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My solo budget trip itinerary !

 

Solo budget trip??? And that too to Bhutan??? Impossible!!!

This is what I heard from people who had already visited Bhutan. Why did I choose to visit Bhutan for solo trip? Bhutan sounded so mystical and magical when I read about it that I wanted to visit the country. Bhutan is also considered as one of the safest country for solo travellers. Hence when the thought of making a solo trip came to my mind, I decided to select Bhutan. Generally it is said that Bhutan is an expensive country.  Bhutan’s priority has always been preserving their environment and culture. To reduce the tourist influx, they have adopted a policy of ‘Low volume, High value tourism’. Tourists have to pay 250$ per day as fee to the Govt. and they will be provided food, accommodation, transportation, and guide. But, citizens of India, Myanmar and Bangladesh are exempted from this making visit to Bhutan inexpensive for Indians.

Solo trips always cost more because there is no cost sharing of travel and hotel expenses. But from my experience if you plan your trip well, you can travel without creating a dent in your pocket.  In order to ensure my trip matches my shoe string budget, I took share taxi wherever possible. Buses are cheaper but rarer and time consuming in Bhutan. Even then, at some places, I did travel by bus. Exploring local cuisines was one of the main objectives of my travel and so I never compromised on food expense. I was able to cut down my hotel expenses considerably by choosing budget hotels and farm stays to spend my nights. Safety and cleanliness were the two things I looked out when selecting a place to stay. In the end , I was able to cover my entire trip, consisting of 10 days of which 7days were spend in Bhutan and 3 days for travel, with 32000 Rs.

Here is a look into how my days were spend and how I managed my travel and budget during my solo trip to Bhutan.

***Day 1 – 19/05/2019 ***

Kochi >>>> Kolkatta >>>> Hazimara

Travel :

  • Kochi to Kolkatta by Indigo flight – 13,000Rs – Departed at 11.15 Am and arrived at 3.15 Pm (stopover at Bangalore)
  • Kolkatta airport to Sealdah station by Taxi – 220 Rs, Departed from Sealdah station in Kanchan Kanya express at 8 Pm.

Food expense : 825 Rs

When my friends motivated me with #GoGirl status (@Lamy, Remi, See, Linz )
@ Kolkatta
Sealdah station

***Day 2 – 20/05/2019***

Hazimara >>>>Pheuntsholing>>>> Thimbu

Travel :

  • Hazimara to Pheuntsholing by share auto – 40 Rs
  • Reached Hazimara at 12.30 Pm, Caught auto at 12.55 Pm, Reached Pheuntsholing at 1.40Pm
  • Pheuntsholing to Thimbu by share taxi – 650 Rs(paid 700 Rs) – Started at 3.15 pm and reached at 8 pm

Food expense : 575 Rs

Stay:  Hotel Thimbu – 950 Rs/night  (+975 17608892)

Hazimara

***Day 3 – 21/5/2019***

Thimbu sightseeing

Places visited : Norzi Lam street, Clock tower, National Library, Changankha Lhakhang, Incense factory,  Paper factory, Bhutan postal museum, Folk heritage museum, Textile museum, Simply Bhutan museum, Budha point, Taschichoe Dzong, Sangay Gang sunset point, Memorial chorten, Walking Budha, Football stadium – ( 8Am – 10Pm)

Travel : Taxi – 1200 Rs (paid 1350 Rs) – Driver Raj (+975 17600161)

Food expense – 620 Rs

Entry Fee: 700 Rs 

  • Paper factory- 50, Postal museum – 100, Folk Heritage museum – 50, Textile museum – 100, Simply Bhutan – 300 (Kira, traditional dress – additional 100)

Stay : Hotel Thimbu –  950 Rs/night (+975 17608892)

Clock tower, Thimbu
@Simply Bhutan museum wearing Kira , the national dress of Bhutan

***Day 4 –22/05/19 ***

Thimbu >>> Punakha >>>Phobjikha

Places visited : Dochula pass, Punakha Dzong, Punakha suspension bridge, Pa Chu River

Travel :

  • Thimbhu to Punakha – bus – 100 Rs – started at 8 Am, reached Punakha at 10.30Am
  • Punakha  to Kulthang – share taxi – 100Rs for two – started 1pm and reached at 1.20 pm
  • Kulthang to Wangdu – share taxi – 100 Rs – started at 2.30 Pm and reached at 3.25Pm
  • Wangdu to Phobjikha – reserved taxi – 1500 Rs- started at 3.45 Pm and reached at 6.15Pm.

Food expense: 960 Rs

Entry Fee: Punakha Dzong- 300 Rs

Stay : Home stay – 900 Rs (Nimas – +975 77723999)

***Day 5 – 23/05/19 ***

Phobjikha

Places visited: Local School, Potato Farm, Gangtey Goempa, Natural Trail walk

Travel : Nil

Food expense: 600 Rs

Stay : Home stay – 900 Rs (Nimas – +975 77723999)

Phobjikha home stay
Local school, Phobjikha
Gangtey Goemba, Phobjikha

***Day 6 – 24/05/19***

Phobjikha >>>>Paro

Places visited: Main Street, Shopping @ Paro

Travel :

Phobjikha to Thimbu – bus – 160 Rs- started at 8.30 Am and reached at 2.30 Pm

Thimbu – Paro – share taxi  – 250 rs – started at 3 Pm and reached at 4.30 Pm

Paro town to stay – share taxi – 60 Rs – started at 6.20pm and reached at 6.40 Pm

Food expense: 750Rs

Stay : Dorji’s Farm stay – 1200Rs(+975 17686491)

***Day 7 – 25/05/19***

Paro

Places visited: Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Travel :

  • Stay to base of Tiger’s Nest – reserved taxi – 400Rs – started at 6.30Am and reached at 7Pm
  • Base to paro town – free lift – started 2 pm reached at 2.30 Pm
  • Paro town to stay – share taxi – 60 Rs – started at 4 Pm reached at 4.30Pm

Food expense: 250Rs

Entry Fee: Monastery – 500 Rs, Stick – 100 Rs

Stay : Dorji’s Farm stay – (+975 17686491)

***Day 8 – 26/05/19***

Paro >>>>Pheuntsholing>>>>Hazimara >>>>Kolkatta

Travel :

  • Stay to paro town – reserved taxi – 300Rs – started at 6.30 Am and reached at 7Am
  • Paro to Phuentsholing – share taxi – 650Rs – started at 8.30 Am and reached at 12.30 Pm
  • Pheuntsholing to Hazimara – share auto – 40 Rs – started at 2.45Pm and reached at 3.30 pm
  • Hazimara to Kolkatta – train – started from Hazimara at 4.30 Pm.

Food expense: 280 Rs

***Day 9 –27/05/19***

Kolkatta

Travel :

  • Reached Kolkatta at 10 Am
  • Kolkatta station to friend’s home – share taxi – 250 Rs.
  • Other travel expense –  350 Rs

Food expense: 500Rs

Stay : At friend’s home

***Day 10 –28/05/19***

Kolkatta >>>>Kochi

Travel :

 Friends home to airport – share taxi – 150 Rs – started at 7Am and reached at 7.50 Am

 Kolkatta to Kochi – Indigo Flight – Departed at 9.40 Am and arrived at 12.30 Pm

***********Trip cost summary *************

Total days – 10 ( 7 in Bhutan)

Total cost – 32,390 Rs

Expense in Bhutan – 16,295 Rs (7 D,6N)

Travel cost – 20,530 Rs (5,760 Rs for travel within Bhutan)

Food cost – 5,360 Rs (4035 Rs in Bhutan)

Lodging cost – 4900 Rs

Entry fee – 1600

“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage’” is so true. I had bided my time for many years, waiting for perfect partners, perfect moment and perfect bank balance to travel, but nothing materialised. From my experience, there comes a moment when you decides to do something  that you may have put-off for long time – a tipping point. I felt that tipping point and took a spur-of-the moment decision and planned the trip in a short notice of three weeks. Encouragement & support from my family and friends helped me overcome my apprehensions and set out for the journey. Bhutan trip brought me many new experiences and I was able to discover myself in new ways and make me look forward to my next trip.

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