Tour Bhutan on $1000

Heaven on Earth

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[wptabtitle]Overview[/wptabtitle]
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‘The Last Shangri la,’ Bhutan, opened its doors to the outside world in the year 1974.   We have described the itinerary “Bhutan” as a trip to heaven on earth.  What makes Bhutan a ‘Heaven on Earth’ is the fact that Bhutan is the first country in the world to measure its development index by the happiness of the people.  In other words, in terms of Gross National Happiness, rather than Gross Domestic Product.

During this short 6  day/5 night visit to Bhutan, you will be able to see the most popular sights in Bhutan including the stupas at the top of Dochu-La pass and get to hike up a challenging path to reach the famous Taksang Monastery.  The itinerary is completely flexible and additional days can be added.

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[wptabtitle]Pricing[/wptabtitle]
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Prices and Dates


  • There are no fixed departure dates, you may travel at any time.
  • Total: $940US per person for January, February, June, July, August, December.
  • Total: $1165US per person for March, April, May, September, October, November.
  • For solo travelers there is a surcharge of $200US for the 5 day tour.
  • For 2 travelers there is a surcharge of $150US for each person for the 5 day tour.
  • Discounts are avaible for children and students (25%)

What’s Included

  • Hotel: 5 nights in hotel (3 star quality)
  • Meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners (food only)
  • Guide: English speaking guide from the time you arrive at the airport until the departure.
  • Local Transportation within Bhutan
  • Visa Fees are included in the price quoted above
  • Entrance Fees to Museums

What’s Not Included

  • International Flights to Bhutan
  • Tips for the guide
  • Drinks (except for water during car trips)
  • Laundry
  • Any other personal type expenses

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[wptabtitle]Details[/wptabtitle]
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Detailed Itinerary

‘The Last Shangri la,’ Bhutan, opened its doors to the outside world in the year 1974.   We have described the itinerary “Bhutan” as a trip to heaven on earth.  What makes Bhutan a ‘Heaven on Earth’ is the fact that Bhutan is the first country in the world to measure its development index by the happiness of the people.  In other words, in terms of Gross National Happiness, rather than Gross Domestic Product.

Day 1:  Arrive Paro

The flight to Paro offers breathtaking view of the mighty Himalayas. On the arrival at Paro International Airport, complete your visa formalities and you will be received by your representative, who will accompany you for the tour. We will drive to visit Ta Dzong, built in 17th century as a watch tower for Paro Dzong. This Dzong was later converted into the National Museum in 1967, and is filled with antique Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour. Also visit the Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend valley against Tibetan invaders. It is now used as an administrative centre and home of monastic community. After completion, we pay a visit to the Holy and sacred Kyichu Lhakhang, which is the oldest monastery in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

After lunch, we proceed to Thimphu. The drive to Thimphu is very scenic as we follow the river valley to the capital city. One will witness the change in vegetation as Thimphu and Paro is a complete alpine Zone. Before entering into the capital city, we visit the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in Bhutan. It was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan in the year 1629 AD. Sightseeing in Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing        

AM drive to the mini zoo to see the most endangered national animal of Bhutan Takin. Drive to BBS Tower at Sangaygang to do a short hike to Wangditse Goemba, which was founded in the 18th century by the eighth Desi (secular ruler). The hike will start from the BBS tower till Dechenphodrang, through the pine forest. On this trail you can also see and enjoy a beautiful Thimphu city view. The hike will take about 1hour 30minutes. We then visit the Buddhist Nunnery.

After lunch, we visit the Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in memory of the Late Third King of Bhutan.  Drive to Buddha’s point and see the Biggest Buddha statue. The area is still under construction. In the evening, visit Tashichhodzong, beautiful medieval fortress built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal.  The evening will be free…. Overnight in Thimphu

Day 3:  Thimphu – Punakha

After breakfast and before proceeding to Punakha, we will visit the Post office to see the world famous and the award winning stamps of Bhutan. We then drive to Punakha, crossing Dochula, a high altitude pass at an altitude of 3,100 m. Constructed on top of a hill are 108 beautiful monumental chortens built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. On a clear day, one can enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the highest peaks in Bhutan.

A low lying sub-tropical valley, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still it is home of Chief Abbot in winter months. Visit the Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This Dzong has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the Kingdom. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the Dzong has been now fully restored in its original splendour.

Day 4:  Wangdi-Paro

We drive to Wangdiphodrang: This town is located to South of Punakha and is the last town before central Bhutan. The district is famous of its fine bamboo work and its slate and stone carving. On 24th June 2012, the Dzong was engulfed by fire and razed to ashes. Unfortunately, we will be able to see the ruins only. It is sad for us Bhutanese to see the Dzong burning and the people helpless. The Royal Government is now working out to reconstruct the Wangdi Dzong and bring to its original splendour.  Drive to Paro. Stroll around the town. Overnight in Paro.

Day 5:  Paro

AM drive to the trail route of the famous Taktshang Lhakhang “The Tigers Lair”. Clinging to a black rock face, 900 meters above the valley floor, nestles Taktshang Lhakhang, one of the holiest and the most beautiful site of Bhutan.  Taktshang, the tiger’s lair, acquires its name from the legend of its foundation, when in the 8th Century Guru Rinpoche, widely revered as the second Buddha, arrived from Tibet flying across the mountains on the back of a tigress. He meditated at the site for three months, from where he used the religious cycle of the Kagye to subjugate the Eight Categories of Evil Spirits, and thus converted the region to Buddhism. Lunch will be served at the Cafeteria.

After lunch, we visit the Drugyel Dzong, a ruined Fort, which once defended this valley from the Tibetan invasion. This fortress, now a burned shell, was once strategic in Bhutan’s defence against the Tibetan invasion Overnight in Paro.

Day 6:  Departure

Drive to Paro international Airport for onward journey. See off by our representative

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[wptabtitle]Questions[/wptabtitle]

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Can I arrange a visit to Bhutan on my own?

No. The Royal Government of Bhutan allows tourism only through all-inclusive packages provided by licensed Bhutan Tour Operators.  Before any visa is issued, the full tour payment must be sent to the tour operator who will then deposit the amount into a special tourism account.

Can I negotiate the price?

The minimum price is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan and is not negotiable.  Your visa will not be issued unless the full payment is received and deposited into the tourism account.

What if I find a lower price elsewhere?

The laws regarding the minimum tourism price per day are very strict.  We are not willing to risk our license by trying to undercut.  The only legal way of reducing your price is to come with a group of more than 11 people. Please see the tariff page for details.

Why is it so expensive to visit Bhutan?

When compared to other countries in Asia, Bhutan’s per day price will seem high. Remember that the cost does include all of your accommodation, all meals, and private transportation and guides.  If you try to visit other countries using the same types of services you will find that the price of visiting Bhutan is not out of line.

For each day that a tourist is in Bhutan, there is a $65 royalty goes directly to the government to help with the cost of health care and education within the country.

The lack of “free roaming tourists” means that the government can ensure that guides are properly trained and licensed.  The high price also limits the number of visitors to Bhutan each year.  This limited number of tourists has nearly completely stopped touts trying to sell you things, a common problem in all Asian countries. Try visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia and see if you actually enjoy being surrounded by 50 people for 30 minutes trying to sell you a hat before you finally get to enjoy the site.

Can I pay by credit card?

We are not able to accept credit cards at the moment.  The rules require that the tour payment must arrive by wire transfer in USD.  Perhaps in the future this option will be available.

How do I make a “Wire Transfer”?

If you are from North America, it is likely the case that you have never used wire (sometimes called telegraphic or cable) transfers and its likely that you will not be able to perform this transfer without going into your bank.  Some banks do provide this service from their on-line system.

We will send you the bank SWIFT code and account number.  You take this information to the bank and tell them that you want to do a wire transfer and that it must arrive in USD.  The bank will put in the request and take the money from your account and ask who the recipient is and why you are sending the money.   The next part can be a bit frustrating if you are used to instant banking, wire transfers can take 2-3 business days to reach our bank.  As soon as we receive the transfer we will let you know and apply for the visa.

How do I apply for a visa?

We are responsible for applying for the visa for Bhutan. To make the application we need a copy of the first page on your passport, your address, and your job title. Once the visa is approved (1 to 5 business days depending on how busy the immigration department is) we will send you a copy of the visa clearance by e-mail.  You must carry this document with you when you check-in at the airline.  Please note that the visa is linked to your passport and if you change passports after the visa clearance then you must contact us for a new visa.

When you reach the passport control counter at the airport, they will scan your passport and stamp it based on the information that is in their system.  The stamps for visiting Bhutan will use up about one half of a page in your passport.

Could I be denied a visa?

The requirement for obtaining a visa is that you must have the tour booked before the visa will be approved.  Generally there is no reason why a visa would be denied.  The only reason for a denial would be if the full payment was not deposited or you visited before and caused some trouble. If your visa is denied, you of course will receive a full refund.

Can I book the flights myself?

Yes, you may book the DrukAir flights from their website or you may let us do the booking for you.  Sometimes the website booking tool will show a flight as completely sold out but agents in Bhutan may be able to confirm a date.  If we do the booking for you, we will send a copy of the e-ticket as soon as it is issued.

What is the quality of the hotels?

Hotels in Bhutan are not categorized to international standards.  In comparison to hotels in other parts of the world hotels between 2 star and 4 star quality is available.  We try to book our clients in the nicest possible hotels that we are familiar with.  During festival times when hotels are fully booked we might have to use lower quality hotels.

What if you go out of business after I’ve sent the money?

We certainly do not plan on going out of business, but this is a legitimate concern. In Bhutan, the money that is sent to the agent cannot be used directly by the agent but instead is transferred to a special government account and held there until the travel is completed.  Only after your trip is finished will the money released to the agent who will then pay the hotels, restaurants, and guests.

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[wptabtitle]Printable Version[/wptabtitle]
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You may download a PDF Version of our Tour.

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