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INDIA AND BHUTAN CULTURAL TOUR

This trip combines Indian hill stations and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, where we will have a chance to meet different ethnic groups who have steadfastly clung to their traditions and spiritual heritage.


DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1: DELHI
On your arrival our representative will welcome you at the international Airport and transfer to your Hotel Ashok Country Resort
DAY 2: DELHI - DARJEELING
After breakfast transfer to the Delhi Airport for our flight to Bagdogra. We will be met by our representative and then drive four hours to Darjeeling, one of two hill stations established by the British during the days of the Raj. The city has managed to retain much of its old charm. (B, L, D)
DAY 3: DARJEELING
Today we will explore Darjeeling with a visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Everest Museum, the Zoological Park and the Tibetan Self Help Center.
After lunch (optional) we will take the toy train ride on the Himalayan Railway to Ghoom and return to town to see the SangNag Choeling. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: PELLING
After breakfast we head for Pelling, westren Sikkim. This is probably the most enchanting and certainly one of the most sacred places in the Eastern Himalaya. The jeep ride will take four hours to Pelling. The Hotel commands a breathtaking view of Sikkim's protective mountain deity, Mt. Khangchendzonga and its lesser peaks. After lunch we will walk to Sangachoeling Monastery which is situated on a ridge above Pelling. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: PELLING
Today will be spent exploring the sights around Pelling. We will proceed to Yoksum where the first Chogyal or King was enthroned in 1641 AD by the three great Lamas. The site is very holy to the Sikkimese and is under the care of the Archeological Survey of India. From here we will drive to Khecheopalri Lake, the most sacred lake in Sikkim. It is believed that the lake possess powers of Wish-Fulfillment. The afternoon will be free to enjoy the awesome views from the hotel or take a nature walk. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: GANGTOK
After breakfast we drive to Gangtok, the old capitol of Sikkim Along the way we will drive through many cardamom, ginger and rice paddy fields. The local people call Sikkim Denzong, land of rice. If time permits on the way we will stop at Rumtek Monastery, the largest in Sikkim. (B, L, D)
DAY 7:GANGTOK
After breakfast we will head for the Research Institute of Tibetology and the Dodrul Chorten. After lunch we continue our sightseeing with a visit to the Sikkim Government Handicraft Center and Enchay Monastery. (B, L, D)
DAY 8: KALIMPONG
Today we will drive to Kalimpong through some very beautiful valleys, along rivers and up into the hill station. Before the Chinese takeover of Tibet, Kalimpong was the center of India's wool trade with that country. After checking into our hotel we will walk into town to explore its shops and market as well as one of the many famous flower nurseries of Kalimpong. (B, L, D)
DAY 9: KALIMPONG
After breakfast we will continue our local sightseeing with visits to Dr. Graham's Homes and school for the children of the area, the Zangdolpalry Monastery, Durpin Dara and Thongsa Monastery. Rest of the day at your leisure. (B, L, D)
DAY 10: PHUNTSHOLING
Today we head from Kalimpong to Phuntsholing, our first night in Bhutan. You will immediately notice how clean, quiet and less populated it is in Bhutan. We will be met by our Bhutanese travel agency people and transfer to our hotel. If time allows, we will visit the Zangtopelri temple in the center of the town and Kharbandi Gonpa. (B, L, D)
DAY 11: PARO
Today the drive to Paro, 160 km, will take 4 hours. On the way you will notice the unique architecture of the Bhutanese farmhouses and the pristine environment and beautiful forests, valleys, waterfalls and high mountains. Our drive will take most of the day as the roads in Bhutan are very windy and make for slow driving. We will have lunch along the way and arrive into Paro in the evening. (B, L, D)
DAY 12: PARO
After breakfast we will visit the National Museum, then we will continue out to the Paro valley and visit Drukgyel Dzong from which we can view Jomolhari mountain. If the weather is clear. we will be able to view the Taktsang monastery nestled high on the black cliff face across the river. (B, L, D)
DAY 13-14: THIMPHU
Today we will drive to the base of the hill where we will begin our trek or optional pony ride to the viewpoint of Taktsang Monastery. The climb will take about 2 hours going up to reach the viewpoint, and for those wishing to climb up farther it will be another hours walk. Then we will drive to Thimphu after lunch. We will visit the Memorial Chorten which was erected by the Royal Grandmother, Phuntsho Choegron, in 1974 in memory of her son the third King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck, who died in 1972. We will visit the Textile Museum, the Traditional Painting School, the Zilunkha Nunnery, the Handmade Paper factory and the Thimphu Dzong. (B, L, D)
DAY 15: PUNAKHA
This morning we will drive to Punakha, a trip of about three hours in length. We will leave the cooler temperatures of the Thimphu valley and arrive in the more tropical Punakha valley. Along the way we enjoy breathtaking views of Bhutan's Himalaya mountains from Dochu La pass and the Dochu La Café, where we can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. We will reach Punakha in time for lunch at our hotel before visiting the Punakha Dzong and surrounding areas. (B, L, D)
DAY 16: TRONGSA
Today we will be spent on the road between Punakha and Trongsa. Our first stop will be in Wangdi to visit the Dzong, and then we will head on to Trongsa. Along the way we will cross Pele La Pass, which divides western Bhutan from central and eastern Bhutan. Along the way we will detour into Phobjika valley, situated in the Black Mountains, and home to the Gantey Gompa monastery and the migrating black-necked cranes. We will also stop at Chendebje Chorten, built in the 19th century by a Tibetan lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was killed at this spot. (B, L, D)
DAY 17: JAKAR
After breakfast we will visit the Trongsa Dzong and then continue east for about 2 -3 hours to Jakar, the capital of Bumthang, and visit Jambay Lhakhang. Bumthang is the cultural heart of and the most beautiful valley in Bhutan. Lots of monasteries and pilgrimage sites are located here, making it the cultural and historic center of Bhutan. (B, L, D)
DAY 18: PUNAKHA
Today after an early breakfast we will depart Jakar and head for Punakha. It will be a long but interesting day. Check in to our familiar hotel (B, L, D)
DAY 19: THIMPHU
After breakfast we will return to Thimphu, capital town. The afternoon is free to relax or for shopping. Today is the last day in Thimphu. (B, L, D)
DAY 20: DELHI
This morning we will drive to Paro, airport for our departure on Druk Royal Bhutan Airlines to Delhi. After clearing customs we will transfer to Hotel for the night. (B)
DAY 21: FLY HOME


LAND COST: on request.

Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations.
Single Supplement—$400. If you're traveling alone and wish to share accommodations we will only charge you half of the single supplement.

What's Included

  • Expert Guide
  • Accommodations in hotels with (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Sightseeing as noted in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Entrance fees and permits

What's not included

Air tickets, meals not noted in the itinerary, insurance, medical and evacuation, tipping to guides and local staff, visa fees, excess baggage charges, airport taxes, cost of medical immunizations, items of a personal nature, alcoholic beverages, cold drinks, laundry, etc.

GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION

Entry and Visa
Entering Bhutan is by air on Druk Air, Bhutan's national carrier and the only airline operating in Bhutan. Druk Air's fleet consists of two British Aerospace jets, which are specially designed for Bhutan. Druk Air flies into Paro Bhutan from Bangkok in Thailand, New Delhi and Calcutta in India, Kathmandu in Nepal, and Dhaka in Bangladesh. On clear days the flight into Paro offers spectacular views of the Himalayan Mountain Range, including Mt. Everest (Chomo Lungma), Mt. Kanchenjunga (Kangchen dzonga), Chomo Lhari, and Kula Kangri.

From the moment you enter Bhutan, you are an honoured guest and you will enjoy the traditional hospitality and friendship of the Bhutanese.

We can book your tickets with Druk Air well in advance, avoiding the last-minute rush during the peak tourist seasons of Spring and Autumn.

Druk-Air Tickets and Visas
Druk Air tickets will be issued and sent to you. For the procedure, it is essential that you send us all information detailed below immediately so that the visa application can be made. The tickets cannot be issued until the visa is approved and this process takes at least 10 days.

Visas
Visas are not issued by Bhutanese embassies abroad. Visas are issued only when you arrive in the country, either at Paro airport or Phuntsogling . You must apply in advance. You can either fill in the visa application form using fill it and e-mail us the following information. We will take care of the rest:

  • Your full name as it appears in your passport
  • Permanent address, telephone no. and e-mail
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Passport number
  • Date of issue and expiration of passport
  • Date and place of birth

Please check information carefully; if there are discrepancies in any important numbers when you arrive in Bhutan, there are delays and complications in issuing the visa.

The actual visa endorsement is stamped in your passport when you arrive at Paro. When the visa is issued, you need to pay US$20 and present a passport photo with your passport number written on the back. You will then receive a visa for the period you have arranged to be in Bhutan. We will process visa extensions for you if they become necessary.

Accommodations
In the bigger towns such as Thimphu, and Paro, comfortable hotels , while in smaller towns, modest but still comfortable hotels. we will ensure that the best available accommodations are arranged for you in advance.

Payment
Government regulations require that the tour payment be deposited before the visa can be processed. We will send you Instruction
Food and Drink
Traditional Bhutanese food is ' emadasi', hot and spicy. For our visitors, however, Chinese, Indian, and Continental foods are also served in the hotels and in restaurants.

Tariff
The normal rate for travel in Bhutan is US$250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November. For the other months it is US$200 per night. The following surcharges are applied for small groups:
Two people travelling together - US$30 per night per person
One person travelling alone - US$40 per night per person
Note: the tariff is valid up to Dec-2016

The daily rate may sound high at first, but remember that this includes your accommodations, all food, guide, and transportation within Bhutan.

Clothing

  • Cotton shirts & Cotton trousers
  • Cotton skirt for women or trousers
  • Fleece jacket or sweater - even in summer
  • T shirts (not sleeveless)
  • Sneakers or walking shoes and socks
  • Small rucksack to carry your camera, water bottle and other essentials
  • Rain jacket - Gore-Tex
  • Sunglasses and reading glasses
  • Swiss army knife
  • Alarm clock
  • Formal clothes
  • Sun hat and sun cream
  • Lip protection
  • Ear plugs
  • Flashlight














 
             
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