Delek Children's Foundation

Bhutan Cultural Tour - 2018

Thank you for your interest to join our Charity Tour to Bhutan.Due to Ven. Thupten Donyo's new assignment by Gyuto Monastery, he is unable to lead the tours this year. Therefore, Sonam Choekyi will lead the Charity Tours for the Foundation this year. Sonam is a Travel Consultant at Third Eye Travel and we have been working with Sonam for international air tickets and tour reservations for our previous tours for many years. Please note: during the tour we will be staying in 3 to 4 star hotels that are often fully booked during the season between November - February. We will be flying two times, at the beginning and end of the tour, and traveling by charter bus/van for the rest of the tour.

Joining the tour will not only benefit to develop your spiritual path, but also in help raising some funds for the Delek Children Foundation.

NOTE: Pilgrimage costs are based on a typical group size of at least 10 participants.A minimum of 10 participants are necessary to operate this tour. Should this tour be under-subscribed, a surcharge of $200 per person will apply.

Please note this is a private tour which we are organizing through our local agent in India.Third Eye Travel is not organizing the tour. If you need any information regarding the tour or your flights, please contact Sonam at office@delekcf.org or call her directly at 650-799-4261.

Tour Cost: $3,850.00 per person without international air fare and it includes 12 days of lodging, meals and local transportation. All prices are based on shared rooms, twin beds. If you would like a single room, there will be an additional $800 per person.

Lodging:

During the trip, you will be sharing rooms that have twin beds. Therefore, we advise you to encourage your family and/or friends to join the tour so that you can share the room with them. We will make the greatest effort to make you as comfortable as possible.

Please click this link below to print the registration form:

Registration is open now.

To register for the pilgrimage, please mail us a $500 check payable to Delek Children's Foundation along with complete registration form and a photocopy of your passport for hotel reservation to: 5600 Sutter Ave. Richmond, CA 94804. The registration deadline is July 31st 2018.Then full payment of the trip must be paid full by August 31st 2018. Once we receive your registration, we'll send you the confirmation. However, without the deposit your registration will not be confirmed. Your deposit will be part of the payment.

If anyone wishes to join the pilgrimage from other states or other countries, they are welcome to do so. However, registration is still required and all participants must arrive in Delhi as per tour schedule.

Important
For your international tickets,we recommend you to discuss with Sonam and she will give you suggestion as per the group schedule. If you fly with different airlines, please make sure to contact Sonam before purchasing the tickets. You must arrive in New Delhi on the same day according to the group schedule. If you arrive in Delhi one day before or after the group, all the additional expenses will not be included in the package.

India and Bhutan Visas
Please apply for your Indian visa before you book your airline ticket unless you already obtained your Indian visa previously.Indian visa can be obtained at Cox & Kings Visa service. We will arrange the Bhutan visa once we receive your final tour payment. Bhutan visa fee will be included in the package.

Tour Highlights:  Thimphu – Punakha – Wangdue – Bumthang – Phobjikha – Paro

Wednesday, November 7: Depart SFO/US:(With Singapore airline)

Depart SFO  at 00:05 on Singapore Airline.

Thursday, November 8: Delhi Arrival at late night

Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the hotel.(Royal Plaza Hotel )

Friday, November-09: Arrive Delhi

After breakfast or lunch, sight-seeing of Delhi. (Overnight at hotel in Delhi)

Saturday, November-10: Delhi – Paro + Paro – Thimphu

After breakfast, depart to Delhi international airport to board flight to Paro. On arrival at Paro airport, groups will be greeted by our representative after collection of luggage & completion of visa formalities from immigration. Then drive to Thimphu which takes 1½ - 2 hours depending on the movement and stops, en-route visit Tachog Monastery “The Temple of Excellent Horse” built by Thangthong Gyalpo (iron chain builder in Tibet & Bhutan). Check-in hotel on arrival. In the evening, either relax or hang around Thimphu local market and town on your own. (Overnight at hotel in Thimphu)

Sunday, November-11: Thimphu (Altitude 2320 meter)

Start a day with a visit to the National Memorial Stupa, built in memory of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Then visit Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point), Tashichho Dzhong. If time permits, visit Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artifacts used in rural households. (Overnight at hotel in Thimphu)

Monday, November-12: Thimphu – Punakha (Punakha Altitude 1350 meter)

Distance 77 km / 3 - 4 hours approx.

Drive to Punakha, En-route stop at Dochula Pass (3050m) which is one of the most beautiful drives in Bhutan. On a clear sunny day at Dochula, one can see a spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan mountain ranges especially scenic on clear winter days where visitors can see snow capped mountains. This pass is also dotted by many colorful prayer flags and 108 Stupas built in the memory of Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 war against insurgents from India. Later, drive to Punakha and visit one of the most iconic Punakha Dzong (Punakha Fortress) built in 1673 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. (Overnight at hotel in Punakha)

Tuesday, November-13: Punakha – Bumthang

Distance 210 km / 10 - 11 hours approx. including all stops and halt

Drive to Bumthang via Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan by crossing another pass that is Pele La pass at an altitude of 3,300 meter. This pass is an important dividing range that separates the western Bhutan from central and eastern Bhutan. At Trongsa, visit the most impressive Dzong (Fortress) of the country “The Trongsa Dzong” where the first two Kings ruled from this Dzong and if time permits, visit the Trongsa Museum in the watchtower dedicated to the Royal Wangchuk dynasty, which tells the stories of the Dzong and features personal belongings of the Kings and Queens of Bhutan. After the visit, continue the journey through some of Bhutan’s most beautiful landscapes to Bumthang. Check-in hotel on arrival. (Overnight in Bumthang)

Wednesday, November-14: Bumthang (altitude 2600m )

After breakfast, sightseeing of Bumthang to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan by visiting the following places:

  • Jakar Dzong, which now used as administrative centre for Bumthang valley and houses the regional monks body
  • Jambay Temple, built in the 7th century by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet,
  • Kurjey Temple, Temple of Guru Rinpoche body imprint, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan
  • Tamshing Temple, built in 1501 which is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. One can witness the old Buddhist paintings.
  • Membartso (The Burning Lake) a sacred lake from where Terton Pema Lingpa (treasure discoverer) discovered several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden religious treasures from this lake in the early 16th century.
  • Konchogsum Temple built in the 6th century

Thursday, November-15: Bumthang – Phobjikha ( Altitude 3000 meter)       

Distance: 188 km / 7-8 hours approx. including stop and halt

Start the journey back to west Bhutan to Phobjikha Valley, a wide flat wetland valley without any trees and is considered the largest and the most significant wetland in the country and one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare endangered Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. On arrival, visit Gangtey monastery, one of the Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and recently extensively renovated, established in 1613 by Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and the first reincarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa. (Overnight at hotel or Farm House in Phobjikha)

Friday, November-16: Phobjikha (Gangtey) – Paro

Distance: 145 km / 7-8 hours approx. including all stop and halt

Drive to Paro via Wangdue and visit the ruins of Wangdue Dzong. Sadly Wangdue Dzong was gutted down by devastating fire on 24th June 2012 and rebuilding will take many years. There is little now to see in Wangdue. So after a brief stop, continue on our way. On arrival at Paro, check-in hotel. Later, you can visit Paro Farm House or the local handicraft shops for souvenirs on your own. (Overnight at hotel or Farm House in Paro)

Saturday, November-17: Paro (Altitude 2280 meter)

After breakfast, sightseeing starts with a visit to Taktsang monastery – the Tiger's Nest, perched on the side of a cliff at a height of 900 meter above the Paro valley floor. You can only hear the sounds of waterfalls, birds and the chanting of monks. Hike up to Taktsang monastery to visit the oldest monastery where Guru Padmasambhava arrived here on the back of a flying tigress and meditated in a cave during the 8th century. The hike will take about 2 hrs up and 2 hrs down depending on individual’s stamina. Afternoon, visit Drukgyel Dzong ruins (25-kms Den) located at 9840 feet, Rinpung Dzong also known as Paro Dzong which is the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and houses the monastic body of Paro, Ta-Dzong – The national museum housed in the ancient watchtower and Paro Town. If time permits, visit oldest and sacred Kyichu Temple built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo and Dungtse Temple built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder Thangtong Gyalpo. Farewell dinner in the evening. (Overnight stay at Hotel or Farm house)

Sunday, November-18: Paro – Delhi (spend a night in Delhi)

(Note: If anyone is left with Bhutanese currency, its better to change it at the Paro airport or before departure at money exchange in Paro)

After breakfast, depart to Paro airport to board flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi international airport, transfer to the hotel. Check-in hotel on arrival. Free time to spend on your own.

Monday, November- 19th: Depart Delhi - USA for destination
After late breakfast, check-out from the hotel and visit National Museum to see the relics of Buddha. Thereafter drive to Majnu-ka-Tilla Tibetan colony for lunch. After late lunch, take rest at the Tibetan colony till departure transfer to international airport to board return flight home.

End of the Tour

Trip Cost $3155.00
Bhutan Visa Fees     $40.00
Airfare: Delhi – Paro Roundtrip fare   $655.00
Total Bhutan Tour Cost Per Person $3850.00

The above cost Includes

  1. 12 days in twin bed, shared rooms in 3 - 4 star hotels with.
  2. All meals included for the duration of the tour.
  3. Overland transportation as per the tour itinerary.
  4. Round trip flight from Delhi to Paro.
  5. Airport transfer as per the group itinerary.
  6. Necessary Entrance fees and permit in Bhutan
  7. English speaking local guide in Bhutan
  8. Government royalty, tax and Fees in Bhutan.
  9. Bhutan Visa Fees

Cost doesn’t include:

  1. International Airfare and Visa for India
  2. Excess baggage fees
  3. Airport transfers and hotel accommodations for those arriving and leaving separately from the group.
  4. Expenses occurred due to unavoidable Events i.e. road wrecks, flight delay/cancellations etc.
  5. All personal expenses such as DRINKS, LAUNDRY, MEDICAL, etc.
  6. Insurance of any kind
  7. Tips (On the last day we request all members to offer small gifts to our bus driver and his assistant. They always expect some gift from us at the end of the service).
  8. Cost which are not included above in “Cost Inc

TOUR PREPARATION:

All participants are advised to check with their health insurance carrier regarding coverage abroad as well as their medical professionals for any precautionary medical treatments for travel to India and Bhutan. Emergency medical facilities may not be readily available at all times in India and Bhutan. Also, please make sure that you are in good health in order to travel with the group and free to walk for an hour each day.

CHECKLIST:

Below is a list to help you organize everything you'll need prior to travel:

  1. It's advisable to travel as light as possible. Domestic flights allow only one piece of 15 kgs/33 lbs checked bag and 7 kgs/15 lbs for hand carry.
  2. Please reconfirm your international flight details beforehand.
  3. Be sure to arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to departure.
  4. Valid passport of minimum six months with multiple entry Indian Visa.
  5. Extra digital copy of passport and passport photos
  6. Cash: you may need approximately $1000 - $3000 for personal needs and shopping. Please check with tour guide before exchanging your money.
  7. Do not bring traveler's checks
  8. Money, passport and tickets need to be protected at all times and carried with you throughout the entire trip.
  9. Do not leave your bags unattended and do not trust strangers while traveling.
  10. Travel Insurance is recommended.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

  • November is good weather in India and Bhutan but may get little cold in the morning and evening, so we recommend some warm clothes just in case.
  • Comfortable shoes for walking
  • A small, light blanket can be very useful on the bus.
  • Modest clothes - skin exposure and figure hugging clothes are not commonly worn in India and Bhutan and may bring a lot of unwanted and annoying attention.
  • Please note you will need 220 volt (NOT 110 volt) and the correct adapter plug for India and Bhutan.
  • Hat and sunglasses- sun can be quite strong even in winter.
  • Tylenol, cough drops, bandages and so on for basic first aid/medical needs.

RECOMMENDED (OPTIONAL)

  • A small hot water bottle
  • Some large ziplock bags for wet or dirty clothes
  • Padlock(s) - mainly for luggage
  • Wet wipes or wet towels, very useful in India and Bhutan
  • Dried fruits & nuts/snacks for yourself on the bus
  • Some candies for kids in the rural areas

If you have any questions about this tour, please contact Sonam directly at: (650)-799-4261 or email at: office@delekcf.org.

Thank you