Highlights of this exhilarating expedition

  • The scenic route along the Paro Valley will be your first encounter with the stunning natural landscape of Bhutan.
  • Monasteries, temples, scenic spots, local food shops, and the famous Taktsang Dzong are one of the most majestic, mesmerising and memorable places you will ever see; these places altogether give Paro Valley a significant mention.
  • A short hike to Chimi Lhakhang monastery, also known as the Temple of Fertility, in Punakha.
  • An overnight stay in the capital city of Bhutan is amazing in its own way. The local markets, handicrafts, tantalising local food and the small little cafes will make your stay wonderful.
  • A Ride to Phobjikha, which is the winter nesting grounds of the endangered Black Necked Cranes. Catching a glimpse of this stunning species is a must-do on your trip.

img_20180917_154737As I entered the mystical land of Bhutan, it seemed the old traditions and customs were still preserved like the olden times. The unspoiled terrain made me wonder on the existence of such a place in this contemporary era. If you are in the mood for a road trip, here’s a tip – the Kingdom of Bhutan is best experienced from the seat of a motorbike. I drove past vibrant monasteries and unique houses, surreal panorama, and stopped for lip-smacking local food. As I reached the high mountains it enveloped me in all its loftiness.

Bhutan Himalayas
Bhutan Himalayas

I embarked on my journey to the Mystical Land of the Thunder Dragon from West Bengal, and entered the scenic territory of Bhutan. I planned the trip with two of my best buddies. Brimming with excitement, we booked a flight to Siliguri, and on reaching, checked-in at our hotel to get freshened up after our journey. Soon after, we set out to try some of the delicious local cuisine. There were so many dishes we wanted to try, but narrowed it down to Kewa datshi, which is a dish made of thin slices of potato fried in cheese and lots of butter, and Jasha maru – a delightful chicken curry which has the distinct taste of ginger. All this was eaten with Himalayan red rice, making up a simple, mouth watering feast! With full stomachs, we settled in for the night.

The next day, we started our Bhutan bike expedition and got ready to leave behind all our worries in the dust.

Paro Valley

We crossed the international border of India on the way to Phuentsholing. Leaving behind the plains and riding towards the mountains made us feel great. The many scenic tea gardens and a couple of wildlife sanctuaries kept us hooked throughout the journey. After some hours of riding on pin-bend roads, we reached Jaigaon in the evening to complete the migration formalities. After the green signal from the verification authorities, we crossed the border and reached the hotel to check-in. And then went for a little exploration of the town. With a late dinner at night and some chit-chat, we dozed off by 11 to wake up fresh for the next day’s adventure.

Taktsang Palphug

In the morning, after a scrumptious breakfast, we left for the beautiful Paro Valley. The charming town spelled beauty with its colourfully painted and antiquated-wooden shop fronts, restaurants, and numerous monasteries and museums. With two-three halt points for tea breaks, we reach the valley and checked-in at our hotel. After keeping our belongings we rushed out to explore the town. We went to Taktsang Monastery and to the national museum of Bhutan. As we were exploring the museum, I saw one of my friends talking to the guide about the history of Bhutan. My other friend, a die-hard foodie, wanted to try the local cuisine. So, we went to Sonam Trophel restaurant located in the heart of the city and ordered three bowls of hot and steamy Thukpa and a plate of dumplings.

Comfort FoodThe next morning, we left for the capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu, followed by Punakha the same day. The nation’s largest city, Thimphu boasts of city-like vibe laden with modern infrastructure and new-lined streets. After a bike check-up in the capital city, we zoomed towards the valley of Punakha. In the afternoon, after lunch, we hiked towards the Chimi Lhakhang monastery, also known as the temple of fertility. Impressed by the beauty of this nation, Bhutan’s hospitality radiate purity and peace. Now we know why it is called the Land of Happiness!

bhutanAs soon as the morning unfolded, we drove around 80 km towards Phobijkha Valley post breakfast. The valley is quite famous for Trongsa Dzong, which is the largest Dzong Fortress of Bhutan. It played an important role during the 17th and 19th century in regards to the unity of the nation. Then we went to Ta Dzong, which has been converted into a museum. The wilderness of flora and fauna at the Phobijkha valley was phenomenal. As we rode towards the valley, we could see countless birds and animals on our way.

bhutan mountainsWell, after taking this surreal road trip, there is one thing I can say – no blog, or for that matter even this blog, cannot describe the glory and the contentment the Kingdom of Bhutan offers. One has to take the Thunder Dragon Motorbike Tour to see what a gem of a place this country is and why everyone falls in love with this mystical land.

Tips and Tricks to Venture the Bhutan Thunder Dragon

  • Other than Indians, Maldivians and Bangladeshis, all nationalities must have a pre-planned itinerary and also have to pay $200 to $250 for Visa, depending upon the season you are travelling. Peak seasons (March-May and September-November) and non-peak seasons (December-February and June-August). Indians, Maldivians and Bangladeshis can easily venture into Bhutan solo, as a couple or in a group, with their passport or identity card that has 6-months of validity left.
  • The best time to visit Bhutan is during spring (March-May) and fall (September-November). If you’re planning to visit Bhutan in March, April, October and November, you must book the tour package and flight tickets at least three months before.
  • If you are planning to go alone or as a couple,  take note of the surcharges that you have to pay. Solo traveler- US $40 per night, group of 2 travelers- US $30 per person/per night, group of 3 travelers or more- no surcharge. So gather two of your friends to save money for your tour.
  • The best time to visit the land of Bhutanese and experience their traditions and customs performed during the festivals. Popular festivals are Paro and Thimphu Tshechu that happen during peak season. If you are seeking for more intimate experience, festivals like Royal Highlander Festival, Ura Matsutake Mushroom Festival, Rhododendron Festival, Black Necked Crane Festival, and Haa Summer Festival should be on your to-do list.
  • Pack only the necessary stuff. Do not forget to carry warm clothes as the temperature goes down at night while the weather can change drastically. Also, pack certain emergency medicines for motion sickness as you would be driving on curvy mountain roads for long duration.

“When we talk about a country that truly favors happiness in all manners, it is undoubtedly Bhutan. A country that lags far behind the modern world, giving travelers and riders a taste of what unspoiled nature looks like. The beauty of the emerald mountains, glimmering and gushing rivers, exhilarating roads and happy faces; a ride in such a country will be a blissful experience for each traveler who plans a trip to Bhutan.”

Mount Everest is the epitome that every adventurous trekker around the world hopes to reach. The highest mountain on earth makes one wonder – how does the world look from that incredible roof? But reaching the summit is a herculean task; you require an arduous amount of mental and physical strength in order to reach that lofty height. Trekking to Mt. Everest’s Base Camp, however, is doable, and is an incredible adventure in itself , although you will still have to fight to reach a soaring height of 17,600 ft. To prepare you better to make the climb, here are some tips that will allow you to reach the Foothills of the Highest Mountain in the World.

1) Buy your equipment in Kathmandu


Trekking poles, gloves, socks, hats etc., all these gears come at rock-bottom prices when bought locally from Kathmandu. The market is a one-stop-destination for every mountaineer who comes to Nepal to trekking up to the Everest Base Camp(EBC). If by chance you need something or have forgotten it, the market in Kathmandu has it all.

2) Bring candies, quick snacks and protein bars

While trekking in the mountain you lose a great amount of energy as you will be walking daily for around 6-7 hours. So, to give your body a shoot up of instant energy, protein bars and chocolates do wonders. These quick snacks are also available on the trek, but you have to spend a lot of money every time you have hunger pangs.

3) Pack Tang

To avoid high altitude sickness, you need to be hydrated and require at least 2-litres of water every day. To be honest, it gets boring after a while, so mixing Tang in your water will help you drink more water and it will also not taste bad or boring.

4) Get purification tablets

Help your pocket and the environment by getting water purification tablets, or you can carry SteriPens as well. Simply fill your bottle for free from anywhere and add the purification tablets. SteriPens also work great, using ultraviolet light to purify water in 30 seconds.

5) Pack a book


Trekking to EBC takes a lot of time and sometimes it gets pretty boring when you are relaxing at the campsite. You can indulge in some good read to pass time and trust you will love reading midst the high mountains. Tip: You can buy books at Namche Bazar or Kathmandu as well.

6) Get handi-wipes

You won’t be showering for good 15-20 days, as in -10 degree Celsius it gets quite daunting to take a bath. So wet-wipes come to your rescue and shoo away the bad body odor. Carry sanitizers too as you will be trekking in dirt going up and down, on bumpy paths, so sanitizers are the best way to keep your hands clean. Also, do not litter around the used wipes, please carry portable dustbin. Keep the Himalayas clean and green.

7) Give Yaks and Sherpa’s way at all time

While trekking, if you see yaks or Sherpas coming your way, stand aside and give them way. You don’t want to be thrown down from a cliff. Also, the Sherpas and the porters work very hard to supply food and other stuff to the every base camp. Do your bit by helping them in making the route clear and free from obstacles as they carry loads of kilograms on their back.

8) Keep batteries close to your body

Whenever, you are trekking keep the batteries close to your body. Keep it in the inner pocket or wherever you feel safe because at high altitude the batteries drain faster and you don’t want to come back with no pictures at all. You can charge your batteries at some halt points, but you will have to pay loads of money (Rs 350 approx.) per hour to do so. Also, remember to keep your batteries in your sleeping bags as the temperature dips very quickly at night. Carry extra batteries if you want to be on safe side.

9) The best views comes at early morning

Spend a day or two in Namche Bazar; acclimatize while having fun exploring really popular tourist spots!

Try to wake up early in the morning to get the perfect views of the lofty mountains. At noon, the clouds comes as an obstacle to your view. You can see Mt. Everest at very few points, Namche Bazaar and Tengboche gives the best views of the mighty mountain. Take photos to make it a memory for a lifetime.

10) It is not a race, take your time


Get acclimatize to the altitude, take extra day if you need, walk slow and drink plenty of water. Nobody will ask you how long you took to reach EBC. They are going to be happy and amazed that you reached the base. Walk at your own pace, enjoy each moment because this adventure will be the best of all.

11) Carry a good first-aid kit


We always recommend that our trekkers carry their personal first-aid box, containing any medicines they might require, because there is no guarantee that you will get the right kind of medicine in an emergency. Make sure to have pain relievers, lip balm and sunscreen. Diamox is another necessary medicine for avoiding high-mountain sickness. Many people take it before the trek, but we don’t recommend it unless the trek leader or the doctor on site advice it.

12) Pack well but less in weight

Keep it light!
Keep it light!

It is necessary for you to pack well that leads in less kilograms. Pack only those things that are really required on the trek. Try packing a few times before your trek and make sure the weight do not exceed to more than 15 kg. It will be great if you pack till 10 kg, because it is only you who will have to carry it all to the base camp. Porters are there to carry your other belongings. Tips: You can climb upstairs with your 10-15 kg backpack a few times to let your body adjust to the weight.

13) Useful tips for women

Girls, please make sure you tie your hair, do not leave it open. You will be trekking in dirt and you also won’t be able to take a bath. So if you leave your hair open, by the end of the trek you will have dreadlocks and you might have to cut your hair. So make a braid or tie it in a pony or a bun, choose whatever you feel comfortable in. Same goes for men if they have long hair.

Another tip for Women – please carry period pain tablets, and make sure you carry biodegradable pads or tampons if you are not comfortable using menstrual cups. At high-altitudes, you may get periods prior to your date. Also, make sure you discard the used pads in dustbin, if not, the biodegradable pads are preferable due to unavailability of dustbin at some locations.

14) Best views of Everest on the flight to Lukla


Make sure you book your seat either at the front or back of the plane on the left-hand side to get amazing views of the highest mountain in the world. You can glimpse Mount Everest even before your trek, and the views from the plane will get you charged up for the upcoming adventure.

15) Relish each moment


You are one of the few lucky people in the world that gets to experience this, enjoy every moment and appreciate every moment you can. You might suffer, you might get tired but the rewarding views at Everest Base Camp is just worthy for each of your effort.