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

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Chapter 7: The Magic Begins.

Route taken for the day was Phuentsholing – Gedu – Chuzhom – Thimpu. Total Distance to be covered was around 190 kms.

The Permit Story at Phuentsholing:

We woke up early; we woke up with just one target in mind today which was to be the first in queue at RSTA Permit Office in Phuentsholing for our motorcycle permits. Couple of us, Glinfy & Sherman to be precise was anxiously waiting to see if their bikes permits could be issued to enter Bhutan as they both did not have RC cards with them. Sherman had bought his bike just a month back and Glinfy had some address correction issue due to which they did not manage to carry their motorcycle RC cards. With a very gutsy positive hope and balls of steel, both Sherman & Glinfy decided to come for this trip even when they knew there is a high possibility their bike permit may not be granted.

Alright, all said and done, we reached RSTA office at 9AM sharp with all necessary documents and the main official present inside the office started reviewing the documents one by one. We had intentionally kept Glinfy & Sherman’s documents below all our documents with a hope that may be the official might miss checking RC card in the huge pile of papers. Here’s how the Q&A with the official began:

Bhutanese Official: Why is the name on the driving license and Voter’s ID different?

Sachin: Sir, the name is same (Surprised). Sachin Nair! Both in DL & Voter’s ID.

Bhutanese Official: No, in Voter’s ID your full name is written, Sachin Sadashivan Nair & in your DL only Sachin Nair is written. It is different!

Sachin: Sir, this is old DL booklet where Father’s name is written below my name. (Pointing towards father’s name)  

Bhutanese Official: Yes, this is not the correct format.

Sachin & Deepan: Silence!

The Bhutanese official at RSTA after this discussion added his remark to check DL in all our permit documents who had old Driving License Booklet. Interestingly his signature was very very long and his point of view to check documents was very different to what I imagined. With his remarks on our permit form, we were told to go the next official now for permit. The next official was a lady and I was thinking in my mind, maybe she is less knowledgeable, casual and will not bother with the RC card paper missing. We were told to pay around 80 Ngultrum’s per person and Voila! With that receipt, the lady started printing the permits for our motorcycles. I was soo overwhelmed that I called Akhil inside and said you can go and inform Glinfy & Sherman that they are riding in Bhutan baby!

With the permits sorted, it was our turn to start the ride and reach destination planned for today, Thimpu!

Riding the Twisties:

The ride we had done so far was 99.9% on straight roads and 0.1% twisties so the urge to ride on ghats was at all-time high. From here on, the entire 1200 kms we rode in Bhutan were full of twisties. There is no other word to describe the roads, there are very few straight roads in this country and more or less the entire ride in Bhutan is majorly twisties. The climate was nice and cold when we started the ride, hair pin after hair pin the ride was more enjoyable than ever before in this trip. Every kilometer you feel like stopping for a snap and just chillaxing such is the aura of this happy land. There are a couple of check posts where you need to show your individual & bike permits to proceed further and it’s a 5 minutes job really so not of an issue. The country is very beautiful and you can feel the difference as soon as you step out of India and enter Bhutan. Driving discipline left us speechless, Traffic reduced drastically, people are super friendly, humble, honest & always have a smile on their face. Combining all of these factors with the beautiful climate & scenic beauty this country offers, we would love to come here again & again!! Every place we were passing had left their mark on us, such is the picturesque beauty it offered and we felt like getting our camera’s out in every turn we took. The roads occasionally had pot holes and dangerous turns during today’s ride but with a cautious mind one can tackle it easily. Oh and there is a high possibility of landslides in the entire country! I repeat, possibility of landslides in Bhutan is very high so you may want to add a couple of day’s buffer just in case you get stuck at a place due to landslides. We were lucky not to encounter too many bad landslides.

We halted for early lunch at a small restaurant we saw on the way to Gedu. Here we tasted a very different type of Red Bull and unlike India where Red Bull is given in a proper can, in Bhutan Red Bull is sold in bottles which look like cough syrup bottles literally. But surprisingly the taste was awesome & different; personally I found it better than the Red Bull sold in India. Gulped Maggi noodles and local Bhutanese noodles (The only dishes available there) which were spicy and tasted delicious. We moved on after filling our tummies and the roads & views continued to get better as the journey progressed. The last 45 kms to reach Thimpu has fantastic tarmac and it’s a biker’s paradise. Winding roads with butter smooth tarmac & less traffic, the last leg before Thimpu will make you smile inside your lid! If you love cornering, leaning your motorcycle, this is one place where you are guaran-damn-teed pure fun!

By the time we made it to Thimpu it got dark and we did the last stretch at night. After riding for close to 7 hours we had made it to Thimpu. We stopped at the huge signboard which says Welcome to Thimpu! After clicking some nice night shots of the board we moved on and reached Thimpu.

Thimpu Road Puzzle:

Now, if you are riding in Thimpu for the first time, be ready to solve the Thimpu Road Puzzle. Since we did not book any hotel in Thimpu, our search for hotels began. Thimpu has very strict traffic rules (20 kmph speed limit) and mostly one lane roads. We got LOST in Thimpu and after going round and round for good 60 minutes to find a hotel in our budget with decent parking we met a chap who took us by walk to show his hotel. We liked it and decided to end the search and settle in what we found. The hotel name was Yoedzer and it had good parking space and decent room with restaurant attached. Glinfy & Sherman had decided to treat us with Pizza’s in Thimpu as they got bike permits successfully, something which was dicey for them from the time the trip plan was getting discussed. Unfortunately all the major food joints were closed and we had to settle for normal Indian restaurant food in Thimpu which was not bad at all.

Another day of this epic journey in Bhutan came to an end. Every day was so different from the previous day and everyday kept some new surprise for us. Today we were left speechless by the beauty this country has to offer and we could only imagine what else the Mother Nature has in store for us when we continue further!

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

  1. November 25, 2014

    […] button tires. You can read follow the link below to read the travelogue if anyone is interested LOST IN BHUTAN: 6 BIKERS, 20 DAYS, 7500 KMS OF INSANITY! – L.O.S.T. Some pictures from the ride below Fog, dirt tracks are the recipes for a memorable and […]

  2. December 4, 2014

    […] Let’s write something useful and uncontroversial shall we? During my recent 7500 kms long Mumbai-Bhutan-Mumbai ride, I really wanted to use hard luggage, Dirtsack panniers to be precise. Since I really […]

  3. December 17, 2014

    […] day I came back from Bhutan, I resigned from my job. It was NOT a tough decision at all, despite that fact that I’ve […]

  4. January 2, 2015

    […] and that has affected my life profoundly. I’m not a patriotic man, but after returning from Bhutan I was in depression for about a week. I didn’t want to come back to […]

  5. January 5, 2015

    […] was recently on a 7500 km trip from Mumbai to Bhutan and back. On day 2 of the trip (31st October 2014), about 25 kms from Kota, I went over a stone at […]

  6. January 7, 2015

    […] lane. Things are still bearable in metros, but if you are unlucky enough to find your ass in Bihar, prepare it to be dry humped. Where 4 wheelers can just waltz over a puppy without remorse or […]

  7. January 26, 2015

    […] is the same tire that is provided on the Duke 200, and I got to use it by accident, a literal accident. When I blew out my front tire on the way to Kota, I had to get a new rubber. The shops there […]

  8. February 24, 2016

    […] first time I got a mobile charger on my bike was just before the Bhutan trip. Picked up one of these from Redline+, and the thing went kaput within 4 months. What’s […]

  9. April 12, 2016

    […] For information about riding in Bhutan, click here. […]

  10. September 27, 2016

    […] 6 of us rode to Bhutan and back. In many ways this was a stupid thing to do, I ended up almost killing myself on multiple occasions, we rode too much and saw too little, but it was a life-changing trip for me […]

Leave a Reply