As known to the native as Drukyul (land of the Thunder Dragon), Bhutan is regarded as the last paradise on earth. Its segregation, spectacular mountains, varied flora and fauna, ancient Buddhist monasteries, vibrant culture and mystic aura have made it so. Though small in size, the kingdom’s topography has dramatic contrasts. From the near tropical southern border with India at an altitude of 300 m, the land rises to culminate over 7000-m peaks of the Himalayan towards the north which form a natural frontier with the Tibetan region of Bhutan’s northern neighbor, China.
Lying in a valley (elevation 2,350m), Thimpu is unlike any other capital in the world. The traditional architecture of its houses and building s is particularly striking. The places to visit are the Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the late King JigmeDorjiWangchuk, TashichhoDzong, seat of the government of Bhutan and the summer residence of the central monk body, the Traditional Medicine Hospital where herbal medicines are prepared,the National Library, a treasure trove of ancient texts, the Painting School where children learn the traditional techniques of drawing and painting, Dechenchholing where traditional gold and silver smiths at work can be seen,ChangangkhaLakhang which contains ancient scriptures and thanka paintings and SmitokhaDzong, Bhutan’s oldest fortress which now houses a school for Buddhist studies
Paro is 65 Km (two hours’ drive) to the southwest of Thimpu is a beautiful place to visit. The Taktsang Monastery where Guru Rinpoche meditated to subdue evil spirits, RinpungDzong, venue of the Parotsechu (festival), Ta Dzong which houses the national museum, the ruins of DrukgyelDzong, built to commemorate Bhutan`s victory over Tibetan aggressors,KyiscLakhang, one of the oldest and most scared temples in Bhutan and DungtseLakhang with its extraordinary collection of religious paintings, are the places to see in the valley.
Punakha, 77Km (three hours and 15 minutes’ drive) at northeast of Thimpu, served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and even today, it is the winter home of the central monk body. The PunakhaDzong houses many scared artifact and temples. The road from Thimpu to Punakha crosses the 3,115-m Dochula pass.
WangdaPhodrang (or Wangdi) is situated 70 Km (three hours’ drive) at
Southeast of Thimpu. The WangdiPhodrangDzong played a key role during the unification of Bhutan. On the route from wangdi to Tongsa is the GangteyGompa, the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan.
Trongsa is 129 Km (four and half hours’ drive) at east of Wangdi and crosses the 3,300 m Pelela pass. The TrongsaDzong, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Royal family, houses 23 temples. The watchtower, Ta Dzong, has a temple dedicated to king Gesar, the hero of a great epic.
Bumthang consist of the valley of Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and ura. It takes two and half hours to reach Bumthang, 68 Km northeast of Trongsa. Bumthang is ideal for making excursion to the many monasteries and shrines – TharpalingChoedrak, Tamshing, Kurjey, Jambey, Kunzangdra among others – as well as to Mebartso, “the flaming lake”.
Mongar is 198 Km (seven hours’ drive) southeast of Bumthang. The two monger crosses Thumshingla(3,800 m), the highest pass in Bhutan. The MongarDzongia relatively new compared to the other dzongs of the Kingdom.
Lhuntshi is 76 Km (three hours’ drive) north of Monger. The landscape here is spectacular with stark cliff and gorges, and dense coniferous forests. This district is famous for its weaves and the fine quality of fabric they produce.
The 90-Km trip from Monger to Trashigang, the easternmost district, takes four hours. Some 20 Km before Trashigang is the Dametsi Monastery the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. After Thimpu, Trashigang is the largest urban center where the TrashigangDzong stands over the Gamri River. TashiYangtse, north of Trashigang, has a dzong and Nepalese style ChortenKora.
Transport is provided by tour operators who have their own fleet of luxury buses. All major places of interest are connected by paved roads.
Bhutan has a strip of plain in the south, a network of valleys in the central parts and over 7,000-m high mountains in the north.
Druk air, Bhutan’s airline, operates flights to Paro from Bangkok, Kolkata, Dhaka, Kathmandu and New Delhi. There are two overland entry and exit points. One is from the Indian state of west Bengal into Phuntsholing in southwest Bhutan. Phuntsholing is four hours’ drive from Bagdogra the nearest Indian airport, and seven hours’ drive from both Gangtok (Sikkim) and Darjeeling. The drive from Phuntsholing to Thimpu takes six hours. The other point is samdrupJongkhar in the southeast, 110 Km from Guwahati, India. An inner line permit to enter Assam will also be required to entery and exit through Guwahati. Trashigang is six hours’ drive from samdrupjongkhar.
The TAB has set minimum tariffs which are different for the high and the low seasons. Individuals and group if less than four person must pay a surcharge. The rates are same for both cultural and adventural tour and treks.
The months from March-May and septmember-November are the high season, while June-July and December-February comprise the low season. You need to bring cotton or light woollen in summer as temperature reaches to maximum 30 degree Celsius and heavy woolens and down jacket in winter as average temperature is minimum 1.1 degree Celsius.
This place offers Trekking and mountaineering.
Modern hotels are available in Thimpu. The outlying areas have comfortable resort and lodges.
Visa is required for travelling to Bhutan which is processed and arranged by International trekking agency. No foreign mission grants Bhutan tourist Visa. All Passport details (full name, nationality, date of birth, passport no. Issued & expiry date, address & profession) should be forwarded at least 3 weeks prior to the date of arrival and can be mailed or faxed. Actual visa is stamped on arrival in Bhutan while it is cleared in advance and a visa clearance number is issued. For all travellers entering Bhutan by Druk air, the Visa clearance number is forwarded to the concerned overseas Druk Air stations and without clearance number passengers are not allowed to board the flight. Visa clearance number is also required while issuing Druk Air tickets. For travellers entering into the country by surface through Phuntsholing (Border in South Bhutan) the visa clearance number is forwarded to Foreign Ministry’s office in Phuntsholing for reference. Three copies of original passport size photographs are required on arrival.
Visa fee is US $20 for 14 days stay and an additional US$10, as Tourism development must be paid on arrival. Visa can be further extended with an additional fee of US$15.
The monsoon starts in mid June and lasts until the end of September. The climate within the mountains varies greatly according to precipitation and wind conditions. The Duars plain is up to 1500 m. The climate is sub-tropical with high humidity and heavy rainfall. The climate of mid-mountain belt varies, in such a way that low-lying parts of Punakha, Monage, Tashigang and Lhuntse have cool winter and hot summers, whereas the higher valleys of Ha, Paro, Thimpu, Tongsa and Bumthang ranging from 2,500 – 4,500 m, endures a temperate climate with cold snowy winters and some-what cooler summers.
For bookings during the months of March to May and September to November full passport particulars of all participants should be provided minimum 60 days in advance for us to hold all services on confirmed basis.
Payment should be made in advance either in cash or T. C. prior to the commencement of the tour or it should be transferred to our following account & a copy of bank remittance should be faxed to us.