BHUTAN EXPLORER – April 2nd to 9th 2017
Bhutan is a land of snow-capped mountains, deep, broad valleys with fertile rice paddies and orchards, tiny villages and bustling market towns. Yet the south is covered in jungle and more reminiscent of India than the Himalayas. Bhutan is a thoroughly exotic country that stimulates all of the senses. Anybody who visits this Himalayan heaven marvels at its untouched natural beauty and unique culture. Bhutan is sandwiched between India and China in the Eastern Himalayas at elevations ranging from 180 to 7,500 meters with an area of 47,000 square kilometers and a population of 650,000 inhabitants, of which around 50,000 live in the capital Thimphu. Bhutan is mainly Buddhist, as is evident from the many dzongs (monasteries), chortens (stupa’s) and prayer flags scattered all across the country. Bhutan opened to modern development only very recently and tourism is permitted only to the extent that it does not endanger the kingdom’s traditional culture and society. Therefore only a few thousand visitors visit the mountain kingdom every year. In Bhutan, “gross national happiness” takes precedence over economic considerations.
Day 1: April 2nd – Sunday: Bagdogra ( Siliguri ) to Phuntsholing
The morning after reaching Bagdogra and proceed for Phuntsholing, the border town of Bhutan. The border clearly separates two very different peoples and cultures. Jaigaon ( on the Indian side of the border ) is bustling and loud, similar to many other West Bengal centers of commerce while Phuntsholing is uniquely more urban than other Bhutanese towns, having absorbed the neighboring culture, but distinctly far more quiet and orderly. Overnight stay at Phuntsholing.
Day 2: April 3rd – Monday: Phuntsholing to Thimphu ( 175 km / 5 hrs )
After breakfast complete the entry formalities and proceed to Thimphu( 2330 meters ) the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. As you leave Phuntsholing and go towards Paro you can see the contrast in the culture and landscape. The roads are practically empty and the views just keep getting better. By evening we reach Thimphu and explore the town and relax. Overnight at Thimphu.
Day 3: April 4th – Tuesday: Thimphu to Punakha ( 75 km / 2.5 hrs )
After breakfast we explore the sights of Thimphu visiting the gigantic Buddha statue ( world’s largest sitting Buddha ) that overlooks the city, Thimphu Chorten, Textile Museum, Clocktower square, Folk Heritage Museum, Farmers Market and the Motitang Takin Preserve to see the rare and unique national animal of Bhutan, the Takin. If we are lucky, we could witness the national sport, Archery, which the Bhutanese love playing. Late afternoon we leave for Punakha. Just out of Thimphu, the road begins a steep, twisty climb to the Dochu La pass at 3,450 meters. We stop on top of Dochu-La pass for the breathtaking views of the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan’s highest mountain, the majestic Gangkar Punsum. The top of the pass is visibly marked by a large Bhutanese chorten and prayer flags, an ideal place for photography. The road down from Dochu La into the Punakha Valley and on to Wangdi Phodrang goes on for some distance, descending 1,700 meters to the valley floor. Overnight at Punakha.
Day 4: April 5th – Wednesday: Punakha to Paro ( 140 km / 4 hours )
After breakfast, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple built in 1499 by lama Drukpa Kunley. A short but beautiful walk through the villages and fields takes you to Chimi Lakhang. Later we visit Punakha Dzong, arguably the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan located between two rivers and surrounded by jacaranda trees is a delight to watch and makes for picture perfect photographs. After that, we take a walk across the largest walking bridge in Bhutan. This suspension bridge is beautiful and set amidst the mountains and the flowing river beneath. After lunch, we leave for Paro and reach by late evening. Overnight at Paro.
Day 5: April 6th – Thursday: Paro
After breakfast we drive up to the starting point and prepare for our hike to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) – a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. The legend dating back to 747 AD has it that the Great Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) flew here from northeast Bhutan on the back of a tigress to subdue the demons of Paro Valley. This is definitely the highlight of any trip to Bhutan. The trek ( one can hire a horse to halfway point too ) to Tigers Nest takes about 3 – 4 hours up and about 2 hours coming down. The views from the hilltop monastery are beautiful and settings of the Monastery itself is quite stunning. Later in the evening, we visit the National Museum at Paro. Overnight at Paro.
Day 6: April 7th – Friday: Paro to Haa ( 65 km / 3 hours )
After Breakfast, we visit the beautiful Haa Valley. The drive to Haa valley crosses 3988m Chele-la pass, from where one can have superb views of Mount. Jhomolhari & Jichu Drakey. The quaint valley is enchanting with mountains and apple orchards. It’s like a small township, but a really charming place with traditional Bhutanese houses. Visit the 7th century Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black temple) at the foothills of a venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. We stay at a homestay to experience the Bhutanese hospitality and see the village life. Overnight at Haa.
Day 7: April 8th – Saturday: Haa to Siliguri
After breakfast drive from Haa to Siliguri through the mountains of Bhutan and then getting down to the plains of north Bengal. Overnight at Siliguri.
Day 8: April 9th – Sunday: Bagdogra
After breakfast drop to airport. End of tour.
COST: Rs 31500/- per person
- 1 nights stay in Siliguri
- 1 night stay at Thimphu
- 1 night stay at Haa
- 1 night stay at Punakha
- 2 night stay at Paro
- 1 night stay at Phuntsholing
Breakfast on all days, Stay on twin / double sharing basis, All SUV / Van transportation charges, All permit charges, Service charges, Taxes
- Flight charges from your city to Bagdogra and back
- Lunch & Dinner
- Entry tickets and camera charges at sightseeing places ( if applicable )
- Other than mentioned