Tea Time in Darjeeling
Take the legendary toy train in Darjeeling, nestled in the shadow of Kanchenjunga, one of the highest mountains in the Himalayas. A mostly Tibetan tangle of steep, ramshackle streets and market stalls, it has an atmosphere all of its own. You’ll amble through the emerald tea fields, watch a scenic sunrise from the tip of Tiger Hill and visit beautiful, remote Buddhist monasteries.
Winding Trails to Tiger’s Nest
On arrival in the charming town of Paro you’ll be taken to your typical Bhutanese hotel. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the town and try your hand at a spot of archery. After your first night you’ll begin your hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery perched on the side of a 3000m cliff. A holy atmosphere pervades the area where only the creaking of prayer wheels and occasional gust of wind can be heard.
Uncover the Legends of Bumthang
Bumthang is the cultural and spiritual heartland of Bhutan. The journey takes around three hours, but you’ll travel along some of Bhutan’s most scenic passes, covered in prayer flags fluttering in the wind. During your stay in Bumthang you can set your own pace. Just a short drive from your hotel is the Red Panda Brewery; definitely worth a visit if you’re into your white beer.
There are many interesting monasteries and festivals in the region that are well worth a visit, so have a chat with your guide to see what’s going on during your stay. You can also take a trip to Burning Lake, a sacred part of the mountain river and a beautiful spot to relax. This region is also ideal for day hikes during which you can visit numerous remote temples. On the last day of your stay you’ll drive to the Ura Valley, one of the most unusual villages in Bhutan.
Swooping Cranes in Sweeping Valleys
Visit one of the most beautiful valleys in the whole of the Himalayas, home to the black-necked crane. These celestial birds settle here between November to February. You’ll stay in a charming mid-range hotel on the edge of the valley. As the morning mist slowly rolls away and the rising sun sparkles off the morning droplets of dew, you’ll get the feeling of being somewhere truly special.
Warm Welcomes & the Mighty Dzong
It’s time for a glimpse of life in the countryside. After crossing the prayer-flag laden pass of Chelala you’ll arrive amongst the lush greenery of the Punakha Valley where you’ll stay in a small hotel just outside the town. The next day you’ll walk through rice fields and visit one of the most beautiful monasteries in Bhutan; the Punakha Dzong.
The colourful towers and white walls of this characteristic building form a striking contrast to the emerald green scenery and turquoise rivers. Next you’ll travel by car into Bhutan’s countryside, arriving at a local bed & breakfast late in the afternoon. This is where you’ll spend the night. The accommodation is simple and functional and you’ll have your own private room. This is a real opportunity to get a glimpse of Bhutanese village life.
A Taste of Thimphu
Today you’ll travel to your comfortable hotel in Thimphu. Your hotel is right in the heart of the city, walking distance from souvenir shops, bars and cafes. Thimphu is an interesting city which encapsulates Bhutan’s juxtapositions of old and new and reputedly the only capital city without traffic lights. In the evening you’ll head out to a local restaurant to enjoy a traditional dinner.
A peek at your accommodation