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Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

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Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

We are 72 and 76 and well-traveled. Below is our itinerary as of today suggested by agent. The hotels should be clean and if possible have a view or some charm & if possible a good pool. We don’t camp. We like UNESCO monuments, small towns/villages, museums, gorgeous scenery, caves with sculpture & or painting. We will appreciate any tips you can offer.

Almost 6 weeks in Sri Lanka, Nepal/Kathmandu, scroll down for Bhutan possible itinerary

Sri Lanka Start 10 Days in Sri Lanka: is this too much?

January 19, Sunday: Delhi/Colombo

Morning at leisure. In the late afternoon, transfer to the airport in time for Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL#196 departing Delhi at 6:40 pm to arrive Colombo at 10:15 pm. Complete immigration and customs formalities. You will be met and transferred to Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel (Deluxe Room).

January 20, Monday: Colombo

Morning at leisure.

In the afternoon proceed on sightseeing Tour of Colombo driving through the Commercial area of the “ Fort”. Drive passed “Pettah” Visit Hindu temple & drive pass Jumi-UL Alfar Jumma Mosque, Tour Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens, Independence Square, Bandaranayke Memorial International Conference Hall. And also visit Gangaramaya Temple

January 21, Tuesday: Colombo

After breakfast, leave for Kelaniya and visit the "Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara"

January 22, Wednesday: Colombo/Pinnawela/Kandy

After breakfast, leave for Kandy en route visit the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. Also could accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see them having their daily bath.

Cinnamon Citadel Hotel (Superior Room). Balance of the day is at leisure.

January 23, Thursday: Kandy

After breakfast, visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. City tour of Kandy. Drive around the Kandy Lake. Visit the Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts & crafts centre and a gem museum and a lapidary. In the evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.

January 24, Friday: Kandy/Dambulla

After breakfast, leave for Dambulla en route stopping in a spice garden in Matale, to see the different spices. Visit the Dambulla Rock Temple. Climb up to the temple, Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world.

Heritance Kandalama Hotel (Dambulla Wing).

January 25, Saturday: Dambulla/Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa/Dambulla

Visit Sigiriya - Climb the 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress which is a world heritage site, Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway, a world heritage site - Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya – with 4 splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, king Parakramabahu’s statue, and the Parakrama Samudraya lake built by King Parakramabahu the great. See monuments Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic. Return to your hotel in Dambulla.

January 26, Sunday: Dambulla/Anuradhapura/Dambulla

Drive to Anuradhapura the home of two World Heritage sites. See Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree); Brazen Palace (2nd century B.C), the 1600 stone columns, Ruwanweliseya (2nd century B.C) famous of all the Dagobas. Isurumuniya rock temple (3rd century B.C) rock carvings of 'The Lovers'. Kuttam Pokuna – twin ponds (6th century AD) was used by the Buddhist monks as a bathing pool. Thuparama Dagoba (3rd century B.C) Return to hotel.

January 27, Monday: Dambulla/Negombo

Go to Negombo, Jetwing Blue Hotel (deluxe room). Balance of the day at leisure. (What is there to see? We’re not much for leisure unless specially nice hotel )

January 28, Tuesday: Negombo

Day to relax on the beach. (If cannot swim in polluted water skip this?)

January 29, Wednesday: Negombo/Colombo/Delhi

Colombo airport in time for UL#195 departing at 2:05 pm to arrive Delhi at 5:40 pm. Radisson Blu Hotel, just ourside the airport.

(Change to early flight, avoid airport hotel, fly to Kathmandu on 29th?)

Start 8 days in Nepal/Kathmandu

January 30, Thursday: Delhi/Kathmandu

In the late morning, transfer to the airport in time for Jet Airways flight 9W#262 departing Delhi at 1:50 pm to arrive Kathmandu at 3:35 pm. Complete immigration and customs formalities. You will be met and transferred to Hotel Hyatt Regency (stupa view room). (Can’t we do this in one day? See Jan.29 question.)

January 31, Friday: Kathmandu

Explore Kathmandu visit Swayambhunath, a 2,000 year old Buddhist stupa, Hindu temples and palaces. In the afternoon, visit Bhadgaon, an ancient capital of Nepal. Palace of 55 Windows, the Golden Gate, the 5-storeyed Nyatapola Temple (a marvelous example of the pervasive pagoda architecture), and the small but excellent museum. Also visit Pasupatinath Temple on your way back. It is a holy Hindu shrine on the banks of the Bagmati River.

February 1, Saturday: Kathmandu

In the morning, weather permitting, you will take what promises to be one of the most thrilling flights of your life - the Himalayan Mountain flight. During a one hour flight the plane flies at close range along the Himalayas - the world's highest and the most majestic peaks. Your view from the plane window is spectacular, especially when you finally see Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth. In the afternoon, drive to Patan, known as the "City of Grace and Fine Arts", where you will see interesting and beautiful pieces of art and architecture. Enroute, you will visit the salesroom at the Tibetan Refugee Craft Center. (Skip or see crafts being done?)

February 2, Sunday: Kathmandu

Full day excursion to Bhaktapur and Dhulikhel including at the Mountain Resort.

February 3, Monday: Kathmandu/Pokhara

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Pokhara, transfer to the Atithi Resort & Spa Hotel. In the afternoon, visit the places of interest around Pokhara valley. (What is of interest?)

February 4, Tuesday: Pokhara

Easy hiking trip to Sarangkot with boxed lunch.

February 5, Wednesday: Pokhara

Free day to relax. (Skip unless hotel really lovely place to be?)

February 6, Thursday: Pokhara/Kathmandu

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. On arrival, transfer to Hyatt Regency Hotel (stupa view room).

Start 10 Days in Bhutan

February 7, Friday: Kathmandu/Paro (Bhutan)/Thimphu

Druk Air flight KB#401 departing Kathmandu at 9:45 am to arrive Paro at 11:20 am. In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery, flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu. It is a breathtaking journey, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the kingdom. Upon arrival 2 hour drive to Thimphu, Bhutan.

February 8, Saturday: Thimphu

Thimphu: visit Tashichhodzong, Tashichhodzong summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot), visit National Library, which houses an extensive colle ction of Buddhist literature, with some works dating back several hundred years. Visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School), visit (outside only) the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the medicinal herbs abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed. Afternoon is free. (Is hotel worth hanging around? Or what else to see?)

February 9, Sunday: Thimphu

Visit National Memorial Chorten & Handicrafts Emporium and privately owned crafts shops, splendid thangkha paintings and woven textiles for which Bhutan is famous. (Skip this?) Visit the Folk Heritage&National Textile Museums.

February 10, Monday: Thimphu/Punakha

Drive over Dochu-la pass (10,130 ft) to Punakha. (Monuments on way?)

Overnight . Punakha

February 11, Tuesday: Punakha

Visit Punakha Dzong, drive to Wangduephodrang, see Wangduephodrang Dzong. Visit the local market.

February 12, Wednesday: Punakha/Paro

Drive to Paro visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. Arrive Paro and check into your hotel. Overnight.

February 13, Thursday: Paro

Visit Ta Dzong, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong.

After lunch, drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong

visit Kyichu Lhakhang, Walk along the main street.

February 14, Friday: Paro

Hike to Taksang or Tiger Nest which will take about 5 hours. One can opt to travel on foot only or hike and horseback. (Can we do this at age 72 & 76? How steep is it?)

February 15, Saturday: Paro/Delhi

KB#204 departing Paro at 11:25 am to arrive Delhi at 1:35 pm

February 17, Monday: Delhi/USA

(Except we fly back 2/21 so we can expand something above; we were in Delhi & India 5 weeks last year but not in Punjab. What do you suggest?)

Amsterdam, Holland
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1. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

I don't want to sound too blunt, but is this a standard itinary or one prepared according to your wishes??

On 11/2 you plan to visit Wangdi and the Dzong, but it burned down and as far as i know is a ruin now. The smalll town was demolished and moved to a new town west of the old town, so the market as it was doesn't exsist anymore.

I think I answered part of your questions in another post, and suggested the weekend market in Thimphu/

I'd not plan everything fixed in Thimphu, and leave time for last minute meetings with local artists, or others you'd want to see.

The hike to Taktshang can be done slowly, for the way up till the cafeteria you can hire a horse, but you have to walk down, it is advised to use walking sticks.

Edited: 22 August 2013, 14:58
Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

I agree with Bhutantaveller. The itinerary for your Bhutan trip seems to be a standard itinerary.

With the places of interests mentioned, it can be covered in 6/7 days. I felt that there are too many free time in between. For example, from Thimphu to punakha, only visit Dochula pass, which I think you can even include Punakha Dzong at least in the afternoon.

This itinerary is not really to your benefit. Like Bhutantraveller said Wangdue Dzong is burnt down and still under reconstruction and not much of the cultural sightseeing. You have one day wasted in Wangdue.

I guess you have to get your agent to put in more efforts for you to redesign a better value itinerary for you.

Edited: 22 August 2013, 16:20
Amsterdam, Holland
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3. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

I just looked at the Nepali part, and saw that you plan a flight along the Himalaya's. No need for that,as you'll be flying from KTM to Paro, it is the same route and you'll see all the mountains, if the clouds will disappear, and you'll sit at the left side of the plane. The flight is known as the best commercial flight in the world which gives such a view. So you'll have another half day for your visit. i hope that Rhythm D as a DE for nepal as well, will tune in on that part in more details.

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4. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

Dear Bhutan traveller,

Wow, thanks so much for this info. This is an itinerary recommended by an agent who clearly doesnt know what's on the ground and I haven't yet researched each thing/site he suggests seeing. If you have another itinerary to suggest or someone to contact to get one I'd be grateful.

Do you know any artists we might contact? If so that would be spectacular! We're driving tomorrow most of the day back to NYC from MA. What time will you be on your computer your time and I can send my email; or is there a better way? I'd like the name of someone who is expert with Bhutan and, if you know any, contact info for an artist or two. I could call you if that would work but what time? Are you in Europe or in Bhutan? Jajah.com is cheap and I dont mind calling if that suits you. Leslie

adelaide
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5. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

you have so many posts now all over the place it is hard to remember who has told you what and where

the glorious Wangdu Dzong did burn down but if you have an interest in architecture then it may be of interest to see the reconstruction if you can arrange it

art and architecture is primarily religious so the best examples will be temples and Dzongs

Bhutan has a history of herbal medicine and a visit to the herbarium/museum is interesting - I don't know why you would only visit the outside

it should be clear sky in Feb so the flight to Bhutan would replace your scenic day flight in Kathmandu

if you fly to Calcutta after you wont see as much again but if you go to Delhi via Kathmandu you will get a double up of the view. Admittedly it is a site that I can happily look at endlessly so up to you to decide how many times to do it.

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6. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

Dear Adelaide,

Sorry for so many posts but our trip goes to 4 countries over 6 weeks so I was told to post on various forums.

Also, I am not at all sure our agent, who was excellent for India, knows these countries and I don't know them either so I need to research each site and each proposed hotel. That's why I am very grateful for your help and tips from others.

I think you are suggesting that several flights are unnecessary (and expensive) to fly over the same range, or similar scenery. Right? You are right I'd like to see this: "the glorious Wangdu Dzong did burn down but if you have an interest in architecture then it may be of interest to see the reconstruction if you can arrange it."Do we need special access? Any ideas re. hotels?

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7. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

Dear Bhutantraveller,

Thanks again for this tip re. the flights and which side of the plane to sit on.

The flight over the Andes was one we will never forget and we picked the proper side so I know it makes a big difference. Thank you.

Leslie

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8. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

August 22

Dear Miguitar and other Bhutan experts:

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comments and those of other Bhutan experts. Clearly I need a different agent. Would you be kind enough to suggest one? I will also look for a better itinerary on the forum. Is there a good way to find a better itinerary or should I read through the various trip summary posts?

By the way, we had 7 hours between flights last year and went into the Singapore harbor, took a boat, looked at the architecture and enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you all again and please suggest a good agent or a better itinerary.

Leslie

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9. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

Hi, Leslie.

I only know the local Bhutanese agency who organised my tour in Bhutan. I can recommend my agency if you want.

If you need someone to organise the whole India, Nepal and Bhutan tour, I am not sure whether can they do it.

If you book your tour seperately, via India, Nepal n Bhutan local agent, you will need alot of coordination work. However, advantage is your cost might be lower as you save on the middleman fee.

Amsterdam, Holland
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10. Re: Feb. 7-17 in Bhutan (scroll down) need tips on itinerary

Hello,

I am on the computer during work sometimes, and in the evenings. It is best to write a PM-private message, by clicking on my name, and then: send message. I'll get a mail saying I have a message, and we can take it from there. I'll try to help you with my two agents in Bhutan, whose names I'm not allowed to mention on the forum.

I don't think it is too hard to organise every country separately. The Bhutanese agent' who HAS to do that part, even if you contact another country's agent, will start and end with the flight into Bhutan.

In KTM f.e. you can plan the day of the flight, then take a taxi from the hotel to the airport, fly, do the tour of Bhutan, fly back to Delhi, and ask your hotel there to have a taxi ready for you at the airport. I can also guide you to take a local taxi if you arrive in Delhi without a pre-arranged taxi,

As you plan your trip in a low season, it should be easy to organise everything.

As for an artist: I read the book: Married to Bhutan, and the writer is married to a Thangkha painter, she has a website:http://www.marriedtobhutan.com/

Try to contact them, if they are in Bhutan I think it might be nice to meet them.