Tour Bhutan - Journey to Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon
Few places on Earth can match the great natural beauty and rich cultural heritage found in the remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Located between India and China in the high Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan rises within just a few hundred miles of the steamy plains of Assam to some of the world’s highest peaks along its northern border with Tibet. This diversity of ecosystems, representing most of the climatic zones found on Earth but packaged within an area only about the size of Switzerland, provides refuge to many thousands of species of birds, plants, insects and mammals, making Bhutan one of the world’s most treasured biodiversity wonders.
The history of Bhutan is closely associated with the parallel spread of Buddhism throughout the Himalayas, and Bhutan is the last place on Earth where the Vajrayana form of Mahayana Buddhism is practiced as a way of life that influences all aspects of society. Never colonized or occupied by any foreign invaders since the arrival of Buddhism more than 1,000 years ago, Bhutan’s cultural heritage and traditions remain authentic and intact. The authenticity of its robust cultural life also stems from the fact that Bhutan remains largely isolated from the rest of the modern world, with the first road to the outside (India) constructed only in 1962 and a limited number of tourists admitted to the kingdom still averaging below 20,000 annually. Bhutan was recently featured in Vanity Fair and the New York Times.
This special journey from Bhutan’s Western highland areas to the important cultural sites in Bumthang – with time for witnessing the rare masked-dances at historic Jampa Lhakhang and a stop-over in Phobjika where black-necked cranes from Tibet will be arriving for the winter -- is designed to provide an introduction to the environment of the Eastern Himalayas and the gentle way of life of the Bhutanese people -- an intellectually and spiritually exciting journey designed to provide a sense of discovery, adventure, and renewal.
Cost per person, double occupancy: Call
Schedule: on demand
Number of participants: 10
Duration: 13 days
Overnight stays: Hotels and lodges
Itinerary: Paro, Thimphu, Wangdue, Trongsa, Jakar (Bumthang) & Masked Dance Festival at Jampa Lhakhang, Phobjika (Gantey), Punakha, Paro
This trip is offered at US$6,950 per person, and includes round-trip economy airfare from Bangkok to Bhutan, all hotel accommodations in Bhutan on twin-sharing (double-occupancy) basis, all meals/tea in Bhutan (breakfast, lunch and dinner), local transportation by private vehicle while in Bhutan with professional guides and drivers, entrance fees to all places of interest in Bhutan, Bhutan visa and handling fees, and all other fees and taxes charged by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
The cost does not include airfare or other routing to Bangkok, transit hotel or other costs in Bangkok, extra baggage charges, ‘bar’, laundry, single room supplement (if requested), internet, telephone, tips, and other personal expenses.
Setting of the Tour in Bhutan
Weather-factors are highly variable in Bhutan (depending on the season). Late autumn and mid-spring are ideal times to travel to the eastern Himalayas (although a trip can be planned for any month of the year). Daytime temperatures typically range from the high-50s to mid-70s with nighttime temperatures ranging from the low-30s to mid-50s throughout most of the year (and depending on location). The black-necked cranes arrive in Bhutan only in the autumn.
Customized excursions to Bhutan are developed with an eye towards maximizing visitors’ opportunities to experience direct and close-up the rich diversity of life found throughout the Kingdom.
There are no immunization requirements for entry into Bhutan. Anti-diarrhetics (it can happen) and motion-sickness pills (because of the mountain roads) are recommended. Bottled water is available throughout.
Traveling into Bhutan
Travel from Bangkok or Delhi to Paro, Bhutan is provided by DrukAir - the only airline permitted to fly into the Kingdom. Entry visas are secured in advance as part of the tour program.
Over-land travel in Bhutan is provided by four-wheel-drive sports utility vehicles as required. Roads range from paved to rocky or muddy and all are narrow.
Transportation logistics allow for maximum possible flexibility: two people per vehicle plus driver and guide whenever possible.
The elevation of most lodgings is between 6,500 ft –9,500 ft, depending on locale. Short passes as high as 12,000 ft may be experienced on the road.
Tour Leader and Guide - Preston Scott, Esq.
Preston Scott (curator of the historic Bhutan program at the Smithsonian’s 2008 Folklife Festival in Washington) will accompany this special excursion across the whole of Bhutan. Mr. Scott has been working with the Royal Government of Bhutan since 1998 on a range of environmental and cultural conservation projects.
Read more about Preston Scott