Phuntsholing is the first town you come across as you cross into Bhutan from Jaigaon, India. Since Bhutan & India have friendly relations you won’t find a heavily guarded border like you usually come across when it comes to International Borders. The only thing that separates the two countries is a beautiful Gate, you cross it & voila you reach Bhutan!
India supplies almost everything that Bhutan does not produce itself. So Phuntsholing is a gateway for all the trade that takes place between the two countries.
Most foreigners choose to fly into Bhutan via Delhi, India to Paro ( the only airport in Bhutan) so don’t really get to visit Phuntsholing. However most Indians choose the road route, which is what we had to do since we did not get the flight tickets ! Remember to book your flight tickets way in advance as the seats are limited, the plane being small.
So, we took a flight from Mumbai, India ( my hometown ) to Bagdogra, West Bengal. From Bagdogra, we hired a private car to take us to Jaigaon, the Indian border town to enter Phuntsholing, Bhutan. As soon as we entered Bhutan, the weather got cooler & the roads were more ascending compared to the plains of Jaigaon. You can immediately sense the difference in the two cultures & architecture. (In Bhutan, all building need to have a uniform structure, you cannot design a building the way you want to)
We immediately checked into our hotel to freshen up, since we were tired because of the journey! The roads from Bagdogra to Phuntsholing were very bumpy in certain areas!
We had already booked our stay for a night at The Park Hotel, Phuntsholing. One thing to remember in Bhutan is when picking a hotel, pick one that is close to the Local market area. Getting around if you don’t have a private rented vehicle can be very difficult.
The one reason why I recommend this hotel for your stay at Phuntsholing is because of its excellent location. It is pretty close to the India Bhutan border & also the local market. The service, staff & food are amazing.
The rooms are neat & well maintained. (I am a complete neat freak when it comes to hotels ) So you can trust me on this (I am not even paid to say this!) You can find them online at parkhotelbhutan.com.
After freshening up, we decided to do some local sight seeing! One whole day is more than enough to enjoy Phuntsholing. There is not much to see here except a few beautiful monastery’s. We hired a local cab & asked the driver to take us around town. The two must visit places while in Phuntsholing are ,
1- Karbandi Monastary
2 – Palden Tashi Chholing Tsuglangkhang ( Monastary & School of Monks)
We will be covering both, in separate posts this week! So stay tuned for more!!