Starting at Darjeeling, Travel to Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon via Sikkim

Trip Details

Duration: 14 Days
Pace: Relaxed
Destinations: New Delhi – flight to Bagdogra – drive to Darjeeling – Gangtok (Sikkim) – Pelling – Gorumara National Park – Thimphu (via Phuentsholing), capital of Bhutan – via Dochula Pass to Punakha – Paro (Tiger’s Nest) – flight to Kolkata (Calcutta) or New Delhi
    • This exceptional journey is not just a trip to the silent monastery world and Buddhist secrets of the ancient kingdom of Sikkim and Bhutan, it also takes you to the lively tea town Darjeeling whose teas are among the most prestigious in the world.
    • The small mountain state of Sikkim to the east of the Himalayas will surprise you with Buddhist monasteries surrounded by green vegetation covering hillsides and views of the third highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga. This is where you will get your first insight of the local traditional lifestyle and what Buddhist monastic culture is really about.
    • By road you will be driven to Bhutan, the small Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom and on to Phuentsholing, on the Bhutan/India border. Bhutan is the hidden paradise of happiness; it is even part of the country’s constitution. Guardian spirits and mountain gods are ever present in the carvings on ancient homes and the fabric of people’s traditional costumes. Most impressive is the famous Tiger’s Nest, the 10,335 ft./3,150 m high cliff-hugging Taktshang Monastery.
    • Bhutan possesses magnificent scenery; traveling in this kingdom is a journey into another world with painted monastery castles, bustling market places and the majesty of the biggest mountains in the world. The friendly Bhutanese, who are mostly out and about wearing their national costume, will enchant you. You will discover the joy of a country full of fantastic experiences, incomparable natural beauty and an exotic culture.
    • Your trip in India will be by private transport, and on occasions a guide will accompany you on excursions. This part of the tour is of a more individual nature and breakfast is the only meal included in your trip fair. The journey through Bhutan is more all-inclusive with both an English-speaking guide and a driver to accompany you at all times. Here all meals are included.
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Your international flight will land in Delhi, India’s capital city. A driver will meet you at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and transport you to the Aerocity Hotel just 5 to 10 minutes away. The hotel offers budget and luxury accommodation, air conditioned rooms, a restaurant with delicious Indian dishes on the menu, and very friendly and helpful staff members. If your plane arrives very early in the morning, an early check in can be arranged at an additional fee

You can use the rest of the day to discover some of this city’s many historical and cultural monuments, or take a ride in a typical rickshaw through Old Delhi’s lively narrow streets to an interesting mosque or a few enticing stores. You can also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Delhi like Humayun’s Tomb, the Qutub Minar Complex, take a Guided Walking Tour through Mehrauli Archaeological Park, explore the Red Fort and much more.

Maybe you need more time to enjoy this lively ancient city? We will be happy to arrange an extra stay overnight at your request, and a half day outing by rickshaw and metro in the company of a guide proficient in English.

• Breakfast included
• Transfer from the airport to your hotel
• Optional city tour on request
• Overnight stay in Delhi

Tip: All our Bhutan tours are round trips which  means you will require a double entry visa for India, or otherwise a 30-day visa for India which will allow you double entry.

After breakfasting in the hotel, the driver will transport you to Delhi’s International Airport for the flight to Bagdogra in the north eastern part of India. From here a two to three-hour drive will end in Darjeeling, a picturesque hill station. The mountainous landscape means that the climate is cooler and the skies clearer than what you experienced in Delhi.

It was customary for the Bengal rulers in the time of the Raj to flee the heat in Calcutta and spend the summer in their official residence in Darjeeling. This habit is still followed by many people and the town has turned into a popular vacation destination. Sitting prettily on top of a 7,001 ft./2,134 m high mountain ridge, the streets are almost vertical and an interesting mix of local mountain tribes like the indigenous Lepchas, as well as Hindus, Tibetans and Bhutanese crowd the roads. On clear days there are breath taking views of the snow topped Himalayan peaks.
In the afternoon you will go on an orientation walk around Darjeeling. While strolling through the pretty lanes you will immediately notice the typical colonial influences dating from the time of the British evident in many hotels and houses.

You will also be able to visit one of the tea plantations which is this region’s claim to fame. The fertile soil and cool climate makes this high altitude area ideal for the production of world-class teas and numerous large estates surround the town. Like in days long gone by, the tea leaves are still handpicked by female workers, after which it is processed in estate factories. If your visit coincides with the tea harvesting season, you will witness some of the manufacturing processes and get a better understanding of what exactly tea production entails.

Your hotel in Darjeeling is cozy and quiet with large comfortable rooms. Spend some time in the lounge with its stove providing warmth and butter lamps lending a snug atmosphere.

• Breakfast included
• Transport from the airport to your hotel in Darjeeling
• Optional: Tasting Tour on a tea plantation which includes a walk through the tea gardens, observing the CTC tea process, and a tea tasting
• Stay the night in Darjeeling

The best time to enjoy the stunning view of the Kanchenjunga Massif is early in the morning, and the best location to admire this impressive sight is from Tiger Hill, so we get up before sunrise, make out way to this popular viewpoint and wait for the sun to rear its head above the horizon. If we are lucky to have clear weather, we will be able to see the world’s 3rd highest mountain, Kanchenjunga in Sikkim standing 28,497 ft./8,686 m high, other Himalayan peaks and maybe even Mount Everest in the distance.

We return to the hotel for breakfast and then proceed to the Darjeeling railway station for a 19 mi./31 km ride on the famous Darjeeling Toy Train to Kurseong, one of India’s three Mountain Railways declared World Heritage Sites. Built between 1897 and 1881, it is a 2ft./610 mm gauge railway which travels for three delightful hours through scenic landscapes, manoeuvring heart stopping inclines and curves. A blue steam engine, built in Glasgow, pulls the small carriages up precipitous mountains on a track constructed with innovative skills and clever engineering talent. Hear the whistle blowing and watch swirls of steam rising from the locomotive as you enjoy this unique experience. Through Darjeeling’s narrow streets the train moves at a mere 6 mph/9.6 km/h, so close to the houses and markets, you could almost buy a few snacks without leaving your carriage seat.

About 3 mi./5 km out of the town we climb almost 1,000 ft./305 m in only a few minutes. Ghoom is our first stop on the journey into the Himalayas, and at 7,407 ft./2,258 m it is the highest narrow gauge train station on earth. Ghoom is surrounded by large tea plantations and even offers us a peak of Mount Kanchenjunga. The plantations extend as far as we travel, and along the way we greet women pickers in traditional garments, baskets tied to their foreheads. Other than the high speed city train rides, traveling at such slow, relaxed speed is especially delightful; you have ample time to enjoy the surroundings in detail. Our Toy Train rides stops for a drink of water and for its happy passengers to take pictures at the Batasia Loop where the rail track spirals around over itself, passing through a tunnel and then over a hill in order to lower the gradient of descend. Closer to our final stop at Kurseong the sight of pastel colored homes stacked one on top of the other, clinging to the mountainside, is quite something to see.

At Kurseong the driver will meet you for the return journey to Darjeeling by road. You may also opt for a visit to Darjeeling’s Himalayan Railway Museum.

After the train ride we have time to explore Darjeeling.

First on the list is Ghoom Gompa, the oldest monastery in Darjeeling, dating back to 1850. With your guide, you will also explore either the wonderful zoo where snow panthers and red pandas live, or the Himalayan Museum. The Tibetan Refugee Center exhibits and sells handicrafts like items of clothing and rugs woven from hand-spun wool made by exiled Tibetans. End off this most eventful day with a delicious traditional Tibetan or Nepalese dinner.

• Breakfast included
• Early morning visit to Tiger Hill
• Toy Train ride to Kurseong
• Visit the Ghoom Gompa
• Stay the night in Darjeeling

Please note: Many of the trains on this track are now diesel, but we will do our utmost to book a trip on a traditional steam train.

On Day 4 of your India Bhutan round trip, we will travel to Sikkim. Earlier ruled by Buddhist priest kings, this former kingdom is situated in the eastern Himalayas. Here Tibetan culture and customs are prevalent and you will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the Tibetan way of life, and travel amongst beautiful mountain scenery.

The morning finds us on a scenic 3 to 4-hour drive to the little village of Pelling. Historic remains, picturesque little villages and celebrated monasteries are found in the area, and of course the 3rd highest mountain, Kangchenjunga Massif delights us in all its splendour.

For your overnight stay you may choose between the Hotel Elgin Mount Pandim or the Hotel Norbu Ghang Resort, both with beautiful mountain views. The Elgin Mount Pandim once served as a retreat for the royal family of Sikkim, made obvious in the pleasant mixture of vintage and modern furnishings. Brass fittings, polished wooden floors, electric heaters set in plaster mouldings and Tibetan motifs happily share space with television screens and modern bathtubs. The opulent building sits on 8 acres of untouched forest with meticulously tended gardens, lending a royal look and feel.

Lunch becomes even more enjoyable when you do it while gazing at magnificent Mount Kanchenjunga. However, the ultimate view of this colossus is from Pelling, 27 mi./43 km from Darjeeling. Unsurpassed in both width and height, the mountain is the reigning deity of Pelling. Each of its five peaks is home to a god, and together they provide spiritual and physical protection, so much so that no foreign army could ever conquer the town. The mountain looks close enough to touch, but is often hidden from view by dense clouds and an eerie mist. This elusive, mystical appearance combines with the associated characteristics of patience, acceptance, respect and faith to enforce the age old eastern spiritual values of the region.

After lunch we head for the Pemayangtse Monastery, highly revered and premier of the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism. The walls are covered in huge frescoes of terrifying, fierce deities. Upstairs is an outstanding depiction of heaven. In the halls the murals are painted in softer colors with a more spiritual nature and milder touch. As is common in many ancient Hindu temples, you can also see numerous sensual paintings, reminiscent of the sensual stone sculptures of the Khajuraho Group of Temples.

The rest of this day is yours to spend as you please. You may choose to just relax upstairs on the hotel veranda to watch flocks of birds flying past and take in the peaceful mountain views. Later you may want to try out some of the traditional Sikkim dishes while finding out more about the local customs from your host. If you prefer the outdoors, take an easy stroll up the valley and enjoy the red rhododendrons and Kanchendzonga Mountain’s beauty.

Please note: Visitors need an entry permit to travel to Sikkim. You may want to apply for it when submitting your India visa application. Otherwise ask your Darjeeling guide to assist you with it.

• Breakfast included
• Pemayangtse Monastery excursion
• Tour of the village
• Stay the night in a hotel

The drive from Darjeeling this morning follows winding roads for around 4 hours until we reach Gangtok. This gives you ample time to lose yourself in the scenery of distant steep, snow-covered mountain sides. Ask your driver any time you want to take a picture, there will be plenty of opportunities for award-winning photos.

Gangtok is Sikkim’s capital and finds itself on a precipitous mountain ridge 5,381 ft./1,640 m above sea level. From here the mountainous landscapes are magnificent. To learn more about Buddhism and its history, a visit to the Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology is the good place to start. Its snow white stupa almost seems to glow in the rays of the sun. But one can also learn much about the Tibetan Buddhism influence from the large number of ancient monasteries and their specific architectural style. Tsuklakhang Monastery and Temple is a good example. Formerly a private palatial monastery for the royals, important religious ceremonies and festivals were held at this location. The victory of good over evil is still celebrated at the monastery every New Year.

Take the cable car to the upper neighbourhood of Gangtok for a visit to the Orchid Sanctuary. The gardens spread out over the mountain slope and almost five hundred different species of this exotic flower are grown here. Consult you tour guide for optional excursions, or walks and hikes, he will gladly be of assistance.

Spend the afternoon taking in Gangtok’s true character with all its sights and sounds. Take a walk through the streets and if the smells of typical Sikkimese food tickle your taste buds, stroll to MG Road which is littered with restaurants, cafes and bars. If you are in need of spiritual upliftment, attend the 4 p.m. prayers at the monastery, allow the sound of chanting to wash over you and enjoy the beautiful city views from above. Baker’s Café also offers stunning views, and here you might want to indulge in a delicious cup of tasty rich hot chocolate. Start a conversation with one of the local people and find out more about Sikkim’s history first as independent kingdom and nowadays as an annexed state of India.

We spend the night in Gangtok in a budget or luxury hotel.

• Breakfast included
• Explore Gangtok with a private guide
• Overnight in Gangtok

Especially during the earlier part of the morning, as the first rays of the sun awaken the mountain deities from their slumber Tashi View Point is the perfect place to experience Kanchenjunga in all its glory. And this is exactly what we have planned for you this morning.

Afterwards we follow the hazy walk to Enchey Monastery situated above Gangtok. Constructed in the middle of the 19th century by the eighth Chogyal monarch, it is a monastic retreat with 100 residing monks. Not only is it the venue for the main event on the town calendar, namely the yearly Masked Lama Dance, but there are also Buddhist symbols and a number of murals to admire inside the monastery buildings. You will see rows of monks as young as seven and up to 70 years old walk to their prayer meetings clad in red robes. You will hear soft voices coming from the pine forests erupt into chants, only to die down again. Banging cymbals, brass horns booming away and the eerie sound of conch shells accompany beating drums, capturing the listeners in a mesmerizing spell.

We return to our hotel for a well-deserved breakfast.

Today we will explore Gangtok’s craft centers and bazaars but we start with one of the many monasteries, Do Drul Chorten. The stupa was constructed as a symbol of the triumph of good over evil. Several important sacred manuscripts and relics are kept inside and 108 prayer wheels surround the building. At the Institute of Tibetology a collection of rare manuscripts and books will be of special interest to all scholars of Buddhism. Priceless religious statues, paintings and other items of religious art can be seen. Last on our itinerary is the Tashi Handicraft Center. Its establishment provided work and an income for many female Tibetan refugees who display beautiful ornate traditional knitted items, pieces of embroidery and tapestry.

Use the remainder of the day to relax, wander around and immerge yourself in the Gangtok relaxed way of life.

Optional excursions: Labrang and Phodong Monasteries, like many others in the area, have preserved their original character largely because they do not see so many tourists. Phodong is larger than the more ancient Labrang and is definitely one of Sikkim’s most important places of worship. The view from both, located on a hill, is worth a visit and the interiors are adorned with detailed, colorful frescoes, each one with its own narrative. You will hear stories of the Buddhist cycle of life, learn about the Buddha’s life and battles against demons. On your Bhutan Sikkim Tour, you will be faced with typical monastic complexes or dzongs like these over and over again. Towards evening we return to our hotel in Gangtok.

• Breakfast included
• Pre-breakfast visits to Tashi View Point and the Enchey Monastery
• Explore Do Drul Chorten, the Institute of Tibetology and the Tashi Handicraft Center
• Optional tours to Phodong and Labrang Dzongs

Along the road to Kalimpong from Gangtok lies one of Sikkim’s most eminent monasteries, the Rumtek Monastery. This imposing headquarters for the Kagyupa Order of Tibetan Buddhism is a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet and was inaugurated in 1966. Do not miss the wall and ceiling paintings in intricate designs. There are also some excellent wood carvings to admire while you observe the monks at their daily prayers and tasks.

Kalimpong town lies 3,937 ft./1,200 m high on the old main trade route with Tibet. Locally called Bhutanese Gompa and home to the Nyingmapa Order, the Thongsa Gompa is the town’s oldest monastery. Its construction took place after the Kalimpong hills were captured from the Sikkim Chogyals by the Bhutanese who proceeded to build a fort near Pedong. Kalimpong served as the royals’ southern Bhutan administrative center, even post India’s independence, when they continued to visit the site. Traditional rituals and ceremonies continue up to this day in Thongsa Gompa, one of the area’s oldest. You may in lucky to hear the monks chanting their chorales. Other monasteries worth a visit are the 11th Mile Monastery serving the Tibetan Gelugpa Order, as well as some of the indigenous Lepcha Gompas close by.

Perching on yet another hilltop is the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang Monastery which has impressive ceiling and wall paintings. Eighty percent of all the gladioli intended for export to India is produced in Kalimpong, and it is a marvel to see these beautiful flower plantations.

Kalimpong was previously an important trade center for merchants of wool from Tibet, and it has maintained its character as a bazaar town. In the lively market you are sure to see and hear people from dozens of different religions and cultures. Do try some of the local delicacies while you hunt through the stalls for souvenirs to take back home.

• Breakfast included
• Visits to Bhutanese/Thongsa Gompa, the Zang Dhok Palri Phodong Monastery and the Kalimpong bazaar
• Overnight in Kalimpong

As we continue on our tour, we reach the Gorumara National Park not far from the India/Bhutan border at around noon after three hours of driving. There is a jeep safari organized for you in the afternoon. Watch out for elephants, Indian gaur, some rarer deer species and one horn rhinos, and if you are especially lucky you may even spot a leopard. Our lodge for the night is right on the border of the park.

• Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included
• A Jeep or elephant safari in Gorumara National Park
• Overnight in a lodge bordering the park

We are nearly in Bhutan! After you have enjoyed breakfast we will drive from India into Bhutan. Phuentsholing is only two to three hours away and this is where we will cross the India/Bhutan border. First we stop at Jaigaon, the India/Bhutan border town where you have to complete the entry documentation. Across the border in Phuentsholing you meet up with your Bhutanese guide and driver for the rest of the journey through Bhutan and Sikkim. Your guide will lend assistance with your Bhutan visa.

You have now entered the Land of the Thunder Dragon! The road curls around unbelievable hairpin bends and spirals up from the lowlands of India into green Himalayan mountain forests. It will take us around seven hours to cover the 155 mi./250 km distance as the going is slow over the bumpy, winding road. This is your first experience of Bhutan at a speed that never exceed 31 mph/50 km per hour on the mountain roads. During stops your guide will start to explain some of the country’s special features; you will learn that we will climb about 6,562 ft./2,000 m in altitude during the journey to reach Thimphu in the later afternoon. This cozy little town is also the kingdom’s capital and its diminutive size means there exist no need for traffic lights; traffic is regulated by a policeman standing in a little traffic circle.

Your hotel is located in the center of the city, so you can venture into the streets on foot to explore the stores and clock square, Thimphu’s popular meeting place. If you feel like it, your guide will help you discover more sights, like the National Library which has the world’s largest printable book, or an interesting traditional handicraft school.

• Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included
• Assistance at the border crossing into Bhutan
• Explore the area with accompanied by your guide
• Stay the night in Thimphu

We will spend the day to get to know Thimphu and everything it has to offer. Which sights you want to visit, is up to you, discuss the options with your guide. Highly recommended is the Thimphu Dzong, also called Tashichho Dzong, the country’s largest monastery fort on the northern edge of the city. A mighty construction, it is the religious and administrative heartbeat of Bhutan. This ‘Fortress of the Glorious Religion’ or ‘Dzong of Good Law’ is also the king’s official residence, the place where he receives guests, and where the National Assembly meets for its sessions in the huge prayer hall. During the autumn, the large courtyard serves as the venue for the sacred Thimphu Dance Festival.

Another recommendation you should consider, is a walk around the National Memorial Chorten. The stupa is held in high religious fervour and a clockwise circumambulation, the direction in which it is done in all of Bhutan, is believed to fulfil your wishes and bring you good luck.

Thirdly we recommend the golden Buddha Dordena Statue presiding over the entire Thimphu Valley, and known as the largest seated Buddha on earth. For those who like some action, there is a pleasant half day hike to the Cheri Monastery, or Tango hiding in the Thimphu hills. The winding trail has a steady incline through green forests.

If you have never seen a takin, now is your chance. Visit the zoo to meet Bhutan’s national animal, a surprising mixture of a sheep and a cow.

During our guided tour in Thimphu we leave time for a visit to the local bazaar where vegetables and fruit are lined up in neat rows. There is a large selection of eye-catching traditional handicrafts, and you may even find something to read amongst the foreign language books. A number of small museums enlighten the visitor on subjects like traditional Bhutanese costumes, still worn by locals every day, in the Textile Museum and the interesting Folk Museum that has information about matters to do with agriculture, all-important to Bhutan. Visit the National Library to admire their wonderful archive of ancient documents and writings.

If your tour of Bhutan coincides with the Thimphu Tshechu Festival in October, you will be delighted with the lively masked dances of the monks dressed in bright colored brocade costumes accompanied by chanting and readings from Buddhist scripts. Like every Tshechu festival this one is in honour of Padma Sambhawa, or Guru Rimpoche, the saint and yogi who allegedly brought Tantric Buddhism to the entire Himalayan region. The festival culminates in the unfolding of a large thangka made of fabric to reveal an image of Padma Sambhawa, images of the Buddhist pantheon and a holy scroll.

• Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included
• Guided tour of the city
• Overnight in Thimphu

We take leave of Thimphu and traverse the 10,007 ft./3,050 m-high Dochula Pass after which the road descends down into the Punakha Valley lying at a pleasantly mild altitude of 4,101 ft./1,250 m. After two to three hours on the road, we arrive at our hotel in Lobesa, a small village with views of the pretty rice fields.

The milder climate of the Punakha Valley makes it possible to cultivate the delicious nutty-flavored red rice, the rarest kind of rice in the world.  

It is time to start exploring the Punakha Valley and we hike along the Mo Chhu River through rice and cabbage fields to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten at the upper end of the valley. From here we have a panoramic view over the Punakha Valley. The shrine is a fine example of Bhutanese art and architecture and is quite unique as it was constructed by the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck not as a place of worship but as a magical tool to transmit peace and ward off evil. It took eight years to build and is designed according to details from religious scripts.

As we walk down the trail, you will be amazed by the impressive sight of the city’s main attraction, namely the Punakha Dzong. During the winter months the order’s monastic leader with his entire entourage of monks reside here and the sacred remains of Nawang Namgyal, the first ruler of Bhutan is housed inside. One of only a small number of dzongs built on a level plain, it was constructed as a ‘Palace of Great Bliss’ according to traditional Bhutanese style following Zowe Palep, the master builder’s inspirations. Two rivers surround the Dzong palace which can only be reached over a suspension bridge leading towards enormous prayer wheels.

Chimi Lhakhang Temple sits on a low hill reached after a short walk through lovely green fields. The ‘Holy Fool’ of Bhutan, the poet, missionary and monk Drukpa Kunley blessed the temple, hence it is also referred to as the Fertility Temple.

Lunch is a picnic enjoyed on the Punakha Chhu River banks in full view of the amazing Dzong. From this vantage point you can also see the meeting of the Pho Chhu and the Mo Chhu Rivers.

In the afternoon we drive a short distance to Talo Village to wander through the quiet village temple grounds and maybe pay a visit to the village from where the four royal queens, four sisters, of this kingdom grew up. More valley excursions and walks can be easily organized if you feel like it.

• Breakfast, a picnic lunch and dinner are included
• Guided tour of Punakha
• Overnight stay

This morning we take the road back over Dorchu Pass, via Thimphu and arrive in Paro at a height of 7,480 ft./2,280 m. During the drive you will have yet one more opportunity to admire the glorious mountain ranges with their white snowy peaks.

The picturesque ‘Temple of the Beautiful Horse’, or Tachog Lhakhang lies not far outside Paro. After many people died trying to cross the river, the yogi Thangtong Gyalpo, still a youth in the 14th century, decided to build a bridge to the small temple. He would continue to construct 108 iron bridges throughout Tibet and Bhutan. You will also find the prettiest houses in all of Bhutan here in the Paro Valley.

Your overnight stay in peaceful Paro is in a cottage at the edge of town. We visit Rinpung Dzong, also called Paro Dzong, situated on the very edge of the hill and one of the prime examples of the Bhutanese architectural style. The scenery is stunning and surely the most beautiful in the Paro Valley with the Paro-Chhu River flowing beneath. The Dzong houses the district administration, and serves as the state monastery seat. Dating from ancient times, it was an important monastic palace in Bhutan and today Buddhist monks’ ordination ceremonies and sacred dances are still held here.

Ta Dzong, next on the itinerary, was constructed to serve as a watch tower, but in 1968 was turned into the National Museum exhibiting antique Thangka, armor and weapons, household items, textiles, and many other historic and natural artifacts.

If you want to see more of this pretty tranquil valley, we can take a short drive to the Drukgyal Dzong ruins. Built by the unifier and father of ancient Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was not rebuilt after a devastating accidental fire destroyed most of the buildings. Walking around the rampart remains is a strange reminder of the historic victories it was constructed to commemorate, an evocative image indeed.

• Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included
• Guided exploration of Paro
• Stay the night in Paro

Today you are facing a thrilling challenge, the famous Tiger’s Nest. The walk winds through pine forests on a steadily uphill trail. From time to time the monastery comes into view, clinging to the rock face high up. On average the walk takes half a day, but you are free to go at a pace you are comfortable with. A picture spot along the way has a fine view of the monastery and after that you descend slightly. Then several steps up and you have arrived. It is impossible to reach the Taktsang Temple by vehicle; you will have to follow one of the steep trails up. However, it is worth the effort over and over again. The hike up is beautiful and of course the reward remarkable. Not only can you admire the temple, the views are out of this world. To this day it is still unbelievable how people managed such a feat in the 17th century.

Before attempting the final descend, energize yourself with something from the small cafeteria on the way.

More information on the hike: The round trip walk is about 4 mi./6 km in distance. Walking uphill takes on average of between 2 and 3 hours, but will depend on the number of times you stop, your individual pace and level of fitness. In places the going is steep, and the trail can be quite slippery right through the year so take your time, wear good walking shoes and maybe use trekking poles or a walking stick for extra support. Not all of us are gazelle-footed. You can take a pony ride as far as the cafeteria if you do not feel like walking the entire trail.

The afternoon offers several options. If you have never tried archery, now is your chance to try your hand at Bhutan’s national sport. Your guide will give you a concise briefing beforehand.

Maybe you want to visit one of the local farms in the afternoon to try the local yak butter tea while catching up on the local legends from your host. The oldest temple in Bhutan, Lhakhang is also worth a visit. It has three stories, representing hell earth and heaven and dates from the 1400’s.

• Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
• Hike up to Tiger’s Nest
• Optional activities: Archery
• Stay in Paro for the night

Your driver will transport you to the small airport in Paro for your return flight to New Delhi or Kolkata on either Bhutan Airlines or Drukair.

Tip: Try to get a seat at the right-hand side window, so make sure to check in early. It will give you wonderful views of the majestic Himalaya Mountains and even a bird’s eye view of mighty Mount Everest.

In Kolkata or New Delhi, your driver will transfer you to your hotel. This hotel is not included in the tour price.

If your flight home only departs in the evening, it leaves you will ample time to enjoy the sights of Kolkata or Delhi, and to sample more of the local Indian delicacies. Your driver will be ready to make sure you arrive at the airport in good time for your flight back home.

• Breakfast included
• Transfers to the airports
• Optional: Guided Tour of Kolkata or New Delhi
• Day of final departure

India your way, your route, your style

• Price based on two persons in a double room
• Prices are in USD Excluding international flights
• Do you prefer to travel alone or would you like to come to India with a group of friends? We will be happy to tailor-made your tour program that meets all your wishes and needs

Travel Period PRICE PER PERSON  
Apr 1, 2023 – Mar 31, 2024 price on request (Standard) INQUIRE NOW
Apr 1, 2023 – Mar 31, 2024 price on request (Deluxe) INQUIRE NOW
Apr 1, 2023– Mar 31, 2024 price on request (Luxury) INQUIRE NOW

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Included in the Tour Price

Overnight stays

  • INDIA – 8 nights in mid-range to luxury hotels according to your choice and selected Hotel Category
  • BHUTAN – 5 nights in characteristic mid-range to luxury hotels as per your choice and selected Hotel Category.


  • INDIA – Excursion to Tiger Hill, Toy Train Ride, Visits to monasteries and other sights as described in the Tour Program
  • Local English speaking guide in India
  • Sikkim entry permit
  • BHUTAN – Guide proficient in English right through the trip
  • Short hikes and sightseeing by arrangement
  • All sightseeing along the way: Temples and dzongs in Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, and the Tiger’s Nest Temple, as well as cultural, handicraft and history museums, Dochula Pass and the Takin Mini Zoo
  • A brief introduction to archery


  • Air ticket for flight from New Delhi to Bagdogra
  • Flight ticket from Paro to either New Delhi or Kolkata
  • INDIA – All private transfers in an air conditioned vehicle
  • BHUTAN – Transport throughout with a private driver


  • INDIA – Breakfasts only
  • BHUTAN – All 3 meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner with tea, coffee and water


  • A visa for Bhutan
  • Daily government tax for tourists visiting Bhutan. This includes all monument entrance fees

Not Included in the Tour Price

  • Visa for India
  • INDIA – All meals except breakfast. All drinks
  • INDIA – Entrance fees for monuments
  • BHUTAN – Snacks, alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Service tips
  • Travel insurance
  • Any international flights. We can assist you with a quote
  • Any personal expenses
  • Any expenses regarding videos and cameras
  • BHUTAN – Pony ride to the Tiger’s Nest, Paro
  • Any optional excursions
  • Possible obligatory supplements for travel during Christmas and New Year

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