It was a trip planned for many years but never happened. At last on may 12th me and Nirmala left for the trip. we took a flight to Kolkata by spice jet at 10 a.m.and reached at 1 p.m. Kolkata airport was very impressive compared to the one I had seen many years ago.
Next day in the morning we left for Paro, Bhutan at 9 a.m. (PS. Only Bhutan air operates flights to Bhutan) It is an hour flight from Kolkata. On the way one can get beautiful view of the Himalayan peaks including Kanchanjanga before you land in Paro, which is in a valley between mountains. I learn that only pilots who are experts in flying over the mountains are engaged for this flight. first thing which strikes you is the cleanliness of airport and surroundings.We drove from airport to Thimpu which is 50 kms away through Bhutan’s countryside. all houses seem to be of similar structure with three floors and ornate windows with a penthouse for drying clothes and other things. In thimpu we had lunch in a Bhutanese restaurant before reaching hotel Riverview, which had a wonderful view of the town, a standing gold Buddha and glistening Bronze Buddha overlooking the whole town.
Next day was the day tour of Thimpu. First we went to handmade paper making factory.Papers are sold at a high price. I think similar factories exist even in Pondicherry. Next visit was to National memorial Chorten in the center of the town. It contains three floors of artistic statues and lots of people seem to be praying here, doing circulation of the chorten. then we visited Buddha point on the hill with 170 feet Buddha statue overlooking the thimpu valley made of bronze with hundreds of smaller golden Buddhas under the statue. we then came back to the town for shopping before we went back to hotel.
Third day we started after breakfast to leave for Punakha, a 3 hour drive through mountains.The highest point in this road is dochula pass at an elevation of 10000 feet.
If the weather is clear the whole of Himalayan range can be seen from here. Unfortunately for us, it was cloudy. we reached punakha , ordered the food and then went to temple of fertility, built by a mad Buddhist monk. People believe that if you come and pray here with circumlocution of the temple with a wooden phallus in hand, childless couple will be blessed with a child. We found even foreigners doing this here. The hotel we stayed, called RKPO green resorts was one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in with a wonderful view from all rooms, good breakfast, the furnishings were excellent with Victorian bath tub etc.In the evening we went for white water rafting on river punakha. It was once in life time experience. It was not too dangerous since it was grade 2 level only.
Fourth day, we left Punakha to Paro going back I the same route of dochula pass. Checked into Hotel drukchen close to the airport.A very good hotel.Visited Paro Dzong, overlooking the valley. A beautiful place from where you can see the planes negotiating between mountains and landing on a small airstrip.
Day5 was fully devoted to Tigers nest climb.We started early after breakfast to reach th base of mountain. It is very tough climb to 10,000 feet over vertical slippery trail .At the half way point there is a restaurant where you can get snacks, coffee etc. but it is only for the very fit.I climbed upto half way point and gave up considering my age of 71.unfortunately it started drizzling to make the trail slushy. It was difficult even to climb down on slippery walking trail. It is a once in a life time experience if you are fit and love hiking.
Day6 , we took our flights after breakfast back to Kolkata. It was first scary to see the Bhutan air propeller ATR flight, but it was ok with views of kanchanjunga from the flight.
Tashi nima- – 00975-17897591- email- [email protected]. He is a local travel organizer very reliable. Better through him than tour operators.
Thimpu- Hotel river view
Punakha- RKPO Green resorts
Paro- Hotel Drukchen