When you are at Phuentsholing bus booking building, you’ll often see Indian tourists and also Bhutanese people taking a left detour from the main road and walking towards Norgay Cinema Hall. This means they are actually heading to Gharial Conservation Centre of Phuentsholing.
The Phuentsholing Crocodile Park also call as Amochu Crocodile Breeding Centre represents one of the steps taken by government to save Gharial reptiles. This 0.6 acre Phuentsholing Gharial Conservation Centre at present has 15 small and 8 adult Gharials.
Though Gharials look very much similar to crocodiles, it’s said that scientifically Gharial is a different species of reptiles. The current Gharial population standing at 250 in world, it’s one of the endangered species of animal. In Phuentsholing, there are Gharials with short snorts as well as longer snorts.
Gharials aren’t everywhere. For Bhutanese, Amo Chhu Crocodile Breeding Centre is the only place to see such a rare reptile. It’s said that Gharials live in some of the northern parts of India. When Indians from as far as Assam, Bihar and Calcutta can come, Bhutanese people don’t need another reason to visit Phuentsholing Crocodile Park.
Phuentsholing Crocodile Park is the only nature and wildlife place in Bhutan where you can take your children to see Gharial reptiles in real. They’ll gradually learn importance of conservation of Gharials and might think of steps to save Gharial from extinction in their own capacities. There is so much fun in observing those rare reptiles as they swim and feed on their baits or simply yawn.
Gharial Conservation Centre – Location
Gharial Conservation Centre of Phuentsholing is just above town’s vegetable market and nearby Norgay Cinema Hall after crossing Dokti Khola River. It takes 10 minutes on walk from main Phuentsholing market and about 20 minutes from Jaigaon India to get there. If Phuntsholing weather is sunny and fine, you can reach on a leisurely walk. Otherwise you can take a taxi till its gate.
Phuentsholing Crocodile Park is one of the Phuentsholing sightseeing points where Indian tourists can visit without a Bhutan permit in hands. There are four ponds where fishes, tortoise, ducks and other seasonal birds can be seen in co-existence with those giant lazy Gharials.
Things to keep in mind when you visit
Amo Chhu Crocodile Breeding Centre is a small nature and wildlife area of Phuentsholing. Unless you love to observe these animals in their habitats, you won’t enjoy much at this park. And those reptiles are fat and lazy. Usually they don’t move unless prompted throwing baits or disturbed. So you’ll need at least an hour to observe those reptiles well.
I also don’t recommend you in visiting this crocodile park alone. Because it’s not a place for finding solace. Instead you go there with your families or friends. I am sure children would love to see Gharials – a unique reptile that is neither alligator nor crocodile but looks similar.
The centre remains open morning 9 to evening 5. If you are taking your families and children, try to make there few minutes before noon. Gharials’ feeding time is at noon. Unless for feeding time, they are lazy and dormant like dead logs.
Phuentsholing Crocodile Park remains open even during public holidays and weekends. You can walk in any day. The revised entry fees in Gharial Conservation Centre of Phuentsholing:
- Nu.50 per person for Bhutanese and Nu.20 for students.
- Nu.100 per person for tourists from SAARC Countries.
- Nu.150 per person for tourists of non-SAARC countries.
You don’t have to pay for kids below 5 years of age and adults above 65 years. And also unlike in the past, you can now take camera for shooting videos or taking pictures. The charge of Nu.50 per camera has been lifted. This is one of the points of interest in Phuentsholing where Indians can visit even without Bhutan permit.
Recommend to read following travel experiences and exciting travel stories from Bhutan:
- Trekking to Chele La Pass – The Best ViewPoint of Paro and Haa.
- Phaktshoding Lake – An Oasis for Fishes at Gedu Jungle Hills.
- Place to visit in Paro Bhutan – Chumbu Lhakhang.
- Khoma: The BirthPlace of Traditional Weaving Culture in Bhutan.
- Mystical Mebartsho or the Burning Lake of Bumthang.
- Travel to Samtse Bhutan – Places to visit in Samtse Dzongkhag.
- Romantic Getaway at Paro Dongkola Temple.
- Bhutan Travel Guide: Tips on How to Travel Bhutan from India.
- Dochula Pass – Travel Experiences with Indian Tourists.
- Trekking to Great Dungtsho – Bhutan’s Lake Amidst Rocky Castles.