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Bhutan Holidays

Beautiful Bhutan Tour

9 Night Itinerary from £4,195

Private Individual Tour

 

A once in a lifetime journey to one of the world's most beautiful countries.

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Tour Route

Travel Highlights

  • Discover a land of stunning Himalayan scenery, welcoming people and environmentally friendly living.
  • Explore the arts and bazaars of Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, a city with no traffic lights!
  • Visit the impressive Trashichhodzong monastery.
  • Admire the Phobjikha Valley bathed in oak and rhododendron.
  • Take part in the Morning Prayers with Buddhist monks at Gangtey Monastery.
  • Explore the beautiful Black Mountain National Park.
  • Visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery. Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang.
  • Take a 5 hour trek on the incredible 'birds nest' Taktshang Monastery, the highlight of your journey.
  • Discover the culturally-rich Haa Valley.

This itinerary can be tailored to your preferences by our specialist advisors, who can provide a guaranteed price based on your choice of route, duration, flights, hotels, transport and excursions.

Tour Itinerary

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Paro - 2 Nights

Day 1 - Departure from the UK on an overnight flight to Paro

Day 2 - Arrive Paro and drive to Thimphu

Day 3 - Guided tour of Thimphu

Day 4 - Drive to Gangtey

  • Full Description

Day 1

Depart UK on overnight flight to Paro

Depart from the UK on an overnight flight to Paro.

 


Day 2

Arrive Paro and drive to Thimphu

The flight into the Himalayas reveals breathtaking views of the World’s highest peaks, taking you right into the Dragon kingdom cloud scraping airstrips at the lush green valley of Paro (alt. 7000 ft). Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air.

After clearing Customs and Immigration, step into the receiving area, where your Bhutanese guide will meet you. Drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

We will stop to visit the Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, you will get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang).

Arrive Thimphu and check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of Government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. With the population of about 90,000 it is perhaps still the world’s only capital city without traffic. light.

Enjoy an exploratory walk around Thimphu main Street and market area in the evening. Also visit the local Crafts Bazaar, to browse through example of Bhutan's fine traditional arts.


Day 3

Guided tour of Thimphu

Today after breakfast, we will explore Thimphu. Start with a National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.

Also visit nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school. Then the Textile and folk Heritage museums – both of which opened in 2001, provides a fascinating insight into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life .

King's Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.

Trashichhodzong: This impressive fortress/monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body.

Then, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through example of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials.

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Gangtey - 2 Nights

Day 4 - Drive to Gangtey

Day 5 - Explore the Phobjikha Valley

  • Full Description

Day 4

Drive to Gangtey

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Gangtey (Phobjikha) enroute visiting Dochula Pass (Altitude 3080m). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.

The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of oak and rhododendron. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and chosen home of black necked cranes (From November till February), which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters.

On arrival at Gangtey, check-in to the hotel.

Later this afternoon, take a walk around Gangtey village and visit Gangtey Goempa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in this region.


Day 5

Explore the Phobjikha Valley

Get up early in the morning to take part in the Morning Prayers at Gangtey Monastery. Watch the group of young and old monks deeply engrossed in chanting Buddhist Mantra. A one-hour prayer session is followed by daily monastic chores. You are most welcome to take a look around the monastery to experience the everyday life of monks deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy.

After breakfast, explore Phobjikha valley. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha. This quite, remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangdue Phodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley boasts two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water). According to a local legend, the two rivers actually represent a snake and a boar. The two animals once raced each other with an agreement that if the snake (Nakay Chhu) won, Phobjikha valley would be able to grow rice, but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area. The snake lost since it had to meander all the way during its journey. Rice cannot be cultivated in the valley even today.

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Punakha - 2 Nights

Day 6 - Drive to Punakha

Day 7 - Exploring Punakha and around

  • Full Description

Day 6

Drive to Punakha

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Punakha, the old capital town of Bhutan.On arrival, check-into the hotel

Later visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body.

Further visit to Chimi Lhakhang (from hotel it is about 15 mins drive till motor able road and then walk starts through paddy fields and villages. This is total about 1.1/2 hour walk, including both way). The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’.


Day 7

Exploring Punakha and around

After breakfast hike up through fields of chilies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999.

After lunch visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery. Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang (Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padma Sambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans. The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.

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Paro & Taktshang Monastery - 3 Nights

Day 8 - Drive to Paro

Day 9 - Taktshang Monastery

Day 10 - Haa Valley

 

  • Full Description

Day 8

Drive to Paro

After breakfast, check-out and drive to the beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only international airport. En-route visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country built in 1627 which now houses the School for Buddhist studies.

On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.

After lunch, proceed to visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons &armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it.


Day 9

Taktshang Monastery

We have saved the best till last. Morning after breakfast excursion to Taktshang Monastery (5hrs hike): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.

Special Note: Ponies are available to reach until first view point (going up only) – On direct payment basis

Evening is free at leisure.

Lunch at the Taktshang Cafe


Day 10

Haa Valley

After breakfast proceed for an excursion to Haa Valley.

Haa Valley - Adjoining the districts of Paro, Chhukha and Samtse, Haa valley is one of the most picturesque places in the Kingdom, spread over an area of 1706 sq. km. During pre-Buddhist era, Haa valley was known for its animist tradition. Inhabitants then were enthused in offering animal blood to their local deities.Such animist belief however was transformed into peaceful Buddhist tradition in 8th century by Guru Padmasambhava. The tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava, subdued the local deities like Ap Chundu and made the guardians of the Buddhist tradition. However, the traces of this belief system are still noticed in the form of festivals and rituals.

The Haa valley was opened for the first time to foreign tourists in 2002.  It is culturally rich valley and some of famous sites in this region are: 7th century Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black temple) at the foothills of a venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. The grand annual Haa Tshechu is also performed here at Lhakhang Karpo on the 8th-10th day of the 8th Bhutanese month.

The Haa Wangchuklo Dzong built in 1915 after the Dumchog Dzong was razed to the ground by fire is worth visiting. The other place of interest which involves some walking includes the hike to the 8th century Juneydrag, Katsho Goempa, Drana Trashidingkhag, Yangto Goempa, Jamtoe Goempa, Shelkardrag, Takchu Goempa and Haa Goempa. The valley is also unparalleled in Bhutan in terms of the diversity of the folk culture, legends and shamanistic rituals. The shamanistic traditions is vividly practiced in almost all the communities, most notable of which is the annual ceremony to honour Ap Chundu, the guardian deity of the valley. The valley is also a paradise for nature lovers and travelling there is a very rewarding experience.

The drive to Haa valley crosses 3988m Chele-la pass, from where one can have a superb views of Mount. Chomolhari & Jichu Drakey. It is also an ideal place to take short walk, enjoying panoramic vistas.

Dochula Temple3080m 792X594

Fly back to the UK - 0 Nights

Day 11 - Fly back to the UK

  • Full Description

Day 11

Fly back to the UK

Transfer to the airport and fly back to the UK.

Price Guidelines

Season High Season
Travel Dates October 2020 - March 2021
Room Arrangement Tourist
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £4,195
Multiple Travellers - Own Room £4,895

Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.


What's Included

  • Guidelines prices are per person based on 2 people sharing a twin room
  • 11 Days / 9 Nights
  • International flights (1 overnight)
  • 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners
  • Transfers to and from airports
  • Transport  throughout the itinerary
  • Excursions listed, all with expert, English-speaking guides
  • Entrance fees 
  • Bhutan government royalty fees
  • Bhutan visa fees

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