Land of the Thunder Dragon Bhutan Trip Summary22 August, 2011
Having busted some of the myths of travelling to Bhutan, we will be sharing more of our trip experiences over the next few weeks. This post will provide a quick summary of the interesting experiences we had over this 5 Day 4 Night magical Bhutan experience.
The journey from Singapore started with a flight to Bangkok where we stayed the night at Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport hotel for next morning’s 8.45am flight to Paro, Bhutan. The check-in counter at Suvarnabhumi Airport opens at 6.30am so be there early if you want to select your preferred seats – DrukAir does not offer any online check-in facilities so seats are on a first come first served basis. Bring along your Bhutan visa as it will be required before they even process your check-in to the flight. Request for a seat on the left side of the plane for your flight into Paro if you want to get a great view of the Himalayan mountain ranges.
Upon arrival at Paro, we then embarked on an hour-long drive to Bhutan’s capital – Thimpu. The next few days of our tour were then filled with visits to Dzongs, experiencing local culture and life as well as long drives to Punakha valley.
Feel free to download this itinerary of our 5 Day 4 Night Magical Bhutan experience prepared by DrukAsia. Some of the visits have been rescheduled and replaced with other interesting activities e.g. visit to a local farmhouse. The following map highlighted the journey we took during this trip:
Of all the tours we had experienced around the world, the tour guide service we experienced in Bhutan is definitely the best! DrukAsia had arranged Lhawang Dorji and Tenzing to be our guide and driver respectively for this 5-day trip (see picture – third from left is Lhawang and to his left is Tenzing). It is the attention paid to the small details that really impressed us.
Let’s start with our driver, Tenzing. He is a quiet guy who is serious and conscientious in his work. He ensures that each day, before we start our tour, the van is in its best conditions – it doesn’t matter if we had did a muddy hike the previous day and left the vehicle in a mess with mud, grass on the floor, the next day the condition of the vehicle is as new as when we first started out this tour. On days of long drives e.g. the 4-hour drive from Thimpu to Punakha valley, pillows will be in place at our seats in case we want to doze off during the journey. And most important of all, his years of experience in navigating the long winding roads of Bhutan had kept us safe throughout the entire trip.
Our guide, Lhawang is very knowledgeable in all matters to do with Bhutan – ask him about the concept of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan and he would be more than happy to discuss it with you. Any facts you want to know on Bhutan or just about anything about Bhutan, he should be able to help you with it and if he can’t, he would Google it on the road (using his mobile broadband) to provide you with the answer! He is also incredibly fit and knows the ground well i.e. despite muddy trails or steep slopes, he is able to navigate them with no difficulty and even help you with it. He shared with us a story where he had to carry an elderly lady tourist (who was in his tour group) on his back down the road from the Tiger’s Nest monastery! Thankfully, we did not need this service during our exploration of the Tiger’s Nest. Because of his fitness, you do have to manage your own expectations when he say certain hike takes a few minutes – simple double whatever he says and that will be the exact time needed to reach that destination. 🙂 For travel on vehicle, there is no need to double the time as his estimation are quite accurate.
Stay tuned to PassportChop.com as we share highlights from our Bhutan trip over the next few weeks. (the following will be updated with links when the respective posts are up):
- Debunking myths on Travel to Bhutan – Cost, Travel Restrictions and Weather
- Flying with Drukair – Food onboard, spectacular view on the flight into and out of the airport, surreal experience of being in an airport that serves only 1-2 flights daily
- An Introduction to Bhutanese Cuisine
- What to Expect from Hotels in Bhutan – Review of Thimpu Kisa Hotel and Punakha Meri Puensum Hotel
- Luxurious Villa Stay at Uma Paro
- Exploring Thimphu – Capital of Bhutan
- Visit to Bhutan Thimphu Weekend Farmers’ Market
- Windhorse Prayer Flags in Bhutan
- Interesting Hike to Chhimi Lhakhang Temple with Phalluses-painted house and Story of the Divine Madman
- Top 4 Places to do Yoga in Bhutan: Punakha Meri Puensum Hotel , Chhimi Lhakhang Teahouse, Uma Paro, Tiger’s Nest Teahouse
- Visit to Ancient Bhutanese Fortresses – the Dzongs
- Understanding Local Culture with Visit to Bhutanese Farmhouse
- What to expect from the Tiger’s Nest Hike Challenge
A typical 5-Day 4-Night trip to Bhutan will cost you about upwards of S$6000 (including airfare) and much more if you choose to stay in luxury hotels e.g. Uma Paro and Uma Punakha. Holidaying in Bhutan is not cheap but well worth it considering that it is an all-inclusive package with hotel, food and guide services all included. However, if you need the cash flow, OCBC Cashflo Mastercard allows you to defer payment for your holiday in Bhutan without incurring any interests (if you pay back on time of course!)
OCBC Cashflo is designed for people who are looking to manage their cash flow smartly and pay for expenditures in instalments. OCBC Cashflo customers can break expensive holidays into 3 or 6 months instalments without any interests. That way, it helps to manage their customers to manage cash flow better and smarter. Furthermore, you can earn rebates of up to 1% to offset your bill (treat it as a 1% discount for your Bhutan holiday! – potential saving of at least S$60 just by using OCBC Cashflo). Plus you can enjoy movie discounts, dining and motoring privileges when you use OCBC Cashflo Mastercard!
For more information on OCBC Cashflo and how it can help you plan your financials for your holiday, see this link: http://www.ocbc.com/personal-
Getting to Bhutan