- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Arrival day in Kathmandu:
Airport reception and transfer to Hotel Radisson. At the Hotel after room check-in a short briefing about the trip. Handover all documents (visa, air ticket, permits etc). In the evening welcome dinner at Bhojan Griha, Dillibazaar.
The highlights of the trip
- Visit to textiles museums, textiles villages and hand loom development institute
- A hike to Taktshang Monastery(Tiger’s nest)
- A visit to the weekend market in Thimphu (Fri-Sat-Sun)
- A “welcome” meal on the first day
- A “farewell” meal on the penultimate evening
- An optional evening visit to “down town Thimphu” to enjoy in the bars, discotheques and see the Bhutanese live performances
- A traditional Bhutanese meal in a restaurant
- A lunch meal and hot stone bath in a Bhutanese farmhouse
- A visit to the famous sites such as fortresses, monasteries, arts and crafts school and museums.
WHAT TO TAKE DURING THE TOUR
Down/fiber filled jacket
Jumper or pile jacket
Hiking shorts (for men) or skirt
Socks for hiking boots
Sunscreen for lips and face
Water proof jackets or rain coat or poncho
Long and short T- shirts or cotton shirts
Back pack Suitcase.
- Valid passport (valid for six months after your date of entry into Asia)
- One other picture ID, such as driver’s license (in case of emergency and for use as a substitute of passport or incase of loss of your passport) Photocopy of passport page to carry in wallet
- Air tickets (Make a copy of flight tickets which may be helpful, in case of loss)
- Visa Clearance (Make a copy of visa clearance which may be helpful, in case of emergencies)
- Few shops take MasterCard, but visa credit cards, visa debit cards and ATM cards are less frequently accepted .Travelers cheques and some cash are highly recommended.
- Inform your credit card company the place you are visiting.
- Mobile (if your cell phone is from CINGULLAR USA or ATNT (USA) operators then your cell phone will work in Bhutan.)
Arrive at Paro Airport. Altitude: 2280m/ 7524ft above sea level
The flight into the Himalayas reveals scenic and breathtaking views of Himalayan Mountains of the world. If weather permits you will be able to see Mt Everest (8848m, 29,198ft) and other Himalayan mountain ranges. Landing in the Paro valley, surrounded by 4000 meter high mountains stretching across the west of Bhutan, enables you to have a visual landing which is indispensable and that makes your day an unforgettable one.
Your Bhutanese representative will greet you on arrival and drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to the hotel where you will be staying.
This beautiful valley is home to many Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and temples. The country’s only airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to Mount Chomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley.
Your flight will arrive in Paro at around 0940am from Bangkok.
Later visit, Ta Dzong: This means - watch tower, which it served as during the 17th century to guard the region from the Tibetan invasion. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of Bhutanese art, relics, religious thankas (used to bolster the visualization generated during meditation and were made from Himalayan animal fibers), paintings, animals found in Bhutan, arms and ammunitions and the country’s exquisite stamp collections.
Rimpung Dzong: Means fortress of the heap of jewels. It was built during the time of Zhabdrung (deeply revered to this day as dynamic political and spiritual leader) in 1644. It houses both administrative and monastic bodies. It is also the venue for the Paro festival (Tsechu), held once in a year during spring season (April). The main highlight of Paro festival is that it has the unfurling of the one of the oldest Thongdol (gigantic scroll painting) which literally means
Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery): It is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. It is believed that he took the responsibility to built 108 temples in the different regions of Tibet, Bhutan and in other Himalayan regions to control evil spirits, disease and droughts out of which two of them are in Bhutan.(Kichu Lhakhang in Paro and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang).
Later stroll around the town ad see how locals live.
Overnight in Paro
Morning take a hike to the famous Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800m/2640ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew from Kurtoe (eastern Bhutan) on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. The hike takes between one to two hours there and slightly less on the way back. Most of the route is through wonderfully cool and sheltered oak forests. Although the paths are worn they are easily walked. There is a tea house half way for a break. After the tea house the path is slightly steeper and more open with one area of exposed steps. It is a route that anybody of reasonable fitness can make but those who suffer from vertigo might prefer to wait at the tea house.
Later visit Farmhouse: Bhutan is justly NOT famous for its cuisine, which is somewhat predictable. Eating at a local farmhouse at least gives a slightly different variation, and a chance to see the inside of such a home, rather than just the brightly decorated exteriors. (If you would like to take hot stone bath or would like to taste local farm house foods you will have to pay extra charges)
Overnight in Paro
Paro to Thimphu: Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level
Thimphu is a bustling town on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu and set gloriously in the hills of the Thimphu valley. It is home to the Bhutanese Royal Family, the Royal Government to several foreign missions and development projects. Bhutan’s only golf course, a nine-hole circuit, is situated next to the magnificent Tashichoo Dzong. The following are some of the prominent places you will visit in Thimphu.
Morning drive to the capital city Thimphu.(1 hours 30 minutes drive)
On the way to Thimphu visit, Tamchhog Lhakhang(1 hour drive) which is located on the opposite side of the river. This is a temple built by Thang Thong Gyalpo of Tibet, who was responsible for building numerous iron bridges throughout Bhutan such as Duksum Bridge in the East(The bridge is not obsolete). You will cross the river through the iron bridge which was built by him and now it is renovated.
Paper factory: The handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the age old tradition originated in 8th century of Bhutanese history. It began as domestic ancient activity which is still in practice in remote areas. The handmade paper constitutes as valuable National heritage of Bhutanese cultural identity and is preserved through all the ages. The Traditional paper is recognized and held high esteem both in home and outside world. Jungshi Paper Factory was established in November 1990 as an undertaking of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The unit now boasts as a major and sole dealer in handmade paper and its products.
Memorial Chorten: Chorten are memorial structures designed to evoke the same perfect symmetry and elegance of the Buddha himself, and it is traditionally good luck to pass them on the left. This particular chorten was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the country, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. The chorten is just another example of how seriously the Bhutanese consider, and how perfectly they realize, their unique architectural style.
Mini zoo: Here you can see just one animal - Bhutan’s national - the Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds. The zoo was emptied in accordance with Buddhist principles, but the Takin came back so the keepers decided to look after them, also in accordance with Buddhist principles!
Later you can stroll around the city and see how locals live.
In the evening if you wish, we can make arrangements to take you to enjoy the recent trends of the younger Bhutanese, who spend their evenings in the discotheques, or in the entertaining hubs where there are live performances of Bhutanese songs and dances (traditional and modern) by the best Bhutanese bands. If you wish you can even test your singing talents in the bars that offer Karaoke.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Morning take a hike to Cheri Monastery (Includes Dodina and Jigme Dorji Wild life Sanctuary): Hike about 2hrs leds to Cheri Goemba (Cheri Dorji Dhen). The trail starts by crossing a lovely covered bridge that spans the Wang Chu, and then climbs to the monastery. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this monastery in 1620 and established the first monk body here. Silver Chorten inside the monastery holds the ashes of Shabdrung father.(Option for meditation). A chance to spot birds such as Mrs Gould's Sunbird, Yellow-browed Tit, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Long-billed Thrush, Ultramarine Flycatcher.
Later visit, Zorig Chusum Institute (Thirteen Crafts): It was established in 1971 by the Royal Government in order to preserve the invaluable heritage and promote the arts of Bhutan. The two main objectives of the institute are a) to preserve and promote the traditional arts and crafts and b) to create job opportunities for the underprivileged group of the society, school dropouts and unemployed youths.
Institute of Traditional Medicine: In November 1967, the third Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck commanded the Health Department to establish traditional medicine system for the welfare of Bhutanese people and to preserve its rich culture and tradition. Accordingly Indigenous Hospital was opened on 28th June 1968.The main objectives of the hospital are to promote and preserve traditional medicine system in the country. Provide alternative medicine as complementary to the allopathic system and to achieve excellence in traditional medicine services in Bhutan.
Textile museum: The foundation was laid in 2000 under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. It was established with the aim of preserving and promoting Bhutanese textile arts. It’s a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in colors and designs.You will also see people weaving with intricate designs.
Later you can relax and stroll around the city.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Thimphu to Trongsa. Altitude: 2200m /7260ft above sea level.
Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country where launched.
Morning visit the weekend market: The days are absolutely central to the lives of the Bhutanese, but there are many reasons to visit other than the delicious fresh food on offer every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.There are regular competitions centered on the national sport of Bhutan - archery - as well as the opportunities to buy beautifully handcrafted items such as yak tail dusters and butter tea cups. The people crowd the stalls every day, dressed in full colour and gathered to meet and to barter, much like the street markets in London!
Later driving towards Trongsa(5 hrs 30 min), we come across a pass known as Dochula (3140m, 10362ft from where a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range can be seen, especially in clear winter days. The beauty of this place is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chortens- a 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.
Overnight in Trongsa.
Trongsa to Bumthang. Altitude: 2600m/ 8580ft above sea level.
This fascinating valley is the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. Its gentle sloping hills offer plenty of walking opportunities to the many temples that dot this valley. The valley is also famous for its production of honey, cheese, apples and the yathra- a woolen material that has multiple uses. The following are some of the prominent places to visit in Bumthang.
Morning visit, Trongsa Dzong: It was built by Chhogyel Mingyur Tempa (sent by Zhabdrung to unify Eastern Bhutan to bring under the rule of the Desi) in the year 1644 and was enlarged in 17th century by the Desi (secular ruler) Tenzin Rabgye. The dzong dominates the horizon, dwarfing the surrounding buildings. Both the First and the Second King ruled the country from this Dzong. It is an impregnable fortress
And also visit the museum which has been recently opened.
Later drive to Bumthang (2 hours 30 minutes drive)
On the way to Bumthang, visit the hand loom factory and the shop where they weave different types of clothes out of sheep and yak wool.
Later visit, Jakar Dzong :The Dzong was initially built as a monastery in 1549 by the great grand father of the Zhabdrung. It is now used as the administrative center for the Bumthang district. The Bumthang Tshechu(festival) is one of the most popular. It is held mostly at night and is said to bring fertility to any woman wanting a child.
Overnight in Bumthang…….
Morning visit, a famous festival known as Tangbi Festival
Later visir, Jambay Lhakhang: It is one of the 108 monasteries built by King Songtsen Goenpo in the 8th century to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region.
Kurjey Lhakhang: Means body print. It dates back to 8th century when Guru Rimpoche first visited Bhutan. It is after his visit to the Monyul (country in the darkness); Buddhism was introduced in the country. He is said to have meditated in a cave after which it is believed that he had left his body print where the old temple stands today.
Then hike across to Tamzhing Lhakhang: “Temple of good message”. It was built by Terton Pema Lingpa (Treasure Discoverer) in 1501AD. We can see the paintings done by him on the wall and an iron jacket which was also made by him. It’s believed that if we wear that jacket and circumambulate the temple three times we will be able to cleanse some of the sins that we had committed or you can visit next day.
Mebar Tsho(Lake of Burning Fire):This is a sacred lake for Bhutanese who believe that Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from this lake in the 12th century. On auspicious days many Bhutanese go and offer butter lamps on this fresh water lake.
Later stroll around the town and see how locals live.
Overnight in Bumthang.....
Bumthang to Punakha/Wangdue. Altitude: 1350m/4455ft above sea level
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. It is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo(Chief Abbot) and the monk body. It has a temperate climate and its rich fertile valley is fed by Pho(male) Chu and Mo(female) Chu (river)
Morning drive to Punakha valley(8 hours drive)
Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue.
Punakha/Wangdue to Paro.
Morning hike to, Kham Sum Yule Lhakhang (Monastey): It was built by HRH Azhi (Queen) Tshering Pem Wangchuck for a successful rule during the reign of the present King, His Majesty Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. It took 8 years to build and was consecrated in December 1999. It’s around 45 minutes hike from the road point.
Later visit, Punakha Dzong (fortress): Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Until the time of second king it served as a seat of the king. Now it is the winter capital of the central monk body.
Hike to Chimi Lhakhang(The Temple of Fertility): This Temple was built by lam Drukpa Kuenley (The Divine Madman) in 1499. It is about thirty minutes hike across fields from the road – a welcome chance to stretch your legs after the drive. His style of teaching was thought shocking, insulting and including obscene behavior. His outrageous actions and sexual antics were a deliberate method of provoking people to discard preconceptions. In the temple you will receive a blessing from his wooden phallus. Wooden phalluses are often found hanging in the four corners of the houses and also phalluses are painted on the walls of houses. It is the common belief that this helps in driving away evil spirits.
Later drive back to Paro valley (4 hours 30 minutes drive)
Overnight in Paro.
Depart from Paro Airport to Kathmandu.
Early breakfast at the hotel and then you will be escorted to airport and assisted to complete the exit formalities and bid you farewell.
Last Evening in Kathmadu:
Kathmandu airport reception and transfer to Hotel Radisson. Rest all day. Make the trip assessment with the representative of Alpine Exodus (Treks and Tours Company) Pvt. Ltd.
Next day morning (after breakfast) drive to airport to fly to home/Taiwan.
The trip will include
- Radisson Hotel (5 star deluxe)with breakfast including (twin sharing),
- All airport pick up and transfers,
- Airfare to and from Kathmandu (KTM) ~ Paro (PBH) both way,
- 1 welcome dinner.
- Airport pick up and transfers,
- Visa fee for Bhutan, TDF, Airfare of KTM ~ PBH (B/W)
- Hotel/accommodation at Aman Kora (in Thimpu, Punakha and Bumthang) and Hotel Uma (in Paro) with all meals. In other places the best available Hotels are offered with all meals as well (all are twin sharing).
- All drive and treks with necessary guide and assistances,
- Visit to textiles museums, textiles villages and hand loom development institute,
- A hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest),
- A visit to the weekend market in Thimphu (Fri-Sat-Sun),
- A “special welcome” meal on the first day,
- A “special farewell” meal on the penultimate evening,
- An optional evening visit to “down town Thimphu” to enjoy in the bars, discotheques and see the Bhutanese live performances,
- A traditional Bhutanese meal in a restaurant,
- A lunch meal and hot stone bath in a Bhutanese farmhouse,
- A visit to the famous sites such as fortresses, monasteries, arts and crafts school and museums.
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