The Dragon Kingdom, Bhutan
Paro - Thimpu - Gangtey - Punakha - Paro
8-Days / 7-Nights
From now to 15 March 2021
A trip that gives you an opportunity to explore ancient monasteries and shrines of historical and archaeological interests in the heartland of four major towns of the Dragon Kingdom, Bhutan. High in the mysterious and majestic eastern Himalayas, nestled between Tibetan autonomous region of China and India, lies the small Kingdom of Bhutan, increasingly renowned as one of the Earth’s precious unspoiled spots. This magical place speaks Buddhist culture in the daily lives of its people and spectacular mountain scenery provides a backdrop to pristine forests and picturesque valleys. The breath taking landscape is dotted with fluttering prayer flags, colorful farmhouses amidst terraced fields and impressive monasteries clinging to impossible cliffs. A memorable trip that stays with you for a lifetime.
THIMPHU: This unique city boasts an unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. The Kingdom’s capital city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in Bhutan. Taste Ema Datshi - the fiery concoction of green peppers and cheese, the most famous dishes in Bhutanese cuisine. Try your hand at traditional archery at simply Bhutan museum
GANGTEY: Known for Ganteng monastery which is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, located in the Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan.
PUNAKHA: Blessed with a temperate climate, Punakha has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. One of the most majestic structures in the country is located here. Walk to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of divine madman or temple of fertility. Stop at Dochula on the way to Punakha for a perfect photography of the Himalayas.
Wide and verdant Paro valley is one of the most beautiful valleys
in Bhutan with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered
through the area. Try traditional Hot stone bath - Unique and a
very natural experience this Bhutanese Traditional Hot Stone Bath
uses river rocks that therapists place in water where they crack
and steam, releasing key minerals and relieving deep-set aches.
With an Accompanying English Speaking Guide
All departures on either 1st or 15th of each month, irrespective of day of week. Custom tours can be arranged. Guides in all major common languages available. Other destinations can be added.
DAY 1 | ARRIVAL PARO & TRANSFER TO THIMPHU (by Road)
After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by your Spiritual Journeys representative, then drive to Thimphu (1 ½ hrs), capital city of Bhutan with a stop-off at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Observe three different styles of stupas: Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese which adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tschogang Lhakhang, “the temple of the excellent horse”. It is a private temple, built in the 15th century, as a result of the visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha.
Thimphu is also the centre of government, religion and commerce. It is a unique city with an unusual mix of modern and ancient traditions and culture. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a metropolitan and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and the monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. In the evening, take an exploratory walk around Thimphu’s Main Street and market area. Visit the local Crafts Bazaar and browse through some of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, Thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewellery and many unique items made from local materials. Overnight: Thimphu.
DAY 2 | THIMPHU
Visit Memorial Chorten where you will always see people from all walks of life circumambulation and chanting mantras or spinning prayer wheels. This landmark was conceived by Bhutan’s third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the Father of modern Bhutan”) who wished to erect a monument for world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and a monument to global peace.
Visit Trashichhoedzong, one of the most important dzongs in the country. This impressive fortress/monastery houses the Throne Room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot and the central monk body.
Spend the evening strolling through Thimphu city centre, visiting shops and local market. Overnight: Thimphu.
DAY 3 | THIMPHU – GANGTEY (by Road)
Later, explore the wide Phobjikha valley. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha. This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of the 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.
Visit the Black Necked Crane Visitor Centre: Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the Centre has an observation room equipped with a high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also displays information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop that sells handicrafts produced by the local people. Overnight: Gangtey.
Later (after checking into your hotel), visit Ta Dzong, originally built as a Watchtower, which now houses the National Museum (closed on Government Holidays). The extensive collection includes antique Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Bhutan’s exquisite stamps exhibited here offer another interesting collection.
Visit Rinpung Dzong, (fortress of the heap of jewels), which has a fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as the Four Friends, the Old Man of Long Life, and the Wheel of Life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala. Overnight: Paro.
/ 21st DAY
7 | PARO – TIGER’S NEST HIKE
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: - On the way back to town stop at the base of Drukgyel Dzong, a fortress that was in ruins for a long time which is now being rebuilt as an important national heritage. It is the fort from where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, "Mountain of the Goddess'' can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
In the evening, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Overnight: Paro.
/ 22nd DAY 8 | DEPART PARO
~ ~ End of services offered by Spiritual Journeys, Inc. ~ ~
HOTELS ENVISAGED, OR EQUIVALENT *:
COSTS: US $ per person with MINIMUM two people, all arriving, traveling and departing together.
VISA PROCEDURE FOR ALL NATIONALS
also required for ticket issuance for verifying correct names, same
passport copy may not be valid for Bhutan visa if it doesn’t meet
all above conditions