Whenever I get some respite from my academic schedule, I like to pack my bags and travel to some place beautiful and this time decided it will be the north east India. The initial plan was to visit Meghalaya living bridges but could not materialize because some local tensions in the region. Instead decided to take a detour to neighbor Bhutan. It is quite easy for Indians to enter in Bhutan if they carry passport / election id card. If these documents are not available then the identification documents can be made in Phuentsholing Indian embassy with help of driving license and pan card . You can cross in Pheunsholing in Bhutan without any permit documents. The Indian border town is Jaigon and can be reached by bus from NJP. The journey took approximately 5 hours. The journey is very beautiful as the bus travels through tea plantations.
The journey from Pheunsholing to Thimpu can be done in private cab or public transport bus. The public transport bus are nice and the journey was comfortable. You can feel the change in the altitude after 1 hour of journey. The temperature suddenly dropped and the weather was very pleasant. The journey time is approximately 6 to 7 hours and the cost in INR 250 approx. In Bhutan, Indian currency is accepted. It is better to carry enough cash with you as the number of ATM in Bhutan is less. There are lot of hotels in Thimpu and in every budget range. It is better to book one before in the peak tourist season. The pass issued at border is valid for Thimpu and Paro only. You have to go immigration office in Thimpu to get another pass to visit Haa valley.
Local mode of transportation inside Bhutan is not so great and most of the areas are connected through difficult mountain roads. It is better to hire a cab and travel. A one day trip to Paro, Haa valley will cost you somewhere around INR 3000. Haa valley has got one of the highest motor-able road in the world.
The region is cold and it is advisable to carry warm clothing. The views are breathtaking during the journey. It is important to note that Bhutan agriculture is complete organic in nature and you can eat an apple just plucking it from the tree. The region is famous for its organic apples. The rice grown here has a different shade and is organic in nature. Cheese is abundantly used in the area. It was October and so the winter was about to set in. I could see the yellow rice fields ready for harvest.
There are other attractions like handicraft museum, zoo which are worth visiting. The people here are very friendly and helpful, a stark contrast compared to neighboring India. In opinion, Bhutan was very safe and you can travel alone. The food here is simple but tasty. Many dishes use cheese as a base for cooking and chillies are used in abundance. I did not get chance to visit south Bhutan. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and will definitely go back.