Road trips with friends are always something that the youth craves for. However, plans we make for long drives and rides often get cancelled due to certain reasons. It was the perfect plan for a winter trip. On New Year’s Eve, we decided to go for a road trip to Bhutan: seven friends, three bikes and a long journey ahead, early in the morning. What could be a better winter vacation reunion since the beginning of college?

It was a spontaneous plan, a one-day trip from Cooch Behar, our hometown, to Phuentsholing. We woke up at dawn to a cold winter morning, packed our bags and started the journey. As the sun rose, we went through the Chilapata forest, heading towards Bhutan. Many a junctions were our stops for taking rest. After getting to the meeting point, we directly stopped at the Chilapata Forest for some silence and calm from the surroundings, capturing the beauty of nature. The road to Bhutan was a narrow boulevard of tall trees through the forest. Our next junction was a small tea-estate closer to Bhutan, where we took a break for conversations over hot cups of tea. We parked our bikes in the Indian border town of Jaigaon and prepared to walk into the territory of Bhutan.

As we crossed Jaigaon, the Bhutan Gate stood tall in front of us with huge mountains amidst the beautiful landscape of greenery and mist. The temperature was almost two degrees, complementing a freezing weather. Hence, we decided to have something that would keep us warm. We ordered Thukpa, Momos and Chow mein, following which we started to explore the city

Phuentsholing is the border town in Southern Bhutan, adjoining Jaigaon. We were mesmerised by the way in which cleanliness was well-maintained in the streets of Phuentsholing, so clean that we could sit on them. The Bhutanese not only believe in maintaining the wellness of nature in their territory, but they are also quite disciplined and look after the rules and regulations made for the country

People are not allowed to smoke, spit or walk drunk on the streets. If anyone is found to break the rules, they are punished. As we walked through the streets, we were spellbound by the view, as the mountains grew taller and the fog started to shift, accompanied by the sun peeping out at noon. We visited the first Gumpha in Phuentsholing, after which we went to the market.

As we strolled through the market, we saw pots made of clay, with dragons and other mythical animals. Our schedule came to an end when the sun was almost about to set. Since the jungle was a part of the route, we had to leave early. After another round of Momos, we left for home. While returning we took a different route from the Nimti Tea Estate. As darkness took over the sky, the temperature fell and it was getting difficult to drive a bike. Our hands turned blue and almost froze. We planned to stop at the Nimti Dhaba to have a cup of tea to warm ourselves up, after which directly left for home.

The Bhutan trip was a whole new experience for all of us, since it was the first time we managed to fulfill the plan without any failure, and it was also the first ever trip of all us school friends together.