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16 day tour from £3695
group (no more than 12 people) or private tour
Fly with Emirates via Dubai.
Transfer to the deluxe period Oberoi Grand which is Kolkata's premiere hotel located in the heart of the city. The afternoon is left free to relax after the flight. The bustling New Market is a short walk away should you want to explore.
Fly to Paro this morning where you'll be met by your Bhutanese guide, before driving on to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. Stay at the Kisa or Jumolhari Hotels (or similar) for two nights (You could upgrade to the well appointed Taj Thimpu for a supplement).
A full day is spent visiting the sights of Thimphu including the huge Dzong (Dzongs are fortified buildings found in nearly all of Bhutan's main settlements. They generally perform the dual role of local government seat and the housing of a monastic community, all protected within the imposing walls). We also visit the King's Memorial, the Painting School and a Handicrafts Emporium.
We start our journey eastwards into the heart of Bhutan with a morning's drive up to the Dochu-la pass (3,088 meters) from where on a clear day one can see Gangkar Puensum, Bhutan's highest peak rising to an impressive 7,497meters.
Descending down to the small settlement of Wangduephodrang we break the journey and explore the magnificent Dzong which is perched on the riverside. Another high pass is crossed this afternoon, the spectacular Pele-la (3,300 meters).
The Yankhill resort offers sweeping views across the valley and is our hotel of choice tonight (or similar hotel).
The morning is spent visiting the Trongsa Dzong, a massive structure with multiple levels. As we continue eastwards life becomes ever more rural and the surrounding forests beautifully pristine.
Truly the path in Bhutan is the goal. After our long drive we reach spacious Bumthang valley and stay here for two nights at the Wangdicholing Hotel (or similar).
Bumthang, the most easterly point on the tour, is situated in a wide fertile valley and is well known in Bhutan for its natural productivity as well as being a wonderfully scenic location.
Today visit the local sights including the Kurje and Jambey Lhakhangs (Lhakhang is the local name for monasteries or temples). There is also time for a leisurely stroll in the village.
We drive today to the sheltered district of Gangtey and the Phobjika Valley. The valley is considered sacred to the Bhutanese as it is the winter residence of a small but significant Black Necked Crane population that migrate over the Himalaya from Tibet.
Stay at the Dewachen Resort or the Farm House for one night (or similar). Both properties are simple and use generators to provide electricity. This afternoon visit the Black Necked Crane centre to learn more about these birds and the significant place they hold in local folk lore.
This morning we drive to Punakha for two nights at the Puna Tshangchu or the Damchen Resort (or similar); stopping on the way for a short excursion to the Chimi Lhakhang (a half hours walk from the roadside through paddy fields), where a fabled monk, known as 'The Divine Madman' is said to have once blessed the site. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong today. Built at the confluence of two rivers this is considered to be one of the finest examples of Dzong architecture in Bhutan.
Drive back to Paro today and stay at the Jakar Village or The Village Lodge for two nights (or similar). There is the option to upgrade to the exclusive Uma Paro hotel, for a supplement.
A full days sightseeing today includes visits to the Ta Dzong, which houses the National Museum, the Rinpung Dzong and the famous Taktsang ('Tiger's Nest') monastery, which rests precariously on a rocky hillside overlooking a wide forested valley. It is an arduous but ultimately rewarding climb to reach the monastery.
Fly back to Kolkata for two nights of luxury at The Oberoi Grand. In the afternoon visit Kolkata's sights including the imposing Victoria Memorial, St Paul's Cathedral and the Indian Museum.
The entire day is free to relax or do some final shopping (Kolkata has shops to cater to all tastes, from boutique clothes outlets to interesting souvenir shops).
The morning and early afternoon is free to relax. Take an evening flight back to London, via Dubai.
Arrive in London in the morning.