Bhutan Cultural Tour

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This tour focuses on the fabulously interesting and diverse culture, history, monasteries and festivals of the wonderful Kingdom of Bhutan.

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Detailed Itinerary

Arrive Paro By Druk Air

Arrive Paro by Druk Air Airbus 319 jet, the national carrier. The flight offers you beautiful views of mountains on your approach. On arrival and aftervisa formalities you will be received our representatives. Afternoon / evening at leisure. Overnight at a very comfortable hotel.

1

Sightseeing In Paro

Paro Sightseeing - visit the ruined fortress of Drugyel Dzong which still attracts visitors due to the strategic location of the fort. The fort defended the Paro valley from the Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. If the weather is clear, Mount Chomolhari 7320 meters can be seen towering over the dzong. Proceed through the beautiful valley to the watch tower locally known as Ta-Dzong. It was housed in the National museum in the 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The seven floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to explore the Rinpung Dzong, which serves as the administrative center and school for monks. Walk further down crossing a traditional wood bridge into Paro Town. The evening 2 hour drive to Thimphu is pleasant and interesting. Overnight at a very comfortable hotel.

2

Sightseeing In Thimphu

AM sightseeing - visit the indigenous hospital where the traditional old art of healing is still practiced, Art & Craft school, National Library, Royal goldsmith workshop and Handicraft centers. PM visit the Memorial chorten built in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, 15 century Changangkha monastery, Motithang mini zoo to see the rare "Takin" national animal of Bhutan and drive further down with good view of the Thimphu valley. Visit the new Drupthob nunnery temple and free time in the market. Overnight.

3

Drive Wangduephodrang / Punakha

Drive 3 hours to Wangduephodrang via Punakha crossing the Dochula pass 3100 meters. On fine weather you will see the eastern Himalayan ranges including the highest mountain in Bhutan, Gangkar Punsum 7520 meters. The drive from the drops steeply to the lower and warmer valleys of lobesa. Visit the Punakha Dzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built between two rivers and has survived many floods and fires. Every year during the month of February a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the victory over the invading Tibetans. Proceed 45 minutes to Wangduephodrang where you will view the Dzong from outside and walk around the market. Check into a comfortable hotel.

4

Day Excursion To The Gangtey Gompa Valley

Day excursion to the Gangtey Gompa valley at an altitude of 2800 meters. The only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan is located here. This beautiful valley is also home to the rare Black Necked Cranes that migrate from the Tibetan plateau to escape harsh winters. Currently there are 200 to 300 cranes residing in this valley and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) is taking measures to ensure the safety of these birds. While the cranes reside in the winter valley for 4/5 months the village folks are not allowed to make loud noises or fish in the river that runs through the valley. Explore the fascinating glacier valley and return to the hotel.

5

Drive To Trongsa Dzong And Bumthang

Today will be a long drive almost 6 / 7 hours crossing 3 passes over 3000 meters. The route offers magnificent views of the Himalayas and beautiful landscape through scattered hamlets and forests of rhododendrons and pine. Picnic lunch will be served at the 18th century Chendebji chorten. After one and half hours arrive at a small town of Trongsa, which means new village. The town has many new Tibetan refugees, and hosts the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Eastern Bhutan was controlled from this fortress during the mid 17th century. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed inside the building. Proceed another 2 hours to Bumthang, visiting the Chume weaving center enroute. Overnight at a comfortable hotel.

6

Sightseeing In Bumthang

Bumthang (2600m), has a uniqueness that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions of the country. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Here tales of Saint Padmasambhava and his re-incarnation known as Tertons still linger in most places. It is also known for its woolen material (yathra) which can be seen hanging outside houses for sale. Sightseeing - Visit the Jakar Dzong, 7th century Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey monastery, Tamshing and Kunchosum monastery. This sightseeing is a round trip so it is more interesting if done on foot. Overnight at hotel.

7

Excursion Around Ura Village And Swiss Farm

Excursion 2 hours to Ura village and visit the new Ura monastery. On the way visit the Mebartso meaning burning lake. Stroll around the village and return back to the hotel. Evening walk to the swiss farm where apple juice, cider, cheese etc. are made.

8

Drive To Wangduephodrang

Drive back to Wangduephodrang. Overnight at comfortable hotel.

9

Drive To Paro Via Lobesa

Drive 3/4 hours to Paro via Lobesa and a short walk through farm hoses and fields to Chimme Lhakhang. This monastery was built in the 15 century and dedicated to the famous Lam Drukpa Kunley or divine mad man. He is one of the most famous saints in Bhutan and his temple is visited mostly by childless couples. Lunch at Thimphu and drive to Paro visiting the visiting the oldest building in Bhutan, the Simtokha Dzong. It now serves as a Buddhist university. Overnight at comfortable hotel.

10

Day Hike To Taktsang Monastery

Day hike to Taktsang monastery, the famous "Tiger's Nest". Horses can be arranged for an extra $5 usd. The hike which is all up hill takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery which clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters above the Paro valley was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Royal Government has taken immediate steps to restore the monastery to its original structure. It is believed that the Buddhist saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro valley to Buddhism. During the end of the 17 century, a monastery was built on the spot where the saint meditated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. Stroll back to hotel.

11

Transfer To Airport And Fly Out

Transfer to airport where the guide will help you with final departure formalities.

12

 

Synopsis

Trip Grading:

Length: 12 days.

Max. Altitude: 3100m / 10,200ft

Begins/Ends in Paro

Land Cost: $3380 USD (based on min. 2 participants sharing, and current gov't royalty fees).

International Airfare: Apx. $1900 USD from most cities.

May 01 – May 12 ’17
Sep 21 – Oct 02 ’17
Oct 01 – Oct 12 ’17

Apr 30 – May 11 ’18
Sep 24 – Oct 05 ’18
Oct 01 – Oct 12 ’18

You can also contact Canadian Himalayan Expeditions directly for more information.

Synopsis

Trip Grading:

Length: 12 days.

Max. Altitude: 3100m / 10,200ft

Begins/Ends in Paro

Land Cost: $3380 USD (based on min. 2 participants sharing, and current gov't royalty fees).

International Airfare: Apx. $1900 USD from most cities.

May 01 – May 12 ’17
Sep 21 – Oct 02 ’17
Oct 01 – Oct 12 ’17

Apr 30 – May 11 ’18
Sep 24 – Oct 05 ’18
Oct 01 – Oct 12 ’18

You can also contact Canadian Himalayan Expeditions directly for more information.