Land of the thunder dragon…!
Bhutan is one of the most exotic destinations in the world today. This kingdom, often referred to as the last Shangri-la, is a land of outstanding people, remarkable scenery & natural wonders and a proud & vibrant culture. This unique and rare place remained isolated from the rest of the world and no tourism existed until 1974 preserving the rich natural environment and lively Buddhist culture. This kingdom with mystery has finally opened its doors to visitors. Today Bhutan has become one of the most exotic destinations for many international travellers. Every traveller has a lot to anticipate as each minute is exciting to discover a kingdom with incredibly unique and treasured tradition, culture, religion and natural environment which Bhutanese people still strives to preserve in the face of modernity. You can discover the cultural and natural wonders of this last remaining Mahayana Buddhist kingdom of the Himalaya. Bhutan has a pristine environment, almost no pollution, and a living culture where festivals and cultural events are a part of daily life. Our Bhutan tours also give you a unique opportunity to visit remote villages and experience the traditional Bhutanese way of life. Though the country is known as Bhutan to the outside world, to Bhutanese it has been known as Druk Yul ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. The people call themselves Drukpas.
Although as large as Switzerland, Bhutan's population is well under a million people, and its sparsely inhabited hill and mountain tracts are a natural paradise. In the central valleys, life goes on much as it has for centuries. The focus of communities, and the traditional seat of authority both spiritual and temporal, are the dzongs, fortress-like monasteries often clinging to impossibly steep mountain slopes, or ravines overlooking deep, clear rivers. A Buddhist land, Bhutan's religious practices largely follow those of Tibet. Commemorative chortens dot the landscape while faded prayer flags are stretched around homes and monasteries. Red-robed lamas can be encountered on hill paths, turning prayer wheels as they journey across this rugged country.
Stretching from foothills on the Indian border to snow-clad peaks, Bhutan offers an unspoiled habitat for a huge variety of flora and fauna. As mountain streams tumble down steep, thickly forested mountain valleys they pass through thick belts of pine and rhododendron, oak and alder and, lower down, groves of bamboo and oranges. Small-scale farmers cultivate rice in terraced paddies and millet and barley on the higher slopes. Our trekking holidays in Bhutan take you deep into the isolated mountains and valleys of the country.
Bhutan is a year round destination like Nepal and follows more or less the same climatic pattern as they both fall in the sub Himalayan region. The weather can vary dramatically from place to place and day to day.
Tourists willing to visit Bhutan must buy an all-inclusive package tour. A visa is required for travelling to Bhutan (except for Indian nationals) and must be processed in advance. We require the following passport details at least a month prior to the travel date. 1) Full Name as exactly in the passport (incl. middle name) 2) Sex 3) Passport no 4) Nationality 5) Date of Birth 6) Birth Place 7) Passport issued date 8) Passport expiry date 9) Place of issue of Passport 10) Occupation. The visa is issued on arrival in Bhutan with the approval of a visa clearance (3 photos required). The visa fee is usually included in our tour cost.
PLACES TO VISIT
This beautiful valley, where nature and man conjured to create their dearest image, is home to some of Bhutan's oldest temples & monasteries - as well as its only airport. Paro is one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom, producing a bulk of the famous red rice from its terraced fields. Drugyal Dzong is victorious fortress which was built in 1647 AD by Shabdrung Ngawang to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Taktsang Monastery which literally means the Tiger’s Nest clings precariously to a granite cliff 800m above the valley. A walk to the Rinpung dzong offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the dzong. Taa dzong which is now a museum was a watch tower to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century.
Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan, lies at an elevation of 2,300 meters in a valley traversed by the Wang-chu (Thimphu river). Taschichho dzong, the main secretariat building, houses the throne rooms of the King and is the summer residence of central monk body. Simtokha Dzong is the oldest dzong in the country stands on a lofty ridge at the end of valley. Memorial Cchorten was built in 1974 in the memory of the late third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The painting and images inside the monument provide a rare sight into Buddhist philosophy.
Blessed with temperate climate and fed by Pho-chu (male) and Mo-chu (female) rivers Punakha is the most fertile valley in the country. Until 1955, Punakha served as the capital and is even today the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) and the central monk body. The dzong was built at the junction of the two rivers in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Wangdue Phodrang is the last town on the highway before entering Central Bhutan. The town is little more than an enlarged village with a few well-provided shops and hotels. Wangdi dzong, built in the 17th century, stands at the confluence of Punakha chu and the Tang-chu river. The highest reaches of the valley provides rich pasture land for cattle. Phubjikha valley in Wangdiphodrang is the winter habitat for the rare black necked cranes.
Tongsa forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. The landscape around Tongsa is spectacular, and for miles on end, the dzong seems to tease you, wondering if you will ever reach there. Trongsa dzong is the largest dzong in Bhutan.
Phuntsholing is the gateway into Bhutan from the sweltering plains of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a hub of commercial activity. Jaigaon, a small Indian town is located near Phuntsoling.
To the east of Tongsa lies Bumthang valley, at the altitude of 2,600 meters. This valley is the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples. The popular places to visit are Jambey Lhakhang, Kurje Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang and Jkar dzong.
Mongar is the site of one of Bhutan's newest dzongs built in the 1930s. Yet the dzong is built in the same method and traditions of all the other dzongs. A visit to the dzong gives visitors an impression of how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries.
In the far east of Bhutan, on the bank of the Gamri river, lies Tashigang, the country's largest district. Tashigang dzong stands astride a hill slope below the main street. The dzong, built in the mid 17th century, serves as the administrative seat for the district, as well as the home of the monk body.
It is a small town busting and acts as a commercial hub and entry and exit point in the south east. The border is now open for tourists.