)  locally made delicious cup cakes. We talked to people there during that time and it help to gain some information and some perspective about the region and how to go further in addition to our own home work, of course.

We reached Gangtok in evening amidst rains and deboarded the cab at Taxi Stand roughly ( 3kms by road, 1.5kms by pedestrian path) from the famous Mall Road of Gangtok. We took a taxi to reach Mall Road which took hardly 10-15minutes to drop us at the destination.

We checked in a hotel right away to put our belongings ( back packs etc.) so that we can walk a little to find out the next days itinerary. We had to do so many things…Only if we knew the future….

We walked down the Mall Road and talked to some of the travel agents for to go for Lachen, La chung ( which happens to be in North Sikkim) etc. After going around for almost 2hours we finalised one of the travel agency to go with.

Here the point to note is you can craft the itinarary as you want it to be which can cost you lot more then standard off the shelf available routes. The standard routes covers the main places but you might feel lack of time to enjoy all of it.

Finally, we had dinner which was followed by fabulous performance of a band in local restaurant. I felt its worth it…..

To know about Northern Sikkim read more

Planning & Research Courtesy: Insignia

When I thought of being with Colour Yellow! -2

You read so far …. I had started from my base from an unknown journey which later became journey to Amritsar, India.

To know how did it happened..Click here

I felt at ease with that noise, wheels rolled on the road of New Delhi leading bus towards outskirts of the city and started to look out to get be busy in not looking unpleasant interiors of the bus. Alas! there was nothing but a lot more unpleasant looking automobile. I tried to find if fellow passenger was interested in killing that time by a conversation and found he indeed was.

This fellow was a sales person with one of leading tyre manufacturer in India and was rather sure about tough life and sales people and sarcastic about easy life of all others. He also proved about India is highly political country and women does not has any right to do anything as they would like to apart from choose which brand of the spice should be used in food they are cooking. Period.

Training my mind in isolation and I started thinking to my self about what would be the morning like. I did not do any so-called home work for Amritsar and just knew couple of name to visit. Apart from the Golden Temple itself. I decided to leave it to morning and doze off my self.

Voice of auto rickshaw drivers, news paper hawkers wake me up in morning to beauty of the City of Golden Temple. Vary of auto drivers, I checked with fellow passenger about distance between Bus Stop and the temple which turned out to be  half of a kilo meter which is walkable for me. I rejoiced in mind for saving money on local transport. I picked up my duffel bag and de-boarded. Walking towards the temple I begin to feel what it is to be in Amritsar.

The atmosphere feel little different here, a lot of turban adorning men & women all around you announce the city culture and its majority population both. I had heard about the Punjabi City a lot along with Punjabi antics like size of the glass in which you get served beverages like lassi etc. and wanted to see by myself. Looking around my eyes were searching for famous food joints ( I am a foodie and can eat at any hour of the day & night) but being early morning every body was minding their own business and being ready for the day to come. Wandering like this I reached to the Golden Temple.

To know what happened next, keep reading!

When I thought of being with Colour Yellow!

It happened that night.

when I decide to go to Maharana Pratap Inter State Bus Terminal, Kashmiri Gate, New Delhi (ISBT) and head to somewhere, not sure of where it will lead me.It is therapeutic to do it this way. Started from my base in outskirts of Delhi – NCT ( National Capital Territory) which took me handsome one and half hour to reach bus terminal by 10 I think. Travelling by Delhi Metro gives you ample time to be by your self especially in those hours when there is not much rush and still you can’t hear the PA announcement which goes on and on and on……in Metro.

All this time I should have been anxious according to normal people’s reaction and feedbacks however I dont know whats that in that duration. Not knowing becomes my solace. Can it not be?

I reach ISBT and see debris, sand and what nots of construction work and be notified of renovation of the Terminus. I make mental note to tell my self to get used to it, this country is developing country and in your life you won’t see a phase when you can’t spot any construction work around you in miles of distance. I find my way toward heard men, groups of women and fleet of bus of all sorts. A look at this scenario and you realise even automobile have caste, creed and associated hypocrisy as a Volvo multi-axle and normal TATA buses are parked side by side or may be its just my mind. Buses are covered with vomit, dirt, spit and similar ingredient which is making a new smell to engulf busses in it.

I walk towards these busses in hope of getting a bus which does not make my sense go haywire ( foolish me), I look around and read Amritsar on a yellow board. I can’t make out if this board had been yellow by birth of my habit ( of people, of course ). There a man surrounded by a group of people who are asking for the route of bus he is conducting. I approach to find a gap to get a ticket. I have decided to go Amritsar- City of Golden Temple.

I nudge a man who happens to be Sardar and request to make some room for me. I ask the conductor for a seat. He shrugged and replied there are many, no worries. I step back to wait for him to be free to buy a ticket from him which cost me few hundreds rupees. I am in no worry or hurry anymore, I enter the bus, although bus has announced its atmosphere even before I entered but one just can’t get all of it by just smelling a wine. The many type of smells thrust themselves in my head which I unsuccessfully try to fight. Few minutes in that ambiance and mind mind create its barriers and I start to relax by looking at the infra of bus. Engines give me a successful distraction normally. I make some mental note about condition of the bus the body language of the driver and conductor to assess how long is there to roll on the wheels. I am too lazy to ask them now.

In some time driver get into his place and engine gives me assurance its fine with its voice and. …..

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P.S. This is part one of this story, if you wish to read further keep watching this place.