Mystical Bhutan Tour 27SEP20

Festival Dancers

Introduction:

After the awesome flight into Paro be amazed by the colour & spectacle of the Thimphu Tshechu & the Thangbi Mani (festivals). 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.

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

  • This tour is a guaranteed departure.
  • We only take a maximum of 8 persons on our tours.
  • The spectacle of the Thimphu & Thangbi Mani 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 & Tibet.
  • ZERO FLIGHT RISK – free cover for supplier default.
  • ATAS Accredited via our parent company MTA Travel

Bhutan 13 day/12 night land Tour Costs & Inclusions

Tour Dates – 27  SEP – 09 OCT, 2020
All inclusive Bhutan land tour cost    @US$3481.00 per person twin/dbl share.
Single room supplement @US$515.00             

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, Bhutan govt royalties &  taxes.
  • Witness the Thimphu & Thangbi Mani (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 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$515.00.
  • Upgrade to Business Class to/from Paro.
  • Ex-Australia Stopovers & Additional Asian Arrangements

Cancellation Conditions

Deposit due date until 60 days prior departure – Loss of deposit
From 60 days prior to arrival in Bhutan – No refund permitted

Sunday 27 September 2020:

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. Next visit the Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s most unusual national mammal . Finally take a stroll up Thimphu’s main street Norzin Lam.

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Monday 28 September:

Thimphu Sightseeing & Festival

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.

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Tuesday 29 September:

Thimphu to Punakha Valley (3 hrs)

This morning you will be transferred by road eastwards to the Punakha Valley. En-route passing the Semtokha Dzong. Built in 1629, & the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley, 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. This was when Bhutan evicted Indian separatist rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya.

On arrival into Punakha visit the markets at Mesina followed by the nearby Chimi Lhakhang. This is 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 scenic, easy walk across rice paddy fields takes about 20 minutes each way.

Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

Wednesday 30 September:

Sightseeing & Hiking in Punakha

This morning visit the dramatic Punakha Dzong, which formally served as the seat of the government. It is still the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body) and is Bhutan’s most spectacular Dzong. Furthermore it is an excellent example of how a medieval fortress, and centre of both monastic and administrative functions, has 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 01 October:

Punakha to Trongsa (4-5 hrs)

This morning depart Punakha for a very scenic journey to Trongsa. Traverse the Pele La (Pass) which crosses through the Black Mountains National Park and divides western and central Bhutan. Keep a watchful eye out for Rhesus Macaques (Brown Monkeys) on the side of the road.

When the ruins of the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong 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). 

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.

Furthermore, 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.

Overnight Trongsa - Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

Friday 02 October:

Trongsa to Choekhor Valley & Thangbi Mani Festival (2 hrs)

This morning depart Phobjikha to the central Bumthang region comprising the 4 valleys Choekhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume.

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 witness the last day of the Thangbi Mani festival held at Thangbi Lhakhang (temple).

Overnight Choekhor - Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

Saturday 03 October:

Sightseeing in 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.

Other options this afternoon 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. Also visit the Jakar Dzong and take a wander through nearby Chamkhar town.

Overnight Choekhor - Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.


Sunday 04 October:

Choekhor to Phobjikha Valley (3+ hrs)

Today travel back westwards to the Phobjikha Valley. Stop off at Chhume valley for the opportunity to shop for excellent local handicrafts and textiles. This region is renowned for its exceptionally high quality weavings. 

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. It and is one of the most beautiful open valleys in Bhutan. Furthermore it is also one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country.  There are muntjaks (barking deer), wild boar, sambar, Himalayan black bear, leopard and red foxes. Of special importance it is the winter home (late October to early February) of the rare black necked crane, which annually flies in from Tibet. 

On arrival into Phobjikha hike the Gangtey Nature Trail. This is an easy & enjoyable hike which is mainly flat along the valley floor.

Overnight Phobjikha - Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

Monday 05 October:

Sightseeing & Hiking in the Phobjikha Valley

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.

Overnight Phobjikha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Tuesday 06 October:

Phobjikha to Thimphu (4 hrs)

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

On arrival in Thimphu visit the the National Memorial Chorten followed by the celebrated Royal Textile Academy. Next visit the nearby 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.

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Wednesday 07 October:

Thimphu to Paro Valley (1 hr 30 mins)

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

Overnight Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Thursday 08 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

Friday 09 October:

Day of departure.

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

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Name of Tour: Mystical Bhutan Tour 27SEP20

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