Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 29 - April 6 - Jakar to Mangor

April06 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

180 KMs

Plan was to do Jakar-Mangor-Luentse-Mangor. But again got lazy to get going and at 8 am when the break fast was done, i realized that i am running out of Bhutan currency and 500 notes are not accepted here fearing it is duplicate. Now i am in a fix. Even the bank wont exchange. I had just 600 Bhutanese currency with fuel and 2 days expenses to go. International visa debit card also does not work here. Indian bank's cheque does not work here. In short Cant get money out of my own India account. Was suggested the bank to try out at the local general store. After asking around for couple of shops, finally one lady agreed to exchange. Now i can fuel up in peace. Its 9.30 start and Luentse looks tough. As i am talking almost the same time as mentioned in lonely planet.

So decide to hit mangor for the day and think of options. The morning ride out of Bumtang under bright sunlight was amazing. Huge mountains afar like a jaint wave. As cross Ura, ride through the Shertang La. Then on pretty much on the same height. Weather also pretty cold again. As i gain height i see snow by the side of the road. That was the sign of approaching the Thrumshingla, the second highest motorable pass in this main Bhutan road. But since there was sunlight there was no snow on the road and also no black ice. Get down the other side and stop by Sengor for lunch. The small village hotel had a music system. A couple of Hundai Tuscans had also stopped by for lunch. Bhutan's only airport is at paro and since the road is the only transport for east, how ever rich the people are they have to use the winding road and no other choice. Thus i guess we get to see some Expensive SUVs on the roads. One of the guy said they came from Mangore and on the way its too foggy near Namling. It was very difficult for them to drive through it seems and some vehicles had parked it seems.

Now that gets interesting. i got to go any way, no other go as there is no other place to stay. Sure enough after some time approaching Namling it gets misty and now its also raining. Get into the rain gear in hurry and think of not wearing the gloves to keep it dry. Man this is so uncomfortable. Cold ? Ok. Rain ? OK. But please not both together!! But gifted with both here and add to that lot of mist visibility a few meters. As if that's not enough have to pass through bad roads on the road construction work! Things couldn't be more dramatic. Now my hands are freezing and getting numb. With no choice i wear a pair of gloves for relief and thankfully the rain also stops if not the mist. After passing the Namling town, guess missed the scary drop offs en route thanks to the mist. As i stop by to take pictures and car stops by. The Man of the car asks me where i was going and asked me to ride along with him. I politely declined saying that i want to take photos. Hmm... So people here don't go alone is it? guess so if someone drops off nobody will know!. Loosing the altitude the fog lets out and its all dry now. Stop at turn to view the valley below and the road winding down the mountains. Though one has traveled quit few KMs, he has not traveled much horizontally but rather vertically. No wonder the Jakar to Mangor road is 180 kms though notical distance should be like 80!. Its going to be long down hill ride dropping off almost 2000 meters. Roads gets wider and straighter and now i am riding at a good pace touching 70-80s. Its down hill for quite some time all the way till the valley floor to the river. Cross the river on a bridge to get on to the other mountain and a car passes me in opposite direction on the bridge going towards namling. Then i could see the car going up the other side of the river. It was funny cos though we both are going in opposite direction, here techincally we are going in the same direction but just across the river!

I see the deviation to Luentse 65 kms and its 5pm. Tempted to take the road but did not want to take chances in the evening so headed straight to Mangor. Which is again a small hill town. Get a room cheap for 200 bux and plan for tomm is to Hit Luentse then back to Mangor and then retire at Tashigang. The Mangor - Luentse has some unstable sections prone to land slides in rainfall. And its been raining for a couple of hours here in mangor as i type this. Thinking what to do now. will decide in the morning.

View from the RiverLodge room..


The RiverLodge parking lot...


The restraunt...


Nice ride in the Bhumtang valley...




The prayer flags...


The intimidating horse...


At Shertung La


Height there... 11279 feet..


The the building are all traditional style and none of the building anywhere at Bhutan have terrace.. And even in small town almost all building are multiStoried.!!



Catching the snow peak view...



Never taken picture of the clouds from the side ;)



Some road maintenance...


Approaching Trumshing La and there is snow by the side..


The Rhododendron park... And i thought it was some kind of a Rodents zoo :D


More climb to Trumshing La...




At the ThrumshingLa...




The other side of the pass...


Stopped for lunch here and there are big SUVs people use here. No matter how rich they have to use the road and thus these big SUVs..


Even a small hotel in a small town of few houses boasts a Music system and bar!!


The owner's kid. Got really happy after seeing here picture in the preview...


WOW talk about Circus!!


And then the mist near Namling drop offs..


And bad roads...








The valley approaching Mangor...


They got real happy when i told them to raise there hands and shout.. and chuckled all the way after seeing the picture ...



The valley i have been riding all day...


The Mangor town...

3 comments:

Arun said...

that water fall looks class..
was it spraying all over?

i guess your blind choice to enter Bhutan making wonder now..everything looks beautiful and weather also seems to be perfect for you!

Praveen said...

Not much spraying around Arun. Was just a road side waterfall. Yes the ride turned out to be good. Very nice country to visit. You will love it :)

gOOpi said...

amazing buddy! reminds me of my trip to Bhutan.. amazing place to ride!

so what r ur plans? thailand? :p