Mystical Bhutan Tour 13 days/12 nights, 17-29 September 2021

Mystical Bhutan Tour Festival with a large puppet display

Introduction:

After the awesome flight into Paro be amazed by the colour & spectacle of the Thimphu Tshechu.

This small group tour, catering to a maximum of 8 persons, also features splendour of the magnificent Punakha Dzong; the most important temples & scenery of the central Bumthang region; the remote beauty of the Phobjikha Valley; 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.

Tour Itinerary Overview.

  • 3 nights Thimphu with exploring, hiking and shopping options.
  • 2 nights Phobjikha valley for hiking and exploring.
  • 2 nights Bumthang valleys, festival, hiking, exploring.
  • 1 night Trongsa with museum & Dzong visits.
  • 2 nights Punakha valley with monastery & Dzong visits.
  • 2 nights Paro valley with Taktsang Monastery hike, shopping & exploring.

OR CALL THE BHUTAN TRAVEL EXPERTS ON
AUS toll free, James – 0412 416 111, Nicola – 0413 598 669

Reasons to book this small group tour

  • We only take a maximum of 8 persons on our tours.
  • The spectacle of the Thimphu Tshechu & the Thangbi Mewang (festivals).
  • We tailor our tours for less driving & more sightseeing!
  • Our 17 years of Bhutan experience, service & knowledge.
  • Competitive pricing & well-constructed itineraries.
  • We provide a comprehensive pre-departure planning guide.
  • Experts at combining Bhutan with India, & Nepal.
  • ATAS Accredited via our parent company MTA Travel

Bhutan 13 day/12 night land Tour Costs & Inclusions

Tour Dates – 17 – 29 SEP 2021
All inclusive Bhutan land tour cost    @US$3481.00 per person twin/dbl share.
Single room supplement @US$600.00             

Please note tour costs are quoted in USD.
Airfares to from Bhutan are additional.

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, hiking and sightseeing.
  • Bhutan visa fees & processing.
  • Sustainable development fee (SDF) & local taxes.
  • Witness the Thimphu Tshechu & Thangbi Mewang (festivals).
  • Professionally run by Bhutan Tourism Corp Ltd – BTCL.
  • A comprehensive pre-departure trip planning guide.

Tour Exclusions:

  • Air flights to/from Paro are additional.
  • Personal items: phone calls, laundry, drinks, designer coffee etc.
  • Tips – please refer to tipping suggestions in our Bhutan Visitor Info guide.
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance – mandatory to enter Bhutan.

Available On Request:

  • Single Room Supplement – Please add US$600.00.
  • Upgrade to Business Class to/from Paro.
  • Ex-Australia Stopovers & Additional Asian Arrangements

Cancellation Conditions

  • Deposit date until 35 days prior arrival in Bhutan – Land tour deposit is refundable less B&B service fees.
  • 35 days or less prior to arrival in Bhutan – No land tour refund permitted.

Please note: – These conditions cover land travel arrangements only, not airfares, which are subject to their own cancellation conditions.

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Friday 17 September 2021:

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.

Firstly 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 take a fascinating wander through the colourful weekend markets. Here all the locals go for a wide range of produce. Time permitting visit the Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s most unusual national mammal. 

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Saturday 18 September:

Exploring Thimphu & Festival Visit.

This morning drive north up the valley to the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong to witness the colour & spectacle of the last day of the Thimphu Tshechu. Take either a picnic lunch and dine at the festival with the locals, or lunch at a local restaurant.

SPECIAL NOTE: Early this morning at approx 03.00 am you can have the option of attending the festival to witness the unfurling of the Thongdrel. It is an intensely religious experience for the Bhutanese. The extremely large thongdrel is a painting (Thangka) which is not allowed to be struck by the direct rays of the sun. Therefore it must be rolled back up by 7:30 AM. The mere sight of the Thongdrel is said to cleanse the viewer of sin. You would then return to the hotel for breakfast and rest before later returning to the festival again.

This afternoon visit the beautiful Tara Lhaden Zhingkham Lhakhang (temple) nearby. Finally enjoy some time exploring the markets held in Thimphu over the festival.

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Sunday 19 September:

Thimphu to Phobjikha Valley (4-5 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. 

When the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong (currently being rebuilt) comes 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 Phobjikha’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.

Time permitting walk the Gangtey Nature Trail on arrival this afternoon. Alternatively undertake this tomorrow morning. This is an easy, mainly flat, walk through forest and pastures.

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Monday 20 September:

Exploring & Hiking in Phobjikha

Today you will visit the sacred Gangtey Goenpa (Monastery) plus enjoy time to wander through Gangtey village. Furthermore visit the Black Crane nature information centre.

This afternoon take an excursion further down the valley to the more remote Phobji region. Here you can enjoy an easy hike through villages, temples & farm houses.

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Tuesday 21 September:

Phobjikha to Choekhor Valley (4 hrs)

Early 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. You will spend more time in Trongsa 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 specialty. This afternoon visit the Thangbi Mewang (festival).

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Wednesday 22 September:

Exploring & hiking in the Choekhor Valley

Your morning sightseeing includes visits to the Kurjey Lhakhang & Jambay Lhakhang. These are the oldest two monasteries in the kingdom. All the Kings of Bhutan are cremated at Kurjey Lhakhang.

This afternoon visit Jakar Dzong and take a wander through nearby Chamkhar town, perhaps drop in at the Swiss Farm to taste sweet cheese, apple brandy and locally brewed wine and beer. 

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Thursday 23 September:

Choekhor Valley to Trongsa (2 hrs)

Enjoy a more leisurely start today before transferring westwards today to Trongsa, en-route visiting the Chhume weaving centre for the opportunity to shop for excellent local handicrafts and textiles. This region is renowned for its exceptionally high quality weaving’s.    

On arrival in Trongsa visit the Tower of Trongsa museum followed by lunch. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the Royal Family of Bhutan. This afternoon enjoy an excursion to the Dzong itself or take one of the hiking options available in this region.

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Friday 24 September:

Trongsa to Punakha Valley (4+ hrs)

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 on arrival in Punakha.

This afternoon, on arrival into Punakha, take an orientation tour of the valley including the markets at Lobesa 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.

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Saturday 25 September:

Exploring & hiking in the Punakha Valley

This morning visit the Punakha Saturday morning market followed by a visit to 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.

Continue on and visit the Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang & Nunnery followed by an excursion along a delightful country lane the very traditional village of Talo where you can wander the beautiful & serene gardens of the local monastery.

Choose to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at leisure or travel up the valley & take a fascinating hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten through fields of vegetables, rice paddies and tiny hamlets. This Chorten hold 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.

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Sunday 26 September:

Punakha to Thimphu (2 hrs 30 mins)

This morning farewell beautiful Punakha and head back to the capital Thimphu, once again traversing Dochu La. 

On arrival in Thimphu visit the ‘Simply Bhutan’ traditional display village followed by a Bhutanese lunch. At ‘Simply Bhutan’ you can try ara tasting (local spirit); suja tasting (butter tea); try your hand at archery and enjoy a cultural performance of song & dance during the lunch, before a visit to the National Memorial Chorten.

Remainder of the day at leisure to explore on your own.

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Monday 27 September:

Thimphu to Paro Valley (1 hr 30 mins)

This morning visit the celebrated Royal Textile Academy & time permitting the central Post Office offers a wonderful ‘personalised’ stamp service for visitors.

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. Also visit the National Museum and enjoy time to wander along the main streets which offer good shopping for jewellery and handicrafts.

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Tuesday 28 September:

Hiking & exploring 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.

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Wednesday 29 September:

Day of departure.

Morning departure from you hotel to Paro Airport for your onward flight.

Please scroll down the page to locate the interactive map of Bhutan.

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Name of Tour: Mystical Bhutan Tour 17SEP21

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    This small group tour visits Thimphu, Phobjikha, Bumthang, Trongsa, Punakha & Paro valleys
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