Bhutan Cultural Tours - 9 nights

Draped along the mighty Himalaya lies tiny Bhutan, cut off from the “outside” for thousands of years. Now Bhutan is opening its gorgeous vistas, peaceful farms and unique traditions to a few lucky visitors.

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From To Base Fee Final Price Note
01/01/2021 30/11/2022 1980 € 2090 € Per person in double room starting from

BHUTAN CULTURAL TOURS
10 days - 9 nights 


Immerse yourself in welcoming Bhutan, known for its friendly people, stunning scenery and fascinating culture. On this independent journey, see breathtaking dzongs and monasteries, attend a local Buddhist festival and hike to sacred Taktsang ("Tiger's Nest") Monastery.
 

 PROGRAM: 

DAY 1: PARO, BHUTAN/THIMPHU
Arrive Paro:
Paro Altitude: 2,250 m (7,200 feet)
Driving distance: 1 hr. 15 minutes

Flying into the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression.

On arrival at Paro airport, you will be greeted by Bhutan Rila’s representative. On completion of airport formalities, drive towards Thimphu. Next check-in to your hotel in Thimphu and later in the in the evening

·         Visit the Tashichho Dzong/Fortress of the Auspicious Religion and office of the Golden throne of the Dragon King of Bhutan.

·         The beautiful Memorial Chorten/stupa in town is another favorite with the tourists and a regular sight for congregation of devout Buddhists circumambulating the Chorten from dawn till dusk. The main statue of the Buddha inside the Chorten is said to grant wishes for the earnest and honest hearted!

Visit Kuensel Phodrang and Soak in the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley from the site of the gigantic Lord Buddha, a 51-meter bronze Shakyamuni Buddha statue gilded in gold.

OVERNIGHT IN THIMPHU 

DAY 2: THIMPHU I CAPITAL CITY
Thimphu with a population of about 130,000 people is one of the last few capital cities without traffic lights and the traffic still managed by traffic policemen. While strictly maintaining the aesthetic beauty and traditional style of architecture in the modern buildings, there are also very old temples and numerous monasteries in and around the city, a few discotheques, Karaoke joints and pubs.
- After breakfast visit oldest place of worship in the capital, Changangkha Lhakhang is located on a small hill some kilometres from the city centre. The shrine houses a brilliant statue of Chenrizig who is thought of as an incarnation of Avolokitesawara.

- Visit the National Library of Bhutan established back in 1967 and is one of the largest collection of literature on Tibetan Buddhism anywhere in the world. It has as many as 6100 books and manuscripts in Tibetan and Bhutanese, and holds over 9000 printing blocks used to create religious texts. The pretty two-storey building is a must-visit on the list of Thimphu things to do.

- Visit Folk Heritage Museum;
- The Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan
- Then visit Postal Musuem. The postal museum narrates the story of the evolution of communication, transportation and postal services in Bhutan's history. Its five galleries trace the development of the Bhutanese postal system, from the earliest mail runners to Bhutan's idiosyncratic and highly collectable modern stamps

OVERNIGHT IN THIMPHU

DAY 3: THIMPHU-PUNAKHA
Driving Distance: 77 kms- 3 hrs.
Punakha/Wangdi  Altitude: 1,300 m (4,260 feet)
After breakfast drive to Punakha. Enroute stop over at the Dochulaa Pass (3150 meters) and on a clear day enjoy the spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains. The 108 small stupas built over a small hill is also a beautiful sight. The road from the Pass winds down to the warm and fertile valleys of Punakha .

In the evening visit the impressive Punakha Dzong / Fortress of Great Bliss built in 1673 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (the first spiritual & political leader of Bhutan) to commemorate the final victory against numerous Tibetan invasions. Located on a piece of land between two rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu (literally meaning male and female rivers), the Dzong is massive, huge and magnificent in all its architectural grandeur. Although ravaged by flood, fire and earthquakes many times, the Dzong was always rebuilt with its original pattern and design. The first King of modern Bhutan was crowned in Punakha Dzong. Important religious ceremonies are still held in the Dzong. The Royal Wedding ceremony on 13th October 2011 of the Fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema was conducted in Punakha Dzong.

From the Dzong enjoy a short walk through a beautiful pathway of giant flowering trees and flowers and on to the longest iron suspension bridge.

Overnight in Punakha

DAY 4: PUNAKHA VALLEY
Today after breakfast we will begin a beautiful hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. Later visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang(Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.   
The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.

Later in the evening take a walk around your hotel in Punakha.

DAY 5: PUNAKHA-PHOBJIKHA/GANGTEY: at 3,000 m (9,840 feet)
After breakfast drive to Gangtey/Phobjikha valley.On the wayvisit the Fertility Temple / Chime Lhakhang is a must for its unique Phallic paintings on the walls of the houses and symbols. It is a pleasant 30 minutes walk through mustard and paddy fields. Standing on a picturesque hilltop the Lhakhang is famous for its fertility wish grants to couples. Inside the walls of the Lhakhang are beautiful frescoes depicting the colorful life of Lama DrukpaKuenley, the Divine Madman regarded for his crazy methods of teaching that included blessing women in the form of copulation!

The Gangteng Monastery-generally known as Gangtey Gonpa  is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, the main seat of the PemaLingpa tradition. The Monastery’s history traces to the early 17th century and back to the prophecies made by the well-known Terton (treasure finder) PemaLingpa in the late 15th century. The present Abbot, KunzangPemaNamgyal is the ninth re-incarnationThe descent of the first king of Bhutan, UgyenWangchuck of the Wangchuk Dynasty of Bhutan, which continues to rule Bhutan is traced to the clan of the DungkharChoje, a subsidiary of the clan of KhouchungChoje whose founder was KungaWangpo, the fourth son of PemaLingpa.

Overnight in Gangtey

DAY 6: EXPLORE PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
Gangtey in Phobjikha Valley offers plenty of opportunity to hike, with marshlands, lots of flat open terrain and, being away from the more heavily touristed areas, ultimate peace and serenity. After a day exploring the area at your leisure, you can check back into your hotel for a gourmet dinner.

Overnight in Gangtey

DAY 7: PHOBJIKHA - PARO
After breakfast drive back to Paro. Stopover at Dochula. Dochula Pass is one of Bhutan’s most famous sites, perched at an altitude of 10,200 feet and located along the road from the country’s current capital of Thimphu to its former capital Punakha. A hidden surprise awaits the few who take the time to venture away from the touristy hub.These curious visitors will discover the meditation caves tucked into the hills just above the pass. At first resembling Hobbit homes, these tiny, open-faced caverns are built from stone and painted in colorful detail with Buddhist symbolism. The druk, or dragon—Bhutan’s long-time national symbol and spirit animal—stretches over the cave entrance, bringing good luck and good tidings.

On the way to Paro- visit  Tachog Lhakhang. Tachogang means ‘temple of the hill of the excellent horse’. It is said that while Thangtong Gyalpo was meditating here, he had a vision of the spiritual horse Balaha-an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. He decided there upon to build a temple at this spot, in addition to one of his famous iron bridges later carried away by floods in 1969. A traditional style bridge with iron chains was restored in 2005. The temple is privately run by the descendents of Thangtong Gyalpo.

Later in Paro visit Kyichu Lhakhang, RInpung Dzong and National Musuem of Bhutan.

Overnight in Paro

DAY 8: PARO | HIKE TO THE TAKTSANG (“TIGER’S NEST”) MONASTERY
No journey to Bhutan is complete without a visit to Takstang monastery. After breakfast drive through Paro valley-one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan with its slate-roofed farmhouses, graceful willow trees and rushing glacial river beneath snow covered peaks to take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, (one of the most sacred places in Bhutan due to its association with Guru Rinpoche). It is believed that Guru Rinpoche reputedly flew to Paro Taktsang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming dakini-tigress in the 747 A.D., where he meditated and subdued evil spirits. Later in the evening visit Paro town and explore at your own.

Overnight in Paro

DAY 9: EXCURSION TO HAA VALLEY
After breakfast depart drive upto Chele La Pass and hike to Kila Nunnery.Start early for the drive to Chele La Pass which (3,988m) from which on a clear day the view sweeps away to Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari(7314m). Striding out along the Edelweiss covered ridge, we pass a sky burial site. We then descend for the two-hour hike through dense Rhododendron forest, possibly sighting shaggy yaks, to Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountainside below. Kila Goemba is a serene retreat for 32 Anims (Buddhist nuns) who lead an undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation.

Overnight in Paro

DAY 10: DEPART BHUTAN
After breakfast an early morning transfer to Paro Airport for your onward flight. Thank you for visiting Bhutan.


Price per person in double room in HIGH SEASON: Euro 2390
Price per person in double room in LOW SEASON: Euro 1980
Single supplement: euro 180


 

The price includes:
- accommodation in a double room for 09 nights in a 3/4 star hotel
- meals as scheduled
- English speaking guide for the whole tour
- car / minivan available for the whole tour
- support
- Bhutanese entry fee

 

The fee does not include
- Flights from
- visa (€ 50)
- drinks, meals not mentioned
- tips (around USD 10 per day)
- currency adjustment
- everything not expressly specified in "the price includes"