Phuentsholing is the gateway to Bhutan and the Chukha District's seat of government. Marked by the famous Bhutan gate, a visitor instantly feels the stark contrast of its peaceful and quiet surroundings compared to the boisterous and crowded mercantile atmosphere of Jaigaon, an Indian border town.
The immaculate order of the place satiates the eyes and pampers the nostrils as one walks pleasantly in its beautiful park and breathes fresh, untainted air. Immerse in the spiritual moment with visits to temples. Experience the Bhutanese hospitality at its hotels. For those who travel to escape the gnawing deadlines of office work and the incessant energy draining quest for financial uplift, Phuentsholing is a perfect place to unwind.
The photo-worthy landscape of Phuentsholing is made more wonderful by iconic attractions such as the towering Bhutan Gate. Get to know the people’s belief better by exploring Zangtho Peri Lhakhang and Karbandi Monastery. For quick stops, visit the Amo Chhu Crocodile Breeding Centre.
Traveling from Thimpu or Paro International Airport to Phuentsholing takes 5 to 6 hrs. Taxis that will take you to Thimphu can be found at the airport. In Thimphu, one can either take a bus or a taxi. There are also Toyota Coasters that cost less than taxis but a little more expensive than buses. This can sit 22 passengers conveniently. If one is traveling from India to Phuentsholing, visitors can reach the place by road from Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Bagdora Airport in West Bengal. It takes a 3 to 6-hour drive from these places to the border.
People from Bangladesh, India, and Maldives do not need visas, but only legal permits from the Immigration Office of Bhutan at the border. Other foreigners must secure visas through their agents in a tour package.
There are Automatic Teller Machines in Phuentsholing. Foreigners from North America and from Europe can use US Dollars and Euros. However, it is still best to have the local currency in your pocket if in case the ATMs bug down. The Bhutanese currency is the Ngultrum (BTN) which is officially pegged to Indian Rupee (INR). Indian Rupees are also acceptable in Phuentsholing except for the 500s and 1000s denominations. Credit cards have limited acceptability.
Phuentsholing stays cold and chilly throughout the year. The temperature ranges from minus 20 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius. The months of November to March are winter months. The place is prone to landslides and snowfall at this time. Monsoon rains come in May to August at its highest amount. June to September are also rainy and the temperature stays above zero. The best time to visit is from March to May.
Phuentsholing is not a vast place and exploring it can be done on foot. One can visit the Kharbandi Gompa (Richending), a monastery that houses the paintings and statues of Buddha, Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, and Guru Rinpoche.
For more distant destinations, taxis are available all around town.
Bhutanese diet includes pork, chicken, beef, chillies, and cheese. Because of Phuentsholing’s proximity to India, restaurants have imported Indian delicacies.
Like some Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, and Thailand, the people of Bhutan always mix chilli with their food. Ema Datshi, considered as the national food of Bhutan is made up of cheese and chilli. They also have Momos, a dumpling similar to those of the Chinese. Every food they prepare is paired with either white or red rice. Tea and alcoholic beverages can be had.
Phuentsholing is a place where you can completely escape from distractions — the inviting peace that’s ever-present in this town makes it a haven for those who delight in meditation.