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Darjeeling & the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan

Explore vibrant India and mysterious Bhutan

From $ per person


On this incredible adventure packed with ancient traditions and treasures, we explore colourful Kolkata, before travelling in to the Himalayan foothills and onwards to Bhutan - the sole surviving Himalayan kingdom, shrouded in mystique, and steeped in history.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights

What’s included

Days 1-3 - London to Kolkata
Kolkata

We depart from London and fly via Mumbai to Kolkata, one of India's largest and most captivating cities. On arrival on Day 2 we transfer to the 5-Star Oberoi Grand Hotel for a two-night stay.

Early on Day 3, we begin exploring this magnificent metropolis. We enjoy a real treat as we visit Kolkata's lively flower market, where the streets are transformed in an explosion of bright colours. We also see Mother Teresa's house, and the Victoria Memorial, an ornate white marble structure dating back to the early 20th century.

This afternoon, we continue our sightseeing, visiting the Railway Museum. Later we take the circular railway train to Prinsep Ghat where we visit the heritage railway museum here.

Day 4 - Siliguri
Kolkata's Flower Market

Following a free morning, this afternoon we transfer to the station, where we visit the Heritage Rail Museum before joining our train for the journey to New Jalpaiguri. On arrival, we transfer by coach to Siliguri in the foothills of the Himalayas, where we overnight.

Day 5 - The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Today we coach to Kurseong, where we enjoy lunch at the colonial-style Cochrane Place Hotel. Later we climb almost 7,000ft into the Himalaya as we enjoy an enthralling journey on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (subject to operation). Loved and used by locals, the line is also UNESCO listed. We board the narrow-gauge train in the heart of the town; for a while the train runs directly through the noisy centre of the street before climbing into the verdant surrounding forest. Numerous vibrant plants and shades of green provide a backdrop as we wind our way around the mountainsides and continue our ascent.

As we climb higher, there is a noticeable change not only in the climate but also the culture as colourful Buddhist prayer flags hang across the streets like bunting. After pausing for lunch at a hill station, we rejoin the train and continue to Darjeeling. Pastel-painted houses are stacked almost on top of each other as we approach the town. Here we spend three nights at the Hotel Windamere.

Day 6 - Tiger Hill and the Mountaineering Institute
Darjeeling Mountains

We visit Tiger Hill viewpoint, where we watch the sunrise from behind Kanchenjunga, India's highest mountain. The peak changes colour with the sunlight, casting orange, red and pink hues on their surroundings.

Later we travel on the steam-hauled Toy Train to Ghum (subject to operation) - the highest hill station in the area - and visit the town's Buddhist monastery. In the afternoon we visit Darjeeling's Mountaineering Institute, which is the final resting place of Tenzing Norgay, a famous Nepali Sherpa mountaineer.

Day 7 - Darjeeling Tea Plantation
Darjeeling tea plantation

For centuries Darjeeling has been famed as a tea-growing centre, and today we visit one of the town's authentic tea plantations for a guided tour. We see the lush, sloping hillsides where the tea is grown, before enjoying a tasting in the town's charming bazaar.

Day 8 - To Bhutan
Thimphu

Today marks our crossing into Bhutan. We start by driving to the town of Chalsa, enjoying lunch before visiting the Grassmore village this afternoon. Later we leave India and enter Bhutan. Perhaps best known for its 'Happiness Index', Bhutan is largely undiscovered by the outside world. Set deep in the Himalaya, Bhutan is free from pollution; more than half the country is protected as a nature reserve and the fresh mountain air is apparent the moment we cross the border. We stop in Phuentsholing near the Bhutan-Indian border for an overnight stay.

Day 9 - Kharbandi Gompa
Paro Valley

Today, we visit Kharbandi Gompa, a monastery surrounded by peaceful gardens of tropical plants. On a clear day, we are able to see the stunning mountains that surround this idyllic monastery. We then continue to Paro, where we stay for two nights at the tranquil Tigers Nest Resort.

Days 10-11 - The Tiger's Nest and Punakha
Tigers Nest Monastery

Today we take in one of Bhutan's most iconic landmarks by enjoying an optional climb to a viewpoint that looks over to the stunning Tiger's Nest monastery. We descend and enjoy lunch at a local farmhouse. Tonight we are treated to traditional Bhutanese entertainment.

On Day 11 we visit the mesmerising Rinpung Dzong, a fortress monastery and a fantastic example of Bhutanese architecture. We also visit the National Museum, housed in a former watchtower of Rinpung Dzong, before taking the drive through the alluring mountain route to Punakha, where we spend tonight.

Our journey takes us over the winding Dochula Pass. At 10,000ft, the pass offers unrivalled panoramas of the Himalayas, as well as 108 temples scattered across the hillsides. Here we see the memorial to those who lost their lives in the Chinese conflicts.

Days 12-13 - Punakha Dzong and Thimpu
Punakha Dzong

Today we visit Chimi Lhakhang, a temple and monastery dedicated to the fertility rites of the tantric tradition. Later we enjoy a visit to the exceptional Punakha Dzong en-route to Thimphu, where we take an exploratory walk this evening.

On Day 13 we enjoy a tour of Thimphu. Among the highlights we see are the majestic Memorial Stupa, built for the monarchy. We visit the Folk Heritage Museum. We then proceed to Buddha Point, where an enormous Golden Buddha stands proudly on a hillside.

Our final visit is to Thimphu's mighty 17th century Dzong, a striking fortress, and the seat of the government of Bhutan since the 1960s.

Days 14-16 - To Kolkata and London
Kolkata

Today we transfer to Paro for our flight to Kolkata, where we take a tour on arrival, exploring the city's highlights further. Here, we see the beautiful Dalhousie Square, an area created as the centre of the British East India Company's trading post. We also take in the Jain Temple and South Park Street Cemetery and visit Tagore's House, a mansion from the 18th century that once served as the home of one of India's best-loved poets.

On Day 15 we bid India a fond farewell, after a morning of leisure. We transfer to the airport at Kolkata in the afternoon for our scheduled flight to Mumbai to connect with our flight to London, where our tour concludes on arrival on Day 16.

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Departure Dates

All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.

Trains
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Toy Train
Hotels
Hotel Windamere, Darjeeling
Hotel Windamere, Darjeeling

The Windamere is a beautiful heritage hotel, and one of Darjeeling's best-loved landmarks - offering views of the famous tea plantations and Kanchenjunga, one of the world's highest mountain peaks. Originally opened as a boarding house for British workers, it is also known as one of the places where Vivien Leigh spent some years of her early childhood. The hotel has been carefully restored with many flourishes reflecting its history, and offers many facilities including a popular restaurant serving Indian and international cuisine. There is also a spa offering many different treatments. The well-appointed rooms feature typical amenities found in hotels of this standard.

The Oberoi Grand Hotel, Kolkata
The Oberoi Grand Hotel, Kolkata

The 5-Star Oberoi Grand Hotel is situated in the heart of Kolkata, and is a landmark of the city, housed in a distinctive neo-classical colonial building. Among the hotel's many facilities is an outdoor swimming pool, as well as a spa and a fitness centre. The elegant rooms are equipped with a TV, DVD player, telephone, safe and minibar.

Tiger Nest Resort, Paro
Tiger Nest Resort

With a location overlooking the famous Taktsang Monastery, the Tiger's Nest Resort is one of the most tranquil locations in Paro. The hotel is decorated in a traditional Bhutanese style, and boasts a restaurant and bar. The food here is traditional vegetarian Bhutanese cuisine, using fruits and vegetables from the farms that surround the hotel. The lovely, airy rooms come with underfloor heating, a television, and tea & coffee-making facilities. Wi-Fi is available for a small charge (payable locally).

Lhaki Hotel, Phuentsholing
Lhaki Hotel, Phuentsholing

The Lhaki Hotel resides in a small town in Bhutan, just a stone's throw away from the border with India. This comfortable hotel comes well equipped with a bar, a laundry service (payable locally), a spa, and fitness facilities. The rooms are air-conditioned and en-suite throughout, and contains a minifridge, a television, tea & coffee-making facilities (available on request) and complimentary Wi-Fi.

RKPO Green Resort, Bhutan
RKPO Green Resort

The stunning, and aptly named, RKPO Green Resort is our base in Punakha. This hotel is very traditional in its decoration of intricate wood carvings and its vibrant painted exterior. The traditional aspect of the RKPO Green Resort is continued in its entertainment, offering cultural experiences such as Bhutanese dancing and bonfires, as well as providing guests with delicious local cuisine served in the restaurant. There is also a bar with a garden, offering beautiful views of the surrounding scenery. The rooms are air-conditioned throughout, and also offer tea & coffee-making facilities, a television, an in room safe, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Sinclairs Hotel, Siliguri
Sinclairs Hotel, Siliguri

Set in lush greenery, the Sinclairs Hotel enjoys a location in the heart of Siliguri. It benefits from a host of facilities such as a lounge bar, a spa, and an outdoor swimming pool with open air terrace. The en suite rooms are equipped with amenities such as Wi-Fi, a TV, telephone, safe, minibar, and tea & coffee making facilities.

Druk Hotel, Thimphu
Druk Hotel, Thimphu

The distinctive Druk Hotel enjoys a fantastic location in the centre of Thimphu, close to all the attractions of the Bhutanese capital. The hotel has a spa and health club which offers a range of treatments, whilst the air-conditioned rooms are equipped with amenities including a TV, DVD player and a minibar.

Upgrades

We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

London Hotels
London hotels

Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your return to London, you would like to break your journey with an overnight stay before continuing home.

We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.

Hotel       Room Rate From Price 
The Ambassador Hotel      From £65 per person

Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805. 

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.

We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.

For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/au/tours/darjeejing-and-the-last-himalayan-kingdom/#CDJ20 on 2 April 2020.
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