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How to go Bhutan from Siliguri?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Bhasin, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Bhasin

    Bhasin New Member

    I am going to my grandparent's house in Siliguri, and I am quite tempted on driving to Bhutan from there. I have read some great travelogues about Bhutan, and it seems like an amazing place.

    As mentioned I would be driving so, please help me to know how to go Bhutan from Siliguri?

    Please do not forget to mention what places I should stop over at or any places where special permits are required.

  2. arunava basu

    arunava basu New Member

    There are many buses plying from Siliguri to Phuentsholing, the gateway to Bhutan and is around six hours of journey. You can also take a cab. From Phuentsholing, you can plan your our as you want. You can go to Thimpu directly or go via Paro. Alternatively, you can go via Jaigaon, which is a different route from Siliguri.
    djtravels likes this.

  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Bhasin! Welcome to the forum!

    So from Siliguri, you need to reach Phuentsholing, which is about 155 kilometres away. This is the Bhutan side of the border between India and Bhutan. There are two routes that you can take:
    • Route No. 1 via NH31 - Siliguri > Sevoke Bridge > Oodlabari > Nagrakata > Banarhat > Birpara > Hasimara > Jaigaon > Phuentsholing.
    This route is about 157 kilometres long. This is the lesser taken route because it has a mixture of good and bad roads. It's mostly a hilly route with some steep curves along the way. There are also some rough patches in many parts of the route. Thus, you might be able to reach Phuentsholing in about 4 hours or so with this route.
    • Route No. 2 via SH12 - Siliguri > Fulbari > Falakata > Jalpaiguri > Dhupguri > Gairkata > Birpara > Hasimara > Jaigaon > Phuentsholing.
    This route is about 152 kilometres long. This is also the better route to take as road conditions here are better. Most of the roads are paved and you'd encounter lesser bad patches in this route. You might be able to reach Siliguri in about 4 hours or less with this route.

    Since you're coming from Siliguri, you can directly reach Phuentsholing without any stopovers. But if you'd like to rest midway in your journey, there's Gairkata, I'm assuming you're taking the second route, where you can have a quick snack or even lunch in the various restaurants here. You can also do some sightseeing as this town has many tea estates to explore.

    So after a few hours, you might have already reach Phuentsholing and don't worry, as being an Indian, you do not require any entry permit to cross the border. But anywhere beyond five kilometres from the border, you need to obtain a permit.

    The required documents for visiting other cities like Paro and Thimpu are the following:
    • Indian passport with six months of validity with photocopy
    • Identification proof like voter's identity card, PAN card or Aadhaar card along with photocopy
    • Six or more passport sized photographs
    • Application form, duly completed and signed
    So from the Phuentsholing border, the Immigration Office is located about 200 metres away or about 15 minutes of walking. It is near the Tashi Namgay Grand Hotel and just opposite the Petrol Pump. Go to the first floor and complete the application form, then pass the form along with the other requirements. Your photo would then be taken by the officer and you would be asked to come back after a few minutes. Then, your permit will be given to you and you now have seven days to explore Paro and Thimpu.

    Note: The Phuentsholing Immigration Office is open only from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Bhutan time). All other days and during public holidays, the office would be closed so plan accordingly.

    But you're not done yet, since you're driving and bringing your car, you also need to obtain a permit for it. Here are the required documents for those bringing their vehicle to Bhutan:
    • Registration certificate of the vehicle
    • Valid vehicle insurance
    • Valid driver's license
    • Pollution under control certificate
    • Permit from Custom's Department
    • A letter addressed to the Senior Regional Transport Officer of the RSTA Office in Phuentsholing, including your itinerary, plate number and other information about you
    • Entry permit of driver issued by the Immigration Office
    The Road Safety and Transport Authority Office in Phuentsholing is located about one kilometre away from the Immigration Office. It is near the hotel named Bhutan Residence and located at the second floor of the Phuentsholing Main Bus Stand. Pass these requirements to the officer and wait for the vehicle permit to be issued.

    Note: The Road Safety and Transport Authority Office is open from Mondays to Fridays between 9:00 am to 11:00 am and 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm (Bhutan time).

    There you go, take note that these permits are only for Paro and Thimpu. You need to obtain a special permit for visiting other cities in Bhutan. Do visit these other threads for more information about Bhutan:
    I hope this helps you. Have fun on your trip!
  4. vkar

    vkar Member

    I don't know much details about the route, but my sister took the same route to Bhutan couple of years back and she says there are regular buses plying in that route. She took a cab though as it is not that costly if shared with the group and is time saving. You can inquire with a local travel agent or cabs in Siliguri to get the up to date information, but buses and cabs are very much available in that route, so you shouldn't have a problem.