Visit Bhutan 2017

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5. GRAND TOUR OF BEAUTIFUL BHUTAN (15 days/14 nights)

GRAND TOUR OF BEAUTIFUL BHUTAN

See the scenic side of this beautiful last Shangri-La in the world with overnights in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Bumthang, Mongar, Trashiyangtse, Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar covering the major 10 districts tour out of 20 districts in Bhutan involving a breathtaking drive tour from west to east of the country, and exit through India.

Day1: Arrive Paro

On arrival in Paro, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Paro for two nights. After lunch visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan and continue to the Paro Dzong (also known as the Rinpung Dzong), built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The evening is at leisure to relax.

Day 2: Hike to Paro Taktshang

The altitude of Paro is at 2,200 m. This morning we will take a short hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, there may also be time to visit the ruined Drugyal Dzong (fortress), built in 1647 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders or the Kichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan (7th century). Overnight in Paro.

Day 3: Paro – Thimphu

We depart Paro this morning and head to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey. Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the 13th century Changgangkha Temple and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artifacts used in rural households. Later drive up to the Sangaygang Hill (Radio Tower) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley and the Mini Zoo for Takin (national animal of Bhutan). Continue to the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 4: Hike to Cheri Monastery, Thimphu

This morning we will take a short hike to Cheri Monastery. Picnic lunch at Cheri and en route stop off at the Pangrizampa Lhakhang. The rest of the day is at yours – so why not stroll around the Thimphu city? Or visit the Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the Central Monk Body. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 5: Thimphu – Punakha

Today morning begin the day by travelling a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey to Punakha via Dochu La Pass at an altitude of 3,050m. On a clear day, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. En route visit the Chimmi Lhakhang, which is located near Lobesa on a round hillock. The temple is revered as a sanctum of fertility, built by Lama Drukpa Kinley, (the Divine Madman), who was fond of women and adopted unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism. Legend has it that the couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting the temple – Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300 m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. Later, visit the Punakha Dzong, (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong), which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) Rivers. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 6: Punakha – Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang

Today’s tour includes a hike to the fascinating temple (Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten) built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world. It is majestically located on a ridge with stunning views of the country side. There is no temple in Bhutan built as elaborately as this, which took 9 years to build it. A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong takes us to the base of the hill and then cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees for about 1-hour from the car park. In the afternoon, we head to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang which lies in the beautiful glacial valley of Phobjikha in central Bhutan. Phobjikha valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Along the highway, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. Tonight you will stay in Gangtey.

Day 7: Gangtey – Bumthang

This morning visit the picturesque Gangtey Gonpa (monastery), the only Nyingma monastery on this side of the Black Mountains. We will then travel a distance of 188-km for about 5-6 hours to Bumthang via Trongsa at an altitude of 2,200m. En route visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the Trongsa Dzong. Lunch at Trongsa and continue the journey to Bumthang via Yotong La Pass at an altitude of 3,400m. The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy explore the delightful surroundings of Bumthang valley at 2,600m. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 8: Sightseeing in Bumthang

After breakfast, we set out for a full day sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 and the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. If time permits, you’ll visit the Mebar Tsho (flaming lake) located on the way to Tang village, where the renowned treasure reveller, Terton Pema Lingpa, discovered treasures from the lake in the late 15th century. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 9: Bumthang – Mongar

This morning takes you through a scenic journey for a distance of 198-km for about 7-8 hours journey to Mongar at an altitude of 1,600m. Along the journey you will cross the two villages called Ura and Sengor passing through the highest point on Bhutan’s lateral road via Thrumshing La Pass at an altitude of 3,800m. En route stop at Ura Shelthang La, where you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum at an altitude of 7,500m. Next, stop at Sengor village and Namling where you can view the breathtaking landscapes of the cascading waterfalls and admire the diverse flora and fauna in these places. Descending down the road will reach to Lingmithang at an altitude of 700m and cross the Kurichhu River, where the largest hydroelectric power in the eastern region is commissioned over the river. Spend the night in Mongar.

Day 10: Mongar – Trashiyangtse via Trashigang

After breakfast, we depart Mongar after a quick visit to the Mongar Dzong and head to Trashiyangtse for a distance of 146-km for about 5-6 hours journey via Kori La Pass at an altitude of 2,450m. Afterwards, the road descends and passes through the famous zigzag turns of Yadi and en route you will see the temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village which is the most important monastery in eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums. Lunch will be at Trashigang. Continue into Trashiyangtse at an altitude of 1,850m, a fairly new district that was separated from Trashigang. You will spend two nights here.

Day 11: Trashiyangtse – Bumdeling

This morning you will be taken to visit Bumdeling, a wonderful plain alongside the Kholongchhu River. Bumdeling is also one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrate to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Back to Trashiyangtse and lunch at your hotel. Later, visit the new Trashiyangtse Dzong. We will also visit the dazzling white Chorten Kora (stupa) on the Kholongchhu riverbank below the town and the Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Overnight in Trashiyangtse.

Day 12: Trashiyangtse – Trashigang

Today’s return journey is a distance of 55-km for about 2 hours to Trashigang at an altitude of 1,150m, the largest and most populated district in Bhutan. En route visit the Gomkora Lhakhang and its surroundings, which is 23-km before reaching Trashigang. Later visit the Tashigang Dzong, which serves as the civil administrative centre and the local monastic body, situated on a steep hillside above the Gamri River. You will spend two nights here.

Day 13: Trashigang – Rangjung

Today’s 16-km journey takes you to Rangjung to explore the renowned Rangjung Woesel Choeling & Thekchok Choden Monastery (Dudjom Tersar Education Centre) for the study of Buddha dharma founded by His Holiness Dungse Garab Dorji Rinpoche. Lunch at Rangjung and discover the exciting countryside tour towards Phongmey village. In the evening, drive back to Trashigang for overnight.

Day 14: Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar

After breakfast, your day begins with 180-km journey for about 7 hours to Samdrup Jongkhar at elevation of 215m. En route you’ll see the Bhutan’s first and premier Sherubtse College in Kanglung, founded in 1978. Visit the Khaling Handloom supported by the National Woman Association of Bhutan, where you will observe the traditional style of weaving and past by the only National Institute for Visually Impaired, located below the road. Stop at Wamrong for lunch, a 27-km drive from Khaling. After lunch, continue into Samdrup Jongkhar and then encounter a stretch of road called Melong Bra, where the road is cut through sheer cliffs before reaching Narphung. Descending the road gradually will take you to Deothang, which is the historical site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars. Overnight in Samdrup Jongkhar.

Day 15: Depart Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Guwahati International Airport, Assam in the northeastern state of India to connect with your onward flight. The travelling distance is 110-km for about 3 hours. Goodbye and Good luck!

Services Included

  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
  • Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
  • Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
  • All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
  • Comfortable transport within Bhutan
  • All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
  • Mineral water
  • Visa fees

Services Not Included

  • International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
  • Travel insurance
  • Discretionary gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
  • Single room supplement
  • Other personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls, etc.

Prices and Dates

ON REQUEST

Pricing Policy

Prices are quoted and payable only in (US$ dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking, however, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.

Departure Dates

Available all-year-round

[It’s always advisable to contact us 2 or 3 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, our festival dates have been indicated where applicable in order to help plan your journey accordingly]

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