A 14-day fabulous adventure holiday, immersed in Himalayan Culture.
Price £2,195 per person. Code BHU14D.
PARO - HAA - THIMPHU - PUNAKHA - WANGDUE - PHOBJIKHA - TRONGSA - BUMTHANG
The Kingdom of BHUTAN, land of the peaceful Dragon, nestles in the heart of some of the world highest peaks. This tiny beautiful Kingdom only opened its gates to foreigners in 1974. It remains the society, where age old culture and traditional life continues as it had been for centuries. With about 69% of population still living in rural Bhutan, farming is an occupation for the majority of Bhutanese. Age old barter system is still practiced in some places, and extended families often with more than 50 members living together are common. This tour gives you an insight of this mysterious Himalayan Kingdom. You will be escorted through the beautiful valleys of Paro, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, and the picturesque sub-tropical valleys of Punakha, Wangdue & Phobjey Kha Valley in west central Bhutan, and Bumthang in central Bhutan.
Price includes : Visa to Bhutan, private car & English speaking local guides for all airport transfers & assistance, visits and excursions as per programme, admission fees and permits to villages, hotels as specified with daily breakfast, all lunches & dinners.
Price excludes : International flights * to/from Paro, insurance, drinks, optional visits or entertainments, tipping and any service not specified.
Single room supplement is £595 per person. We reserve the right to amend programs in case of unexpected problems caused by weather, airlines, transport companies and local organizations.
* To make your holidays even more hassle free, we can purchase international flights on your behalf at competitive prices.Please call us for mor information.
DAY 01 Departure from London Heathrow.
Fly to Kathmandu via Doha with Qatar Airways or via Delhi with British airways. On arrival connect with Druk Air to Paro.
DAY 02 PARO (-/L/D)
The flight to Paro is one of the most amazing experiences. On clear days, there are never-ending views of some of the world’s highest mountains peaks. On board attendants will guide you in filling out disembarkation forms. After getting your visa stamped, you will be greeted by our representative dressed in Traditional Kho (male dress) or Kira (female dress). Short drive to your Hotel to re-energise before Paro sightseeing taking in the National Museum (Ta-Dzong – Dzong meaning fortress) and the Rinpung Dzong. Today there are about 20 Dzongs in Bhutan, most built during the early part of the 17th century. Dzongs are the seat of the district administration as well as home to the monastic school. These huge fortresses are used by Bhutanese to fight many Tibetan and Mongol invasions. Walk down further through flat stone pavements, over a beautiful ancient wooden bridge with two guardhouses at each entrance. Visit Kichu monastery built in the 7th century. In the evening, stroll through the narrow streets of Paro and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at Janka Resort.
DAY 03 HAA EXCURSION / DRIVE TO THIMPHU (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast drive to the beautiful secluded valley of Haa with stopovers in Chelila La Pass, Bondey town, Dzong Drakka village. Another 30 minutes drive from the village, on the right is a Monastery clinging to the cliff. This is Kelly Gompa, housing about 50 nuns living in seclusion. Slowly ascend about 3990 m to reach Chelila Pass marked with prayer Flags. This is the highest mountain pass accessible by car. In clear weather, we can enjoy wonderful views of the mountains to the west marking the border with Tibet. Drive down a zig-zag road into Haa Valley. As we approach Haa, three almost identical hills appear in line on the other side of the valley. These are believed by the locals to be the physical manifestations of three important Buddhist saints. The left is Manjushri (the God who holds the flaming sword which cuts the knot of ignorance), the middle is Chenrizig (the God of compassion, who is the human incarnation of the Dalai Lama) and the right hand hill is Chana Dorji (the protector of Haa/Bhutan). Collectively they are known as Rigsum (three hills). Descending further will afford glimpses of the square yellow roof of the main monastery/fortress, Namgyal Dzong which is now used as a military base. The central tower of the Dzong is still used by the local people for ceremonial purposes. Haa town lies a few kms further to the north-west and is really quite attractive with its traditional two storey shops lined in 2 rows. Visit Lhakhang Nagpo and Karpo, now the seats of the monastic community in Haa. After lunch, drive on towards Thimphu. In about half an hour, we reach the village of Jenkhana. Drive further to Chunzom then to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu is a small city with about 90,000 inhabitants (but rural-urban migration has increased by about 7% in recent years). This city is known for being the only capital in the world without modern traffic lights. On arrival check in at Yedzin Hotel, and evening at leisure to stroll around town.
DAY 04 THIMPHU (B/L/D)
Thimphu guided visits include : Memorial Chorten, Thimpu market where a weekend market is held from Friday to Sunday, selling local produce ranging from fresh fruits, rice, chillies,wild mushrooms, condiments, spices, vegetables to yak butter, hardened cheese, meat as well as village textiles, handicrafts, art & jewellery. Take a short drive to North Thimphu to visit the 15th century Changangkha Monastery, and further up north to see a small man made habitat of Takin, an endangered species very much protected in Bhutan. Drive to Thimphu View point, known to young people as a ‘lover’s dating place’. Other sights include an indigenous paper making factory, the Bhutanese Textile Museum, traditional gold and silver smith workshop and the house of Buddhist herbal incense.
DAY 05 THIMPHU / PUNAKHA / CHIMI LHAKHANG HIKE (B/L/D)
After breakfast overland transfer to Punakha via Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft). Until 1951 Punakha served as the winter capital of State and religious affairs of Bhutan. It is still the winter seat of the Je khenpo (chief Abbot). Leisurely hike to the 15th century Temple dedicated to the God of Fertility. Listen to the unceasing rotation of prayer wheels making repeated sound of bells in the temple. Next visit the Punakha Dzong built in the first quarter of the 17th century at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. The town originally located on the riverbank and dominated by the towering walls of Punakha Dzong, has been relocated to a safer site further down the valley. Although fires and an earthquake have destroyed many buildings, Punakha Dzong still houses sacred and historic artefacts and also the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Overnight at Meripuseum hotel.
DAY 06 BUMTHANG (B/L/D)
Early morning Drive to Bumthang, via Pelela pass (3300 m), the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large number of prayer flags and the whole area is covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo and dwarf rhododendron shrubs. Stop en route at Chenbji Chotern built in 18th century by a lama named Shida. This is a stupa with eyes similar to the Buddhanath stupa in Nepal. Lunch at Yangkhiel resort in Trongsa before driving towards the spectacular view of Trongsa Dzong, the largest & most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. Drive further to Bumthang, across Yotong-La Pass stopping enroute in the Chume valley, where local women weave the famous "Bumthang Yathra". Bumthang is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. Here the great teachers meditated and left in their walk many sacred grounds. The Guru and his lineage of Tertons, treasure finders, have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. Dinner & overnight at Rinchenling Hotel.
DAY 07 BUMTHANG (B/L/D)
Day at leisure for hikes to Thangbimani villages to visit Wangdichholing Palace, Kurjey monastries, Jambay & Tamshing Lkhakhangs, the Jakar Dzong, seat of the district administration, Tamshing Monasteries, the Cheese and Beer Factory and village handicraft shops. Time permitting, visit a Bhutanese school to the delight of its pupils & teachers.
DAY 08: GANGTEY (B/L/D)
Early drive to Gangtey via Trongsa through the same West-East lateral highway. Stop for lunch at Trongsa before completing the drive to Gangtey valley. Overnight at Dewacheen, a beautiful hotel in Gangtey valley.
DAY 09: GANGTEY / WANGDUE (B/L/D)
Time at leisure to relax before driving to Wangdue for the Black Necked Crane interpretation centre and the 15th century Gangtey Monastery. After lunch visit Wangdue Dzong and stroll around Wangdue town. Overnight at Kichu Resort.
DAY 10: THIMPHU (B/L/D)
Car return to Thimphu with a stopover at Dochula cafeteria for a tea break and mountain views. Drive further down to Thimphu. Lunch on arrival. Rest of the day is at leisure & overnight at Jumolhari Hotel.
DAY 11: PARO (B/L/D)
Morning to visit some other places in Thimphu before the drive to Paro. Then at leisure to explore Paro on your own. Overnight at Janka Resort.
DAY 12: TAKTSANG HIKE & EXCURSION (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast drive to the Drukgyel Dzong in ruins for a short hike round. Then drive back down to Satsam Chorten and take a diversion road to Taktsang (“Tiger’s Nest”) point for the hike to Taktsang monastery. This spectacular monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley. Its foundation was laid in the 8th century, when Guru Padma Sambhava was believed to have landed after flying from Kurtoe valley on the back of a tigress. The monastery unfortunately was burnt in 1998 and has recently been reconstructed. After lunch, walk down and return to hotel. Farewell dinner in Paro.
DAY 13: DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
After breakfast, drive to the Paro Airport for flight home via Kathmandu or Delhi.
DAY 14 : Arrive home