River Cruise Extension for Ancient Kingdom of Bhutan & Kolkata Pre Tour 6 Nights | Pandaw.com
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ANCIENT KINGDOM OF BHUTAN & KOLKATA PRE TOUR 6 NIGHTS

Direct flights between Kolkata and Paro make it now possible to combine a Pandaw river expedition with a visit to the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, one of the world’s most intriguing countries. Discover Bhutan’s famous cliff-top monasteries, soaring mountain peaks and unique way of life.

This is a private tour.

Medium fitness is required for a soft hike on day 5.

 

DAY 1

ARRIVAL PARO

Welcome to Bhutan! Pick up at Paro international airport. After Lunch in the city, drive on a winding road to Thimphu (one hour), the capital of Bhutan.

Visit Tashichho Dzong, Bhutan's most impressive building. It has traditionally been the seat of the Druk desi or ‘Dharma Raja’, the head of Bhutan's civil government, an office which has been combined with the kingship since the creation of the monarchy in 1907. It houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and is the summer residence of the venerated monastic community. The current Dzong is the impressive result of a redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the Third King, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, when he moved the capital to Thimphu from Punakha.

Meals: lunch depending on arrival time.

DAY 2

THIMPU

After breakfast visit the Memorial Chorten, also known as the Thimphu Chorten, a large Tibetan-style Buddhist Monastery with golden spires and bells. It was built in 1974 to honor the memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Continue to the Folk Heritage Museum: A three storied traditional building houses this museum. Established in 2001, the museum provides a glimpse into the traditional Bhutanese material culture and way of life. The artifacts remind the visitors about how the rural Bhutanese live today.

Visit National Institute of Zorig Chusum and the National Library of Bhutan which was first established in 1967 under the patronage of HM Queen Ashi Phuntso Choden (1911–2003), with a small collection of precious texts. Learn about how handmade paper from plants at the Junghi Paper Factory. The traditional handmade papers are widely used for religious scripts, packing materials, hand-carry bags, lampshades, envelopes and calendars.

The National Institute of Traditional Medicine strives to merge the allopathic and traditional systems of healing. A large laboratory and a production facility inside the institute monitor and ensure the quality of the components like the plants, minerals, precious metals etc. The institution also produces Bhutanese medicines and they have a plot inside their premise where they grow different herbs and plants.

Visit the Bhutan Postal Museum which was established in November 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The main objective of the museum is to tell the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the lens of the evolution of communications and postal system in the country.

Meals: breakfast at hotel.

DAY 3

THIMPU - PUNAKHA

After breakfast, we take the Dochula pass, located 30 km from the capital, on the way to Punakha which offers a 360-degree of beautiful panoramic view of the Himalaya mountain range, . The 108 chortens that adorn the beauty of this place were built by Queen Mother to commemorate the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed when fighting the Indian rebels in 2003. The pass is also popular spiritual place for both locals and tourists because of an important temple that is located on the crest of Dochula pass.

Visit Chimi Lhakhang: located near Lobesa, Punakha stands on a round hillock and is flanked by hundreds of prayer flags. Built in 1499, this monastery is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kinley or ‘the Divine Madman’. An accomplished master of Mahamudra Buddhist Tradition, he is also known as the ‘Mad Saint’ for his unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism by singing, humor and outrageous behavior.

Continue to Drukpa Kinley, also a cultural icon in Bhutan around whom countless yarns, fictions, stories and legends have been spun. In founding the site, it is said that Lama Kunley subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a rock at the location close to where the chorten now stands.

Meals: breakfast at hotel and lunch box.

DAY 4

PHUNAKA – PARO

After breakfast, visit the Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong (meaning ‘the palace of great happiness or bliss’), the administrative centre of Punakha dzongkhag. Constructed in 1673, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures. Punakha Dzong was the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu.

Drive to Paro then and visit the National Museum and Paro Dzong. The National Museum of Bhutan is housed inside the revamped circular Ta-dzong building, an ancient watchtower above the Paro Dzong. This unusual round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell. The original building was constructed in 1656 and then converted into a museum in 1968, housing some of the finest specimens of Bhutanese art, including masterpieces of bronze statues and paintings gathered from different parts of the country.

Some of the handicrafts items cover the history and cultural heritage of more than 1500 years. The National Museum has in its possession over 3,000 works of Bhutanese art, rich holdings of various creative traditions and disciplines that represent a remarkable blend of the past with the present. Paro Dzong is one of the most impressive and well-known dzongs in Bhutan. One of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture, it is also known as the Ringpung Dzong, which means ‘fortress on a heap of jewels’. It is the administrative seat of the district of Paro. The dzong was built in the 16th century and was used on numerous occasions to defend the Paro Valley from invasions by Tibet. Unlike most of the other dzongs in Bhutan, it survived the massive 1897 earthquake mostly unscathed, though it was almost burnt to the ground by a fire in 1907. All-important relics were lost to the fire and nothing could be salvaged except for the Thongdrol, a 20x20 meter-wide Thangka. The Thangka is displayed annually during a ceremony called Paro Tshechu. The Dzong was however rebuilt the following year.

Meals: breakfast at hotel and dinner with local family.

DAY 5

PARO TAKTSANG SOFT HIKE

Drive to Satsam Chorten for a soft hike to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest”. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m, overlooking the Paro Valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress.

The hike takes about 4 hours back and forth. Once you reach the view point of the monastery you have the option to visit the monastery which takes another hour hike.

The first monastery was constructed 1694, but in 1998 a tragic fire destroyed most of the original buildings - which have since been painstakingly restored to their former glory. Later visit Kyichu Lhakhang, a Buddhist temple in Paro. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the country built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. After visit a Farm House where your dinner will be arranged with the local family.

Meals: breakfast at hotel.

DAY 6

PARO - KOLKATA

After breakfast transfer Paro International Airport for your flight to Kolkata, followed by a city tour.

Join the Heritage Tram Ride across the Old Town to witness the bygone era of charming Bengali colonies, chic cafes and traditional houses. Visit the sacred Hooghly Riverside to witness WWII built Howrah Bridge, 1906 Howrah Junction Railway Station still housing St John Church, Old Court House, and Colonial Secretariat Buildings. Next stop, the riverside located Mullik Ghat to explore some of India’s most colourful Flower Bazaar Markets. Continue to Victoria Memorial, a landmark of Kolkata dedicated to UK’s Queen Victoria and now serves as a royal museum of British Rule in India. Next, arrive at the country’s iconic Eden Garden Cricket Stadium.

Visit Mother Teresa’s Mission and House. Later, discover the curious lanes of Kumartuli. The tour ends at Kolkata’s New Market area to enjoy novelty of street shopping and bargaining with the locals.

Meals: breakfast at hotel.

DAY 7

DEPARTURE

After breakfast, transfer to your ship.

Meals: breakfast at hotel.

4 STAR SELECTION

Zhiwaling Ascent, Thimpu

Retreat from the hustle and bustle of Thimphu city to Zhiwa Ling Ascent - Bhutan’s first contemporary concept hotel. Located just outside the centre of the city, Zhiwa Ling Ascent welcomes you to relax in a park-like setting with panoramic views.

Enjoy first class hospitality by an attentive team of professionals and trainees from the Royal Institute of Hospitality working toward a qualification in the hospitality industry. Relax in one of 20 spacious rooms designed in the most energy efficient way to capture all day sunlight and take in superb views of the surrounding scenery.

Deluxe Room

Kawang Dajo, Upper Mothitang, Thimphu, Kingdom of Bhutan

Tel: +975 2 336486

Visit Hotel Website

Dhumra Farm Resort, Punakha

Dhumra Farm Resort is on the eastern side of the Gumgang Farm as described in the book, “Seeing with the Third Eye: With Grandma in Rural Bhutan.” T. Sangay Wangchuk, the author, is one of the founders of this property. There is a myth about this place that the deity residing here helped build the Punakha Dzong back in the 16thcentury. Here is a place where the myth and reality gets blended with breathtaking views of the Punakha Dzong and the valley.

Deluxe Room

Logodama, Guma Gewog, Punakha, Kingdom of Bhutan

Tel: +975 17 11 74 88

Visit Hotel Website

The Naksel, Paro

Naksel is a community-based & eco-friendly blending the heritage of traditional Bhutanese architecture and the comfort of modern amenities. Traditional windows, mud-bricks, framework and furniture were locally crafted at in Ngoba Village, connecting Naksel to the surrounding forest.

Superior Room

Ngoba Village, Lango Gewog, Paro, Kingdom of Bhutan

Tel: +975 8 272992

Visit Hotel Website

Oberoi Grand Kolkata

Fondly known as The Grande Dame of Chowringhee, The Oberoi Grand is situated in a prime location, unrivalled by other luxury hotels in Kolkata, near the central business district, bustling markets and cultural landmarks of the city. Dating back to the late 1880s, The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata was frequented by the country's leading figures during colonial times.

Deluxe Room

15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata - 700 013, India

Tel: +91 33 2249 2323

Visit Hotel Website
Watch Hotel Video on YouTube

5 STAR SELECTION

Le Meridien, Thimpu

Located in the heart of the capital city, Thimphu, the Le Méridien Thimphu invites the discerning guest to engage and discover the legendary 'Land of the Thunder Dragon', Bhutan. The 78 spaciously appointed guest rooms & suites are culturally inspired, yet decidedly chic and contemporary. With cosmopolitan surroundings amidst the bustling commercial streets of the city-centre, and a convenient location to many of the city's myriad attractions, the Le Méridien Thimphu is the perfect jumpstart to that long awaited leisurely holiday.

Classic Room

Chorten Lam, P.O. Box 01286, Thimphu, Kingdom of Bhutan

Tel: +975 2 337788

Visit Hotel Website

Dhensa Resort, Punakha

Dhensa Boutique Resorts sits in the heart of the verdant and lush Punakha Valley. Flanked by thick pine forests, it overlooks the Punakha river and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor. It is surrounded by plentiful walking and trekking trails. From Dhensa Punakha, it is just a five-minute trek up the mountain to the magnificent Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery, which houses one of the biggest bronze statues of Chenrigzig (Avalokiteshvara) in the country. Dhensa Punakha marries contemporary design with this Himalayan Kingdom’s ancient and alluring ways. At the core of the Dhensa Punakha philosophy lies the sense of innocence and peace that permeates everything about Bhutan.

Suite Room

Wolakha, Punakha, Bhutan

Tel: +975 2 584434

Visit Hotel Website

Zhiwaling Heritage, Paro

Venture beyond the empty beauty of a hotel chain and experience the warmth and comfort of Zhiwa Ling Heritage - a 5 star hotel living in harmony with nature, culture and tradition. Zhiwa Ling Heritage is set on 10 acres in the Paro Valley, within easy reach of Bhutan’s most revered temples and monasteries. The hotel was envisioned by a local Bhutanese businessman and handcrafted by local Bhutanese artisans. To this day, Zhiwa Ling Heritage is wholly Bhutanese owned and staffed.

Junior Suite Room

Satsam Chorten, Paro, Kingdom of Bhutan

Tel: +975 2 336486

Visit Hotel Website

Oberoi Grand Kolkata

Fondly known as The Grande Dame of Chowringhee, The Oberoi Grand is situated in a prime location, unrivalled by other luxury hotels in Kolkata, near the central business district, bustling markets and cultural landmarks of the city. Dating back to the late 1880s, The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata was frequented by the country's leading figures during colonial times.

Deluxe Room

15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata - 700 013, India

Tel: +91 33 2249 2323

Visit Hotel Website
Watch Hotel Video on YouTube

Rates include

Six nights accommodation at advertised hotels (or similar), including breakfast and meals as advertised, excursion and entrance fees as per itinerary, one flight Paro – Kolkata including check-in luggage of 20kg, Bhutan visa and permit fees.

Price per traveller in USD

Accommodation Type Price per Traveller
4 STAR SELECTION
Departures between 01 Dec 18 and 25 Dec 18
Sharing (2 Pax) US$2881.00
Single (1 Pax) US$3800.00
Departures between 26 Dec 18 and 22 Feb 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3010.00
Single (1 Pax) US$3958.00
Departures between 23 Feb 19 and 31 May 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3056.00
Single (1 Pax) US$4150.00
Departures between 01 Jun 19 and 25 Aug 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3010.00
Single (1 Pax) US$3958.00
Departures between 26 Aug 19 and 30 Nov 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3056.00
Single (1 Pax) US$4150.00
Departures between 01 Dec 19 and 25 Dec 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3010.00
Single (1 Pax) US$3958.00
Departures between 26 Dec 19 and 31 May 20
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3160.00
Single (1 Pax) US$4351.00
5 STAR SELECTION
Departures between 01 Dec 18 and 25 Dec 18
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3180.00
Single (1 Pax) US$4726.00
Departures between 26 Dec 18 and 22 Feb 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3035.00
Single (1 Pax) US$4633.00
Departures between 23 Feb 19 and 31 May 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3613.00
Single (1 Pax) US$5131.00
Departures between 01 Jun 19 and 25 Aug 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3035.00
Single (1 Pax) US$4633.00
Departures between 26 Aug 19 and 30 Nov 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3613.00
Single (1 Pax) US$5131.00
Departures between 01 Dec 19 and 25 Dec 19
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3035.00
Single (1 Pax) US$4633.00
Departures between 26 Dec 19 and 31 May 20
Sharing (2 Pax) US$3898.00
Single (1 Pax) US$5333.00

Note

  • Please advice arrival/departure flight details in order to arrange the transfer accordingly
  • The Bhutan visa is included in the price, please send us your passport scan for the application
  • If you are staying in India before and after Bhutan then a multiple entry visa is required for India
  • Check in time 14.00 / Check out time 11.00

* Please note that your hotel will be confirmed after we have received your deposit payment. Prices are subject to change. Hotel subject to availability. We will try to offer you an alternate accommodation if the requested hotel would not be available.

Passport Information

Please ensure you send Pandaw a copy of your passport at least 50 days prior to your travel date. Your passport must be:

  • Ensure that it is the same passport that was used for the Bhutan visa application
  • The passport validity can't be less than six months
  • All passport will require at least 2 blank pages in their passport for Bhutan entry and exit stamp

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