We're headed to the land of the thunder dragon. There are many things to see in Bhutan; whether it's the beautiful ancient monasteries or the lovely pine forests, one of the tallest Buddha statues in the world or the most amazing dish that is Ema Datshi. Join us as we explore 'The Happiest Country in the World!' with its own little set of mysteries and myths that despite being familiar are very much foreign. It's an ancient land with a history of nature worship. We've tried our best to make it an authentic Bhutanese experience for you; this includes the culture, the food and importantly, the alcohol! Brace yourself, for long beautiful drives through the Himalayas, age-old customs and a week full of stories to share for a lifetime.
-Experience the traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath
-Visiting the famous Buddha Dordenma statue
-Visiting the crocodile breeding center at Phuentsholing
-Sneak peek into the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle at the Simply Bhutan museum
-Visit the world-famous Chimi Lhakhang aka. the fertility temple
-Drive by the famous 108 memorial stupas at Dochula pass
-Cross the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan at Punakha
-Visit the gorgeous Punakha Dzong
-A short hike to Khamsum Yulley
-Live in a Bhutanese house thats more than 100 yrs old!
-Day exploration to the gorgeous Phobjikha (Gangteng) valley
-Short visits to Kyichu Lhakhang and the National Museum of Bhutan
-Try out traditional Bhutanese veg and non-veg cuisines
-Long day-trek to the world-famous Paro Taktsang (Tigers Nest)
We think you ought to know about the place before you head to the Land Of The Thunder Dragon. Bhutan is a kingdom, yes Kingdom, situated to India's northeast; with Sikkim to it's West, West Bengal to its South and Arunachal Pradesh to its East. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck took control and established the Kingdom of Bhutan. Early in the 20th century, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned as the first king of Bhutan. Their family has ruled over Bhutan ever since. However, as of 2008, the government of Bhutan now also has a democratically elected parliament. Bhutan was the first country to adopt the GNH (Gross National Happiness) Index, instead of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), to measure the development of their country. And happy people, they are!
Day 1. Bagdogra > Phuentsholing
169 km (About 4 Hours 30 Minutes)
We meet at Bagdogra Airport before 1pm. Try to take a flight that lands no later than 1pm. Well board our private bus and make our way to the border town of Phuentsholing. Were going to drive on the river-side mountain roads of Siliguri and pass through the Jaldapara National Park on our way too. Maybe, if were lucky, spot an elephant or two along the way. We will stop for lunch en route. Phuentsholing is a border town like no other. Its not one where theres high walls and a lot of guards and barbed wire and stuff. You could literally be one foot in India and one in Bhutan if you want. You are free to explore the market area and try your hand at local restaurants for dinner.
Day 2. Phuentsholing > Thimphu
147 km (About 4 Hours and 30 Minutes)
Its the first day in Bhutan! Once we get done with our immigration procedure, were off to the capital. Now, you must bear in mind that Thimphu is at a higher altitude of 2334m, so it does get colder. We traverse the lovely sub-Himalayan mountains of Bhutan and reach Thimphu by early evening. Well stop for some Bhutanese lunch on the way. Our evening will be spent in the market, chilling, dining and taking it all in.
Today were going to head to Punakha. Punakha is a completely different side of Bhutan. We're going to drive through the frigid Dochu La pass on the way. Before checking in to our hotel we will visit the famous Chimi Lhakhang, better known as the Fertility Temple. One thing everyone takes back from Bhutan is the most casual and artistic depiction of penises along the walls of many a home. This is in honour of Drukpa Gunley who was known as the divine madman.
Day 5. Punakha
We start the day with a short, beautiful hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choeten (you don't need to remember this). We'll get a good view of the whole valley from atop the monastery. After lunch, we'll head to the suspension bridge. The only thing we can tell you about the bridge is that it's thin. And shaky. And also, not for those who are fearful of heights. We'll end our evening with a visit to the beautiful Punakha Dzong. It's the old capital building that once housed the royal family. The tour is like a trip down history. We retire to our homestay for a good night's rest.
Day 6. Punakha
After a hearty breakfast, we make our way for a day-trip to Phobjikha. Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful places in Bhutan. Its a vast glacial valley with amazing views all around. Known locally as Gangteng Valley, it hosts a large migration of Black-Necked Cranes that make their way here every winter all the way from Afghanistan and Western China. The valley is known for wonderful hikes all around, covered in pine forests. We will also visit the Gangtey monastery. Well have lunch in the valley. And return to Punakha in time for dinner.
Day 7. Punakha > Paro
127 km (About 3 Hours and 45 minutes)
Were on to our final leg of the trip in the historic town of Paro. The town is home to many homestays that can boast being more than a hundred-years-old. We too will be staying in one of those! After checking in, were going to visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest monasteries in all of Bhutan. After which well go to the beautifully curated Bhutan National Museum. The museum sits atop a hill overlooking the entire city. After sunset, well go to the Paro market for dinner and some shopping. Well retire to our cozy homestay.
Day 8. Paro
This is the big day! Were going to hike to Taktsang Monastery, also, famously known as the Tigers Nest. Its a 4-hour trek to the masterfully-designed building, carved right out of the mountain. We start our hike after an early breakfast. Its not easy, but the best things arent. After returning from our trek, were going to take part in a beautiful Bhutanese tradition hot-stone bath. Its a large wooden bathtub, where the water is heated with super hot stones from the river bed. There are also some herbs to help with any joint-pain or soreness that the trek may have caused.
Day 9. Paro > Phuentsholing
143 km (About 4 Hours)
We start our final journey back. After a traditional breakfast, we make our way back to the border town of Phuentsholing. We will have lunch en route and reach Phuentsholing by early evening. Well visit the Crocodile Breeding Centre and see the giant reptiles up close and super candid. The rest of the night is at leisure.
Day 10. Phuentsholing > Bagdogra
171 km (About 5 Hours)
Say your final goodbyes to Bhutan as we cross over back into India and towards BagdograAirport. We should reach Bagdogra in the afternoon. Its bye-bye Bhuts, see ya later. Bid farewell to your new friends and brace yourself for the lifetime of memories thatll keep throwing you back to this very trip.
-Private (non-AC) tempo-traveler bus travel for all 10 days of the trip (Bagdogra > Bhutan > Bagdogra)
-Accommodation in hotels & guest houses for 9 nights
-Traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath
-Breakfast on all days (veg & non-veg)
-Dinner on 4 nights (veg & non-veg)
-All activities as per itinerary
-Visit and entry fees to all places as per itinerary
-Basic medical and first-aid kit
-All permits, tolls and parking charges
-Experienced local guide
-Experienced Vagabond representatives
-Vagabond merchandise and memorabilia
-Lunch on all days
-Dinner on 5 nights
-Travel insurance (we suggest you take one)
Tariff / payment options:
Rs. 27,850 (Book before 29th Feb)
Rs. 29,850 (Book between 1st - 31st March)
Rs. 31,850 (Book after 1st April)
You can block your seat for an advance of just Rs. 10,000 /- (Contact us to avail this offer)
Balance amount will have to be paid 4 weeks prior to the trip
-Online payment (BOOK NOW button)
-At Phuentsholing, Thimpu, and Punakha we will stay in 3-star hotel rooms (double bed and extra mattress) on a triple sharing basis with attached western bathrooms
-In Paro however, we will be staying in a 100-year-old house that has been converted into a homestay. The family still lives there. So its going to be a truly authentic and local experience. Rooming here will be on a triple or quadruple basis with non-attached toilets
-All the places were staying at will have running hot water facility
-Vagabond will provide breakfast every day (Day 2 - Day 10) and dinner on 4 days (Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 8)
-The food we're providing during the trip will be at the hotel/guest house in a buffet-style
-It will be regular nutritious food in veg and non-veg options
-The cuisines will be shuffling between Indian and Bhutanese depending on the location
-For the meals we arent providing, we will guide you to the market to explore the various options available
-The entire journey starting from Bagdogra to Bhutan and back will be in a privately booked non-AC tempo traveler bus.
Things to carry
Documentation: Original passport (valid for at least 6 months) or voter ID card, 2 photocopies of voter ID/Passport, 3 passport-sized photographs
Footwear: Sturdy shoes for walking/climbing, slippers/flip-flops.
Accessories: Torch, cap, sunglasses, swiss knife (optional), water bottle, multi-plug
Toiletries: Towel, soap, face wash, lip balm, sunscreen (min 40 SPF), hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper
Rainwear: Raincoat/jacket/poncho, rain cover for bags (VERY IMPORTANT), spare plastic bags (to waterproof your belongings)
Medical: Personal medication (Asthma, Allergen medication, etc.), crepe-bandage (each person should have a roll each), basic medicines (aspirin, cold and flu, painkillers, motion sickness, etc)
Personal recreation: Camera, binoculars, books, music, cards, etc.
Miscellaneous: Rucksack (no suitcases, trolley or duffle bags), an extra day bag for day outings
-This trip is ONLY open to Indian nationals
-In Bagdogra (Siliguri, West Bengal), we will meet at Bagdogra airport by 1:00 pm latest. Please book a flight that reaches Bagdogra before 12:00 pm on Day 1
-We reach Bagdogra on Day 10 latest by 2 pm. Please book your return travel home anytime after 3:00 pm
-Since this trip involves one day-long challenging trek and another short hike, its imperative that you are fit enough to do these or be wise enough to sit it out
-Indian currency is accepted in Bhutan. Make sure you carry liquid cash and not rely on your ATM card at all
-At Paro, we are staying at an ancient house with a family that has been living there for generations. Please treat the family with respect and dignity.
-Despite this being a backpacking trip, we will be running on a fixed schedule. Punctuality will be appreciated
-Bhutan is home to people across the world from different cultures. Please honor the local cultures and do not be disrespectful in any way
-This is not a leisure tour. Please be prepared for a good amount of walking up and down slopes and hilly terrain
-The trip schedule is subject to change. Day of visits to the mentioned places could be shifted back and forth
-Carrying rainwear is important. Take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and your belongings dry if there is a freak shower
1) What region of Bhutan are we traveling to?
We're traveling from Bagdogra (Siliguri) in West Bengal (India) to Phuentsholing (border of India and Bhutan), Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro in Bhutan. Bhutan is also called Druk Yul or Land of the Thunder Dragon,
2) What will the temperature be like while we're there?
Temperatures rise to a maximum of 20°C during the day and can drop to a minimum of 3°C during the night in summers. In winters, it is around 10°C during the day and can drop to -5°C in the middle of the night
3) Is there mobile connectivity in Bhutan?
You can choose to take an international roaming pack or get a Bhutanese sim card for as cheap as 200 INR. The hotels we stay at will have free WiFi.
4) Are there any ATMs where we're traveling?
There are ample ATMs in all the locations were visiting but check with your bank regarding international ATM withdrawal charges.
5) Can I smoke/drink on this trip?
We, at Vagabond, do not refrain our participants from smoking or drinking on our backpacking trips. However, Bhutan has a strict no-smoking law. In fact, you wont even be able to buy cigarettes in Bhutan. When it comes to drinking, feel free to indulge anytime other than when were hiking or visiting sacred places. And it goes without saying, please drink responsibly.
6) What will the group size be?
We will be a maximum of 22 travelers including 1-2 Vagabond EMs
7) Is there any age limit to join this trip?
No, there is no age limit to join this trip. However, based on our previous experiences, the age group of travelers is usually between 18-35
8) Can I join this expedition solo?
Yes, of course, you can! We have a good number of solo travelers on almost every Vagabond experience
9) How physically fit do I need to be to join this trip?
This trip has one challenging day-trek and a couple of short climbs. Its imperative that you come prepared for it. If you have trekked before and want a clearer idea of the difficulty of the trek, do get in touch with us. Those who have a low tolerance of cold should be prepared with temperature appropriate clothing.
10) Are there doctors/hospitals accessible?
Every town and village has a doctor or hospital accessible from our accommodation
11) Can I get a twin sharing room?
-Yes, that would be possible for an additional cost of INR 2,500 per person based on the availability of rooms. Do get in touch with us for this option.
Please note, there will be no double sharing at Paro for 2 nights, as were living in a homestay.
12) How much would meals cost?
-Meals should cost you anything between 150-250 INR per meal
-In case of cancellations 1 month prior to the trip, Rs 7,000 will be deducted.
-In case of cancellations 15 days prior to the trip, Rs 15,000 will be deducted.
-In case of cancellations 1 week prior to the trip, Rs 25,000 will be deducted.
-In case of cancellations within 1 week of the trip, no refund shall be admissible.
Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions
-All timings and activities are subject to weather, group size, capabilities of participants etc. -Vagabond holds the right to cancel the event due to unforeseen circumstances (for eg. unfavorable weather) -By registering for this trip, you agree to have read through and abide by the Vagabond terms & conditions mentioned below:
I hereby agree, undertake and declare as follows:
IN CONSIDERATION of being permitted to the Vagabond trip/event/trek/activity, hereinafter referred to as Activities conducted by Vagabond, (Hereinafter referred to as the Conductor, under the guidance of Elton Dmello and/or Shannon Fernandes and/or Shajin Shaji and/or Nihar Nair, hereinafter jointly referred to as the Instructors, I do hereby:
Acknowledge and agree that I am aware of the risks involved in the Activities and have also been apprised by the Conductor through his/her Instructors of the inherent risks and dangers associated with the activity and having understood the risks associated with the activity I have willingly agreed to learn/agree to send my ward to learn and participate in the Activities.
I assure that I am / my ward is in proper and good health and I am / my ward is physically fit to learn and also participate in the activity and represent that I am / my ward is not suffering from any disease which might remotely either put myself / my ward or the other participants at any risk or danger;
I agree to comply with the stated terms and conditions of participation; further, agree and warrant that if at any time when the Instructors believe and think that any conditions to be unsafe, they will have the right to ask me / [my ward] to discontinue further participation in the Activities immediately;
I shall not hold the conductor, instructors, employees, other participants, owners, lessors or anyone responsible for any injury that might happen to me / my ward in the course of my journey to the venue and my journey backward
I hereby release, discharge and agree not to sue the conductor, Instructors, employees, any sponsors, advertisers, other participants, and if applicable, owners and lessors of premises on which the Activity takes place, from all liability, claims, demands, losses, injuries, damage to property or other damages caused or alleged to be caused on my account / on account of my ward in whole or in part by the bonafide errors of the Instructors.
I have read this letter and I fully understand its terms; I also understand that this letter intends to be a complete and unconditional release of all liability to the largest extent allowed by law and agree that if any portion of this agreement is held to be not valid, the balance shall continue in full force and effect.
More about us
More about us
A Vagabond Experience isn't just one where you pack your bags and go visit a place outdoors. It's more than that. At a Vaga' experience, you meet new like-minded people and create bonds in comfortable social spaces that would last you a lifetime. By facilitating our understanding and appreciation for community living, we help you take a trip not only outwards but inwards too. We lead treks, camps, river rafting trips, backpacking trips to Himachal, musical experiences all year round.
Thank you for your interest, we have recieved your query and will get back to you shortly, in the meantime you feel free to browse more events below.
Oops, looks like there was an error while submitting, please try again after sometime.
Map & Directions
Map & Directions
No reviews available
Write a review
Be the first one to review! Share your experience.