Bhutan Highlights: The Land of Thunder Dragon

Asia > Bhutan

This extroverted journey takes you along an extraordinary route, full of lore and splendor, punctuated by Photographic attractions, and features diversity.

 

Bhutan is the land of mountain legends, nestled high in the eastern Himalayas, between India and Tibet.

This is one of the last untouched bastions of ancient civilization, where the vibrant whirl of the masked festival is very much an authentic celebration. The spiritual resonance of Buddhism is tangible throughout the land with intricately carved monasteries colorfully emerging out of the majestic mountains. The landscape is dramatic throughout, boasting deep wooded forests, emerald valleys bursting with wild flora and snow-capped peaks soaring beyond the eye. Discover your own Shangri-la in this land of mystique and myths.

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Day 1: ARRIVAL PARO - THIMPU

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative, and afterwards drive to Thimphu (55 kms / 1½ hrs), the capital town of Bhutan with enroute stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different style of stupas; Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left TschogangLhakhang, “the temple of the excellent horse”. It is a private temple, built in 15th century, as the result of visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha.
On arrival in Thimphu, Check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of Government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. With the population of about 90,000 it is perhaps still the world’s only capital city without a traffic light.

Overnight Hotel Taj Tashi (Dinner)

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Day 2: THIMPHU

After breakfast, sightseeing in Thimphu valley (2400 m) including visit to the following: The National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts; the Institute for ZorigChusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. Later visit Textile Museum, which provides insight into Bhutan’s one of the most distinct art form.
After lunch visit Simply Bhutan, a living museum and studio encapsulating the cultural heritage of the Bhutanese people.
Further visit to Buddha Point (KuenselPhodrang). Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, visitors can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (KuenselPhodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
Evening an exploratory walk around Thimphu main street and market area. Also visit the Local Crafts Bazaar, to browse through example of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, Thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewellery, interesting items made from local materials.

Overnight Hotel Taj Tashi (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 3: THIMPU – GANGTEY

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel & drive Gangtey (Phobjikha) (150 kms / 5 hrs) enroute visiting Dochula Pass (Altitude 3080m). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
On arrival in Gangtey, Check-into the hotel. The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of oak and rhododendron. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and chosen home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters.
Afternoon take a walk around Gangtey village and visit Gangtey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in this region. The village of Phobjikha lies a few km, down from the monastery, on the valley floor. This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate.

Overnight Gangtey Goenpa Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 4: GANGTEY - PUNAKHA

Visit Black Necked Crane Information Centre. Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also offers display information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people.
Later drive to Punakha (70 kms / 2-3 hrs), the old capital town of Bhutan.
On arrival in Punakha, Check-into the hotel. Later visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body.

Overnight Uma by Como (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 5: PUNAKHA

After breakfast, take short hike to Chimi Lhakhang (from hotel it is about 15 mins drive till motorable road and then walk starts through paddy fields and villages. This is total about 1½ hour walk, including both way). The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’.
Later visit to Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery. Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang, 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 Padma Sambawa, 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.

Overnight Uma by Como (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 6: PUNAKHA - PARO

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Paro (120 kms / 4 ½ hrs) along scenic highway, enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country built in 1627 which now houses the School for Buddhist studies.
On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. After lunch, proceed to visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons &armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Ta Dzong visit immediately followed by a short walk down the trail to visit RinpungDzong (ParoDzong), meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.

Overnight Uma by Como (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 7: PARO

After breakfast excursion to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest (approx. 5 hours walk): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.
Afternoon drive to DrukgyelDzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, "mountain of goddess'' can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
Evening, visit the 7th century KyichuLhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, SongtsenGampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Overnight Uma by Como (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 8: PARO – DEPART

After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.

(Breakfast)

Accommodations

TAJ TASHI

is set in the heart of the Thimphu Valley, a gateway to a land steeped in mythology and magic. In keeping with the enchanting surrounds, the hotel is a blend of Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 66 elegant guestrooms afford guests striking highlights of the region’s art and color. Besides breathtaking views of the mountains that rise above the Thimphu valley. Taj Tashi’s location in the capital city of Thimphu, makes it the ideal base from which to explore the tiny kingdom’s spectacular monasterie, centuries-old street festivals, scenic mountain passes and pristine wilderness, all within easy reach.

GANGTEY GOENPA LODGE

will offer visitors a unique and exciting insight into the beautiful Gangtey Valley. The lodge, with its spectacular setting and sweeping views over the whole valley, will act as a luxurious base and jumping off point for a series of half and full day adventures and excursions. The focal point of the lodge will be an informal lounge and dining space with wall to ceiling views of the valley below. Plush leather sofas and rich fabrics will invite guests to share the day’s adventures around two impressive fireplaces encased in local stone. The twelve beautifully appointed guestrooms, each with their own cozy fireplace, will reflect the rich cultural heritage with warm fabrics and earthen tones.

UMA BY COMO PANAKHA

is the second hotel in Bhutan by COMO. It is an intimate, luxury lodge located at the far western end of the lush Punakha Valley. From the picturesque base overlook a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu River. Uma Punakha is ideally located for those who wish to explore this remote Himalayan Kingdom. Every room commands sweeping views, 8 deluxe valley view rooms with private terraces, king size beds and spacious bathrooms.

UMA BY COMO PARO 

offers exceptional style in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Reflecting an understated philosophy of quiet comfort in a unique, culture-rich location, this inland retreat is also dedicated to activity and adventure. The landscape is dramatic with pine-clad valleys and snow-tipped ranges. Rooms provide an undisturbed view over the Paro Valley with king size beds, bathroom, shower, and bathtub.

  • Accommodation on twin/double sharing basis as per hotels mentioned below.
  • All meals during the tour (Some lunches enroute during long drives).
  • Vehicle: Non AC Hyundai Tucson / Santa Fe for 02 pax.
  • All transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary.
  • English speaking accompanying guide.
  • Governmental royalty and taxes.
  • Entrances fee to places of visit.
  • Bhutan visa fee.
  • Meeting / assistance at the time of arrival and departure at airport and during check in/out at hotels in major cities.
  • Insurance of any kind / medical expenses
  • Beverages (alcoholic / non – alcoholic)
  • Expenses of personal nature (like tipping, laundry, Telephone/fax calls, camera/video fees etc).
  • Airfare and Airport Tax.
  • Any sudden increase in price due to steep hike in Entry Fee, steep hike in fuel cost, change in government tax policy or for any reason beyond our control like acts of god, natural calamity, law and order situation, riots etc and any forced change in itinerary for any unforeseen situation or reason beyond our control.

Pricing starts at:

$6,000

Pricing
FOR 2 PEOPLE

$6,500

per person

Pricing
FOR 4 PEOPLE

$6,000

per person

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