Our ‘Bhutan Insight Tour’ is unlike any cultural tour we offer in Bhutan. This journey includes the usual sightseeing places along with something new- Tachogang Lhakhang temple, traditional paper factory, the giant Buddha statue, weekend market, handicraft shops and most importantly Changlingmethang Archery Range. On our 8-day journey we tour Bhutanese townships of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. We also take a day excursion to the beautiful Gangtey region and hike to the famous Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery.
1-2 people = USD 2590 per person
3-12 people = USD 2240 per person
(Note: Above price valid until end of 2015)
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 Thimphu and a B grade hotel in Punakha. We use Tashi Namgay Resort 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 490.
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 Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower but has now been changed into the National Museum. The museum has a wide assortment of ancient paintings, armors, philatelic displays and a “field of Buddhas”, which helps one visualize while meditating. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, we drive to Thimphu on a road that leads through the Paro Valley to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers. Three different styles of Chortens adorn the confluence. A short way beyond, on the left is the Tachogang Lhakhang built in the 15th century by Thangthong Gyelpo, a trader who first introduced Iron Bridges in Bhutan. We check-in to our hotel in Thimphu before touring several landmarks of the city including Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Monastery, mini zoo (to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan), painting school and nunnery temple. Later we also visit Folk Heritage Museum, traditional paper factory, Tashichhodzong and the giant Buddha statue. Overnight in Thimphu.
In the morning, we visit the busy Weekend Market at the bank of the Thimphu River where people from nearby villages come to sell their farm products. While strolling in the busy market, we get to see a variety of food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and mangoes. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It's fun to wander the aisle, taking in the bustling atmosphere of the market. Perhaps this market scene offers wonderful opportunity for photographs and to mingle with local people. A few minutes' walk towards south of Weekend Market is the Changlingmethang Archery Range. Perhaps you will come across people playing archery. Afternoon will be spent visiting different handicraft shops and shopping. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu town and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast, we drive to Punakha via Dochu La Pass (3,100m), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Next, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. On the way, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to the Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. After reaching Punakha, we also visit Punakha Dzong which was built between 1637-1638 and is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
In the morning, we explore Wangduephodrang. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings. We then drive through dense oak and rhododendron forests to Gangtey, a beautiful village surrounded by amazing snow-capped 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. At this time of the year, we can see cranes that migrate from Tibetan plateaus to escape harsh winter conditions. 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.
Today, we return to Paro. On the way, stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. On reaching Dochula, visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, we hike for 4 to 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 the 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. Overnight in Paro.
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. 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.