After returning from a motorbike drive to Bhutan in July, Mr. Ashok Kamat writes the following article. Behind The Handlebar has written to all those who look forward to planning a trip to Bhutan for that information.
West Bengal’s Bagdogra (Siliguri) is the nearest airport to fly to if you wish to enter Bhutan bike trip on the road. Siliguri’s distance to Jaigaon is about 150 km (the Indian city at the border between Bhutan and India). There is an enormous arch between these two towns with a door separating the two countries.
Siliguri to Jaigaon/Phuentsholing is approximately 150 kilometers away, and it takes approximately 4-5 hours to drive. The route to the Gangtok NH10 is Siliguri. Turn right across the bridge at Sevoke, about 24-26 km from Siliguri to Damdim-Mal Bazar-Nagrakatta – Banarhat- Binnaguri-Birpara-Madhya Madarihat-Hasimara-Jaigaon. With moderate seasonal traffic, the roads are good and should not be a problem.
If you choose to fly to Bhutan, you can fly to Paro International Airport from Delhi/Calcutta (please don’t check). Paro is 55 kilometers and an hour drive from the capital Thimphu.
Bhutan’s time ahead of Indian time is 30 minutes. It is prudent, therefore, to reset your watch to keep you in Bhutan for 30 minutes. With 2 photos of the passport size of your passport or your election ID. After entering Phuentsholing Gate, the immigration office is on the right side. A DRUK HOTEL board is attached to the immigration building’s compound wall, which cannot be missed. Druk (in Bhutanese meaning Dragon) is in the street near immigration.
You can ask for a form at the first counter, complete basic details like your name, father’s name, passport/election identity number, visitor purpose, and more and attach your picture and submit the first counter at 9:00 a.m. (Indian time is 8:30 a.m.) There was a mistake ( one form per person to be filled). A token number is given to you, and you are called later. Check the second counter when your token is called for biometrics (fingerprint) and wait.
Your token will be called again, and the individual permit will be given to you depending on the rush and the waiting.
Carry in the immigration office a bottle of water/juice and snacks that can get fatiguing and moist.
The personal license is valid for seven days at Phuentsholing and is only valid for Paro and Thimphu.
You need to obtain a special permit from the Thimphu Office for immigration only if you wish to prolong your stay more than 7 days or if you wish to visit other sites such as Punakha, Bhoimthang, Gangtey, Probjika, or Haa Valley. There is no hesitation with the special permit in Thimphu, and you must attach a copy of your permit and mention where you are going to go.
It will be better to put all the places on the desired list (Fhunaka, Bhoomthang, Haa, Probjika, etc.) as it is free to include them in the list. They will not be harmful.
Police can stop you and ask you permission anywhere on the road. You will be fined and not permitted to go further if you don’t have permission. But do not despair. Do not despair. Police are extremely helpful and helpful and usually allow you to get through without a fine but gentle warning that you will not repeat it next time.
Once you receive a permit from Phuentsholing immigration, you need a permit from RSTA (Road Safety and Transport Authority) offices at Phuentsholing and Thimphu if driving / riding an Indian vehicle. Offices of RSTA are located at the respective city bus stalls.
For a Vehicle permit, you need the following at Phuentsholing.
1. Fill a form ( available at any shop in the bus stand. they will even fill it for you for a small token fee) ( available at any shop in the bus stand. You need to enter your name, your permit no, vehicle no, your Driving License details in the form. It is a fundamental form.
2. Vehicle RC Copy
3. Emission certificate copy
4. Insurance certificate copy (Make sure your insurance is valid in Bhutan) (Make sure your insurance is valid in Bhutan)
5. Driving license copy
6. Vehicle tax receipt from RTO ( not compulsory) ( not compulsory)
7. Your person permit copy.
Unless you have personal permission, you will not be issued a vehicle permit.
Prepare and give Asst all the above documents. She asks you to pay the Challan and RTO (the lovely and helpful woman). On the opposite counter, Rs. 70/- per bike. You will be given a vehicle license on the spot when the receipt is produced for her. It is an easy procedure with no hatred. Do not forget to take a copy of all of the documents mentioned above to prevent delays. Hope you love reading “Motorcycle Tour Guide to Bhutan”
Please share “Motorcycle Tour Guide to Bhutan – Story from Famous Traveler” with friends and family.