Bhutan: The Dragon Kingdom

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Cox and Kings

The remote Kingdom of Bhutan, with its fascinating cultural heritage and beautiful mountain scenery, was off limits to tourists until 1974. Today, the country continues to preserve its age-old traditions, as revealed in this tour, which travels through western Bhutan visiting the forts, monasteries and markets of the ‘Dragon Kingdom’.

Highlights
  • Witness Bhutan’s colourful festivals
  • Bhutanese cooking class
  • Explore Kathmandu’s medieval centre
  • Meet with local monks
  • Dinner with a local family
  • Small group size - average 12 people (maximum 18)
Accommodation

Hotel Himalaya, Kathmandu

Surrounded by 10 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds, Hotel Himalaya is located within easy reach of both Kathmandu city centre and the international airport. Guests can enjoy a 180-degree panoramic views of the majestic Himalayan range from the hotel's garden. The hotel's dining options include an international cuisine at Cafe Horizon with in-room dining also available.

Features: 125 rooms, Wi-Fi, restaurant, bar, tennis court, swimming pool and health club including sauna and hammam.
Room amenities: Air conditioning, flat-screen TV, seating area, desk, en suite...


Hotel Kisa, Thimphu

Conveniently located with easy access to interesting sights, shops and markets, Hotel Kisa blends traditional Bhutanese architecture with contemporary style. All 35 rooms and suites are spacious, tastefully furnished, feature wooden floors and marble bathrooms. Facilities include a multi-cuisine restaurant and a lounge...


Meri Puensum, Punakha

Accommodation in Bhutan is simple and clean, but cannot be compared to the standard of hotels in Europe. The Meri Puensum is situated high on a hillside with panoramic views of the fields, terraces and river below, approximately 5 kilometres outside Punakha, and offers simple accommodation, each room with an attached bathroom. Hotel facilities include a laundry, money exchange, a bar and a...


The Village Lodge, Paro

Inspired by the typical lifestyle and rich Bhutanese culture, The Village Lodge presents true Bhutanese essence. Located only a few minutes' drive from Paro airport and set on the fertile farmland in the middle of vibrant Paro valley and encircled by richly forested hills, the lodge offers traditional experience and good accommodation in a peaceful Himalayan environment. The lodge has 9 suite rooms elegantly decorated in Bhutanese architecture, equipped with an underground heating system and comfortable bathrooms. The restaurant serves local, continental and Asian delicacies. NUTS Bar offers the selection of international and Bhutanese beverages. Guests are welcome to venture into the kitchen to learn the art of Bhutanese cooking or simply watch the chef prepare Chili Cheese Ema datshi, the fiery Bhutanese...

Destinations
  • Asia
  • Bhutan
Tour Types
  • group
  • General interest

Tsechus (festivals)

The 29 Feb 2020 departure coincides with the Punakha tsechu; the 30 Mar 2020 departure coincides with the Paro tsechu (slightly different itinerary to allow more time in Paro – please ask your travel consultant for details); and the 24 Sep 2020 departure coincides with the Thimphu tsechu. The 3 Nov 2020 departure and extension visits the Black-Necked Crane festival.


Day 1: Fly to Kathmandu via Istanbul

Overnight flight from London (regional connections available) to Kathmandu, via Istanbul, with Turkish Airlines. (N)


Day 2: Kathmandu

Arrive in Kathmandu in the early afternoon and transfer to the Hotel Himalaya (or similar) for 2 nights. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens and offers 180-degree panoramic views of the majestic Himalayan range. (N)


Day 3: Kathmandu

Take a full morning tour of Kathmandu, a characterful and historic city renowned for its master craftsmen and Newari architecture. Explore the heart of the old town, Durbar Square, a cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets that date back to the 12th and 18th centuries. In the afternoon, discover Kathmandu's cultural diversity with visits to Pashupatinath Stupa, one of the holiest Hindu stupas in Nepal and Boudhnath, one of the largest Buddhist centres for Nepal's considerable Tibetan population. (B)


Day 4: Fly to Paro • Thimphu

Enjoy spectacular views of the beautiful Paro Valley as you land in Bhutan on the morning flight from Kathmandu. Drive to Thimphu, Bhutan's enigmatic capital city, which maintains a strong medieval feel in its architectural style. This afternoon take a short orientation tour to familiarise yourself with the city. Your tour includes a visit to the imposing Tashichho Dzong. Stay 2 nights at the Hotel Kisa (or similar). (B, L, D)


Day 5: Thimphu

This morning explore Thimphu in greater depth with visits to the National Memorial Chorten, Simply Bhutan, Buddha Point and the Textile Museum. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure before meeting a local family for an authentic Bhutanese dinner. (B, L, D)


Day 6: Punakha

Your scenic drive to Punakha today passes through mountain forests and the stunning Dochula Pass, which offers 360 degree sweeping views of the Himalayas and of the verdant valley's below. This afternoon get a first-hand experience of typical village life in Bhutan with a visit to a traditional farmhouse. In Punakha, stay 2 nights at the Meri Puensum (or similar). (B, L, D)


Day 7: Punakha

This morning explore Punakha, a charming town set against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains and pine-clad hills. Perhaps the highlight of the tour will be a visit to the Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century fortress and arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country. This afternoon visit the Nalanda Buddhist Institute to meet with the Buddhist monks. (B, L, D)


Day 8: Paro

Return to Paro and stay 2 nights at the Village Lodge (or similar). Afternoon visit to Ta Dzong, now the national museum, for further insight into Bhutanese culture. Later, get to grips with Bhutanese cuisine with an interactive cooking class. Bhutanese cuisine is largely inspired by Chinese, Indian and Tibetan influences and dishes are usually lavishly spiced with chillies. (B, L, D)


Day 9: Paro

Today visit one of the Himalaya's most incredible sites, the Taktsang (Tiger's Nest), a monastery miraculously perched on a rocky ledge. The return walk takes about 5 hours but the effort is well rewarded. This afternoon visit the Rinpung Dzong before trying your hand at Bhutan's national sport - archery. (B, L, D)


Day 10: Fly to Kathmandu

Morning flight to Kathmandu. Stay overnight at the Hotel Himalaya (or similar). Farewell dinner at Brick Café. (B, D)


Day 11: Fly to London via Istanbul

Day at lesiure with late check-out of hotel. This evening fly from Kathmandu to London, via Istanbul, with Turkish Airlines. (B)


Day 12: London

Early morning arrival in London. (N)


Meal basis

As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.


Important information


Tour variations

Due to changes to seasonal schedules and opening times, there are minor itinerary variations for certain festival departure dates. Please check with your Cox & Kings travel consultant for details.


Discovery tour

Hotel standards in Bhutan range from first class in Paro (available at a supplement on private travel only) to reasonably comfortable in western Bhutan. The tour involves some long drives.


Single supplement

From £425pp.


Private & tailor-made travel

This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits you, for which guideline prices are shown. Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online

• Flexible - extensions, room & flight upgrades available
• Average group size - 12 people (max 18)
• International flights with Turkish Airlines
• Transfers in air-conditioned vehicles
• Experienced local tour manager
• 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
• Farewell dinner
• Guided sightseeing & entrance fees
• Porterage at airports & stations
• Bhutanese visa included
• Festival departures: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha & Black-Necked Crane

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
24-Sep-2020 for 11 Nights Standard Flight Included
Visit Website

-£100

03-Nov-2020 for 11 Nights Standard Flight Included
Visit Website

-£300

Touring with Cox & Kings

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tour details

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11 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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