Phuentsholing or Pling(local term) is the border town and border crossing was rather easy .Since I had booked through a registered Bhutanese tour agent I was told that I could have a guide through out my stay.I don’t mind having a guide for a limited period but having someone for 6 days reeling off statistics and cliched stories was not appealing and I decided not to have one. My attention span is quite limited and I would rather see,savor and digest.
Checked into Druk Hotel,situated next to the Immigration Office .I did not want to waste any time and took off to look around.
It is difficult to imagine that just an ornate gate separates the two countries.The contrast is overwhelming.One side is too congested,noisy,polluted,chaotic and the other side is clean,orderly and colorful with people in their traditional attire.The architecture is also striking.Phuentsholing is considered as the financial,industrial and trading centre and most of the goods come from India.Buddhism is a way of life here and prayer wheels,prayer flags and stupas are seen everywhere.
And Bhutanese revere their kings.It is a democratic,constitutional monarchy .Pictures of the royal couple and the fourth King are seen in all the government buildings and shops.They are popularly known as K4 and K5.
Sale of tobacco is banned in Bhutan and if you are caught smoking in public places you will be fined. No such ban on alcohol and I could see more bars than restaurants in most of the places. It was interesting to know that they have K5- a premium whiskey to commemorate the coronation of the fifth King and Silver Jubilee whiskey to honor the fourth King.
I saw a big temple near the hotel and decided to go there the next day before checking out.