Bhutan as a country has always remained elusive and there is an air of mysticism about this hidden Himalayan Kingdom. And probably that is the main reason why Bhutan had been on my bucket list for quite some years. Images of the spectacular monasteries (primarily Tiger’s Nest and Punakha Dzong) that popped up in travel websites (and magazines) from time to time kept motivating me to book a Bhutan Trip. Then finally in the Spring of 2016, my wife and I decided that it was time for our 3rd honeymoon (after Kerala and Sri Lanka) and not to any surprise, we decided on Bhutan. We thought April would be a good time to travel – not too cold, not too hot! So, here we are, penning down our Bhutan travel itinerary, as we thought that sharing it here might prove useful for others who are also planning for a trip to Bhutan; also inspire others who are yet to decide.
To be honest, one of the main reasons to choose Bhutan was the fact that as Indians we enjoy the benefit of “preferential pricing” when it comes to getting the Bhutan Travel Visa (entry permit). While most other foreign nationals are required to spend a minimum of US$200 per person per night (which includes lodging, travelling, tour-guide etc), Indian citizens can get the entry permit practically free of cost and without any hassle. The country is pushing for High Value – Low Impact tourism, to ensure that the ecological balance is not disturbed too much. (We have written a detailed post on how to get a Bhutan travel visa / entry permit and have been regularly updating it).
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Our trip and expenditure:
Bhutan with its pristine surroundings is one of the most enchanting places in the Eastern Himalayas. It has the most lovely rugged mountains to the breathtaking landscapes. We started our trip at Thimphu, capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan, which is located in a valley surrounded by hills on all sides. It also has a lot of places where you can immerse yourself in the culture of the country. Next, we had a lifetime experience at Punakha valley and Dochula Pass crossing various villages in scenic locations and walking past the rivers. Our third stop was Paro, and the epic trek to Tiger’s Nest. We end our trip at the Chele La pass, which is the highest motorable road in Bhutan.
Our trip costed us only Rs.33,000 (in April 2016) every single thing inclusive, for two people. Yes! Bhutan is that cheap. Both the hotels we stayed were decent 3-star hotels, but we bargained a lot.
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Our Travel Itinerary:
Our Bhutan was a moderate duration trip (6 days & 5 nights) and we visited four major places – Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Chele La Pass. Our trip started from Calcutta from where we took a train to Hasimara (one of the nearest train stations to the bhutan border), and from Hasimara we hired a quick autorickshaw ride to the India-Bhutan border gate at Jaigaon. We entered Bhutan through the gate, went straight to the Immigration office (2mins walking from the border) and quickly got our travel visa (aka entry permit).
Since many of our readers were asking, we have made our detailed travel itinerary on the Campture.com’s platform. Given below is a snapshot from the website.
Here is a brief:
- Day 1: Phuentsholing and Thimphu
- Day 2: Thimphu
- Day 3: Dochula Pass and Punakha
- Day 4: Paro
- Day 5: Tiger’s Nest
- Day 6: Chele La pass and return
You can read more about each of the above mentioned places in the following articles which we have written to help you carve out a great trip and also to make your planning easier.
- Part 0: How to get a Bhutan Travel Visa / entry permit (UPDATED)
- Part 1: Our Bhutan travel itinerary (This one)
- Part 2: Thimphu – The Happiness Capital
- Part 3: Paro and the Tiger’s Nest
- Part 4: Punakha – the ex-capital of Bhutan (coming soon..)
- Part 5: Chelala Pass – highest motorable road in Bhutan (coming soon..)
- Part 6: Mouthwatering delicacies of Bhutan (coming soon..)
- Part 7: The Ultimate Bhutan Travel Guide
Other travel itineraries and Inspiration:
Apart from our travel itinerary (mentioned above), we have listed here a few more blogs about Bhutan travel which we believe will definitely inspire our readers more.
- Mayuri Patel from “fernwehrahee.com” – You will find lovely blogs about her Bhutan trip, including the “Haa Valley” (which we had to drop due to lack of time…)
- Ishani Nath from “buoyantlifestyles.com” writes about her Short Road Trip to Samdrup Jongkhar , which is small Bhutanese town at the Assam side of the Indo-Bhutan border.
- Vishu and Saumya from “roadtotaste.com” have written about their trip including hotel reviews and delicacies to try.
- Abhinav Singh from “asoulwindow.com” – An Offbeat experience about their cycling trip in Thimphu near the “tango and cheri monastery”.
- Bistra and Nace from ‘themagicoftraveling.com’ share their thoughts about Bhutan’s people and their culture.
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we also found two photo-blogs which are bound to motivate you through their stunning captures from Bhutan:
- Saakshi Rajat from “saakshirajat.com”