Bhutan is the best little secret of Asia. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chillies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.

Theme

Explorer

  • Highlights

    • A magical kingdom in the Himalayas nestled between two spiritual hubs, Tibet and India, it would be hard not to feel closer to enlightenment in this hidden paradise.
    • Bhutan is quite possibly the most environmentally friendly country in the world; by law 60% of the country must remain protected national forest and the country actually absorbs more carbon than it uses.
    • Experience an optional Dotsho, a traditional Bhutanese medicinal bath where river water is heated solely by using fire-roasted river stones in a wooden bathtub. Fresh artemisia leaves are added and the stones crack to release minerals into the water while the herbs release their essential oils.
    • Here's just some of what our past travellers have learned from their travels to Bhutan: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/bhutan-tour-learnings/
    • Hike to the top of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten for gorgeous views of the valley and rice terraces surrounding you.
    • Journey to Taktsang, commonly know as the Tiger's Nest, the small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor and soak in its magnificence.
    • While it’s legal to consume imported meat, the slaughtering animals for consumption within Bhutan is outright banned therefore delicious veggie dishes are varied and bountiful at every meal.
  • What's Included

    Meals

    6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners

    Transport

    Private vehicle

    Accommodation

    Hotel (6 nights)

    Included Activities

    • Paro - Home cooked dinner & family visit
    • Paro - Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery hike
    • Punakha - Punakha Dzong
    • Punakha Valley - Chimi Lhakhang
    • Thimphu - Choki Traditional Art School
    • Thimphu - Drubthob Nunnery
    • Thimphu - Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre
    • Thimphu - Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory
    • Thimphu - National Memorial Chorten
    • Thimphu - National Textile Museum
    • Thimphu - Village walk & picnic lunch
  • Pricing

      • Start Date
      • End Date
      • Price
      • Availability
      • Start Date:1 Nov 19
      • End Date:7 Nov 19
      • Price:$3,970
      • Availability:On Request
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      • Start Date:8 Nov 19
      • End Date:14 Nov 19
      • Price:$3,960
      • Availability:On Request
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      • Start Date:22 Nov 19
      • End Date:28 Nov 19
      • Price:$3,670
      • Availability:4 spaces
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      • Start Date:3 Jan 20
      • End Date:9 Jan 20
      • Price:$3,840
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:6 Mar 20
      • End Date:12 Mar 20
      • Price:$3,955
      • Availability:6 spaces
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      • Start Date:20 Mar 20
      • End Date:26 Mar 20
      • Price:$3,915
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:27 Mar 20
      • End Date:2 Apr 20
      • Price:$3,730
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:3 Apr 20
      • End Date:9 Apr 20
      • Price:$3,715
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:10 Apr 20
      • End Date:16 Apr 20
      • Price:$3,695
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:14 Apr 20
      • End Date:20 Apr 20
      • Price:$3,555
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:17 Apr 20
      • End Date:23 Apr 20
      • Price:$3,840
      • Availability:2 spaces
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      • Start Date:21 Apr 20
      • End Date:27 Apr 20
      • Price:$3,555
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:4 Sep 20
      • End Date:10 Sep 20
      • Price:$3,555
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:11 Sep 20
      • End Date:17 Sep 20
      • Price:$3,555
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:18 Sep 20
      • End Date:24 Sep 20
      • Price:$3,555
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:25 Sep 20
      • End Date:1 Oct 20
      • Price:$3,555
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:2 Oct 20
      • End Date:8 Oct 20
      • Price:$3,555
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:9 Oct 20
      • End Date:15 Oct 20
      • Price:$3,695
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:16 Oct 20
      • End Date:22 Oct 20
      • Price:$3,695
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:23 Oct 20
      • End Date:29 Oct 20
      • Price:$3,840
      • Availability:5 spaces
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      • Start Date:30 Oct 20
      • End Date:5 Nov 20
      • Price:$3,695
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:6 Nov 20
      • End Date:12 Nov 20
      • Price:$3,840
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:13 Nov 20
      • End Date:19 Nov 20
      • Price:$3,840
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:27 Nov 20
      • End Date:3 Dec 20
      • Price:$3,840
      • Availability:7+ Available
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    Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
  • Itinerary

    Day - 1

    Location: Paro - Thimphu - After arrival at Paro Airport and sailing through immigration and custom formalities, you will be greeted by your guide and driver and warmly welcomed to the enchanting Land of the Thunder Dragon. Drive for two hours alongside mountains, rivers, and fields of red rice to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. After lunch we may visit Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory, Bhutan’s famous traditional incense maker and the colorful Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre. Once everyone has arrived, we'll have a joining meeting and dinner before we wander and explore the fascinating streets of Thimphu, the world’s only capital city without a traffic light!

     

    Day - 2

    Location: Thimphu - Today begins with a pleasant rural walk that meanders gently up the valley through paddy fields, pristine woodlands and a Tibetan village. We’ll walk along a trail to Pangri Zampa Gompa. Spot Bhutanese chortens on the riverside route and pass through the villages of Choku and Begana. Cross a cantilevered bridge, and climb uphill for around an hour uphill to the monastery. Cheri Dorji Dhen was built in 1620 by Shabdrung, the first ruler of Bhutan, who also established the first order of monks here. At the bottom of the hill, a picnic lunch will be waiting for us along the riverside. Drive back to Thimphu for an afternoon of sightseeing. There is much to see! We will visit the National Memorial Chorten, a shrine built in the memory of the 3rd King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Many Thimphu residents consider this to be the heart and soul of Thimphu and gather here every day to pray and walk clockwise around the chorten. Afterwards, visit Drubthob Nunnery, and then the Choki Traditional Art School where students follow an eight-year program in traditional arts, such as drawing, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. No tour of Thimphu is complete without a visit to the incredible National Textile Museum. Some shopping time if you wish is available at the National Handicrafts Emporium which offers high quality traditional goods, and a small family-run enterprise which manufactures paper and paper products using traditional methods.

     

    Day - 3

    Location: Punakha - Leave Thimpu this morning and drive to Punakha (approx. 4 hours) the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. En-route stop at Dochu-La pass (10,000ft/3,048m) for a breathtaking view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, the majestic Gangkar Punsum (24,770ft/7,550m.) The road descends through varied and ever-changing forest, emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley. Take a short walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple built in 1499 by lama Drukpa Kunley (charmingly known as “The Divine Madman.”) On this site, The Divine Madman subdued the Demoness of the Dochu-La using his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom,” (also known as “his phallus.”) A wooden effigy of the Lama’s “thunderbolt” is preserved in the Lhakhang. Traditionally, childless women have visited this temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint. Our trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are few young monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings. In Punakha, we’ll visit the impressive Punakha Dzong. With its three towers, and wonderful location at the confluence of two rivers, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Bhutan’s 21 Dzongs.

     

    Day - 4

    Location: Punakha - After breakfast, explore this small town with your leader on an orientation walk. Head down to the convergence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, two of the main rivers of Bhutan. There are lovely views of the majestic Punakha Dzong. This fine Dzong was constructed around 1639 and due to its location the Dzong has flooded several times in its history and also partially destroyed by fire in the 1980's. Be sure to keep an eye out for the cantilever bridge spanning the river. After lunch undertake a hike (approx. 1 hour) to visit the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. Its an uphill climb but the views from the top make it worthwhile. As with many monasteries in Bhutan, our leader will need to hunt around for the caretaker with the keys to have a look inside.

     

    Day - 5

    Location: Thimpu - Paro - This morning head back over the Dochu-La and continue to Thimphu approx. 4 hrs). This is a good chance to relax and refresh. The roads in Bhutan are narrow and whilst the distances are not great, due to the nature of the roads and the many valleys they pass through travelling can take some time. After lunch in Thimpu, continue by vehicle into the Paro Valley. Its a long day of driving. This evening experience home-cooked meals and a friendly atmosphere and a traditional meal at Tshering Farm House and try your hand at Bhutan's national sport with a mini archery lesson.

     

    Day - 6

    Location: Tiger's Nest Monastery - After an early breakfast we drive up to the starting point and prepare for our hike to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) - a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. The legend dating back to 747 AD has it that the Great Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhawa) flew here from northeast Bhutan on the back of a tigress to subdue the demons of Paro Valley. The guru then meditated in the holy cave that is the site of the Pelphug Lhakhang today. According to Tantric Buddhist mythology, the vanquished local deities became the protectors of the dharma and one of them, Singey Samdrup, is recognised today as the guardian deity of Taktsang. Guru Rinpoche is also believed to have concealed among the rocks of Taktsang various forms of Dharma treasures known as Ters, which were destined to be discovered later by Tertons (treasure discoverers) for the propagation of Dharma. Taktsang was severely damaged by fire on Sunday 19th April 1998. The king commanded its immediate restoration soon after the fire. The royal command dictated that the original aura, authenticity and architectural splendor must be preserved at all costs. This project has been widely seen as an act of devotion involving all sections of Bhutanese society and as homage to the nation's cultural heritage. It also proved to be an opportunity for Bhutan's traditional artists and craftsmen to hone the skills inherited from their forefathers down the ages. In order to facilitate the restoration work, a road was built to the base of the mountain facing the temple. We drive to the end of this road and begin our hike up the mountain for a closer view of the temple. After approximately an hour walking uphill, we reach a small teahouse that has a wonderful panoramic view of the temple. Its the ideal place to enjoy lunch. For those interested, it is possible to get a closer view by hiking another 45 minutes to an hour (each direction) to reach the small chorten directly across from the temple. Anyone not interested in hiking any further can relax at the teahouse and enjoy the view. It total it will about 5 to 6 hours to get back to the car including all stops if you choose to walk the full way.

     

    Day - 7

    Location: Paro - Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before a departure transfer to Paro airport for your flight out of Bhutan.

     

    Bhutan Discovered
*Terms and Conditions
Offer subject to availability at time of booking. Prices are per person share twin based on best available tour price, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and are based on cash or cheque. Tour deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions may apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry.
HLO Ref# 11370
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