Mountains, Mystery, Magic and Monasteries is what best describes this small Himalayan Kingdom.
Bhutan is simple yet mesmerising, a land that touches your soul with its natural beauty and a Happiness vibe that can mend broken hearts and bring peace.
It is a country, where the government’s decision-making process and measures of success is based on the happiness of its people. In this breath-taking journey, you’ll discover why this land has inspired such joy from its locals.
Step inside Bhutan’s beautiful lifeline and mini metropolis Thimphu, and set your eyes on its many monasteries, forts, museums and natural vistas. Traverse in the glacial valley of Gangtey to experience its village life and quiet meadows. Wander in the quaint town of Punakha once the capital of the Wangchuk kings that still rule the country. Natural wonders and the incredible flora and fauna await you in the charming valley of Punakha. And finally take in the pristine wilderness of Paro where sits the magnificent Tiger Nest Monastery.
While each town has its own beauty, to make your journey even more special we have picked the most luxurious lodges for a comforting stay. Nestled inside sweeping views of the valleys all the lodges connect you spiritually and physically to the beauty of this land and its people. Snuggle inside these stunning properties that are in the forefront of sustainability, as you explore the rich heritage and stories of this mystical kingdom.
Join us to unravel Bhutan’s culture, traditions and meet some of the happy locals, as you create cherished memories of the happiest place on earth.
Welcome to New Delhi - the capital of India! This city is a fusion of the ancient and the modern, the serene and the chaotic, encompassing and embracing people from all walks of life. Standing along the West end of the Gangetic Plain, the city paints a picture rich with culture, architecture and diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries and gardens.
Upon arrival in Delhi you will be picked up by our representative in India and taken directly to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to allow you to settle into your new home away from home experience.
This morning you shall take your flight to Paro.
Welcome to Bhutan! The Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan is the last of the Buddhist kingdoms that once occupied a vast area of the Himalayas.
Upon arrival in Paro, you will be met by our local representative at the airport and drive to Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital, which is situated in a broad green valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. One of the most beautiful drives anyone can ever experience., along the way be inspired by magical landscapes, quaint farmhouses and small monasteries, forts, crowned by crystal clear mountain views.
After breakfast you can enjoy an optional hike to Tango Goemba that 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, and an opportunity to chat with the monks to learn about the monastic lifestyle.
This morning, you shall visit the Zilukha Lower Secondary school and interact with the students and teachers (tentatively). The Arts and Craft School offers 3-6yrs courses and training to master the art of Weaving, Sculpturing, Painting, Embroidery, Wood carving etc.
If the old world fascinates you, The Folk Heritage Museum, is just the place to be. It displays traditional Bhutanese history and life including a typical house filled with indigenous household items; at the National Textile Museum, see a vast collection of old and rare textiles and traditional garments such as the kira worn by women, and the gho, by men.
Later visit the National Memorial Chorten (stupa), which dominates the skyline, and is dedicated to the third King of Bhutan, who reigned from 1952-1972. If time permits, this afternoon you can also see the Takin Zoo (Preserve Center). The facility was established to protect the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.
End you day, wandering in Thimphu’s main street, visiting shops and markets. Enjoy your evening at leisure.
Post breakfast you shall drive to Gangtey (Probjikha). Wherever you travel in Bhutan, the views are breathtaking - from the sub-tropical south to the polar north, with temperature variations due mainly to altitude.
En-route visit majestic Wangdue Dzong and interesting local market.
Today you will explore the Gangtey (Phobjikha) valley on foot. The surprise is in finding such a wide, flat valley nearly treeless, after a hard descent through dense forests.
Our one hour morning hike begins along a nature trail from Kingathang village through forests of blue pine trees covered with lichen (known as old man’s beard) until you reach in front of Gangtey Monastery. Here lies the village of Phobjikha, the winter home of black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid Tibetan plains. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 meters, lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park.
This evening we have planned a traditional farm house excursion for you. A leisurely walk through the village will give you rare glimpses into the daily lifestyle of the villagers. Bhutanese farm houses are vibrant, decorative, and unique as they are built without the use of a single nail.
This morning we check-out from the hotel and drive to Punakha. Enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, and the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet), formerly established as Bhutan’s winter capital because of its more temperate valley climate.
En-route, we’ll cross Dochula Pass (10,500 feet) and see one of Bhutanʹs most breath-taking view - carpets of rhododendron blossoms and soft green wild herbs and forest trees with a background of alpine snow. You have to see it to believe it!
After a hearty breakfast we shall walk around the Metsina Farmers Market, to know the local produce. Incense is a very important part of the Buddhist tradition, and to know more about it we shall visit Lhawang Dryden Incense, a small family craft factory. Over 30 rare ingredients are used in the making including precious Himalayan woods, barks, and herbs. The factory offers a full, deep and rich, long-lasting aroma.
Set on another adventure, as we hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal. It takes about 45-60 minutes up but only 30 minutes downhill. The Chorten (stupa) shaped temple is situated atop a beautiful hillock overlooking the valley dipped into beautiful rice paddy fields.
The fort Punakha Dzong, awaits you. The winter capital of Bhutan until 1958. Even today, the Je Khenpo (spiritual leader) resides in Punakha Dzong during the winter months and in Thimphu during the summer.
Today in the day enjoy the scenic drive to Paro, arriving at your hotel in the afternoon.
Later in the day, there is the opportunity for an optional visit to Rinpung Dzong (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore.
Today we shall finally embark to view the highlight of this journey… the enchanting “Tiger’s Nest” the Taktsang Monastery. Built around a cave where the Guru Rinpoche meditated, this monastery impossibly seems to cling to a cliff of rock 3,000 feet above the valley floor. The Taktsang Monastery is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world, containing 13 holy places. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche came to Taktsang in a miraculous manner, flying on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong in the region of Kurteop. The hike takes about 5 hours’ roundtrip, and is challenging, but unforgettably thrilling and mystical. (Transport by pony is available on the ascent, if you do not wish to hike. Walking is mandatory on the descent).
The rest of the day is at your leisure. There will be a car and driver at your disposal in case you wish to visit the markets.
You have been surrounded by valleys so far, but Haa valley is a special experience. New entrant into the tourism space, this valley remains beautifully quaint and untainted by the influences of modern development. You’ll be able to see the very primitive lifestyle and culture of semi-nomadic native people.
If you are up for it, we can also visit the Dzongrakha Village, known as the mini-Takstang. Most men in this village traditionally become caretakers and look after the ancient temples in this area, unlike other temples which are looked after by monks. We backtrack to the road and continue driving to the Cheli la pass.
At an elevation 13,000ft, Cheli la Pass is believed to be the highest passes in Bhutan which allow vehicular access. The pass offers stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. You’ll take part in a tradition to hoist some prayer flags for world peace here on the pass.
As we descend down, take a glimpse of the glittering roof of the Ha Dzong fortress from a distance. It looks magical and you feel time has paused in this very moment.
You will end this day by meeting a local family at their home and interact with them over lunch. As we say, meeting the locals in Bhutan is where true joy lies.
Transfer to the airport for your journey back home.