Venture into one of the most isolated countries in the world, aptly referred to as the 'Last Shangri-La', and discover the extraordinary Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan at the 'Roof of the World'. Bhutan is truly an unspoiled preserve with a cultural heritage that has largely remained intact due to its isolation from the rest of the world until the early 1960s. Stay in Thimphu, the capital of the tiny Himalayan kingdom, with a two-night stay at the luxurious Amankora Resort. The climb to the Tiger's Nest completes your adventure.
04MIDBKK-O The Dragon Kingdom - Bhutan
Departure: March 19, 2017 from Bangkok
Duration: 4 Days/3 Nights
Re-join ship: March 22, 2017 in Singapore
Reserve: A minimum of 90 days prior to sailing
This Mid-Voyage Land Adventure requires advance booking through Silversea Reservations no later than 90 days prior to the start of your cruise. Requests received after this date may be accommodated on a space-available basis and the programme price is subject to change. Payment in full is due within 120 days prior to sailing. This programme is non-refundable if cancelled within 90 days of sailing. A minimum number of participants is required to operate this programme.
Please Note: Guests need to bring two passport photos with them.
IMPORTANT: Silversea will contact you once you 4-6 weeks prior to departing to Bhutan to complete the necessary paperwork for the group visa required for your participation.
Located in the Himalayas between China and India, visitors find not only stunning natural scenery but also unique architecture that, by law, must conform to traditional design. Historically and culturally the mountain kingdom is linked with Tibet, but politically and economically the country today is drawn much closer to India. The nation is a bastion of Vajrayana Buddhism, which influences all aspects of life in the kingdom.
Bhutan has been a monarchy since 1907, and in April of 2007, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk abdicated in favour of his son, Jigme Khesa Namgyal Wangchuck. This Mid-Voyage Land Adventure focuses on two areas:
The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and many monks, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.
The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, the National Museum and the country's only airport. Mount Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing the bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
Tourism in this landlocked country is still relatively slow and regulated by the government in an effort to sustain the current culture and traditions. There are some rules that need to be remembered: When visiting temples, hats and shoes must be removed; modest dress is required for visits to sacred sites, and smoking in public is a fineable offence. The outlined programme may require adjustments due to local conditions beyond Silversea's control. We invite you to join us on this adventure!
DAY ONE - Bangkok / Paro / Thimphu
A very early start (approximately 4:00AM) is necessary to begin your fascinating trip to The Dragon Kingdom, Bhutan. Your guide awaits pierside to transfer you to Bangkok's airport for your Druk Air flight to Paro, Bhutan's only international airport. The total travel time is approximately 3.5 - 4 hours with a 30-minute stop in Guwahiti. The flight to Paro in itself will be a thrilling experience as it passes over the green wall of hills known as the gateways into Bhutan and then gradually ascends into the Himalayas.
Upon arrival at Paro airport, proceed through the necessary final visa formalities where your visa stamp is issued. All foreign nationals require a visa for Bhutan and Silversea will apply for this visa several weeks before your departure. Once completed, you are met by your Amankora guide and begin the 1.5 hour scenic drive to Thimphu, the capital of the tiny Himalayan kingdom. Check-in and enjoy lunch at the luxury Amankora Resort.
This afternoon explore the sites of Thimphu including the National Memorial of Chorten, erected in 1974 in honour of the late king, the National Textile Museum, the Folk Heritage Museum and the National Library. See the stunningly beautiful 17th-century Thimphu Dzong, a national treasure and symbol of Bhutan, Trashi Chhoe Dzong, where the secretariat, the throne room and the offices of the King, and some ministries offices are located.
If time permits, stroll along the main street and the market for an opportunity to experience some local colour and to browse for regional handicraft items.
Dinner and overnight accommodation are at the hotel, the Amankora Resort - Thimphu
DAY TWO - Thimphu / Paro
Following breakfast, check-out of the hotel and start the day with a visit to the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, where training is offered in the 13 aspects of traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. You will also have a chance to peek at the classes and to shop the students' works from the showroom.
Bhutan is also famous for producing unique and innovative stamps. After selling peculiar 'CD-Rom Postage Stamps', they now offer personalised stamps. At the Thimphu General Post Office you will have the opportunity to have a custom-made stamp with one of your favourite holiday photographs made just for you.
Drive to Paro with a stop at Tachugang and take a short walk to the riverside - bridge to see the pray flags, check-in at the Amankora Resort before stopping for lunch. This afternoon, tour the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower), where an intriguing collection of artefacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. Just a short walk downhill lies the dominating Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. From the Dzong, walk across Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge, and continue on to the town temple, built in 1525, to view ancient wall paintings.
Dinner and overnight accommodation are at the hotel, the Amankora Resort - Paro
DAY THREE - Paro
This morning will begin with a hike up to view one of Bhutan's most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goemba, more commonly referred to as the 'Tiger's Nest'. Please ensure you have a hearty breakfast.
The Monastery is built on a 3,000-foot (914-metre) cliff and is the country's most famous and sacred site. The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff and was devastated in a fire in 1998. The government took immediate steps to restore the complex to its original structure. The climb to the viewpoint will take you past small settlements and through pine forests. The four to five hour return trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery and its surrounds, high above the valley floor. (Horses or mules will be provided to take guests up to the viewpoint and thereafter guests need to walk to the monastery, another 45-60 minute walk up and down steps.)
Return to the hotel for lunch. Time permitting, your afternoon in Paro will include a visit to the Kyichu Lahkhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan or time for browsing in shops in town. If you prefer, just enjoy the ambience that only the Amankora can offer. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Overnight accommodation is at the hotel, the Amankora Resort - Paro
DAY FOUR - Paro / Singapore
Enjoy a very early breakfast (approx. 5:00AM) at the hotel before check-out. A morning transfer takes you from your hotel to Paro Airport for the 5-hour flight to Singapore Iincluding stopover). Upon arrival in Singapore, return to Silver Whisper where the staff and crew are eager to welcome you back.
Please note: This Mid-Voyage Land Adventure requires an extensive amount of walking and climbing of many steps at most sites. The hike to the Tiger's Nest is about 5 hours in total and is taken at a slow pace. Altitude sickness may be a problem for guests suffering from palpitations, shortness of breath or severe headaches. This programme is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Comfortable shoes and dressing in layers is recommended. Due to a wide range of temperature (approx. 27-29c during the day/18c at night / 80-84f days, 65f nights ) and climate conditions, it is recommended to bring appropriate clothing for protection against the changing conditions. Shorts, hats, sleeveless blouses are not permitted to wear in the monasteries. Dress code throughout the trip is modest casual with sturdy walking shoes. It is recommended to leave jewellery and valuables on board. The order of the itinerary may be amended due to flight schedule changes or other unforeseen factors. In case of flight changes, the tour sequence may be reversed or amended. Remember to bring your camera. There are baggage restrictions as follows: hand baggage gross weight is limited to 5 kg (11 lb.) and size is limited to 23*36*56 cm. One checked bag must be less than 20 kg (44 pounds). Guests must be aware that Bhutan's infrastructure is still very limited and touring in the country requires some 'roughing it'. As travel within the Kingdom needs to be flexible, your understanding and a sense of adventure is necessary. This description is a general overview of the programme only and changes may be made if local conditions require. Guests need to bring two passport photos with them.
- One-night stay at Amankora Resort - Thimphu
- Two-night stay at Amankora Resort - Paro
- Three breakfasts, three lunches, one in-flight meal, three dinners (lunches and dinners in restaurants include choice of two glasses of local beer, house wine, soft drinks, water)
- Flights (Economy Class) - Bangkok/Guawahati/Paro and Paro/Guawahati/Singapore. At an additional charge, an upgrade to First or Business Class may be requested, subject to availability. Requests must be submitted at the time of booking this programme. Each flight is quoted separately and is non-refundable once confirmed.
- Visa for Bhutan
- All sightseeing and transfers as per itinerary
Any meals and drinks not specified above, charges incurred by the airlines for excess or overweight luggage, gratuities to drivers and tour guides, laundry, telephone calls, cancellation insurance and other personal items.
All Land Adventures require a minimum number of participants in order to operate as described. If this minimum number is not met, Silversea reserves the right to offer the programme at a different rate based on private arrangements, or to cancel the specific departure. Silversea's published cruise cancellation policy will remain in effect. All Land Adventure fares are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is received in full by Silversea. Onboard Spending Credit may not be applied to the purchase of this programme. All Land Adventures are non-transferable and non-refundable for any reason, within 90 days of sailing and are recommended to guests 18 years of age and older. This description is a general overview of this programme. Our local operator reserves the right to substitute other sites if local situations, including holidays, changes made by airlines, government/citizens' activities, and weather, require. The programme described in this brochure is provided by independent contractors. Silversea acts solely as ticketing agent. Silversea shall have no obligation or liability of any kind to guests for the business practices, acts or omissions in connection with or arising out of arrangements with independent contractors, including but not limited to airline carriers, ground-tour operators, and hotels since they are neither agents for nor employees of Silversea Cruises. Silversea's liability does not extend beyond the vessel.