“The Happy, very happy country”
Minimum Budget for two: 35,000/-
If you want to travel outside India but still not pay a lot of money, Bhutan is the place you need to go to.
Bhutan known for its happiness index is truly a place that will make you feel relaxed and not care about the busy metropolitan life.
What I loved:
- India sim does not work here, so no calls from office J
- No Passport required entering this country
- Bhutan and India currency rate is almost the same (just minor point difference) and they accept Indian currency
- They speak and understand Hindi
- No horns used in this country
- No red lights
- Alcohol sold in all stores
- Every dish has cheese (makes a cheese love link me happy)
What I hated:
- The management in the permit office is terrible, it gets super crowded and no one knows what to do or where to go
- Permit office is closed on Sundays
- Everyone chews supari here and so please be ready to see some spits here and there
- Bhutan Zoo is such a waste of time.
- Carry warm clothes for sure
- Carry your voter id, 2 passport size pictures, and adhar card for the permit
- You must have your DSLR with you because the colors and painting in the monasteries will blow your mind
- When you reach the border, stay in India than in Bhutan (Phungsoling)
- Make sure you mention to the chef to use less green chillies if you are not used to very spicy food
- Order Bhutanese dishes like Ema-Datse coz they are full of Cheese.
- Don’t forget to try their wine
Iternary (Ideal for budget travel for 2 coz of fares sharing): 7 days
Flight from Delhi – Taking flight to Bagdogra will be cost effective as taking the Druk Air from Delhi to Bhutan will cost you a lot. Druk Air flies on selected days only and its fare is almost the same as the fare to go t Dubai. So you might got to any other place in this budget than come to Bhutan.
Day 1: Take a flight from Delhi to Bagdogra. Try to book the earliest flight of that day so you can get the permit on that very day and not waste the next day.
Once you land in Bagdogra, take the Government run prepaid taxi (there is a booth in the airport) to Jaigaon. Jaigaon is the last village of India, adjacent to Phungsoling, the Bhutan border.
I landed in Bagdogra at 10 am, quickly took the taxi and reached Jaigaon at 3 pm. As soon as I reached Jaigaon, I rushed to the permit office and got into the line to get my permit as it closes at 5.
Once you have your permit, look for a taxi driver that you need to hire for your Bhutan trip and this same guy can help you get a decent hotel for the overnight stay. Have dinner and have a good night sleep coz you have a long 5 hr. drive tomorrow.
Day 2: Now that I have my permit, the driver of your car will have to get his car permit as it will be an India number car. You should have all the permits ready by 12 noon and then you should leave for Paro. Since it is 5 hr journey, you can have your lunch in the midway.
Once you reach Paro, look for a hotel, buy some wine and have a good night sleep and the vacation has started now.
Day 3: Leave early morning for Tiger Nest Monastery. It is a 7km trek that takes you to a beautiful hill top. I was lucky to see some snow fall there. Once you are done, have lunch when you are back and head to the museum. It has lovely masks and you get to see how different animals look in Bhutan.
Day 4: Go to the close by monasteries. Once you cover the 3 important monasteries, it’s time for you to do some shopping. The best place to buy some things is the flea market near the Tiger Nest parking slot. It’s time that you leave for Thimpu now.
Day 5: In Thimpu, start your day with the beautiful and gigantic Buddha statue located at a hill top. After that you can visit the temple. There is not much to see in Thimpu as you have already covered some of the beautiful monasteries in Paro.
Day 6: Leave for Bagdogra. Once you reach Jaigaon, take a hotel and book a taxi in advance that will take you to the airport the next day as it is again a 4 hr drive from Jaigaon.
Day 7: Take your flight back home.