I travelled from Pune, in Maharastra state of India to Bhutan by railway and road. That was my first foreign trip outside India via Kolkata. Along with that I visited Sikkim and Darjeeling in India. I enjoyed the trip with good and bad experience. If you are interested to complete this longest trip in low budget, then this article is for you. We were 8 people including children from two different families.
Day 1 and 2: Train journey From Pune To Kolkata
There were many trains running between Pune and Kolkata. But we have decided to travel with Azad Hind Express because that train reaches Kolkata in the morning. After reaching to Kolkata we have not booked any hotel. The Azad Hind Express passes through the state of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal states of India. The distance between Pune to Kolkata is 2020 km.
Day3: Sightseeing In Kolkata
We reached in Kolkata at 8.00 am. Then we come out of the railway station and hired a taxi from morning to evening. The important places we visited were Victoria Memorial, Fort Villium, Hawrah Bridge, Indian Museum, Belur Math, Kalimata Temple, Jain Mandir and Dakshineshwar Temple. After completing the sightseeing we again reached to the Kolkata railway station to catch another train going to New Jalpaigudi for our further journey.
Train Journey From Kolkata to New Jalpaigudi
That was also a night journey by Kamrup Express. We reached to New Jalpaigudi railway station in West Bengal State of India at early morning. The distance between Kolkata to New Jalpaigudi is 456 km.
Day 4: Road Journey From Siliguri To Phuentsholing
We came out of the New Jalpaigudi railway station and hired a private vehicle from taxi stand which just outside the railway station. We hired a vehicle up to Phuentsholing, a city inside the Bhutan border. You can travel up to Phuentsholing without ‘Entry Permit” which is just like a visa to go inside the Bhutan for Indian traveler. Jaigaon is the last town located in West Bengal state of India and the only entry door for Bhutan by road journey.
Road Journey From Phuentsholing To Thimpu
We reached at an immigration office located in Phuentsholing nearly at 12.00 pm. On frequent request to the Immigration officer we got an entry permit nearly 4.00 pm. It was very late. Then we arranged a trip for Bhutan through local travel agents located in jaigaon located in India. We got the permission to visit Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan and Paro, the second largest city after Thimpu. That was our 2 days arranged tour. We reached Thimpu late night nearly about 3.00 am. I will give the detail story of this journey in the coming article. The distance between Phuentsholing to Thimpu by road journey is 164 km.
Day 5: Sightseeing in Thimpu
We visited many sightseeing places in Thimpu. Some of the important places are Tashichho Dzhong, National Memorial Chhorten, Dochula pass, Buddha Dorderma, National library, Zoo and many monasteries. We also visited the river in Thimpu.
Day 6: Sightseeing in Paro
Early morning we started to Paro the second largest city after thimpu. We visited many Dzong and monasteries. I liked the beautiful view of the Paro airport. The scene of the Paro airport from the back side road was looking amazing. Another thing I like Paro river. It has clear crystal running chilled water. We played in the river and sit on the bank of river for long duration. After completing the sightseeing in Paro we returned to Jaigaon on the same day and stayed there for Night Halt. Distance between Thimpu to Jaigaon via Paro is 50 km and 147 km respectively.
Day 7: Jaigaon to Gantok travel By Government Bus
We started our journey early in the morning from jaigaon to Gantok with government bus. After reaching Gantok first we searched the hotel for our stay. There are lots of hotels available near bus stand. After keeping our luggage in the hotel we searched the travel agent for our tour in Sikkim. Distance between Jaigaon to Gantok is 525 km
Day 8: Gantok – Nathula Pass – Gantok
That was our first day of sightseeing in Gantok. We visited Nathula pass – India, China border, Baba Harbhajan Singh memorial temple just before the Nathula pass and Tsomgo Lake. All these places are on the same route and can be completed in one day trip. All the three spots and road journey on this road is memorable. Total distance travelled on that day was 120 km.
Day 9: Local Sightseeing In Gantok
We visited the Himalayan Zoological park, MG Road, Hanuman Tok, Namgayal Institute Of Tibetalogy, Chorten and many monasteries. One day is sufficient for local sightseeing.
Day 10 and 11: Yumthang Valley – Lachung – Khatao – Gantok
This is the most difficult and beautiful trip. We covered Yumthang Valley, Lachung and Khatao. If you have not visited these places in Sikkim then you have no meaning of visiting Sikkim. This trip required two days and night halt at Lachung. The distance travelled on that day was 268 km.
Day 12: Gantok To Darjeeling Road Journey By Private vehicle
To hire a private vehicle there was office inside the bus stand. You have to register your travel plan and they will arrange a vehicle for you. You have no need to search the vehicle. We got the vehicle from Gantok to Darjeeling. While coming from Gantok to Darjeeling we asked the driver “Can you do the sightseeing in Darjeeling in one day and drop at Siliguri railway station”. He agreed and arranged our tour of local sightseeing in Darjeeling and drop at Siliguri railway station. On the route we visited world famous Rumtek monastery. At early morning we attended prayer in the monastery. The monk in the monastery was reciting their mantras. That was memorable thing I saw in my life. The distance between Gantok to Darjeeling is 100 km.
Day 13. Darjeeling Sightseeing
In one day we completed three trips. Some of the important places we saw were Batasia Loop, Himalayan Maintaining Institute, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Ghum, Rock Gargen, Nightingale Park and Himalayan Railway. The morning trip of sweeping view of sunrise from Kanchanjunga hill is very beautiful. For that you have to start at morning 3.30 am so that you can reach there 4.30 am.
Day 14: Darjeeling To Siliguri Via Nepal Border- Return Journey: Our driver took our vehicle by India, Nepal Border side. There is 10 feet road dividing India and Nepal. On one side of the road were Nepal and other side India. At one point we entered In Nepal to purchase Nepali things. There was a check post on the Nepal side. After registration at check post on Nepal side You can go inside the Nepal. We purchased suitcases and bed sheet in Nepal. Then we reached the Siliguri railway station via Mirik Lake. We enjoyed there boating and horse riding in the Mirik lake. The distance between Darjeeling and Siliguri is nearly 80 km.
Day 15 and 16: Siliguri To Nasik – Train Journey: GHY – LTT Express
It was also a night journey. The train was running very late and reached Nasik at 3.00 hr. The details of the train are given below. The distance between Siliguri to Nasik is 2116 km.
Day 17: Nasik To Pune: We travelled Nasik to Pune by Government Bus. It was also night Journey. The distance between Nasik to Pune is 210 km.
1. The distance travelled is very long more than 6000 km by train and road
2. Total 17 days required to complete this trip
3. Travel by Train and road is cheap as compared to other mode of transport.
4. Travel with more people divides the transport charges