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.
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.
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.