The Land in the Sky - 9 Days

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Day 1
Arrive Paro, Paro – Thimphu

In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Katmandu or over the foothills from Calcutta, it is a breathtaking journey, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the kingdom

On arrival at Paro airport (7218ft), our representative will meet you. On completion of airport formalities, there will be an interesting drive of about 2 hours’ duration to Thimphu(55km/02hrs/ 7875ft) , the modern capital town of Bhutan. Evening free after dinner. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 2
Thimphu

Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world, is the seat of government. This bustling town is home to Bhutan’s royal family, the civil service, and foreign missions with representation in Bhutan. It is also the headquarters for a number of internationally funded development projects.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.After lunch, visit the National Memorial Chorten. The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had wanted to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”), and a monument to peace. Visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and privately owned crafts shops, which offer a wide range of handcrafted products, including the splendid thangkha paintings and exquisitely woven textiles for which Bhutan is famous. Also visit the Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, opened in 2001. Overnight at Thimphu.

Day 3
Thimphu – Punakha

After breakfast drive over Dochu-la pass (10,130ft) to Punakha. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955, when the seat of government moved to Thimphu. Originally situated on the riverbank and dominated by the towering walls of Punakha Dzong, the township was relocated to a safer site a few kilometers down the valley, consequent upon extensive flooding in the early 1990s. At the same time, extensive renovation work was undertaken on Punakha Dzong itself, which is now a breathtaking and glorious sight as you first glimpse it from the road. Although four catastrophic fires and an earthquake in past times destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong still houses many sacred and historic artifacts and also the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.

Day 4
Punakha – Bumthang

After breakfast drive to Gangtey via Wangduephodrang, where we will stop to visit the remarkable Wangduephodrang Dzong, stretched along a spur at the confluence of two rivers. We will also visit a local village house, to gain insight into the lifestyle of the people. Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley. After lunch, proceed to Bumthang (14,765 ft / 199 kms / 7 hrs), the religious heartland of the nation. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.

Day 5
Bumthang

Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000m (8,840-13,600ft). This area is home to many ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries.We will visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa, which contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later on we will visit Jakar Dzong, “the Dzong of the white bird”, and the administrative center of the region. In the afternoon, we will visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in Bhutan as Guru Rinpoche meditated here, and later on Jambey Lhakhang which was erected in the 7th century, when Buddhism was first introduced into Bhutan. Evening visit to local shops. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.

Day 6
Bumthang – Punakha

After an early morning visit to Bumthang’s market, we will set off on the 7 hour drive back to Punakha (199 kms), taking lunch en route at a famous restaurant in Tongsa town. We will then drive on through the mountains and down to Wangduephodrang, where we will take a short break for tea/coffee before proceeding on the final stage of our journey to Punakha.

Day 7
Punakha – Paro

After breakfast drive to Paro, visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. This Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies. Arrive Paro and check into the hotel. Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 8
Paro

The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions. 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. Afterwards 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. Also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom.In the evening, visit a traditional farmhouse for an opportunity to interact with a local family and learn something of their lifestyle. Later on, take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 9
Paro to Paro Airport

After breakfast drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination

THIMPHU (02 Nights)

PUNAKHA (02 Nights) 

BUMTHANG (02 Nights) 

PARO (02 Nights) 

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

  • 02 Nights accommodation in 4 Star hotel at Paro on BB Basis.
  • 02 Nights accommodation in 4 Star hotel at Punakha on BB Basis.
  • 02 Nights accommodation in 4 Star hotel at Thimpu on BB Basis.
  • 02 Nights accommodation in 4 Star hotel at Bumathang on BB Basis.
  • Price based on Double Occupancy.
  • All Tours and Transfer in AC Sedan/Minivan as per the above mentioned itinerary.
  • 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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The Land in the Sky
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