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PANDAW PARTNER PROGRAMME

BHUTAN AND THE BRAHMAPUTRA
14 NIGHTS KOLKATA - JORHAT FROM US$8,046.50

The fortuitous scheduling of direct flights from Paro to Kolkata make it possible for us to combine (for a very reasonable tariff) a visit to the ancient kingdom of Bhutan, one of the world’s most intriguing countries, with an exciting river expedition on the mighty Brahmaputra. And what an incredible journey this will be: from the colonial grandeur of Kolkata we fly to Paro and discover Bhutan’s famous cliff-top monasteries, soaring mountain peaks and unique way of life. We then sail on the mighty Brahmaputra in the shadow of the Himalayas aboard our well-appointed partnership the RV Mahabaahu explore Assam and the Kaziranga National Park in search of Tigers and one-horned Rhino.

Please Note: This programme is not suitable for those with walking difficulties or people affected by high altitude.

Attention: This expedition requires a multiple entry visa for India. We are able to help you with your Bhutan visa. Please ask for details. 

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Please Note: Prices shown are per person in USD$ and include all discounts. Member pricing & benefits are available to previous clients who have travelled with Pandaw before and are part of our Members Club.
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ITINERARY

DAY 1 KOLKATA

You will be met at Kolkata airport and transferred to the Taj Bengal Hotel for two-night stay on a room and breakfast basis.

DAY 2 KOLKATA

Full day sightseeing tour of Kolkata (excluding lunch). Observe the colonial architecture; visit the flower market located on the banks of the Hoogly River visit of the Jain temple, Victoria Memorial and St. Paul's cathedral. We end the day with a visit to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

DAY 3 THIMPHU

This morning, we take a panoramic flight into the Himalayas to Paro, where we are met by our Bhutanese hosts and transferred by road to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Early evening visit to Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery housing most of the Government's office and the King's Throne room. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. We stay at the Druk Hotel for 2-nights on a full board basis.

DAY 4 THIMPHU

Morning exploration of Thimphu, visiting the National Library, art school, traditional Medicine Institute and the fascinating textile and folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese culture and living traditions. After lunch we visit the Handicrafts Emporium, which displays a wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products. Continue to the Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in memory of Bhutan's Third King who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside this monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

DAY 5 PUNAKHA

Travel through incredibly beautiful scenery to Punakha via the magnificent Dochula pass with its enchanting views. At Punakha we check into the Khuru Resort (or similar) for 1-night stay on full board basis. Later we visit the Punakha Dzong, the 17th century fortress, followed by a visit to the local market. We then visit the Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, a newly built stupa. The final highlight today is a visit to Wangduephodrang famous for its bamboo products, slate and stone carvings.

DAY 6 PARO

Drive to Paro including a visit to the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627 that now houses the School for religious studies. At Paro, check into the Tashi Namgay Resort (or similar) for 2-night stay on a full board basis. Afternoon visit to the distinctive Ta Dzong, the National Museum of the Kingdom with its fascinating collection of art, artefacts, thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. We also visit historic Rinpung Dzong.

DAY 7 PARO

One of the highlights of this trip is our trip by pony through stunning mountain scenery to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, hence it’s name the "Tiger's Nest". Non-Buddhists are not allowed inside the monastery; we observe the monastery from a viewpoint nearby. The view is stunning. Continue to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong a fort the Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetan armies. Later we visit a traditional Bhutanese Farm House providing a good insight into the lifestyle of the local people.

DAY 8 GUWAHATI

Transfer to Paro airport and fly to Guwahati for a 1-night stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.

DAY 9 GUWAHATI

Morning at leisure. Transfer to the M.V. Mahabaahu on the Brahmaputra River. Set sail passing Peacock Island, famous for the endangered Golden Langur. Enjoy an evening welcome dinner and talk.

DAY 10 SILGHAT

Spend the day enjoying the stunning natural scenery and wildlife of the Brahmaputra River. Observe river dolphins and birds of prey as we pass uninhabited islands and the fragile communities that live here. After tea enjoy a talk on ‘The River Brahmaputra and the tribal life that exists alongside’.

DAY 11 SILGHAT

Pass Tezpur and a gigantic 3 Km long arched bridge arriving at Silghat, where we take an excursion through stunning countryside to a tea estate and factory producing the famous Assam tea.

DAY 12 KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK

Our expedition continues with a visit to the UNESCO accredited Kaziranga National Park where we enjoy a safari on elephant searching for the elusive Greater One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros and Indian tiger. We continue to Bagori, where by open jeep we further explore the wildlife of this magnificent park. We also travel to Biswanath Ghat and discover the charming village by small boat where women weave colourful traditional handicrafts by the riverside.

DAY 13 RIVER SAFARI

After more dramatic scenic cruising, we take a boat safari on the Eastern range of Kaziranga where River Dhansiri and River Brahmaputra meet. Here, observe wildlife at its most natural including pied kingfishers, eagles, vultures, water buffalos, monitor lizards and otters. Dinner is enjoyed al fresco on a deserted island.

DAY 14 CRUISING

Visit a local village on what is the world’s largest river island and home to the ethnic ‘Mishing’ people. Here, women weave on handlooms to create character costumes and we enjoy a demonstration of a Dhoti & Chaddor - traditional dresses for the men and women of the Mishing communities. It is a pleasant place to explore.

DAY 15 MAJULI, NEAMATI GHAT AND SIBSAGAR

Arrive at the ancient town of Majuli, where we explore the impressive Satras dating back to the 15th century. We continue to Sibsagar, capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came from Yunnan and China in the 13th Century AD. Explore the Shiva Dol, built in 1734, the highest Shiva temple in India. Our day is completed with an insight into the making of Assam tea from a tea estate family.

DAY 16 JORHAT

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport.

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WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: Land section: 7-nights in hotels as described (or similar), 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 5 dinners on the land section of the tour, flight Kolkata - Paro - Kolkata - Guwahati, all transfers, porterage at hotels, airports and cruise, all taxes, entrance fees, all transport in Bhutan, services of an English speaking guide in Bhutan, Bhutan Government Royalty, Taxes, Bhutan Visa Fee. Cruise section: 7-night cruise on the MV Mahabaahu including all main meals, excursions as described, port dues, guide services (English language), jugged coffee and selection of teas, mineral water and the services of a cruise director.

Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, laundry, all visa costs, drinks, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), espressos and cappuccinos at bar, tipping.

Please Note: Drinks and crew gratuities are NOT included on our partner cruises. We suggest to change money at a bank at the international airport before exiting (currently there is shortage of new money bills in India).

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TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 KOLKATA

Our representatives will meet you in the arrivals hall and transfer you to the Taj Bengal Hotel.

DAY 16 JORHAT

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Jorhat airport.

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