Tour Details at a glance
March/April 2021 March/April 2022 (Dates to be confirmed once Paro Festival dates are announced)
10 days / 9 nights
US$ 3190pp twin share US$ 3660pp including Optional Single Supplement
Minimum 4, Maximum 10
9 nights Hotels
Arrival and departure transfers Entrance fees to all sights as per the itinerary Guide fees Visa costs Tips and gratuities
Incredible Bhutan Tour
Flying to Bhutan on a totally exhilarating mountain flight across the top of the Himalayas, we take time to visit the sights of the capital Thimpu. We explore the valleys of Punakha, Phobjikha and Bumthang before returning to Paro, the beautiful Haa Valley and the spectacular Taktsang Monastery.
A truly special country, the Kingdom of Bhutan is a delightful nation of friendly people, magnificent scenery, stunning Buddhist culture and still very few tourists due to the limited numbers of hotels and flights available.
With a democratic monarchy, and a policy of 'Gross National Happiness', Bhutan is a unique gem situated deep in the eastern Himalayas, bounded by India to the south and Tibet (China) in the north.
* be amazed at your first sight of a Takin in Thimpu
* explore the stunning Dzong in Punakha
* catch sight of the Black Necked Cranes in the picturesque Phobjikha Valley
* experience the colours and beauty of the monasteries in Bumthang
* be part of the excitement of the annual Jakar Tsechu Festival (2019 departure)
* cross the highest road pass in Bhutan to the Haa Valley
* be left breathless at the sheer unlikeliness of Tigers Nest Monastery in Paro
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Thimpu
Arriving into Paro this morning, we will be transferred 1.5 hours drive to the capital Thimpu before an afternoon of sightseeing including the National Memorial Chorten, Zorig Chusum (painting school) and Tashichhodzong, the monastery/fortress of Thimpu.
Day 2 Punakha
We spend the morning visiting more of the fascinating sights of the small capital city before driving to Punakha (3 hours) via the Dochula Pass at 3050m. Weather permitting, we will experience amazing views of the majestic Himalayas before descending into the picturesque Punakha Valley and visiting the Chimi Lakhang ('temple of the divine madman').
Day 3 Punakha
A full day of exploration of the beautiful Punakha Valley today. We visit the stunning Punkaha Dzong and the Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten. We will picnic by the river and try our hand at a spot of archery - Bhutan’s no. 1 favourite sport. We also have the option of a 1.5 hour rafting trip down the Mo Chu river.
Day 4 Phobjikha
We drive 3 hours to the lovely valley of Phobjikha for an overnight stop enroute to Bumthang, the cultural and religious centre of Bhutan. Todays drive takes us through the market town of Wangduephodrang and up a high pass before descending into the glacial valley of Phobjikha where we visit the Gangtey Monastery. On our November 2019 departure, we will also have the opportunity to see the fascinating Black-necked cranes who have migrated to spend the winter months in the Gangtey valley.
Day 5 Bumthang
During todays half-day drive (5-6 hours) to Bumthang over the Pele La Pass at 3420m, we visit the 18th century Chedebji Chorten and Trongsa Dzong, the largest in Bhutan. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutans ruling dynasty.
Day 6 Bumthang
Today we visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of Bhutans most sacred and oldest temples. We also visit Jakar Dzong. Our November 2019 departure coincides with the Jakar Tsechu. The Tsechu, or festival is one of Bhutans colourful monastery festivals where the Buddhist monks perform dances and rituals to honour the deities and mark important historical events.
Day 6 Paro
Day 7 Paro
Today we have a full-days visit to the Haa Valley, only opened to foreigners in 2002. We climb up through pine and rhododendron forests to cross the highest road pass in Bhutan, the Chele La at 4200m. Descending down we head to either Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery, or to the monasteries of Lhakhand Karpo and Nagpo (White and Black Temples).
Day 8 Paro
We have saved the best till last with our trek to Taktsang Monastery, knows as Tigers Nest. This small monastery nestled on the side of a mountain is Bhutan's most iconic site, situated at 900m above the Paro Valley.
Day 9 Paro Festival
Today we visit Paro Dzong and enjoy the colourful Paro Tshechu (festival) where monks and lay people perform various dances and rituals in celebration of the victory of good over evil.
Day 10 Departure
There are no organised activities today. You will be transferred to the airport in time for your ownward flight.
Minimum 4, Maximum 10
10 days / 9 nights
Starts and finishes in
Arrival and departure transfers
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary
Full time Bhutanese tour guide
Gratuities for hotel staff, guides and driver
Drinks, laundry and other items of a personal nature
Tourist class hotels (9 nights)
Accommodation in Bhutan is provided in tourist class (3 star) hotels. All rooms are ensuite.
Optional Single Supplement
If you are a single traveller, you are not required to pay a single supplement as we will match you up with other travellers. If we are unable to match you up with another traveller of the same sex, we will pay your single supplement for you. Should you not wish to share accommodation at all, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of from US$ 370 will be payable.
Private minibus throughout the tour
The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.
National Memorial Chorten, National Library, Institute for Zorig Chusum, Tashichhodzong, Thimpu Zoo, Drubthob Lhakhang, Local market (Thimpu)
Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, Lhakhang Nunnery, Chimi Lhakang, Punakha Dzong (Punakha)
Gangtey Monastery (Phobjikha)
Jakar Dzong, Kurje Monastery, Jambey Lhakhang (Bumthang)
Taktsang Monastery, Drukgyel Dzong, Paro Dzong, Ta Dzong (Paro)
9 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners
Our tour package in Bhutan includes all meals. These are often buffet type meals served in our hotels, however when possible we will have a picnic lunch and take meals at a local café or restaurant in town or even with a family at their farmhouse.
Exchange rates as at May 2019
AUD1 = 48 BTN
CAD1 = 52 BTN
EUR1 = 78 BTN
GBP1 = 89 BTN
NZD1 = 45 BTN
USD1 = 70 BTN
There are many ATM machines (which accept both Cirrus/Maestro, Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards) in most places we visit. This is a safe and convenient way to access money, however we suggest that you bring a small amount of money in cash (major international currencies) for the times that ATMs are not available. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are also accepted in major shops and restaurants.
In Bhutan, all sightseeing and meals are included in the tour price. You will only require spending money for extras such as drinks and shopping.
Spending money requirements will differ from one person to the next. You will need to take into consideration your spending habits when decided how much to allow.
Tipping is an integral part of life in Bhutan and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier we cover tips for hotel staff, restaurant staff, local guides and for our driver.
Physical rating 3/5
You will find that some sights we visit require a little hiking, and certainly Tigers Nest Monastery is quite challenging for some. Ponies are available to ride to the half-way point (the steepest section) for those who do not wish to hike the entire way.
Culture shock rating 3/5
Conditions in Bhutan are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You may need to occasionally deal with a squat toilet, cold showers or power failure.
Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst travelling to Bhutan and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible Indian Tours. If you are relying on travel insurance provided through your Credit Card, take note that the policies are sometimes inferior and may not provide adequate coverage.
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter Bhutan. You will require a Visa Clearance Letter which we will organise on your behalf.
We recommend that you consult your doctor for current medical travel information about before departure. Your leader will be carrying a basic first aid kit, but we suggest you bring along your own as well as any personal medical requirements.
The following websites have up-to-date information about health requirements.
New Zealand http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
Communications / Keeping in touch
All of our hotels have wifi, although speeds can vary, especially outside of the major towns. You can also use your international sim card, but be aware that roaming costs can be exorbitant. Local Bhutanese sim cards are easily available and work well if you have an unlocked mobile phone.
Your tour manager
Your tour manager is there to organise and streamline your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Whilst they are not a guide per se, they will share their local knowledge, give you suggestions for your free time and manage the day to day running of the tour. A full time local guide, and possibly specialist guides will be with us throughout the tour to provide an in-depth insight into the history and culture.
Getting there and away
Flights to/from Paro are only scheduled from a few destinations in Asia, such as Kathmandu, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangkok.
When you know your arrival and departure destinations, we will assist you in booking your international flights into and out of Paro. As a guideline allow the following for flight costs:
KTM-Paro and Vice versa one/way US$275 per person
Delhi-Paro and Vice versa one/way US$415 per person
Kolkata-Paro and Vice versa one/way US$275 per person
Bangkok-Paro and Vice versa one/way US$450 per person
We believe strongly in responsible travel. This includes being respectful to the local culture (ie dressing appropriately, and learning a few basic cultural do's and don'ts), being mindful of the environment, and leaving a positive image behind. Remember we are ambassadors for our country. Bringing a few photos of your family and home with you is a great way to interact with the locals by giving them a glimpse of your world whilst you visit theirs.
What to take
Bhutan is a very conservative country and we ask that you dress accordingly. As a guideline, shoulders and knees should always be covered. The wearing of shorts is looked upon by locals as akin to wearing your underwear and will limit your entry into mosques, temples and other places of worship.
Laundry facilities are offered by hotels where we have a 2-night stop. You may wish to rinse out some clothes yourself in between. Bring washing soap and a travel clothes-line for this.
The weather during our journey should be good. Daytime temperatures will be warm, in the range 18-25 deg Celsius. Nights will be cold however as we will mainly be at altitude (2200-2800m). Pack layers and a warm jacket. Bring a rain poncho in case of an unseasonal rain shower, and also a hat and sunblock for the sunny days we expect.
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don't forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash and travellers cheques (for emergencies)
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Ear plugs can be very useful if you are a light sleeper
Comfortable hiking/walking shoes for the walk to Tigers Nest Monastery
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt to store your passport, air tickets, credit cards and cash. Avoid bringing valuable jewellery with you. Some hotels we use have safety deposit boxes.
Upon booking, you will receive a full tour info pack including a suggested packing list an other helpful information on preparing for your trip to Bhutan.
Read the full tour Dossier here on Issuu