DAY 01: BAGDOGRA – PHUENTSHOLING drive 175 km /appx 3.5-4hrs drive
Namoh guide will meet you at a pre designated point in Siliguri near the Bagdogra airport & NJP railway station. We will start on the drive to Phuentsholing by 2 p.m. The drive today is through the mighty plains of Bengal amidst many tea gardens, small towns and villages until you reach Phuentsholing which is on the Indo-Bhutan border, a bustling commercial town. Free to explore the town on your own. Overnight in a hotel
DAY 02: PHUENTSHOLING – PARO drive 180 km /5 to 6hrs, hike / 2-3 hrs
After breakfast and completing some permit formalities, you now ascend into the hills of the magical land of Bhutan. The drive takes you to heights of 2800m in about 4 hrs from sea level, with altitude changes the flora and fauna of the region. You come across the towns of Gedu, Chukha and many small settlements along the route. We will have lunch enroute and reach our destination, Paro around early evening. Paro is a beautiful town set in a majestic valley with the meandering Paro river flowing through it. We check into the hotel and without wasting anytime get down to business. We set out on a walking tour of Paro. For people wanting to take it easy can relax in the beautiful environs of the hotel. Overnight in a hotel
DAY 03: PARO - HIKE TO TAKTSANG, hike 3 / 4 hrs & Archery & Darts
Today is a special day as you hike up to one of the most famous sight & monastery in Bhutan, Taktsang (Tiger Nest) monastery. After an early breakfast we take a short drive to the starting point and from there take a hike to the Taktsang Monastery. Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche did his meditation here for 3 months. The hike takes about 3 – 4 hrs (both ways) depending on the capability of the hikers. This is also a photographer’s delight; the monastery is adorned with prayer flags and the stands in the cave of granite rocks 300m above the valley floor. Tea/Coffee will be served in the viewpoint cafeteria. We finish the trek and on the way back to the hotel visit the Kichu monastery which is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Genpo who built 108 monasteries around the region with the last being Lhasa in Tibet. In the second half today we try our hand at Bhutan’s national sport, archery and also enjoy dart shooting in an archery range. Overnight in a hotel
DAY 04: CYCLING & HIKING IN PARO, cycle/3 hrs & hike/ 2-3 hrs
After breakfast we get familiarized with our cycles and after a short practice run we ride on the road leading to Drugyal Dzong at the end of the Paro valley. This ride will be of around 18kms and is mostly on moderate incline which even first timers can manage. There will be a back up vehicle for keeping the cycles just in case someone doesn’t feel like riding. This is a fantastic ride mostly along the Paro chhu (river). We will spend some time in the ruins of Drugyal dzong and later set out on a hike inside Jigme Dorji National Park. This is a super walk in the beautiful Bhutan outdoors. After the hike we head back to our hotel. Overnight in a hotel
DAY 05: PARO- HAA drive 70 km / appx 2 - 3 hrs, Hike / 3 hrs & stay in a local home
After breakfast we drive to another spectacular valley called the Haa Valley which is surely one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. We will cross the 4000m Chelila Pass which has great views all around especially of underlying valleys. Haa valley is characterized by its surrounding rugged and mountain terrain unlike other parts of Bhutan. Today we will stay with a local family in their farm house. This home stay has a truly rural feel with apple orchards and fields all around. After a short rest and home cooked Bhutanese lunch with the family we set out on an exploratory hike from Haa town to Juneydrak Hermitage. The walk is through rhododendron forest with some very nice views. You will enroute cross the quaint Katsho village. Up ahead you reach a chorten that marks the entry to a Hermitage. The walk to the temple is very interesting with beautiful views back towards Haa valley from the temple. You will also be able to visit a local farmhouse during your walk and meet with the local families. Overnight in a home stay
DAY 06: HAA -THIMPHU 120 km drive / appx 3.5-4hrs.
Early morning after tea we drive to the border village of Damthang (30 mins). This is a breathtaking drive and a great place for photography. Later return to the homestay and have breakfast. Post breakfast we enjoy a short hike and depart for Thimpu via Chunzum. We get to thimpu and check into the hotel. Evening at leisure. Walk around Thimphu city, one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world. Overnight in a hotel
DAY 07: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
Thimpu is truly culturally and scenically blessed and today we spend time exploring it. We will visit Simtokha Dzong, Kingdom’s oldest Dzong built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Visit the handicrafts emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased, memorial Chorten, built in the memory of Third King of Bhutan. After lunch we relax for some time and later explore the small but extremely charming Thimphu city and the curio shops around the city. We also visit Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu’s most impressive building situated at the banks of Wang Chhu. It houses the King’s Throne room and it is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot. Overnight in a hotel
DAY 08. DAY TRIP TO PUNAKHA, 79km one way appx drive / 2hrs one way & River rafting
After breakfast we drive towards Punakha via the Dochula Pass (3150 m). We take a break here for tea/coffee and some great views of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains. From here we continue towards Punakha. Depending upon the river conditions and the experience / inexperience of the group we will either raft on the Pho Chu or Mo Chu. The stretch on Pho Chu is approximately of 16 kms with about 15 rapids of class 2-4. It is the most popular river for rafting in Bhutan. Stretch on the Mo Chu river is of 10 Kms and has around 10 rapids with 2-2+ grade. We have lunch post river rafting and then set out to explore the Punakha Dzong (fortress). Punakha used to be the capital of Bhutan between 17 – 19’th century. The Punakha Dzong (fortress) is surely the most spectacular Dzong in the country and is built between two rivers known as "Phochu" (Male River) and "Mochu" (Female River). This is the winter residence of Bhutan's spiritual leader, the Head Abbot, and the Central Monastic Body.
Later drive back to Thimphu for overnight stay
DAY 09: DRIVE BACK TO BAGDOGRA/NJP/SILIGURI FROM THIMPU,drive / 8-9 hrs OR Take the flight back from Paro
Today we start from Thimpu at around 5 a.m and reach Siliguri by 1 or 2 p.m. we have breakfast enroute.
Trip Ends With Sweet Memories !!!
LIST OF ESSNTIALS FOR WINTERS
Mountain/adventure travel requires one to be adequately equipped with the right kind of personal gear. Since one is travelling in the wilderness there will be hardly any opportunity to buy anything once you hit the trail so we urge you to carefully pack everything into your bags. Also please keep in mind you can rent out or purchase equipment from our Gear Store, if required.
Shirts / T-shirts – 2/3
Jeans / Trekking Pants - 2
Windproof jacket of decent quality (no flimsy wind cheaters please!) preferably with a hood
Warm and thick Fleece / Full-sleeve Woollen sweater
Thermal inner wear (upper & lower)
Woollen socks & regular socks (3-4 pairs)
Comfortable Trekking/Hiking shoes (shoes with a thick sole are recommended)
Raincoat / Poncho
Small light weight towel
Water bottle (sturdy ones, no empty Bisleri bottles!!)
Cap / Hat to keep the strong sun away from your face
Torch / Flashlight (with extra batteries)
Medicines, if requiring any specific medication
Books, if you like reading
Day pack/small bag which you will carry on your back every day and keep your essentials in it
Keep a few poly bags or waterproof bags in your bag in which if required you can put your belongings in case of heavy rain
Camera if you like (with fully charged batteries)
…LOADS OF ENTHUSIASM!! AND A PLEDGE TO LEAVE NO TRACE
Carry your stuff in a duffel bag, soft shoulder bag or a rucksack. Avoid suitcases, trolleys or any other hard luggage. As you will be walking long distances carrying a rucksack, avoid bringing unnecessary items on the trek. Please avoid carrying expensive watches, jewellery and electronic items on the trek.
Transport Options (Arrival & Departure from Bagdogra)
For travel to Bagdogra & back one can choose between air and rail. For air travel, Bagdogra is well connected to Delhi and other parts of the country by Indigo, Air India, Jet Airways and other commercial airlines. Train travel is also recommended with a number of options available with the closest railway station being New Jalpaiguri. For train details, you could log on to www.indianrail.gov.in and for online railway ticket bookings you could log on to www.irctc.co.in.
The climate in Bhutan varies widely depending on the elevation. In the southern border areas it is tropical; at the other extreme, in the high Himalayan regions, there is perpetual snow. Temperatures in the far south range from 15°C in winter (December to February) to 30°C in summer (June to August). In Paro the range is from -5°C in January to 30°C in July, with 800mm of rain. In the high mountain regions the average temperature is 0°C in winter and may reach 10°C in summer, with an average of 350mm of rain. Rain occurs primarily during the southwest monsoon season from June to September.
Please keep in mind that the above information is not exact and does not account for sudden changes. Whatever the temperatures and conditions rest assured we will be prepared to handle it with ease as we use equipment of very high specifications
Duration: 9 days/ 8 nights
Season: Mar – May & Sep - Dec
Bhutan is undoubtedly the most exotic region in the entire Himalayas. What sets it aside from the other Himalayan regions, other than its stunning landscapes, is the presence of an extremely rich culture & the beautiful & ever welcoming people that inhabit this land. The experience Bhutan presents is magical, very different from anything else and one which lingers on for a long period. Everything here has a past and an interesting story around it. So for people who love mountains and the stories that have existed within these mountains for centuries, this is a perfect destination
One visit to Bhutan and the word Lush Green would have a completely different meaning for you. Just six hundred thousand people within its boundaries and a culture which loves conservation has ensured that the forests and foliage is absolutely untouched and pristine. The land is blessed with several high valleys characterized by vast flat undulating meadows which play host to quaint villages. The wide valleys here are something very rare in other regions of the Himalayas
This multi activity cultural exploration trip to Bhutan is a unique combination of cultural exploration and a variety of engaging activities thrown in to keep the excitement level high throughout. This is an intoxicating 9 day trip and covers the popular Paro, Haa & Punakha valleys in Bhutan. Within these valleys lies a treasure of culture, beauty and mystery. We explore these valleys on foot, on cycles and on a raft. As part of the trip we hike up to Bhutans most famous sight and monastery, Taktsang or tigers Nest. We visit 3 majestic Dzongs (forts) in Thimpu, Paro & Punakha & also explore the beautiful towns of Thimpu & Paro, which surely are the most beautiful Himalayan towns across the Himalayas. As part of the tour you get to stay in a local farm based home stay and experience the rural Bhutanese life at close quarters. We have included archery and dart shooting in the trip for you to experience the two most famous activities in Bhutan
Bhutan is easily accessible from India. You can fly directly from New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta & Bagdogra and join the group at Paro OR you could fly in or take a train to reach Siliguri (Bagdogra airport & NJP railway station are very close by) and from here drive to Paro as mentioned in the itinerary