Truly Bhutan

Email: trulybhutan@gmail.com
Phone: +44 7444664146
Why Travel Bhutan With Truly Bhutan

11 Days

Gateway to Bhutan

This cultural tour through the mystical Western valleys of Bhutan is an ideal introduction to the Dragon Kingdom. Experience Bhutanese hospitality, admire the ever-changing landscapes, and immerse yourself in Bhutan’s rich Buddhist culture. Highlights include Ta Dzong Museum, Rimpung Dzong with its wooden cantilever bridge and the infamous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) in the beautiful Paro Valley, The National Memorial Chorten, 12th-century Changangkha Temple, and the Bhutan National Library exhibiting ancient scriptures in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, and after crossing the 3050m Dochula Pass with spectacular Himalayan views, a journey into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley featuring the incredible the Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the ‘Divine Madman’.

  • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalayas.
  • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets, and museums.
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
  • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
  • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
  • Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.

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$5478

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Detailed Program

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities.
After lunch enjoys afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art, and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpung Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centers, which were once strategic forts. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

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Afterward, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) following the Pachu River. Before dinner at the hotel, there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu. Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, completed by the Royal Queen Mother as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th-century Changangkha Temple and the Zulikha Nunnery. If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market (Open only from Friday until mid-Sunday). Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

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Continue sightseeing in Thimphu. Visit the School for Arts and Crafts, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum.
If there is time, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’ housing some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Other options for the day include a hike to Tango and Cheri Monasteries (45 mins), two of the most ancient monasteries in the Thimphu region, or a hike to Phajodhing Monastery providing a splendid view of the valley. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

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Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area, there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring color.

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Zhabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three-story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned.

After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of Drukpa Kuenly. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

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Drive from Punakha to Bumthang via Trongsa (8 hrs) over Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range. En route visit beautiful Chendbji Chorten, erected in the 18th century. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan. The view from the Dzong is spectacular and one can see across the landscape for many miles. Also, visit the Ta Dzong museum housing an incredible collection of historical artifacts of the Royal Family.

Continue driving to Bumthang, home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces and temples. The valley’s barley fields, apple groves, and meadows lay below huge hills which climb up towards the Himalayan mountain wall separating Bhutan from Tibet. Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.

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In the morning visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated and 7th-century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdom’s oldest temples. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Afterward enjoy exploring the village of Jakar, Bumthang’s main township. Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.

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Enjoy a day exploring some of the many sites around Bumthang. The 16th-century Tang Ugyen Chholing Palace stands to feature a museum containing an excellent overview of traditional rural life in Bhutan. Continue on to visit the pool of Mebartso (The Lake of Fire). It is here that Pema Lingpa (founder of the Nyingmapa sect) is said to have found a treasure hidden by Guru Rinpoche. Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.

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Start early today for Gangtey, about 6 hrs from Bumthang. Farmhouses and temples dot the landscape and you will see local farmers wearing the traditional woven bamboo hats of central Bhutan. The wide and picturesque Phobjikha valley is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black-necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Visit Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan, and explore Phobjika Valley with time to view the Black-Necked Cranes. Overnight at your hotel in Phobjikha.

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Morning visit to view the Black-Necked Cranes (winter only) before departing for Paro (approx 7 hrs). From Gangtey the road gradually descends into the balmy Punakha valley before climbing up over Dochu La Pass. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

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After breakfast hike to Taktsang Temple. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometer above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to the cafeteria). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 meters above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch.

In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, built to commemorate a victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather, the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jumolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

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Breakfast in the hotel then drives to the airport for the flight to your onward destination.

  • Inclusion
  • Exclusion
  • Insurance
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium update).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $200. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Package does not include insurance of any kinds, and that you are required to obtain separate coverage from your home country before your trip begins.

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