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Expedition At A Glance

7 days, 6 nights

Difficulty Level: 1

Price (US$): From $1,560.00

Months Available: January through June and September through December

OVERVIEW


Essence of Bhutan

Glimpse into the heart of the tranquil kingdom of Bhutan with an experience of the lifestyle that is famously measured as “Gross National Happiness.” Get introduced to Bhutan with handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons in the National Museum near Paro. Hike to the legendary Taktshang Monastery, also called Tiger’s Nest, on a trail through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags.

The capitol city, Thimphu, is a gallery of traditional Bhutanese culture. Understand more of the culture through visits to a Traditional Painting School and the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital. Explore the Thimphu market to shop for handicrafts and immerse with locals in their daily routines.

See panoramic views of the Himalayas from Dochula Pass on the way to Punakha. A short hike to Chimi La Khang, also known as the Fertility Temple, goes on trails through scenic forests. The marriage of scenery, unique Bhutanese culture and engaging people complete this inspiring journey.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the cliff hanging Tiger’s Nest
  • Explore monasteries and palaces of Paro, Thimpu and Punakha
  • Immerse with the Bhutanese locals

 

ITINERARY SUMMARY:

Day 01: Fly to Paro. Drive to Thimpu.

Day 02: Sightseeing in Thimpu.

Day 03 and Day 04: Drive to Punakha and sightseeing in Punakha.

Day 05 and Day 06: Drive to Paro. Hike to Tiger’s Nest.

Day 07: Final departure.

 

DETAILED ITINERARY


Day 01 – Bangkok to Paro to Thimpu
Depart early from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The flight leaves at 5:40 a.m. or 6:50 a.m. Bangkok time, depending on the day of departure. You will be met by our representative and transferred to Thimpu (two-hour drive). Thimpu, the Bhutanese capital (7,609 feet), is situated in a valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The main street in Thimpu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops. Overnight at Namgay Heritage Hotel or similar. (All meals)

Day 02 – Thimpu
Drive a short distance north of Thimphu, to the base of a trail which leads to the 17th century Cheri Monastery. Continuing onward from the trailhead, climb steeply for 30 to 45 minutes. It is usually possible to enter Cheri courtyard, but not the temple. Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel (first ruler of Bhutan) built the Cheri Monastery in 1620 and established its first order of monks. Packed lunch will be served at the monastery site.

After lunch, return to the base of the mountain and drive back to Thimphu. In the evening, visit the vibrant Thimphu market. Overnight at Namgay Heritage Hotel or similar. (All meals)

Day 03 – Thimpu to Punakha
Relax with breakfast at the hotel. Visit Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple. Learn more about the culture through visits to the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital and Traditional Painting School.

Drive to Punakha after lunch. The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, on the descent to the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet). Overnight at Damchen Resort or similar. (All meals)

Day 04 – Punakha
Hike about 30 minutes to Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great yogi, Drukpa Kuenley, known as the Divine Madman who lived in the 14th century. He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold phallus symbols and paintings on the houses and temples are a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.

Visit Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mochu (male and female river). The fortress is now used as the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the spiritual head of Bhutan). The Dzong served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years. The intricate Buddhist paintings inside the monastery are spectacular. Overnight at Damchen Resort or similar. (All meals)

Day 05 – Punakha to Paro
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before making the return drive to the journey’s beginning in Paro (approximately five hours). Overnight at Tashi Namgay Resort (Deluxe rooms) or similar. (All meals)

Day 06 – Paro (Tiger’s Nest hike)
Begin the day with breakfast before a short drive to Taktshang Monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags. Hike at your own pace for about two to four hours.

Built in 1600s, the monastery clings to the edge of a sheer-rock cliff that plunges 2,952 feet into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Packed lunch will be served.

Drive to nearby Ta-Dzong, where you’ll be introduced to Bhutan with a visit to the National Museum which houses art, handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons displays. Stroll the streets of Paro in the evening. Overnight at Tashi Namgay Resort (Deluxe rooms) or similar. (All meals) 

Day 07 – Depart for home
Transfer to airport for flight home. (Breakfast)

PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY


COST AND INCLUSIONS


Per person Price – valid till Dec 31, 2017

(3 STAR ACCOMMODATIONS)
1 person:  $ 1,900 USD (includes single supplement)
2 persons: $ 1,790 USD per person
3 or more persons: $ 1,560 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 350 USD

Extra – airfare into Paro (subject to change):

Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok airfare: $ 640 per person
Bangkok – Paro – Kathmandu airfare: $560 per person
Delhi – Paro – Delhi airfare: $660 per person
Kathmandu – Paro – Delhi airfare: $640 per person

Above cost is based on the following 3 star or similar accommodations
Paro – Tashi Namgay Resort
Thimpu – Namgay Heritage
Punakha – Meri Puensum Resort

(4 OR 5 STAR ACCOMMODATIONS)
1 person:  $ 6,630 USD (includes single supplement)
2 persons: $ 4,890 USD per person
3 or more persons: $ 4,500 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 2,200 USD

Extra: Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok airfare: $ 1,000 USD (subject to change)

Above cost is based on the following 4/5 star or similar accommodations
Paro – Hotel Zhiwaling
Thimpu – Uma or Taj Tashi
Punakha – Uma Resort

$200 per person discount on December/January/February departures.

Price includes:

  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information
  • Meeting and assistance at airport and transfers to hotels
  • All in-country transportation
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary
  • Twin accommodations in best available three star hotels.
  • Tours and excursions outlined on itinerary
  • Bhutan Visa and Tourism Development Fee


Price does not include:

  • Your international airfare
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (Required)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, battery charging, comfort food etc.)

DATES AND AVAILABILITY


Daily private departures available for 1 or more participants subject to availability of airtickets to Paro, Bhutan.

BOOK THIS TRIP


“Our trip organized to Bhutan with Grand Asian Journeys was so perfect.  As my daughter and I  needed someone to plan the details and create the perfect itinerary to meet both of our needs (I’m 88) it was a relief to depend wholly on Pam’s expertise. Every step of the way was carefully organized and well executed.  We had a flawless journey and the trip of a lifetime!”

-Barbara McDowell, Shelton, WA – Essence of Bhutan and Nepal – Nov, 2013

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