Bhutan – Journey to the Land of the Happiness (10D9N)

 

Suitable Months:

March, April, May, September, October, November

 

 

Trip Type:

This is a sightseeing trip Sightseeing

 

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‘The Last Shangri la’ Bhutan, opened its doors to the outside world in the year 1974. We have described the itinerary “Bhutan” as a trip to heaven on earth. What makes Bhutan a ‘Heaven on Earth’ is the fact that Bhutan is the first country in the world to measure its development index by the happiness of the people. In other words, in terms of Gross National Happiness, rather than Gross Domestic Product.

The tiny Buddhist kingdom nestled high in the Himalayas. Its isolation from the world has cultivated a culture rich in traditions, religion and a benevolent monarchy. The dramatic landscapes from snow-capped peaks and deeply forested slopes to raging, boulder strewn rivers, sit largely undisturbed as the endeared environmental initiatives and religious beliefs leave the Kingdom pristine and a jewel of nature. The program takes you into this ancient Kingdom for an adventure into the hearts and lands of charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders.

Discover Bhutan as you venture deep into the mysterious country and unveil her secrets.

 

Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive at Paro (by Druk Air) – Transfer to Thimphu

  • National Memorial ChortenPick up from Paro airport by representative and drive one hour to Thimphu, modern capital of Bhutan.
  • Afternoon, visit the National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
  • In the evening, visit Handicrafts Emporium, which has all types of Bhutanese handicrafts for sale.
  • Dinner and check in to hotel to rest for the day.

Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Thimphu

 

Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing

  • National Institute of Traditional MedicineIn the morning, visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine where old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practiced.
  • Next, visit the National Library, stocked with priceless ancient Buddhist manuscripts.
  • Visit also the Art & Craft School, where children still learn the ancient art of Buddhist painting and handicrafts.
  • We will visit the Folk Heritage Museum which is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of items and artefacts used in rural households.
  • Up next, the Textile Museum where the art of traditional weaving is still kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in its colour and design.
  • Art & Craft SchoolOther highlights include a visit to the Bhutanese Handmade Paper Factory, Zilukha Nunnery, Motithang Mini Zoo, Buddha viewpoint and Tashichho Dzong, seat of the Royal Government of Bhutan and summer residence of the central monk body and the Je Khenpo.
  • If time permits, visit the old Simtokha Dzong built in 1629 and today it houses the monks who are pursuing their carrier as a celibacy monk.
  • Dinner and back to your hotel for rest.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Thimphu

 

Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha Valley

  • Chimi LhakhangMorning visit the Weekly Outdoor Market, where everyone goes to buy fruits and vegetables, rice, grains, chillis and other fresh foods. The crowded stalls offer many colorful local items such as yak tail dusters, butter tea cups, turquoise from Nepal and Tibet and musical instruments.
  • Depart Thimphu for Punakha. You will pass by Dochola pass (3,050m) which often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha.
  • Lunch served at Chimi Lhakhang Cafeteria.
  • Punakha DzongAfter lunch, walk for 45 minutes through the rice terraced fields and villages of Lobeysa to Chimi Lhakhang built in 1499 and dedicated to the “Divine Mad Man” known as Drukpa Kuenley, this monastery is mostly visited by the couple who couldn’t bear children. It is also known as monastery of fertility.
  • Visit Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and ancient capital of Bhutan, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu.
  • Overnight at hotel Meri Puensum.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Punakha

 

Day 4: Punakha – Trongsa – Bumthang

  • Wangdue Phodrang DzongStart early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan – Bumthang. The drive to Bumthang via Trongsa is approximately 7 hours crossing over Pele La pass (3,300m) and Yotongla pass (3,400m).
  • We pass Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan. Make a short stop to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers.
  • Climb steadily to Pelela Pass (3,300m), traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. If the weather is clear the Himalayan ranges can be seen, particularly the peak of Jhomulhari (7,314m) to the west. En route, cross Chendebji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon.
  • Ta DzongAfter lunch, view the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the dzong commanded the passage between East and West Bhutan.
  • Conclude the day by visiting the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower.
  • Then drive to Bumthang valley, described as “one of the most beautiful spot in the Himalayas” across the Yotongla pass (3,400m).

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Bumthang

 

Day 5: Bumthang Sightseeing

  • Jakar DzongIn the morning, hike to visit Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa) and Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock).
  • Also visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in 7th century) and Jakar Dzong (seat of the district administration).
  • In the afternoon, hike to Thangbi valley across the suspension bridge and visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century.
  • In the evening, visit the Bumthang Cheese Factory.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Bumthang

 

Day 6: Bumthang – Ura – Bumthang

  • Ura valleyAfter breakfast, drive to Ura valley, 42km from Bumthang. The road reaches the Shelthang la, where there is a magnificent view in clear view of Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkar Puensum (7,500m). The road then descends into Ura valley by long loops across fields and pastures.
  • Ura’s main occupation is raising sheep, yaks and the introduction of potato farming has brought a certain degree of prosperity of people.
  • We visit Ura Lhakhang and then drive back to Bumthang.
  • On the way, en-route visit the Sheep farming at Batpalthang sheep farm.
  • Visit also Membartsho (“Burning Lake”) in Tang valley where Guru Rimpoche has hidden some treasures in the 8th century and later rediscovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (treasure discoverer) in the 14th century from this lake.
  • Later in the afternoon, stroll around the Chamkhar Bazaar and see the people bustling around in the town.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Bumthang

 

Day 7: Bumthang – Gangtey – Wangdue

  • Gangtey GompaAfter breakfast, drive to Wangdue via Gangtey which will take around 6 hours. Gangtey lies towards the east of Punakha and Wangdue on the flanks of the Black Mountains.
  • There is an old monastery of Gangtey Gompa dating back to the 17th century. A few kilometers past the Gompa on the valley floor are the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. This is the home of black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate.
  • Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Wangdue

 

Day 8: Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro

  • 108 stupasAfter breakfast, drive back to Thimphu for lunch with a short stop for tea/coffee at Dochola cafeteria and view the 108 stupas built in 2003.
  • Visit also Dochola Lhakhang which has the history of our reign of Monarchs.
  • Continue your drive to Thimphu and later in the afternoon, drive to Paro.
  • Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: “A” Grade Hotel (comparable to 3-4 stars), Paro

 

Day 9: Paro Sightseeing – Taktsang Monastery Hike

  • Drukgyal DzongAfter breakfast, visit Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort which has once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions.
  • We then drive beyond Satsam Chorten to hike up to the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest).
  • The horse ride (payable by client upon request to guide to arrange for the horses) up to the Taktsang cafeteria will take around 1.5 hours. At the view point, enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.
  • After rest at the cafeteria, it is another 1.5-2 hours to Tiger’s Nest. You can visit the many temples once you are at Tiger’s Nest.
  • Taktsang MonasteryAfter the hike down, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temple in Bhutan.
  • Drive to Bhutanese farm house of a local family where you can get to experience Bhutanese life.
  • Enjoy an hour of hot stone bath to wash away all of your fatigue.
  • Overnight at the farm house.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Local Farm House, Paro

 

Day 10: Depart Paro

  • Drive to the airport very early around 5am where your Bhutanese escort will bid you farewell at Paro airport.

Meals provided: Breakfast (packed if possible)

 

Note: Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, the physical ability of the participants, etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the tour. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well-being by informing the principal agent and with their approval.

 

Tour Price

Please contact us for pricing.

** Prices quoted are for LAND TOUR only. Please refer to package exclusions for more details)

Highlights

  • Experience Bhutan’s unique diverse and rich culture – among the oldest in the world
  • Feel the “air of happiness” in Bhutan – the first country in the world to measure its development index by the happiness of the people
  • Take in spectacular Himalayan scenery where you can see snow-capped peaks and deeply forested slopes to raging, boulder strewn rivers, sit largely undisturbed
  • Walk in the many pristine valleys in Bhutan
  • Sightseeing at Thimphu where you can witness the many arts and culture of the old days
  • Marvel at the construction of Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century
  • Wash away your fatigue during traditional Bhutan hot stone bath

Package Inclusions

  • 8 nights’ accommodation based on Twin/Double sharing room (“A” Grade Hotels which are comparable to 3-4 star category)
  • 1 night accommodation based on Twin/Double sharing room at local homestay
  • Transport within Bhutan (4×4 Toyota Prado or Land Cruiser)
  • All meals as mentioned in above itinerary (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, tea/coffee, mineral water)
  • Services of experienced and English-speaking guide
  • Cultural programs when and where available
  • All necessary permits for entering Dzongs, Monasteries, Monuments and restricted areas
  • Tourism Development Fund – US$10 per person
  • Visa fee – US$40 per person
  • Free medical facilities if required (consulting doctors and medicine)

Package Exclusions

  • International airfare (Singapore - Paro – Singapore) and airport tax
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, laundry, shopping, cigarettes, telephone calls and etc.)
  • Additional meals not mentioned in above itinerary
  • Horse ride to Taktsang Monastery (Day 9)
  • Imported drinks
  • Any expenses arising out of unforeseen circumstances like flight delay / cancellation / hike in fare, political situation, strike or any other natural calamities or any emergency evacuation expenses
  • Tips or gratuities for driver/guide
  • Optional tours

Flight Recommendations

Important Note: Please note that flight information is purely for information purposes. We do recommend our customers who signed up with us to take the same flight though.

 

Singapore to Paro:

Druk Air (KB 501) 0630hrs – 1040hrs

 

Paro to Singapore:

Druk Air (KB 500) 0720hrs – 1530hrs

 

 

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