16 days from £4434 per person
Places Visited: Kolkata, Thimphu, Trongsa, Bumthang, Gangtey, Punakha, Paro
Bhutan is perhaps the last bastion of Mahayana Buddhism in the Himalaya and retains its age-old traditions and unspoilt culture. Colourful festivals with mask dances liven up the spartan life in its numerous monasteries. Majestic fortresses, called Dzongs, dominate the landscape in several towns.
In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the valley of Paro. This comprehensive tour covers all the well- known places including the beautiful valley of Gangtey, famous for the migrant black-necked crane, and an excellent base for walks.
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.
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 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.
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. This afternoon visit the Black Necked Crane centre to learn more about these birds and the significant place they hold in local folklore.
This morning we drive to Punakha for two nights; stopping on the way for a short excursion to 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.
A full days sightseeing today includes visits to the Ta Dzong, which houses the National Museum, the Rinpung Dzong and the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest), 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. 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 back in the UK in the morning.
16 days from £4434 per person
✓ International flights from the UK
✓ 14 nights accommodation
✓ All internal transportation and transfers
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Full board in Bhutan
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
Kolkata, or ‘Calcutta’ as it was known prior to 2001, is the capital of West Bengal state, and India’s third largest city, with a population of approximately 14.1 million. The tra...
Thimphu became the capital of Bhutan in 1961, since when it has swollen to a town of around 80,000 people. TransIndus tours typically pause a couple of nights here – long enough t...
Situated in the heart of the country, a crossroads-like alignment of four valleys is collectively known as Bumthang. Until the 1970s, when a road was finally constructed through i...
Around 15.5 miles (25 km) east of Thimphu, Punakha and its gorgeous valley typically offers visitors their first real taste of rural Bhutan. Built in around 1638 and beautifully s...
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