George Negus's Bhutan Tour

Apr 5
Including accommodation, guided sightseeing,
tours, meals,

Bhutan is a country of ancient traditions coming to terms with the modern world. A fascinating peaceful Buddhist country, Bhutan is modernising carefully. The King is a benign ruler who has introduced a number of innovative programs to develop and preserve the heritage of the country. At least 60% of the forests have to remain as forests and tourism and development is restricted. He is more interested in Gross National Happiness than in GDP.

Visiting Thimpu, Punakha, Gangtey Valley, Paro

Highlights Include

  • Tour of Thimphu
  • See the Bhutanese national animal, the Takin
  • Still quite remote town of Punakha, 1500 metres above sea level and once actually the capital of Bhutan
  • The dramatic Punakha Dzong (fortress) for many years Bhutan’s seat of a monastic government
  • A picnic lunch in Punakha
  • Visit some of Punakha's small villages and monasteries
  • The vast U-shaped glacial Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley with its broad meadows National Museum of Bhutanese cultural and religious treasures
  • The historic ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, built in the 17th century
  • Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest Temples in Bhutan
  • A farewell dinner
  • Tour leadership by George Negus
George Negus's Bhutan Tour


  • Leadership of George Negus Accommodation in three & four-star hotels
  • All meals in Bhutan
  • Return flights to/from Dehli to Bhutan
  • Sightseeing in Bhutan as listed in the itinerary
  • Tour management by a professional Travelrite International Tour Manager
  • Air taxes
  • Taxes & handling charges
George Negus

George Negus

George Negus AM is one of Australia’s best-known media professionals. He has a passion for international affairs that’s given him a perspective typical of someone with his enormous global experience as both a journalist and almost unstoppable traveller. George grew up in Queensland; was a secondary school teacher; studied Arts and became a political journalist after gaining a Diploma in Journalism. Football - the round ball - is his game. Home is the Bellinger Valley in northern NSW. George has written, produced, directed and presented both Australian commercial and public television current affairs from 1975 through 2012. Over the years, he’s worked as presenter, interviewer and correspondent for the ABC’s “This Day Tonight,” “Foreign Correspondent,” “Australia Talks,” “George Negus Tonight,” “Australia Talks,” “SBS Dateline,” Ten’s “The Project” and, of course, was the inaugural national and international correspondent for Channel 9’s highly successful, soil-breaking “60 Minutes.” He looks forward to meeting you


We travel in comfortable and safe Toyota Coaster mini-coaches. Luggage is transported in separate vans. You will be accompanied throughout the tour in Bhutan by a knowledgeable local Englishspeaking guide.


Accommodation in the capital, Thimphu, will be in a very comfortable deluxe hotel, while in the smaller towns, the hotels will be be comfortable with standard and more modest facilities. Traditional Bhutanese food is hot and spicy. Chinese, Indian and Western food are also available in larger towns. The more adventurous can try hot Bhutanese dishes. Meals are usually served buffet-style in the hotels.


Bhutan has a range of climates from alpine in the hills to temperate to tropical in the south. Most places where visitors go will have temperate or alpine climates. Spring (March, April & May) is considered the most beautiful time of the year, resplendent and ablaze with a spectacular array of bright colours. This is the time when the valleys are green with fresh vegetation and Rhododendron blooms peak. The maximum temperature is about 20 degrees centigrade.

Day 1: Tuesday, 7 April, 2020 Delhi to Thimpu
We’re off and coming, as distinct from going…! Checked in early this morning for our flight (two and a bit hours) to Paro, Bhutan, 2500m above sea level. Travelling with the Bhutanese National Airline, we’ll get an early visual experience of Bhutan. If the weather is clear we’ll get terrific views of the spectacular Himalayan Mountains before landing at Paro Airport. Once through immigration and customs we’ll be met by our local guide and coach. Driving from the airport we’ll enjoy fantastic views of the Paro Dzong (fort), then we’ll be bussed into the capital, Thimphu. After checking in, there’ll be time to rest in our rooms before enjoying a welcome “getting to know your fellow travellers” banquet evening.

GEORGE COMMENT: “Safe flight, steady comfortable landing from our topof- the range pilot who, by the way, was one of only 11 pilots in the world certified to land in Bhutan! I also read from a local article about air-safety rules in Bhutan that “all flights landing or leaving Bhutan can only happen in the daytime, in good weather!” Any idea why Bhutan – our temporary homeland for seven days – is called ‘The Land of the Thunder Dragon’? There’s a curly one for you! Who among you can come up with a plausible, sensible – or even the real answer – over tonight’s banquet dinner together?”

Day 2: Wednesday, 8 April, 2020 Thimpu
This morning, George and Kirsty will take us for an overview of Thimphu, a growing town of 40,000 people, and the hub of most of Bhutan’s government activity. Bhutan’s total population of just over 800,000; they call themselves Bhutanese. The city’s Folk Heritage Museum is housed in a traditional threestoried Bhutanese House. We get to see the genuinely bizarre Bhutanese national animal, the Takin, a rare, and fascinating creature believed to be made up of an ox, antelope, a sheep and a goat, all endemic to the Western Himalayas. It herds, apparently, in steep, thick woods at an altitude, would you believe, of 4000 metres.

GEORGE COMMENT: “No wonder the Takin was long thought to be mythological! Or have we and any number of other curious visitors to Bhutan “been taken in,” as it were…? First of many similar Dad jokes, folks! Oh – almost forgot! The Takin is also supposed to have mysterious medicinal properties and its name in Bhutanese is the “Dong Gyem Tsey”! No further comment?”

Day 3: Thursday, 9 April, 2020 Punakha
This morning we’re off to the still quite remote town of Punakha, 1500 metres above sea level and once actually the capital of Bhutan. We take the 3050m Dochula Pass, from where there is a fabulous view of the Himalayas, according to George’s totally necessary research. We visit the dramatic Punakha Dzong (fortress) for many years Bhutan’s seat of a monastic government. Built in the 1600s, it remains the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body). The congregation hall has exceptional examples of Bhutanese painting and statues of their deities.

Day 4: Friday, 10 April, 2020 Punakha
Today is a relaxing day in the Punakha Valley. We’ll take a picnic lunch and visit some of the area’s small villages and monasteries, plus short walks in the area. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel. GEORGE COMMENT: “Thought it might be appropriate at this point in our journey to remind ourselves of the remarkable differences between Bhutan and many other countries, not just in the Asian Himalaya. To be honest, your brochure’s introduction to this small, remote, independent mountain nation jammed between China and Russia, pretty much sums it up, not just as a stunning place to visit, but also a place to thoughtfully ponder!” “Bhutan is a country of ancient traditions coming to grips with the modern world. A fascinating, peaceful Buddhist country, Bhutan is modernising carefully. The King (Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck), regarded as a benign ruler, has introduced a number of innovative programs to develop and preserve the country. At least 60% of the forests have to remain as forests while tourism and development is restricted. The King is more interested in his country’s GNH, Gross National Happiness than its GDP, Gross Domestic Product.” GEORGE COMMENT: “Bhutan’s philosophy on modernisation and development is based on Buddhist values. According to a local monk: ‘Buddhism in Bhutan is not a religion; rather, it’s a way of life! The reason Bhutan is so peaceful is because Buddhism is engrained in the society’s mentality and meditation.’ The Gross National Happiness is a measurement of their ‘quality of life, based on the spiritual and mental well-being’ of its people. While they don’t reject conventional economic methods of measuring GDP development, GNH is pursued as an alternative philosophy.”

Day 5: Saturday, 11 April, 2020 Gangtey Valley
Today we travel west to the vast U-shaped glacial Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley with its broad meadows that become the winter home to the globally endangered Black Necked Cranes, on their annual migration from the Tibetan Plateau. We stay overnight in this beautiful valley.

Day 6: Sunday, 12 April, 2020 Paro
Today’s travel is to the major town of Paro and visit the National Museum of Bhutanese cultural and religious treasures. We’ll break for lunch before taking a walk to a nearby typical teahouse overlooking a spectacular monastery temple known as the ‘Tigers Nest’ that clings to a 1000 metre sheer rock face. It has a great yarn to go with it…! By the way, also, as you’d expect, plenty of traditional hand-made Buddhist prayer flags fly everywhere, waiting to be purchased by the likes of ourselves – to promote peace, good-will, compassion and wisdom. As well, by now, we would’ve become used to the repetitive local mantras, chants meant to motivate and inspire us “to become our best selves.” Good chat!

Day 7: Monday, 13 April, 2020 Paro
Today, a short drive north of Paro to the historic ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, built in the 17th century by, the unifier of medieval Bhutan, a guy called Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal – a name almost unpronounceable unless you speak Tibetan which, by the way, you will have realised most Bhutanese do. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951, but it remains a ruin as a symbol of past military victories. We end our last full day in Bhutan visiting a stunning 7th-century Buddhist temple, Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest in Bhutan. As legend has it, a giant demoness laid her body across the Himalayas to prevent the spread of Buddhism. This evening, our last evening in enchanting Bhutan, George and Kirsty will host a final dinner to celebrate our seven unforgettable days in the fairy-tale kingdom. GEORGE COMMENT: “To say the least, Bhutan is definitely no ordinary place! And the Bhutanese are no ordinary people! They are clearIy striving to maintain their centuries-old uniqueness. Let’s hope that so-called modern progress doesn’t get in their peaceful ways!”

Day 8: Tuesday, 14 April, 2020 Paro
Airport Today are taken to the airport for our flight back to Australia.

Day 9: Wednesday, 15 April, 2020 Arrive Australia

Twin Share Single Fare
$ 6,250 $ 7,825


  • Leadership of George Negus Accommodation in three & four-star hotels
  • All meals in Bhutan
  • Return flights to/from Dehli to Bhutan
  • Sightseeing in Bhutan as listed in the itinerary
  • Tour management by a professional Travelrite International Tour Manager
  • Air taxes
  • Taxes & handling charges


  • Passport and visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Sightseeing and general expenses unless specified in the itinerary
  • Additional travel arrangements not in the detailed itinerary; these will be quoted for separately


Travelrite International Pty Ltd (ABN 64 005817 078) is the tour organiser. Maharaja Express is owned and operated by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd and the Maharajas’ Express fly/train arrangements are subject to the terms and conditions and general information detailed in this brochure. All passengers must complete and sign a Travelrite International booking form or book online through the Travelrite Website.

A deposit of $750 with a completed Travelrite International booking form that lists your requested cabin category. As soon as the booking is confirmed, a confirm-ation advice will be posted to the client. The confirmation advice will contain all details. Final payments are due to be paid to Travelrite International 90 days prior to the commencement of the Maharajas’ Express tour. A 1.5% administration fee will be added to payments by Visa, Mastercard and AMEX cards.


Days prior to Departure Cancellation Fee
Over 90 days Loss of deposit
90 - 61 days 75% of full fare
60 days or less 100% of full fare
Non appearance/no written notice 100% of full fare

The train journey is based on arrangements which do not allow for any refunds in respect to sightseeing, accommodation, meals or other services not utilised after the tour has commenced.

All passengers will require a valid passport and a visa for India. If not an Australian passport holder check with Travelrite International for visa requirements.

Adequate travel insurance is highly recommended to cover tour members for the consequences of unforeseen events during the tour and for cancellation fees which could result from events such as illness, accident, death etc.

Passengers qualify for a 23kg free baggage allowance on flights to join the train journey.

The fly/train arrangements have been made on the basis of a minimum number of passengers travelling. In the event that less than the required number of passengers have confirmed their booking 90 days from the date of departure, Travelrite International reserves the right to cancel the tour, giving a full refund of monies paid, or offer arrangements to proceed with the tour at a modified fare.

Travelrite International Pty Ltd (ATAS No A10538) is the tour organiser. Travelrite International Pty Ltd, its agents, officers, affiliates, and/or suppliers of services pursuant to, or in connection with these fly/trains arrangements, shall act only as agents in making arrangements for hotels, transportation, including transportation by train, restaurants, or any other service and do not assume any liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, death, loss, accident or delay to person or property due to an act of negligence or a default of any hotel, carrier restaurant company or person rendering any services included in fly/trains, or by act of God. Further, no responsibilities are accepted for any damage or delay due to sickness, pilferage, labour disputes, machinery breakdown, quarantine, government restraints, weather, terrorism or other causes beyond their control. No responsibility is accepted for any additional expense, omission, delays, rerouting or acts of any government authority. Baggage is at owners’ risk throughout the fly/train tour. The passage contract between the carriers concerned, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the purchasers of this fly/train and/or the passengers. The right is reserved to withdraw any fly/train and/or make such changes in the fly/train as found desirable or necessary for the convenience of the parties and the proper carrying out of the fly/train. This contract shall be construed in accordance of the laws of the State of Victoria, Australia and any legal action must be undertaken in the State of Victoria. Attention is also directed to the terms and conditions of the Maharajas’ Express fly/train passage contract with Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd.

Bookings can be made by sending full names and addresses of intending tour members with a deposit of $1200 for George Negus’s India or $750 for George Negus’s Bhutan per person.

423 Whitehorse Road Balwyn, Victoria 3103

Telephone: (03) 8803 6868
Fax: (03) 9836 8068

Further information can be obtained by telephoning
Toll Free: 1800 630 343

Travelrite International Pty Ltd (ABN 64 005 817 078) is a well-established travel company which has been marketing throughout Australia for over 30 years. It has two fully licensed (ATAS accredited No. A10538) offices at Balwyn and Heathmont which are also accredited with IATA. As such they directly represent the major airlines of the world and all major domestic and international hotel, tour and transport operators. Travelrite International Pty Ltd is a full member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents – AFTA.


Travelrite International