Mystical Bhutan 08OCT19
After the awesome flight into Paro be amazed by the colour & spectacle of the Thimphu Tshechu & the Thangbi Mani & Gangtey (festivals). This small group tour, catering to a maximum of 8 persons, also features the most important temples & scenery of the central Bumthang region; the remote beauty of the Phobjikha Valley; the splendour of the magnificent Punakha Dzong and culminates with a pilgrimage hike to the majestic Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) in Paro valley.
This tour combines the very best the Kingdom of Bhutan has to offer in the west & central regions.
Reasons to book this small group tour
- This tour is a guaranteed departure.
- We only take a maximum of 8 persons on our tours.
- The spectacle of the Thimphu, Thangbi Mani & Gangtey festivals.
- We tailor our tours for less driving & more sightseeing!
- Our 16 years of Bhutan experience, service & knowledge.
- Competitive pricing & well-constructed itineraries.
- We provide a comprehensive (16 page) pre-departure planning kit.
- A charity contribution made to Bhutan on your behalf.
- Experts at combining Bhutan with India, Nepal & Tibet.
- ZERO FLIGHT RISK – free cover for supplier default.
- ATAS Accredited via our parent company MTA Travel
Your Bhutan Tour Inclusions:
- Professional guide, driver & private coach.
- All touring & transfers throughout your journey
- Bhutanese style 3* hotels with private bathrooms 12nts.
- All meals and bottled water daily.
- All entrance fees and sightseeing.
- Bhutan visa fees, Bhutan govt royalties & taxes.
- Witness the Thimphu, Gangtey & Thangbi Mani (festivals).
- Professionally run by Bhutan Tourism Corp Ltd – BTCL.
- A comprehensive pre-departure trip planning kit.
- A charity donation to the Tarayana Dragons charity group.
- Air flights to/from Paro are additional.
- Personal items: phone calls, laundry, drinks etc.
- Tips – please refer to tipping suggestions in our Bhutan Visitor Info guide.
- Travel Insurance – which is mandatory to enter Bhutan.
Available On Request:
- Single Room Supplement – Please add US$480.00.
- Upgrade to Business Class to/from Paro.
- Ex-Australia Stopovers & Additional Asian Arrangements
|Deposit date until 60 days prior departure||Loss of deposit|
|From 60 days prior arrival in Bhutan||No refund permitted|
Tuesday 08 October 2019:
Paro Airport to Thimphu (1 hr 30 mins drive time)
After clearing immigration and customs you will be greeted by your BTCL guide and driver and transferred to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, travelling through the spectacular countryside en-route. All the houses and buildings in the Kingdom are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style.
After arrival in Thimphu visit the stunning Golden Buddha with wonderful city & valley views and the option of a 3 km hike through the adjacent National Park. Enjoy a very traditional Bhutanese lunch at a local restaurant and this afternoon visit the National Memorial Chorten, the Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s most unusual national mammal and a wander up Thimphu’s main street Norzin Lam.
Wednesday 09 October:
Thimphu Sightseeing & Hiking (optional)
This morning drive north up the valley to the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong to witness the colour & spectacle of the second day of the Thimphu Tshechu. Take either a picnic lunch and dine at the festival with the locals or at a local restaurant.
This afternoon remain at the festival and later visit the beautiful Tara Lhaden Zhingkham Lhakhang (temple) nearby. Alternatively enjoy some time at leisure watching a game of archery or spend some additional time exploring the markets held in Thimphu over the festival.
Thursday 10 October:
Thimphu to Phobjikha Valley (5 hrs)
This morning you will be transferred by road eastwards to the Phobjikha Valley. En-route passing the Semtokha Dzong, built in 1629 & the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley, which today it is a monastery. Continue ascending to Dochu La (pass) to view the 108 Stupas, commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the low intensity conflict in late 2002 when Bhutan evicted Indian rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya and depending on the time of the year the vista can vary from alpine snow (November – March) to a profusion of blossoms (March – May) splashed among the soft green of the wild herbs and forest trees.
When the ruins of the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong (tragically destroyed by fire in June 2012)come into view, notice the large cacti that cover the hillside below which, were planted long ago to discourage invaders from climbing the steep slope to the Dzong. From the road view Rinchengang, one of Bhutan’s oldest villages, which did not have access to water, electricity or schooling until the early 1990’s.The craftsmen of Rinchengang are sought after for their skills in construction of Dzongs and Lhakhangs (temples).
Potatoes are this region’s primary cash crop and mainly exported to India. Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains and is one of the most beautiful open valleys in Bhutan. It is also one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country and the winter home (late October to early February) of the rare black necked crane, which annually flies in from Tibet. There are also muntjaks (barking deer), wild boar, sambar, Himalayan black bear, leopard and red foxes.
On arrival into Phobjikha hike the Gangtey Nature Trail which is mainly flat along the valley floor.
Friday 11 October:
Sightseeing & Hiking in the Phobjikha Valley
Today you will visit the sacred Gangtey Goenpa (Monastery) to witness the Gangtey Tshechu plus enjoy time to wander through Gangtey village. This afternoon visit the Black Crane nature information centre and either return to the festival or head further down the valley to the Phobji region for an easy hike through villages, temples & farm houses.
Overnight Phobjikha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Saturday 12 October:
Phobjikha Valley to Choekhor Valley (4 hrs 30 mins)
This morning depart Phobjikha to the central Bumthang region comprising the 4 valleys Choekhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. Traverse the Pele La (Pass) which crosses through the Black Mountains National Park and divides western and central Bhutan and stop for lunch near Trongsa, where you will spend more time on your return journey. Keep a watchful eye out for Rhesus Macaques (Brown Monkeys) on the side of the road. The Trongsa Dzong is perched at the end of a ridge and seems to hang in space at the head of the valley. The Dzongs location afforded it great power over this part of the country as the only foot and mule trail between east and western Bhutan leads straight through Trongsa and through the Dzong itself.
On arrival in the Bumthang region notice the large fields of buckwheat that cover the valleys…..buckwheat noodles and pancakes are a Bumthang speciality. This afternoon visit Jakar Dzong and take a wander through nearby Chamkhar town.
Sunday 13 October:
Thangbi Mani festival & Sightseeing
(subject to dates not changing at late notice)
This morning witness the colour & spectacle of the Thangbi Mani festival held at Thangbi Lhakhang in the Choekhor valley.
After lunch at your hotel, or at a local restaurant, your afternoon sightseeing includes visits to the Kurjey Lhakhang, which along with Jambay Lhakhang are the oldest two monasteries in the kingdom. All the Kings of Bhutan are cremated at Kurjey Lhakhang.
Time permitting, other options include the Tamshing Monastery where about 95 Monks reside (most are under 15 and from poorer families who cannot afford to send their children to state school) and the nearby Swiss Farm for local produce.
Overnight Choekhor Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Monday 14 October:
Choekhor Valley to Trongsa (2 hrs 30 mins)
Today transfer back towards Trongsa via the Chhume valley for the opportunity to shop for excellent local handicrafts and textiles. This region is renowned for its exceptionally high quality weaving’s. The Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the Royal Family of Bhutan and has added the excellent Tower of Trongsa museum into it’s ancient watchtower, which you will visit this afternoon, followed by an excursion to the Dzong itself.
Tuesday 15 October:
Trongsa to Punakha Valley (4 hrs 30 mins)
Depart early this morning on a very scenic drive to the Punakha Valley, which holds the title as the winter capital because of its more temperate climate, taking lunch at a café en-route or on arrival in Punakha depending on timing.
This afternoon, on arrival into Punakha, take an orientation tour of the valley including the markets at Mesina and the nearby Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman or Mad Monk) with a very colourful history. It is believed childless women who visit the temple will conceive after receiving a ‘wang’ (blessing) from the resident monk. The walk across rice paddy fields takes about 20 minutes each way.
Wednesday 16 October:
Sightseeing and hiking (optional) in Punakha
This morning visit the dramatic Punakha Dzong, which formally served as the seat of the government and is still the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body). This is Bhutan’s most spectacular Dzong and an excellent example of how a medieval fortress and a centre of both monastic and administrative functions, has adapted and evolved for modern day use.
Next visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang & Nunnery before lunch at a local restaurant.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at leisure or we recommend a fascinating hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten. This Chorten holds very special significance being consecrated in 1999 and dedicated to the protection of the former Crown Prince – today’s current King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Thursday 17 October:
Punakha to Thimphu (3 hrs)
Depart Punakha this morning for your transfer westwards to Thimphu once again traversing Dochu La, on arrival in Thimphu, visit to the celebrated Royal Textile Academy.
After lunch your sightseeing options include the Folk Heritage Museum and Zorig Chusum – the Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan where you can interact with the students. Alternatively spend some free time to explore Thimphu on foot. The central Post Office offers a wonderful ‘personalised’ stamp service for visitors.
Friday 18 October:
Thimphu to Paro Valley (1 hr 30 mins)
Enjoy a leisurely start today and visit colourful Thimphu weekend markets before a late morning transfer to the Paro Valley. On arrival take lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon enjoy an orientation tour of the major features in Paro town including the Rinpung Dzong, with its cantilever bridge, the National Museum (time permitting) and time to wander along the main streets which offer good shopping for jewellery and handicrafts.
Saturday 19 October:
Hiking & Sightseeing in the Paro Valley
This morning make a pilgrimage hike to the Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tigers Nest. This is Bhutan’s most revered monastery and all Bhutanese Buddhists strive to make the pilgrimage here at least once in their lives. With each step, merit points are gained for the next part of life’s journey. Choose between a 2 hour round trip hike to the monastery viewpoint or a longer 5 hour, and more strenuous hike, into the monastery itself. Tigers Nest clings impossibly to a cliff of rock at 800 m above the valley floor and where Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress to subdue the local demons followed by 3 months meditation in a cave still visible in the monastery. In 1998 the monastery was seriously damaged by fire and has since been painstakingly reconstructed to its original condition and consecrated by the 4th King in 2005. Take lunch at the viewpoint cafe which offers good Bhutanese vegetarian dishes.
This afternoon visit Kyichu Lhakhang – one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples, boasting an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit, before choosing a further visit to Paro town or spending the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel.
Overnight Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Saturday 19 October:
Morning departure from you hotel to Paro Airport for your onward flight.
Book Your Place!
Name of Tour: Mystical Bhutan Tour 08OCT19
Price: US$3289.00 per person twin share for land tour.
Single room supplement @ US$480.00 per person.
Dates: 8th Oct, 2019
to 20th Oct, 2019 (12 nights)
Airfares to/from Bhutan are additional. This is a set date, small group tour, for a maximum of 8 persons to provide the most rewarding experience.