NESTLED IN THE ARMS of the mighty Himalaya, this tiny kingdom, the last
independent Buddhist country, is often referred to as the ‘abode of the
gods’ or ‘home to the immortals’. This itinerary takes you to some of the
finest ancient fortresses and monasteries of the country – the source of
much of the myth and legend that permeates this mountain kingdom. Prayer
flags flutter in the breeze as you immerse yourself in forests of blue pine,
fir, oak and rhododendron; look out over spectacular panoramas of the
Himalaya and are tempted to talk to the gods.
Druk Yul, as the Bhutanese people have called it since the 13th century,
is one of the ten bio-diversity hot spots in the world. Its eco-system
harbours some of the most exotic species of the eastern Himalaya. An
estimated 770 species of birds can be spotted here along with exotic
animals such as the takin, the elusive snow leopard, golden langur, blue
sheep, tiger, water buffalo and also the elephant.
It is only recently that the country has opened its doors to tourism and
even now, the government still carefully monitors and controls the number
of people who visit. While this may appear to be overly strict, it has meant
that traditional culture and lifestyle have remained vibrantly alive and much
of the country retains a distinctly pristine charm
DAY 01 ARRIVAL Reception and welcome at Kolkata airport
followed by transfer to your hotel. If you are feeling up to it an
afternoon tour will introduce you to the
magnificent colonial heritage of the city.
DAY 02 KOLKATA After an early morning boat ride on Hoogly
walk around the flower market. In the afternoon you may like
to visit Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity.
DAY 03 KOLKATA ~ PARO Fly to Paro in the morning. Set out
after lunch to explore the beautiful town and its ancient fortresses.
In the evening stop for a quiet visit at a farmhouse and a
taste of Bhutanese hospitality.
DAY 04 PARO Visit Taktsang Monastery, which is perched on a
rocky ledge looking down over a sheer drop of nearly 800m.
Drugyel Dzong (ruined fortress) from where the Bhutanese
repelled many Tibetan invasions, lies en route and must be
DAY 05 PARO ~ THIMPHU Thimphu is a two-hour drive away.
You can stop en route to see Takchu Monastery and tour Thimpu
DAY 06 THIMPHU Drive out north of Thimphu to visit
the Tango monastery. On the way back stop to view Dechenchholing
DAY 07 THIMPHU ~ PUNAKHA Punakha is a three-hour drive
over the Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3150m. In the evening
you could walk to Chime Lhakhang, the Fertility Temple of
Saint Drukpa Kuenley popularly known as ‘the Divine Madman’.
DAY 08 PUNAKHA ~ PARO The day is devoted to an
excursion to Haa, which the is the western-most valley in
Bhutan bordering Tibet after which you return to Paro.
DAY 09 PARO - DELHI Fly back to India, to the capital city of
DAY 10 DELHI After the cool misty heights of Bhutan, the
plains of India demand a leisurely morning before you set out
to view the vast, diverse heritage of Delhi.
DAY 11 LEAVE DELHI Transfer to the airport in time for your
TRONGSA ~ BHUMATANG ~ WANGDUE 5 days from Punakha.
AGRA 2 days from Delhi.
KATHMANDU 3 days from Paro at the end of the Bhutan trip,
instead of flying to Delhi