Anyone with an interest in Buddhist culture will be fascinated by this 10-day adventure into the heart of Bhutan, the only country in the world that measures its well-being in GNH Gross National Happiness. Explore remote villages and shrines in the mountains. Climb magnificent heights to the cliff-side Taktsang Monastery, 900m (2,953 ft) above the valley floor. Discover your own capacity for happiness within Bhutan's ancient culture.
In clear weather, the flight over the Himalayas offers magnificent views of the world's highest peaks as they give way to the lush green Paro valley. The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step off the plane. After clearing customs and visa control, we'll be met by our local CEO who will conduct our welcome meeting and orientation. Later, enjoy dinner and visit Rimpung Dzong, a school for monks, and take a walk through the town.
Approx. Altitude: Paro 2,300m
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Rimpung Dzong Visit
Private Vehicle (0.50 hour(s))
After breakfast, drive through dense forests of blue pine, oak, and rhododendrons and enjoy views of the Himalayan range and the valley beyond. After a lunch stop, the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass at 3,050m (10,007 ft). After stopping here for tea and panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha.
Approx. Altitude: Punakha Valley 1,300m
Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours, 180km)
Visit Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body, located between the rivers of the Mo (female) Chu and Pho (male) Chu. Drive to Lobeysa and hike another 20 min to Chime Lhakhang, temple of the “Divine Madman,” built in 1499. Today it is mostly visited by women, as it is known as a temple of fertility.
Walk back to the road and then drive a short distance to Wangdue for a visit to the Wangdue Phodrang. We'll continue on to the suspension bridge and hike through rice terraces, fields, and deep pine forest to Khamsum Yueley Chorten, where the view is superb. Descend until we reach the suspension bridge and the return to the hotel.
Wangdue Phodrang is currently under reconstruction, depending on the status, we may or may not be able to visit.
Punakha Dzong Visit
Chime Lhakhang Visit
Wangdue Phodrang Visit
Hike and visit Khamsum Yueley Chorten
Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s))
Approx. Altitude: Gangtey Valley 2,900m
Khewa Village Visit
Family Farm Meal
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours, 78km)
The valley is also a centre for crane observation run by the RSPN (Royal Society for the Protection of Nature), an NGO striving to protect Bhutan's environment, flora, and fauna. At certain times of the year, it is possible to spot these magnificent birds.
Gangtey Goempa Monastery Visit
Phobjikha and Khewa Valley Hike
Drive to the capital to visit the National Library, Memorial Chorten, and the Institute for Zorig Chusum, an arts and crafts school where we can watch students practicing traditional arts such as woodworking, painting, and ceramics. Meet with a Buddhist monk and scholar to discuss Buddhist beliefs and way of life, as well as values in Bhutan.
Approx. Altitude: Thimpu 2,300m
National Library Visit
Memorial Chorten Visit
Institute for Zorig Chusum Visit
Meet a Buddhist Monk
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Drive to the Haa Valley, one of the most remote and sacred valleys in Bhutan, via the Chelela Pass. En route, hike to Kila Goempa Nunnery, which clings to a rocky cliff. Drive to the valley and visit Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple), and Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple).
Approx. Altitude: Haa Valley 2,600m
Kila Goempa Nunnery Hike
Haa Valley Temples and shrines
Private Vehicle (6.00-8.00 hours)
Return to Paro and visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong fortress.
Approx. Altitude: Paro 701m (2,300 ft)
Drukgyal Dzong Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours, 65km)
Embark on a vigorous hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger's Nest), the most venerated pilgrim site of the Himalayan world. The view is absolutely stunning, with the monastery clinging to a cliff face towering 2,953m above the valley. Later, visit Kyichu Lhakhang Temple and the local archery grounds.
Due to the altitude this climb can be tough. Be prepared to spend about 5 1/2 hours to get up and down with stops, including lunch. Remember to stay hydrated and take your time.
The hike is gradual and uphill and takes about 2 hrs to reach the first stop at the cafeteria where you can enjoy views of the monastery. If you choose, you can stop here and wait for the group who choose to continue up to the Monastery.
Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery Hike
Kyichu Lhakhang Temple Visit
Local Archery Grounds Visit
Depart at any time. Airport transfer included.
Private Vehicle (0.50 hour(s))
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Trip Name: Wonders of Bhutan
Duration: 10 Days
From Price: 479
Trip Code: 155165
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