Bhutan is no ordinary place. It is the last great Himalayan kingdom, shrouded in mystery and magic, where a traditional Buddhist culture carefully embraces global developments.
The small and predominantly Buddhist nation of Bhutan, tucked between China and India, is lanced by deep ravines and coated with thick woods. The country has no traffic lights. Monasteries—often massive and commanding—abound; monks, when not in prayer or meditation or chores are often found playing board games, sharing stories, laughing or all three. Archery is the national sport and green chili peppers together with ‘cheesy sauce’ are the national dish. Ask any resident, and likely you'll find they truly do love their king and queen.
This country—with an area of 14,824 square miles (38,394 square kilometers) is slightly larger than the U.S. state of Maryland, or the European state of Montenegro. This sounds relatively small until you spend hours crossing thin and switch backed roads through jungles and over mountain passes. Suddenly the land appears gigantic. Seventy percent of the terrain is coated with forests, while seven percent is pressed beneath glaciers.
|15TH MAY||DAY-1||DELHI TO LUCKNOW||554 KMS||7-8 HOURS|
|16TH MAY||DAY-2||LUCKNOW - MUZAFFARPUR||531 KMS||9-10 HOURS|
|17TH MAY||DAY-3||MUZAFFARPUR - SILLIGURI||381 KMS||7-8 HOURS|
|18TH MAY||DAY-4||SILLIGURI||REST DAY|
|19TH MAY||DAY-5||SILLIGURI - PHUENTSHOLING||155 KMS||3-4 HOURS|
|20TH MAY||DAY-6||PHUENTSHOLING -THIMPHU||147 KMS||4-5 HOURS|
|21th June||DAY-7||THIMPHU - PHOBJIKHA||134 KMS||3-4 HOURS|
|22ND MAY||DAY-8||PHOBJIKHA – VIA TRONGSA- BUMTHANG||163 KMS||5-6 HOURS|
|23th June||DAY-9||BUMTHANG - PUNAKHA||218 KMS||5-6 HOURS|
|24th June||DAY-10||PUNAKHA - PARO||126 KMS||3-4 HOURS|
|26th June||DAY-12||PARO - PHUNTSHOLING- SILLIGURI||296 KMS||7-8 HOURS|
|27th June||DAY-13||SILLIGURI- GORAKHPUR||821 KMS||10-12 HOURS|
|28th June||DAY-14||GORAKHPUR-LUCKNOW||270 KMS||4-5 HOURS|
|29th June||DAY -15||LUCKNOW - DELHI||553 KMS||7-8 HOURS|
Early morning start as we have 554 kms to cover. Make sure to prepare a good list of music and enjoy the walkie talkie chats.
Reach Lucknow by early evening and explore the city. Today’s dinner is purposely not included as we want you to enjoy the lip-smacking delicacies of Lucknow- Kebabs and Biryani’s.
Return to the Hotel and rest well as we again have a long drive tomorrow!!!
Hotel – TBA
Meals Included- Breakfast + Tea + Lunch + Evening Tea
Welcome to Bihar!!!
Murafarffur is also known as ‘The Land of Leechi’. Muzaffarpur is famous for Shahi lychees and is known as the Lychee Kingdom. Shahi litchi is set to become the fourth product from Bihar, after jardalu mango, katarni rice and Magahi paan.
May is the peak farming season for Lychee and you will be able to see the Lychee farms around.
Today’s stay is more of a midway halt. Check in to the hotel and rest. There are few old temples to explore in case you are keen to visit.Hotel – TBA
Today’s drive is smooth and beautiful. The road passed through vast swamplands, water streams and rivers. There are patches of green farms, houses built with wood, mud, straw and dry leaves. Blue sky with vast yellow green wheat fields in the foreground presented very colorful scenery along the road.
Welcome to West Bengal and drive through tea gardens on both sides of the road. You will be driving through large beautiful tea estates.
Reached Siliguri, gateway to North East by the evening and check in to the hotel.
Hotel –Lemon Tree / Montana Vista or Similar
Much needed rest day!!!
Get up relax and enjoy the famous Silliguri Tea
After relaxed breakfast, get ready for the local sightseeing.
Silliguri is famous for its tea, transport, tourism and timber. This picturesque plains town lies on the banks of Mahananda River and the foothills of Himalayas.
Explore the hill station’s markets—Sevoke and Bidhan Road. Visit famous Salugara Monastery, Surya Sen Park
Enjoy your day at Silliguri and relax.Hotel –Lemon Tree / Montana Vista or Similar
Start your journey towards Pheuntsholing – The Gateway of Bhutan by Road from India.
Distance between Siliguri and Phuntsoling is 94 kms. Enjoy the well carpeted road with passes through the small towns, jungle and zigzag roads. On the way visit Coronation or Tiger Bridge that spans across Teesta River rumbling down to the plains from North Sikkim.
After Jaigaon, cross the BHUTAN GATE and enter Phuntsoling, it’s a different world. Buildings of Bhutanese style on both the sides. Check in to the hotel and relax.
Pheuntsholing (also sometimes spelled Phuntsholing) is the second largest town in Bhutan (population around 40,000) and is located on the Indian border, next to the town of Jaigaon
Visit the monasteries and local market in the eveningHotel – Tashi Namgay or Similar
If you are an early riser, don’t miss to take a walk on Torsa River Side. The panorama of the town, the verdant hillocks and the confluence of the two streams of the Torsa can be seen from here. The Torsa Tea Gardens are located nearby.
After Breakfast we will leave to Thimphu, on the way we will make our first stop to visit Kharbandi Gonpa about 5 km above Phuntsholing. This monastery was built by Royal Grandmother, Ashi Phuntsho Choedron in 1967.
From this point the road climbs steeply up into the hills, to an altitude of approximately 2,000m/6,560ft. We will make stops along the way from time to time, so as not to miss the magnificent view of the Indian plains and the Toorsa River below. On the way you will also see the first hydro power electric project ever built in Bhutan. Lunch is served en route.
After passing through Chapcha the road reaches its highest point of about 2,800m/9,185ft, then descends steeply and runs along the banks of the Wang Chu (river) to Chuzom (meaning confluence), where the Paro Chu runs into the Wang Chu. From here it is only about 30 min drive up the valley to Paro. On arrival in Thimphu, check in at the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.Hotel – Hotel Ramada Valley/Hotel Osel or Similar
Thimphu sightseeing includes the following:
After breakfast you will be transfer to the following places. And lunch will be served.
ü Visit King's Memorial Chorten (Stupa). This Stupa was built in the memory of our Third King of Bhutan.
ü Buddha Point (There is a statue of Buddha which is 169 feet).
Further, drive to Phobjikha valley including Dochula passes 3,100 m and on the stop at Hongtsho village. Stop at the immigration check point to stamp in your permit. Next to the check point you will find small local stalls selling fresh juicy local apples available for sale in plastic bags you could try some. You will be driving through the first mountain pass in the western part of Bhutan. You will find the 108 Druk Wangyal chortens on the top of the pass where the ridges are draped in colourful prayer flags greet you. You could take three rounds and offer prayers, take some best photo shots.
If the weather is clear you will be able to see the highest peaks towards the north, Gangar Punsum among others is the highest unclimbed peak (24,000 ft) in the world. If you are lucky you could see red pandas, different species of birds, you can take some photo shot close to the natural lake.
Proceed down towards Punakha through Thinleygang village and upon reaching Lobesa turn left and enter Punakha valley.On the way have Lunch at Lobesa and drive towards Phobjikha and visit Gangtey Goemba. The Gangtey Monastery or the Gangtey Go empa is an important monastery / temple associate with the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. The Monastery is Located in the Wandue Phodrang Dzhongkhag in central Bhutan. The Gangtey Monastery is situate in the picturesque Phobjikha Valley, which is also renowned for being the winter home of the rare Tibetan Black Necked Cranes.The monastery was established in 1613 by Peling Gyalse Rinpoche, the grandson of Trenton Pema Lingpa the great treasurer discoverer.
According to a story during a visit to the Phobjikha Valley, Trenton Pema Lingpa foretold the people that one day his descendants will construct a monastery on the hills surrounding the valley and make it the seat of the Peling Tradition. The present ruling dynasty of Bhutan is descendant of the great Trenton Pema Lingpa. The monastery is a complex of five temples that surround a main central tower. The main hall of the monastery is built in Tibetan style architecture and is made completely out of wood with its 8 main wooden pillars considered to be the largest in Bhutan. Between 2002 and 2008 the monastery underwent a complete renovation / restoration.The monastery was consecrated by the present day reincarnation of the Pema Lingpa in October 2008. The monastery has a very close connection to the royal family of Bhutan.
Phobjikha valley The Phobjikha is a wide glacial valley located in close to the Gangtey Monastery.
The Phobjikha valley is the winter home of the rare Black Necked Cranes that migrate from Tibet from the arid plains of Tibet to roost in the more comfortable climate of the Phobjikha Valley. The valley is at an altitude of 2900 meters above sea level and experiences a much lighter winter as compared to the harsh extremes of Tibet. A part of the valley lies in the Black Mountain National Park. There are 2 rivers that flow through this valley called the Nakay Chu and the Gay Chu. According to legend it is said that the rivers represent a serpent and a boar. Once upon a time there was a race between the two to determine wether people can grow rice in the valley or not, if the serpent won then the people of the valley could grow rice but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area.
Eventually the serpent lost and till date rice is not grown in the Phobjikha Valley. While visiting the Phobjikha Valley one must take time out to visit the Black Necked Crane Information Centre, the centre is located at the edge of the main forest are along the road and can be easily accessed. The centre has an observation deck that is equipped with a high power telescope that gives visitors a chance to spot some cranes. The Information Center has a display that offers an insight in to the natural and cultural history of the valley.
Overnight in a Hotel in Gangtey.
Hotel – Hotel Dewachan or Similar
Today’s drive is to Bumthang via Trongsa.
We drive uphill towards Pela La Pass crossing the Black Mountains that divides western and central Bhutan. The roads uphill is pretty curving with sharp bends but you need not worry as our drivers are well experienced and on the way you will find rhododendron, magnolias and yaks grazing and on clear days you will find the Mt. Jumolhari standing still towards the west, at an elevation of 23,685feet.
Before arriving to Trongsa you will pass by Nikkarchu Bridge and here you will find white washed stone chorten built in Nepalese style in the 18th century which lies below the road. This temple was founded by a lama called Shida who subdued a demon that was a trouble to the valley. Here you will experience something interesting as you will be approaching Trongsa where from the road you will be able to view the massive Trongsa Dzong also known as "the never reaching Trongsa Dzong.
This place used to be the old gateway between the east and west. If you have time you could visit the Trongsa Dzong and Ta Dzong (Ta means watch tower in Dzongkha) was built in 1652 and now it is a museum which displays Buddhist art and the history of our Monarchy. Reaching Bumthang you will visit Jakar Dzong founded by a white bird built on a ridge overlooks the valley. The Kurjey Lhakhang where the kings of Bhutan are taken for their cremation rites. Kurjey translates into “Kur” means body and “Jey “means Lhakhang. The big cypress tree is believed to be the walking stick of Guru Rimpoche. The great Guru also created a holy water hole beside the temple which people frequent either for religious or medical purposes. Wangdicholing Palace – built during the times of the first king’s father, Jigme Namgyel was used by the first King Ugyen Wangchuk as his main residence. Visit the town or take a walk till the bridge though the township was burnt down by fire in recent times. If you are a cheese and honey lover you could try the Bumthang cheese which is available and honey produced in Bumthang.
Overnight at Chummi Bumthang.
Hotel – Yugharling Resort or Similar
After breakfast drive to Punakha.
Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan's capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan's first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood several damages from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damages to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue. Also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the newly built stupa.
The highlights of this drive are stunning views of the rivers cascading through the mountains. Loads of picture hops on the way .
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Hotel – Khuru Resort or Similar
Post breakfast you will be driven back to Paro visiting Tachogang Lhakhang on the way and reaching Paro you will visit Ta Dzong and Rinpung Dzong.Overnight in a Hotel in Paro.Hotel – Olathang or Similar
Hike to Tiger’s Nest or just sit back and relax!!!
The hike to Taktsang would take us around 2 ½ hrs to reach a cafeteria, a point from where one can enjoy great view of the monastery. Those interested can walk further 45 minutes uphill to get a closer view of the monastery. walk down back to road. The journey downward to the road would take us less 1 ½ hrs. Have lunch at a restraint in town. After lunch take in Paro Bazar.
Overnight stay in a hotel.
Hotel – Olathang or Similar
Today we are heading back to Sillguri. Reach Silliguri by the evening and relax. Exchange Goodbye notes with your fellow travellers and recollect the memories of the trip.Hotel –Lemon Tree / Montana Vista or Similar
Leave early as we have a long drive backHotel –TBA
Get up relax and leave for Lucknow. Today is a relaxed drive as we will be exploring Lucknow . You can also leave little early and can visit Ayodhya.Hotel –TBA
Leave as per your Convenience and distance!!!
Bookings can be done by depositing 15.000/- booking amount!!!
The charges can be paid by Cheque / Demand Draft/ bank transfer in favour of
Current A/c no 2479201000942,
Canara Bank, Sector 19, Chandigarh.
IFSC Code CNRB0002479