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The Himalayas are not merely a geographical feature, a range of mountains. they epitomise people's civilisational identity that goes back to the dawn of history. If these majestic mountains were not there, the rain clouds sweeping up from the Indian Ocean.

Bhutan Himalaya

Bhutan Culture, Bhutan ToursThe land of Thunder Dragon , with its majestic mountains locked in the heart of the Himalayas is still perhaps the world's most exclusive tourist attraction.

Location : 150-km From Siliguri To huntsholing , Bhutan Border

Average Altitude : 7,554m

Capital : Thimphu

Best Time To Visit : March To August

Bhutan often reversed as the 'Land of the peaceful Dragon' is still regarded as one of the last "Shangri-La" in the Himalayan region because of its remoteness, it's spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna and it's unique ancient Buddhist monasteries. It is relatively unexplored pockets of Asia , which allows only limited number of discerning travelers to enter the country with special travel visa permits. Bhutan 's isolation has resulted its culture and traditions remaining much the same for many hundreds of years. Our weekly departure allows you to experience the stunning beautiful alpine valley flanked by step slopes and terraced pastures dotted with temple.

Festival (Tsechus ) are held in Bhutan through out the year at difffrent locations. These festivals are celebrations of faith, legends, mythsand history of Bhutan in ancient rituals of colorful dance and music. To coincide a visit to Bhutan during the festive season will be even better way to observe the unique culture.

Bhutan ToursBhutan is a tiny independent country, about the same size and shape as Switzerland (i.e. roughly 200 miles east to west and 100 miles north to south), sandwiched between its mighty neighbours, China to the north and India to the south. The main Himalaya Chain runs west to east across Bhutan and the majority of the country lies between altitudes of 1500 and 5000 metres. The highest peaks lie towards the northern edge of the territory, and these include Gangkar Puensum (7540m) and Chomolhari (7313m). There is a strong monsoonal influence over the whole of Bhutan to the south of the main Himalaya Chain, lasting from June to the end of September, and the land area is densely forested as a result. This forest varies from a lush jungle of teak and tropical tree species, through poplar, ash, oak and conifer forest between 1500 and 3000 metres, to more predominantly coniferous woodland and then scrub above 4000 metres. Numerous deeply-cut river valleys run north to south across the landscape. Western Bhutan is made up of four valleys, namely Ha (average height 2700m), Paro (2200m), Thimpu (2300m) and Punakha/Wangdi Phodrang (1300m). Western Bhutan is separated from Central Bhutan by The Black Mountains, which rise to elevations of 5000 metres and form an effective natural boundary. A single road crosses this range by way of the Pele La (3300m). Central Bhutan is divided into several regions. Its most southerly district, Khyeng, is famous for impenetrable jungle. North of Khyeng, lies Tongsa, home to one of Bhutan 's most impressive Dzongs, which sits in a strategic position, high above the Mangde River . Bumthang is the name given to a group of valleys lying to the north of Tongsa, which rise to an altitude of 4,000 metres. In these valleys, the mountainsides are cloaked with dark coniferous forests, and the houses are built of stone rather than wood.

Population and History
One and a half million people live in Bhutan , with all but 5 percent of the population pursuing a lifestyle which is dependent on subsistence agriculture. Well over half of the Bhutanese populace are Bhotias of Tibetan stock (Bhot - Tibet ), and these people still adhere to their Buddhist beliefs. The remainder are mostly a mixture of Indian ethnic groups, who follow the Hindu religion. Northern Bhutan is the most spectacular for trekkers and mountain climbers. Lying largely above 3500 metres, the principal regions of Lingshi, Laya and Lunana, are inhabited by semi-nomadic Yak-herders who live on a diet of milk, butter, cheese and yak meat. The high altitude limits cultivable crops to barley and a hardy variety of potato. The people of this area spend most of the year tending their herds on the high valley pastures, living in black tents woven from yak hair. They have permanent homes in the villages lower down the valleys, and these are built of stone, in the traditional Bhutanese style, and are used to store grain which is brought up the valleys from the south. The valleys of Western and Central Bhutan offer rich reminders of its colourful history; monasteries, temples and fortresses abound. The country's permanent capital has been located in Thimpu since the early 1950's. One of the strongest unifying features of this small nation is the almost universal love of the sport of archery. Throughout the land, Sundays are celebrated by holding day-long archery competitions. The earliest records of Bhutanese history suggest that the territory was divided into several principalities, which were not combined into a single state until the early seventeenth century. This unification of the territory was achieved by the rise to power of the country's first ‘‘king'' who was called Ngawang Namgyal. A hereditary monarchy was established in 1907, and the present, much loved and respected king is Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Time Zone
The time in India is GMT +6 hours.

Bhutan ToursBhutan 's climate varies considerably both with altitudes and across the region. Like most of Asia it is affected by monsoons. Western Bhutan is particularly affected by monsoons that bring between 60 and 90 percent of the region's rainfall. The climate is humid and subtropical in the southern plains and foothills, temperate in the inner Himalayan valleys of the southern and central regions, and cold in the north, with permanent glaciers along the main Himalayan chain. Annual precipitation ranges widely in various parts of the country. In the high northern valleys, there is only about forty millimeters of annual precipitation which mostly falls as snow. Thimphu experiences dry winter months (December through February) and almost no precipitation until March, when rainfall averages 20 millimeters a month and increases steadily thereafter to a high of 220 millimeters in August for a total annual rainfall of nearly 650 millimeters. Bhutan 's generally dry spring starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. Summer weather commences in mid-April with occasional showers and continues through the premonsoon rains of late June. The summer monsoon lasts from late June through late September with heavy rains from the southwest. The monsoon weather, blocked from its northward progress by the Himalayas , brings heavy rains, high humidity, flash floods and landslides, and numerous misty, overcast days. Autumn, from late September or early October to late November, follows the rainy season. It is characterized by bright, sunny days and some early snowfalls at higher elevations. From late November until March, winter sets in, with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall common above elevations of 3,000 meters. An important consideration for trekkers and climbers is that in general the climate in Bhutan is much windier, damper and colder than Nepal , for example. The changes in the weather from one season to the next are spectacular, and there is only a short window of good weather between the end of the monsoon (which usually dies out by the end of September) and the arrival of the winter snows toward the end of November.

Rough guide to temperatures March-April, October -November
  Maximum Day-time Temperature Minimum Night-time Temperature
Thimpu & lower valleys + 25º C (77º F) 7º C (45º F)
3000 - 4000 metres + 20 - 15º C (68 - 59º F) - 5 º C (23 º F)

Custom, Religion & Dress
Officially called Druk Yul, which means Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan is the least developed and possibly most mysterious of the Himalayan countries. An active governmental policy of upholding traditional cultural and religious values has ensured a minimal effect from the social and economic influences of the outside world. The official religion practiced by the majority of Bhutanese is Vajrayana Buddhism. This form is associated with a very colourful imagery and the festivals held throughout Bhutan during the pre and post monsoon seasons are splendid pageants where troupes of masked and costumed monks and laypersons perform ritual and instructional dances. Bhutanese people are extremely polite and it is the custom to exchange pleasantries and enquiries as to the family well being before getting down to any business. You will never see a display of anger and you should take particular care to keep your patience and good humour. Visitors should always ask before permission before taking photographs of local people, and at festivals it is necessary to be particularly discreet with photography. The national dress of Bhutan is the men's kho, a colourful folded gown tied with a sash and the woman's kira, a large rectangular cloth wound around the body. In Thimpu it is mandatory for Bhutanese citizens to wear the kho or kira. Tight or revealing clothing should be avoided and shorts should only be worn when trekking.

Bhutan ToursBhutan 's unit of currency is the Ngultrum. It is tied to the Indian rupee and Indian rupees are an accepted currency throughout Bhutan . It is not normally possible (and it is certainly not necessary) to purchase Ngultrums outside the country. We recommend you take you're the majority of your travel money in the form of cash and use travellers cheques if you need extra cash for souvenirs or further traveling after your TBI trip. Dollars and Sterling are readily exchanged. Credit cards can be used to purchase some goods in Thimpu and are particularly useful for more expensive items such as carpets and Tanka paintings.

We will arrange your visa for Bhutan . You will be required to pay an entry fee upon arrival in Bhutan . Full details will be provided when we confirm your booking on a TBI trip.

You should visit your own doctor and dentist for a check-up prior to taking your trip to Bhutan . The following is a ROUGH GUIDE for immunization. (We must stress that this is only a basic guide to the most commonly required vaccinations for travel worldwide. You must seek and abide by the specific advice of your local doctor/medical professional).

(a) Polio (normally you will just need a booster.)
(b) Tetanus.
(c) Typhoid. A full course requires 2 injections separated by an interval of 4-6 weeks.
(d) Hepatitis (A) and (B).
(e) Anti-malarial prophylaxis: Please refer to your doctor for the most up to date information about anti-malarial medication for the areas that you will be visiting.
(f) Rabies pre-exposure vaccination. Please refer to your doctor for advice on whether you need rabies pre-exposure vaccination. In the unlikely case of your being bitten, this vaccination does not eliminate the need for urgent evacuation to a suitable medical facility for additional treatment,. However, it does simplify that additional treatment and also prolongs the period that you can safely delay before receiving post-exposure treatment. Given enough notice, your doctor will be able to administer all the above vaccinations.

Additional Source of Information

Bhutan . Odyssey Guide. Francoise Pommaret - essential reading, a great book to take with you on the trek.
Bhutan . Lonely Planet Guide. Stan Armington.
Bhutan - Land of the Thunder Dragon. Tom Owen Edmunds - Good Coffee table book with excellent pictures. Covers the whole of Bhutan , well written and very informative.

Bhutan Himalaya 1:500,000 - general map of Bhutan , not specific for trekking areas and too expensive for what it offers.

Lonely PLanet -
Rough Guides -

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