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Also known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan is a country like no other because it has treasured its beauty, culture, faith, and traditions without letting them get ruined with time. A predominantly Buddhist nation, it surprises people, who opt for Bhutan packages, with its several intriguing facets such as the philosophy of Gross National Happiness as well as the highly advanced monks. What attracts tourists to this beautiful land-locked country is the soothing environment that prevails throughout the land. It might also be said that there is a certain calm, probably the result of the amalgamation of several Buddhist philosophies, which has enwrapped the entire nation and, believe it or not, you feel it as soon as you enter the country.
Bhutan also boasts of diverse natural bounties and usually Bhutan tour packages focus on covering most of the major attractions of the country as you travel to places such as Phuentsholing, Punakha, Thimphu, Paro, Tiger’s Nest, and Chele La pass. You will get a deeper insight into the Bhutanese history as well as its architectural advancements while also visiting several monasteries where you can learn more and more about the Buddhist culture and literature. Moreover, apart from the general groups, Bhutan packages for couples are also widely popular as the country offers a respite from the chaotic urban lifestyles of most people.
1200 Hours (however the itinerary can be customized as per the flight timings)
The coveted journey starts by arriving either at the Bagdogra airport or at the New Jalpaiguri railway station (whichever is the pre-confirmed point). From there, our trip lead will join the group and after a short briefing, the journey starts. Bhutan tour packages from Delhi (or any other Indian city) usually commence from the beautiful Bhutanese border town, Phuentsholing, which is located at a distance of around 166 km from Bagdogra airport (via NH 17) and at a distance of around 158 km from the New Jalpaiguri railway station (via NH 17). It is preferred that the group starts the journey to Phuentsholing by 12 p.m. as it takes around 5 hours to reach the town.
On the way, you will get your initial glances of what is in store for you in this trip including the plains, the mountains, as well as many other natural gems. It is an easy journey by road and you will pass by the popular lush green tea-estates of West Bengal as well. As you reach Phuentsholing and check-in to your hotel, you can spend some time relaxing and then roam around in the local market and try out some local delicacies. After exploring the locale, you can have your dinner at the hotel and recharge yourself for the coming day with a good night’s sleep.
The first task for the day is collecting all the required permits from the immigration office and it is essential that everyone carries their passports and a few passport sized photographs to continue with the procedure. As soon as everyone gets their permits, the journey towards the capital of Bhutan, i.e. Thimphu, begins. It is approximately a 150 km long ride and we can also take a few breaks in between to gaze around at the greenery and the picturesque landscape.
As soon as you reach Thimphu, you can check-in to the hotel and reserve the remaining day to chill around.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel and then, you can visit some of the many popular attractions in Thimphu. A must visit place in Thimphu is the Tashichho Dzong which is a Buddhist monastery and fortress which comprises of 30 temples, chapels, and shrines along with the triple-tiered golden roofs. Next, the art lovers can opt for the National Library of Bhutan and enrich their knowledge about the Bhutanese history with some of the best-preserved ancient texts while the adventure seekers can go on a short hike to Tango Goemba which is a Buddhist monastery which welcomes the visitors with serenity while also offering some amazing views.
Also, don’t forget to acquire all the required permits for Punakha and Chele La pass from the immigration office. Then, as the evening arrives, spend some time at Buddha Point, which is a Buddhist temple, and marvel at the vibrant hues of the setting sun. It is one of the major attractions of Thimphu which should not be missed. You can also visit the Changlimithang Stadium, a football stadium, which also serves as the national stadium. The remaining evening can be spent strolling the market place and buying souvenirs or trying out some local dishes. Then, come back to the hotel, have dinner, and rest for the night.
As the day begins, enjoy your breakfast at the hotel before checking out and then, head towards the scenic valley of Punakha which is located at a distance of 85 km from Thimphu and rests at an altitude of 1,200 metres above sea level. Previously, it was the capital of Bhutan and there also flow 2 major rivers, Pho Chu and Mo Chu, that add to the charms of the valley. While on your way to Punakha, you will also cross Dochula Pass which perches up to an elevation of 3,100 metres. It is a 3 hours long drive and comprises of some stunning views of the mountains as well as the amazing locale and you can also enjoy your lunch at the pass.
Once you reach Punakha, visit the Punakha Suspension Bridge which is the longest suspension bridge of Bhutan and roam around in the marketplace. Then, head to the hotel, have dinner, and call it a day.
Before heading to Paro, you can visit some of the major attractions of Punakha so make sure to dedicate adequate time to absorb the quintessential charms of Punakha Dzong which happens to be the largest dzong in Bhutan and is hailed for its exquisite architecture. It is also known as “Pungtang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang” which means “the palace of great happiness or bliss” and is totally worth a visit. If the time allows, you can also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, another Buddhist temple.
After that, the drive towards Paro begins and it takes around 4 hours to cover as it is around 125 km long. Paro is an alluring town located in the Paro Valley and holds major significance with respect to the culture and history of Bhutan and is home to several sacred sites. As soon as you reach your destination, just relax in the hotel and prepare for the coming day as that’s when you will be hiking to one of the highlights of this trip i.e. Tiger’s Nest.
Tiger’s Nest is the most hyped part of the trip and it absolutely deserves all the hype for its iconic stature. Try to get up early in the morning, have a filling breakfast, and then start the hike to Tiger’s Nest.
Also known as Paro Taktsang and Taktsang Palphug Monastery, it is a very significant Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and is located on a cliffside. It is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava and, as per the local beliefs, he meditated at the place for 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days, and 3 hours in the 8th century. The hike is an easy one and only calculates up to around 8 km, both ways. The final half kilometre of the trail during the ascent is through stairs and becomes a little tiring but as soon as you reach the temple complex, everything becomes worthy of all the efforts. Every year, during March or April, the famous Bhutanese festival, Tsechu, is also celebrated here. Tiger’s Nest provides a mesmerizing view of the Paro Valley and you can also glance at the architectural finesse of the monastery. Then, start the descent and return to Paro.
The evening can be spent exploring some local cafes before going back to hotel.
This day is kept exclusively to explore Paro and the nearby regions so you can visit places such as Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang, National Museum of Bhutan, Namgay Artisanal Brewery, Dasho Nishioka Chorten Museum, and Rinpung Dzong Monastery. Also, you will be taken to Chele La Pass which is the highest motorable point in Bhutan and is nestled at a height of 3,988 metres above sea level. On your way to Chele La, there comes the Airport View Point and as it is clear by its name, you get a stunning view of the Paro Airport from that spot.
As the day proceeds, you will be heading back towards Phuentsholing and have an overnight stay in a hotel.
This is the day when the adventure comes to an end and you will travel back to either the Bagdogra Airport or the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. The approximate time of arrival at the airport /railway station is 1 p.m. so it is advisable to book your return tickets accordingly or the Bhutan packages with airfare might result in a slightly varied amount.
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