Bhutan Cultural Tour-7 days
Bhutan Cultural Tour is our effort to introduce you to the rich cultural heritage of this tiny Himalayan kingdom also known as the last Shangri-La. Our week-long tour in Bhutan begins in the beautiful Paro valley where we visit Rinpung Dzong (fortress), Kichu Lhakhang temple, and Drugyal Dzong. Then we travel a little further and hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Our next stop will be Thimpu where we visit the capital city’s countless monuments like the King's Memorial Chorten, nunnery temple, mini zoo, folk heritage museum and the majestic Tashichho Dzong. Next, we travel to Punakha via Dochu La Pass (3,100m) but before exploring the city’s landmarks we tour Gangtey to enjoy views of the picturesque Black Mountain ranges. Then, we visit Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lhakhang temple and end our tour in Paro.
Important Note :
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
= USD 2220 per person 3-12 people
= USD 1920 per person ( Note! above price valid until end of 2014 )
What Is Included
- Bhutanese visa fee
- All airport pickups and drops
- All meals, tea and snacks
- Government approved A and B category hotels on twin- shared basis
- Transportation in comfortable private vehicle(s)
- English speaking, trained and experienced guide and local staff
- All entrance and permit fees for visits to monuments and museums as per the itinerary
- All required government taxes
What Is Not Included
- Airfare for international flights to and from Bhutan
- Items of a personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry, etc.)
- Trip cancellation and medical/evacuation insurance
- Tips for staff (guide and driver)
- Travel insurance
Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, we will be accommodated in A grade hotels in Paro and Thimpu and B grade hotel in Punakha. We use Tashi Namgay Resort or similar in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimpu and Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 420.
All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are included during your stay in Bhutan. A variety of meals are available in most hotels – the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non-vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season.
Day to Day Itinerary
Arrival and Sightseeing in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.
Paro to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft) 54 km, 1 hour: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
After breakfast, we hike for 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor. This afternoon, we will drive to Thimphu, and spend the night.
Sightseeing in Thimphu
In the morning, we visit King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan and the radio tower (for a great view of the Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong). After lunch, we visit other landmarks of Thimpu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed in the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimpu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimpu.
Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours
After breakfast, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. We then pass through rice fields along river banks and reach Punakha. After lunch, we visit Punakha Dzong. Built between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
Punaka to Gangtey (2900m/9280ft) and back to Punakha: 85Km, 3-4 hours
In the morning, we explore the beautiful town of Wangduephodrang. This village and its nearby villages are knows for their slate and stone carvings. Then we drive through dense oak and rhododendron forests to Gangtey, a beautiful village surrounded by amazing snowcapped mountains. From here, we enjoy views of the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. Gangtey Monastery is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. We explore Phobjikha villages before driving back to Punakha for an overnight stay.
Punakha to Paro: 130 km, 4 hours
After breakfast, we drive to Paro. On the way, we will visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. After the tour of the temple, we continue our drive to Paro. In the evening, we are free to stroll around the markets and streets in Paro and enjoy our last night while in Bhutan. Overnight in Paro.
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. After early breakfast, we leave Thimpu for Paro airport which will take us around 1 hour. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after breakfast, we will be taken to the airport in the morning for final departure.
Equipment and Packing List
While packing for Bhutan Cultural Tour certain equipments are essential.
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for this trip's comprehensive checklist.
Spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November) are the best time to visit Bhutan. The months of April and May offer the natural grandeur of rhododendron blooms whereas Bhutan observes its biggest festivals during spring.
Trip Start Dates and Price
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us.