Truly Bhutan

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14 Days

Bhutan Spiritual Traverse

This Bhutan Spiritual Traverse is designed to cover all the spiritual and historic valleys of Bhutan. You would be moving from one historic valley to another in the heartland of the Drukpa people. Some of the temples in these valleys date back to the 7th century when Guru Padmasambhava first introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. A stream of Buddhist lamas coming to Bhutan over the centuries established monasteries and temples in various parts of these valleys.

You can observe how Zhabdrung unified the country in the 1600s by constructing a castle-like monastic fortress called dzongs strategically overlooking these valleys. In the next 200 years of Bhutan’s history, the dzongs played a crucial role as the strongholds of local chieftains in the power struggle that engulfed Bhutan. Power passed from one local chieftain to another, but it never left these central valleys. Listen to the tales of valor and courage in the Himalayan valleys of the bygone era from our experience host!!

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Detailed Program

You will be welcomed by our representative at the Paro International Airport and will be transferred directly to your hotel. Paro is a beautiful valley. There should be time for a quick stroll around Paro town before lunch. In the afternoon you can also visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders.

Nearby you can also visit the 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan which adds up to the unique culture of the spiritual kingdom of Bhutan.

Overnight at Paro.

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After an early breakfast drive to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan. On reaching Thimphu, take a short stroll down the street before lunch. Visit the Tashichhodzong to witness (Thimphu Tshechu, Sept 17th – 19th) and learn the spiritual aspects of the unique kingdom. It is believed that people watch Tsechus wash away their sins. After a light lunch visit the Textile Museum, the Folk Heritage Museum dedicated to connecting people and the rural past.

The Memorial Stupa is a shrine built by the Queen mother of Bhutan in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Also, visit the Handicrafts Emporium and drive to Sangaygang where you will have a good view of Thimphu town. On your return visit, the Takin Preserve where one can see the National animal of Bhutan, the Takin.

Overnight at Thimphu.

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After breakfast, sightseeing of Thimphu Valley includes a visit to the National Library, a treasure of priceless Buddhist manuscripts; the Traditional Medicine Institute, where herbal remedies are still practiced; the Painting School, where young monks learn the art of Buddhist Thangka, and the mask workshops.

Also, visit the Traditional Paper Manufacturing unit. Program as convenient in the evening.

Overnight at Thimphu.

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Drive towards Punakha after an early breakfast. On the way to Punakha, one can also visit the Simtokha Dzong, which is one of the oldest Dzongs in Bhutan built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1627. After crossing Simtokha the first hamlet is Yusipang, famous for its experimental potato farm. Further ahead is the village of Hongtsho; where there is a check post for inspecting the travel permits of foreigners. Later beyond Hongtsho, you come to the majestic sight of the Dochula Pass (3,080 m / 10,00 ft.)

where one can get to see 108 Druk Wangyal Chorten and the majestic Druk Wangyel Lhakhang built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. Numerous prayer flags stretch across the road. Viewing these beautiful prayer flags and the prayer wheels one can imagine the depth of spiritualism in Bhutan. Every Bhutanese takes it as a pride to turn the prayer wheels in a clockwise direction. The lookout point 500 meters below the pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the Eastern Himalayas (provided the weather is clear).

Driving through swarms of prayer flags fluttering in the wind you cross the pass and descend into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley. Relax in the evening at Punakha.

Overnight at Punakha.

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Morning, visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Happiness” built-in 1637. It is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and Mo Chu. On arrival at Lobesa take a pleasant walk to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lam Drukpa Kuenley).

Later on, if time favors one can also hike towards the famous Khamsum Yulley Namgyal in Nezergang. On reaching the beautiful Lhakhang one can also offer butter lamps and tshogs (a special offering that includes food, snacks, and fruits). This is a special way of dedicating oneself to Buddhism and offering prayers for the well-being of the people of Bhutan.

Overnight at Punakha.

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Soon after breakfast drive towards Gangtey (Phobjikha) and on reaching Wangdue visit Wangduephodrang Dzong which was built in 1638 and situated at the confluence of two rivers Dangchu River on the right-hand side and Puna Tsang Chu on the left-hand side. Later continue the drive towards Gangtey Goemba in Phobjikha which is 2 and Half hours drive from Wangduephodrang.

Overnight at Gangtey.

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In the morning visit Gangtey Goemba, which was built in the 12th century and is the only Nyingma monastery in Western Bhutan. At the monastery, one might get a chance to see religious rituals performed by the monks of the monastery. Every Bhutanese offer special prayers during this kind of religious ceremony for the happiness and well-being of oneself, family, and friends. Later one can also take a short walk towards the Black-necked Crane Information center. Program as convenient in the evening.

Overnight at Gangtey.

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Morning drive to Trongsa. On your way to Trongsa, the road reaches over the Black Mountains and further along the forests with blooming rhododendrons and magnolia. You then cross over the Pelela Pass (3,300 m / 10,825 ft.), marked by a large prayer flag, and the ground is covered with high-altitude dwarf bamboos. Pelela Pass is a demarcation of the Eastern and Western parts of our country.

On the eastern side, a prominent plateau divided into large fields appears on the right of the road at the head of which is the large village of Rukubji. Along the way, also visit the Chendebji Chorten built in the 18th century. It is built in the Nepalese style, similar to “Swayambhunath” in Kathmandu with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. One can see Trongsa Dzong at the end of the valley 20 km before reaching Trongsa. The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular.

Overnight at Trongsa.

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After breakfast visits Trongsa Dzong. The Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes east and west. Furthermore, the Dzong is built in such a way that no matter what direction a traveler came from, he is obliged to pass by the Dzong. This helped to augment its importance as it thus had complete control over all east-west traffic. It is the ancestral home of the Royal family. Both the first and second Kings ruled the country from this ancient seat.

After the visit, you continue your drive to Bumthang. At a distance of 29 km from Trongsa, the road reaches the Yutong La Pass (3,400 m / 11,155 ft.), and again the landscape ahead looks very different. Ahead the road comes out into a wide-open cultivated valley known as Chumey Valley, the first of Bumthang’s four valleys.

Overnight at Bumthang.

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Bumthang to Trongsa/ 68 km/ 2 and Half hours drive approximately. After breakfast drives back towards Trongsa from Bumthang.

Overnight at Trongsa.

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In the morning you will be driven towards Paro. On arrival, visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You can also visit Ta Dzong (the watchtower) now housing the National Museum. Built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong, it was originally used to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war.

Its unusual circular construction resembles a conch shell and it now contains a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artifacts-costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles, and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps. After lunch takes a trip up to the Chele La pass at 3800m to catch a tremendous view of Mount Jomolhari to the north as well as down to the Haa valley.

Overnight at Paro.

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The following day can be started with a hike towards the famous Taktsang Monastery. Reaching the monastery involves a 3-hour hike from the road head. From the road head far away and high up on the cliff top, the Taktsang Monastery can be seen. For a moment you may think that you cannot make it to the top but something draws you and you start your climb.

The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest”. This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 2,000 feet above the valley floor. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew to a cave on this cliff riding a tigress. The tiger was his favorite consort, Yeshey Tsogyal, whom he transformed into a tiger for this journey.

They meditated in the cave, and when Guru left, he instructed for the monastery to be built. On the way back to the hotel one can’t help but wonder how many could have ever made this impossible structure. Program as convenient in the evening.

Overnight at Paro.

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Drive towards Paro International Airport after an early breakfast for your onward destination.

Frequently Asked Question

Select one of the travel programs and email us your passport information. If you do not currently belong to a group, we will endeavor to place you in one with a minimum of three and a maximum of twenty-two people.

All stated activities, ground transportation for scheduled events, hotel, and specified meals are included in the price. All itineraries are subject to alteration due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather concerns. Please keep in mind that prices are subject to vary owing to tax changes and fuel surcharges.

Personal excursions, airfare, alcoholic drinks, dishes not specified on the prepared menu, free time activities, passport fees, excess luggage costs, laundry, medical expenditures, gratuities, or insurance are not included in the cost.

Although gratuities are not required for any of our activities, there are times when a little gratuity is both acceptable and appreciated. It is entirely up to you whether to provide gratuities for extraordinary services done.

Truly Bhutan does not provide mass-produced, cookie-cutter tours. We carefully select sites that provide both entertainment and cultural value. Our Host has the experience and knowledge to give unique and informative trips and guest lectures. Their expertise in local people, culture, food, traditions, and history provides a true cultural trip.

Truly Bhutan believes that travel is an essential aspect of life. Traveling is a search for us to comprehend the world and our position in it. Furthermore, it is not just a matter of crossing sites off a list. Exploring new ideas, studying various cultures, and meeting new people leads to a more in-depth education that enhances your life.

A visa is required to enter Bhutan, however, it is not given from outside the country. Visas are stamped in your passport upon arrival in Paro, cost $40 US, and are included in the cost of your tour. Truly Bhutan will get your visa on your behalf.

Visa is not required if you are an Indian national with a valid Indian passport or travel document. Permission to travel within Thimphu and Paro may be obtained upon arrival at Paro airport. In addition, while in Thimphu, you must process permissions for travel to the interior of Bhutan. If you arrive by land, you must get travel permission from the Indian Embassy Liaison Office in Phuntsholing, as well as the Bhutan Immigration Office.

It is not required for Indians to participate in a tour arranged by a travel agency or tour operator. However, if your vacation is pre-planned with a local agency, they will be able to book hotels, organize the appropriate permissions, arrange transportation and guides, and save you a lot of time and hassle. Permits are free, and the majority of drivers know Hindi and English.

If you go without a pre-planned and pre-booked trip, you may have to choose your lodging, pay higher prices, and spend a lot of time running about to secure permissions. As a result, even if you have to pay more, it is worthwhile to arrange your vacation with Truly Bhutan.

  • Inclusions
  • Exclusions
  • 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.

Our Host

Bhutan is one of the most unusual and beautiful countries in the world. You’ll find a land that is blessed with abundance, a deep connection to the past, and a unique culture. Truly Bhutan’s Host is second to none. Handpicked, highly experienced, and scrupulously trained, they bring a wealth of skill and knowledge to each trip. They are fun and friendly, whose aim is to ensure that each trip remains an unforgettable experience. Creating colorful, discovery-oriented tours in a combination of safety and comfort is the mission of our guides. All Host have earned the tour guide’s certificate from the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

Sonam Wangchuk

Sonam Wangchuk | Culture Expert

Dechen Dema

Dechen Dema | Culture & Trekking Expert

host

Pelden Dorji | Culture & Trekking Expert

Trek guide

Jigme Dorji | Culture & Trekking Expert

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