Bhutan AND India Highlights
The hidden Kingdom of Bhutan is the hottest ticket in town. Isolated from the rest of the world for centuries and now limiting the amount of visitors each year and imposing minimum daily spends for tourists - we have put together and exciting new tour with a BONUS visit to the Taj Mahal and the best of our North Indian tour.
Let’s break this tour down for you:
Food - hip restaurants, trendy bars, street food, food walks - we’re all about food and it’s all included in the price - yup, dinner too AND then fly to Bhutan, one of the most picturesque and unspoilt places on the planet.
Here are the highlights:
- The Taj Mahal - one of the most moving experiences on the trip. .
- Trendy India - great shopping, funky arty neighbourhoods and cool cafés - plus we take you to Old Delhi for a cultural experience.
- Bhutan - stunning vistas, unspoilt scenery and amazing people.
- Fully escorted and hosted by Damien - small group size and our incredible hosts add FUN to your trips - after all, isn't this the reason why we travel, to have fun.
Not sure yet?
How to use this site and what to do next:
Click on THE PLAN to see the highlights and if you click on THE DETAILS you will see side trips, more detailed info or upgrades that you might like to take part in.
Bhutan With the Best of India
Nestled in the folds of the Eastern Himalayas, remaining in self-imposed isolation for centuries, Bhutan opened up to the world in a glacial pace. The population lived in close harmony with nature, evolving a unique identity, derived largely from a rich religious and cultural heritage.
To this day Bhutan limits tourist numbers and imposes a minimum spend per day for tourists - that money is spent on infrastructure and Bhutan's main GDP - Happiness.
We mentioned Bhutan is in the Himalayas right? So the best way to get there would be to fly to India and have some fun there with us before heading to this isolated Kingdom.
So here's what we had in mind.
- Fly to Delhi and join us for 6 days as we show you the highlights of Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal from our Indian Tours. Afterall, we are in the neighbourhood.
- Incredible Sights, Shopping and Flavours - Taj Mahal, Cool arty neighbourhoods, great food and bars
- Fly with us to Bhutan as we take you through this Himalayan wonderland for 6 days.
- In short we've packed in the major sights of these two .
With just 8 people on this trip it’s more like travelling with a group of like-minded friends than a tour.
It’s the small group size that gives us the flexibility to show you a side of India most tourists will never see and you get a Spirit House chef/host to help you get the most out of YOUR trip to these fascinating countries.
Day 1 - The Arrival
This is the day you arrive in Delhi. Nothing is planned for this day other than
collecting you from the airport and bringing you to the hotel for check-in.
There will be a driver waiting for you as you exit the airport terminal with a Spirit House sign in his hand. Take his hand and he will lead you gently to your car. Your adventure has now begun.
Once at your hotel, check-in, our host will give you a call and make sure you’re all settled in and, if time permits, show you around the neighbourhood.
The hotel is cool so soak it all in and we’ll meet up tomorrow morning ready to hit the streets.
There are money changers in the airport for those who like to
have cash and ATMs as well.
You can also buy a SIM card at the airport but, being India, don’t expect to put it in your phone and have it work straight away - there’s a process - so we advise you set up a Travel Pack with your phone company before you leave.
Flights: Please arrive in Delhi today.
Day 2 - Old Delhi Food Walk
Join us for breakfast at 7am and if that’s too early, hit snooze and meet us in the lobby ready to go at 8am. Don’t worry about missing breakfast because today we are heading in to Old Delhi to meet up with our food guide for a spectacular food walk.
Fantastic food, exciting people and amazing photo opportunities at every turn. We don’t want to give too much away but based on the feedback, this day this is one of the highlights of the tour - right up there with the Taj Mahal!
Lunch will be in a restored Haveli in the old city. This is a very unique opportunity to go behind the amazing facades we see on our walk and enjoy a home cooked lunch in this amazing traditional private home.
Wear closed in shoes today - you’re not going to stand in anything horrific but the streets can be a bit dirty in parts. Hand sanitiser and some wipes will come in handy too. Don’t eat too much for breakfast because you will be eating fairly soon after - it’s a food walk remember.
Our afternoons are usually free so you can do a bit of shopping or just relax. But, and this is what makes Spirit House Tours so unique, we have a plethora of cool things for you to do this afternoon if you want.
If you are in the mood, join us for some eclectic shopping, coffee etc. in a hip upmarket neighbourhood and then we’ll jump in the van for a short ride to a fabulous historic tomb that set the blueprint for the Taj Mahal.
Dinner - wow, do we have some choices here. Funky restaurants, cool bars with great food and fabulous shops to boot. We’ll take you to a few of our favourites - no hotel buffets for you tonight.
Day 3 - Cool Sights, Food & Drinks
f you think today would be all ruins, forts and statues, you’d be wrong.
Delhi is a very old city with a fascinating history that is best observed in her architecture and religion. But we’re going to mix it up and have some fun and a beer or two as well. Let’s get started . . .
We’ll kick start the morning with a visit toHumayun’s tomb. Predating the Taj, this tomb is the precursor for the design of the Taj Mahal and a beautiful monument in its own right.
Next stop - the Sikh Temple and in particular a behind-the-scenes look at the massive kitchens where they cook for 15,000 people a day.
Hungry? So are we so, it’s off to lunch with the office crowd at a local restaurant serving fabulous Thali lunches. Afterwards a sweet pan to cleanse the palate.
Now some history. After lunch we’ll go back in time at the Qutb Minar which has a rich architectural history dating all the way back through the various styles and religions of the rulers.
At this point some of you may want a beer while others may want more history and perhaps a few want to window shop some great boutiques. Thankfully you are on a Spirit House tour and we have you ALL covered.
We’ll have the van drop us off at the super trendy enclave of Hauz Khas that has some interesting ruins to explore, trendy cafés and restaurants, designer boutiques and homeware stores. We’ll book a table at a great restaurant with a view over the ruins and meet you there after your exploring and shopping for a beer/wine, some great food and to watch the sunset.
Day 4 - Agra and the Red Fort
On this trip you’re going to see plenty of forts, palaces and Mughal architecture to last a lifetime so we won’t bore you with a visit to the Taj Mahal - just kidding, we’re going to blow your socks off with the Taj Mahal, but not today.
Depart Delhi around 8.30 and arrive in Agra around lunch time - we take you to one of our favourite lunch places.
Check in to hotel to freshen up then we're off sight-seeing - a visit to the majestic Agra Fort is a must and gives you your first glimpse of the Taj Mahal.
Back to the hotel to relax a bit before hitting the streets for an amazing food experience - you won't see any tourists doing this as they are all back in their hotels grazing on the buffet.
Day 5 - Agra - Taj Mahal
Today is Taj Day. Having all this time in Agra means there is no rush to visit it. Sunrise and Sunset are great times when crowds are smaller and the light is just right for stunning photos. So let’s play it by ear.
But Agra is more than the Taj Mahal. The Red fort is spectacular and is entwined with the story of the Taj Mahal.
This afternoon we drive out to Fatephur Sikri - a ghost city lost to time in the desert.
Dinner tonight - let’s have dinner at home with a local family. Find out the life, dreams and aspirations of our hosts - help out in the kitchen and get some tips and tricks too.
Day 6 - Back to Delhi
We arrive back from Agra late in the afternoon - we have some great shopping itineraries for you today or lie in and get a massage there's no rush to get back to Delhi as we are basically just making our way to the airport hotel ready for our flight out tomorrow.
Did we mention shopping?
There is a big mall with great restaurants, bars and modern shops right near the hotel in Delhi too - and pool etc.
Day 7 - Flight to Paro, Bhutan
Bhutan is a closed country and only allows a certain number of visitors in each year. There is also a minimum spend each day and that money goes in to the country to fund all their infrastructure. Basically there's no exports from here and Tourism and Happiness are their main concerns.
We fly to Paro - and then drive to Thimphu. In the evening visit Kings Memorial Chorten and take a stroll through the craft bazaar. O/N in hotel
Day 8 - Timphu
Timphu is a great intro to Bhutanese culture so in the morning we will visit Buddha Point, Changangkha Lhakhang and National Library.
In the evening we're off to the National textile Museum, Simply Bhutan Museum - where we get a glimpse in to Bhutanese life and end by visiting Traschichhoe Dzong
Day 9 - Timphu to Punakha
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochu la pass (3088 mts). Enroute take a short hike to the Fertility Temple or Chimmi Lhakhang. Check in at your hotel. Later visit Punakha Dzong.
There's basically only one road to Punakha and so we will be seeing many of the same sights as everyone else who visits Bhutan - however, this is a Spirit House tour and we have a few surprises for you along the way that other tourists don't see.
Day 10 - Punakha to Paro
After breakfast drive to Paro.
This is going to be a long day driving through spectacular scenery. Now remember, there's only one road in and out of Punakha - so anything you missed on the journey to Punakha you can catch up on the way back.
Afternoon visiting some great sights in Paro eg: Ta Dzong, Rinpung Dzong and Kyichu Lakhang