LOST IN BHUTAN: 6 BIKERS, 20 DAYS, 7500 KMS OF INSANITY!

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Chapter 10: A visit to Haa Valley

I always wondered as to why is it called Haa valley? Don’t you!

Well I shall get there!

Nov 7, 2014 was a beautiful morning, well that’s what a place like Paro offers you, or it was the well-deserved sleep and rest we felt as if we have achieved the world cup, but not exactly! Climbing 10000 feet is also no ordinary task especially for us sea level dwellers where we have ample of air to breathe, the Tiger’s nest felt like achieving the impossible. Also I found a new found glory compared to the others as the LAMA (Buddhist High Priest and not the animal) anointed me for greatness. But the kind of peace the Tiger’s nest gives you, completely split the Yin & Yan (good and bad within a person) I mean split far apart!

Dreaming about the achievement a day before, as usual we were woken to the cry’s and screams of our leader Sachin Anna asking for the stick and lube, I still wonder if his wife knows this side of him.  But Thanks to my bro Glinfy we had a few more minutes of sleep as he had to do his sutta on the pot tradition which he follows very religiously. Akhil (Toolkit) yes that’s what we named him as mentioned in the previous write-ups, was up and helping Sachin, Deepan & Nicky with the lube and stick! Talk about foursome! Today’s plan was to ride from Paro to Haa Valley and we had been told that there are certain timings to explore Haa Valley not to mention snipers. As usual bread jam eggs were dwelled upon, looking at the quantity we ate, forget golden eggs the chef would be happy if this hen layed eggs with every breadth of carbon dioxide it exhaled. Remember the ritual I mentioned about Glinfy earlier, well Nicky had a similar yet different thing, before every ride he had to leave his dumpling in the pot. Or he would do it to the places we visited, and if we had to go by anything what Deepan and Glinfy had informed, did not want out little poopmaster providing manure to the plants on the way.

After all the rituals were performed by our almighty’s the ride began from Paro, now there are 2 roads to Haaaaaaa! A longer but good road, and a shorter but bad one via Chele La. Its nature’s way of saying fuck you all take time! But we were happy and excited as this was our 1st ride without our baggage! Even the Ninja 650 aka Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer that is so heavy makes it impossible to lift) felt like a bicycle. As we set off for our adventure deciding we were stopped by cops and asked us where we were headed. We said HAAAA (as if they were checking our breadth for drunk riding) heheha!  We told them we are going to Haa Valley via Chele La Pass. They asked us to take a different route as the usual route has airport that is their international airport. As Nicky may have mentioned earlier the posters of our dear own President Mr. Pranav Mukherjee was visiting Bhutan.

The officer told us to take a diversion instead of the usual route we were supposed to take as we went further on our detour coming to the realization that it was today that Pranab Mukherjee, The President of India had come to Bhutan. Speak about timing we saw his plane landing and the cars getting ready. Mercedes S, class Guard. Working for Mercedes helps. Bullet proof-landmine proof-name the jazz then I realized people mentioning snipers at particular point even I wanted a guard car. We took same insane pics but none of PM (Pranav Mukherjee not Prime Minister). Security was high, felt safe yet petrified.

The airport runway was the longest straight stretch I had seen since we entered BHUTAN. Every road felt like and anaconda’s body curved of drugs. Alongside we saw Air India plane too and we reckon our President might have used this plane to come to Bhutan. To be honest we felt kinda proud. I mean common Indian Delegate invited to the Royal Family birthday. After the Convoy left, the officers were not allowing us to stand there for security reasons I believe but somehow we managed to see the plane take off and what a sight it was. Felt Like RDB (Rang De Basanti) but on a much smaller scale and we had too many clothes to remove and wave at the plane also it looks okay in a movie gay in reality and it was balls freezing cold!!!!!

We continued with our ride and as mentioned earlier short but bad roads, well bad was an understatement, I mean where the fuck were the roads (in a way Italians would say). We had to go on a motocross mode, well at least KTMs were. The Ninja’s (Sachin and Nicky were more worried about the fork seals leaking again as a woman would be on a 1st or 2nd day of her periods). Honestly for a short while it felt great but considering the ordeal the day before we could not take it much longer, Toolkit and I were tired and Glinfy had a fall the previous day. (Glinfy, I wanted you to see the tigers nest should have come up and not wonder from down and not notice the car in front of you). But I have to admit Deepan like the running juggernaut was unstoppable having the most uncomfortable bike ninja 300 (with all due respect it’s a track oriented bike not for touring and absolutely not for roads like this). But he was keeping ahead and that was truly motivational. On the way met more officers, few of them were Indian officers and few Bhutanese which was nice to see. The Bhutanese official enjoyed looking at all bikes and actually rode Deepan’s Ninja 300 some distance too and of course came back and then he took mine. Almost popped a wheelie on mine but then again we did manage a photo with them. Honestly seeing 2 nation’s armed forces working together makes me realize that all hope to make a world a better place isn’t lost and before were are Indians and Bhutanese we are Humans. Watery Eyes (wearing glares and typing).

We moved towards Chele La and finally got hold of some good roads (still a drugged anaconda type of curvy) but our track guru Deepan went into Isle of Man mode, and we followed. Honestly I have been riding for just over 3 years and used a dirt bike and a so called cruiser (Classic 500 Royal Enfield). I had no idea what cornering is. Watching Deepan, Sachin and Nicky I learnt a lot. But what gave me the courage to do it was watch our very own Big Show (Glinfy) use the right to left of his tire. Inspirational!!! Speaking of Royal Enfield there was a group of riders all on RE. I actually prayed that the bike doesn’t give up on them as a divorce was certain. As we throttled along we saw the first glimpse of snowcapped mountains clearly in our trip. And like small children for a cone ice-cream we were ecstatic by the view. Jaws Dropped, Drool flow and everyone got their cameras out. This would probably be our reaction if Monica Bellucci came naked and asked us to click her. Photos were clicked as if cum shots after taking ecstasy Viagra and a whole lot of coke we mixed together!!!  And a lot of photo stops started here on, I believe there were more photo stops then the pulse rate of an average person.

Chele la is the highest pass in Bhutan or so it is said because further on the trip we would reach a higher altitude! But whatever we saw made us happy at that point!!! And the views here are just awesome or if I could rephrase it Mind Blasting!! I think we spent close to 2 hours easily over here. Riding into some weird places randomly and some nice flag points, which I should mention the day before we were given to hoist at this place, but being selfish human we kept them to ourselves. Toolkit the light father weight that he is went over the edge literally, well almost did. Me having vertigo kept safe distance and pretended to do rock climbing. For camera experts like Toolkit and Deepan this was a porn site of nature. I wonder what people would say looking at the holes left in the ground behind. We even reached a place where I thought of taking my bike off but mud, the arch enemy of my beloved tires – Metzys.

As we continued the journey towards Haaaaa Haaaa Haaaaa! That’s what my heart kept saying as here on and the views kept getting better and as mentioned before our Nature Porn Kings (Toolkit and Deeps) took it deep underground! We finally made it to Haa Valley for a late lunch. Now I come to the point this place isn’t high like the Tigers nest but the air is thin and to top it the place with its hills, river, and if you at all take a deep breath all u can say is HAA! That’s how I guess this place gets its name! And that answers the question to the start of this write-up. Hotels are quite scarce here and it took us a while to figure out where to eat. Cause Glinfy could eat anything. I mean he had a goat’s stomach in a cows body how awesome was that! Anna didn’t like pork though by the end of the trip he would end up eating even humans, Nicky had to leave his dumplings everywhere and Deepan had his taste, I would take any meat as long as it’s not very spicy but our major concern here was our very own tool kit! No spicy, No non-veg. (Getting to this point if any of you want to visit Bhutan is a paradise for Non-vegetarians and an absolute hell for Veggies! it’s like saying go join our cattle for food)! hehaehaaeh.

We did find a place just above a cop station so we knew our bikes (Wives’) would be safe and no one would physically assault them. So we could have our meal in peace. But then again I realized we are in Bhutan. People are nice and aware of the fact (Don’t fuck with others property). In India I wish we had a 11th commandment (Thou shall not touch others bike without permission)!!! Sorry now getting back to food we all looked at Glinfy as the Lord of Foodalumpus city totally trusted his say in those matters. And indeed what a lunch it was. The pork was orgasmic, even Anna tried and loved it. Nicky even with his dumpling problems couldn’t resist and we ate like we wouldn’t live till tomorrow. Akhil got his bowl of boiled mixed veg’s. That’s what we serve the pigs in Goa honestly!

After a nice heavy lunch we decided to fool around in Haa Valley near the river side. Good part we could go down to the water, not so good part our bikes couldn’t. But Toolkit and me found a way to get the bikes in sync with the river, and had some nice pics of his 390 and my batpod. Nicky, Sachin and Deepan found a bridge that they could get on to connect their threesome and get some amazing shots (not of each other) of the river. Glinfy as usual was so casual and relaxed and what else to help than a nice expensive sutta. (Ok I have to mention) if you are a smoker pleas carry cigs, u have a limit but please carry, because all you get there is navy cut which is not so bad but in Mumbai where everything is sky expensive the packet costs Rs.65-70 in Bhutan its Rs.200. I really felt bad as we got blinkers for his bike for a cheaper cost. Its also the governments way of saying please don’t smoke. In the mean while I was wondering how did Nicky manage the amount of pork he ate and he appeared right in from of me. He dint! Took my bike keys mounted the batpod and ran off to mark the toilet there with his dumplings.

In the mean while we rested and guess what even Sachin Anna got the natures call and had to run! Pitiful humans I tell u!

When all was set we started our return journey and we didn’t want to ride in the dark in Chele La so we took via Chuzhom which is a longer route but better roads as we found. Although when we asked some army guys which route to take they had suggested us to return back via Chele La as it is a shorter route but then Zeus himself paved the road for us. Smooth and we could keep pace, luckily our plan worked out best for us as the route via Chuzhom was slightly better than Chele La.

The entire return journey was night ride and on narrow roads so we did this ride very cautiously till we got comfortable with the speeds. We really admire the way Bhutanese people drive on the road, they are extremely safe and follow all the rules one can expect a motorist to follow. The trucks and busses would go out of the way to let us pass. In India they would be like Mar jaa population toh kam ho jayega dharthi ke boj!!!! But not here! They respect life and every form of it. We passed many villages that reminded me of Goa but in a little more creepy way. How the fuck can you stay in such isolated places. Glinfy was talking with me on scala and hearing his voice uska G*** phatke darwaja nahi gateway of India hogaya tha. So Imagine me. (BTW that was the last time Glinfy tailed in Bhutan) Nicky’s aux lights were useful but I wish the tailing person could put those kind of lights facing backwards just in case. Yes I was scared too. I have been brought up in a city that even 3 AM in the night have a vehicle passing me by. But here at fucking 5:30 PM it was like 3 AM and all we could see is a creepy man walking with a lantern with 2 slits for eyes in his head!

From Chuzhom onwards it was all but easy ride till Paro as we had done this road when we went to Paro from Thimpu. Once we reached here, Deepan – Glinfy – Sachin started their Isle of Man riding and boy for a beginner like me it was a treat to watch them ride. (Respect bros respect). We reached Paro in good time and had a really good ride both ways to Haa Valley. Even topped up our bikes for the next day as it was time to top up fuel again in Paro as tomorrow we had to do a long ride till Phobjika as per plan but what actually we could manage was much less than that! For that you have to stay tuned to LOST In Bhutan. What it’s not over yet. We all got to our rooms, changed and got down for dinner, now this place where we were staying was nice but always had water leaking at some point. And between in Bhutan every place has a bath tub, like they are obsessed with it. So while getting down for dinner I slipped and my hand and back too the hit. Stupid water! Dinner was light and Akhil finally got some food to eat. No pig stuff!! Deepan made it very clear, that we had to be up early as the pathway to Punakha had road block timings and we have to be on time otherwise we would get stuck. So till Sachin wakes up again for his regular dosage of Stick and Lube!

73 Responses

  1. Avinash Ambekar says:

    Lovely intro. Let the rest roll out soon. How stupid I was to miss this epic ride 🙁

  2. Sachin Nair says:

    We wish you were there Avinash to care of photography 🙂

  3. Mihir Naik says:

    Hey Sachin. Awesome 🙂 I am having goose bumps. 🙂 Is it possible to join you in your next ride? 😀

  4. Uday says:

    Yes, the road before Chittorgarh is horrible with lot of dust in the air. When we rode, we could ride following a bus which had tail lights. It took a better of 2.5 hours to cover this behind this. And added to it, my colleague had a misfortune of hitting a rock and having a fall. But the roads till then are heavenly, sparse traffic and well marked roads.

    • lost_rider says:

      Uday – Yes, I agree the roads till Chittorgarh are awesome but the last 40 kms bad roads we were completely unaware of and that caught us by surprise

  5. Bhakti Engineer says:

    Beautifully written guys..

  6. That’s Hell of an DAY! *Touchwood* for the fellow rider’s company you had! 😀

  7. Rajdeep Roy says:

    Epic experience and narration guys! Keep up the good work. Waiting for the next chapter. Ride Safe!

  8. amit says:

    Amazing i use to get goose bumps only during lisnin to music and nw after reading this is like damn .. What twists and turns hehe

    • lost_rider says:

      There’s more twists and turns amit. The trip has just began and wait for further updates to here the complete story!

  9. Ashwin says:

    Bihar part is epic! xD
    The description is just too awesome but thinking of what you guys went through makes me feel horrible.

  10. Sushil Ayarottil says:

    Amazing writeup!!! And more importantly an awesome experience!!! Waiting for the rest of it.. Waiting for Bhutan!!!!

  11. Ashish Gupta says:

    Awesome experience for you Sachin and your folks for a lifetime.

  12. Rishabh says:

    Never got a chance to ride through Bihar, but I’m sure ur experiences gonna help 🙂

  13. drpratik says:

    part5 was one of the most entertaining read i’ve read in years…cheers you guys !

  14. Shishir says:

    Buddy,
    This was an amazing read. For a guy who’s passionate about riding this epic write-up only serves as a kick. I now dream of taking this path, not that I am excited to ride on it but just to see what our roads really like. To experience the flavours. Like you said, when the destination calls, all these stand trivial. More so when you have accomplished what you set out to achieve

  15. Swadhin says:

    Brilliant. You guys are new age Xuanzang 🙂 . One suggestion please take a polarizing filter next time.

  16. Bhakti Engineer says:

    Epic Write up for Day 10

  17. Awesome… DAY 10

    btw did u take KAWASAKI MECHANIC ( in green tees) on the ride 😛

  18. vipinjoseph says:

    “Tool Kit” What a fate you got man….Sherman ur bitching or writing…Well played man
    :0

  19. Shubham says:

    So when is the next part coming? Excited to read it further! 😀

  20. Alinel says:

    Dual sport motorcycles (which seems like a distant dream in India) is the answer to terrible roads

  21. Sanatan says:

    Hey still waiting for the last part….please update the last day in bhutan…and the ride back if possible 😉

  22. Niman Vazirani says:

    Brilliant write up man! Helmets off to you guys! 2 of us are doing a ride to Bhutan next year around the same time as you guys! What would you guys suggest? ride through and through or is it better to train the bikes to Calcutta and then ride on and spend more time in Bhutan? I think we would be spending a max of 20 days on the road!

  23. Kumar Bagchi says:

    Great write-up dude.Read every page.
    Planning to do a Bhutan trip from Kolkata on this October.
    As i am a student the financial thing comes first.So can u please tell me a approx budget to cover the whole ride?

  24. Manish Rawat says:

    the shop national auto accessories shown in background could have helped as he is a regular client of ours and i know he is a resourceful and helpful person

  25. Suprith says:

    Awesome.. (y)

  26. Tautik says:

    Great inspiration indeed. Plan to do the ride 3rd week of April. A quick question – How does ‘Permit from Customs department’ work? Is it pretty straight-forward? Keep inspiring!

    • lost_rider says:

      Hello Tautik,

      There are 2 permits needed – Individual permit and vehicle permit. The process about the same has been mentioned in the first page of this blog.

  27. Ashok Kamath says:

    Hi Sachin, this is Ashok from Goa. Me n 2 friends on 2 bikes ( yes 2 bikes not 3) will be riding thru Bhutan from this coming Sunday. I will be following exactly the same itinerary as yours ( in fact I copied your itinerary and made it ours). Is it possible for you to provide me with details such as Hotel names / contact name / numbers at places where you halted and also any other specific information ( contact persons/ timings of Djongs / petrol pumps / eateries ( what’s Bhutan specific and where) that might be useful to us.

    Could you please email me the information at my email address kamath.ashok@gmail.com.

    Thanks for your amazing travelogue which is now my one most important and relevant single point reference to riding thru Bhutan.

    God Bless.

  28. Issan says:

    Hey Bro , that was really some good piece . I am in office right now , and the time is 6:30pm , bro i started reading your blog since morning (11:30am) and literally i kept on reading with no work done 🙂 . I just didnt want to wait ,as in what could happen next. All the chapters felt like a movie . The photographic session was totally flawless . I too am a biker and love to travel far lands , and yes i am a crazy photographer too . Just loved your blog , simply mesmerising . You guys are a perfect combo to make a tour worth while. Had never read something so in-depth , i felt like i too was travelling with u guys . Simply awesome !! Ride safe !!

  29. sudhakar says:

    Hi,

    What is Permits from Customs?? How to obtain??? is this separate from RTO permission???

  30. Wow 7500KM . I wish i will be there with you guys.
    Awesome dude.
    thanks for the plan and guide

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