East to West: A Journey Through Bhutan

18 DAYS
Category:
Grade: Star
Duration: 18 days
Highlights: Delhi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Trashigang, Mongar, Bumthang, Gangtey, Punakha, Thimphu, Paro
Departure: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

An ideal holiday for those who want to explore the mysterious country in detail. This adventure-filled tour has only just become possible with the opening of the entry point at Samdrup-Jongkhar, a sub-tropical region which borders India. Absolutely off the beaten path, you will be able to visit the heartlands of Bhutan including the eastern provinces and town of Trashigang and Mongar where the people are still semi-nomadic.

Traverse on to the more regularly visited destinations of the Bumthang Valley, Trongsa, Gangtey, Punakha, Thimpu, and Paro, each of which has its own specialties including dzongs, markets, and spectacular panoramas. The amenities and accommodation for the first few days in Bhutan will be devoid of any luxury holiday but with each passing day this will change and you will definitely feel that you have deserved your luxuries by the end of the trip.

This tour is simply a recommended itinerary. It can be booked as is or optionally used as a starting point for designing your own ideal prior planned trip to Bhutan.

Location: Between China and India

Capital: Thimpu

Area : 46,620 sq km

Population: 700,000 (approx. 1 million)

Languages: Dzongkha, English

Currency: Ngultrum (NU)

Religion: 70% Buddhist, 25% Hindu, 5% others

National Sport: Dha(archery)

Political-System: Monarchy

National Animal: Takin (Burdorcas taxicolor),

National Bird: Raven (Corvus corax)

National Flower: Blue poppy (Meconopsis grandis)

Immigration requirements: Tourist visas are mandatory to visit the country. The processing of visa applications will be arranged by Nepaltours and requires approximately 14 days for handling. A visa fee of US 40 will be charged at time of booking.

LANGUAGE & PEOPLE
Predominantly Buddhist people whose dialect is Dzongkha ( similarities to Tibetan ), the Bhutanese still clothe themselves in their traditional “Kira” and “Gho” ( for men ) – a one-piece garment in the likeness of a Scottish kilt. The government encourages national attire for the preservation of their culture. Despite such a conservative atmosphere, Bhutanese people are now highly dynamic, vibrant and modern and are fluent in various languages with English being one of them.

THE CLIMATE / IDEAL SEASON(S) TO VISIT
Because of the diversity of its landscape ranging from the lowlands to the highlands, Bhutan has a varying climate; you may have perpetual snow in the high mountain regions and at the same time experience tropical climate in the low-lying southern border areas.
The temperatures in the southern areas may be 15 degrees Celsius in winter and 30 degrees Celsius in summer whereas in the high Himalayan regions, you may experience snow with 0 degrees Celsius in winter and 10 degrees Celsius in summer with 350 m of rainfall. Paro – where you may find yourself if you fly in by Druk Air, the national carrier – temperatures can be minus 5 degrees Celsius in winter and 30 degrees Celsius in summer with an annual rainfall of 800 mm.

The ideal time to visit would be in Spring and Autumn, but Summer and Winter also have their own draws and appeal especially under such varying climates and regions. The time of visit also depends on the type of activity/activities you may choose to embark upon; treks, rafting, sightseeing, etc. for which a particular season may be preferable to another.

WHAT CAN YOU DO & SEE?
As a visitor, you have various options and these may include any of the following depending on your tastes, preferences, time schedule and so forth:

CULTURAL & HERITAGE SITES
Visiting sites of historical, religious or archaeological prominence. These may include paying visits to Dzongs ( former fortress-like palaces ), monasteries and museums that dot the country. The magnificence of these places not only give an insight into Bhutanese architecture and history but also offer an opportunity to visit some of the most spectacular and scenic countrysides that you will see in your lifetime. Many of these dzongs have been restored to their former glory and some have been converted to national museums that hold rich heritage relics. These restorations have been done on similar lines to those done at Patan and Bhaktapur in Nepal.

TREKS / ADVENTURE TOURISM
Almost all travel agents and their partners offer a range of treks through rugged and yet picturesque virgin trails of Bhutan with stunning landscape and typical Bhutanese settlements. There is no mad rush of trekkers and travelers and hitting the trails of Bhutan is a solitary experience and almost like having the Himalayan paradise to yourself. Mountain Biking and River rafting also provide similar experiences but from a different perspective. You could combine some of these adventures and tailor your own itinerary with advice and suggestions from experts. More than a dozen varying trekking packages are tailored for different levels and tastes. Vertical rock climbing has also recently gained much popularity.

WILDLIFE
Like most regions in the Himalayan belt, Bhutan is home to some of the most exotic, diverse and on most occasions endangered species of birds, animals, and plants. Depending on the topography, species vary from mammals like the red panda and snow leopards to the Bengal tiger and wild elephants; fowls like the Trapogan Pheasant also skirt in the undergrowth of Bhutan’s eco-friendly rich forests – from the alpine in the higher Himalayas to the more tropical belts in the southern borders with India.
As a consequence, the Bhutanese government has also established various wildlife reserves to protect these rare jewels of the Himalayan foothills and for the avid wildlife enthusiast to experience these wonders first hand.

Day 3 – Tashi Gasel Lodge- Samdrup Jongkhar

Fly to Guwahati. Drive to Samdrup Jongkhar. Afternoon sightseeing Samdrup Jongkhar.

Day 4 – Trashigang Lodge- Trashigang

Drive to Trashigang.

Day 5 – Trashigang Lodge- Trashigang

Full day sightseeing of Trashigang Valley.

Day 6 – Mongar Lodge- Mongar

Drive to Mongar. Afternoon sightseeing in Mongar.

Day 7 – Mountain Lodge- Bumthang

Drive to Bumthang.

Day 8 – Mountain Lodge- Bumthang

Full day sightseeing in Bumthang.

Day 9 – Dewachen Hotel- Gangtey

Drive to Gangtey.

Day 10 – Dewachen Hotel- Gangtey

A day at leisure for walking.

Day 11 – Punatsangchu Resort- Punakha

Drive to Punakha.

Day 12 – Punatsangchu Resort- Punakha

Full day sightseeing in Punakha.

Day 13 – Jumolhari Hotel- Thimphu

Drive to Thimpu.

Day 14 – Zhiwa Ling- Paro

Morning sightseeing Thimpu. Afternoon drive to Paro.

Day 15 – Zhiwa Ling- Paro

Sightseeing Paro and Tiger’s Nest.

Day 16 – Zhiwa Ling- Paro

Day trip to Haa Valley

Day 17 – The Imperial Hotel- Delhi

Fly to Delhi. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Delhi.

Day 18 – In transit

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Price:£7,047.00

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