MYTH OF CENTRAL BHUTAN

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16Days

Here rich Himalayan flora and fauna, dazzling white peaks and lush valleys provide Bhutan’s stunning beauty and aesthetic grandeur. Thimpu Lying in a valley (elevation 2350) Thimpu is unlike any other capital in the world. The traditional architecture of its houses and buldings is particularly striking. Bhutan, best known to the world as the last Shangril-la has a rare combination of harmony and accord amidst a landscape of incredible beauty. Protected by mighty Himalayas from the rest of the world and enriched by the essence of Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism, Bhutan has managed to remain shrouded deeply in a jealously guarded isolation. A basic understanding of Bhutan’s Buddhism is essential to understanding the Bhutanese.

  • Itinerary Overview
  • Detailed Travel Plan
  • Included / Excluded
  • Travel Notes
  • Departure Dates
  • Day 1 : Arrival in Kathmandu
  • Day 2 : Kathmandu or Delhi or Bankok - Paro. (2250 M)
  • Day 3 : Hike to Tiger’s NEST (800 m from Paro valley) – Thimphu
  • Day 4 : Thimphu sightseeing
  • Day 5 : Thimphu - Punakha. (77 km. 3 hours. 1350 m)
  • Day 6 : Punakha – Trongsa. (128 km. 5 hours. 2200 m)
  • Day 7 : Trongsa - Bumthang. (68 km. 2 hours. 2600-+m)
  • Day 8 : Bumthang
  • Day 9 : Bumthang - Mongar. (193 km. 7 hours)
  • Day 10 : Mongar - Trashingang. (92 km. 1.h)
  • Day 11 : Trashigang - Bumthang
  • Day 12 : Bumtang - Wangdue
  • Day 13 : Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro
  • Day 14 : Deepart to Kathmandu
  • Day 15 : Kathmandu: Free Day
  • Day 16 : Departure
  • Day 1 : Arrival in Kathmandu

    Arrival in Kathmandu. Overnight. Or connective Flight. Mostly Flight is 10.30 in the morning to Paro.

  • Day 2 : Kathmandu or Delhi or Bankok - Paro. (2250 M)

    Arrive at Paro International Airport by Druk Air. On arrival at Paro International Airport, Expert Asian Tours and Travel representatives will receive you. Check in hotel/lunch. Start the day by visiting the National Museum (Ta- Dzong). Once the watchtower for Rinpung Dzong (Fortress), it was converted into the national Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with single roofing and buttressed by two guardhouses of the Dzong. Today, this massive fortress built in 1646 AD is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan.

  • Day 3 : Hike to Tiger’s NEST (800 m from Paro valley) – Thimphu

    Drive up to Ramthangkha (10 Km from Paro Town) and walk to the Monastery. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest’’ The Monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4000ft overlooking the Paro valley. Taktsang is one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the Himalayas. However, most people can only visit the main site called Taktsang Pel-phu. According to legend Padmasambhava founded Taktsang Monastery in the eighth century. It is believed that the Guru came to this place on the back of a tigress from Khengpajong in the Kurtoe region and meditated here for three months in a cave before converting the Paro valley to Buddhism. After getting back you will be driving to Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.

  • Day 4 : Thimphu sightseeing

    After breakfast visit the National Memorial chorten (built in memory of the late king). We will encounter lots of interesting people circumambulating the chorten. We then drive to the Changangkha Temple via the R.I.C.B housing colony, which offers a good location to photograph the temple. Drive to Takin National Animal sanctuary to photograph the Takin (Bhutan’s National Animal). Drive to the National Library to see the collection of old manuscripts & then visit the Folk Heritage Museum. Lunch in town.

    Afternoon: we visit the Institute of Arts & Crafts, where young artists are trained in the traditional ways of painting & statue making. Drive to Zilukha Nunnery & on to a viewpoint to photograph the city at sunset. If the time permits, we will visit a traditional hand made paper factory & goldsmiths workshop. Visit Trashi Chhodzong. This old fortress now serves as the center of administration, housing His Majesty the King of Bhutan’s office, the central Monastic Body as well four branches of administration.

  • Day 5 : Thimphu - Punakha. (77 km. 3 hours. 1350 m)

    Early rise and drive to the Dochula (3150m pass) for breakfast. If the weather is clear, the Dochu- la pass offers the most spectacular views of the eastern Himalayas mountain ranges. Then we drive to Punakha for lunch at hotel. After lunch we visit Punakha Dzong, the most beautiful in Bhutan. It was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The Dzong is located at the convergence of two rivers, the Pho-chu & Mo-chu. After Dzong we drive further to take a small hike to Nyzergang to visit the Khamsum Yuelly Namgyal Temple. Night Punakha

  • Day 6 : Punakha – Trongsa. (128 km. 5 hours. 2200 m)

    We will drive to Trongsa. It is 128 kilometers and 5 hours drive from Punakha. Wangdue is another District and is only a half hours drive from Punakha. In 1638 wangdue was Dzong was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal one year after the Punakha Dzong.

    The road will climb all the way to Pele-la pass at 3300m. It is main landmark between east & west and from here we will drive all the way down to Trongsa. On the way we will come across Yak herder’s camps and encounter Yaks especially during the winter, we will also see high Himalayan villages like Rukubji and Chendebji. All the houses cluster together separate from the fields.

  • Day 7 : Trongsa - Bumthang. (68 km. 2 hours. 2600-+m)

    Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Royal Family. Both the First and Second King ruled the Kingdom from this ancient seat. All the Kings of Bhutan have to become Trongsa’s Penlop (Honorary post of Governor) prior to being crowned as the Druk Gyalpo (King of Bhutan). Trongsa Dzong (Fort), is one of the largest & most impressive in the country. It was first built in 1648 and later enlarged many times. Because of being situated on a high commanding position on the only connecting route between the eastern and western sectors (where the trail actually runs through the Dzong), the Trongsa Penlop was able to control the whole of the eastern region very effectively for many centuries. Visit the ancient watchtower (Ta- Dzong), which is situated above the town.

    About three hours drive from Trongsa; we will reach to the famous valley of Bumthang. Bumthang is made up of four main valleys, Chummey, Tang, Ura and Choskhor (Jakar). A few miles after crossing Yotong La Pass (3400m), you will encounter buckwheat fields and the only straight road in the country entering the first valley of Bumthang, Chummey. The main development center of the province is situated in Choskhor commonly known as the Jakar valley where you can see a little bit of the modern touch with Swiss influence. On the way one can see girls weaving Yathra the traditional woolen materials used for different purposes on a traditional handloom. The finished products are all displayed in a shop outside in the open & on sale. Over night in Bumthang

  • Day 8 : Bumthang

    Bumthang is different from all the other valleys in Bhutan. It is very spacious and open ranging in altitudes from 2600m to 4000m. Bumthang is a heaven for hikers and Trekkers, not to mention the numerous beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites, making it the Cultural and Historic heartland in Bhutan.
    One could spend months exploring this fascinating valley. Almost every little valley or hill has a background of interesting myths and legends about Kings, Buddhist masters and Serpents. Bumthang is especially dominated by the religious influence of Padmasambhava (believed to be the second Buddha 7th –8th A.D) and his reincarnation the Treasure revealer. Terton Pemalingpa 1450-1521, who is known to have discovered many sacred Buddhist texts hidden by Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) in various places.

    Take a walk up to Tamshing monastery, founded by Terton Pemalingpa, where about 200 monks reside. Visit the historical temple. Visit the Wangdichholing Palace, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, and the oldest monastery in the Kingdom. All the Kings of Bhutan are taken for their cremation rites to Kurjee Monastery. Visit some more temples.
    Drive to the sacred Mebartsho (meaning Burning Lake). The importance of this site is indicated by the extensive array of prayer flags and is considered as one of the most holy places for Buddhist pilgrimage. After this visit drive back to Chamkhar and stroll in town.

  • Day 9 : Bumthang - Mongar. (193 km. 7 hours)

    After Breakfast the drive will take you through the pine forests keeping the Jakar Dzong view behind us. Taking a half hour drive you will cross the Tang Chu climbing towards and through Tangsebgi village. The drive reaches Ura valley the highest and most eastern part of Bumthang. It takes around 2 hours drive through blue pine trees, villages and onto the high pass of sheltheng la 3600m/11800 ft. Looking towards the north in clear weather one can see the high white Gangkar Punsum (7541m/2974ft) the highest peak in Bhutan.

    The landscape of Ura valley is different from that of the others, with round sweeping slopes, fertile pastures and wide fields. At the bottom you will see the large and unusual village with its cluster of big houses united by the paved flagstone alleys, a rare sight in Bhutan. The big community monastery dominates the village. It is dedicated to Guru Rinpoche (the great teacher). Ura festival usually takes place in the 2nd week of May & sometime in June, depending on the Bhutanese lunar calendar.

    Thimshingla National park starts here and if one wishes one can visit the field office at Ura. It is open Monday to Friday and closed on holidays. The drive from here will take you through the National Park. There is also the Rhododendron Flower Park this way (only worth seeing in spring time). Today you will cross the highest point of the road in Bhutan. The Thimshing La Pass at around 3800 m. and you will see a lot of changes in vegetation and villages. Night Mongar.

  • Day 10 : Mongar - Trashingang. (92 km. 1.h)

    After breakfast drive to Trash gang, crossing a low pass between these two Districts called Kori – La Pass 2400 m. You will go through villages like Yedi and cross the Chakzam, the iron Bridge. Trashigang is considered to be one of the Biggest Districts in Bhutan and it holds the headquarters of Trashigang. The 3rd Temporal Ruler of Bhutan Menjyur Tenpa built it in the 17th century overlooking the convergence of Drangme Chu & the Gambri Chu. Night Trashingang.

  • Day 11 : Trashigang - Bumthang

    After breakfast drive to Bumthang crossing the highest Pass on the way back.

  • Day 12 : Bumtang - Wangdue

    Gnagtey Gonpa was built on a small hillock surrounded by blue pine trees. A descendant of Pema Lingpa (the great Bhutanese saint of Bumthang) built the Gonpa in the 16th century and it is a Nyingmapa monastery.At the end of the 17th century it was enlarged once and at present it is headed by the 9th reincarnation called Gangtey Trulku. It is under renovation at present. It is run by the family houses of Gomchens (layman), who worship and work at the monastery.

    Further down you will reach the Phojikha valley. This place is reserved for the migration of the black neck crane. The people out here have become friendly with the endangered species and every consecutive year starting from the 2nd week of November to the 1st week of April the fields and marshes of this undisturbed valley offer a truly magnificent sight as you watch the cranes.

  • Day 13 : Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro

    Drive back to Thimphu for lunch and last stop for shopping. You could also see some more sights in Thimphu. In the evening drive back to Paro for tomorrow’s departure.

  • Day 14 : Deepart to Kathmandu

    Representative from our company will bid you a farewell and safe journey. Fly to Kathmandu. 1.5 hour Flight to Kathmandu, Upon arrival our team will assist you to hotel in Kathmandu

  • Day 15 : Kathmandu: Free Day

    Its a free day but you can do shopping or sightseeing in Kathmandu

  • Day 16 : Departure

    Free till departure

  • Included

  • Excluded

Bhutan Trip
Cost includes: Government royalty, all meals, tea and snacks, accommodations, transport, entrance fees, druk air fare, guide services, and sightseeing. Visa fee,
Cost does include: drinks and other personal bills/tip for guide & driver

Visa - A visa to enter Bhutan will be pre-arranged on your behalf. When entering Bhutan through the land borders of Phuentsholing & Samdrup Jongkhar two passport sized photos are also required. All you need do is email us a qualityscanned copy of your passport photo page.(preferably in colour).

Please note - Bhutan's visa department will not accept faxed copies of your passport photo pagedue to the lack of clarity of the passport picture image.

Bhutanese Cuisine - the Bhutanese diet is rich in meat and poultry, dairy, grain (particularly rice - red and white) and vegetables. Emadatse (chili pepper and cheese stew) is considered the national dish with many interpretations to this recipe throughout the country. Poultry and meat dishes, pork, beef and yak, are lavishly spiced with chilies, and it is common to see bright red peppers drying on rooftops in the sun. Salted butter tea, or suja, is served on all social occasions. Chang, a local beer, black mountain whiskey and arra, a spirit distilled from various grains, are also common and widely favoured. EXCEPTION: At Amankora Luxury Lodges and selected other luxury hotels an international menu is generally available in addition to Bhutanese favourites.

Currency & Credit Cards - the Bhutanese currency is the Ngultrum and is the same value as the Indian Rupee. Both can be used in Bhutan.It is recommended thatforeign visitors take in US$which arewidely accepted. Some useful tips are

If taking US$ please ensure you havesome US$1 and US$5 notes for convenience.
* Larger US$ denominations (US$50 & US$100's) do receive a better exchange rateif purchasing larger souvenirs, converting to local currencyortipping your guide & driver at the end of your journey.
* If taking in Indian Rupees do NOT carry 500 or 1000 rupee notes as they are rarely accepted.
* Stick with 10 and 100 rupee notes where possible.
ATM machines are available in Paro & Thimphu for use with visa/mastercard credit& debit cards.
*
 If bringing travellers cheques please ensure these are US$ cheques
Visa card, Amex& Mastercard are becoming more frequently accepted in the larger souvenir shops. When using your credit card a surcharge of up to 7% applies so beware!

Please Note: - Dress Code For Entering Dzongs & Monasteries
Depending on whom you talk to the exact dress code for Dzogs, Monasteries and Temples can differ. Use the details below to assist with your planning and we recommend you discuss each days visits with your guide to reconfirm appropriate attire.
* Shirt (either halfor full sleeve)
* Full long pants or long skirts (ankles must be covered)
Shoes of any type with socks covering ankles - we recommend comfortable shoes easy to remove.
* No hats, umbrellas, slippers, T-shirts, knee length / short skirts or 3/4 pants please
* Photographs only allowed to be taken in the courtyard of most Monasteries.

* *What To Take With You.** 
* Light rain jacket any time of year
* Warm clothes, hats, glovesand thermals for winter and higher altitude trekking.
* Long trekking pants (which zip to 3/4 pants), comfortable jeans or trousers
* Long or 3/4 sleeved tops/shirts and collared short sleeved shirts.
* A jumper or jacket is essential at all times of the year (due to the chance of unseasonal weather)
* Essential medications and a small emergency medical kit including Diamox (for altitude) & motion sickness medication.
* Sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm & moisturiser(required year round)
* Day pack, binoculars and camera.
* Sleeping bag and underlay if trekking
* If trekking take a good flashlight.

Electricity - Bhutan operates on a 230 volts, 50 cycles AC system, which is generally reliable.

Weather: Bhutan has four distinct seasons. The spring season (late March, April & May) and autumn season (late September, October and November) are the most popular times to visit with generally clear, mild weather, excellent scenery, lower rainfall and a range of festivals called Tshechus and Dromchoes.
The winter season (December to mid March) brings snow to the higher regions however the southern regions and main valleys where visitors generally travel are considerably warmer. Paro and Thimphu normally experience only light dustings of snow so still well worth a visit with mid December to mid-January normally offering cool, pleasant days and clear skies although temperatures fall below zero at night.

The summer season (June-mid - mid September) you may experience occasional heavy falls of rain during the afternoons. Bhutan is so green in summer and full of clear streams and waterfalls. While you may not experience grand Himalayan vistas at this time, you will enjoy the warmer weather, noticeable reduction in tourist numbers. It is a beautiful time to visit!

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  • Duration: 16 Days
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  • Region: Bhutan
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