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Our private jet was a very important part of our trip. Most of the legs were less than 30 minutes, compared to six to 10 hours if we traveled by road. Overall, we had a fantastic trip to a new country for us. Remote Lands never fails!
Couple from Madrid

Intimate India and Beautiful Bhutan: Overland from New Delhi to Bumthang

Take an epic journey through Northeast India and Bhutan, exploring the rich, unique history, colorful culture, exquisite natural beauty, and progressive modernity of each new spot, from Bhutan’s oldest monastery, to the lush marshlands of Gangtey, to the Calcutta Polo Club, to New Delhi’s contemporary art scene. You’ll see it all, as you travel overland through New Delhi, Calcutta, Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong, Phuentsholing, Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Gangtey, and Bumthang over a period of 22 days - an adventure sure to inspire and amaze.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Sit down to lunch at the Calcutta Polo Club with a Maharaja
  • Brew your own personally-picked and designed cup of tea in Darjeeling
  • Take in sacred religious statues in both India and Bhutan
  • Raft and hike along the picturesque Mo Chu river
  • Visit Bhutan’s oldest monastery
 
Starting at
$1,480
per person per day
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Day by Day Itinerary

View Intimate India and Beautiful Bhutan: Overland from New Delhi to Bumthang in a larger map
Day 1

Arrive in India’s bustling capital city of New Delhi, where you’ll be transported to your luxury hotel - we recommend either the Imperial New Delhi or Oberoi Gurgaon. After check-in, step out into New Delhi’s exciting streets, and embark on a contemporary art tour, making your way to the Vadehra Art Gallery, Gallery Espace, Anant Art Gallery and Delhi Art Gallery. Enjoy a spot of shopping at one of New Delhi’s vibrant markets, before heading back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation.

Day 2

Spend your second day in New Delhi taking in its rich, colorful culture. Start off by exploring the city’s many religious sites, and enjoying a conversation with a professor of Eastern Religions to learn about the different beliefs of the city’s many religious groups, from Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, to Muslims, Buddhists, and more. Enjoy a fresh, thick Indian curry at Chandni Chowk market - a tasty lunch treat - before stepping in to Old Delhi, where you’ll take in Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, and more.

Day 3

Today, you’re heading to the one-time capital of the British East India Company, the port city of Calcutta. Once arrived, you’ll be chauffeur-driven to your luxury hotel, The Oberoi Grand. Start getting acquainted with your new surroundings. Your first stop will be the historic and exclusive Tollygunge Club. This club, founded over a century ago, offers golf, tennis, and equestrian sports lessons. This afternoon, explore Calcutta’s colonial areas, taking in the unique architecture of the General Post Office and the National Library. Relax at your hotel this evening.

Day 4

Enjoy more of Calcutta’s colonial history today, as you head to the Calcutta Polo Club, considered to be the birthplace of modern polo. Sit down to a delicious lunch, while enjoying an exciting game. You may, schedule permitting, be joined by the Maharaja of Burdwan and his wife. This afternoon, learn about one of the world’s kindest souls at Mother House, home to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity order, and also her final resting place. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner back at your hotel this evening.

Day 5

Arrive in Darjeeling this morning, home to some of India’s best tea. Check in to your room at the century-old Glenburn Tea Estate, and admire your view of the Himalayas. Head first to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, before taking a stroll across a suspension bridge to Manjitar Village. Hayden Hall, a care center for impoverished women and their children, is your last stop of the day. Return to your hotel and enjoy your natural surroundings.

Day 6

After a tasty breakfast, make your way to the Tibetan Buddhist Ghoom Monastery, where you can marvel at the 15-foot Buddhist statue, and rare religious literature. Take a tour of Glenburn Estate this afternoon, and learn from the hotel’s manager how to make and brew your own personalized cup of tea - probably the freshest brew you’ll ever taste. Relax back at your hotel this evening.

Day 7
Gangtok

Today you’ll be chauffeur-driven to Sikkim state’s capital, Gangtok, around 3 hours' drive away, where you’ll check in to the Mayfair hotel. Visit the local Happiness Home, a girls’ orphanage, and take them out for a special lunch, listening to their emotional stories. Visit a flower farm that’s home to hundreds of orchid species. This evening, you’ll sit down to a royal feast with members of the Sikkim royal family.

Day 8
Gangtok

Get a bird’s-eye view like no other today, on a helicopter tour of the Himalayas; a journey you won’t soon forget. In the evening, return to the Mayfair hotel and enjoy some authentic five-star local cuisine.

Day 9
Kalimpong

Hop back in the car and drive to Kalimpong today, a Himalayan hill station some 2 hours away with a strong sense of Tibetan Buddhist culture and impeccable mountain views. You’ll check in to your room at the Elgin Silver Oaks, before heading out into the town and exploring around.

Day 10
Kalimpong

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel after a restful sleep. Explore more of Kalimpong today - the flower market is a crowd favorite. Don’t miss the town’s colonial architecture, along with the amazing views provided by Zang Dhok Palri Phodang monastery. If you feel up to it, go for a trek in the afternoon, before returning to your hotel to relax your tired feet tonight.

Day 11
Phuentsholing

Drive for around 3.5 hours today to the border of India and Bhutan, where you’ll pass through immigration and spend one night in the border town of Phuentsholing, Bhutan’s second-largest town. Check in to your local, comfortable-but-humble hotel, and relax for the night, ahead of the upcoming second leg of your trip, this time exploring beautiful Bhutan.

Day 12

Today you’ll drive for 4 hours to Paro, a sleepy Bhutanese village nestled into the hillside of the Paro Valley, where you’ll make your way to your luxury hotel. We recommend either the Zhiwa Ling Resort, the Amankora, or the Uma by Como. Visit ancient fortresses, Rimpung Dzong and Drukgyel Dzong, and Kyichu Lhakhang, a Buddhist temple built hundreds of years ago. Retire to your luxury hotel this evening.

Day 13

Wake up to the fresh air of the Paro Valley, and let it energize you for a day of touring the village. Start with a visit to the local nunnery, perched on the edge of a cliff, offering incredible views. The National Museum will be your next stop, for some insight into the local culture. Finally, chit-chat with a local family at their farmhouse, and learn about their day-to-day life. Relax tonight at your hotel.

Day 14

An hour’s drive will take you to Thimphu today, Bhutan’s capital city. Here, you’ll be taken to one of the city’s two most luxurious hotels - either the Amankora or the Taj Tashi. Thimpu is home to many of Bhutan’s important national buildings - see a few of them today, including the Royal Textile Academy and the National Library.

Day 15

Get a taste of Bhutanese culture today, starting with the Folk Heritage Museum. The visit is rounded out with a delicious Bhutanese lunch on premises. Next, check out Bhutan’s contribution to ameliorating the world waste problem, at its paper mill, where paper is recycled into household items. End your day and time in Paro, at Buddha Dordenma, home to a Buddhist statue that towers over the city.

Day 16

Step back in time with a 3-hour drive to Bhutan’s ancient capital, Punakha. Leave your bags at your hotel of choice - we recommend either the Amankora or Uma Punakha - and head out into Punakha to explore. Can’t-miss sites include Punakha Dzong, an island fortress, and Chime Lhakhang, a temple said to hold special fertility powers. Return to your hotel tonight for a restful sleep.

Day 17

Venture into the great outdoors today - you’ll get your blood pumping with a hike to Khamsum Yuley Monastery, followed by adrenaline-inducing rafting along the prominent Mo Chu river. If you like, visit a local farmhouse for further insight into local culture, before heading back to your hotel for dinner and sleep.

Day 18

Move on to peaceful Gangtey today, an alpine town around 3 hours' drive away in the Phobjikha Valley. Enjoy the panoramic view from your new temporary home, either the Amankora or Gangtey Goenpa Lodge. Get acquainted with your glacial surroundings today, exploring Gangtey’s wetlands, along with its ancient monastery.

Day 19

Explore Gangtey at your leisure today once again - the marshlands are yours to discover, with its black-necked cranes, and 13 other globally-threatened species. Take in the ultimate serenity of this flat, open area, and its cool glacial air. Relax your tired feet tonight at your hotel.

Day 20

Arrive today in Bumthang (3 hours' drive), Bhutan’s treasure trove of ancient sites and temples. Check in to your hotel - we recommend either the Amankora or Yugharling Resort and Spa. Once settled in, take to the streets to explore Bumthang, starting with Yathra Center in Chume, followed by Kyichu Lhakhang temple, known for its heritage as Bhutan’s oldest monastery. Round off the day with a visit to the Swiss Farm, the country’s sole commercial cheese factory, which makes excellent use of progressive green technology. Return to your hotel for dinner and a restful sleep.

Day 21

Cover more ground in Bumthang, on your final full day of the trip. Start your day in the Tang Valley, capturing its rolling hills, lush vegetation, and the river rushing past. Next, head to the can’t-miss site, Mebartso, or Burning Lake, a sacred Buddhist site in a picturesque setting. Visit Pemacholing Nunnery, home to nuns young and old, and the highest village in Bhutan, Ura. Head back to your hotel for a final night’s rest ahead of tomorrow’s departure.

Day 22
Paro - New Delhi - Departure

On the final day of this epic journey, you’ll fly back to Paro this morning, where you’ll transfer to New Delhi, and be assisted with check-in for your onward journey, either home, or to your next exciting destination.

 

Suggested Accommodations

Location
Accommodation
NEW DELHI
Imperial Hotel, Oberoi Gurgaon

Imperial Hotel

Located in the center of New Delhi, The Imperial is a splendid reminder of the city’s colonial past. The hotel’s 231 rooms and suites are designed in a combination of Art Deco and traditional English styles, and the hotel’s main lobby has an impressive collection of colonial-era Indian art. Dining options are Spice Route, which serves exceptional Southeast Asian cuisine, and 1911, set on an outdoor verandah overlooking the property’s lush gardens, serves continental cuisine. Other amenities include complimentary wi-fi, fitness center, outdoor pool, spa, and business center. The Imperial Hotel is approximately a 40-minute drive from the international airport (DEL).

 

Oberoi Gurgaon

The Oberoi Gurgaon is set on a lush nine-acre property just outside of New Delhi near the airport, offering luxury and tranquillity on the outskirts of India's capital. The hotel's 202 rooms and suites are among the largest in the city, featuring contemporary decor with large windows that overlook the property's landscaped pools and gardens. All have LED televisions and both wired and wireless internet access. Dining options include Threesixtyone, serving pan-Asian cuisine across 5 interactive show kitchens, with indoor and outdoor seating, and Amaranta, offering fresh seafood. The hotel also boasts a piano bar, the country's first exclusive cigar lounge, and a patisserie and delicatessen. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, gym complex, and a 24-hour spa centre. The Oberoi Gurgaon is 15 minutes by car from Delhi International Airport (DEL).

 
 
CALCUTTA
Oberoi Grand

Oberoi Grand

Affectionately called the “Grand Dame of Chowringhee,” the stately, neo-classical Oberoi Grand has stood for 125 years in the heart of Kolkata (Calcutta). With elegant decor evoking the city’s colonial past as the capital of the British Raj, all rooms and suites provide wired and wireless high-speed Internet, a 32-inch LDC television, satellite TV, DVD, Ayurvedic toiletries, and more. Dining options include gourmet Thai cuisine at Baan Thai, the all-day international buffet at La Terrasse, while fine wines, beer, spirits, and cigars are available at the Chowringhee Bar. The health center features state-of-the-art Life Fitness cardio machines and weight training equipment. The Oberoi Spa offers a variety of massage treatments, body wraps, Ayurvedic therapies, salon treatments, and personal yoga and meditation sessions. The Oberoi Grand is approximately a 50-minute drive from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU).

 
 
DARJEELING
Glenburn Tea Estate

Glenburn Tea Estate

A combination of tea plantation, homestay and luxury resort, Glenburn Tea Estate is a truly unforgettable place to stay. Set amidst lush green tea gardens above the Rungeet and Rung Dung rivers, Glenburn consists of two luxury bungalows, Burra and Water Lily, both of which are over 100 years old and have been lovingly maintained. Both bungalows have separate bedroom, sitting room and veranda superb views, and also have real fireplaces. Multi-course meals are served in a communal dining room, and the resort can also provide picnics out in the tea fields, with food served on quality china by porters smartly dressed in classic plantation-style clothing. The resort also has walking trails through the plantations, as well as a charming riverside lodge which can also accommodate overnight guests.
 
 
GANGTOK
Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino

Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino


A true Indian-style stay, the Mayfair is reminiscent of an ancient Indian palace. With numerous gardens and courtyards, it’s easy for guests to entirely immerse themselves in the hotel’s naturally stunning premises. Cozily settled into the foothills of the picturesque Himalayan range, this is a luxurious stay. The hotel is one of India’s first five-star casinos, while also boasting an award-winning spa. The resort covers 48 acres of ground and is six-miles (10 km) away from Gangtok. There are 68 rooms in the hotel, ranging from executive rooms, to cottages, suites and villas. The restaurant has a wide array of dishes to satisfy the palate of any international or national traveler. There’s free high-speed internet available for guests, who can also utilize the fitness center or swimming pool for exercise or relaxing.


 
 
KALIMPONG
Elgin Silver Oaks

Elgin Silver Oaks


An elegant hotel built in 1930, the Elgin Silver Oaks is fit for a Maharaja. It was once home to the prominent architect Frederick Desraj who also built the classic Teesta bridge. The Elgin sits in the middle of the Himalayas, with breathtaking views of the peaks. Enjoy lush natural surroundings of bright azaleas, geraniums and orchids. The scenery is perfectly enjoyed while sitting in one of the many onsite gazebos. The Elgin has free high-speed internet, as well as a business center for staying connected back home. There’s a delicious on-site restaurant, serving up hot, fresh authentic cuisine as well as several international favorites. The resort has 22 rooms to choose from – all decorated in the Kanchenjungha colonial style. The hotel corridors are decorated with pictures of the area from decades past. Delight in old-era comforts when staying at the Elgin, also conveniently centrally-located and within just minutes’ walking distance to the main market.


 
 
PHUENTSHOLING
Hotel Druk

Hotel Druk


Enjoy a stay at Hotel Druk in Phuentsholing in southern Bhutan: after undergoing a major renovation, this newly-redesigned hotel has opened its doors to tourists and business travelers alike, offering comfortable amenities in the heart of this border city. The hotel has over 30 rooms as well as three suites, all air-conditioned and equipped with attached bathrooms and WiFi. Guests may also take advantage of the hotel’s services, including in-house laundry, a business center, and a currency exchange station. 


 
 
PARO
Amankora Paro, Uma by COMO, Paro

Amankora Paro

Amankora Paro is located just outside of town and features sweeping views of the Paro valley and snow-capped mountains. The hotel, just 30 minutes from Paro airport, has 24 spacious suites designed to evoke a contemporary and minimalist vision of traditional Bhutanese style, incorporating local wood, stone and terrazzo tile. Each suite has a bukhari, or wood-burning stove, and a luxurious bathroom complete with soaking tub. Bhutanese cuisine and international fare are served in the hotel’s great room lounge, dining room, and terrace. The two-level spa contains private areas for massage and treatments, a glass-walled sauna, hot stone baths and a yoga room with a relaxation area. Fax services are available, as is Internet. There is no fitness center or pool, but the Amankora’s idyllic surroundings are perfect for hiking and mountain biking.

 

Uma by COMO, Paro

Uma by COMO, Paro is a 29-room hotel set in Paro Valley with breath-taking views of the Himalayas. The Bukhari restaurant, set amid pine trees, uses mostly organic food from the surrounding area for Bhutanese delicacies such as pakshee paa, a sliced pork dish with chilies and radishes; ema datsee, a chili and cheese dish, or hewa datsee, a combination of potatoes, cheese and chilies. Uma by COMO, Paro is home to the COMO Shambhala Retreat, a holistic health spa with an open-air yoga pavilion overlooking the Paro Valley. Additional facilities include a business center, fitness center and swimming pool. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the airport in Paro.

 
 
THIMPHU
Amankora Thimphu, Taj Tashi

Amankora Thimphu


Amankora Thimpu is located on a hillside in a verdant pine forest far above Bhutan’s capital city. The hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of Bhutanese temples, or dzongs, and incorporates white-washed stone buildings around an enclosed courtyard. Sixteen suites are composed of living and sleeping areas, with views of the forest and nearby streams. The spacious terrazzo-tiled bathrooms have soaking tubs and twin vanities. Guests may dine either in an elegant dining room or on the adjacent terrace, both of which serve Bhutanese and international cuisine. Steam and sauna rooms are available, and massage and spa treatments are offered in private rooms nearby. Traditional hot stone baths can be scheduled. There is no fitness center. Fax and Internet are available. The resort is approximately 30 minutes from the airport in Paro.


 

Taj Tashi

Situated in the Thimphu Valley, this new property seamlessly blends Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 52 deluxe rooms, 5 luxury rooms, 3 deluxe suites, 2 duplex suites and 4 luxury suites all afford guests an authentic peek into the region’s art and color. All accommodations have wired and wireless Internet access. Food and beverage options include an all-day, international cuisine restaurant, Ara Bar, an authentic Bhutanese restaurant, and a tea lounge. The Taj Spa is equipped with single and double treatment suites and has a menu featuring Indian holistic and signature treatments, specially designed to maintain physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium. There is a fitness center and a heated indoor swimming pool. The property is a two-hour drive from the airport in Paro, which is the only airport in the country. It is a six-hour drive to Phuntsholing and a 3.5-hour drive to Punakha.

 
 
PUNAKHA
Amankora Punakha, Uma by COMO, Punakha

Amankora Punakha

Amankora Punakha is located just across a suspension bridge along the Mo Chu River, with suites built around a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse. A small property, there are only eight suites. The hotel is situated in an orange orchard, with views of Punakha Valley and Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful monasteries. The farmhouse has a dining room, courtyard and tea pavilion for dining and refreshments. The spa at Punakha has two treatment rooms, a steam room and a yoga and meditation area. There is fax and Internet access; however the connection is quite slow. There is no fitness center or pool, but hot stone baths are available. The hotel is approximately a four-hour drive from the airport in Paro.

 

Uma by COMO, Punakha

An intimate luxury lodge situated in a lush valley, the Uma by COMO, Punakha is nestled amongst rice fields and orchards, and overlooks a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu River. The lodge has a selection of villas suitable for a travel party of any size, as well as nine deluxe Valley View rooms with private terraces; all rooms boast comprehensive views of the surrounding landscape. The onsite restaurant, Bukhari, is named for a traditional Bhutanese fireplace, uses ingredients from local farms and can provide delicious meals for any palate. There is also a spa, the COMO Shambhala Retreat, with a range of holistic and Asian-inspired treatments, as well as hot tubs with a birds-eye view of the stunning scenery. Uma by COMO, Punakha is part of the award winning property and luxury retail group COMO Group, with a sister property in Bhutan called Uma by COMO, Paro.

 
 
GANGTEY
Amankora Gangtey, Gangtey Goenpa Lodge

Amankora Gangtey

Amankora Gangtey is in the remote Phobjikha Valley, with awe-inspiring views of a gorge and the 16th century Gangtey Goemba monastery. Each of Amankora's eight suites is fitted with a bukhari, a wood-burning stove, and wood paneling. The dining room and living room are combined and have views of the Phobjikha Valley out of floor-to-ceiling windows. There is no Internet, business center, fitness center or pool at Amankora Gangtey, but hot stone baths and a spa with two treatment rooms are available. The resort is approximately a 4-hour drive from the airport in Paro.

 

Gangtey Goenpa Lodge

Gangte Goenpa Lodge will offer a luxurious and interactive experience in the Gangte Valley when it opens its doors for a soft launch in May 2013. The Lodge draws upon the inspiration of the unique and beautiful Bhutanese rural architecture down to the very last detail. Designed by Mary Lou Thomson, who has worked on some of the world's most prestigious resort projects, the interiors and furnishings showcase aspects of the vibrant local culture.
The focal point of the lodge will be an informal lounge and dining space with wall-to-ceiling views of the valley below. Plush leather sofas and rich fabrics will invite guests to share the day's adventures around two impressive fireplaces encased in local stone. The twelve beautifully appointed guestrooms, each with their own cozy fireplace, will reflect the rich cultural heritage with warm fabrics and earthen tones.
 
 
BUMTHANG
Amankora Bumthang

Amankora Bumthang

Amankora Bumthang is a recently opened Amankora in Bhutan, with views of buckwheat, millet and potato fields, an apple orchard, and Wangdicholing Palace, the Kingdom’s oldest palace, which is now a monastery. There are 16 suites complete with a bukhari and views of the courtyard and palace. Amankora Bumthang has a spa with three treatment rooms and a steam room. There is no business center, but the Library has an Internet station and WiFi access. The resort is approximately nine hours from the airport in Paro.

 
 
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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald was moved by her Hindu wedding vow renewal in Kerala. She also loved staying with a Maharajah at his palace in Darjeeling.
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