Phuentsholing

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"Border Town of Bhutan"

Phuentsholing Tourism

The second largest town in Bhutan, Phuentsholing shares its borders with the Indian State of West Bengal. Serving as an entry point for travellers from Kolkata and Siliguri, it is an important economic hub of Bhutan. An urban centre, it is more developed than most of the towns of Bhutan, yet it has a perfect amount of nature's touch. It offers an experience like nothing else. Home to different communities, it's a must-visit place in Bhutan.

Phuentsholing is a town on the southern border of Bhutan, known for its modern architecture. It is a valuable trading centre of Bhutan, where Indians, Nepalese and Bhutanese all come together to live and trade harmoniously in this town.

On your trip to Phuentsholing, you must visit Zangto Pelri Lhakhang, Karbandi Monastery, Bhutan Gate and Kharbandi Goemba. Zangto Pelri Lhakhang is a small temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. An exquisite example of the traditional Bhutanese architecture, Bhutan Gate is the main gateway for entry from India. The Amo Chuu, which is the Crocodile Breeding Centre, breeds almost extinct species like Ghariyals and alligators. Karbandi Monastery or Karbandi Goemba is a temple with giant statues of Shabdrung Ngawang, Guru Rinpoche and Shakyamuni Buddha. The temple has a rich history and offers a fantastic view.

The market of Phuentsholing is quite good and sells all kinds of products ranging from electricals to footwears to eatables. If you long for a peaceful and serene walk, then Torsa riverside is the place for you. No vehicles are allowed on the riverside, and the view and natural beauty leave you awestruck. This town is a must-visit if you want to experience a day or two of solidarity and peace.

More on Phuentsholing

An Important Trade Centre

The town is a significant business centre for Bhutanese and Indians to do business. The headquarters of Bank of Bhutan are located in Phuentsholing. The consulate office of the Indian government is located in Phuentsholing. 

History of Phuentsholing

A prominent town for trading in Bhutan, Phuentsholing is the city which witnessed the assassination of then Prime Minister Jigme Dorji by a corporal in the army on April 5th 1964. The enraged army and religious groups did not support the amendments (modernisation policies in Bhutan) made by him which led to this unfortunate event.

Concrete houses and one-storeyed buildings started coming up in the late 1950s, following which subsequent services started in Phuentsholing, transforming this sleepy little village into the town we see today.

Shopping in Phuentsholing

As the Himalayan Kingdom of queens and kings, the world-famous Gateway of Bhutan, Phuentsholing is a vibrant shopping destination known for its bustling bazaars, traditional handicrafts, and rich textiles.

Here are the best ways to enjoy shopping in Phuentsholing -

  • Pick up Tibetan carpets, Burma teak woodwork and colonial antiques from Druk Handicrafts and Carpet Industries.
  • The traditional Bhutanese women's clothes 'Kira' is a must buy. Collect them alongside bone china crockeries with oriental carvings, oriental rugs and decorative items from Phuentsholing Main Market.
  • Phuentsholing's shopping malls offer modern and ethnic clothing, handicrafts, jewellery, designer apparel, and a variety of souvenirs. Make a stop at Namgyal Phodrang Shopping Complex and YDF Shopping Mall.
  • Bhutan Commercial Hub is the city's public square with a garden, flanked by electronics, homeware and footwear stores.
  • Bhutan Duty-Free Shop is the city's only shop offering high-end imported liquors and wines.
Pro Tips -
  • Always carry cash while shopping in Phuentsholing.
  • Most vendors are open to bargains for reasonable 10-30% discounts on items without price tags.

Religion in Phuentsholing

Buddhism is the major religion followed in Phuentsholing.

Nightlife in Phuentsholing

The nights are not as monotonous as most parts of Bhutan and being the liberal consumer of alcohol, finding alcohol is fairly easy here. But almost all the bars close before 11pm, so it's better to stock it up before 11pm.

Tips

Since the town is quite developed, there are banks and ATMs in the city and you can easily withdraw cash from any of the ATMs. Although English is spoken and understood, there are many people who still don't speak English and hence learning a few basic Dzongkha syllables can be useful.

Best Time to Visit Phuentsholing

How to Reach Phuentsholing

How to Reach Overview

Daily buses to Phuentsholing are available from Paro, home to the only international airport of Bhutan. Direct bus services to Phuentsholing are also available from the Haa Base, Tsirang, Dagana, Bumthang, Tshimasham, Samdrup Jongkhar and Trashiyangtse. Those arriving through the Indian border can reach Phuentsholing through Siliguri in West Bengal.

How to reach Phuentsholing by flight

As there is no airport in Phuentsholing, the closest airport one can arrive from is the Bagdogra airport, located about 175 km away from the town. The airport is connected with most major Indian cities. One can hire a cab from the airport or take a bus from the neighbouring Siliguri to reach Phuentsholing.

How to reach Phuentsholing by road

One must travel on National Highway 317 A in India towards the north of West Bengal, passing through Hasimara and Jaigaon. Jaigaon is the closest town to the Indo-Bhutan border, and on the other side of the border is the town of Pheuntsholing.

How to reach Phuentsholing by train

Hasimara is the closest railway station to Phuentsholing, a distance of around 20 km from the town. However, this railway station has limited connectivity. The New Alipurduar Railway station is a better option, as it is around 60 km from Phuentsholing. Cabs and buses may be availed to reach the town from these stations.

How to reach Phuentsholing by bus

There are direct bus services from Kolkata and Siliguri to Phuentsholing, which are handled by the Bhutan Government. The buses from Kolkata come from the Eslpanade Bus Station, departing at 7:00 PM every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The journey can take between 18 and 25 hours, costing BTN 350 or INR 350. From Siliguri, buses depart twice a day, at 7:30 AM and 1:30 PM, from the Siliguri Bus Station on Hill Cart Road. While tickets may be purchased at the bus station itself, the bus departs from the other side of Hill Cart Road.

Local transport in Phuentsholing

The town is not so vast in area and can be easily covered on foot, but you can hire taxis for sight-seeing which charge approximately around BNT 500 per day.

Most frequently searched routes to Phuentsholing

Route Name Distance Time
Paro to Phuentsholing 142.7 km 3 hr 37 mins

Phuentsholing Photos

Phuentsholing
Zangto Palri Lhakhang Phuentsholing
Bhutan Gate - Entrance and Exit from and to India
Karbandi Monastery also Known as Karbandi Goemba

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photos

FAQs on Phuentsholing

What is famous about Phuentsholing?

Monasteries, Good place to shop in Bhutan, Developed area.

What is not so good about Phuentsholing?

The place is not so quiet which defeats the purpose of seeking peace in Bhutan.

What is the best time to visit Phuentsholing?

April to June during the spring season is the best time to visit Phuentsholing as the weather is pleasant. You can find different variety of flowers at this time and the temperature ranges from 25 to 35-degree celsius.

September to November (autumn) is also a great time to visit, as the winds are moderate and the weather is neither too hot or cold. June-August is the summer season in Phuentsholing and the area experiences plenty of rainfall during these months.

The temperature may soar up to 37-degree Celsius and the days are comparatively hotter than evenings and mornings. Winters (December- February) are not a good time to visit Phuentsholing as the winters here are quite extreme and most of the flora is absent. But if you want to experience some rough winters, then it's the time and place for you.
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What is the local food in Phuentsholing?

As it is situated on the Border of India, there is plenty of Indian restaurants all over the city. Many restaurants also serve the Bhutanese and Chinese dishes. Pa, Etsy and datshi are few of the Bhutanese specialities that you must not miss during your visit to Phuentsholing.

Hotel Galing offers good Indian cuisine and Pamo's is a decent place if you want to enjoy authentic Bhutanese food. ZEN restaurant, NEC restaurant, Park Hotel Bhutan, Vatika Restaurant are some of the best restaurants in the area. There are quite a few bars where you can enjoy a range of Bhutanese brands of whiskeys, rums, brandies, gins, and a peculiar green concoction called sonfy which shouldn't be attempted by the faint-hearted.
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What is the best way to reach Phuentsholing?

Daily buses to Phuentsholing are available from Paro, home to the only international airport of Bhutan. Direct bus services to Phuentsholing are also available from the Haa Base, Tsirang, Dagana, Bumthang, Tshimasham, Samdrup Jongkhar and Trashiyangtse. Those arriving through the Indian border can reach Phuentsholing through Siliguri in West Bengal.
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What are the places near Phuentsholing?

The top places near to Phuentsholing are Thimpu which is 72 km from Phuentsholing, Paro which is located 63 km from Phuentsholing, Punakha which is located 94 km from Phuentsholing, Wangdue phodrang which is located 85 km from Phuentsholing, Gangtok which is located 94 km from Phuentsholing

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