Phuntsholing Travel Guide

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Phuntsholing is the most famous gateway to Bhutan from India. It is located on the southwest corner of Bhutan on the Indian border (along the Torsa River). It is about 180 km from Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. It takes about 7 hours by bus to travel between Thimphu and Phuntsholing.

Phuntsholing is considered to be the second biggest town in Bhutan. Because of its open border (there is a Bhutan Police check post) with the Indian town of Jaigaon, there is a busy traffic of shoppers crossing the gate. Compared to Thimphu and Paro, most clothing and food items are much cheaper in Phuntsholing.

It is also the overnight stopping point for travellers between Thimphu and Samdrup Jongkhar town in the south-east. The only road connection between Phuntsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar is via the Indian highways in Assam and West Bengal. It is a long and tedious journey.

Phuntsholing is also the only town from where people from the south can travel to Thimphu and Paro. From Phuntsholing, there is only one highway going north. There is an immigration checkpost just above Phuntsholing at Kharbandi. Indian nationals have to show their travel permits here.

Overall, Phuntsholing is not so clean. It also may not be as safe as Thimphu because of the open border. But I haven't heard of any serious crimes being committed there. Still, being cautious might help.

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