Refreshing Bhutan - 5 Days

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Day 1
NJP RAILWAY STATION / IXB BAGDOGRA AIRPORT - PHUENTSHOLING

Arrival at NJP Railway Station / IXB Bagdogra Airport. Transfer to Phuentsholing (980ft/ 142 kms / 03 hrs). After a drive of along a road lined with lush green tea gardens you will reach Phuentsholing, the gateway to Bhutan, which lies directly at the base of the Himalayan foothills. This rapidly growing town is Bhutan’s commercial center, with most commercial organizations headquartered here. Overnight at hotel in Phuentsholing.

Day 2
Phuentsholing to Thimpu

After breakfast, proceed to Thimphu, (7875ft /170 kms/06- 07hrs) making our first stop about 5 km. up the road to visit Kharbandi Gompa. This beautiful monastery situated in a garden of tropical plants and flowers, was built by Royal Grandmother, Ashi Phuntsho Choedron in 1967. There is a splendid view of Phuentsholing and the Indian plains from the monastery garden.

From this point the road climbs steeply up into the hills, winding in innumerable bends, to an altitude of approximately 6,560ft. We will make stops along the way from time to time, so as not to miss the magnificent view of the Indian plains and the Toorsa River below. After a two hour drive through light mountain jungle, displaying lianas and orchids, we pass over the first ridge and begin a long and gradual descent to the river which is the source of energy for the massive Chukha Hydel hydroelectric power project. We cross the river, and rise up the mountainside ever further into the hills, leaving Chukha and the small town of Chimakothi behind us. Lunch is served en route.

After passing through Chapcha the road reaches its highest point of about 2,800m/9,185ft, then descends steeply and runs along the banks of the Wang Chu (river) to Chuzom (meaning confluence), where the Paro Chu runs into the Wang Chu. From here it is only about 2 hours’ drive up the valley to Thimphu.Shortly before reaching our destination; we will stop to visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in the kingdom, built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1627.

On arrival in Thimphu, check into the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3
Thimphu to Paro

Morning visit to Tashichhodzong, the main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King. Tashichhodzong is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body. Proceed to the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature, with some works dating back several hundred years. Visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School), where a six year training course is given in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Also visit (outside only) the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the medicinal herbs abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed.

Proceed to Paro after Lunch (7218ft / 55 kms / 02 hrs).Check in at hotel and take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar. Night at Paro.

Day 4
Paro to Phuntsoling/Jaldapara

The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions. In the morning, visit Ta Dzong.Once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. After breakfast, drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km. from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom.

After early lunch drive to Jaldapara in India (190 kms / 06- 07 hrs). Jaldapara is a famous wild life sanctuary for one horned rhino and Indian elephant. We check in at the tourist lodge at Jaldapara.

Day 5
Jaldapara to Bagdogra / NJP

Early morning elephant ride/car safari inside the grassland of Jaldapara to watch the great Indian Rhino in their natural habitat. Back to the rest house for breakfast and drive to Bagdogra/NJP Station (142 kms / 03 hrs) to catch the return flight/train.

Entry Formalities:

People traveling to Bhutan should carry their Passport or Voter Identity card to proof their Identity as an Indian National. These documents along with Passport size Photographs (4 copies each) are required for the entry formalities in Phuentsholing and Paro. Children accompanying their parents may produce their School Identity card or birth certificate in case of non availability of Passport or Voter Identity card.

The Inner Line Permit for Bhutan is issued on producing these documents. To visit Punakha, Wangdi, Bumthang visitors needs one restricted area permit which is available one day in advance from Thimphu. People entering Bhutan by surface are advised to stay one night in Phuentsholing for the entry formalities. The Govt offices in Bhutan are closed on Sunday and Saturday. The visitors are hereby requested to plan there trip in such a way that they are not stuck up for permits due to holidays.

Important notes:

Smoking is banned in Bhutan

Credit card like Master and Visa are only accepted

  • 01 Night accommodation in 4 Star hotel at Phuentsholling on BB Basis.
  • 01 Night accomodation in 4 Star hotel at Thimpu on BB Basis.
  • 0 Nights accomodation in 4 Star hotel at Paro on BB Basis.
  • 01 Night accomodation in 4 Star hotel at Jaldaphara on BB Basis.
  • Price based on Double Occupancy.
  • Flight charges
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa
  • Meals other than specified in the inclusions
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusions

FAQ'S

Where is Bhutan?

Bhutan is a small, landlocked nation located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. Its landscape ranges from subtropical plains and forests in the South to subalpine forests and snowy mountains in the North. Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country and is known as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.

Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?

It is a government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese tour operator to book your travel to Bhutan or one of their international partners.

Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan?

All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a license Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives may obtain a visa on entry.

How much does the visa cost?

For International tourist visas, a cost of USD 40 is applicable. This can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives, there is no cost incurred.

How do I get to Bhutan?

There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan from (Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai.). At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Also, there are three land border crossings which you can travel into the kingdom overland. All crossings are along the Indian border only – Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a local tour operator. A list of tour companies operating in Bhutan is available on this website. Your selected tour operator will make all the necessary arrangements.

What does the $200/$250 per day minimum daily package include?

The $200 per day (January, February, June, July, August) and $250 per day (March, April, May, September, October, November) package includes a minimum of 3 star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide and transportation within the country. Also included in the price is a $65 per day Sustainable Development Fee that goes towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. All of these services will be arranged by your tour operator.

What currency is used in Bhutan?

Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is widely accepted in the country.

Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can enter Bhutan each year?

There is no limit on the number of tourists allowed to visit in a year. In order to protect our culture, traditions and natural environment, the government has adopted a unique policy of “High Value, Low Impact ”. This policy is aimed at attracting discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people while also providing the visitors with an unforgettable one of a kind experience.

What’s the food like in Bhutan?

The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that is not spicy.

Rice forms staple Bhutanese diet. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are consumed most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.

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Refreshing Bhutan
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