Basic travel information
Known to few and little visited, Bhutan, in its own language, Druk Yul, the land of the thunder dragon, is one of the most fascinating travel destinations in the world. Bhutan nurtures its Himalayan Buddhist culture from outside influences, but at the same time provides a good setting to experience its living culture. People dressed in national costumes, traditional architecture, numerous temples, monasteries and fortresses, and the surrounding landscapes are amazing experiences.
On our tour you will experience the best historical and cultural sites of Bhutan in the areas of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. At the beginning and end of the trip, we will also visit the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu.
DAY 1 – FLIGHTS TO KATHMANDU
Flights from Helsinki via Doha to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, where we arrive the next day.
DAY 2 – KATHMANDU
Arrival in Kathmandu. Guided city tour of Kathmandu after staying at the hotel.
HOTEL MANASLU OR SIMILAR
DAY 3 – KATHMANDU – PARO – THIMPHU
A memorable flight to Bhutan’s only airport, Paro. From the window of the plane you can see the peaks of the highest mountains in the world during the flight. Even arriving in this mystical kingdom evokes great emotions. From Paros we will move to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Thimphu is certainly the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. At the city’s “busiest” intersection stands an elegant traffic control police. Cars did not arrive in this dormant capital until the 60s. The city of Thimpu is located in a wooded valley along the Wang Chu River. The city was a small village until the 60s, until the royal house of Bhutan moved there and Thimpu was made the capital. The city has a safe and peaceful atmosphere. (OH)
DAY 4 – THIMPHU
We will explore the sights of Thimphu. We will visit the Third King Memorial House, the Buddhist Monastery and the Buddha Statue standing in the vantage point, and greet the country’s national animals in jackets. (UNDER)
DAY 5 – RED
Transition from Thimphu to the Punakha Valley. Our drive begins on the ascent to the more than 3,000-meter-high Gorge of Dochu La, which, in clear weather, offers spectacular views of the highest peaks in the Bhutanese Himalayas. In the cloudy weather you can admire the prayer flags fluttering on the ridge and the 108 stupas built in honor of the royal expedition. We descend into a lush valley, one of the most fertile in Bhutan and especially a red rice growing area. Other products grown in the valley are apples and strawberries. Accommodation in Punahka. (UNDER)
DAY 6 – RED – PARO
We will continue to explore Punakha. Punhha, the old capital of Bhutan, is located at the crossroads of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. There is also one of the most magnificent fortresses in the country, Punakha Dzong. The fortress is the most glorious example of Bhutanese fortress architecture. It was built between 1637-38 and is still in operation to this day. The fort houses the county offices, the court and the main religious bodies. According to the story, the fortress was built without drawings as a replica of the palace of Guru Ringpoche, another enlightened buddha, which architecture saw in its dream. We visit a scenic island, a fortress at the crossroads of two rivers. We will return in the evening to stay in Paro. (UNDER)
DAY 7 – PARO
We will spend the day in Paro exploring the area’s attractions such as the city fort and the Bhutan National Museum located in the fortress’s old watchtower. The visit to Bhutan is crowned by a visit to the famous monasteries of Tiger Nest and Kyichu Lhakang. Overnight in Paro. (UNDER)
DAY 8 – PARO – KATHMANDU
We say goodbye to Bhutan and fly back to Kathmandu where we will stay. (A)
HOTEL MANASLU OR SIMILAR
DAY 9 – KATHMANDU – HELSINKI
Airport transfers and return flights via Doha to the home country. (A)
MEALS: (A) BREAKFAST (L) LUNCH (I) DINNER
Note: Flight capacity to Bhutan is very limited and flights are usually sold out several months before the time of travel. So make your reservations for Bhutan trips well in advance.
Group size : 10-20 people
The price of the trip includes
- Flights to
- Airport transfers
- Bhutanese visa
- All transportation mentioned in the itinerary
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrance fees for guided tours
- Services of a Finnish-speaking tour guide and an English-speaking local guide
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- airport taxes.
The price of the trip does not include
- Travel insurance
- Nepalese visas
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Food drinks
- Personal expenses
- Local airport taxes or possible exit fees not included in the ticket price
- Office expenses 10 € / person.
We fly to Nepal on scheduled flights from Qatar Airways. The airline has the right to change its schedules, so do not book any connecting flights until you have received your flight tickets.
We get an electronic visa to Bhutan, which is arranged by our local partner. A copy of the passport personal information page is required for the visa. This should be submitted to the Mandala Travel office well in advance of the start of the trip. A Nepalese visa will be redeemed upon arrival in Nepal. For a visa, you need one passport photo and a passport valid for at least the next 6 months. A Nepalese visa costs $ 30 for less than 15 days and $ 50 for 15-30 days. The visa is paid in cash upon arrival in the country.
For Bhutan flight bookings, we need a copy or picture of your passport personal information page . You can send us a copy after booking the trip by e-mail (eg as a jpg or pdf file) or by post to our office.
Check that your basic vaccinations are valid during the trip. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all travelers to Bhutan. Malaria can occur in the lowlands of the southern parts of the country. There is no risk of malaria in the destinations of this itinerary. You can get more information about vaccinations from your doctor and on the Internet: http://rokote.fi
The official language of Bhutan is dzongkha. However, English is also widely spoken in the country, as it is used as the language of instruction in schools.
Bhutanese currency ngultrum (BTN) cannot be exchanged in Finland. Cash can be exchanged at local exchange offices, hotels and in Thimpus for local currency. Indian rupees are also valid in Bhutan. NOTE: There is full board in Bhutan, so you only need money for food, souvenirs and other extra expenses. The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). The currency of Nepal cannot be exchanged in Finland. Local currency can be withdrawn from an ATM in Kathmandu. Cash can be exchanged at local exchange offices for local. International credit cards are available in Nepal.
Top culture in Bhutan is not at the same level as in India or Nepal. You can book around 25-30 € for tips from guides and other staff on your way to Bhutan.
The climate in Bhutan is variable due to large altitude differences. The central and southern parts of Bhutan belong mainly to the subtropical climate zone. During the tourist season, the climate is pleasantly mild, with daytime temperatures ranging from about 25 degrees in the low valleys to about 20 degrees in the upper valleys. Evenings in the upper areas can be cool. Bhutan is one of the wettest areas in the Himalayan region, and although tourism in the country takes place mainly during the dry season, a raincoat is worth getting involved. Monsoon rains last from June to the end of August. The best time to visit Bhutan is Finnish spring and autumn.
The capital of Bhutan, Thimpu, is certainly the only capital in the world without traffic lights. At the city’s “busiest” intersection stands an elegant traffic control police. Cars did not arrive in this dormant capital until the 1960s. The city of Thimpu is located in a wooded valley along the Wang Chu River. The city was a small village until the 60s, until the royal house of Bhutan moved there and Thimpu was made the capital. The city of about 80,000 inhabitants has a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Its main attractions include the city’s fortress, the Craft Center, the National Library, and a Buddhist stupa built in memory of the country’s third king.
The lush and fertile Paro Valley and the city are located in the western part of Bhutan, along the old Tibetan trade route. The valley is one of the most fertile growing areas in Bhutan and especially for the red rice variety. Other products grown in the valley are apples and strawberries. Paro’s main attractions include its old fortress, Rinpung Dzong, as well as the National Museum of Bhutan. The city is the only international airport in the country.
Punhha, the old capital of Bhutan, is located at the crossroads of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. The main attraction of the city is Punakha Fort, Punakha Dzong. The fort is considered to be a glorious example of style in Bhutanese fortress architecture. It was built between 1637-38 and is still in operation today. The fortress houses the county offices, the court and the most important religious bodies. According to the story, the fortress was built without drawings as a copy of the palace of Guru Ringpoche, another enlightened buddha, whose architecture he saw in his dream.