Bhutan

A Glimpse of Dragon Kingdom

Level

Easy/Moderate

Duration

6 days/ 5 nights

Best time to travel

March, April, May, September , October and November

Route

Arrival Paro- Bhum Drag  – Thimphu – Punakha—Paro- Departure Paro

Bhutan, also known as “land of the thunder dragon”, is a country of mountains, monasteries and mysteries, tucked away in the folds of the Himalayas. It is famed across for its untouched culture, its pristine ecology and wildlife, and the unparalleled scenic beauty of its majestic peaks and lush valleys. It is still, in many ways, a magical kingdom of the past.

The country’s extremely rich flora and fauna boasts hundreds of plant and animals species, includ­ing a wide list of endangered species. It’s always a heart-warming carnival for the lovers of the natural world.This trip is a fascinating introduction to this magical Himalayan kingdom. You will explore both Bhutanese rich culture and abundant nature. You will enjoy 1 day Bhum Drag Trek and  camp at the Spiritual Site, hike to the Tiger Nest and enjoy the stunning views ,you will also explore Dzongs, administrative centers,  museums, libraries and textile emporiums which will give you an insight to the Bhutanese culture and tradition.

Facts

  • Bhutan is considered to be the bio-diversity conservation hotspot of Eastern Himalayan. Over 72% of the land is still forested and 26% of the land is protected as National Parks with 9 % as biological corridors.
  • Before the 16th century, Bhutan was ruled by numerous clans and Nobel families throughout different valleys. This changed in 1616 with the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal from Tibet. He spread Buddhism throughout region and soon established himself as the religious ruler of Bhutan.  He repelled many attacks that came from different rival lams and also from Tibet and transform the different region into unified country called Druk-Yul (land of thunder dragon).
  • The great fortresses known as “Dzong” are the most prominent Bhutanese architecture, they symbolize the history and long independence of Bhutan. Simtokha, which dates from 1629, is the oldest- it was built back in the 12th century. Today, most of the Dzongs plays an important role in the religious life of the people, and act a landmark of different states (Dzongkags) in Bhutan.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 (D) Arrival Paro, Paro Sightseeing

The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the scared Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. Upon in Paro, you will be greeted by our tour representative and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon you can visit Paro Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the dzongs (forts) currently. You can then tour the National Museum, formerly the watchtower for the Dzong. It now houses a collection of fine arts, paintings, thankas, statues, and antiques. Afterward you can visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. In the evening you can stroll through Paro town. Overnight hotel in Paro.

Day 02: Bumdra Treks Begins (B, L, D)

Hike from Sang Choekor Buddhist College in the Paro valley (2,800 m) to Yak pasture where we camp below Bumdra Monastery (3,800 m)

The adventure begins with an early morning drive up to the Sang Choekor to meet our ponies; while they are being loaded we may pay our respects at the college. The initial one to two-hour ascent of a shady, forested ridge brings us to a clearing with prayer flags and views down into both the Paro and Do Chhu Valleys.

Above and ahead the Chhoe Tse Lhakhang (temple) nestles on the mountainside a further one to two hour’s walk away. The trail undulates for a while before the last steep section up to the pretty temple which offers commanding views south over Paro and northwards to the snowcapped Himalayas.

After a final 20-minute climb through ruins and fluttering prayer flags, we plunge back into ancient forest, and, after traversing for about 40 minutes, we come out onto a high wide meadow dotted with sacred chortens and prayer flags.

Camp: Our home for the night is tucked away just under Bumdra Monastery (Cave of a Thousand Prayers) and offers unimpeded views of the Himalayan range.  The camp is pre set comfortable  permanent camp .

After lunch we can visit the monastery (if it is occupied) and also climb the peak to the north (about 4000 m) for even better views, returning in time for a well-earned dinner.

Tonight we will camp at the sacred site and enjoy Bonfire .

Duration: 3–4 hours to camp. Optional 2–3 hours return trek to peak

Difficulty: Moderate

Overnight: Comfortable camping

Day 3 (B, L, D) Bumdra trek ends/ Hike to Tiger Nest (Taktshang) ( approx 5hrs)/ Drive to Thimphu

Return hike from Bumdra Monastery camp via Zangto Pelri Monastery to Taktshang Monastery.

After a hearty breakfast, it is time to either head straight back into the valley or spend a little extra time soaking up the view. Eventually, we have to drop back into the ancient pine and rhododendron forest on the zig-zagging trail.

After one to two hours of descent we catch glimpses of the golden roofs of temples below. The path snakes across the mountain side between these monasteries before reaching the gardens of Zangto Pelri (Heaven on Earth) from which you can, if you are brave, peer over the edge, straight down onto the ornate rooftops of Taktshang Monastery perched against the cliff-face far below.

An hour later and we are at the gates of Taktshang looking across the gorge; a steep descent to a waterfall then up some steps and you’ll reach the Tiger’s Nest itself. This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.Retracing our steps we begin the final descent of about 45 minutes to reach our vehicle. After Lunch, visit drive to Drukgyel Dzong which is built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the towering outer walls and central keep remain an imposing sight. On clear day you can see the splendid view of Mt. Jhomolhari (Alt.7321).

Evening drive to Thimphu, the Capital It takes about 1 hours’ drive. The drive to Thimphu takes you along the Paro Chu (Chu means water or river) downstream to the confluence with the Wang Chu, then turn upstream and travel along the Wang Chu to Thimphu.

Duration: 5 – 7 hours depending on time taken in monasteries

Difficulty: Moderate

Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

Day 04: Thimphu

Today we will Visit the Tashichho Dzong (fortress), the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the Central Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks. This monumental visit will be followed by a visit to the Takin reserve, which houses the national animal of Bhutan. This will be followed by a visit to the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school), the textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, and the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts). The morning tour will end with an all vegetarian lunch at the Folk Heritage Restaurant, where one can taste traditional Bhutanese delicacies cooked with organically grown vegetables.

After a relaxing lunch drive to visit the world’s largest sitting Buddha Dordenma statue in KuenselPhodrang. Also, enjoy the view from the mountain top which overlooks the Thimphu Valley. In the evening, visit the Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952- 1972). Circumvent around the Chorten (stupa) praying for blessings for all sentient beings.

Evening drive Punakha there is a breath-taking view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas from this spot. Stop at the Dochula pass, decorated with 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten and was built to celebrate stability and progress brought to Bhutan by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck.  These stupas symbolise Bhutanese spiritual and artist traditions. Spend some time photographing the most beautiful pass in Bhutan. Overnight hotel in Punakha

Day 05: Day 5 (B, L, D) Punakha - Paro (145km, 5hrs)

After breakfast you will commence sightseeing in  Punakha which  includes Punakha Dzong which houses the district administration offices it is also the winter residence of the State Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot, the Je Khenpo. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pho Chhu (Male River) and the Mo Chhu (Female River) Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan.

You will visit the Chimey Lhakhang/monastery of the Devine mad man or the temple of fertility.

After lunch we drive back to Paro. On a clear day, there is a breath-taking view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas from this spot. In the evening hot stone bath at a traditional Bhutanese house will be arranged for you. This hot stone bath is the traditionally way of taking bath for the Bhutanese, some they like to put the natural medicinal plants which are grown wild in the forest believing that cure any kinds of skin diseases. Also the belief is that, the mineral from the stones also help to cure the joint pains and other related body ache.

Overnight at a hotel in Paro

Day 6 (B) Departure Paro

In the morning after breakfast transfer to the airport for departure flight

1,372 USD / 416 KWD

per person in a group of minimum 3. Based on Double Occupancy

Trip Dates

21st April / 3rd November 2017

NOTES

  • This cost is based on a group of min 3 travelers. In case there are less than 3 travelers Additional supplement applies.
  • This cost is valid till 15th Dec 2017
  • Full payment should be made upon booking in order to proceed with the visa process.
  • All services stipulated above are subject to availability at the time of booking / reservation. All prices are subject to change.

THIS INCLUDES

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Accommodation-Three star or equivalent hotels
  • 1 night Camping with Camping equipment
  • 3 meals a day
  • Government trained local guide, cook, assistants, etc
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees for museums and monuments only
  • Transpiration as per the itinerary
  • Visa fees
  • Government taxes and Royalty

THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • International airfare
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Single supplement
  • Supplement for group less than 3 pax
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, beverages, travel insurance, gratuities / tips
  • Meals not mentioned in the above itinerary
  • International departure tax

Important: The itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather, road condition and operating conditions. In any case the guide has the RIGHT to change the program for the safety and convenience of the travelers.

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