BHUTAN at a GLANCE

INCLUSIVE
  • Arrival/Departure transfers and all the sightseeing with English speaking guide/driver
  • All accommodations in 3* hotels ( 4*/5* hotels requires an additional premium )
  • Standard room on twin sharing basis only
  • All meals/ Tea and coffee
  • Car amenities ( water/wet tissue/hand sanitizer )
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Monumental fee
  • Visa process and arrangements
  • Royalty to the government and other taxes

 

EXCLUSIVE
  • Airfares
  • USD 40/- Visa fee for single entry
  • Travel insurance
  • 4* and 5* hotels
  • Bar and Laundry bills
  • Luxury camping and trekking
  • Specialized guide ( Foreign language, bird watching, Buddhism and flora/fauna guides available at an additional cost ).
  • Personal gratitude to guide/driver and hotel staffs.

 

AIR FARE

DEL/PBH/DEL

KTM/PBH/KTM

BKK/PBH/BKK

SIN/PBH/SIN

Please Note : All prices are based on the current rate, it is subject to change anytime.

DAY 01: FLY INTO PARO

Altitude: 2200m/7200ft

Flying into Paro on Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines. We get to see a great view of the snow-capped peaks of inner Himalayas on a clear day, and possibly a glimpse of  Everest. As the plane approaches Paro, little farmhouses dotting the hillsides and beautiful tributaries Pa Chhu ( Paro river ) form a picturesque view.
Kichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest and the most sacred temples in the kingdom dating back to 7th century. It is believed to be one amongst the 108 temples built during a one night span by the first Dharma king of Tibet King called  Songtshen Gampo, to pin down a gigantic evil spirit that was harming the interests of the people and sometimes even causing death. The statue of Jowo Sakyamuni in the main temple is said to have been cast at the same time as the famous Jowo statue in Lhasa Potola Palace.
The National museum Built in 1649 on a very strategic location as a watch tower to guard the main Paro dzong ( Fortress ). By the mid 1960s the watch tower has reached the state of collapse. HM the third king of Bhutan issued a royal decree to renovate the watch tower from the basement and he later transformed the watch tower into National museum of Bhutan in 1968. Today the museum has in its possession over 3,000 works of Bhutanese art, covering more than 1500 years of Bhutan’s cultural heritage.

 

DAY 02: FLY TO BUMTHANG

Altitude : 2800m/9185ft

After breakfast return to airport for a  short 25mins domestic flight to Bumthang, central Bhutan. Bumthang is regarded as the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. It is home to some of its oldest buddhist temples and monasteries. Tales of Guru Padmasambhava and Tertons ( religious treasure discoverers ) still linger in the sacred region. Bumthang district consist of four main valleys, the valleys are broad and gentle carved by the glaciers. The wide and scenic valleys draws a large number of tourists each year. It is the first district to initiate a noble idea of banning the use of all kinds of tobaccos products in 2004.

Jampa lhakhang : The 7th century sister temple of Kichu lhakhang in Paro, it is built by the same person for the same purpose. The Jampa lhakhang Drup is one of the most interesting events held there. During this festival, the chams ( religious dance ) include Ter cham ( Naked dance ) which was formally initiated by Terton Dorji Lingpa. Mewang ( the fire blessing ) together with Ter cham is exhibited to the public at midnight. The most famous naked dance festival is the trade mark of Jampa lhakhang.

Kurje lhakhang : There is a fascinating legend behind the construction of Kurje temple. During the 8th century, Sindu Raja, an Indian exiled king who was residing in the region fell seriously ill after he desecrated the spirits of the place including the chief deity Shelging Karpo and one of his attendants invited Padmasambhava to cure the sick king. Guru rimpoche went to meditate inside the rock cave where  the first temple stands right now, he subdued the local deity and gave back the life force of the king. The king regained his health and in gratitude he promised to Guru that he and his subjects will be his follower, Thus Guru rimpoche began propagating Buddhism in the land of Monpas ( Animism ). The name, Kurje got derived from the very nature of Padmasambhava leaving his body imprints on the rock while meditating to subdue the spirits.  Due to the sacredness of the place, it became a final resting place for our first three kings.

Tamzhing lhakhang : The temple was built by Pema Lingpa in 1501, the coeval wall paintings include his portrait and are amongst the earliest in the country. The temple is remarkable for its direct connection to Bhutanese Treton and saint , Pema Lingpa ( 1450-1521 ). It is now the seat of Sungtrul rimpoche, the current speech incarnation of Pema Lingpa. Tamzhing consists of a deteriorating temple and a cramped vihara. It supports a body of over 95 monks. In March 2012. the monastery was submitted for inscription on the list of World Heritage Sites; it currently resides on the tentative list.

DAY 03: BUMTHANG

Altitude : 2800m/9185ft

TANG VALLEY TOUR :  One of the four valleys of Bumthang, Tang was home to Terton Pema Lingpa.  Approximately one and half hours drive from downtown Bumthang. The road from Chamkhar town follows the east-west highway until it diverts towards the North, ascending uphill towards the narrow Tang gorge. The main source of income for its inhabitants are farming and raising cattle, especially yaks, The beautiful valley is home to palaces, monasteries and old temples associated to Pema Lingpa.

Ogyenchholing Palace : The history of Tang Ogyen Choling begins with the visit of  great Tibetan master of Buddhism, Longchen Rabjam in 14th century. He is the most celebrated writer, philosopher of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. The estate provides an excellent insight into the lifestyles and living conditions of a typical landed family over the last century. The heirs of Ogyencholing decided to convert parts of their ancestral home to a museum. This decision was made with the hope of sharing this heritage with as many people as possible and at the same time to preserve and maintain Ogyencholing as a religious and cultural center. The museum was formally opened in May 2001. There are several temples associated with Pema Lingpa  on the way.

Mebar Tsho :  According to the legend, Terton Pema lingpa had a vision of a sacred treasures that Guru rimpoche had hidden within the lake centuries earlier. However, the people of Tang and the local ruler were cynical of his claims. In order to prove his claims, Pema Lingpa held a butter lamp in his hand as he jumped into the lake. After remaining underwater for a long time he re-emerged holding a chest and a scroll of paper with the butter lamp still burning bright in his hand. There after, the lake came to be known as Mebar tsho ( the Burning lake )

 

DAY 04: BUMTHANG

Altitude : 2800m/9185ft

THARPALING MONASTERY : Situated at 3600m above sea level. Tharpaling literally means Liberation. In the 14th century, a Buddhist saint  Gyalwa Longchen Rabjam who had been in self -imposed exile from Tibet for ten years, visited this place to preach the Dharma . Following this many of his devotees were liberated, thus the place came to be known as Tharpaling. In the 15th century, Pema Lingpa discovered treasures at the site including a Guru statue. The first king of Bhutan renovated the monastery into a retreat center and spent time meditating here during his reign. At the monastery, there is always a high chances of spotting the beautiful bird species, the Himalayan Monal.

 

DAY 05: FLY TO PARO/DRIVE TO THIMPHU

Altitude : 2334m/7375ft

After breakfast drive to Bumthang airport to fly back to Paro. Once you have landed in Paro, your driver will take you on a one hour scenic drive through the countryside to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

Semtokha Dzong : The handsomely proportioned Semtokha Dzong was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The site is said to mark the spot where a demon vanished into rocky outcrop, hence the name Semtokha , from simmo ( demoness ) tokha ( stone ). During its construction, the dzong was attacked by an alliance of Tibetans and five lamas from rival Buddhist schools who were opposed to the Zhabdrung’s rule. The attack was repelled and the leader of coalition was killed . In 1630 the Tibetans attacked again and took the dzong but the Zhabdrung regained control when the main building caught fire and the roof collapsed killing the invaders. The dzong underwent a major renovation before 2008 and the consecration ceremony was held to mark the historic occasion of the coronation of the present king.

Thimphu dzong : Thimphu Tashicho Dzong has been the seat of Bhutan’s government since 1955. It presently houses the throne room of His Majesty the king of Bhutan, the cabinet secretariat and ministry of Home and cultural affairs. Thimphu Dzong also houses the Summer Residence of His Holiness the Je Khenpo ( Chief Abbot of central monastic body of Bhutan )

Note : Thimphu dzong can be visited only after office hour on week days and it remains open from 9am  in the morning on weekends.

 

DAY 06: Thimphu

Altitude: 2,320 m/7710ft

Thimphu, the Capital city of Bhutan, lies a valley in the western interior of the country , this rapidly expanding city is home to a little over hundred thousand people. A bustling city, it is the main center of commerce, administration and religion of the kingdom of Bhutan.  Thimphu  is also booming with an abundance of restaurants of different choices, cozy cafes, colorful shops and galleries and several ATM machines if you are a shopaholic…, Thimphu offers you an incredible insight into a blend of modernized town with its traditional heritage still intact. The singular feature of Thimphu is that it is the only capital in the world with out  a single Traffic light despite the increasing no of cars every month. The religious festival, Thimphu Tshechu  is yet another popular holiday for the locals as well as for  international tourist. It is a very ideal and friendly city with smiles around you, we recommend you to explore the city at your leisure apart from those sightseeing included in your normal itinerary. There are also several beautiful hikes around Thimphu.

Places of interest :

  •  National Post Office and its museum 
  •  Centenary Farmers Market
  •  Textile Museum 
  •  Big Buddha 
  •  Simply Bhutan 
  • Jungzhi Handmade Paper Factory 
  •  National Memorial Stupa
  •  Contemporary Art Galleries’ 
  •  Motithang Takin Enclosure 
  •  Nado incense Factory to several beautiful hikes around to choose. You can always ask your local guide to choose the best ones according to your wish and time availability.
DAY 07: Thimphu /drive to Punakha

Altitude : 1242m/4075ft

Dochu la pass After your check out from hotel, it is approximately a forty minutes drive to Dochu La pass( 3100m/10,300ft ). Located on East west high way the Dochula pass offers a breath taking panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. Set up against the crisp blue sky and majestic mountains,. Dochula pass houses the 108 Chortens also known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens. It was constructed by the eldest Queen Mother, Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. The pass also serves as a spiritual destination for both locals and tourists because an important temple is located on the crest of Dochula pass. It was built to honor the Fourth Druk Gyelpo. You can take a short walks around the pass to the temple above the parking lot and around the beautiful park where you will see some interesting flora and man-made caves, the park was created to mark the 60th birth anniversary of the former king. Continue driving down to Punakha.

Chimmi Lhakhang : sitting atop a round hillock in Sopsokha village, this monastery is flanked by hundreds of prayer flags. Built in 1499 it is dedicated to Lam Drukpa Kinley, also known as ‘the Divine Madman’ or the ‘Mad Saint” due to his unconventional way of teaching the Dharma. The tradition of painting phallic symbols on walls and hanging carved wooden phalluses on house tops to ward off evil spirit, is inspired by his famous technique of using his “thunder bolt” to oppose evil. Chimmi Lhakhang also serves as a fertility temple among Bhutanese, and gaining popularity among foreigners as well.

Wolakha Nunnery : Above Wolakha on the way to Drolay Goemba is the thriving nunnery, which was established by the parents of the four Queens of the Fourth King in 2015 with 120 Nuns. The view from the nunnery is breathtaking.

Punakha dzong : Zhabdrung rimpoche built this magnificent dzong in 1637 according to the prophecy of Guru rimpoche , it is the second oldest dzong in Bhutan. Punakha dzong served as the administrative center and seat of government until 1955 when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is the winter capital for the Chief Abbot and the central monastic body, they migrate to Thimphu in summer. This historic dzong is one of the important venue for very important national events such as the coronation of the kings and their wedding ceremony. Perhaps the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan, it is a must see dzong.

Day 08: Punakha to Phobjikha

Altitude: Phobjikha: 3000m/9,500ft

After breakfast, we drive north from Punakha to Nyenzergang bridge to hike up to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a fine modern example of Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions. An hour long hike on a moderately inclined trail through rice fields and pine trees, this stupa offers a beautiful view of the Punakha Valley. It was dedicated to the long life of the present king when is was a crown prince and to  peace in the world at large. Although you are not allowed to take photographs inside the temple, we recommend you to take your cameras with you to capture the breathtakingly scenic view from the parapet of the stupa.

After the wonderful hike, we return to downtown Punakha for a quick stop to refresh before driving to Phobjikha valley. You and you guide can choose a lunch spot according to the time avaliable. Phobjikha is a glacier valley is situated on the western slope of the famous Black Mountain. The valley walls are carpeted with blur primula and colorful rhododendron flowers in spring. This wide valley is the protected winter habitat for Bhutan’s most revered bird species, the Black Necked Crane. There is a Crane Information center and an opportunity to visit a local farmhouse to explore the valley’s unique culture.

Day 09: Phobjikha / drive back to Paro

Altitude : 2200m/72ooft

Nature Trail Hike : After breakfast you can choose to do a gradual short hike which circles the edges of the protected Ramsar area, your driver will meet you at the end of the valley. Than, we take the longest car journey of the tour all the way back to Paro. It is approximately 6 hrs drive including small stops along the way.
Paro the valley of Bhutan’s best and tastiest chilies is also home to many ancient temples. Located on an ancient glacial valley it is one of the most prominent valleys of Bhutan. Famous for its signature flat and little farm houses dotting the hills.

Paro : Located in an ancient glacial valley, Paro is the home of Bhutan’s best and tastiest chilies. It is one of the most prominent valleys of Bhutan containing many ancient temples and famous for its signature small flat farm houses dotting the hills. There will be time to explore Paro town before checking into your hotel.  Your guide will brief you on the Tiger Nest hike.

Day 10: Paro

Altitude : 2200m/7200ft

Tiger Nest Hike : This world renowned hike takes approximately 5 hours two way for the average speed walker. It is best to begin early in the morning to avoid the later crowds and the heat from the burning sun. Guru Padmasambhava  this place during his second visit to Bhutan, he made his second visit from Tibet unlike his first visit that he made it from India. Legend has it that Padmasambhava visited this place in the 8th century. Legend has it that Padmasambhava  flew here from Singye dzong a place in the north eastern part of Bhutan in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo riding a flaming Tigerss, thus the name Tiger nest originated.

Paro dzong : Visit Paro dzong in the afternoon.

DAY 11: PARO

Day excursions to Haa valley via Chelila pass.

We will drive over Chelela Pass at ( 4000m/13123ft ) to the Haa valley ( 2670m/8758ft ) one of the furthermost valleys of western Bhutan bordering with Tibet and Sikkim. Haa is the ancestral home of the Royal Grand Queen Mother of Bhutan. It is the smallest district in Bhutan and the valley is one of the least visited areas in the country. Its wooded hills retain the air of an unspoiled primeval forest. Haa valley provides an ideal location for hiking and mountain biking an enjoyable way to spend the day while visiting dozen or so local temples. Haa is home to a number of nomadic herders and hosts an annual summer festival that showcases their unique lifestyle and culture.

After your visit to the well hidden valleys of Haa, drive back to Paro. This is the last day of your tour in Bhutan. we hope you truly enjoyed our country and our people and that this tour has spurred your interest in coming back again. Thank you so much for choosing to travel with US.

 

Day 12: Departure

Transfer to the airport after breakfast


Courtesy of: NC Chairman Lyonpo Tashi Dorji

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