North-East India and Bhutan Tour expertly merge the scenic beauty, history and culture of these adjoining countries. The 12 days package is a perfect plan as it provides a glimpse of these beautiful nations' popular tourist attractions. The itinerary aims to include an excursion to three cities in India. Start the India tour from the busy and crowded city, Kolkata, and gradually shift to calm cities; Siliguri and Darjeeling. The package then comprises sightseeing in three towns of Bhutan; Thimphu, Punakha and Paro. Enter Bhutan through the land border and enjoy sightseeing and a hike in peaceful Bhutanese riches.
|Day 1||Arrive in Kolkata, India|
|Day 2||Kolkata Sightseeing|
|Day 3||Fly from Kolkata to Siliguri (1 hr) and Siliguri Sightseeing|
|Day 4||Drive from Siliguri to Darjeeling (63 km/ 2-3 hrs) and Darjeeling Sightseeing|
|Day 5||Darjeeling sightseeing|
|Day 6||Drive from Darjeeling to Phuntsholing (191 km/5-6 hrs)|
|Day 7||Drive from Phuntsholing to Thimphu (147 km/4-5 hrs)|
|Day 8||Thimphu sightseeing|
|Day 9||Drive from Thimphu to Punakha (85km/2-3hrs), Visit Dochula Pass (3,100m/10,200ft) en route, Punakha Sightseeing|
|Day 10||Drive from Punakha to Paro (125km/3-4hrs) and Paro Sightseeing|
|Day 11||Hike to Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest Monastery) (3180m/10433ft/5-6hrs)|
|Day 12||Departure from Paro|
North East India and Bhutan Tour is a considerate package designed for allowing you to splurge in the scenery of the Northeastern part of India and Bhutan. In India, you have a chance to visit the famous sites of Kolkata- the busy trade city, Siliguri- the gateway to northeast India and Darjeeling- the tea heaven.
In case you arrive early on the first day, enjoy a self excursion to the nearby places in Kolkata. Your guided tour starts the next day. Firstly, you observe Mother Teresa’s House established in 1950 for human welfare. Then, you visit the Victoria Memorial Museum made of white marbles. Again, proceed to visit the famous Kalighat temple, the solo temple where only female priests are appointed. Walk along the Ganges Riverbank and also visit other periphery temples.
Another day, after an hour's flight from Kolkata, Siliguri welcomes you with a panoramic view of the mountain and hills. Then, start your Siliguri sightseeing with a visit to Mayapur ISKCON temple, the headquarter of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). ISKCON is the foundation laid by Kolkata born Srila Prabhupada with a mission to spread Lord Krishna’s message in foreign countries. Later, visit 14th-century Sed Gyued Monastery that also serves as an institute of Buddhist studies and a research center.
Hike up to Darjeeling’s most loved spot, Tiger Hill and enjoy the golden sunrise radiating the sky and Mount Kanchenjunga (Third Highest Mountain). Also, take pleasure in a toy train ride to Ghoom and visit Ghoom monastery to see the beautiful fusion of Kanchenjunga and river flowing down the hills.
Have a short excursion to Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and Himalayan Mountaineering Museum. You get to visit the Tea Estate to learn about tea production and packaging. Taking pictures at the tea garden can be an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy a scenic drive from Darjeeling to Phuntsholing, Bhutan and then, again from Phuntsholing to Thimphu. Your guided Bhutan tour then starts from Thimphu and continues in two other cities; Punakha and Paro. These three Bhutanese cities are the cultural hotspots that host the oldest monasteries, Dzongs (fortresses), temples and museums.
The ancient Dzongs built with great strategies are the main attractions that take the limelight. The Dzongs were used as a fort to watch enemy nations and defend the valleys from invasions. At present most of the Dzongs serve as the government offices, museums or the location to celebrate Bhutanese festivals. Precede the tour to other prominent religious icons like Memorial Chorten, Chimi Lhakhang, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal monastery.
Visit the Folk Heritage Museum, National Library, the School of Arts and Crafts, Traditional Handmade Paper Factory and walk around the local markets. Also, stopover at Dochula Pass where a picturesque view of the hills, mountains and valley is clearly visible. Visit to all these historical and cultural riches is a good insight into Bhutan’s history and Bhutanese lifestyle.
Hike to the 7th century Taktsang Monastery, also called Tiger's Nest, one of Bhutan's most significant locations. Most of the visitors do not skip this hiking experience in their Bhutan tour itinerary. The elegance of this monastery is such that it has been able to mark itself among the top 20 places to visit in the world.
On the 12th day, end your tour as you depart to your destination from Paro, Bhutan.
You arrive at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata. Our representative from Third Rock Adventures will pick you up there and transfer you to the hotel. Time permitted, you may do some self excursion to few Kolkata sites or rest for the day.
Probably, explore the heart of Kolkata-BBD Bagh streets, one of the best representations of British colonial architecture. Walk on the famous Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly River, which also is considered the busiest bridge in the world.
You may also visit the Indian Museum in Kolkata, India's largest and oldest museum. Other sites that might be of interest to you are Usthi Foundation’s school and farm founded for the sake of impoverished children, Eden Garden and the A.J.C. Bose Botanic Garden. Overnight in Kolkata.
Your guided tour of Kolkata takes place today. Firstly, visit Mother Teresa’s House that represents the famous and controversial missionary’s life and her welfare works. The house was established in 1950 to serve the needy and to promote humanity. Then, head to the 20th-century white marble building, Victoria Memorial. Though it is a memorial of Queen Victoria, it now serves as a museum with a gallery and beautiful garden.
Later, visit the Kali Ghat Temple- Kolkata’s most sacred religious site in the Ganges Riverbank. There is a belief that the name Kolkata was named after this temple. The unique Kalighat also has some other temples around like Radha Krishna Temple, Hari-Kath tala and Sosthi Tala- the temple where all priests are women.
Enjoying the walk along the serene Ganges Riverbank, you also visit Belur Math. Belur Math represents the universal faith and is also one of the most beautiful architectural pieces. The temple design is a combination influenced by the architecture of various religions. In the evening, you visit a very old Kolkata Market that used to be a trade hub for almost all the Indian and neighboring countries’ businesses. Overnight in Kolkata.
Today you fly from Kolkata to Bagdogra Aiport, the nearest airport from Siliguri. Our representative will pick you at the airport and drive you to Siliguri with about 15 minutes drive. Your sightseeing in Siliguri starts after hotel check-in and freshening up.
Siliguri is well known for its beautiful tea gardens, temples and is a transit point for most northeastern parts of India. As the city rests at the foot of the Himalayas, it offers a glorious panoramic view of nature and mountains. At first, you visit Mayapur ISKCON temple, one of the 20 most visited sacred sites in the world.
Later, you visit Sed Gyued Monastery, a Buddhist monument made in Pagoda shape. It shelters more than 90 monks and offers a serene environment for meditation. The historic monastery tracing back its origin to the 14th century got destroyed in the 1959 Indo-Chinese war. Later, the Bengal state rebuilt it in 2001 and Dalai Lama inaugurated it.
In the evening, you visit a local market where you can find something for you or your dear ones.
To arrive at Darjeeling- the Imperial Tea land, drive through the plains towards the hills, later followed along the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Enjoy the beauty of hills, glance at the people plucking in the green gardens and cheer at the Toy train whistles.
After hotel check-in and some rest, take a walk to Darjeeling's main square. Here you can observe the local people and their lifestyle. You can also have some conversations with the friendly and hospitable locals.
If you want, you can do some self-exploration in nearby places. Perhaps you can visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda that is only a few kilometers far from the town. The pagoda is a very calm site and also provides good scope for photography. Spend your evening by relaxing in the hotel or go for shopping in the Darjeeling square markets. You may want to buy something in Darjeeling as a memory of this remarkable tour. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Early in the morning, drive to Tiger Hill to see the spectacular sunrise view over Kanchenjunga. Next, visit 18th-century Yiga-Choeling (Ghoom) monastery- a Buddhist monument belonging to Gelukpa sect. Having a look at the morning prayers in Yiga-Choeling can be a soothing experience.
Take a picturesque Toy train ride in the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway up to Ghoom, the highest train station in India. The view of the rivers flowing below with Kanchenjunga Mountain in the background appears mindblowing from Ghoom. Weather permitted, you may also get to see a distant view of Mount Everest.
Later, we visit the tea garden and tea factory inside the famous Tea Estate, which is Darjeeling’s oldest tea plantation area. The excursion here is an insight into the processes involved in the tea industry to make a market ready product.
On the way back, take a stroll at Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, India’s largest high altitude zoo. Visit the museum at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute that displays various elements related to mountaineering history. The museum also contains the grave of Tenzing Norgay, one of the first persons to reach the Mount Everest peak. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Today you head to Phuntsholing from Darjeeling along with the Indian representative. The scenic road drive moves downhill along the Teesta River Valley, the main river of Sikkim. Gradually, the vehicle moves away from the Indian plains passing through small villages, forests and tea gardens at both roadsides.
As you reach Phuntsholing- Bhutan’s second-largest town, the Indian guide will bid you farewell and handover the tour responsibility to our Bhutanese guide. If you are a shopaholic person, Phuntsholing offers a great market to buy some home decorations and several souvenir items. And the product rates are cheaper in comparison to other cities.
Probably, you can self-explore the Torsa River Side as an evening walk that is easily reachable on foot. You can have a panoramic view of the town, green hills and the convergence of two streams there. Otherwise, you may take rest leisurely at the hotel or may enjoy a coffee evening in any hotel street cafe. Overnight in Phuntsholing.
Leaving behind the border town Phuntsholing, you head to Thimphu today. The drive passes via the scenic hills and rugged landscapes that offer breathtaking sights. On the way, you have a chance to witness small villages, lakes, attractive waterfalls, rivers, a few temples and monasteries. Bhutanese drivers have courteous driving skills, which ensure that you will have a comfortable journey.
Arriving at Thimphu in the evening, you may take a rest in the hotel, as you are going to have a busy schedule in the next four days. If you do not need rest, you may discover the strange Thimphu capital, where culture and modernization have synchronized well together. You may be interested in trying out the tongue-tingling Bhutanese cuisines. Overnight in Thimphu.
Thimphu is Bhutan's capital town, so it is busier than Paro. Firstly you visit the National Library that displays a significant set of Buddhist manuscripts. Also, observe Folk Heritage Museum with a showcase of day-to-day typical Bhutanese farmers' lifestyle and their ornaments during the medieval period.
Memorial Chorten is another site to visit in Thimphu this day. The temple is a memorial monument built in 1974 in the remembrance of the late King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. What makes this stupa a unique one from others is because it is not dome-shaped like stupas generally are. The round outer part is in a pyramid shape.
Traditional Handmade Paper Factory and the School of Arts and Crafts are other places where you gain some knowledge about Bhutanese history and the traditional handicraft production methods. Lastly, visit the majestic Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong), a fortress that houses the Bhutan government offices and National Handicraft Emporium at present.
Overnight in Thimphu.
En-route to Punakha from Thimphu, you visit a mountain pass, Dochula. Dochula is the perfect spot that offers a scenic view of the Great Himalayas and houses a monastery named Druk Wangyal Lhakhang. Besides, 108 numbers of memorial stupas also reside in Dochula pass, known as Druk Wangyal Chortens. In the mountain passes open yard, the Royal Bhutan Army performs to celebrate the Druk Wangyel Festival on the 13th of December every year.
Walk for about 20 minutes through muddy and dusty agricultural fields of mustards and rice to arrive at Chimi Lakhang, the temple of fertility. Visit a pagoda-like stupa, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal monastery decorated by mandalas with four stories of deities’ images.
You also step at Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century fortress tactically made at the convergence of two rivers; Mo Chhu and Pho Chuu. This fortress is one great example of Bhutanese architectural skills. In this fort, the Domche festival looks amazing when celebrated during spring while Jacaranda flowers bloom at its best. Overnight in Punakha.
As soon as you arrive at Paro today, you visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Fortress), also renowned as Fortress of the Heap of Jewels. The 17th-century fortress situated at the elevation of 2200 m (7218 ft) was constructed to protect Bhutan from foreign invasions. It offers you a beautiful panoramic view of the Paro valley. The fortress that serves as the monastic body and the Bhutan government offices is a perfect example of Bhutanese architecture and craftsmanship.
Also, visit another fortress, Drukgyel Dzong that translates to 'Fortress of Victory' in English. The fort with immense historical and archaeological importance is on a tentative list for enlisting as a UNESCO world heritage site. The beautiful fort has served as a defense place many times in history. Bhutanese soldiers used the secret tunnels under the hill as a way to fetch river water during wars.
Walk around the Paro Town filled with unique Bhutanese houses, antique handicraft shops and cafes. Watch the display of several collections and buy some souvenirs for yourself or loved ones. Some famous handicrafts found in the Craft market are lanterns, handbags, traditional Bhutanese clothes and wall decorations. You can have a taste of herbal teas and pastries in the small cafes there. Overnight in Paro.
Your hike to Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest Monastery) begins in the morning. It is one of the most iconic heritage of Bhutan offering a panoramic view of Paro Valley. The Monastery lies approximately 12 km away from Paro town towards the north. Also known as Tiger's Nest Monastery, it is situated in a granite cliff at about 900 meters (2953 ft) above the Paro. The uphill distance of the monastery and its base is approximately 6 km.
7th-century history states, Buddhist Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) flew to Paro on a tigress and meditated there for three months. Overnight in Paro.
Today is your departure day. Our guide will drop you at the Paro Airport as per your return flight schedule. If you want to extend your tour, please do not hesitate to request us for it. We carry out multi-country trips in four countries; Nepal, Bhutan, India and Tibet.
If you are interested, it is also possible to follow this itinerary in reverse, starting the tour from Bhutan and ending in India. Also, we have other itineraries combining Bhutan and India’s other places that might suit your need.