Cross the land of the Thunder Dragon
West to east drive across Bhutan | 17 days
Mystical Bhutan is a virtually forgotten kingdom, sandwiched between India and Tibet in the very heart of the Himalaya. Landlocked, and still with relatively limited tourism, much of its magic and charm lingers despite the arrival of the 21st century. Just one tarmac road crosses the country from west to east. Along it unfolds a tale of extraordinarily diverse scenery, peoples and their customs.
Day 1: Fly to Delhi
Day 2: Tour India’s capital city
Day 3: Fly to Paro in Bhutan
Day 4: Trek to the mysterious Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery
Day 5: Drive to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital city
Day 6: Admire the dramatic Himalayan views and Thimphu’s yellow roofed dzong
Day 7: Drive to Wangdiphodrang
Day 8: Visit Punakha, Bhutan’s former winter capital, and Wangdi
Day 9: Drive to Tongsa
Day 10: Drive to Bumthang, the agricultural heart of Bhutan
Day 11: Visit Bumthang’s monasteries, some of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world
Day 12: Drive to Mongar
Day 13: Drive to Tashigang
Day 14: Enjoy Tashigang’s temperate climate and tropical fruit orchards
Day 15: Drive to Samdrup Jonghkar in South East Bhutan
Day 16: Drive to Assam’s Guwahati and fly to Delhi
Day 17: Fly to London
guide price £3,950 per person
Fiona’s travel tips
FESTIVALS: Festival dates vary according to the lunar calendar, so all itineraries will be individually crafted.
MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE: Having to abandon my vehicle due to a landslide and walk 10 very wet, dark kilometres through rainforest with only fireflies to guide the way.
TOP TIP: The interior of Bhutan’s monasteries are officially closed to foreigners. Combine Bhutan with Sikkim, where the monasteries are open to all, for an all-round appreciation.
DZONG DATA:Punakha Dzong was built in 1637 and was the scene of the coronation of the first King of Bhutan in 1907. Built in 1692 on a cliff in the upper Paro Valley, Taktsang Dzong is also known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
JOURNEY TIME: 9 hours direct + 3 hours indirect
“The bespoke trip that Far Frontiers Travel organised for us was truly amazing. We travelled the length of Bhutan – ‘The Land of the Thunder Dragon’ - a real eye opener of a trip seeing a Himalayan country that was just on the verge of coming into the 21st Century from an almost Medieval lifestyle, after years of isolation from the rest of the world. We enjoyed a well-planned and organised trip and will never forget a fantastic holiday and experience.”Mr and Mrs Andrew Gale, Bhutan
“Eye-opening, exciting, enlightening, challenging, wonderful! A real adventure for the two of us, with some unexpected extras thrown in, like meeting the King and Queen of Bhutan! Everything worked like clockwork. All the right people were there at the right time to meet us, move us on, or take us somewhere - a great relief in strange countries.”Mr and Mrs Richard Watson, Bhutan and India
“My visit ended with a three day trek through the Gangtey Valley and time to reflect on my return to this wonderful country and its friendly open people, all made possible through Fiona and Far Frontiers Travel. Bhutan is truly magical and to anyone planning to go I would say, do it.”
Ian Stubbs, Nepal and BhutanPeter Fleming, Bayonets to Lhasa
“Fiona could not have been more helpful. Her knowledge and advice about Bhutan was invaluable in the planning of my trip and her perseverance with the Tibet situation was much appreciated.”
Sybil Johnson, Bhutan