WESTERN BHUTAN CULTURAL TOUR

Region

Sightseeing Tours of Bhutan

Duration

7 Days

Min Group Size

2 people

7 days cultural tour in western Bhutan is a perfect tour package if you are considering to explore the beautiful Bhutan. The essence of modernization in Bhutan has a blend of tradition and thus, it is exciting to explore the country whose own tradition has mixed so well with the current development of technology. The country has great prospects for fine arts as well as the houses built with classical design. Furthermore, the pagoda styled built temples, zhongs, monasteries and gompas are interesting and beautiful. 

Through 7 days cultural tour in western Bhutan, explore the music, dance, handicrafts, arts and architectures of the country and partake in local festivals and functions to know more about the culture and tradition of Bhutan. The tradition of fine arts is still alive and aesthetically beautiful. Get around the city of Paro, Thimpu and other major cities to explore these unparalleled beauty displayed in the houses, fortresses, monasteries, monuments and shrines. 

Likewise, the fine arts showcased on the walls, doors, windows in the form of shapes and colors and patterns are part of the culture of Bhutan. See more of this skillful beautiful arts manifested in the buildings and monasteries of Bhutan through 7 days cultural tour in western Bhutan with Himalayan Social Journey.

Outline Itinerary ( 7 Days )

  • 1

    Arrive Paro International Airport During the journey to Paro

  • 2

    Paro - Sightseeing

  • 3

    Thimphu - Sightseeing

  • 4

    Thimphu - Punakha/Wangdiphodrang (77 km)

  • 5

    After an early breakfast, drive to Chuzomsa - 16kms. distance.

  • 6

    After an early breakfast, drive back to Paro to take a short trek to Taktsang Monastery (10 km) from Paro Town.

  • 7

    Paro - International Airport

Include

  • Accommodation at standard hotel on twin sharing basis.
  • All meals and cold drinks
  • Land Transport with in Bhutan by car/van / Jeep
  • Surcharge for FIT guest
  • Liscened and experienced Guide
  • Entry fees to Museums, Art schools and other places when and where is applicable

Exclude

  • Bhutan visa & Tourism Development Fund fees( $40+ $10)
  • Personal expenses and alcoholic drinks
  • Flight to and from Paro (Bhutan)

Important Information

A visa is needed to enter Bhutan but it is not issued abroad. Visas will be stamped in your passport upon arrival in Paro, cost $20 US and are included in your tour payment. We will obtain your visa for you. What time of year is best for traveling to Bhutan? It is recommended that you consult a weather service immediately before you leave for your trip for precise information.
For processing visa we need to have clear passport photocopy (photo should be very clear) of the clients 15-20 days prior to the travel date. All tourists (excluding Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian passport holders) who wish to travel to Bhutan require a visa and must book their holiday through a Bhutan tour Operator Company or one of their international partners. The tour operator will take care of Visa arrangements for visitors.

Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a visa at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 month validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC)). All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior to travel to Bhutan.

Visas are processed through an online system by your Bhutanese tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours. At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.

Payment: Since the Department of Tourism issues visa only upon receipt of full payment in advance, tour payment has to be transferred to our account at least 3 weeks before the travel date. Airfare needs to be sent at the time of issuing tickets. Flight booking: We need complete names (as in the Passport) of the clients to book seats. Without names it is not possible to book seats. Ticketing Time Limit (TTL) is given & we need to issue the ticket within TTL expires.

Cancellation policy on Tour: Once visa is processed & tour programmes booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to the following charges:

A) WITHIN 30 DAYS OF START OF PROGRAM - NO CHARGE ( EXCEPT FLIGHT TICKET CANCELLATION)

B) WITHIN 21 DAYS - 10% OF THE RATE

C) WITHIN 14 DAYS - 15% OF THE RATE

D) WITHIN 7 DAYS - 30% OF THE RATE

E) LESS THAN 7 DAYS OR CANCELLATION - 50% OF THE RATE

F) LESS THAN 2 DAYS OR CANCELLATION WITHOUT NOTICE - 100% OF THE RATE

Cancellation policy on Airfare:

a) Before 30days: no cancellation charge but have to pay US$ 25 per person as documentation charge.

b) 11-30days: 50% cancellation on airfare + US$ 25 per person as documentation charge.

c) 10-04 days: 75% cancellation + US$ 25 per person as documentation charge.

d) Below 03days: 100% cancellation

Note: The above given rates are based on the present Govt. rates. If there is any change in the Govt. rates, we have to revise our costs accordingly.

In general, the best and most popular times of the year to visit Bhutan are March to May and September to November. The weather is mild during these months and many of the large festivals take place during these seasons. Spring can be cloudier and have more rain than autumn, but the wildlife and flowers are at their most vivid. If your tour dates overlap with a major festival, we recommend you book at least 3-6 months in advance as it can be difficult to confirm flights and hotels. Even though the summer monsoon season and winter are not highly recommended for travel to Bhutan, it doesn’t mean you can’t book a tour for this time. The winter months of December to February are recommended for those who want to get the most out of their trekking as the skies are at their clearest and offer the best views of the mountains with very few other tourists present. However, winter can be very cold and it can be difficult to access some areas due to snowfall

We have carefully selected government-approved accommodations with the best location, service, ambience and cuisine. Our standard range of hotels is clean, comfortable, simply furnished and generally rated tourist class or about 3-star. Most of these hotels and lodges are built in Bhutan’s traditional architectural style. Some hotels offer Internet access and all have hot water and private baths. See individual program descriptions for details. For a person applying alone, we will do its best to find a roommate, if you request one. However, if no roommate can be found, the participant will be subject to any supplemental room charges applicable. For those travelers who prefer to experience Bhutan in luxury we offer a boutique range of luxurious lodges and resorts such as Uma Paro, Zhiwa Ling Resort, Taj Tashi and the Aman Kora. Some of these include spa and yoga facilities. We can mix and match your accommodation to suit your itinerary and complement your style of travel.

Tourist hotels generally present meals in a buffet selection, and provide a choice of Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Continental food. Most meals are served with rice, either white or the wholesome local red variety and dal. Although traditional Bhutanese food is heavily seasoned with red chilies and can be quite hot, dishes at hotels are tempered to tourist’s tastes.

It is usually possible to have clothes washed and ironed in one day. Dry cleaning is possible with every lodge and hotel that has been approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

Officially 220 volts is supplied by the Department of Power. But the power supply can fluctuate. Some hotels and lodges don’t have American plug points or converters, so it is recommended that you bring a converter with you.

Bhutan is 6 hours ahead of G.M.T. and half an hour ahead of India

The national currency is the Ngultrum (Nu). 100 Chetrum = 1 Nu. Exchange rate is approximately $1US = 45 Nu (subject to change). You may view current exchange rates Indian Rupees circulate at par. If you plan to make a large purchase of items such as textiles or artwork, most outlets dealing in these goods accept US dollars as well as credit cards (other than limited Handicraft stores and large Thimphu hotels, credit card acceptance is very limited). Alternatively, you can change currency (preferably US dollars, UK Pounds and the Euro) or cash traveler’s cheques at most hotels, the currency exchange counter at Paro International Airport and the Thimphu branch of the Bhutan National Bank. As your trip to Bhutan is fully prepaid, you should not need much money other than to pay for drinks, laundry, souvenirs and tips.

Telephone and fax services are available in all towns in Bhutan. International connections are excellent. You can also buy a mobile phone kit (SIM card and phone number) from numerous outlets. Internet and e-mail facilities are widely available in most towns and in some case your hotel. You can also send postal mail reliably from hotels and post offices.

We are committed to providing the best services which will give you a once in a life time journey. We perform our duties honestly & seriously to make your journey very smooth & pleasant. However, the entire programs in Nepal and Bhutan are conducted strictly under the rules and regulation of their own policies. Therefore Himalayan Social Journey shall not be responsible for any changes in the itinerary due to unavoidable circumstance such as govt. restriction, Land slide, road blockage, flood, snow political unrest, cancellation of flight, delay, sickness or accident, Any extra cost incurring there of shall be borne by the clients on the spot.

FAQ's

You can get a visa in Kathmandu airport upon your arrival at USD 30 (or equivalent in other major currencies) for a 15 days visa, USD 50 for a 30 days visa and USD 125 for a 90 days Multiple visas, and you can also extend it later on if you wish. They have newly installed technology (visa machine) which makes it no longer necessary to have a passport photo. Important! Please bring 3 photos for your trekking permit, TIMS and for others.

Besides trekking packages and tour operation, we arrange international air tickets to the major airports of all over the world. Himalayan social journey travel agency is the one-stop travel solution company; we offer all travel related product at the best possible rates with excellent services.

Please keep this thing in your mind that there are some airport touts and scam artists who take advantage of tourists. They might offer to carry your luggage and they want a large amount of money. Sometimes they intimidate our drivers and even take away their signs. Anyway...if you want someone to help you with your luggage you can give them NOT MORE THAN 1 - 2 DOLLARS. This is a small hassle that tourists sometimes face upon arrival at the airport. Do not stress about this but just be aware not to give more than a few dollars for their luggage handling if you choose to take someone's services. Nepalese in general are very kind and hospitable people.

Some major currencies (USD, AUD and EURO) are accepted for both visas and in general. There are plenty of ATM's in both Kathmandu and Namche and credit cards are accepted in limited shops and many restaurants. Please note that only Nepali rupees are accepted on the trek.

Generally, the orientation meeting is scheduled in the Kathmandu hotel at 4 or 5 pm and this will be informed by our representatives after your arrival. The tour starts with an orientation meeting and ends up after the scheduled trip after the breakfast.

If you plan to arrive early or depart late please make sure you make extra hotel arrangements by contacting [email protected] And if you'll be spending extra time in Nepal please let us know. We will book your extra night accommodation at same trip hotels

For each tour date, there will be several separate groups. Each group will have a maximum of 14 people with its own experienced English speaking guide. During the trek, there will be a suitable number of porters to carry your luggage.

The cost of our trip is based on a twin-sharing basis so there will be two people accommodated in each room for the duration of the tour. If you prefer private accommodation or you are a solo traveller, you'll find the option for "single supplement". Additional cost will be applicable as a Single Supplementary Charge for the single room during the trip.

No refund will be made for 20% deposit amount in case of cancellation of trip for any other else reason. Having paid the full amount of any trip, you will get your money back but still, cancellation charge (20%) is invoiced to you. And for the voucher holders, since you have purchased the voucher from the deal companies, we have to follow their cancellation policy. But for both the conditions, we are flexible to postpone your trip in any later days. Written notification of your cancellation should be made to cancel any trip.

Sometimes travellers are unable to finish the scheduled trek due to the various reasons or they ended up not completing the trek/tour for health or personal reasons. In this case please realize that we cannot offer you any refunds for unused days on the tour/tour. You have to understand that our costs are the same as we have an obligation to pay our guides and porters for the time they have committed.

All the breakfast during your trip is included but the lunches and dinners are not except welcome dinner in the first day at the local restaurant. Meals during Kathmandu stay and trekking days cost from $5 to $8 per item depending on what you choose to eat.

There will not be any problem for vegetarian, most of the lodges serve vegetarian meals. We always recommend our clients to eat vegetarian meals to avoid food poisoning, eating heavy meals and non- vegetarian meals at a high altitude is not really safe for the stomach.

You have to manage yourself for the drinking water. There are two good options for having proper drinking water during the trek. You can bring water purification tablets or fill your bottle for a nominal fee from the recognized and regulated "pure water" stations along the trek. As the alternative, you can also easily purchase bottled water at the lodges. The bottled water costs USD 2$ - 4$ per litre. It is very important that you drink at least 3 litres of pure water daily during the trek.

The width of Nepal is only about 200 km on an average, but within this short distance, the altitude of the land rises from 60 m up to 8,848 m. Hence the weather depends upon the altitude of the place in Nepal. However, in general, Nepal has four climatic seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

Spring starts from March to May. The temperature of this season fluctuates between 20C to 30C (68F to 86F). Summer starts from June last to August. These are also the monsoon months with occasional evening-thunderstorms and hot temperature. Autumn starts from late September and ends by November. During this period, the climate is generally dry and mild with temperature fluctuating between 20C to 30C (68F to 86F). Winter starts from December until February. The mornings and evenings are very cold while the afternoon is pretty sunny. The temperature during these months rises from 10C to 20C (59F to 68F). At higher altitudes, it is cold during the winter months.

The trip hotel in Kathmandu does provide free storage services. So you can store your luggage and clothing that are not required for the trekking and you can collect it after your Trek and Tour.

There are telephones in some villages along the trekking routes from which you can make international calls. All our guides carry local sim cards both Nepal Telecom and N-cell in order to update the whereabouts and situation of our every client. You may pass the number of our guide to your family for the callback or you can make a call from the guide’s mobile and pay him directly for the international call too. Also, we have kept a satellite phone at Dingboche, which has a poor connection to the network of phones. Our guides use it during the case of emergency and also clients can use them by paying its rental fee. During the tour there will be easy access for International cal through cyber and communication Center. You will get Wi-Fi connection too in some of the places in the mountains for the extra cost. 

Remember to bring TWO and THREE pin travel adapters! You can also buy the adapters in the supermarkets or electronic shops in the Kathmandu. Our guide can help you with it.

It’s difficult to give an exact amount of money that you should bring. Costs will vary according to how much you want to spend for shopping and where and what meals (lunch & dinner) you want to eat. Trekkers find that around $20 (for lunch & dinner) a day is reasonable for the trekking days. You may have to pay for Wi-Fi, electricity and hot showers too (up in the mountains during the trek). Hence allocating the allowance for each day accordingly would suffice. 

  • Daypack (rucksack)
  • Backpack (a porter will carry it) Recommended size: about 50-litre capacity (10-12 KGS per person) if you are travelling with a friend you can share one pack between the two of you.
  • Well-worn hiking boots or shoes
  • A pair of sandals
  • Sleeping Bag (HSJ will provide if you do not have your own)
  • A one-litre hard water bottle to be filled up along the trekking trail
  • Warm jacket Light-weight cotton clothing
  • Waterproof jacket (a fold -away windcheater is fine)
  • Light sweater
  • Bath towel
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Knee supports (optional for the downhill portions of the trek)
  • Trekking pole
  • Water purification (Himalayan Social Journey will provide
  • water purification tablet)
  • Small First-aid-kit (Himalayan Social Journey will also provide one)
  • Headlamp (preferable) or Flashlight (torch)
  • Camera
  • Loose stomach and nausea medicine
  • Toiletries for the trek (toilet paper, soap, Towel shampoo etc...)

If you have purchased a voucher from any deal company, please come in contact with us with the voucher code (redemption code) so that the voucher can be redeemed on time. Since we need time to purchase your domestic air ticket and make other arrangements, kindly confirm your spot with your suitable date at-least 2 months prior to the commencement of the tour. Your booking on a particular tour date is subject to availability of spots. You can redeem you voucher through this link too : https://hsj.com.np/voucher-redemption

If you plan to arrive early or depart late please make sure you make extra hotel arrangements by contacting [email protected] And if you'll be spending extra time in Nepal please let us know. We will book your extra night accommodation at same trip hotels, Hotel Holy Himalaya , Himalayan Suite Hotel, Hotel Mulberry, Aloft Hotel, and Gokarna Forest Resort for your convenience. 

If you would like to book extra activities such as Paragliding (100pp), Bungy jump (70pp), Mountain flight (USD 180pp), Heli Tour (USD 800pp –based on 5pax) Bhaktapur Sightseeing many more programs. You can book by contacting us at [email protected] For longer excursions such as Bhutan, Tibet, India, and any other treks also, we can help but please contact us immediately at [email protected]

For the trek, we'll have one porter for two people as per group size. The porter will carry 12-15 kg per person luggage during the trek. You need to carry your day pack to keep your personal belongings such as wallet, camera, water bottle, dry snack, headlight, gadgets, etc. The safety and concerns of our porters is our collective responsibility. We take our responsibilities towards them and their safety concerns strictly. On your part, please carry only things that are of absolute necessities.

A general rule of thumb for tipping is USD 50-60 for guide and porter if you are fully satisfied with their service. So we suggest you allocate a minimum of USD 50 for tipping. This is just a guideline and you may tip whatever /how much you think is appropriate for the services rendered which made your trek a memorable one.

If you are considering to donate, School supplies (pens, notebooks, coloured pencils, etc...). These gifts can be directly turned over to our company when you arrive in Kathmandu. And we will manage them to distribute through our proper channels.
As for your the need of much of your trekking clothes and tour supplies and gears, they can be easily purchased in Kathmandu near our hotel at good prices. Bring hiking boots/shoes from your country. The Nepali ones are not recommended. Your guide will assist you to get anything you may need here.

We are committed to providing the best services which will give you a once in a lifetime journey. We perform our duties honestly & seriously to make your journey very smooth & pleasant. However, the entire programs in Nepal are conducted strictly under the rules and regulation of their policies. So in this case, we will give options to choose a different itinerary for an enjoyable holiday. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us.

The sleeping bags we provide are of good quality. They help you sustain the colder climate in Nepali mountains up to -25 degree Celsius of temperature. However if you need the one of your own, you can buy one here. Your guide shall assist you to get it here. Keep the track of the weather forecast of the area and pack your clothes accordingly. This would help you be prepared for the type of weather Nepali Mountains are accustomed to.

The size of the duffel bag that we provide is 60-70 liter.

Yes, you will have free access to the power in the city areas however with your ascends to the mountain and as you climb to higher altitudes, extra charge would be applicable for the use of power supply or wireless internet connections.