Bhutan: 9 Days Cultural Tour
Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom sandwiched uncomfortably between its giant neighbors China and India, clings fiercely to its individuality and cultural traditions. Bhutan is rife with magic: snowlions, thunder dragons, flying tigers, even a nature reserve whose listed endangered species include the migoti, or yeti. There's just nowhere quite like ...Read Full Description
- Bhutan; Paro, Bhutan; Punakha, Bhutan; Thimphu, Bhutan
- Trip Length:
- 9 days
- Best Time to Go:
- Any time.
- Recommended for:
Infants (under 2)
Children (2 - 5)
Children (6 - 8)
Children (9 - 11)
Children (12 - 14)
Children (15 - 17)
Adults (18 - 20)
Adults (25 - 29)
Family Trip, Group Retreat
Detailed Trip Description
Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom sandwiched uncomfortably between its giant neighbors China and India, clings fiercely to its individuality and cultural traditions. Bhutan is rife with magic: snowlions, thunder dragons, flying tigers, even a nature reserve whose listed endangered species include the migoti, or yeti. There's just nowhere quite like Bhutan. Where else are chillies considered a vegetable rather than a condiment? Where else is the rice not white but pink, and Gross National Happiness measured above Gross National Income? Eight days of cultural tours including Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Trongsa, Gangtey, Jakar and a half-day hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery. Add a day to this tour and attend a Tshechu (Festival).
Day 1 - Paro
Fly to Paro and transfer to Thimphu.
Upon arrival at the airport and after necessary immigration formalities your Bhutanese escort will greet you and drive you 1.5 hours through the beautiful Paro valley to your hotel in Thimphu.
You can spend the rest of the evening exploring Thimphu soaking in the Bhutanese way of life.
Day 2 - Thimphu
Full day tour of Thimphu.
Sightseeing in Thimphu includes the visit to the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, the School of Thanka Paintings, and the traditional Medicine Institute where centuries old healing arts are still practiced. Then, visit the Handicrafts Emporium to see the exquisite artistry of traditional crafts and textiles and take a stroll through the streets for a little shopping.
After lunch visit the memorial Chorten to His late Majesty (King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk). Later, take a 15 minute drive to Dechenchohhling to witness the gold and silversmiths at work. Then, visit the Tashichho Dzong (fortress of the Glorious Region) built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and reconstructed in 1961, using traditional methods, without the use of any nails or plans or paper, under the Late King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, regarded as the Father of Modern Bhutan.
As well as the main sites of Thimphu, you can also spend a day hiking to Tango and Cheri, two magnificent monasteries on the edge of the Thimphu valley.
Or, you may like to visit Phajoding monastery with its stunning views over the valley, touring the markets and monasteries that flourish in this uniquely tranquil national capital. Shop for textiles, puppets and paintings that are handcrafted as they have been for centuries.
Day 3 - Punakha
Drive to Punakha and explore the sity.
The old capital of Bhutan stands at the confluence of Mo Chhu and Po Chhu rivers. The Punakha Dzong is Bhutan's second oldest, and is arguably the country's most beautiful. Construction of the dzong began in 1637, and was completed the following year. It is more properly called the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang or the Palace of Great Happiness.
Day 4 - Bhutan
Drive to Trongsa.
Private Car Service
Drive to Trongsa (142 km.), it takes about 6 hours.
Overnight at Hotel in Trongsa.
Day 5 - Bhutan
Tour Trongsa and drive to Jakar.
Visit Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the royal family, and its watch tower. It was built in 1649. Now it is the administrative seat of the district and the home of the monastic school. This architectural wonder was a vigilance point for both the eastern and western routes. The watch tower, located directly above the dzong, has on display many interesting armors and other war parapharnelia used by ancient warriors.
Private Car Service
Drive for 2 1/2 hours to Jakar.
Day 6 - Bhutan
Tour Jakar and drive to Gangtey .
Enjoy from View Point the beautiful outlook of Jakar Dzong , also known as the Castle of the White Bird. It was built in 1646 by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Dese (temporal ruler). In 1683 it was extended by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi.
Hike up to Lame Gompa, a temple built by the First King of Bhutan for his two nun sisters. Outside Lame Gompa, you can see a workshop for traditional Bhutanese paper-making. Drive to Gangety.
Overnight at Hotel in Gangtey.
Day 7 - Paro
Tour Gangtey and drive to Paro.
Gangtey is a beautiful meadow (3000 m altitude) where you can appreciate breathtaking views of the Black Mountain range. Phobjikha, the valley stretching boundlessly from the below Gangtey, is the winter habitat of the rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes.
Private Car Service
Drive to Paro (190 kms).
Overnight at Hotel in Paro.
Day 8 - Paro
Full day tour of Paro.
Visit Ta Dzong, the national museum housed in an ancient watchtower, which has superb antiquities on display. You can see a fine collection of thankas, paintings, textiles, and artifacts.
Hike to Taktsang viewpoint, a superb vantage point that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding granite cliffs and valley. On a clear day, the white dome of the sacred Chomolhari (Mountain of Goddess) can be seen. The Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger's Nest monastery, clings to a sheer cliff. Severely damaged in a fire in 1998, the monastery has been completely restored.
Tour Drukgyal Dzong, whose massive ruins offer insight into the unique construction of Bhutan's famous dzongs. The Dzong is also of great historical importance as it was from its ramparts that the Bhutanese repelled Tibetan invaders.
Day 9 - Paro
Transfer to airport for departure flight.
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