9 days

Journey to Shangri-la

Journey to Shangri-la-Bhutan The Dragon Kingdom
  • Trip Style: Bhutan3
  • Ways to Travel: Guided
  • Activities: Bhutan Travel
  • Group Size: 2-12
  • High Altitude 3000 M
Activity Level: Easy
4.8 / 5 from Reviews View Review

Trip Overview

With so much to see and experience in Bhutan, how does one choose how long to stay and what to see? We have designed this trip to give you an extra-ordinary experience of life in Bhutan, from the cities and towns, to rural life, nature and the stunning landscape and, of course, the monastic life of this Buddhist Kingdom where Gross National Happiness is a higher priority than Gross National Product.

Bhutan is perhaps the most mysterious and diverse of all the Himalayan kingdoms, where for centuries a traditional Buddhist culture has thrived in isolation from the rest of the world. It is a land of contrast – with lush forested valleys, fortified monasteries, sacred mountains, art and architecture unique to the region. Our journey begins in Paro and we head straight to Thimphu, where we have two days to explore this charming and serene capital. We then venture out into the countryside to visit the beautiful Punakha, Tronsga and Bumthang Valleys. Here we explore the rural lifestyle and architecture of Bhutan before returning to Paro where, on one of the highlights of our tour, we visit Taktsang (the Tiger’s Nest) – a small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor.

Trip Highlights

    Tour Facts:
    Starting from: Kathmandu
    Ending at: Kathmandu / Delhi / Bangkok
    Culture: Newar, Gurung & Bhutanese
    Attractions: Kathmandu, Thimpu, Taktsang Monastery, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang and Paro

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1 Arrive Paro (2.280 m) (By Druk Air flight) Hotel

    Your Bhutanese guide will receive you at the airport and drive you the short distance to the hotel.

    After lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7.314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo

  • Day 2 Drive Paro to Thimphu (2.320 m) [54 kms - 1 hr]. Excursion to Taktsang Monastery Hotel

    A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery – After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour walk till the view point of the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort.

    After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. In the evening, drive to Thimphu.

  • Day 3 Thimphu Sightseeing Hotel

    The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit Sansaygang view point, Takin preserve ceneter, Changangkha lhakhang and Nunnery.

    After lunch, visit the Folk Heritage Museum and the Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu.

  • Day 4 Drive Thimphu to Punakha (1.310 m) [76 Kms - 3hrs] Hotel

    After breakfast, Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. Lunch at Punakha.

    After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.

  • Day 5 Drive from Punakha to Gangtey and Trongsa (2.800 m) [157 kms] Hotel

    We start early today. After breakfast drive to Trongsa via. Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang, it includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong (from outside) built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong; four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of Buddhist religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive further to Gangtey.

    While in Gangtey, visit Gangtey Gompa. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang. Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Packed lunch will be served at Gangtey. After Lunch, drive to Trongsa.

  • Day 6 Drive from Trongsa to Bumthang (2.800 m) [68 kms] Hotel

    After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. Then we visit the Ta Dzong/ Museum and drive to Bumthang.

    After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667 and then Visit Jambay Lhakhang said to have been built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here.

  • Day 7 Bumthang Sightseeing Hotel

    After breakfast, visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. After lunch, visit Membartsho (Literally means “Burning Lake”) a short distance up the road leading to Tang valley. The Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several of Guru Rimpoche’s hidden Terma / relics here. In the evening, visit Mathra factory & Cheese Factory.

  • Day 8 Drive from Bumthang to Thimphu Hotel

    After Early breakfast, drive to Thimphu, lunch will be served at Chendebji Restaurant.

  • Day 9 Fly back to Kathmandu / Delhi or Bangkok Hotels

    Early Morning, drive to the airport and Fly home

Inclusions & Details

Cost Inclusion

• 1 full day guided heritage sightseeing with all monument fees in Kathmandu • Private transport during sightseeing in Kathmandu and Bhutan
• 9 days – 8 nights full board program in Bhutan
• Bhutan Visa.
• 1 International flights Kathmandu-Paro
• Dinner at authentic nepali restaurant on 1st Night
• All airport transfer

Cost Exclusion

• Insurance for clients.
• 1 International flights Paro to Kathmandu – Delhi or Bangkok
• Personal Beverages.
• Tips.

06 Request A Quote

For Queries & Reservations

Group travel is a great way to discover new adventures and create memories that last forever . Choose your trip with guaranteed departure dates and join us now.

Chhewang N.Lama +977-9801046333 / +977-1-4813166
info@responsibletreks.com
Chhewang N.Lama from Responsible Treks