Arrive in Kolkata
A bustling city
Parallels and Meridians is delighted to welcome you to Kolkata, the City of Joy. You can spend your day at leisure – if you wish you can explore the area around the hotel. Tomorrow we begin our much awaited journey. Overnight in Kolkata.
The City of Joy
Kolkata is one of the most beguiling metropolitan cities of India, combining a fine legacy of history, cuisine and culture with a delightfully warm people. So let’s have an early start to the day by visiting the colorful flower market early in the morning, followed by a boat ride on the Hoogli River.
After disembarking, we will go back to the time of the Raj and visit the iconic Victoria Memorial Hall, whose imposing marble edifice and statue of Queen Victoria reminds one of Kolkata’s colonial past. It also houses a fine collection of different artworks, weapons and musical instruments, offering insights into different periods of Indian history. After this, we move on to St Paul’s Cathedral, another fine example of colonial architecture from the mid-nineteenth century. We end our day by visiting the Indian Museum, which possesses a huge and varied collection of artefacts such as old coins, fossils, rocks, artwork, and so on. Overnight in Kolkata.
Kolkata - Paro - Thimphu
Closer to paradise
While Kolkata was fun, it’s now time to move on – we now have to fly to Paro! Once we reach Paro we will be driving to Thimphu (54kms/1hr 40mins). The rest of the day is at leisure for you. Overnight in Thimphu.
A modern yet historic city
Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan, and we have the entire day to discover this magnificent city. The places we will be seeing include Tashichodzong – an impressive castle steeped in history, beautiful art, architecture, and lovely grounds – popularly known as the Thimphu Dzong, fortified monastic buildings, the Memorial Chorten (built in honor of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Bhutan’s king between 1952 and 1972), the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (a famous painting school), the Bhutan Museum, the National Textile Museum, the Buddha Point and finally the craft market. Overnight in Thimphu.
Thimphu – Gangtey
A wide flat valley
Today, we will drive to Gangtey (150kms/3hrs 30mins), during which you can witness some breath-taking landscapes. The Gangtey valley is one of the most scenic places in Bhutan (an impressive achievement in such a beautiful country), so taking a stroll around the valley is highly recommended. Overnight in Gangtey.
Winter home of the black-necked cranes
What makes the Gangtey valley so fascinating is that it is the winter home of the black-necked cranes, who migrate from the central Asiatic plateaus to escape from the biting winters there. In order not to miss seeing these remarkable birds, let’s wake up early and explore the Phobjika valley, which is the perfect spot from which to observe them. The rest of the day is at your leisure – sit back, unwind and relish the gorgeous setting. Overnight in Gangtey.
Gangtey – Punakha
A journey amidst the Himalayas
A beautiful morning to drive to Punakha (77kms/1hr 50mins)! We will drive amidst splendid views of the distant Himalayas at the Dochula pass, on the Thimphu-Punakha road. Once we reach Punakha, the rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Punakha.
Collision of rivers
Let’s go and explore this pleasant valley. Our first visit will be to the Punakha Dzong, whose sublime wall-frescoes are matched in beauty by the mountainous backdrop. The grounds of the Dzong are lovely, and so is the coming together of the Mo and Pho rivers below. We will then pay a visit to the fairly new stupa Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which is located on a hill that requires us to do a small hike crossing paddy fields and small streams; the view from the summit is undoubtedly worth the effort! Overnight at Punakha.
Punakha – Paro
On our way to Paro
Time flies when you are busy having the time of your life in this beautiful country. It is time for us to leave for Paro by car (143kms/5hrs). The day is at your leisure once we reach Paro. Overnight in Paro.
A most beautiful valley
Today we will explore Paro, located in what is considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. There is a lot to see here, such as Ta Dzong, a small but very informative museum that exhibits Bhutanese culture, including the dresses and customs of the Bhutanese people; Paro Dzong, which is a Buddhist monastery and fortress of the Drukpa lineage of the Kagyu school in Paro; and Drukgyel Dzong, which is a great place to see some historical ruins and take in some spectacular views of the valley and snow-capped peaks in the distance. We will end the day with a visit to the Kyichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful temples in the region. Overnight in Paro.
Paro - Kolkata
Time for us to bid goodbye to Bhutan. We will be flying back to Kolkata today. Once we reach Kolkata the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Kolkata.
Departure from Kolkata
See you soon
Sadly, our wonderful journey comes to an end today. We wish you a safe journey home and hope to see you again soon!
LOW SEASON 2017 – 2018
(From June – August 2017/ December 2017 – February 2018)
|02 pers||$ 1,818|
* price per person
HIGH SEASON 2017
(From September – November 2017 / March – April 2018)
|02 pers||$ 2,098|
* price per person
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- Accommodation in hotels listed in a double room.
- Meal Plan – Full board basis (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) in Bhutan.
- Meal Plan – Bed And Breakfast in Kolkata.
- Bhutan Visa fees
- Governmental royalty and taxes
- Ground transfers by private car with an English speaking driver in an Air-conditioned Car.
- Entrance fees at sites, museums and shows mentioned in the program.
- English Speaking Guide
- All applicable taxes
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International & Domestic Flights & Airport taxes (International)
- Insurance and visa costs for India
- Expenses of Personal nature
- Camera and Video charges
- Tips to guides and drivers (allow about 5 $ / day / person)
- Any other Expenses that are not mentioned above
YOUR HOTELS (or similar):
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we choose the most beautiful destinations, we also choose the most charming hotels for you. In addition, we will offer you options to choose from depending on the style of travel that suits you. You will stay in comfortable, deluxe, luxury or ultra luxury hotels depending on your budget.
- Visa and Travel Formalities
- Accommodation and transportation
- Flights & Land Package
- Our guides
- Insurance and Unforeseen Circumstances
Art, spirituality, creativity, rooted traditions and cheerful smiles all of this put together in one of the smallest countries in the world. Almost equivalent to the size of Switzerland is Bhutan the surprising plot. Estimated at about 750 000 inhabitants, this state of incense to perfume brings together a sparkling and religious population.
This kingdom attracts away from mass tourism. The land of Bhutanese contains beautiful jewels. The dominant religion is Buddhism, golden monasteries and monks dressed in maroon dress draped around them are here to aspire devotion. Mysticism is taught in a beautiful monastic school status overlooking the Thimphu valley. A UNESCO world heritage it is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan for meditation.
The trek is the best way to reach the mountains and remote valleys in the heart of the serene land.
You will not be disappointed with the culinary hand this place. Sources of the Mekong. Dishes with sauce, dried beef with chilli, Kewa datsi (potatoes and spicy cheese) are a must try in the Bhutanese menu.
Ready to turn the wheel of prayer with us?
All throughout the year, you have a celebration there as you can see from the following list:
Losar: In the mid of January they celebrate the year by painting their house, visiting the local monastery and organizing tournaments like shooting, archery and darts.
Punakha Domchoe & Tsechu: It is the reconstruction of a 17th Annual Battle of the fragrant valley of Punakha in the lunar calendar.
Chörten Kora: Thousands of pilgrims from eastern Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh revolve around this stupa in two separate celebrations for two weeks. Unlike the monastic festivals, this event is more like a local fair. The main festival takes place from the 13th to 15th day of the first lunar month, which is in March.
Gom Kora: March – hundreds of pilgrims gather at a site east of the country for a night of celebration and ritual circumambulation around the sacred black stone. This event takes place between the 8th and 10th day of the second lunar month so it can take place in April as well.
Tsechu de Paro: April: This is a popular festival of four days of Cham (ritual dance) followed by the deployment of a giant thangka (religious image) just before dawn, representing the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. The first day ceremonies take place in the Paro Dzong, before the action moves outside. It can also take place in March.
Ura Yakchoe: May – A village atmosphere is what makes this three-day festival a joyous one. It includes religious processions, dances and local alcohol smuggling. The only problem is that the dates are very variable. It can take place in April and is set a few weeks in advance.
Tsechu de Kurjey: June – the monks of Trongsa Dzong perform religious dances for this feast day in Bumthang. The date also marks the anniversary of Guru Rinpoche, which is celebrated with prayer ceremonies across the country.
Tsechu de Thimphu: September – The crowd can be dense during these four days of spectacular religious dances in Trashi Chhoe Dzong (over 3000 visitors each year). This event may also take place in October.
Jampey Lhakhang Drup: October – The Cham dances and bonfires commemorating the establishment of the temple of the seventh century. The first night, a famous “nude dance” is performed around the fire at midnight.
Ngang Bi Rabney: November – A three-day festival in Ngang Lhakhang (temple of the Swan), above Bumthang, which features original dances performed by nobles of two local clans and masked dances.
For most trips, your passport will be enough. It must be valid for up to six months after your return trip. Passports can be easily obtained from your municipality, although there may be delays during holiday periods and holidays. Note that the passport is also required for children. For some destinations, it will be mandatory to send us a copy of your passport immediately after booking a trip.
Entry to Bhutan requires obtaining a visa, except for citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives. You must be in possession of a passport with a validity of at least 6 months.
For more information and how to apply for the visa you can click on the link below:
All tourist visa applications to be launched by a Bhutanese tour operator and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu. The tour operator shall file an online application with a copy of the double page of your passport with your picture with the TCB in Thimphu. The latter then checks that you have paid for your trip (including US $ 40 for the visa) and then address a letter of acceptance from the tour operator. With this document, the tour operator then files a final request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which approves the visa within three days.
We recommend you to get your visa 4 to 6 weeks before your arrival.
Minors traveling with an adult: Parents
When a minor is traveling with a parent, the officials at the airport might ask for proof of documents to confirm your relationship. Some countries require certificates such as a birth certificate. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Minors traveling with an adult: Others
When a minor is traveling with someone other than the parents or a family member, some countries require a declaration by the relatives to give permission for this trip. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we chose the most beautiful destinations, we also handpicked the most suitable hotels for your comfort. In addition, we offer options to choose according to your budget and travel style that suits you.
We offer three options in MOST of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
Deluxe – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
Luxury – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
Road conditions in Bhutan are generally well maintained, despite the several twists and turns.
Transport is a very significant part of your trip to Bhutan. We ensure the quality of the vehicles and the drivers are trained to show you the best landscapes, rural life, by the side of highways, and be attentive to all your requirements. The drive in the Himalayan area can be tough, but you will certainly enjoy the journeys with our expert and hospitable drivers. All our trips are inclusive of transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary contracted and we will not surprise you by asking any additional fees for your small wishes.
The airline and the flight schedules are subject to change. P&M will keep you informed about the latest changes in the schedule, if any.
The price in the website are indicative and may change as per the latest amendment given by the hotels or suppliers. However, P&M will honor the rates once they are offered to you and you have made the payment for the package, even partially. In the case of international or domestic flights, the additional airport taxes that are imposed by local authorities shall be passed to you.
It is also possible to book international flights with P&M. Since we have good connections with several airlines, we will be happy to assist you for your requirements.
These people are our most amazing assets, taking you on beautiful trips with P&M. Who can explain a city or town better than the locals? This is why we always work with the locals carrying a passion for their culture. Their knowledge of destinations is immaculate; eagerly indulging you to experience the journey of the moment. All destinations, most of the cities and towns have English-speaking local guides. These guides are employed by our local agents and get regular training’s pertaining to our requirements. We evaluate their performance after each trip based on your feedback’s.
The services of local guides are included in the program (if opted by you in the package). They not only show you around the city but also purchase the tickets at the monuments. They are available to answer any of your travel related queries.
Although P&M pays them with the standard rates of travel-based companies, they expect a tip at the end of the trip. We recommend a tip of 5 €/ day/ person.
Although our travels are organized with detailed planning, the climate and other factors may change due to some unforeseen events. These however, should not spoil your travel or ruin your fun. In case such circumstances arise, be assured that you have 24/7 P&M support staff ready to offer the most suited solutions to your problems. We do our best to provide the quickest resolutions; nevertheless, we are not responsible for any factor beyond our control.
The best time to travel in Bhutan is between October and November, especially for trekking in the mountains. But it is important to note that it can also rain at any season. It is advisable to avoid the raging monsoon season in the country, which is from June to August.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travellers going to Bhutan (as well as being up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations):
- Viral hepatitis A and B
- Typhoid fever
It’s a good idea to consult your government’s travel-health website before departure.
Credit cards & ATMs
The local currency is the Ngultrum (BTN), but you can also find the Indian rupee (INR), which will only come on site. Most foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks. There are only very few distributors.
Mobile in Bhutan
Computers, mobile phones, cameras or other electronic devices must be registered on arrival and will be checked at the exit. In Bhutan, it is sometimes difficult to get network for your international number. It is better to buy a sim card or Tashi Bhutan Telecom Cell on site, if your phone is unlocked, then use refills which are available anywhere.
Internet connections work well and are available in all cities.
The Bhutanese cuisine mainly uses red rice, buckwheat and growing corn. Red rice, is similar to brown rice in texture but with a nutty flavor, and is the only one to grow at high altitudes. They are also consumed with chicken, yak meat, dried beef, pork and mutton. Main courses during the cold season are soups and meat stews, ferns, lentils, dried vegetables spiced with chili and cheese together.
Carry warm clothes as the weather here is cold most of the times, especially during the night. While visiting the religious places, do remember to cover yourself properly as a sign of respect.
There is no reason for you not to take your electrical items due to electrical outlets, the Bhutanese market has most adapters.
Internet is available in all major cities of Bhutan. Today internet and TV is within reach of three quarters of the inhabitants.
What makes Parallels and Meridians different?
We believe that holidays should be planned thoughtfully. Hence, we spend a good amount of time planning and offering you products considering your requirements. Amazing journeys begin the moment you contact us for a personalized trip. We design programs exactly as you wish; you will always remain a partner in making it a dream holiday.
What can I expect in a holiday with Parallels and Meridians?
Our trips bring you closer to the local community and culture as you will be taken to some of the places where no tourists have gone before. Our travel experts are always in search of something new, inspirational and entertaining. These ideas are intricately designed around your style of travel, creating a perfect trip for you.
How do you create a style of travel?
People are different, and so are their ways of traveling. We speak to several people from different walks of life, locals, travelers, families, and even bloggers, to get a better idea on the ways they prefer to travel. The styles of travel are created through their contributions and the expertise of our travel designers. It is our success formula in making exceptional trips for you.
Why do you make the trips participative?
In our small endeavor to support the local community, we found this as the most encouraging and heartfelt experience for both our guests and ourselves. We don’t indulge into activities with big charitable organizations, but quietly do our bit with the help of our guests. Our projects are humble and mostly recommended by our guests. For example, teaching basic French to the drivers (while traveling with him) actually came from one of our guest.
What are the different hotel combinations you offer?
Each destination has a unique character and history, so do their hotels. We have selected the best hotels as per your style and budget. We offer 3 options in most of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
– In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
– For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
How many beds can we have in a room?
A room will usually have a double bed. Most hotels will be able to add one extra bed.
If we’re traveling as a family, can we have interconnected rooms?
Some hotels offer interconnected rooms. If they don’t have, we ask them to provide two rooms next to each other or on the same floor.
Can I choose my own set of hotels?
Yes, you can. Just send us your wish list and we will do our best to fulfill your requirements.
What is the category of hotels included in the itinerary on the website?
You will have the option to choose the categories of the hotels you want to stay in. There are a few exceptions, however, some places like villages in Rajasthan or hiking tents in Bhutan will not offer you luxury. We will clearly advice you on this.
How does Parallels and Meridians choose the hotels?
We choose hotels based on our personal experiences. We will not recommend a hotel unless we have stayed there ourselves or have it recommended by our contributors.
What kind of vehicle do you provide?
Generally, this depends on the number of people. We provide cars for two people and micro van for three and more people. All our vehicles have air-conditioning.
Can we choose our own type of vehicle?
Yes, you can. Just let us know while sending us the information for your trip.
Are we sharing the car with someone else?
No. The car is for private use and you will share it only the people you are travelling with.
Does the car stay at my disposal every day?
Yes, it does. Our drivers are flexible and will remain at your disposal.
Do we have a guide in every city?
Yes, a guide will be provided to you in each city unless there is no visit scheduled.
How do you select your guides?
We select guides who understand your interests and requirements. They carry a flair for their culture and tradition, offering the best experiences to our clients. All our tour guides are locals, have professional licenses and are known for their passion and knowledge of the destination. We only hire highly rated guides with years of experience.
How do I plan my trip with you?
Once a program is picked from the website and the query form is filled, our travel experts will start working on the program. They will carefully prepare a tailor-made itinerary for you and will present it in details. Your itinerary will be refined and polished until you are satisfied and happy to book with us. As it is very important for us to understand your requirements, please do not hesitate to ask questions and voice your concerns or desires.
I like one of your family programs. Can it be tailor-made for a couple?
Yes, it can. All our programs can be further tailored for your specific requirements. You will be amazed to see the countless possibilities in our programs as per your style.
Can I make my own itinerary?
Yes, you can. Simply fill the form or send us e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you decide your pricing?
The itineraries in the website have indicative pricing which may change as per your personalized travel request. We choose the most important sightseeing, destinations, guides and hotels, which makes a great holiday experience for our guests. As we do not want to surprise you with hidden costs, we always include essential costs in the program. Although we are not necessarily the cheapest, we do aim to offer exceptional overall value for money and rely on our clients for repeat business and recommendations for your future dream holidays.
Can I adjust my budget?
Of course, our experts can share plenty ideas with you, fitting your budget. However, we make sure that quality is never compromised. We immediately inform you with our inability to offer you something that is below standard or of low quality. It is always better to say no than to regret a bad holiday experience.
What is included in the cost of your packages?
Our services start the moment you arrive at your destination, where a representative will be awaiting your arrival. All accommodations, transfers, local flights as well as arranged activities, unless otherwise specified will be included. Our trips are on breakfast-only basis except some special meals like welcome lunch or a special farewell dinner.
Why don’t you offer trips on full board?
We could; however, you will agree with us that everybody has different tastes. Moreover, the local cuisine is also an important aspect of your trip. Why should we charge you extra for some meals in hotels and expensive restaurants, when you can enjoy the spontaneity of discovering restaurants on your own? This is why we intentionally refuse to include all meals in our itineraries. If you are on a safari or a trekking trip, all meals are included as these are remote areas without restaurant alternatives. In lieu of this, you will receive a list of recommended restaurants, where you can have a taste of authentic cuisines.
How do I get the assurance of my travel safety?
Having our headquarter in France, P&M provides all necessary financial and legal guarantees to our travelers. You not only get the best travel programs from us but also experience a memorable and safe travel arranged by our local correspondents with 24/24 assistance. To ensure that all our local agents offer best services, quality travel and assurance, we have an office in India supervising all the activities in Asia. In addition, for your peace of mind, we support you with a range of insurances to meet your needs.
Who will be taking care of my trip when I am on the go?
You will have a dedicated travel expert from the first moment of contact. The travel expert will work with you before and during the trip.
What are the different modes of payment you accept?
The different modes of payment we accept are bank transfer and online payment by credit or debit card. You can pay either 30 or 50% at the time of the booking and the remaining, one month prior to your travel.
How secure is my credit card for online payment?
As your trusted partner P&M guarantees secure payment via secure payment platform enabling you to make transactions by credit card or debit card. The credit or debit card details are never reserved with us for your complete peace of mind.
Where can I see the reviews on P&M?
All reviews given by our travellers are regularly uploaded to our website. Furthermore, many of our guests have shared their experiences with P&M at the sites of Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot. We are proud to share with you that; – 98% of our travelers rated our services excellent or very good – 97% of our travelers recommend our agency to their friends – 98% of our travelers would be willing to repeat the experience with P&M.
Traveling with us is the best way to come closer to the daily life of the locals. Impart your knowledge, skills and art with them. If you are an artist, a photographer, a cook or whichever skills you have that can be shared with the local community, please feel free to tell us about them, and we will organize a special activity for you at a right place to support them. In our very first communication with you, we will ask your interest and if you are willing to participate in an activity for even just one hour.
In 2016, our participants have already taught over 400 hours, the equivalent of 17 days!
Our conscious tourism does not end there; we constantly propose new participatory activities:
There are many young kids who aspire to take the job of ‘guide’. We are helping them to speak better English, or teaching them skills and techniques of travel guiding.
Post the earthquake, life is still struggling in Nepal. We are helping some small shops and businesses to get into the mainstream; not by giving money, but improvising some ideas to run their business more effectively.
“In your route, though you choose to take part in any one of these options, your trip will be the same number of days and the price will not change under any circumstances.”
How much do you donate?
Nothing Actually. We just need little bit of your time and involvement.