The tiny Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, nestled high in the Himalayas, has resisted outside influence for thousands of years. The snow-capped peaks, deeply forested slopes and raging, boulder strewn rivers sit largely undisturbed, while the people still follow their age-old rituals and traditions. In this journey, we explore the life and beliefs of the Bhutanese, enjoy the country’s awe-inspiring landscapes and have a unique opportunity to make friends with and experience the daily lives of locals.
|Price (From)||:||US$ 2150|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Paro/Thimphu (Drive)
Enjoy the flight to Paro, one of the most spectacular aerial journeys in the Himalayas. Upon arrival in Bhutan, we are cordially met and driven to the capital city of Thimphu. En route we enjoy the fresh mountain air and stop at Chuzom, the confluence of the Thimphu and Paro rivers, where we see three different styles of stupas: Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese. When we reach Thimphu, time permitting, we take an evening walk through Bhutan’s capital city to admire the unusual mix of modern development and traditional buildings.
Overnight: Nagmay Heritage Hotel (Standard) or Hotel Druk (Deluxe), Thimphu (2 nights) (L, D)
Day 02: Thimphu
Our Bhutanese experience begins by paying homage to Buddha at the Buddha Point (Kuenselphodrang). Here we join the local pilgrims or watch prayers being offered to the largest Buddha statue in the country. We continue our exploration of Thimphu with a visit to the National Library, the Textile Museum, which displays traditional Bhutanese weaving, and the Institute for Zorig Chusum, which offers courses on the country’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. Next we visit Simply Bhutan, a living museum that explores the heritage of the Bhutanese people. Funds generated from Simply Bhutan are used to run youth development programs. After lunch, we visit King’s Memorial Chorten, with its constant stream of worshipers spinning their prayer wheels. We end our day with an excursion to the majestic Trashichhoedzon, a fortress and monastery that has been the seat of Bhutan’s king and government since 1907. Evening we stroll around the town and meet the local Bhutanese. (B, L, D)
Day 03: Thimphu/Punakha (Drive)
Morning we embark on a scenic drive to Punakha, enjoying spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayas as we cross the Dochula pass. After a short rest at our hotel, we visit Punakha Dzong, one of the largest fortresses in Bhutan. Next we explore Chimi Lhakhang, accessible by van and 1.5 hour hike (including both ways). Situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, Chimi Lhakhang is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that if childless couples pray at this temple, they are blessed with a child soon after. A walk through the village near the temple, named Pana or ‘field’, will give you a rare glimpse into the daily life of the villagers. Evening can be spent exploring Punakha.
Overnight: Damchen Resort (Standard) or Kunzang Zhing Resort (Deluxe), Punakha (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 04: Punakha
After breakfast, hike up through fields of chilies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument consecrated in 1999. Our next adventure is a visit to Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakang nunnery. Perched on a ridge overlooking the picturesque valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, this temple boasts a variety of Buddha statues. The star, a four-meter bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara, is one of the biggest in the country and was created entirely by local Bhutanese artisans. The temple complex also houses a higher learning centre for nuns where they are trained in religion, as well as life skills such as tailoring, statue making and thangka painting. (B, L, D)
Day 05: Punakha/Paro (Drive)
Today we make our way back to Paro, following the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys and stopping for a special visit of Simtokha Dzong, which houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language. After checking in to our hotel in Paro, we explore Ta Dzong, home to the National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Next we explore Rinpung Dzong, which means “fortress of the heap of jewels”. The wooden galleries surrounding the inner courtyard of this fortress boast fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. Evening free time to stroll around town.
Overnight: Tashi Namgay Resort (Standard) or Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa (Deluxe), Paro (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 06: Paro
An exciting excursion today as we discover one of the most famous Bhutan monasteries, Taktshang. Also known as the “Tiger’s Nest”, Taktshang is perched on the side of a cliff 900 meters above the Paro valley floor and accessible by a five-hour walk. The site is one of the most sacred places in the country and all Bhutanese strive to visit it at least once in their life. On our journey back to town, we stop at Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. We also enjoy Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Evening we take an exploratory walk around Paro’s vibrant main street and markets. (B, L, D)
Day 07: Depart Paro
After an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for departure flight. A great opportunity to add on optional tour extensions and continue your adventure. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 16 participants
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