Northeast India & Bhutan

Discover the famous tea plantations of Darjeeling and Glenburn, and the historic monasteries and fortresses of Bhutan.

Country Information

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Bhutan

Northeast India & Bhutan Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka

,

Bhutan


(Interest Type(s))

Adventure Travel

,

Family Travel


(Tour Length)

14 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $8,695
  • New graphic smBegin your India adventure with an exploration of Kolkata – a vibrant and fascinating metropolis of past and present
  • Explore the rich traditions of India’s famous tea regions in Glenburn and Darjeeling
  • Visit historic monasteries nestled around Kalimpong, the oldest of which is Gompa Bhutanese Monastery, 10th mile, founded in 1692
  • Discover Bhutan’s charming capital city of Thimphu, and begin to learn about this Buddhist country
  • Travel through incredible high altitudes landscapes of Punakha and  Paro, including old temples, monasteries, 17-century fortresses

Day 1: Kolkata, India
Upon arrival in Kolkata, clear immigration and customs. Then, you are welcomed and transferred to your hotel with necessary assistance.  The Oberoi – Deluxe Room

Day 2: Kolkata
After breakfast, venture out to discover Kolkata, known as Calcutta under British rule.  The city is fascinating, fast-paced and has a thriving industrial center as well as being an active artistic center for literature, music and painting. Having been the capital of India since 1911, Kolkata is a high-energy city presents a kaleidoscope of images such a Dalhousie Square with has a number of important colonial buildings such as St. John’s church, High Court, and Writer’s Building.  The flower market, Howrah Bridge, Tagore House, Marble Palace, St. Paul Cathedral and Victoria Memorial, a relic of the colonial era, are all worth discovering.  The Oberoi – Deluxe Room (B)

Day 3: Kolkata / Bagdogra / Gangtok
This morning, you are transferred to Kolkata airport to connect your onward flight to Bagdogra. Upon arrival in Gangtok, you are met by our staff and driven to Gangtok. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel.  This afternoon, you explore the city, which includes visiting the Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology.  The most prestigious institute of its kind in India, it houses a vast and rare collection of Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, Thankas, and more than 200 Buddhist icons. Today, it is a world-renowned center for the study of Buddhist philosophy and religion. The Cottage Industry Centre was established to promote and preserve the rich arts and crafts of Sikkim. It is a storehouse of traditional handicrafts as well as the host of other souvenirs and gift items. The Enchey Monastery is an important seat for the Nyingma order, and is situated just outside Gangtok.  More than two centuries old, the monastery houses images of gods and other religious objects. It was built by His Holiness Durtob Karpo, who is believed to have spent six months in Sikkim meditating in the mid 19th-century.    Elgin Norkhill Hotel – Deluxe Room (B,L,D)

Day 4: Gangtok / Glenburn Tea Estate
Visit Rumtek Monastery this morning. It is located about 24 kilometers/14.9 miles from Gangtok. The Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center is the present seat of His Holiness, the Karmapa, head of the Kagyu Sect, one of the four major Tibetan Buddhist sects. The center has a collection of some of the most unique religious art objects, exquisite paintings, manuscripts and icons. Travel to Glenburn, a heavenly little plantation retreat that lies on a hill above the banks of the River Rungeet, high in the Himalayas. It is in the shadow of the mighty Kanchenjunga Mountain Range. Started by a Scottish tea company in 1859, Glenburn has now passed into the hands of one of India’s pioneering tea planting families.  Glenburn Tea Estate – Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 5: Glenburn
Enjoy a private tour of the tea estate and factory and a tea tasting session. Your guide will give you insights into how the tea is looked after from planting to harvest. Learn how to pluck the "two leaves and a bud" that is later manufactured into the tealeaf that ends up in your cup! If you visit during the winter season, you will also learn about the different types of pruning that is undertaken to increase the yield of the coming season.  As you explore the plantation, you interact with the estate workers and learn about life on the plantation.  Tea production runs from the beginning of spring at end of February, which they call First Flush; through the summer, Second Flush, and the monsoon season, Rain Teas. The end of the season lasts through to the end of November and the Autumn Flush.  During December, January and early February, you will see how the tea bushes are made ready for the next season through pruning and other activities.  You will savor a comprehensive Tea Tasting Session, which will leave you with a full understanding of the process and all its intricacies. Enjoy the amazing bird life, butterflies and regional flora that add to the diverse landscape of a tea estate.  Catch a crab, or pick some watercress from the numerous springs that filter through the fields.  Glenburn Tea Estake – Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 6: Glenburn – Darjeeling - Glenburn
Today, you visit Darjeeling, famous for its teas. The hill station of Darjeeling stands at a height of 1829 meters/6,000 feet, and has the magnificent Mount Kanchenjunga as a backdrop. You will enjoy a ride on the Darjeeling Hill Railway, now a World Heritage Site, from the town of Darjeeling, through the picturesque Batasia Loop and then to the neighboring town of Ghoom.  Later, visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute,  Zoological Park and Tibetan Refugee Centre.  Glenburn Tea Estate – Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 7: Glenburn
Today, you explore the surrounding forests during walks with a naturalist, who will help you identify birds, butterflies, occasional animals, and the rich plant life. Between mid-November and May, you can hike River Rung. You can enjoy an afternoon walk past tea fields to the Shikari Dura Village. Optional activities include fishing, river rafting, cooking classes and massage treatments.  Glenburn Tea Estate – Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 8: Glenburn / Kalimpong
This morning, you will be driven to Kalimpong.  Several monasteries are nestled around Kalimpong, the oldest of which is Gompa Bhutanese Monastery, 10th mile, founded in 1692. Further up and to the north is the Yellow Hat Tibetan Monastery at Tipai, and the Tharpa Choling (1837), housing a library of Tibetan manuscripts and Tankhas. Pedong Bhutanese Monastery was established in the same year and features a large number of old paintings.  Nearby is the old Bhutanese Damsang Fort at Algar, where ceremonial dances are held every February. This fort was an important landmark for the entire area before the town of Kalimpong came into existence.  At Durpin Dara, the highest point in the town with superb views over the plains and the Tista and Reang rivers, stands the Brang Monastery at Zang-dog Palri. It is the only one of its kind outside Tibet, retaining its special lamaistic order with a school of Tibetan Medicine and a religious debating society. Elgin Silver Oaks – Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 9: Kalimpong / Phuntsholing     Today, you drive to Phuntsholing at the Bhutan Border, where you spend the night before traveling into Bhutan. Bhutan Residence Phuntsholing (B)

Day 10: Phuntsholing / Thimphu, Bhutan
This morning, you are driven directly to Thimphu.  Later, you begin your exploration of Thimphu, Bhutan’s engaging capital that sits are an elevation of 2,391, meters/7,845 feet.  The town nestles amid graceful hills on the banks of Thimpu River.  An animated jumble of new and old, Thimphu’s streets hum with civil servants, expatriates and monks.  Visit the National Memorial Chorten, a memorial to world peace in honor of the third king of Bhutan, considered to be the father of modern Bhutan.  Admire fine wall paintings and delicate statues.  Tashichho Dzong houses the royal throne room.  Tour a painting school where children still learn the ancient artistic techniques of Thangka painting.  Taj Tashi Thimphu – Deluxe Room (B,D) 

Day 11: Thimphu / Punakha
You drive to Punakha, and visit Punakha Dzong, a strategically placed fortress at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. This is an example of a distinctive type of fortress architecture found in the  Buddhist kingdoms of the Himalayas. The architecture is massive in style with towering exterior walls surrounding a complex of courtyards, temples, administrative offices, and monks' accommodation. This dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region.  Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch.  Hotel Uma Punakha (B,L,D)  

Day 12: Punakha / Paro
Set out for Paro this morning. Along the way, take in the 17-century Simtokha Dzong that spreads out across a low ridge. It houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.  Here, more than 300 finely worked slate carvings can be seen behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard.  Then travel on to Paro.  Land of myths and legends, Paro rests in a valley rich in cultural heritage and incomparable landscapes.  It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples, monasteries, and the country’s only airport.  Glacial waters from 24,000-foot Mt. Chomolhari plunge through deep gorges to form Paro River.  Terraced fields in this fertile valley produce the bulk of Bhutan’s famous red rice.  Explore another 17th-century dzong, Rinpung. Approach the fortress through a covered bridge and along a stone path that runs beside its massive walls. The dzong is a school for monks and an administration center.  Ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (Victorious Fortress) to the north are where Bhutanese repelled invading Tibetan armies in the 17th century.  Uma Paro Hotel – Superior Room (B,L,D) 

Day 13: Paro
The day starts with a visit to the National Museum, housed in the watchtower, Ta Dzong. Here, a collection of artifacts provides a wonderful look into to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. Just a short walk downhill lies the beautiful and dominating Paro Dzong.  From thedDzong, cross Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilevered bridge, to reach the town temple built in 1525. Enjoy a picturesque picnic or a visit to a traditional farmhouse for lunch with a local family. In the afternoon, hike to one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goemba, more commonly known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. The four- to five-hour return trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on a cliff face almost 1,000m above the valley floor. Uma Paro Hotel – Superior Room (B,L,D) 

Day 14: Paro / Bangkok / Depart
Today you are transferred to the Paro airport for your Druk Air flight to Bangkok, where you will connect with your onward flight to your next destination.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy From $8695. Price includes internal flights in India and Bhutan.

 

Tour Inquiry Form

Request more information now! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our tours.