13 Days Spiritual Bhutan Tours
Highlights of the tour: Private Spiritual Blessings/ Prayer Flag hoisting/ Farmhouse visit and interaction/ Butter Lam Offering/ Visit to Sacred an Holy Sites etc.
Day 01: Arrival in Paro and drive to Thimphu.
Arrive at Paro, meet our guide and driver outside the terminal. Begin your first tour of the day by visiting the National Museum for a brief introduction on Bhutan’s rich culture, tradition and heritage. Then drive to Thimphu(1hrs). En-route photo shoot stop at the 13th century Iron Bridge below the Tagcho Lhakang, the temple built in the 15thcentury on the same spot where he has visualized Chenrigzig in the wrathful form. Soon you arrive at Chuenzom, a hub of road network where you will find local vendors selling season vegetables and fruits on daily basis to the passerby. Upon arrival visit the Memorial Stupa, the pious landmark of all residents of Thimphu from all walks of life. Later, TashiChhoe Dzong (fortress), presently houses the Golden Throne of the King, local administration and residence for the central monk body as their summer residence. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing/ Tango Buddhist University.
Offering of 100 butter lamps and special prayer ceremonies by the Buddhist monks for one’s well-being, prosperity, good health or even for the loss of a family member/friend and lastly for world peace at Memorial Stupa.
Breakfast at the hotel, hike to Tango Goembafor more active day. It takes about 60-90 minutes from the foot of the hill to the only Buddhist University in Bhutan. Once on the top, you will feel rewarded with the serene atmosphere and impressive architecture. Tango Goemba Monastery is the country’s highest center for Buddhist learning. The Je Khenpo (religious head of Bhutan) completes their 9 year course here and then spends 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in mediation at the nearby Cheri Goemba retreat. We will visit the monastery and if the monks are at recess, we will have an opportunity to chat with them and learn about the monastic lifestyle.
(if time permits) Visit the Color-full Weekends Market (opened on Friday and weekends only), probably the largest domestic in the country. Farmers from the neighboring areas come to sell their fresh produces. During the weekend, you will also have the chance to witness the Archery matches being played at the Changlimithang Stadium located beside the near the market. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. Then drive to Takin Preserve Centre (closed on Monday), the national animal of Bhutan. Later visit the National Textile Museum. Visit the school of 13’arts & craft (Zorig Choesum School), the students here currently undergoing minimum of 4-6yrs of intense course to master the traditional arts and crafts. At Kuensel Phodrang, you will find the 61m/150ft giant statue Buddha Dodenma. The Gayul lhendrup weaving centre at changzamtog demonstrate the art of weaving live. Next, we visit Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu- Punakha (2.5 hrs drive)
(76 km/50 miles, Altitude 4160ft)
Morning, we drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass. Brief stop at Dochu La to catch sight of the 108 Bhutanese Stupas a.k.a Druk Wangyal Chorten. On a clear sky one may enjoy the stunning panorama views of the Eastern Himalayas. The road descend further down after the pass to much warmer regions of Punakha and Wangdue valleys. Nature break at the Royal Boatinical Park at Lam Peri, home to the 46 different species of Rhododendrons and many other wild plants and trees can be found at the sub-tropical zone here. One of the most common wild animals includes the Red Panda and the Black Himalayan Bear are some of the animals inhabiting all over the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park. Continue drive to Punakha. After lunch visit the most beautifully crafted piece of art, the Punakha Dzong built in between the two mighty rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu surrounding the most beautiful Dzong ever to be built in Bhutan. The Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup nunnery is home to over hundreds of nuns residing here. visit “fertility temple”, built on hill in early 15th century. The temple was built to honor the great Drukpa master Lam Drukpa Kuenley a.k.a the Devine Madman. Evening, explore the Stone Mason Village of Rinchengang. The incense factory at Bajo town is a family business which is worth the visit. Evening, walk to Sopsokha village at Lobesa and stop over at an organic vegetable market at Metshina.Check in and relax.
Day 04: Punakha-Gangtey. (2 hrs drive)
Morning, visit the most beautifully crafted piece of art, the Punakha Dzong built in between the two mighty rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu surrounding the most beautiful Dzong ever to be built in Bhutan. The Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup nunnery is home to over hundreds of nuns residing here. Unlike others, this nunnery is under the special care of the royal grandparents of the four queens. Next drive to Gantey, the land of the Blacked-Necked Cranes.
Day 05: Gangtey Village Visits and Nature Trails Hike
Morning visit the Gantey Goemba, the one of the only Nyingmapa monastery in the western Bhutan. Later talk a leisure flat hike around the Nature trails surrounding the roosting grouds of the cranes who make their home after the Tibetan plateau early November till March before they fly back. Village visits and interaction wilt the local Phobjibs are your highlights of the day. You may enjoy a good chat with the family over a nice hot cup of tea. In return to the favour and as per local traditions you may want to leave some gifts as a token of appreciations for allowing us to vist their homes and talk to their family. School visit and interaction with the teachers and the students can be arranged in one of the local schools. Normally, during these visits the students expects some gifts like chocolates or even better if you can buy some stationaries, library books which our remote students lack behind. The school will greatly benefit from you visit and your contributions. Once in the year during winter, the valley is also home to the Yak herder’s who come down to the valley in order to barter milk, butter and other livestock products with rice, cereals, wheat etc. while their Yaks graze the dwarf bamboos shoots which grow in plenty and is considered the favourite food.
Overnight at Gantey at hotel Dewachen, Gakiling or similar
Day 06: To Trongsa. (5 hrs drive)
Morning drive to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the Wangchuck dynasty. Peli La (3450m/11040ft) is a part of the famous Black Mountains that once acted as the great barrier separating the East and the Western regions of Bhutan in ancient times made it very difficult to commute this high cold pass. Stop at Chendebji Chorten (stupa), the Chorten is situated at the point believed to be where the three ridges and the three edges of the sky meet. It is an important Chorten in Bhutan, and is recognizable by its roundish shape and the eyes painted on its sides, which bears similarity to the Jarung Khashor (Bodhanath) stupa in Nepal. It also a popular picnic spot for the East-West commuters to take a short breather and stretch your legs from long hour drive.
On arrival check in and visit the largest Trongsa Dzong. The Watch Tower or the Ta Dzong in Trongsa is a cylindrical stone structure rising five storeys is the only structure which has been restored specifically as a tribute the Wangchuck dynasty as Bhutan celebrates the centenary of the Monarchy 2008.
Afternoon in Jakar visit Jambay Lhakang built in the 7th century by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet it’s believed to be one of the 108 temples he built miraculously in a single night in Tibet and neighbouring countries. Drive beyond the feeder roads to Sherab farmhouse and meet with the local Bumtap (regional name for people of Bumthang) family. Enjoy some local cuisine like the sweet buckwheat noddle and pancakes sitting along with Sherab’s family.
(Optional visit) From here you will drive to Swiss cheese factory, where cheese was made to export to other parts of Bhutan; the Red Panda brewery, their beer is also exported to other parts of Bhutan.
Evening, visit Kharchu Dratshang to witness the theological debate amongst the monks to discover and explore the depth of their knowledge and wisdom.
DAY 07: TREK BEGINS AT NGANG LHAKHANG
14km, 3 to 4 hours
The trek begins today. The route follows the Chamkhar Chu (river), taking us through meadows, forests of blue pine and scrub bamboo. We will pass by many villages and temples on this relaxing and easy day. Overnight at Farm House. Altitude 2900m.
DAY 08: NANG LHAKHANG – UGYENCHOLING
19km, 7 to 8 hours.
The trail ascends gradually through juniper forests towards Phephe La Pass (3360m). From there the path descends to Tang valley, finally arriving at Ugyencholing village (2850m). Overnight at Guesthouse. Altitude 2670m. The trail ascends gradually through juniper forests towards Phephe La Pass (3360m). From there the path descends to Tang valley, finally arriving at Ugyencholing village (2850m). Camp overnight by the side of the river near village. Altitude 2670m.
DAY 09: UGYENCHOLING – BUMTHANG
11km, 4 hours
In the morning, walk up to 16th century Tang Ugyencholing Palace, a beautiful private mansion which also houses a small museum containing an excellent overview of traditional rural life in Bhutan.
On the way back we will visit the Mebartso (The Lake of Fire). It is here that Terton Pemalingpa (founder of the Nyingmapa sect) is said to have found treasure hidden by Guru Rimpoche in the 15th Century. He retrieved the treasure carrying a lamp which continued to burn even after being plunged into the freezing water. Legend says the key to Shangri la will be found here someday. This lake is very sacred, and on auspicious days many Bhutanese people go there to make butter lamp offering. Overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.
Day 10: Bumthang-Paro (Fly) (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
This flight not only reduces the long hour drive but it offers a glimpse of the Eastern Himalayan ranges including Mt. Gankhar Puensum the highest unclimbed mountain in the world at an elevation of 7570m/24836ft tall can also been seen in this flight. Upon arrival you will be greeted by another transport and transferred for sightseeing to the oldest temple in Bhutan, beautiful Kichu Lhakhang. Overnight at Paro, hotel Drukchen, Tashi Namgay or similar.
Day 11: Hike to Tiger’s nest
Highlight of the day: Prayer flag hoisting on the way down from Tigers Nest. Experience Herbal hot stone bath at local farmhouse. Butter Lamp Offering
7AM breakfast at the hotel. Less than 10mins drive you will arrive at the point where you begin the 4hrs hike to Tigers Nest monastery. The trails is classified by two different viewpoints and the time taken to reach each points where you can take time to rest and shoot pictures. The first viewpoint is located an hour away after parking lot or the starting point. Here you can rest for a cup of tea or even use the washrooms. The view of the monastery is seen as if it is floating up in the sky thus considered one of the best spot to click. Another half of the trails is not as steep at the first half but a little longer. Follow the trails just next to the tea house through pine trees and Spanish moss. Keep your eyes steady for you miss the chance to get a glimpse the movements of the grey langur up on the trees. Now, the second viewpoint is soon approaching located just before you begin to climb down the eight hundred (or less) stone steps before arriving the monastery. Form here you will view the Taktshang same level as your feet as if you are glancing it on from the sky above. From here it takes another 20mins to reach the main entrance whereby the visitors are not allowed to take any cell phones, camera or any gadgets etc. After the visit, it takes about a 1 ½ hike down till you reach the parking lots.
Evening (optional) herbal stone at the. Meanwhile, a farewell dinner with the local farmhouse.
(If time permits) Visit Dungtse and later take leisure walk around the traditional town of Paro. Enjoy farewell dinner at the best traditional restaurant in the town.
(Optional) Herbal Stone Bath can be arranged at a local farmhouse to relieve the fatigue from the day hike. Traditionally believed to cure arthritis, joint pains and relaxes the muscles after a tiring day at the field or work. You will required to place order5-6hrs in advance with a supplements of $30 per person.
Overnight in Paro at hotel Drukchen, Tashi namgay or similar.
Day 12: Paro sightseeing and Day Excursion to Haa Valley
Haa Valley and leave the rest of the luggage at the hotel in Paro. Haa Valley” was only recently opened to tourism and has remained beautifully quaint and untainted by the influences of modern development. This valley remains one of the least visited areas in the country and retains the air of an unspoiled, primeval forest.
Soon we leave the main highway near Bondey Village and the road starts climbing up the hill. But before we advance much further, we take a short 20 minutes hike uphill to Dzongrakha Village and the monastery which is often time called mini-Takstang Monastery and has seen very less foreign tourists. Most men in this village traditionally become monks! We backtrack to the road and continue driving to the Chelela pass. At an elevation 13,000ft, Chelila Pass is believe to be the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. The pass offers stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. It is also marked by hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind. For another one hour long drive, the road drops down to the valley floor and we can already see the glittering roof of the Ha Dzong fortress from distance. The view is scenic. Once you are in the valley, you will feel that time has stopped here.
We visit the Haa town, the White and Black Temples and the Ha Dzong fortress. Architecturally, they are not appealing as much as other attractions of the country but Haa valley offers pristine nature, tranquil atmosphere and very primitive lifestyle and culture of native people. We will take some light walking tour to the village and temples
Day 13: DEPARTURE
Tour Cost: 13Day/12Night
USD $3040 (per person)
•3 star and above standard accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary.
•English speaking trained and certified local guide
•All transfers and sightseeing by a SUV/ Hyundai minivan etc.
•3 meals a day in tourist standard restaurants
•Service in Bhutan Visa processing.
•Bhutan Royalties and visa fee.
•Service of internal airfare reservation.
•All sightseeing admission fees as per itinerary.
•Herbal stone bath/traditional farewell dinner experience at an extra cost of USD $35 person.
Tour does not include
•All international/ domestic airfares arrival and return to the gateway city
•Expenses of personal nature like drinks, tips, telephone, internet, laundry etc.
•Extra expenses or loss due to nature or unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, road blockade, no show, emergency evacuation, etc.
•Upgrading to luxury accommodations.
•Meals in 4* and 5*star category
Reservations may be booked directly as follows:
Telephone: +975 2 336441
Mobile: +975 2 77 174 087
20% deposit is required at the time of booking in order to secure the reservation. Failure to do so will result in releasing the booking and is done without prior notification.
• Payment is accepted in US Dollar only.
• Full payment should be received 30 days prior to the guest arrival. Payment via bank wire transfer is preferred.