Nature and Culture Exploration, Bhutan


Destinations: Paro,Thimphu,Punakha,Gangtey, Trongsa

Destination Services: All excursions and activities as mentioned, English-speaking guide, Meals as specified in the itinerary, 8 nights accommodation, All land transfer arrangements in air-conditioned car/ minivan/ coach, Visa fee

Stars: 4 Stars

Days: 9 days

RMB:From 9,900


D1Arrival - Paro - Thimphu

Fly to Paro Airport and enjoy spectacular views of the Himalayas and Mount Everest on your journey over.

Upon arrival, your guide will take you to Paro Dzong (fortress), also known as Rinpung Dzong, which means 'Fortress on a Heap of Jewels.' A high point of Bhutanese architecture and one of the country’s most famous Dzongs, this fortress was built in 1644 and used on numerous occasions to defend the Paro valley from invasions by Tibet. It was also one of the main locations for the 1995 film Little Buddha, by Bernardo Bertolucci.

After lunch, you will be taken to the National Library, home to a number of rare and priceless Buddhist manuscripts. Your guide will then drive you to Thimphu – the capital and largest city of Bhutan, located around 50 kilometres away, around one hour drive. On the way, stop at Chuzom where Paro River joins Thimphu River.

Once in Thimphu, you will visit Trashi Chhoe Dzong. One of Bhutan’s most famous Buddhist monasteries, today this splendid complex houses the secretariat, the throne room, and offices of the king and the ministries of home affairs and finance.

At the end of your visit, you will continue to Thimphu Takin Zoo, for a close encounter with a takin (gnu goat), Bhutan's national animal. Your next stop will be Thimphu’s main landmark: the National Memorial Chorten.

Dinner will be in downtown Thimphu. We will then take you back to the hotel to rest.

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

D2Thimphu

After breakfast, you will visit Tango Monastery, Bhutan’s most important Buddhist College. It was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century and built in its present form by Tenzin Rabgye, the 4th Temporal Ruler in 1688. The architecture of Tango Monastery follows the dzong style, and features 12 corners as well as a three-storey central tower that represents the body, mouth, and mind of Sakyamuni Buddha.

Next, you will head to the State Post Office – a must-visit considering Bhutan is the most famous "stamp country” in the world. As a special tour gift, provide an electronic version of a photograph you like and see it turn into a personalised stamp. The Post Office produces all stamps issued by the state, and here you will be able to purchase stamps, send your mail and postcards as well as buying special mementos for your trip.

Commonly known as 'the painting school,' the National Institute for Zorig Chusum offers an excellent insight into Bhutan’s famed arts and crafts. It operates four- to six-year courses that provide instruction in Bhutan's 13 traditional arts. Students specialise in carpentry, stone carving, sculpture, painting, sculpture, casting, wood turning, blacksmith, jewellery making, bamboo, paper-making, tailoring, embroidery, applique and weaving. You will be able to observe them in action, take pictures and browse the showroom, which sells good-value pieces made by students.

Later, you will drive to the outskirts of Thimphu, to a hill-viewing platform overlooking the city and the surrounding valley. From here, you will also be able to see the open-air, 169-metre-high statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, built by Aerosun Corporation, an aerospace engineering company in Nanjing.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Druk or similar

D3Thimphu - Punakha - Gangtey

After breakfast, head to Wangdue Phodrang. Drive through the Dochula Pass, a mountain pass in the snow covered Himalayas with an altitude of  up to 3,140 metres on the road between Thimphu and Punakha. Not only will you enjoy stunning views of the mountain range, but you will also see the 108 memorial chortens or stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens. Along the way, we will go through Wangdue Phodrang Natural Reserve – a large spread of grassland between two mountains with only one village, a few farmhouses, cattle and sheep flocks. The valley is also the habitat of rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes that roost there during their annual migrations.

At an altitude of 1,463 metres, Phunakha Dzong – the most beautiful dzong in the country – was the second to be built in Bhutan and it served as the capital and seat of government until the mid-1950s. Its construction began in 1637, and was completed the following year. Phunakha Dzong is 180 metres long and 72 metres wide and the utse (central tower) is six stories high.

The complex also houses a collection of Buddhist Bhutanese manuscripts, relics, religious paintings and portraits. In the southernmost courtyard is the temple where the remains of the terton, Pema Lingpa, and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal are preserved. The former heart of Bhutan’s government (all of Bhutan's kings have been crowned here) the dzong is still the winter residence of the dratshang (official monk body), and a prominent building for the country’s religious affairs. The King of Bhutan held his wedding here in 2011.

Following your visit, you will have lunch. Thereafter, you will be taken to Gangtey and back to the hotel for dinner and rest.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Dewachen Hotel or simila

D4Gangtey - Wangdue

Early in the morning you will leave to Gangtey Goemba. Located on a forested hill overlooking the Phobjikha Valley, this complex enjoys the valley's prime real estate. The Monastery is one of the two main centres of Tibet’s Nyingmana school of Buddhism in the country. The tshokhang (prayer hall) is built in the Tibetan style with 18 great pillars around an unusual three-storey inner atrium, and is one of the largest in Bhutan. 

Then we will drive you back to Wangdue

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Punatshangchu Hotel or similar

D5Wangdue-Thimphu-Paro

In the morning, we will take you to Chimi Lhakhang, a small Buddhist monastery standing on a round hillock besides the Puna Tsang Chhu river. The complex was built in 1499, after the site was blessed by the "Divine Madman" the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley, who built a chorten on the site. In founding the monastery it is said that Lama Kunley subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a rock at the location close to where the chorten now stands. A secluded place of worship, Chimi Lhakhang, is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some beautiful slate carvings. It also holds the central statue of the lama and his dog Sachi, as well as statues of the Zhabdrung, Sakyamuni and a 1001-armed Chenresig. Childless women go to the temple to pray to a fertility goddess and to receive a blessing from Lama Drukpa Kunley. Surrounded by orchards and countryside, Chimi Lhakhang is a 20-minute walk across rice fields – scenery that makes it all the more charming.

 

Kuijey Lhakhang will be next on the itinerary. Legend has it that during the 8th century, Sendhu Raja, who was the king of Bumthang fell ill, and he invited Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan to cure him. Guru Rinpoche found out that the King’s illness was caused by the local deities including the powerful Shelging Karpo. Having found the cause of the illness, Guru chased the deities into a cave, and Guru meditated inside the cave for three months. Guru then subdued the deities including the powerful Shelging Karpo and left his body imprint inside the cave, thus giving the name Kurjey (Body Imprint). Beside the Monastery is a tall cypress tree that is believed to have sprouted from the walking stick of Guru Rinpoche.

 

After lunch, you will head back from Thimphu to Paro. Once in Paro, you will visit the National Museum-Ta Dzong, then a local Bhutanese family to experience authentic daily life. In addition, you will also try Bhutanese ethnic clothing. The ethnic cloth for men in Bhutan is called Gho, and it consists of a knee-length robe somewhat resembling a kimono that is tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as Kera. Women wear the Kira, a long, ankle-length dress accompanied by a light outer jacket known as a Tego with an inner layer known as a Wonju.

You will then return to your hotel to rest, and enjoy a one-hour de-stress massage. Dinner will be at your hotel in Paro.

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Nak-Sel Resort or similar

D6Paro

Lunch will be at Taktsang View restaurant, for a meal with a truly unique scenery. 

In the afternoon, you will be taken to the oldest temples in Bhutan – Kyichu Lhakhang, whose construction dates back to the equivalent of China’s Tang Dynasty. The temple is popularly believed to have been built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet, One of the temple’s main highlights is a representation of Maitreya, the Buddha that will come once again, and one of the most important symbols in Buddhism.

Dinner and hotel will be in Paro.  

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Nak-Sel Resort or similar

D7Depature

After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport and take your flight back home.

 

Meals: Breakfast

Package price includes the following:

  • Accommodation including Thimphu for 2 nights, Bumthang for 2 nights, Wangdue for 1 night and Paro for 2 nights
  • Accommodation including 7 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners
  • All land transfer arrangements in air-conditioned car/ minivan/ coach
  • All excursions and activities as mentioned
  • Local Mandarin/ English-speaking guide
  • Visa fee

Package price excludes the following:

  • International air fare(We provide flight ticket booking service. For more informaiton, please contact our travel consultant.)
  • Early check in/ late checkout and chargeable activities at the hotels 
  • Other expenses not previously mentioned as included
  • Tips for local guide(s) and driver(s) at your discretion (recommended USD * per day for driver and guide, depending on service satisfaction)
  • Travel insurance fee
  • Other private activities