Himalaya Holiday Service
Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan & India Tours and Travel Operator
- Bhutan Highlights with Ura Yakchoe Festival
- A Cultural Exploration of Western Bhutan
- Bhutan West to East Traverse
- Cultural and Walking Tour of Thimphu and Paro
- Glimpse of the Dragon Kingdom
- Grandeur of Western Bhutan
- Paro Festival Tours 2013/2014
- Punakha Festival Tour
- The cultural exploration and walking tours of Western Bhutan
- The Cultural Heart of Bhutan
- Thimphu Festival Tour
- Western and Central Bhutan Highlights
- Druk Air Schedule
- Druk Airline Information
- 31st March 2013 - 14 May 2013
- 15th May 2013 - 26 October 2013
- Winter 27 Oct 13 - 31 Jan 2014
- Winter 01 Feb 14 - 28 Feb 2014
- Winter 01 Mar 14 - 31 Mar 2014
- Singapore - Paro (Bhutan) - Singapore
- Domestic Flight (31 Mar - 27 Oct 2013)
Duration: 12 Days
Accommodation: Hotels and guesthouses.
Activities: Cultural Touring, Village visits, Short hikes
Trip Grading: Moderate
Trip Type: Non-Touristic
Group Size: 1-10 pax
Start From: Paro, Bhutan
Finish In: Guwahati, India
Best Season: March to May, September to December .
Our Bhutan tour package takes you along the national highway from the western border to the eastern border of the country, with its beautiful mountain valleys. In this all-embracing cultural exploration of the Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan, we will explore Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Gangtey in the west; Trongsa and Bumthang in central Bhutan; and Mongar and Trashigang in the east. During our Bhutan tour we will witness the spectacular events which take place in Mongar and Trashigang at the year-end Tshechu festivals. We will hike to the sacred Tiger's Nest, visit the great stupa of Chorten Kora, and see the legendary and beloved cranes which find sanctuary in Bhutan every autumn. This intricate tapestry of Bhutan tourism adventures offers a richly nuanced experience of the last Himalayan kingdom.
Day 01: Flight to Paro, Bhutan
You have the option to fly to Paro from Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkatta or Kathmandu. Upon arrival at Paro airport immigration, produce your visa approval letter provided by us and get your passport stamped with an actual visa. Claim your baggage and walk through the customs and meet your guide outside the airport and transfer to your hotel. This afternoon visit the national museum, which is housed in an ancient watch tower. The museum houses books, paintings, textiles, crafts, arms, utensils, stuffed animals, insects and stamps. There is a shrine with a lineage tree with four statues representing the four schools of Buddhism: Sakya, Gelug, Nyingma and Kagyu, with emphasis on the Drukpa Kagyu sub-sect. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing. (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we explore the highlights of Paro that include the Paro Rinpung Dzong, Kichu Temple, ruins of Drugyel Dzong and a visit to a typical farm house. In the afternoon, we hike to the legendary Taktstang Monatery, famed as the Tiger's Nest. Takstang Monastery is perched some 600m/2,000ft up on a sheer cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padmasambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. The hike is about 2 hrs to the teahouse, which can also be done by pony. After tea and snacks you may opt to hike further uphill for about 45 minutes to get a closer look at Taktsang and the surrounding temples or just remain at the teahouse and enjoy the view. The return trek to the roadhead is all downhill and takes about half the time. Depending on the available time, you may visit a festival or other sites in Paro.
Day 03: Drive to Thimphu. (B/L/D)
Today we take a 2-hour drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. After some rest, we take a self guided tour to King's Memorial Chorten and visit other sights as time permits.
Day 04: At Thimphu.
After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing with a visit to the colorful weekend market, where people from near and far come to sell and buy their fresh produce. This is where the village folks jostle with the well-heeled residents of Thimphu for the best and cheapest vegetables and other food stuffs. The weekend also provides an opportunity to see the traditional game of archery played in the nearby grounds.
During these two days in the capital, you will also visit the school of traditional arts and painting, the indigenous hospital, the heritage museum, textile museum, Tashicho Dzong, the nunnery at Zilukha, handicrafts workshops and shops, handmade paper factory, gold and silver smiths, memorial chorten, Zangdopelri temple, the mini zoo to see Takin and other sights as per available time and interest. Evening can be spent taking self guided walks and shopping. Hotel River View.
Day 05: Drive to Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang.
Continue drive towards Wangdiphodrang & Punakha, which takes about 3 hours. As you leave Thimphu, the road climbs up to Dochula pass (3010m), where we will stop to get a spectacular panoramic view of the snow capped mountain range of Bhutan (weather permitting!). Near the pass there are many chortens (pagoda or stupas) and hundreds of prayers flags fluttering about in the wind. After the pass the road drops through changing vegetation into semitropical lowland at Punakha - Wangdi valley at around 1400m. Here you will find cactuses, bananas and orange groves. Check in hotel and after lunch visit Punakha Dzong, the former winter capital of Bhutan. The head Abbot and monks of the central monastic body reside in Punakha Dzong during the winter months and in Thimphu during the summer. Time permitting, drive to the village near the junction road between Punakha and Wangdi and make a pleasant 20-minute hike to Chimi Lhakhang temple, dedicated to the Saint Drukpa Kuenley (1455-1529), also known a the divine madman. He is very popular, as he taught Buddhist teachings in the way that is unlike the stiffness of the clergy and society of the time; he dramatized the teachings using song and bawdy humor.
Day 06: Drive to Bumthang (Jakar) (B/L/D)
After early breakfast, set off on the road to Jakar. The road from Punakha passes through the town of Wangdiphodrang and starts the steady 2-hour climb from Chuzomsa to cross the black mountains at Pele La pass (3420m). From here, on a clear day you can see the Mt. Jumolhari, and other mountains across the valley. After the pass, you are now in the Mangde region and the people speak a different dialect here. Continue the drive to Trongsa, en-route stopping at Chendebji chorten and other places along the way to stretch your legs, admire the landscape or take pictures. Lunch at Trongsa and take a peek at the Dzong, which is one of the largest and certainly the most impressive of all Dzongs in Bhutan.
Trongsa Dzong is a rambling collection of buildings that trail down the ridge, with remarkable street like corridors and wide stone stairs running down. It was from here that the present royal family emerged as the most powerful force at the beginning of this century. The first two hereditary kings ruled the country from here and it is still a tradition that the crown prince first serves as the Trongsa Penlop before ascending to the throne. From Trongsa, it is another 68km/ 2-hr drive to Jakar across the Youtongla pass (3425m). After the pass, descend into Chume, the first of the four Bumthang valleys. Stop at the roadside village of Zugney to see the weaving of Yathra (deep colored wool textile, a pattern typical to these parts of the country). Overnight and dinner at Mountain Lodge or similar.
Day 07: Full day in Bumthang Valley (B/L/D)
After breakfast start the sightseeing tour with a drive to Jambay Lhakang, visit Chakar temple (iron castle), and continue to the Kurjey monastery complex. After visiting Kurjey, we start a gentle leveled walk across the suspension bridge over the Chamkhar Chu river to Tamshing Lhakang. Walk through the village to a smaller Kunchok sum temple and then continue the walk through the farmland to a swiss farm area. At this point, your vehicle will meet you and transfer you to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the new monastery of Namhai Nyingpo, the traditional hospital, Jakar Dzong, Lamay Gompa and other sights as per available time. Overnight at Mountain Lodge or similar at Jakar.
Day 08: Ura Valley Excursion and attend the festival
From Tang it is 50 kms (32 miles) across a pass to the Ura valley, the last and highest of the Bumthang valleys.The road descends into Ura by long loops across fields and pastures.Villages in the region of Ura characteristically have very closely clustered houses, which is unusual in Bhutan.
Come together with our people from different locations across the country to involve yourself with hundreds of high-spirited local onlookers dressed in their finest clothes and jewelry to pay respect and to be blessed at the 'Tshechu', social gathering. Here we can truly appreciate the essence of the Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast culture. It is a rare privilege bestowed to only a limited number of visitors each year. Camp at the Ura Village or possibly a stay in one of the farmhouses at Ura.
Day 09: Return drive to Bumthang.
Return to the festival ground. Watch the day-long festival and drive back to Bumthang late afternoon.
Day 10: Drive to Trongsa.
Retrace your drive back across the Yotongla pass and descend into Trongsa, which takes about 3 hours. In the afternoon visit the huge and historical Trongsa Dzong (fortress), site of the emergence of the present Royal Family of Bhutan. Also visit Ta Dzong (watch tower) which now houses the temple dedicated to Jigme Namgyel, father of the first King of Bhutan.
Day 11: Drive to Paro.
Leaving Trongsa, we head west, stopping to visit the Chendebji Chorten, a large white monument said to conceal the remnants of an evil spirit vanquished here. Continuing across the spectacular Pelela pass (3300m), we descend into the valleys of Punakha and Wangdi. Further driving through blossoming hills and pine forests, we arrive at Dochula pass (3100m) for another opportunity to have a panoramic view of the eastern Himalayan range, including Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkar Phuensum. Continue drive towards Paro via Thimphu
Day 12: Final Departure
Transfer to the airport for final departure or for your next destination.
• Paro Rinphung Dzong, National Museum, Takstang Monastery, Drugyal Dzong in Paro
• Week-end market and archery competition, Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, mini Zoo etc in Thimphu.
• Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang Dzongs
• Chimi Lakhang-the The Temple of Divine Madman
• Trongsa Dzong
• Wangdicholing Dzong, Kurjey & Tamshing Lhakhangs the Membertso Lake, Ura village
• Doksum village
• Sherubste College
Start and End dates - Flexible
US$ 3240 Single Traveler
US$ 3090 per person ( 2 pax traveling together)
US$ 2695 per person (3 person and over traveling together)
US$ 335 per person Single Room Supplement
Air fares extra
Trip Cost Includes
• Best available regular hotels and guesthouse accommodation on twin sharing.
• English speaking local Guide.
• All intercity transfers and sightseeing by a private vehicle.
• 3 meals a day.
• Bhutan visa fee.
• Sightseeing admission fees
Trip Cost Does Not Includes
• All airfares.
• Visa fee (USD 20), pay in person at Paro Immigration upon arrival.
• Travel Insurance and emergency evacuation.
• Expenses of personal nature like drinks, tip, telephone, laundry etc.
• Extra expenses due to nature or unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, road blockade, no show etc
The following basic equipments check lists should help you with your packing. Please remember that you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. At the start of the trek your packed trek bag should not weigh more than 33 pounds or 15 kg.
- Sun hat or scarf
- Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Under Garments
- Hiking shorts
- Lightweight cotton long pants
- Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
- Fleece or wool pants
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants
- Thin, lightweight inner socks
- Thick, warm wool hiking socks
- Hiking boots with spare laces
- Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals) Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece jacket or pullover
- Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
- Down vest and/or jacket *
- Lightweight gloves
- Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer
- Sleeping bag rated to zero degrees F *
- Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
- Small pad or combination lock-to-lock
- Trekking Bags *
- Basic First Aid Kit *
- Large plastic bags - for keeping items dry insidetrekbag
- Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
- Thermarest sleeping pad
- Water bottles
- Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)
- 1 medium sized quick drying towel
- Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
- Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
- Nail clippers
- Face and body moisturizer
- Feminine hygiene products
- Small mirror
- Wet wipes (baby wipes)
- Tissue /toilet roll
- Reading book
- Trail Map/Guide book
- Journal & Pen
- Pencils and small notebooks
- Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble
Bhutan, "The Land of Thunder Dragon" as it is known to foreign countries, is perhaps the last Shangri-La in the earth. Sandwiched by India and China (Tibet) the kingdom is spread over 18000 sq. miles with variety of climate in different region. The people here are mostly Buddhist and Hindu.
GETTING IN & OUT
Bhutan is least air connected country in the world. Only Druk Air, the national flag carrier of Bhutan links Bhutan with other country. Those, who wish to enter by air, Paro is linked to Kathmandu, Calcutta, Delhi, Bangkok and Dhaka. There are flights to these destinations at least twice a week. For schedule and other information please write to us.
The other option of traveling to Bhutan is by land and the entry point is Phuntsholing (Indo- Bhutan Border). Phuntsholing is 08 hours drive from Kakarvitta (Indo - Nepal Border) and THIMPU is 6 hours from Phuntsholing. Please note, if you wish to enter by land you will need Indian visa as you will be traveling in India for a day (From Nepal Border to Phuntsholing). Indian Visa fee is not included in the trip cost and can be obtained in Kathmandu or in your home country.
VISA & FORMALITIES
All foreigners are required to have a valid passport for a minimum of 6 months and must send in the following details of passport at least 30 days in advance of the trip : Name - as in Passport, Nationality, Passport No. Date of expire, Profession, 3 Photograph (P.P. Size) and date of birth. Visa fee is US$ 20 per person for first two weeks and extension will be US$ 20 for each two weeks.
Visa is not provided abroad but stamped upon arrival in Paro airport or Phuntsholing. Please note without the visa clearance no from THIMPU, Druk air does not issue your ticket to Paro. Therefore, confirmation of any trip as early as possible will make it easier for you to get the flight tickets. We handle all the visa process once we receive confirmation from your side.
ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT
Accommodation is always in hotel while you are in town like Paro, THIMPU, WANGDI PHODRANG, PUNAKHA etc. All the hotels and guest houses are regularly monitored by the government and are all tourist class. It is not possible to have the budget rates and budget class hotels in Bhutan as in other countries as the rates are all fixed by the government. While in off season you will have the choice of staying in the hotels you wish but during the peak season you will have to settle on whichever is available. But till now there has not been any kind of dissatisfaction as all the hotels are tourist class.
While in trek the organizer of your trip arranges all the required equipment with horse or yaks for trekking to carry the equipment and food. An expert guide will escort you and a helper will arrange all the necessities necessities.
Latest brand or the deluxe vehicles are used for tourist transfers and is usually included in the prices so it is not possible to have the separate rate for separate sectors. Mostly Japanese vehicles are used in Bhutan for transfers.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH
Except for some treks, any one who is physically fit can join our tours and treks. Treks, which include altitude of 4000 m or higher are more difficult because of high altitude and therefore requires a certificate of fitness. There are modern hospitals in Paro and in THIMPU for emergency purpose but your precaution is the only way to be healthy if you are traveling to remote areas of the country. It is therefore advised to have through check up with your doctor before heading to Bhutan.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The best time to visit Bhutan is March, April, May, September & October since this period provides clear blue sky, and plenty of greenery. Winter (Dec, January, February) will be too cold since the temperature will be well below zero degree. Summer (June, July, August) is pleasant but wet due to the monsoon. Autumn (September, October, November) is similar to spring but a bit warmer and also the best time to visit. However please see the tours and treks sections for specific time to visit the specific areas.
Light warm clothing are always recommended since it is a hilly country (even in summer). A pair of comfortable shoes for walking, some spare T-shirts, trousers, sun glass, sun hats, pullovers are always necessary. During winter warm clothing are a must.
Bhutanese currency is called NGULTRUM and the rate is US$ 1= NG 46 approx. Only few hotels and outlets accept credit cards in Bhutan. So it is best to have some CASH US$ for your expenses and even better to have it on small bills.
Bhutan is 6 hours ahead (+) of GMT, 30 Minutes ahead of India and 15 Minutes ahead of Nepal.
|Frequently Ask Questions|
Here you will find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. If you still have any doubts or queries do not hesitate to contact us.
1. Where is Bhutan located?
2. Who is Bhutan Himalayas Guide?
3. Is Himalayas Guide, a secure site?
4. Why should I choose Himalayas Guide?
5. How much will my package cost?
Peak season months: March, April, and May, September, October & November.
6. How does the booking process work?
7. How do I contact Himalayas Guide?
8. Do you offer discounts for children & students?
9. What is included in my trip package?
10. Tell me more about the tour & trek itinerary?
11. How do I pay for bookings with Himalayas Guide?
12. When will I get my trip confirmation?
13. What airline will I fly on and from where?
14. What if I need to cancel my trip at the last moment?