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Incredible Bhutan (12 days) with Kathmandu Extension (6 days) - October 2018

Price A$6894


Destination

ParoThimpuPunakhaTrongsaBumthangTang ValleyHaa ValleyKathmanduChitwan


Category
Group Tours

Duration
12 days 11 nights
Tour Details

Bhutan: 4 - 15 October 2018 A$6,894 plus air

Kathmandu: 15 - 20 October 2018 A$1,999 plus air

Rich in culture, religion and history, our incredible tour of Bhutan will take in its stunning landscapes, remote valleys and century old villages. We’ll explore an array of ancient fortresses (dzongs), monasteries and temples, including the picturesque ‘Tiger’s Nest’ or Taktshang monastery in Paro. We’ll visit the fascinating cities of Paro and Thimphu, both home to an impressive number of museums and intriguing places to discover, such as the Institute of Traditional Medicine. 

We’ll travel through pine-scented forests towards Punakha where we’ll climb the major pass, the Dochu La. Our journey continues on to historic Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan, and then to Bumthang, an ideal base for exploring the beautiful surrounding valleys and spiritual landmarks. And finally we head to the beautiful, high-altitude village of Gangtey, home to the black-necked crane in winter and our final destination. 

So that’s 12 days exploring the mystery and magic of this incredible country, all in the company of like minded travellers. 

And if you fancy even more adventure, don’t forget you can book our Bhutan and Kathmandu tours back to back! 

Will you join us?

Day 1: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU

The flight into Bhutan takes us close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of world’s highest glacial peaks. As we enter Paro valley, we’ll sweep past forested hills with the silvery Paro Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below and the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (National Museum) nestling on the hills above the town. Upon arrival at Paro International Airport we’ll be met by our tour host, before setting off on the road to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. En-route we’ll visit Rinpung Dzong (fortress heap of jewels) and Ta-Dzong (National Museum). Ta-Dzong was originally the watchtower for the Paro Dzong and stands imposingly on a hillock overlooking the Paro valley. 

Accommodation: Hotel Amodhara 

Meals : Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: THIMPHU

After breakfast we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of Thimphu., with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of the late Third Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan. Later we’ll visit Takin Zoo to see Bhutan’s national animal ‘the Takin’, which has the body of a cow and head of a goat, believed to have been created by Buddhist Master popularly known as the Divine Mad Man. We’ll stop at a Traditional Paper Factory and watch the workers make traditional paper from the daphne plant - traditional Bhutanese paper (called ‘Desho’) is said to last longer than regular paper. Later we’ll visit the Thangka Painting gallery, featuring Bhutanese arts and crafts attributes to Zorig Cgusum, including the rare ‘lhazo’. We’ll also head to Changangkha Lhakhang - built in the 13th century and one of the oldest temples in Thimphu. Next we drive to Thangton Dewachen Nunnery which houses 60 nuns who have devoted their life to spirituality and Buddhism. In the afternoon we’ll visit a Textile Weaving Center in Changzamtok, which offers an in-depth look into the Bhutanese art form of weaving. In the evening we’ll visit Tashichho Dzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion. 

Accommodation: Hotel Amodhara 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA

After breakfast we set off on the drive to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. En-route we make a stop at the Dochula pass, a beautiful mountain pass with its fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens. 

Next we visit the Lampelri Botanical Park, famous for its rhododendron garden and around 300 different plant species, before heading to Chimi Lhakhang in Lobesa, which was built in 1499 and is believed to bless childless couples who pray there with children. That evening we’ll visit Punakha Dzong, built in the 17th Century at the junction of the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. 

Accommodation: Hotel Vara 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: PUNAKHA

On Day 4 we hike to the Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten. This fascinating temple was built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. 

We’ll visit Chorten Ningpo, which dates to the 17th century - a little-known spot with a magnificent statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha) and images of the great lamas of the Drukpa lineage. In 2005 the monastery began to house orphans from the nearby village, and founded a small Buddhist educational institution where the children can study both traditional Buddhist scriptures and texts as well as Western subjects. 

Accommodation: Hotel Vara 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: PUNAKHA – TRONGSA

After an early breakfast we start our scenic drive to Trongsa. Patterned after Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points, Trongsa was built in the 18th century by Lama Zhida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. 

We’ll visit the Ta Dzong/Royal Heritage Museum, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, and stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the 1st Governor of Trongsa in 1652 and has four observation points representing a tiger, lion, garuda, and dragon. 

Accommodation: Tashi Ninjay 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: TRONGSA – BUMTHANG

On our way to Bumthang we stop at the Yathra weaving center to watch the local women weaving these brightly colored wool fabrics, a specialty of the region. Next we pay a visit to Jambay Lhakhang, a monastery built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, before heading further along the valley to Kurjey Lhakhang. Comprising of three temples, the one on the right was built in 1652 against the rock face where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. These three temples are surrounded by a 108-chorten wall. In the evening we’ll visit the ‘Cheese and Beer Factory’. 

Accommodation: Kaila Guest House 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: TANG VALLEY EXCURSION

After breakfast we set off on our drive to Tang Valley. En-route we’ll visit the Mebar Tsho, considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage spots in Bhutan. Mebar Tsho is more of a gorge than a lake and it’s believed that the famous treasure hunter, Terton Pema Lingpa discovered many holy relics hidden here by Guru Rinpoche. We’ll visit the Ugyenchoeling Manor house, which contains two temples with imposing statues and paintings dating from the beginning of the 20th century. The Museum has several floors and offers a unique opportunity to get to know life in a lord’s mansion before 1950. 

Accommodation: Kaila Guest House 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: BUMTHANG – GANGTEY

After breakfast we visit the Gangtey valley, one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. We’ll visit Gangtey Goemba, situated on the slopes of the valley and built in the 17th century and the village of Phobjikha, which lies on the floor of the valley, a few kilometers down from the monastery. This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of the famous black-necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. We’ll stop at the Black-Necked Information Center and check out its informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment. 

Accommodation: Homestay 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: GANGTEY – PARO

Today we make our way to Paro. En-route we visit Semtokha Dzong, the first dzong built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1629. There are over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard of the dzong. The evening is all yours to explore your surroundings of Paro town. 

Accommodation: Khangku Resort 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: HAA VALLEY EXCURSION VIA CHELE LA PASS

On day 10 we take a trip to the Haa valley. The drive takes about 2 hours via the Chele La pass and will include a visit to the two temples at Lhakhang Karpo Nagpo, namely the White (Karpo) and the Black (Nagpo) both located in the tiny village of Dumchoe. The temples represent the essence of wisdom, knowledge, and subjugation. 

Accommodation: Khangku Resort 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: PARO

Today we hike to one of Bhutan’s most venerated pilgrimage sites, the Taktsang Goemba, commonly referred to as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of the Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900m above the valley, Taktsang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four-hour walk is a truly overwhelming experience. On the way back we’ll stop at one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 13th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. 

Accommodation: Khangku Resort 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12: PARO DEPARTURE

Our wonderful tour finishes with a transfer to the airport for your flight home or onto further adventures!

Meals : Breakfast
Day 13: ARRIVE KATHMANDU

Welcome to Nepal! Upon arrival at the airport, your tour host will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Tonight you’ll meet your fellow travellers and tour hosts at a welcome dinner. 

Accommodation: Hotel Grand (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Dinner
Day 14: KATHMANDU

After breakfast we visit the 2000 years old, UNESCO World heritage site Swoyambhunath stupa. One of the Oldest Buddhist Sites in Nepal, the Swoyambhunath Stupa Complex has a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. We’ll take in the unique architecture of Patan Durbar Square before heading off to Krishna Mandi. The Sundari Chowk contains exquisite samples of woodcarvings, stone and metal sculpture. Next we visit Bouddhanath Stupa - at 36 meters tall one of the largest stupas in South Asia. In the afternoon we set off on a sightseeing tour and visit the Pashupatinath Temple - one of the holiest pilgrimage destinations for Hindus all over the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the trinity and the guardian (patron) deity of Nepal. 

Optional tour - Mount Everest Scenic Flight: 

This wonderful experience offers views of not only Mt. Everest but almost the entire Himalayan panorama. Very few experiences can compare with the close encounter with the famed mountains of the Nepalese Himalayas. The one-hour mountain flight takes you within camera range of some of the highest peaks in the world - Gosaithan, Dorje Lhakpa, Phurbi Chyachu, Choba Bhamare, Mt. Gauri Shankar, Melungtse, Chugimago, Mt. Numbur, Karyolung, Cho- Oyu, Gyachungkang, Pumori, Nuptse, Amadablam & Mt. Everest. 

Accommodation: Hotel Grand (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15: KATHMANDU – CHITWAN

Today we make our way to Chitwan to prepare for our trip to the Chitwan National Park - home to a diverse range flora and fauna and some spectacular wildlife. Look out for Bengal tigers, gharial, Asian rhinoceros, crocodile, Indian rock python and several species of deer. 

In the evening we’ll enjoy a cultural show with a Tharu stick dance performance. 

Accommodation: Temple Tiger Green Jungle Resort (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16: CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast we set off on a canoe ride down the Rapti River to enjoy the many species of birds and spot crocodiles idling on the riverbank. We take an ox-cart ride back to the camp through the Tharu village, before setting off on an elephant ride into the deeper parts of the jungle where grazing one-horned rhinoceros and summer deer abound. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the sloth bear, gaur and even an endangered Bengal tiger! 

Accommodation: Temple Tiger Green Jungle Resort (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 17: CHITWAN – KATHMANDU

After breakfast we drive back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free for you to explore at leisure. 

That evening we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at a Nepalese restaurant, complete with cultural dance show! A fantastic way to end a wonderful tour. 

Accommodation: Hotel Grand (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 18: KATHMANDU DEPARTURE

Our tour finishes with a transfer to the airport for your flight home or onto further adventures!

Meals : Breakfast

Hotel Amodhara: Boasting a bar and a restaurant, Hotel Amodhara is located in Thimphu. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, room service and free WiFi. The rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Every room comes with a desk, a private bathroom fitted with free toiletries, wardrobe and a coffee machine.

Hotel VaraLocated in the valley of Lobesa overlooking the blossoming and verdant valley with panoramic elongate between Punakha and Wangdue. Hotel Vara allows travellers to explore the wonders of the valleys and offers a spectacular view of mountains landscape - an oasis of tranquillity and peacefulness. Features lovely big rooms, cosy restaurant and an upstairs bar.

Tashi Ninjay: Located on the edge of the town of Trongsa, set on a steep hill with great views of Trongsa Dzong, the largest in Bhutan, and the town. Family-run guesthouse great for exploring the sites and bazaars of Trongsa which are within walking distance, and for experiencing Bhutanese hospitality. There are 14 simple guest rooms all located on the upper floors, each with private shower room and balcony.

Kaila Guest House: Family run Guest House located in the Choekhor Valley in the central Bumthang region of Bhutan. Rooms feature free high-speed internet, room service, hairdryer (on request) and tea & Coffee making facilities (on request)

Khangku Resort: Perched on the mountain slopes opposite the Paro Dzong and historical Taa Dzong, offering guests a magnificent view of the Paro valley. Experience traditional Bhutanese hospitality along with modern amenities. Featuring free WiFi, a restaurant, a terrace and on-site bar, each room is fitted with a flat-screen TV, coffee machine, private bathroom fitted with a bathtub. Extras include bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries.

Hotel Grand (Deluxe Room): Features a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. All rooms include a flat-screen TV. Some rooms include a sitting area for your convenience. Enjoy a cup of tea while looking out at the mountains or city. Every room includes a private bathroom equipped with a bathtub. Extras include free toiletries and a hairdryer. There is a 24-hour front desk, an ATM, a hairdresser's, and a gift shop at the property.

Temple Tiger Green Jungle ResortLocated in Bharatpur, 32.2 km from Chitwan, Temple Tiger Green Jungle Resort features a restaurant and free WiFi. The resort has a sun terrace and views of the garden, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site.Some rooms feature a sitting area for your convenience. The rooms come with a private bathroom equipped with a shower. Extras include slippers, free toiletries and a hairdryer. There is a gift shop at the property.

Bhutan:

Weather

Although geographically quite small, Bhutan’s weather varies from north to south and valley to valley, mainly depending upon the elevation. Summer months tend to be wetter with isolated showers predominately in the evenings only. Winter is by far the driest period while spring and autumn tend to be pleasant.

Vaccinations

Before embarking on a trip to Bhutan, please seek advice from your doctor with regard to vaccinations and appropriate medication you should have prior to your travels. As a minimum you should have tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A inoculations.

Currency

Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is accepted as legal tender in the country. Note: INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted in Bhutan. ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard. For concerned travelers a list of ATM locations throughout Bhutan is found here: http://www.bob.bt/contact-us/atm-locator/. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores.

Electricity

All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converters for your electronics if necessary, however, most hotels offer multi plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.

Visas

Bhutan is a unique destination, and as such it has a few unique rules. All tourists, except for citizens of Bangladesh, India and the Maldives, must obtain a visa before arriving in Bhutan.

Kathmandu:

Weather

Nepal's climate varies with its topography. It ranges from tropical to alpine depending upon the altitude. The Terai region which lies in the tropical southern part of the country, for instance, has a hot & humid climate. The mid-land regions are pleasant almost all year around although winter nights are cool. The northern mountain region, around an altitude above 3353 m has an alpine climate with a considerably lower temperature in winter as can be expected.

Vaccinations

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Currency

Payment can be made in foreign exchange in hotels, travel agencies and airlines. Credit cards such as American Express, Master and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, travel agencies, shops and restaurants.

Electricity

Major towns in Nepal have electricity and the voltage available is 220 volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced in Nepal. However, most of the hotels have installed their own generators.

Visas

Nepal makes things easy for foreign travellers. Visas are available on arrival at the international airport in Kathmandu and at all land border crossings that are open to foreigners, as long as you have passport photos on hand (not necessary at Kathmandu airport) and can pay the visa fee in foreign currency (some crossings insist on payment in US dollars). Your passport must be valid for at least six months and you will need a whole free page for your visa.

 Remember we are a full-service travel company and can quote and book your air travel. Easy!

Bhutan

Tour inclusions:

  • 11 nights accommodation in your own room — always! 
  • Two’s a Crowd tour host from Australia. 
  • English speaking tour host. 
  • Meals as per itinerary: 11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners. 
  • Travel, transfers and sightseeing by non-air-conditioned vehicle as per the itinerary 
  • Entrance fee to the monuments as per the Program. 
  • All excursions and sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary 
  • Bottled water (during drives and sightseeing only). 
  • All assistance and transfers. 
  • All current taxes. 
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance by CHI Travel Insurance (Underwritten by Allianz or QBE). Additional premium may be payable if over 69 years, have an existing medical condition or wish to extend your travel dates. Refer to the CHI or QBE PDS for more information on policy terms and conditions. 

Tour exclusions:

  • Porterage at the Hotels, Airports, Railway Stations. 
  • International Airfares & Airport taxes. 
  • Visa fees. 
  • Early check in or late checkout. 
  • Meals other than specified. 
  • Tips & Gratuities. 
  • Camera and video permits, if applicable. 
  • Expenses incurred due to flight, train cancellation or delay. 
  • Any expenses of a personal nature. 

Kathmandu

Tour inclusions:

  • 5 nights accommodation in your own room — always! 

  • Two’s a Crowd tour host from Australia 

  • English speaking tour host 

  • Meals as per itinerary: 5 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners 

  • Accommodation with private facilities (Check-in/ out 1200hrs in Comfort/Deluxe hotels) 

  • Traditional welcome on arrival at the airport of a flower garland

  • Travel, transfers & sightseeing by air-conditioned vehicle as per the itinerary 

  • Entrance fee to the monuments as per the Program (one visit per monument) 

  • Naturalist in Chitwan 

  • Chitwan National Park Fee and the prevailing government tax 

  • Farewell by placing of the Khada (Traditional Tibetan Scarf) on departure 

  • Bottled water (during drives and sightseeing only) 

  • Assistance on arrival and departure transfers 

  • All applicable & current taxes 

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance by CHI Travel Insurance (Underwritten by Allianz or QBE).Additional premium may be payable if over 69years, have an existing medical condition, Kathmandu tour is taken as astand alone tour or wish to extend your travel dates. Refer to the CHI or QBE PDS for more information on policy terms and conditions 


Tour exclusions:

  • Any International or Domestic Airfare (given separately as supplement) 

  • Airport taxes and Visa fee 

  • Meals other than specified above 

  • Porterage at the Airports/Railway Stations 

  • Tips & Gratuities 

  • Camera and video permits, if applicable 

  • Expenses incurred due to flight/train cancellation or delay 

  • Any expense of a personal nature, like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, mini bar, etc 

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