The Highway connecting Bhutan with India is scintillating, making it one of the best memorable rides that we have had in the entire trip. Our eyes never got tired of seeing lush green tea estates for miles and miles.
We entered Bhutan via Jaigaon/Phuentsholing. The mere thought of riding your own bike in another country was thrilling and a country as beautiful as Bhutan was the icing on the cake. Indians do not need a visa to travel to Bhutan. In fact one can cross over to Pheuntsholing shop around from 9 am-10 pm and get back to Jaigaon by 10 pm. However, if you plan to extend your trip beyond Pheuntsholing, you would require a travel permit and a vehicle permit if you plan to use your own vehicle.
The Entry Procedure is pretty straightforward and simple. One has to go to the Immigration office at the border, the first building on your right and fill out the entry permit form. All you need is your passport and a couple of passport size photos. After taking pictures of you on their webcam, the Immigration office at the Pheuntsholing issues entry permit. The permit is issued for a maximum of 7 days and entry is restricted to Paro, Thimpu and Pheuntsholing. To visit any other destination within the Kingdom and extend visit beyond 7 days you have to extend your travel permit at Thimphu.
Getting a permit for your vehicle is again a simple procedure. Vehicle permits are issued by the "Roads And Safety Authority Of Bhutan." This office is barely a kilometer away from the Immigration office at the border. You have to provide a copy of RC book, Insurance, Driving Licence along with a copy of Entry Permit. You are required to write a letter seeking permit for your vehicle from the Road and Safety Authority. Bikes are charged Rupee 10 per day. Vehicle permits are issued with the same conditions as entry permit.
Any extension requests should be done at "Roads And Safety Authority" office at Thimphu. If you wish to enter the Kingdom on a Sunday, keep in mind that the Road and Safety Authority office functions only from 11 am to 1 pm. Once you have all the permits, keep the permit papers handy and safe as you are required to show these documents at various check posts en-route. From Pheuntsholing to Thimphu, there are two Immigration check-posts and it is mandatory to get your travel permits stamped here during entry and exit.
For Foreign Nationals planning to visit Bhutan, it is mandatory to book their trip through a Bhutanese tour operator. The tour operator will take care of their visa, stay, tours and the likes.
We would recommend staying over at Pheuentsholing instead of Jaigaon as it is more organized, calm and peaceful. Pheuntsholing is a brilliant place to break your journey as it offers wonderful hotels and restaurants catering to all budgets.nd also has a bustling and busy market making it the perfect place to pick up goodies for friends and family.
Petrol pumps are fewer in Bhutan. Leaving the pumps at the border town there are only two more fuel pumps en-route. One at Geddu and the other at Tsimasham. It would be wise to tank up before entering Bhutan.