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

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Chapter 8: Resting our sore asses in Thimpu

Having ridden through the picturesque landscapes of this amazing country, and reaching Thimpu the prior day late night, it was time to head to the acquire the further permits of the country. As the country sharing the border with china on the northern side, the restricted areas can only be visited once the permits area allotted. So, me, Deepan and Sachin, headed to the permit office right in the morning. This time, we decided to stroll across the entire city, instead of taking a cab/bike, and my god! What a beautiful city! People here seemed to carry a pleasant smile on their faces. The way we were being smiled at and greeted, is just a memory to be remembered.

The entire walk took less than 20 minutes. Sachin being busy in searching the directions, me and Deepan were busy happily clicking photographs to our hearts content. We even got to witness the majestic SAARC foundation, which was situated right at the heart of the city, and my, what a royal majestic structure it was! Something a person sees probably only once a lifetime. The most surprising part of the entire journey was seeing Mr. Pranab Mukharjee’s photo besides the King of Bhutan, what a proud moment for an Indian! Everything about this country seemed to amuse us to the ultimate level.

Finding the office was not a big hassle. Police officers after being asked for the directions guided us straight to the permit office. Once at the permit office, the process of application did not take more than 20 minutes. We were asked to duly sign and fill the permit request forms, provided by the lady official at the counter. Once filled and attached with the necessary documents, signature of the concerned authority in the next cabin taken, our permits were granted and we were officially going to travel the cross country ride. But!! This was not the final word; we still had to take the RSTA extensions. So the run across the entire city began, as the RSTA office was next to the clock-tower across the street of our hotel. So it was a hurried run across the streets back. The experience at the RSTA office was no different, and the permits were acquired within no time. This was the “Eureka” moment for all of us; we had official permits for all the restricted areas of Bhutan, and there was nothing that could have stopped us now, well, apart from landslides, probably?

Once the permits and paperwork had been sorted, it was discussed and decided by the group to explore this wonderful city. First up was the Buddha point.

 The Shopping experience: 

Being tourism oriented country; Bhutan had a lot to offer in the shopping department. Prayer flags, scrolls, lanterns, wrist bands, artefacts, are only a handful of things which one can mention. Thus the shopping was done. The shopkeepers being very friendly a lot of things were being purchased by the group. But mind you, the prices put forth, are fairly hiked, and need to be brought down by a lot of persuasion and bargaining, and so we did. The prices were brought down by almost a 30-40% while shopping, and the shopkeepers were happily bargaining.

From 7,500 ft. to 10,500 ft. – Buddha point: 

So once done with breakfast, we all gathered at a café nearby, and caught a cab. Now the information provided to us was that the Buddha point has supposedly one of the biggest Buddha idols in the world, and surely it was. As we hit the road to climb the Buddha point’s mountain it was a steep climb from 7,500 ft to 10,500 ft within a span of roughly less than 3 kilometres. Although it doesn’t sound that more, but yes! It was insanely steep with sharp turns. As the climb began, the idol slowly started revealing itself. It was as if Buddha, himself, reincarnated in the mountains. Standing roughly 170 ft tall, it was one majestic bronze and golden statue seated on an immeasurably huge platform. Explaining the magnificence of this structure, idol, architecture, just won’t do any justice, it’s something beyond imagination. It was not just the Buddha which attracted us, but the area offered an amazing view of the entire city. The fields, Dzong, castles everything could be seen and not a single street was left which was hidden, Who knew a structure could be constructed, projected out from a mountain, in a way that the entire city could actually witness the idol. It was as if Buddha himself decided to look over the city, protecting it from the bad.

After experiencing the beauty of the Buddha point it was time to head to the zoo to witness the national animal of the country.

Takin, the national animal: 

Spelled as Ta-Kin is the national animal of Bhutan. This particular species is only found in Bhutan – North eastern part of India – Tibet and in cold areas around. Once a dweller of these areas, now due to destruction of their habitat is an endangered species.

The main purpose of the visit to the zoo was to witness this majestic creature. Standing roughly 5 ft. tall and 7 ft. long, this creature was a serious looker. Having a body of a cow, and face of a big goat, the animal was something to be admired. Events like these make us wonder the complexities of nature, how can there be such an evolution of certain species?

The Cab ride back: 

Once done with admiring the Takin, it was decided to head back to the city, and on the way, to witness the Thimpu Dzong from the outside. And then, iIt was time for some food. Craving for some meat was at its peak as the travelling and variation in altitudes had taken toll on us.

Glinfy being in charge of the #Foodgasm and #Foodporn department had figured out a local joint which served Bhutanese pizza nearby our hotel. Now at the hotel, it was time to hog on some meat. That feeling of letting the meat pass on your tongue after you’ve been starving for what may seem like ages is just indescribable. This treat was to celebrate the successful entry of the 6 musketeers into the foreign land.

As luck may have it, there was a small lounge just besides our stay named “The zone”. And once done at the pizza shop, we decided to pay the lounge a visit. And its during this time, it dawned upon us that the cost of food and drinks combined was cheaper than our homeland, and then, it was time to do what we do best “Eat again”.

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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