Happiest Place on Earth
Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is a land of monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic topography ranging from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys.
The Himalayan kingdom offers a trove of archaeological treasures, including many ornate temples and dzong fortresses. Isolation has preserved the heavily Buddhist-influenced culture of the last Shangri-La.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Any city|
|WEAR||Winter: Warm clothing Summer: Comfortable clothing|
|Dates||Apr, Dec, Jun, May, Nov, Oct|
|Location||Gangtey, Paro, Phobjikha, Punakha, Thimphu, Wangdi|
|Language||Dzongkha. English is spoken by all tour guides and hotel staff|
|Currency||Indian Rupee (INR) is accepted except 500 and 1000 INR denominations.|
- On arrival at Paro international airport, meet our tour assistant at the airport
- Visit National Museum, Rinpung Dzong (Castle on a Heap of Precious Jewels)
- Wind up the day with a stroll around Paro town
- Drive to Thimphu for overnight stay at Hotel
- Thimphu – The power center and the capital city of the Happy Kingdom. Also the hub of commerce and culture.
- Visit – Buddha Point (site of the world’s tallest statue of Shakyamuni Buddha), Memorial of Third king of Bhutan the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Changangkha Temple, Takin Zoo and Sangaygang
- On the way back, stopover at a nunnery, the Folk Heritage Museum and the Textile Museum.
- After lunch proceed to Tashichho Dzong, a 17th century castle-fortress which today houses the offices of the King, Chief Abbot and government ministries
- Rest of the day spend at leisure strolling around the town
- Dinner and overnight at Hotel
- After breakfast drive via scenic Dochu La Pass to Wangdiphodrang (70 km / 3 hrs) – this is the last town on the highway before entering central Bhutan
- The town is not more than an enlarged village with a few well-provided shops. The higher side of Wangduphodrang valley provide rich pastureland for cattle and it is famous for fine bamboo products, slate and stone carvings
- Afternoon visit Punakha valley & Punakha Dzong. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still it is the winter seat of Chief Abbot
- Pho Chhu & Mo Chhu rivers, splendid views of the Himalayas, product of crops & fruits are blessed to this warm valley
- Overnight in hotel in Punakha
- After early breakfast drive to Paro (150 km / 5 hrs) – The beautiful valley of Paro encapulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundred of myths and legends. It is the home of many of Bhutan’s oldest temples, monasteries, National Museum and countries only airport
- Afternoon Paro sightseeing covering:
- Kyichu Lhakhang – one of the oldest and most sacred shrine of the Kingdom dating back to 7th Century
- Drukyel Dzong – with a delightful village nestling at its foothill, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when it was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear weather one can see the commanding view of Mount Jhomolhari from the village, below the Dzong.
- Afterward visit Rinpung Dzong – built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district.
- Overnight at hotel in Paro.
- Hike to Taksang View Point / Takshang Lhakhang / also called “Tiger’s Nest Monastery” – one of the most famous monastery in Bhutan, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley.
- It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, so it is called “Tiger’s Nest”.
- This site is recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their life time.
- Evening visit colorful souvenir and market place.
- Overnight at hotel in Paro.
- Early breakfast and transfer to the airport for onward journey with happy memories of ‘The Happiest Place on Earth‘
When to Visit Bhutan?
You can visit Bhutan any time of the year. Bhutan’s warm and temperate climate, never-ending festivals and rich and abundant heritage sites provide visitors with a wide array of experiences throughout the year across the country.
During winter (November to March) the minimum temperature drops to minus 10 in the Thimphu valley. Summers (April-June) are very pleasant. One should avoid traveling during the rainy season (July-September)
High Season (March, April, May, September, October & November).
- The weather is best in the spring and autumn.
- Himalayan views are best in October.
- Beautiful Rhododendron blooms peak in March and April.
Mid Season (December, January & February).
- The weather is still good, though it can be cold in December and January.
Low Season (June, July & August).
- Trekkers will be welcomed by Monsoon rains and leeches.
- High altitude flowers are at their peak blooming season.
Travellers with Disabilities
Tours in Bhutan could be a challenge for travellers with physical disabilities, but can be made possible with good prior planning. Bhutanese people are ever eager to help, and one could arrange a strong companion to assist with moving about and getting in and out of vehicles. The roads are rough due to the hilly terrains. Hotels and public buildings rarely have wheelchair access or lifts, and only the newest will have bathrooms designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Bhutan tours might bore kids with the long, monotonous drives, limited availability to entertainment such as TV and the internet, and other electronic media. On the other hand, Bhutan people and their kids wholeheartedly shower a lot of love on children and and they could make many new friends.
What to Wear?
Comfortable clothing and sturdy, soft-soled shoes are essential for travel in Bhutan. Warm clothing is recommended; and except for summer months, down jackets and woolen sweaters are suggested. In summer, heavy cottons and lightweight woolens will be acceptable.
Altitude differences could result in wide range of temperatures from day to night the year round. It is recommended that clothing be layered so that you can adapt to the changing conditions.
While visiting temples and other religious institutions, dress modestly and respectfully. Full trousers or Slacks are more appropriate for men and longer length skirts or saree/salwars are more appropriate for women. Shoulders must also be covered when inside religious buildings.
Please keep in mind that shoes must be removed when entering temples.
Indian nationals intending to visit Bhutan are required to carry any of the two valid ‘Travel Documents’ (a) Valid Indian Passport having validity of minimum 6 months; and/or (b) Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India. No Visa is required to visit Bhutan.
Indians coming to Bhutan by road are required to obtain an ‘Entry Permit’ on the basis of valid Travel Document from the Immigration Office of Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing, located on the Indo-Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal. In case, you are not carrying a valid travel document, you should approach the Indian Consulate Office in Phuentsholing and apply for the “Identification Slip” with proper proof of Indian nationality.
Similarly, Indians coming by air must posses any one of the above mentioned Travel Document and get the Entry Permit at the Paro International Airport. The ‘entry permit’ allows an Indian tourist to visit Thimphu and Paro only. However, any tourist going beyond Thimphu and Paro need to acquire a ‘special area permit’ from the RGoB Immigration Office at Thimphu on any working days (Monday to Friday)
Indian citizens travelling to Bhutan are allowed to carry Indian currency notes of the denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 only upto the limit of Rs. 25000. Over and above this amount (Rs. 25000), the denomination must be less than Rs. 500 (i.e. Rs. 100 and below).