Kingdom of Bhutan - NEW
An unforgettable journey through 'the Land of the Thunder Dragon' - a deeply Buddhist land where prayer flag adorned monasteries and dzongs perch high up on mist-wreathed cliffs; where mountainous passes afford spectacular views of the eastern Himalayas and where the concept of 'gross national happiness' was invented.
DAY 1: Depart UK.
DAY 2: Arrive Kolkata.
On arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for the next two nights. The rest of the day is yours to sample this mesmerising city, which is home to 14 million people and served as India’s capital during the British Raj until 1911.
DAY 3: Kolkata.
Known as the 'City of Joy' and now resurgent after decades in the shadows, Kolkata (Calcutta) spreads itself along the River Hoogly and is filled with extraordinary Raj-era monuments, crumbled colonial mansions, chaotic streets and bustling markets. This morning, visit its incredible flower and vegetable market before taking a boat ride along the Hoogly, observing the bathers dipping in its waters. This afternoon brings a tour of the city's highlights, taking in its impressive white marble Victoria Memorial built in 1921, the vast Howrah Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral and the Maidan, one of the world's largest city parks. (B)
DAY 4: Kolkata – Paro – Thimphu.
Transfer to the airport in the early morning for your flight to Paro. Take in the glorious landscapes of Bhutan - regarded as the world's last great paradise for its fairytale mountains, monasteries and mystical aura - on your way to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital. Lying in a valley 7,710 feet above sea level, this atmospheric town is known for its elaborately decorated timbered houses, white-painted chortens and vibrant markets. Before reaching the city, take a short stop at Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). The afternoon is free to acquaint yourself with this spellbinding place. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: Thimphu.
Today marvel at Thimphu's main sights including its striking Memorial Chorten – a huge stupa – the National Library, the Institute of Zorig Chusum and the Textile & Folk Heritage Museum. Also visit Tashichho Dzong, the impressive fortress and monastery which houses the Secretariat Building. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: Thimphu – Punakha.
Enjoy an early morning drive to Bhutan's former capital, Punakha, spread over an exquisite valley covered in rice and mango groves. En route, cross 10,300-foot high Dochula Pass, which on a clear day, affords awesome views over the eastern Himalayas. Continue to Chimi Lhakhang - situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, this temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley or the ‘Divine Madman’, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings. In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, a huge, fortified Buddhist monastery alongside the rushing Pho Chu River. (B, L, D)
DAY 7: Punakha.
A moderate and beautiful hike this morning will take you to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, a four-story temple which boasts fantastic views of the Punakha Valley and the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. Later explore Ritisha Village, a typical village in Punakha whose buildings are constructed of pounded mud. In the afternoon, visit Wangduephodrang. Sitting on top of the hill at the confluence of Punakha Chhu and Tang Chhu rivers, the picturesque village is overlooked by Wangdue Dzong. (B, L, D)
DAY 8: Punakha – Paro.
Today head to Paro, which because of its history, has the closest cultural connections with Tibet of any Bhutanese districts and features some beautiful examples of authentic Bhutanese architecture. En route visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in Bhutan which houses a school for cultural studies. In the afternoon visit Ta Dzong, a mountain watchtower housing the Bhutan National Museum with its displays of antique paintings, dance-masks and weaponry. Next, admire elegant Rinpung Dzong, a 17th century fortress-monastery built to defend against Tibetan attack. Overlooking the Paro River and approached over an ornate wooden bridge known locally as Nemi Zam, this intricately carved building is a monastic school and administrative seat for the Paro district. (B, L, D)
DAY 9: Paro.
Today is at leisure. You may wish to take an optional excursion to the iconic Tiger's Nest monastery, or an optional drive to Chelala Pass and Kila Goemba. The climb to Tiger's Nest is challenging but certainly worthwhile. Those who do not want to hike all the way have the option to stop off at the half way point where there is a café, or to a lookout point (a futher hour's climb) opposite the monastery. For those who wish to climb all the way to the monastery, the final leg takes another hour but you will be rewarded with fantastic views and the opportunity to see Tiger's Nest from up close. A more relaxed option today is the drive to Chelala Pass and Kila Goemba. Marked by thousands of prayer flags, Chelala Pass is a stunning area with fantastic views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. Continue to Kila Goemba, a nunnery nestled into the craggy rock face below Chelala Pass, reached by an hour's walk through the surrounding forest.
DAY 10: Paro – Kolkata.
Early this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Kolkata where the rest of the day is at leisure.
DAY 11: Kolkata - UK.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.
Accommodation on Tour
Kolkata: The Park; Thimphu: Phuntsho Pelri/Wangchuk Resort; Punakha: Zhantho Pelri/Puna Tsangtshu; Paro: Namsaycholing/Tashi Namgay.
A visa is required for entry into India. This must be obtained prior to departure via the Indian Embassy and costs approximately £40 per person. A visa is also required for Bhutan, which will be arranged via our local agent prior to departure.
Unfortunately we do not currently have any available departure dates for this holiday. For more information about possible future departures or suitable alternative holidays please contact us using the number at the top of the page or view one of the Other Holiday Choices
Kingdom of Bhutan - NEW
- Flights UK - Kolkata - Paro - Kolkata - UK
- Accommodation on tour in twin room with private facilities
- Meals on tour 7 breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L), 6 dinners (D)
- Travel on tour by coach and non-AC cars in Bhutan.
- Local guide will accompany the tour in each centre.
- Transfers between overseas airports and hotels
- All local airport taxes/service charges, Bhutan visa and Bhutan Development Fee
- Kolkata City tour
- Thimphu Memorial Chorten, Tashichho Dzong
- Punakha Punakha Dzong, Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, Ritisha Village, Wangduephodrang
- Paro Ta Dzong, optional excursion to Tiger’s Nest Monastery