Now the border process for entry into Bhutan is a little more complicated than the one for Nepal. Suffice it to say that you need at least a day or two in Phuentsholing just to get the permits for both yourself and your vehicle. Moreover, riders entering without a car accompanying you, be warned: the officials won’t grant you a permit for your vehicle unless you produce proof that you’ve hired an escort to ensure your safety for the duration of your stay in Bhutan. After spending the night in Phuentsholing and sorting out the pesky paperwork, we set off for our last national capital on this three-nation journey: Thimphu.
The distance to Thimphu isn’t very long, again just over 150 km, but it takes a good five hours to get there. And if, like us, you get stuck because of a landslide, it could take even longer. None of that really matters, though, when you take the sheer jaw-dropping beauty you witness along the way. As you wind up the Himalayan Range, a cloud of fog will suddenly roll in. Riding through the fog is a mystical, ethereal, and completely unique experience. And when it clears, suddenly you see a lush, deep valley spread out to the side. The landscape and the views keep changing — sometimes a river, sometimes a dry mountainside; it is all evocative and spectacular on a grand scale and an absolute pleasure to witness.