Travel to Bhutan : Itinerary & Travel Guide



A small kingdom in the Himalayas, Bhutan lies between India and China, with Tibet on its northern border. Isolated for centuries, the Kingdom of Bhutan opened its doors to tourism in 1974, and has become a popular destination for discerning travelers. Ranked as the second smallest nation in the world in terms of population, Bhutan is a country with a rich cultural history that goes back thousands of years.

The local name for the country, Druk Yul, means “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, and it is often referred to around Asia as the “Forgotten Land”. 



Bhutan is the only country in the world that has a ‘GNH.’ You may think GNH is just another statistically based term with no real life application, but it refers to “Gross National Happiness.” The process of measuring GNH began when Bhutan opened up to globalization. It measures people’s quality of life, and makes sure that “material and spiritual development happen together.” Bhutan has done an amazing job of finding this balance. Bhutan has continually been ranked as the Happiest Country in all of Asia.

I was so surprised when I first got the invitation to Bhutan from drukasia, Thank's to Kakakching & Gigi for the recommendation, trust and love! I can't explain how happy I am as Bhutan is one of my Bucket list. I'm so blessed that now I can share more about this country with y'all. 

Some call Bhutan the “Switzerland of Asia” because of its size, shape and location in the mountains. But as I flew into Bhutan, I realized that the mountains I saw out of the window of the tiny shaky plane were Mt. Everest and K2, the two highest mountains in the world. As soon as the plane touched down in Bhutan, the beautiful landscape overwhelmed me.


View outside of my room. Fresh air.
Do you know? 
Bhutan is The First Non-smoking nation.






While Bhutan may have been a secular nation for centuries, it is now a modern country that protects its traditions in a way that ensures it is both ancient and modern at the same time. Buddhist monks can be seen carrying smartphones, and giant protective penises can be seen painted beside doorways. Bhutan is a place where rice is red, and where chili is a common ingredient in almost every dish. The Bhutanese people are a mix of traditional and modern cultures, they are well educated thanks to the government’s free education system.



My first customised stamps with my favourite photo in Bhutan.  And I then sent out postcards to my friends with my customised stamps on it. A remarkable experience. Customised a set of stamps ( 12 stamps ) cost about Nu.500 / RM30 / USD7 



Another cool experience is to wear the Bhutanese traditional dress - Kira. We wore this and took nice photos throughout our trip especially visiting to the Punakha Dzong, where government office and temple gathered. This is one of a Must-Visit place if you are traveling to Bhutan. 

A set of Kira cost around Nu3500 / RM210 / USD$50



You'll easily see dogs and cats on the streets wherever you go, they are so clean and cute because the Bhutanese always treat stray animals as their own.

Do you know? Bhutanese doesn't kill or butcher animals. 
The meat you eat in Bhutan are mostly imported from India.




Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.


This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures in at a height of 51.5 m, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue. Each of these thousands of Buddhas have also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.

The statue fulfils an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.




Some photos are beautifully captured by my travel buddies.
Find out more on their IG:
Baki: https://www.instagram.com/bakizainal/
Wayne: https://www.instagram.com/wayne_wayne23/
Tianchad: https://www.instagram.com/tianchad/
Kakak: https://www.instagram.com/kakakching/


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Bhutan has a tourist industry that has been strictly controlled by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), and is dedicated to sustainable tourism. “High Value, Low Volume” tourism. Tourism, like all Bhutanese industries must be sustainable and environmentally friendly.The government wanted tourists to understand the feel the deep-rooted culture and traditions, so they would have a higher appreciation for their surroundings.



Currency Exchange:
There is no way to exchange currency for Ngultrum outside Bhutan, so all currency exchanges must be done inside the country. You can bring US Dollars, Singaporean Dollars or Malaysian Ringgit to Bhutan and do your currency exchange at Bhutan's post office.


Visa & Permits to Bhutan:
In order to get a visa for Bhutan, travellers must first book their tour through the registered Bhutanese tour operator, who will make the arrangements for the visa on your behalf. 
Visa applications cannot be made personally through the Bhutanese Embassies.


Tour Expenses in Bhutan:
There's a Minimum Daily Package controlled by the Tourism Council of Bhutan , and amounts are USD 250 in the peak season and USD 200 in the low season. While it does cover the cost of the guide, driver, vehicle, food and accommodation.
* You can't travel to Bhutan without a guide *

Peak season : March-May, September-November
Low Peak season : December-February, June-August

Surcharges for tour below 3 persons:
Single traveller USD40/night
Double traveller USD30/person/night

This daily package inclusive of the below:
1) A qualified & licensed English speaking guide
2) An experienced driver
3) A Tour vehicle
4) All meals are inclusive
5) Accommodation ( 3 star hotels )
6) Taxes, Surcharges & Government contribution
7) Mineral water for the duration of the stay (Free of charge)

This package excludes:
1) Visa for Bhutan ( USD40 per person )
2) Tips for the guide & driver



Flight to Bhutan:
Drukair, the country's national carrier, has been operating for over 30 years with perfect safety records. It often brings Bhutanese Royalties too.
There are No direct flight from Malaysia. You can transit from Singapore or Bangkok in order to fly to Bhutan. If you are flying from KL Malaysia, I would recommend you to transit from Bangkok as they have daily flights to Bhutan, it's in the right direction, and you can also get a good massage on your way back. Bhutan tour usually allocates Tiger's Nest trekking on the last day of your trip, and you will feel extremely tired and muscle pain on the day you leave, it's always a good idea to have a massage in Bangkok during the transit.

Drukair flies from:
1) Singapore
2) New Delhi, Kolkata ( India )
3) Bangkok ( Thailand )
4) Dhaka ( Bangladesh )
5) Kathmandu ( Nepal )







Bhutan 7D6N Itinerary:
Day 1 : 
Memorial Chorten, Thimpu
Simply Bhutan
Check in to Namgey Hotel, Thimpu

Day 2 :
Kuenselphodrang, Thimpu
Takin Zoo
Post Office
Check in to Eco Lodge Hotel, Wangdue phodrang

Day 3 :
Gangtey Gonpa
1-2 hours trek at Gangtey
Chek in to ABC lodge, Phobjikha Valley

Day 4 :
Punakha Dzhong
Chimilakhang Temple
Check in to Namgey Hotel, Thimpu

Day 5 :
Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory
Gagyel Lhendup Weaving Centre
Ambient Cafe
Como Uma Paro - Afternoon tea
Ama Choeday's Farm house - Hot stone bath ( USD$20 )
Check in to Tashi Namgay Resort 

Day 6 :
Tiger's Nest Hike

Day 7 :
Return to my country


Total cost for my trip: 
1) I'm traveling during low peak season.
USD$200 x 6 nights = USD$1200

2) Visa USD40
3) Tips to tour guide & Driver ( optional ) USD$60
4) Return Flights : Singapore - Bhutan & Bhutan - Singapore USD$1000
5) Return Flights : KL - Singapore & Singapore - KL RM380
6) Hot stone bath USD20
7) Customised stamps x2 sets USD$14
8) A set of Bhutanese traditional dress - Kira USD$50
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RM 10378 / USD2484 / SGD 3400
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Tour Agency:
I went to Bhutan with Drukasia and I strongly recommend them if you are planning to go to Bhutan. They are the Bhutan Tour Specialist and also appointed as General Sales Agent for Royal Bhutan Airline - Drukair.

Contact Gigi +6018 661 7699
to customise your package based on the duration stays. 
Don't forget to mention my name "Charlene" and get a special Travel Gift Set when you book your trip with Gigi.

I'll personally give you a set of FREE customised stamp in Bhutan with your favourite picture, just quote my name  to Gigi and then instagram PM me will do. 
My Instagram: @charlene22




Travel to Maldives - Guide & Tips




"Tropical oasis," "paradise on earth," "bucket-list destination": When it comes to the Maldives every one of them is accurate. The sheer beauty of the coral reefs, the translucent ever-changing colors of the Indian Ocean, the isolation, indigenous vegetation and friendly people are legendary, and rightly so—the Maldives lives up to the hype.

The turquoise lagoons are crystal clear. Strange to think that the idyllic Maldives have only been a holiday destination for 40 years or so.



When to go

The Maldives has a benign climate, with year-round temperatures between 26C-30C. It never suffers from tornadoes though it does have a monsoon season in November which is best avoided and unsettled weather can persist well into December, though then the rain tends to be in short, afternoon bursts only.

The high season stretches from November to April, with Christmas and New Year being the most expensive time to travel. The perfect months are January, February and March when the sky is blue and the water so calm it could be glass.

As April is a 'shoulder’ period, the prices are lower; then May sees the start of the low season when the weather is less predictable but rarely bad enough to disturb a holiday.



Currency

The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa but tourists have no need of it. Resort bills are best paid at the end of the stay and other expenses, such as tips and purchases when on excursion, are best paid in US dollars.



Tips Before travel to Maldives:
1) Do get your US dollars ready before you travel to Maldives, as their money changer's rates are super low.
2) Plan your purpose and go with who, so you can get the best resort/stay best match your budget.
3) Flight & Boat ride is expensive from island to island. Find your best stay and you'll not pay extra to travel to another island during your trip.
4) Get all your electronic stuffs and cables ready and best to have backup, as you will be in the island for your whole trip. Only simple convenient store is available.



Things to Do in Maldives:

1) Sea of stars
The biological light, or bioluminescence, in the waves is the product of marine microbes called phytoplankton—and now scientists think they know how some of these life-forms create their brilliant blue glow. Make sure you book your stay with the possibility to see sea of stars, as this is only available in certain places in Maldives.



2) Diving
Maldive is one of the premier Scuba Diving Destination and it's known for its stingrays, whale shark migration and sea turtles. The crystal clear blue waters offer incredible visibility and there’s no need for a wetsuit here, the water’s warm and inviting. There's also whale shark watching which will be remarkable for your trip.



3) Snorkelling
If scuba diving isn’t your thing, snorkeling is a great option. The reefs are so pristine in the Maldives that you don’t have to go deep to see a lot! You can easily see little sharks or sea turtle by snorkelling.




4) Dolpin Spotting
This is one of the best thing to do during your Maldives trip. It is usually a half day tour out to the middle of the sea for dolphin spotting and you will also get a chance to witness the beauty of sunset on your way back to your hotel or resort.



5) Sunset Romantic Dinner
This is definitely the place for it! Enjoy your dinner with your loved one with the beauty of sunset paired with that relaxing sound of waves right beside you.



Travel to Melbourne with AirAsiaX: Sovereign Hill & Ballarat Day Tour from Melbourne


Australia’s foremost outdoor museum, Sovereign Hill re-creates Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851 when thousands of international adventurers rushed to the Australian goldfields in search of fortune.

By day, Sovereign Hill is where Australia’s history comes to life! It’s just like stepping back in time - from the hustle and bustle of Main Street where costumed ladies and gents parade their new-found wealth, to the excitement of the Red Hill Gully Diggings where you can pan for real gold and it’s yours to keep!

At Sovereign Hill, you can see a spectacular $160,000 gold pour, venture underground on a fully-guided gold mine tour or catch a horse-drawn coach and tour the town.


There was many people during my visit.



I love the way they keep the culture and the stores here.
The shops that line the town streets are real shops selling old-fashioned wares and authentic souvenirs, such as metal worked in the workshop. There is building after building of replica hotels, banks, a theatre, shops, foundry’s, bakeries.


Redcoat soldiers marched about the town, and had a special musket-firing ceremony. After that, it’s photo opportunity time with the Redcoats, so don’t miss that!



We had our lunch in one of the restaurant before our tour.





This is something you can do in Sovereign Hill, to take a photo in traditional Ballarat's wear. You'll need to book your slot first as it always fully booked. One of my favourite activity on that day!


I've picked my look - the lady!
I had never realised just how much fun this can be! We got all dressed up



Super lovely and I've my photo printed after two hours.


Our tour-guide of the day is really knowledgeable, she explained almost everything to us about Sovereign Hill. It's fun walking in here.

We were very excited when the time came for the underground gold mine tour and they boarded us on the small train to descend to 60 metres below the ground!Down, down into the dark the train descended in pitch-black – we all chatted nervously, excitedly until a minute later we saw a tiny light ahead – a lantern! The train stopped and It was time to get out for our guided tour and walk the passageways of the recreated mine below the town, where we would learn all about miner’s conditions and gold digging.
Look at this! It's real gold! We learnt about the history and how they mine during the Ballarat Day with the underground tour.






Here comes the Winter Christmas celebration! 
I love their creativity on this.


Definitely need to be there from opening time to make sure you see everything as it's a full day, love Sovereign Hill and will always go back.

Sovereign Hill is located on Main Road, Ballarat, Victoria. For information and bookings you can go to the official Sovereign Hill website.








You can easily get your flights as they fly to Melbourne daily. You have a choice to pick your premium services and enjoy a complimentary 40KG baggage allowance, inflight meal, pillow and duvet, special check in counter and the AirAsia Premium Red Lounge in KLIA 2.

One of my favourite in Airasia is their award winning Santan menu! In-flight food is a must for me when it comes to a flight over 4 hours.

Guess what? I can't wait to try their Premium FlatBed on the next flight! It looks more comfort while traveling!


Plane was on time and clean, staff were really friendly, price is always affordable. 
Now everyone can fly.


Thanks again to Airasia X for this trip! I've really enjoyed myself and see Melbourne from a different view. 

Thanks to AirasiaX and VisitVictoria for this trip.