Combining Bhutan with other countries

COMBINING BHUTAN WITH OTHER COUNTRIES


TO BHUTAN... AND BEYOND

Landlocked within the eastern Himalaya and ideally situated on the Silk Route between Tibet, India and Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Bhutan is one of the regionís safest and most peaceful nations providing security and harmony for happy inhabitants. Although spending time in Bhutan is the best way to begin to understand how Buddhism and happiness ratings intertwine with daily life, combining countries is an excellent option if youíre hoping to compare cuisine and cultural customs, and to explore some of South Asiaís most incredible natural environments as part of the same trip.
Organised tours are by far the best means of cutting down on the paperwork and waiting time associated with visa controls, as well as offering the added security of knowing youíre in the safe hands of an expert tour leader. Youíll have the chance to ask questions about languages, locations and lifestyles offering immediate insight from a trusted source in a world of often limited communication channels.

Opulent royal palaces, precariously placed monasteries and visits to artisan workshops and remote rural villages all combine within one amazing tour. If youíre looking for a few highlights from the trip of a lifetime then read on for three favourites that go hand in hand with a trip to Bhutan.
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BHUTAN & NEPAL


From the gilded cages and colourful depictions of Kal Bhairav in Durbar Square to the eyes of Buddha looking out from Swayamhbu Stupa over the historic monuments in the valley below, Kathmandu in Nepal makes for a stunning start to a tour prior to flying to Paro in Bhutan. Nepal boasts not only the highest point on the planet, Mount Everest, but also the birthplace of Gautama Buddha with a colourful trading heritage matched only by the transitional tale that saw Nepal switch from being the last Hindu monarchy to a secular state. Unravelling the threads of Hinduism before taking the one-hour flight on to Buddhist Bhutan is a real treat for cultural travellers.

BHUTAN TO INDIA


Thimphu and Tashichho Dzong followed by views over Phobjikha Valley, by way of Dochhu La Pass, and trips to the incredible Taktshang Monastery, are what make visits to Bhutan such an enviable prospect but head from Paro to Guwahati and youíll find yourself at the gateway to northeast India. Safaris within the realm of Kaziranga National Park will have you looking for tigers, elephants and one horned rhinos in one of Indiaís best regarded areas for wildlife conservation before heading to the largest river island on the planet, Majuli, and onwards to the rolling hills and lochs of Shillong. Combining a tour of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal with the subtropical forests and agricultural plantations of Meghalaya, in northeast India, is about as eclectic an experience as you can imagine.

NEPAL, BHUTAN & TIBET


Make the most of your time in the Himalayas with an hour-long flight from Paro, Bhutan, to Kathmandu, Nepal, then onwards to Lhasa in Tibet, ideal for avoiding otherwise impassable peaks. A two-week tour of Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet can incorporate Bhaktapur, Punakha and the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, in one amazing experience. Tibet is a remarkable country with unbreakable ties to Bhutan. Trips to the palaces of the Dalai Lama, Drepung and Sera monasteries and the sacred Jolkhang Temple offer a unique introduction to the region to ensure travellers are enlightened, experienced and eager for more.
Combining trips to Bhutan with any of the countries mentioned above is certain to make wizened travellers take note just as readily as newbies to Asia with well planned routes enabling organic exploration rather than simply whizzing from one highlight to the next.

Approximate flight times:


Paro, Bhutan to Kathmandu, Nepal: 1 hour
Paro, Bhutan to Guwahati, northeast India: 1 hour
Paro, Bhutan to Gonggar, Lhasa: 6 hours
Photo credits: [Top box: Goran Hoglund (Kartlasarn)] [Bhutan to India: Shashank Gupta] [Nepal Bhutan & Tibet: Dennis Jarvis]

Written by: Chris Owen
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