Luxury Group Tour - Highlights of Bhutan & Darjeeling

Maximum of 14 guests (Minimum of 2) | Starting from $7,099 $6,499 CAD with Air

FULLY REFUNDABLE 60 DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE

Save $600 per person. A total of $1,200 in savings! (Based on Double Occupancy)
Book soon! Promotion ends on September 30, 2020.

The magic of Explore India’s Bhutan & Darjeeling small group guided tour is that you will experience the magnificence of India and the beauty of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan all on one incredible tour. The excitement of Delhi and Darjeeling coupled with the spiritual land of Bhutan is the perfect combination to stir your soul and ignite the adventurer in you as well.

Tour Highlights

  • Visit ancient temples and holy monuments to gain spiritual insight into Bhutan’s Buddhist philosophy.
  • Experience the narrow-gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which was completed in 1881on the famous Mountain Rail Toy Train Ride.
  • Explore the fields of distinctive black tea grown on the plantations that dot its surrounding slopes – taste the famous Darjeeling Tea.
  • See the impressive Tiger’s Nest Monastery, set into a cliff 3,000 feet above Paro.
  • Set your eyes upon the dzongs (great citadels) of Bhutan with their striking architecture.
  • See an archery demonstration, Bhutanese dance and enjoy a farewell dinner in Paro.
  • Enjoy an evening walk along the main street of Thimphu.
  • Get your cameras ready for the majestic views in the picturesque village of Talo.
  • See the famous Zoological Garden, Padmaja Naidu.

Tour Inclusions

  • Round-trip International airfare in coach cabin
  • Accommodation in one double room at 4 star hotels
  • Meals as noted in the itinerary including lunches in local restaurants.
  • Transportation via a luxury Toyota Van
  • English speaking guide throughout your tour
  • All entrance and monument fees
  • Toy Train experience
  • Taxes, Gov. Royalty & Visa
  • Unlimited bottle water during sightseeing tours and long drives.
  • Local Airfare: Delhi – Paro / Paro – Bagdogra / Bagdogra – Delhi

Tour Exclusions

 

  • Travel insurance
  • All beverages incl. of water consumed at hotels/restaurants
  • Gratuities/Tips to Guide and driver, personal expenses, laundry, telephone bills, extra hotel facilities.

*Please note that some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan

Day 1: Arrive Paro-Transfero To Thimphu (54KM / 1 Hour Drive)

Welcome to Paro – Here are a few things you need to know:

  • The Royal Bhutan airlines or Drukair has coded KB.
  • You need to produce your e-ticket copies and visa clearance document during check-in.
  • Fill in your immigration and declaration forms while onboard your flight to speed your visa formalities at the Paro airport.
  • Do not lose the declaration form as you have to show it on the departure.
  • If you have any tobacco products, please declare at the customs desk at the Paro airport.
  • Upon arrival, you are met by an Explore India representative and transferred to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

The drive to Thimphu is 1 hour. When you arrive, you will check-in at your hotel to relax.

Welcome to Bhutan
The Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan lies along the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayas, bordered by China (Tibet) to the north and northwest, and by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim on the east, south and west respectively.

If time permits, you will visit the following temples in Thimphu:

National Memorial Chorten: The building of this Chorten (a Chorten is the Tibetan word for stupa – both are words for a dome-shaped structure) was originally the idea of Bhutan’s third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck known as “the father of modern Bhutan”, who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state. After His Majesty’s untimely death in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfil his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory and also serve as a monument to peace. The National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974. The finely executed wall paintings and delicately fashioned statues within the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

Buddha Dordenma: Buddha Dordenma is a magnificent statue sitting on top of a hill overlooking Thimphu. The Statue of Sakyamuni Buddha is one of the tallest in Asia (51.5 m). The site of Buddha Dordenma offers unobstructed views over the capital town.

Tashichhodzong: The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries including His Majesty’s secretariat and the central monk body. It is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu and while the monk body is resident in its winter quarters at Punakha Dzong.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan

Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan


Wogzin Lam, Clock Tower Square, P.O.Box 1178, Thimphu, Bhutan
http://drukhotels.com/thimphu/
+975 2 322 966

There is a land that is as old as the hills, yet as new as a silicon chip. Populated by verdant forests, lush green valleys, sparkling streams and people, who are as hard-working as they are hospitable. The land is so enchanting that many have compared it to Shangri-La, the lost paradise. That land is Bhutan, a country that has a great deal to share with the rest of the world. Tashi Group, based out of this land was founded by Late Dasho Ugen Dorji in 1959 with a vision to bring out the best of Bhutan. The group believes in bringing in changes without disturbing tradition; sharing Bhutan’s bounty far beyond its boundaries, and creating an environment where a glorious past can be moulded into a shining future. Hotel Druk – a luxury four-star hotel is a part of the Tashi Group and has been in operation since 1985. Over the years, it has been renovated to give it a chic and modern edge that is powerfully felt in uncluttered spaces. Each floor, differently inspired, explores a subtle palette drawn from water, air, earth, fire and sky. The founder and the Chairman of the Tashi Group, late Dasho Ugen Dorji had passed on the reign to his three sons under whose leadership the Group continues marching ahead in exploring new areas of investment. Batons have changed hands but the Group continues in its mission of maintaining the essence of Bhutan’s tradition while embracing the change to meet the new challenges.

  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan
  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan
  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan
  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan

Day 2: Cultural Tour - Thimphu

Takin Zoo: A short distance up the road to the BBS tower viewpoint is a trail leading to a large fenced enclosure that was originally established as a zoo. Some years ago, the fourth king decided that a zoo was not in sync with Bhutan’s environmental and religious convictions, and so it was disbanded.
The animals were released into the wild, but the Takins, Bhutan’s national animal, were so tame that they wandered around the streets of Thimphu looking for food, and the only solution was to put them back into captivity. *Closed on Monday
Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute for Zorig Chusum offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.

Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre: Weaving is predominantly a woman’s domain but this private weaving center is different as it is owned and run by Mr. Kesang, this is rare in Bhutan. He weaves, creates new and unique patterns, comes up with unusual colour combinations, and is very involved. The center frequently produces ceremonial textiles for Bhutanese royals, including the traditional outfit for King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema’s highly-publicized October 2011 marriage. *Closing based on owner’s discretion, in such an event we will replace with another site
Folk Heritage: This is a great stop as it is a unique heritage shop that opened in 2001 and provides fascinating insights into the traditional Bhutanese way of life.

Royal Textile Academy: Located in the heart of Thimphu town, it is comprised of a state-of-the-art museum to showcase national as well as regional and global textiles and artifacts. There is also a weaving school where students will be trained in the art of weaving, yarn dyeing, and contemporary skills related to fashion design and merchandising. The area has a well-equipped conservation centre. *Closed on Sunday and government holidays
Post Office: Located in the heart of the town, the Post Office is worth a visit. The first postage stamps were issued in 1962, the same time the first motorable road was opened. Ever since then Bhutan has been known for the unusual designs and materials of its stamps. At the post office, you can see the different stamps available in Bhutan. You can also make personalized stamps with your picture and send a postcard to your family and friends with your face on the stamp!

In the evening you can take a walk along the main street of Thimphu town.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan

Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan


Wogzin Lam, Clock Tower Square, P.O.Box 1178, Thimphu, Bhutan
http://drukhotels.com/thimphu/
+975 2 322 966

There is a land that is as old as the hills, yet as new as a silicon chip. Populated by verdant forests, lush green valleys, sparkling streams and people, who are as hard-working as they are hospitable. The land is so enchanting that many have compared it to Shangri-La, the lost paradise. That land is Bhutan, a country that has a great deal to share with the rest of the world. Tashi Group, based out of this land was founded by Late Dasho Ugen Dorji in 1959 with a vision to bring out the best of Bhutan. The group believes in bringing in changes without disturbing tradition; sharing Bhutan’s bounty far beyond its boundaries, and creating an environment where a glorious past can be moulded into a shining future. Hotel Druk – a luxury four-star hotel is a part of the Tashi Group and has been in operation since 1985. Over the years, it has been renovated to give it a chic and modern edge that is powerfully felt in uncluttered spaces. Each floor, differently inspired, explores a subtle palette drawn from water, air, earth, fire and sky. The founder and the Chairman of the Tashi Group, late Dasho Ugen Dorji had passed on the reign to his three sons under whose leadership the Group continues marching ahead in exploring new areas of investment. Batons have changed hands but the Group continues in its mission of maintaining the essence of Bhutan’s tradition while embracing the change to meet the new challenges.

  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan
  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan
  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan
  • Hotel Druk Thimphu Bhutan

Day 3: Transfer to Punakkha (85KM / 2.5 Hours)

After an early breakfast, you will drive to Punakha and on the way visit Dochu La Pass where, on a clear day, there is a panoramic view of the towering Himalayan peaks. The pass is marked by 108 stupas built by the Queen Mother.
Next, continue the drive to Punakha Valley. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body. Hike to the nearby Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to the “Divine Madman”, an eccentric monk from the 16th century famous for many his many amusing, Rabelaisian folklore stories.
After lunch, you will get to visit Talo, Punakha

The picturesque village of Talo, scattered along a ridge above the Punakha valley at an altitude of around 2,800m, is known amongst Punakha villages for its neat and clean appearance. Talo Sangnacholing is built on a small plateau at the top of the village, and from there one has a majestic view of the entire valley and surrounding villages, and the high hills beyond Wangduephodrang which mark the gateway to central Bhutan. The women here are particularly known for their beauty. Talo is about an hour’s drive from Punakha.

The remainder of the day is yours to spend as you wish.
‘One of the most striking physical features of Bhutan is its architecture. The characteristic style and colour of every building and house in the kingdom is a distinct source of aesthetic pleasure. The dzongs – themselves imposing 17th-century structures built on a grand scale without the help of any drawings and constructed entirely without nails – are outstanding examples of the best in Bhutanese architecture. Patterns of rich colours adorn walls, beams, pillars and doors in traditional splendour’.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: RKPO Green Resort Punakha

RKPO Green Resort Punakha


Sobsokha, Lobesa, Punakha
http://www.greenresortrkpo.com/
+975 02376233 / 02376231

RKPO Green Resort sits in the heart of the verdant and lush Punakha Valley. Flanked by thick pine forests, it overlooks the Punakha valley and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor. It is surrounded by plentiful walking and trekking trails. From RKPO Resort, it is just a five-minute trek down to the mountain to the magnificent Chimmi lhakhang; the temple of the divine mad man( dharma yogi), which houses one of the amazing statues of the divine mad man) in the country.

It is entirely the handiwork of local Bhutanese artisans. The temple is also a centre of higher learning and meditation for monks

RKPO marries contemporary design with this Himalayan kingdom ancient and alluring ways. At the core of the RKPO philosophy lies the sense of simplicity and peace that permeates everything about Bhutan.

  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha
  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha
  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha
  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha

Day 4: Explore Punakha Valley

Today, you will begin the day with a hike up through fields of rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999.

After lunch you will visit Punakha Dzong, built-in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, this Dzong has played a prominent role in the civil and religious life of the kingdom. Damaged by fire, flood and earthquake over the centuries, it has now been fully restored in its original splendour.
In the evening you will have the opportunity to take a stroll through the town.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: RKPO Green Resort Punakha

RKPO Green Resort Punakha


Sobsokha, Lobesa, Punakha
http://www.greenresortrkpo.com/
+975 02376233 / 02376231

RKPO Green Resort sits in the heart of the verdant and lush Punakha Valley. Flanked by thick pine forests, it overlooks the Punakha valley and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor. It is surrounded by plentiful walking and trekking trails. From RKPO Resort, it is just a five-minute trek down to the mountain to the magnificent Chimmi lhakhang; the temple of the divine mad man( dharma yogi), which houses one of the amazing statues of the divine mad man) in the country.

It is entirely the handiwork of local Bhutanese artisans. The temple is also a centre of higher learning and meditation for monks

RKPO marries contemporary design with this Himalayan kingdom ancient and alluring ways. At the core of the RKPO philosophy lies the sense of simplicity and peace that permeates everything about Bhutan.

  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha
  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha
  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha
  • RKPO Green Resort Punakha

Day 5: Transfer to Paro & Explore (125 KM / 3.5 Hours)

After breakfast you will drive to Paro. On arrival in Paro you will visit Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons, coins, stamps and a small natural history collection.

Then visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) situated at a commanding height overlooking Paro valley. Built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646, this Dzong now houses Paro’s monk body and the offices of the civil administration and is symbolic as the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley.
Later visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

‘Bhutan is the only extant Mahayana Buddhist kingdom in the world of today and the teachings of this school of Buddhism are a living faith among its people. The air of spirituality is pervasive even in urban centres, where the spinning of prayer wheels, the murmur of mantras and the glow of butter lamps are still commonplace features of everyday life. Bhutan’s religious sites and institutions are not museums, but the daily refuge of the people’.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa

Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa


Paro, Upper Ngoba Village, Paro, Bhutan
https://www.naksel.com/
+975 8 272 992

Located thirty minutes from Paro International Airport, Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa is a luxury retreat where the comforts of man and the presence of nature combine for a peaceful escape in the hills of Bhutan.

Nestled on the edge of the national forest and the quiet Ngoba Village, Naksel derives its name from the Dzongkha translation of ‘Forest,’ which is only fitting for this Himalayan sanctuary.

The main lodge and surrounding cottages of Naksel rest on more than six acres for forest land, at 2700 meters above sea level.

  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa

Day 6: Tiger's Nest Hike (4 to 5 Hours Hike)

In the morning, take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, founding father of the Bhutanese form of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. The main structure was severely damaged by fire in 1998, but after many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has now been restored to its former glory. \

This evening you will go to visit a farmhouse to experience a typical Bhutanese lifestyle.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa

Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa


Paro, Upper Ngoba Village, Paro, Bhutan
https://www.naksel.com/
+975 8 272 992

Located thirty minutes from Paro International Airport, Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa is a luxury retreat where the comforts of man and the presence of nature combine for a peaceful escape in the hills of Bhutan.

Nestled on the edge of the national forest and the quiet Ngoba Village, Naksel derives its name from the Dzongkha translation of ‘Forest,’ which is only fitting for this Himalayan sanctuary.

The main lodge and surrounding cottages of Naksel rest on more than six acres for forest land, at 2700 meters above sea level.

  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa

Day 7: Depart Paro - Bagdogra - Darjeeling (90KM Flight & Drive)

After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for your flight to Bag Dogra.
You will be welcomed by an Explore India representative in Bag Dogra and transferred to your hotel in Darjeeling. Darjeeling is 95 kilometers away and the drive takes approximately 3 hours.

Welcome to Darjeeling, a town in India’s West Bengal state situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a popular retreat from the heat of the plains in the summer amongst the British Raj elite. Darjeeling continues to attract visitors every year due to its beautiful views and its quirky charm. The town rests on a ridge 2200 metres above sea level on the eastern border of Nepal and the views of the snow-capped Himalayas and Mt. Kanchenjunga are stunning from this point. First famous for its tea, Darjeeling has beautiful tea gardens to be enjoyed which are dotted throughout the town.

The evening is free for you to spend as you wish. Overnight at Mayfair Resort.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Darjeeling to Pemayangtse & Local Sightseeing

After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which was founded in Darjeeling by Pandit Nehru who said that “The institute trains young men not only to climb Himalayan peaks but also create in them an urge to climb peaks of human Endeavour”. HMI has the oldest mountaineering Museum of the country established in 1957.

Later, proceed to the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Center established in 1959. Following the dramatic escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, thousands of Tibetans leaving hearth and home, fled into the neighbouring countries to live as free human beings. The production of Tibetan handicrafts is the centre’s main activity. In the evening you can enjoy a short walk across to the local market.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: MAYFAIR Darjeeling

MAYFAIR Darjeeling


https://www.mayfairhotels.com/mayfair-darjeeling/

MAYFAIR Darjeeling is a heritage property that is one of the best hotels in Darjeeling. It exudes old-world charm and quiet elegance. Wake up to birdsong and beautiful views as you soak in the blissful ambiance. The green foliage and the crisp mountain air will refresh your senses. Striking the perfect balance between the old and the modern, MAYFAIR Darjeeling ranks as one of the best luxury hill resorts in India. It indulges you with its beauty and warm genuine hospitality whether you are travelling on a honeymoon, on a work trip or a family getaway. The luxury accommodation provided at the resort includes spacious Family Rooms and lavish Suites. Dining options include a grand buffet restaurant serving some of the best food in town, an English bar with lovely sunset views and a charming multi-cuisine restaurant. Facilities at this luxury hotel in Darjeeling include an excellent Spa, a well-equipped gym, a state-of-the-art banquet hall, a children’s play area and a nice library.

  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling
  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling
  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling
  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling

Day 9: Darjeeling Tiger Hill & Tea Plantation

An early morning start as we venture out to Tiger Hill to watch the spectacular sunrise and its amazing effects on the third highest peak in the world, Mt. Kanchendzonga. Visit Ghoom Monastery and Batashia Loop War Memorial before returning to the hotel.

Breakfast at the hotel followed by a half-day of local sightseeing.
We will visit the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Garden established on August 14, 1958. The centre specialized in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions and now contains endangered animals like snow leopards, red pandas, and Siberian tigers as well as a variety of endangered birds.

Later, transfer to Darjeeling station to enjoy your Toy Train Joy Ride. This unique Mountain Railway’ project was first started in 1878 by the initiative of Sir. Ashley Eden and is now a World Heritage.

Next, proceed to visit the Tukver Tea Estate – also popularly known as Puttabong Tea Estate. It has quite a reputation for producing one of the finest brands of Darjeeling Tea. It is the first tea estate in the history of Darjeeling Tea Plantation and was planted by the pioneering British tea planter Dr. Campbell in 1852. This garden is one of the biggest tea estates in Darjeeling comprised of 5 divisions located at a stretch of approximately 20km from Darjeeling city to the Sikkim State border.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: MAYFAIR Darjeeling

MAYFAIR Darjeeling


https://www.mayfairhotels.com/mayfair-darjeeling/

MAYFAIR Darjeeling is a heritage property that is one of the best hotels in Darjeeling. It exudes old-world charm and quiet elegance. Wake up to birdsong and beautiful views as you soak in the blissful ambiance. The green foliage and the crisp mountain air will refresh your senses. Striking the perfect balance between the old and the modern, MAYFAIR Darjeeling ranks as one of the best luxury hill resorts in India. It indulges you with its beauty and warm genuine hospitality whether you are travelling on a honeymoon, on a work trip or a family getaway. The luxury accommodation provided at the resort includes spacious Family Rooms and lavish Suites. Dining options include a grand buffet restaurant serving some of the best food in town, an English bar with lovely sunset views and a charming multi-cuisine restaurant. Facilities at this luxury hotel in Darjeeling include an excellent Spa, a well-equipped gym, a state-of-the-art banquet hall, a children’s play area and a nice library.

  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling
  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling
  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling
  • MAYFAIR Darjeeling

Day 10: Darjeeling - Bagdogra - Delhi (90KM Drive & Flight)

After breakfast drive to Bagdogra airport to board the flight for Delhi.

Plan for your Journey

Coming from another gateway? Extending your stay? Have other travel plans? Contact us and our travel specialists would be happy to help you customize your experience to ensure your journey with us will be smooth and enjoyable.

Select a gateway:

Talk to a Travel Specialist


Call us at 1.800.515.3808 or fill the form below.

Book with Confidence

All small-group journeys are guaranteed to operate at its maximum guest limit, and if the price goes down after you book, we’ll refund the difference.

Safeguard your Journey

Ask about how you can protect your journey with our Travel Protection Program.