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Bhutan The Last Shangri-La 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 with sightseeing in the country’s capital, Thimphu, where we visit the Memorial Chhorten, mini- zoo, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, folk heritage museum and the majestic Tashichho Dzong (fortress). Next, we travel to Punakha via Dochu La pass (3,100m) and tour the Chimi Lhakhang temple on the way. We also visit the Punakha Dzong and explore the amazing Gangtey village before heading to Paro. In the beautiful Paro valley, we visit Rinpung Dzong and Kichu Lhakhang temple. Our tour ends with a hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery which is a perfect way to end one’s journey in the last Shangri-La.
|Day 01 Arrival in Paro then transfer to Thimphu||2,320m/7,612ft|
|Day 02 Sightseeing in Thimphu||2,320m/7,612ft|
|Day 03 Thimphu to Punakha||1,250m/4,101ft|
|Day 04 Excursion to Gangtey||2,900m/9,515ft|
|Day 05 Punakha to Paro||2,250m/7,382ft|
|Day 06 Hike to Tigers Nest Monastery||3,180m/10,434ft||4-5 hrs|
|Day 07 Final Departure||-|
As your flight nears Bhutan, you can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Chomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, you will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take you to your hotel in Thimphu for a good night’s sleep. However, if your flight arrives early and you want to visit a few places in Thimphu then it can be arranged too. Overnight in Thimphu.
In the morning, we visit 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. Today, we also visit other landmarks of Thimphu 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 Thimphu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. 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. 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.
After breakfast, we begin our drive to the Paro valley. In Paro, we visit Rinpung Dzong which means “fortress made from a heap of jewels.”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.
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.
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I would like to take a moment to let you know the wonderful job Yeshi Wangdi did as my tour guide for Bhutan. He was very kind, flexible and willing to continually adjust my itinerary and accommodations if necessary. He has the knowledge on the history and culture of Bhutan which brings vitality and joy to the journey for his client.
As he got more familiar with what I liked he was able to suggest wonderful places to visit. He was punctual and kept me busy as I requested. I would highly recommend him as a guide.
I had two drivers one for two days but he did a very good job...the second for longer...he did an excellent job driving long hours on some very difficult roads. He was responsible, kind and polite...I would highly recommend him as a driver.
Thank you for a wonderful trip to Bhutan...I look forward to visiting there again...it is a special place.
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