Toll Free: (800) 690-7887
t: (604) 886-7300
info@toursexplore.com

Bhutan: Overland Birds, Nature and Culture

Festivals of BhutanOur Bhutan Birds, Nature and Cultural tour in 2020  is escorted by company owner Catherine Evans.  Experience the avifauna and wildlife of the forested mountains, the scenic splendour of the mounatains and valleys, and the cultural richness of the land of Gross National Happiness.

Restrictions on the numbers of tourists allowed to visit Bhutan have helped preserve the country's natural assets and a way of life that has remained unchanged for millennia. Visitors will see monasteries perched at the tops of mountain peaks, ancient Buddhist art and sculpture, dense forests and spectacular valleys. Much of Bhutan remains unexplored. Bhutan is a land filled with snow-capped peaks, glaciers, sparkling lakes, raging rivers, green terraced fields and flower-strewn valleys.

Our past trip participants have expressed an overwhelming pleasure from their journey to what is perhaps the world's most exclusive tourist destination - BHUTAN. The Royal Government's policy of environmental preservation has left a country unspoiled and pristine. Its severe restrictions on inbound visitors coupled with the honour of never being colonized has kept ancient lifestyle and traditions intact. The Bhutanese emit an inward and exterior peace that make visitors feel warm and welcome.


2020 Departure Dates and Costs

Birds, Nature & Culture
April 20 - May 5, 2020 (travelling overland from Paro to Samdrop Jongkar)
$4,100 USD per person (16 days).  Early bookings essential 

Add Single Supplement $ 50 per night
$ 40 Visa fee additional

Your tour cost includes:
Accommodation
All meals
Road transportation in comfortable vans or micro-buses
Travel with a licensed professional guide
Singtseeing tours with entrance fees
Royalty paid to support educational and social programs

Airfare to Paro additional. Optionals available from Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi, Kolkata
Ask about International airfare from your home city! 


ITINERARY

April 20 : Arrive in Paro (D)
Morning flight to Paro where you will be met by our land operators and transferred to the hotel. You will meet your fellow travellers later in the day.
Day at leisure and time to rest and acclimate to altitude.  3 nights accommodation at Tashi Namgay Resort. Welcome dinner.

April 21: Paro Valley (B,L,D)
Paro’s sightseeing is full of gems such as the 200-year-old Watch Tower, which has been renovated and converted into National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of national costumes and fabrics, gallery of thangkas, an impressive stamp gallery with three-dimensional stamps issued as early as 1960. Visit Drugyel Dzong, although mostly now in ruins. Visit Drugyel High School and Kychu Lhakhang, the oldest monastery in the valley built in 7th Century. Take a look at the shops in Paro town. Meet with the locals and make friends. Great opportunity for those who like to take pictures.

April 22: Paro / Tiger's Nest Hike (B,L,D)
Morning hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery and sightseeing in and around Paro. “Tiger's nest,” built around a cave in which Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhawa) meditated, clings seemingly impossible to a cliff of rock at 3,000 feet above the valley floor. For the local people it is a place of pilgrimage, but for a tourist, a hike up to the viewpoint opposite the monastery is exhausting, thrilling and mystical. A teahouse walk brings visitors to a midpoint overlooking the monastery. Hikers who wish to walk further should be in excellent physical condition. 

April 23:  Paro / Thimpu (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the hotel and depart to Thimpu (2 hours) along a scenic highway. Thimpu, the capital and largest city of Bhutan. 2 nights at Gyelsa Boutique Inn. Orientation to the town. Some of the highlights are a visit to the postal station to see the world’s most beautiful postage stamps, collector’s items and postcards. Arts and Crafts school where one can see young children at work. Visit Memorial Chorten built in 1974 to honour the memory of Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, popularly known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A multi-storied stupa will introduce you to the vitality of Tantric Buddhism. Observe traditional paper making from Daphnia and Edgeworthia shrub to the finished product and purchase some beautiful writing sets from the factory. Visit the Giant Buddha
.

April 24:  Thimpu (Jigme Dorji National Park)  (B,L,D)
Early morning visit the Takin Reserve (Bhutan's National Animal) and visit the entrance to Jigme Dorji National Park for bird watching and a nature hike. 

April 25: Thimpu – Dochula Pass – Punakha (B,L,D)
Morning transfer to Punakha via the Dochula Pass. Enjoy great views of the Bhutanese Himalayas and 108 Buddhist stupas at the high pass. Punakha is the winter capital for over 300 years until the time of second King. The town is located at the confluence of two rivers. Afternoon hike through the fields to the temple of the Divine Madman. Overnight at Hotel Vara.

April 26: Punakha – Trongsa (B,L,D)
Sightseeing in and around Punakha including the magnificent Punakha Dzong. After lunch drive to Trongsa. Depart for Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. We will visit Tongsa Dzong (fort), one of the largest in the country. It was first built is 1648 by Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the Third Desi, and later enlarged many times. Because of being situated on a highly commanding position on the only connecting route between the eastern and western sectors (the trail actually runs through the Dzong), the Tongsa Penlop was able to control the whole of eastern region very effectively for many centuries. It is presently the administrative seat of the district and home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong spans a huge area. Views from here are extensive creating a truly strategic location of this Dzong.  

April 27: Trongsa - Bumthang (B,L,D)
Early morning bird-watching and wildlife viewing along the Trongsa Valley.  Then drive to Bumthang.  Bumthang valley is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places in the country.  View the Jakar Dzong "The Castle of White Bird" and the Chumey Valley where one can see girls weaving Yatha the traditional woollen weavings.

April 28: Bumthang (B,L,D)
Full day sightseeing in and around Bumthang and Shingkhar Valleys visiting temples and farm houses with time to mingle with local farmers. Our cultural sightseeing includes the numerous and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites.

April 29: Bumthang - Sengor (B,L,D)
Early departure to begin our drive to Eastern Bhutan following the road that has served as an ancient caravan route for centuries. Our 3 hour drive will take much longer as we stop many times along this scenic road. The forests that line the route are filled with interesting birds – a pair of binoculars will come in handy.  We will stay at Trogran Lodge strategically situated at the centre of this birdrich region. Afternoon birding along the forested roadway.  

April 30: Sengor (B,L,D)
Early morning bird walk and nature exploration along the Limenthang Road.  

May 1: Sengor - Mongar - Trashigang (B,L,D) 
Early morning birdwalk and departure towards the town of Trashigang. The route is via a gorge filled with lush vegetation & wildlife (with time to observe the monkeys and birds).  A stop at Dametsi Monastery, the biggest and most important in Eastern Bhutan will be included. 3 nights accommodation at Lingkhar Lodge. After check in some time to observe the town. 

May 2 Trashigang (B,L,D)
Many different cultural and ethnic groups meet in this pleasant town. The mountains surrounding Trashigang are dotted with little villages. Full day excursion visiting the villages of Rangjung and Changmey. These traditional villages showcase an array of handi-crafts, agriculture as well as home to several small monasteries and temples. Lunch at Changmey Retreat Centre.

May 3 Trashigang (B,L,D)
A full day hike is planned for the day. After breakfast at the lodge, our morning hike will take us up to the Rangshikhar Village Retreat Centre. Lunch at the Centre and some time to enjoy the vistas before beginning our downwards hike back to our lodge. Enroute we will be stopping at some farm houses, and traditional houses. An option will be provided for those interested in a less active nature & cultural day. 

May 4: Trashigang - Samdrop Jongkar (B,L,D)
Enjoy the scenery along the Eastern highway. Lunch en-route at Wamrong. Arrive in the small village of Samdrop Jongkar. Overnight. Menjong Hotel. 

May 5: Samdrop Jongkar Departure (B)
We will transfer to Bhutan’s South Eastern border to the border with India. Arrive in Guwahati, in the NE India state of Assam. Drop off at Guwahati airport for the flight to Delhi or Kolkata. 

TASHI DALEK! 


Additional Information
E
xtension in Bhutan and other areas of Asia are possible. Please ask us for details. A deposit of $ 800 is required to secure this trip.


What our clients say...

“ You were right. It does all seem like a dream, a good one! We can’t thank you enough for the great job you did making the tour so enjoyable. It was everything we anticipated and more. The breathtaking beauty of the country and the welcome shown to us by the people, particularly the children, was what impressed us the most. ... A time away, just the four of us, will probably never happen again and I think we all four will remember is as a very special time.” - The Kirwan family, Ontario Canada

“ I felt well looked after… the food was better than i expected, I particularly liked the wonderful vegetable variety. This is unique country for anyone interested in visiting the Himalayas and learning how this small country enters the modern world and still retains it’s identity and the process.” - P. Charles, Vancouver, BC

“ All guides and drivers went above and beyond in making our stay a memorable one.....Tours of Exploration has done a wonderful job during our trip. After seeing the National History Museum in Paro I realized that we had first hand seeing with our own eyes most of the billboards on display. We did amazing things saw culture, nature, music, religion and most of the country from one end to the next. Everything was taken care of.” - M and B. Chesnik, Windsor, ON

“ The experience of this tour was due to the guides and drivers. The six of them all contributed to an amazing trip. The entire trip was an experience of a lifetime, thank you.” - P. Macdonald, San Fransico, CA

“ After our 1st day of looking down, I knew we were in good hands.” K. Basher, Lancaster, NY

“ This trip was far above my expectations, I highly recommend Tours of Exploration to my friends.” - T. MacIntosh, Peterborough, ON

“ There was a good mix of cultural and sight seeing activities... Perhaps the food was a little too good, great that there were so many veggie options... You really look after us and all of your behind the scenes work is greatly appreciated. “ - K. Dawkins, Toronto, ON

“ I greatly appreciated having two buses so everyone could have a window seat. Felt it was a treasure to come here, and especially to visit eastern Bhutan.” - C. Longfield, Toronto, ON

 ” I appreciated the driving skills that were apparent of those challenging roads, the bus was always clean and well taken care of mechanically.” - M. Leuschen

“ We first heard of Bhutan about ten years ago and it has been on our list of places to visit ever since...The people are all so friendly and curious... We did not expierence the begging and peddlers so common in many of the other areas of Asia we have visited... The mountains are ablaze with colour, the red and whites are incredibly intense...At higher elevations we saw yaks and on occasion a pair of barking deer in the road.” – C. and E. Jensen

“ Our guide was very good with respect to his language skills, knowledge and organisational ability... our schedule was packed from dawn till dusk with sightseeing!.. it was most stimulating and very interesting.” - J. Arnold, Christchurch, NZ

“ Thank you again for providing wonderful photo expierences in Bhutan it is a beautiful, friendly destination.” - D and B. Wolf, Louisville, KY

“ Carmen, It was a delight to get to know you and to have you as a guiding light on our Bhutan trip, I loved it! Even though I was not a real photo buff I did get hundreds of good shots, I have put them into an eleven minute show with music zooming and panning... My post trips to Cambodia and northern Thailand went well too.” - J. Johnson, Redondo Beach, CA