Indian Tourists cannot process Bhutan travel permit or Bhutan entry permit during weekends and also on public holidays. Phuentsholing Immigration Office will remain closed on those days. Even if it’s not a public holiday on Monday, you’ll have to wait at least a day to get the permit due to weekend backlogs.
But if you didn’t know these facts before and you are at Phuentsholing on those days, you don’t have to feel sidelined. You can wait having good Phuentsholing sightseeing experiences in these 8 places in Phuentsholing. Because you don’t need Bhutan travel permit or Bhutan entry permit to visit those 8 top tourist attractions of Phuentsholing.
#1 Amo Chhu Crocodile Farm
Amo Chhu Crocodile Farm is one of the top tourist attractions of Phuentsholing. It remains open from morning 9 to evening 5 throughout the week. It’s a breeding centre and a conservation farm of an endangered reptile Gharial. But there are also other animals like tortoises, fishes and few seasonal birds.
Its location being within few minutes’ walking distance from main Phuentsholing town or Jaigaon India, it provides a short getaway for people to observe this rare reptile. Since there is a possibility of this reptile getting extinct, it’s better you can take your children to observe them – they may not at all see in future!
It’s just above Phuentsholing bus booking building or Bhutan Residences, one of the popular Phuntsholing hotels for budget travelers. If your age is between 5-65, you’ll have to pay nominal entry fees which shall directly go as your contribution in development of the farm.
#2 Zangdopelri Lhakhang
Indian saint Guru Padmasambhava brought the first seed of Buddhism in Bhutan sometimes in 8th century. Guru Padmasambhava is one of the principle figures of offerings in Bhutan. Buddhism has that Guru Padmasambhava resides in Zangdopelri, his palace.
In Bhutan, any temple that goes by the name ‘Zangdopelri’ will be an architectural replica of Guru’s Palace Zangdopelri. Phuentsholing too has one temple that was built in reverence to Guru Padmasambhava. This temple is an important house of offering for Phuentsholing residents.
You’ll see Bhutanese of all walks of life either making rounds as they chant prayers or circumambulate giant prayer wheel. There are also many miniature prayer wheels that can be turned as you go around the temple. People casually living in its front park often clicking photos and listening to rhythmic beats of giant prayer wheel bells in all tell an ambiance of this temple.
#3 Phuentsholing Park
This is the oldest park of Phuentsholing. Located few meters above RICBL building and on the right side of Phuentsholing to Thimphu Road, it doesn’t fail to provide short getaway for families, friends and students.
There are numerous concrete resting spots where you can laze away your days feeling closer with nature. Broad-leafed Sal trees and tall eucalyptus trees in all provide good shade when Phuntsholing weather is hot and sultry. There is a basketball court where Bhutanese as well as Indians across border come to play basketball.
There are also numerous outdoor gym equipment where you can flex your muscles and give some exercises to them. Its small food stall serves hot momo, tea and other snacks. You can then make few rounds as you chat with other visitors and then appreciating architectural beauty of RIGGS Building.
#4 Rinchending Goemba
If you drive for about 20 minutes along Phuentsholing-Thimphu Road, you’ll reach Rinchending Goemba. Popular as Khanbandi Gompa among locals is just below main road. Built in 1960s by Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuk, Queen Great Grandmother to present King of Bhutan, is an important Buddhist temples in Phuentsholing.
When its name ‘Rinchending Goemba’ on translation comes as a ‘ Temple on Precious Hill’, this temple doesn’t fail to huge number of Indian tourists. Its hilltop location is a photographers’ delight. When weather is clear, Phuentsholing town and Indian border towns can be fitted wonderfully in a single frame.
It houses large statues of Guru Padmasambhava, Lord Buddha and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. There are ‘Chorten Dheygid’ meaning a group of eight stupas that individually symbolizes different Buddhism principles and precepts. There is a belief that infertile people gets blessed with children in this temple.
#5 Bhutan Border Gate
There are two gates in Phuentsholing that are inland route openings for people who travel to Bhutan from India by road. But I am not talking about the gate that was opened very recently. Instead I am talking about an old Bhutan gate that is below Regional Immigration Office Phuentsholing building.
In the front of this Bhutan Gate, well tended flower gardens with resting space receive good number of people who simple sit and observe the harmonious interactions between Indians and Bhutanese people. When Phuentsholing weather is sunny and unbearably hot, this spot is good for resting.
#6 Phuentsholing Market
On the way to Crocodile Zoo lies Phuentsholing Market, a simple vegetable market of Phuentsholing. It’s quite removed from the mainland of Phuentsholing town and infrastructure is quite poor. But it’s a place where simple things that are very basics of life, trading of food items, happen between sellers and buyers.
Walking through it teasing with vegetable vendors, inhaling aroma of seasonal fruits and vegetables which often are amplified by burning of local herbal incenses, in all come as if to tell you that beautiful things in life sometimes would come from such a simple place.
#7 Zangdopelri Park
In the midst of busy Phuentsholing town is this Zangdopelri Park. Its name derived from Zangdopelri Lhakhang is a park in front of Zangdopelri Temple. Unlike Phuentsholing Park that entails few minutes of walking from main town, Zangdopelri Park is good as far its nearness is considered.
You can see Bhutanese of almost all walks of life. Young love birds gather here for date over few bottles of chilly juice. Some Bhutanese come with their children and old parents as temple is a house of prayers. As you seat on those concrete chairs, you get to observe social lifestyles of Bhutan.
#8 Phuentsholing ViewPoint
Torsa Riverside used to be one of most popular tourist attractions of Phuentsholing. It used to be a good place for outdoor camping, peaceful trail for walking and also best place of photography. But now with ongoing project of river water diversion and development of town, ambiance of Torsa Riverside is nowhere.
However, everything is not lost. You can drive for about 20 minutes above Phuentsholing Hospital towards a place called ‘Peeple Drangra.’ Since this place is almost at an equal height with Rinchending Goemba, it’s another best viewpoint in Phuentsholing.
On sunny days, the panoramic views of Phuentsholing town and Bengal plains from another angle is a great nature’s setup for a good photography. It’s from here you can get views of Torsa River as far as it bends behind a distant hill.
These are top 8 tourist attractions of Phuentsholing where Indian tourists don’t need Bhutan entry permit or Bhutan travel permit in hand in visiting them. Because all these places of interest aren’t beyond Kharbandi Immigration Checkpoint where tourists have to produce Bhutan travel permit or Bhutan entry permit.
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