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.
Arrive in India’s bustling capital city of New Delhi, where you’ll be transported to your luxury hotel. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today you’ll be chauffeur-driven to Sikkim state’s capital, Gangtok, around 3 hours' drive away, where you’ll check in to the Hotel Nor Khill Gangtok. 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.
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 hotel and enjoy some authentic five-star local cuisine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Lodhi New Delhi (formerly the Aman New Delhi) is located on the outskirts of the Indian capital just south of the Delhi Golf Course and adjacent to the western half of the medieval Nizamuddin complex. Stone quarried from northern India is used for all floors and the interior design combines clean, modern lines with classic Mughal elements. There are 40 rooms and suites designed with regional style architecture featuring private plunge pools and the highest quality furniture and furnishings. The Lodhi offers a range of restaurants serving Indian, Thai and European cuisine. During the daytime guests may enjoy light snacks and classic cocktails at the Pool Café and in the evenings head to Anidra the supper and night club serving fine wines, beers, spirits, mixers and tapas. Other amenities include a spa, health center with four tennis courts, three squash courts, a pilates studio and a gymnasium, a lap pool, library and cigar room.
Located near the heart of Chanakyapuri, the city’s diplomatic enclave, the Leela Palace New Delhi is a five-star luxury hotel in the Indian capital. Its 260 rooms and suites combine traditional Indian opulence with sleek contemporary decor and amenities in typical Leela luxury. Dining options include the striking glass-house Qube,offering an eclectic global menu and show kitchens, overlooking the Leela’s gardens; Jamavar for traditional Rajasthani and north Indian cuisine; and new outposts of the acclaimed restaurants Le Cirque (French and Italian) and Megu (Japanese). The Library, meanwhile, is a sophisticated retreat for cocktails, fine whiskeys, cigars, and a collection of first-edition books. The ESPA spa offers a range of Western, Oriental and Ayurvedic-influenced health and beauty treatments, as well as a café, a state-of-the-art fitness studio, relaxation lounge, finishing studio, roof terrace, and sauna, steam and drench rooms. The Leela is approximately a 30-minute drive from Indira Gandhi International airport (DEL).
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).
Hotel Nor Khill Gangtok is a heritage property with Old-World charm. The 3-star hotel is located in the eastern Himalayas and offers views of the lush green hills and Kanchenjunga, the planet’s third highest peak, in the background. Each of the 32 rooms are decorated with traditional textiles and colorful accents, complete with period furniture. The rooms come with modern amenities including private bath and showers, satellite television and Internet connectivity.
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.
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.
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.
COMO Uma Bhutan 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.
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.
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.
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.
An intimate luxury lodge situated in a lush valley, the COMO Uma Bhutan 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. COMO Uma Bhutan Punakha is part of the award winning property and luxury retail group COMO Group, with a sister property in Bhutan called COMO Uma Bhutan Paro.
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 Lodge Bhutan offers unique and luxurious farmhouse experience in the Gangtey Valley. 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. All 12 Farmhouse Suites command sweeping views of the valley below and of the Gang tey Goenpa, or monastery just a 10 minute walk away. Heated hand cut stone floors, deep bathtubs overlooking the valley and wood burning stoves, or "Bhukaris", complete the sense of luxury and coziness. Facilities and amenities include a full service restaurant, in-suite massage treatments, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the lodge, complimentary afternoon tea service, and complimentary use of mountain bikes.
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.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
Choose somewhere you’d like to visit, something you’re interested in, and when you’re planning to travel and we’ll suggest sample itineraries to inspire your bespoke journey.
Amanbagh General Manager Karin van Zyl speaks with Travelogues on Alwar, Aman, and the future of luxury travel in India.Read More
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