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IMG_8361Our tour departs from South Africa on 26 April 2014 and flies on Emirates Airlines via Dubai to Kolkata (previously Calcutta) where a day will be spent exploring this vibrant city before flying to Paro in Bhutan. This is a spectacular flight and provides wonderful views over the snow-covered Himalayas. The approach to the airstrip is a fantastic experience and something to be remembered all one’s life.

The group will have two days here with time to visit the fabled Takstang Monastery, Drukgyel Dzong and the 7th century Kyichu Lhakang.

Its a short drive from Paro to Thimphu where we will spend the day visiting the National Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, the School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts and the Takin Preserve. We’ll also visit the King’s Memorial Chorten and the Trashichhoedzong finishing off with with a drive to Buddha Point from where we will get a good overview of the Thimphu valley.

The road from Paro to Punakha crosses the beautiful Dochu La Pass  with its awe-majestic views out across some of the highest peaks of the Himalayas. One night will be spent in Punakha exploring the temples, monasteries and dzongs as well as Chimi-Lakhang and Wangdiphodrang village.IMG_7969

Travelling from Punakha to Bumthang, we will pass through Nobding village and cross the Pele La Pass, the traditional boundary between West and East Bhutan.  Our drive will take us through dense forests of oak trees, rhododendrons and magnolias. There will be plenty of time to admire the fabulous views and take photographs.

We’ll have two days in Bumthang to explore the area, and then proceed on to Punakha via Trongsa (ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family). The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and for miles on end the dzong seems to tease you so that you wonder if you will ever reach it. Backing onto the mountain and built on several levels, the dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes south and west.

Punakha, at 135pelela0m, was nothing more than a dzong as recently as 35 years ago. Then a central school was constructed and the village expanded in the mid-1980’s. The small size of the place is surprising considering the primordial role that Punakha has played in the history of Bhutan and the fact that it was the country’s winter capital for 300 years.

From Punakha, the tour continues on to Paro for our last night before our return flight on Royal Bhutan Airlines to Kolkata.

After spending our last day in Kolkata, the group will then fly back to Singapore for onward connecting flights home

Liz Cotton will be accompanying the tour from South Africa and professional local English-speaking guides with an excellent knowledge of history and culture will be escorting the group through Bhutan.

Space on this tour is limited to 17 participants. If you have any queries, or would like to secure your reservation on this once in a lifetime tour, please do not hesitate to contact us on email info@somersettours.co.za.

This is a very special tour.  Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the Land of the Thunder Dragon and possibly, the last Shangri-La on earth.