BHUTAN CULTURE & NATURE EXPEDITION

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The world's only officially Buddhist country

LAND OF THE PEACEFUL DRAGON

BHUTAN CULTURE & NATURE EXPEDITION

Thimphu, Dochula Pass, Taktsang Monastery, Paro and a lot more

2022-11-27 - 2022-12-02

There is a tiny kingdom in the Eastern Himalayas where the majesty and grandeur of nature provides a perfect environment for secular life, rich in contemplation and meditation. Since time immemorial, ascetics, mystics, scholars, philosophers and pilgrims have been drawn irresistibly to these remote and rugged mountains in their search for wisdom, inspiration, solitude and happiness. As a result, Bhutan is the world's only officially Buddhist country, a land with the highest concentration of intact and functional monasteries anywhere in the world. The culture and the traditional lifestyle are still richly intact and at the degree to which they permeate all strands of modern secular life. This heritage is present throughout our visit, in the form of prayer flags, woven garments, religious mask dances and architecture. And as if all of this would not provide enough reasons for a visit, Bhutan hosts one of the most intact natural environments of the world, thus providing rare and endangered animals with their last shelter in the Himalayas, as well as home for nearly 800 species of birds, 50 species of rhododendron and a lot more. A visit to this secluded, majestic Himalayan kingdom is a must for all adventure seekers and true travelers. Join us on this short but exciting journey into the Kingdom of Bhutan!


Detailed itinerary:

Nov 27      Darjeeling/Phuentsholing
If you are joining our Bhutan adventure at the end of our India voyage, we will have a leisurely morning today and
an easy drive to Bagdogra Airport. The newcomers of our group will land here at 13:45, after which we continue
our drive towards the Bhutanese border. In order for us to save time and make sure we get there before the borders
close, we will have a packed lunch with us today. Once we completed immigration formalities and checked in at
our hotel in Phuentsholing, we shall have a couple of hours to explore the unique street life of this border town.
Bhutan is the only country in the world whose government is officially Buddhist, which means the everyday life of
people and the overall atmosphere on its streets is vastly different from anything else we may have seen around the
world. Dinner will be served at our hotel in Phuentsholing.
Accommodation: comfortable tourist hotel with private facilities

 

Nov 28      Phuentsholing/Thimphu/Wangdue Phodrang
After our early breakfast, we get back on our vehicle and immediately start climbing high into the Himalayan
foothills. Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital city is only 150km away, but the narrow, winding road, occasionally reaching
2400m in elevation, will require at least 4 hours to complete. Just outside of Phuentsholing, we stop at the
Kharbandi Monastery, famous for its powers to help women who pray for children. Once in Thimphu, we quickly
visit the Royal Post Office to mail some postcards from this unique location and pay a visit to Thimphu Chorten,
before we would take a lovely lunch break in a local restaurant. After lunch, we continue our path eastbound, soon
reaching the highest point on our journey: Dochula Pass at 3150 meters. This pass does not just give us
breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys on a clear day, but it also houses 108 chortens (the
Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens) that were erected by Her Majesty the Queen Mother in honor of His Majesty
the 4th King and his people for their victory in the war fought in 2003 in Southern Bhutan and for peace and
prosperity of the nation. The forest of prayer flags around the stupas makes this place a truly spiritual and
photographic experience. From here, a few more kilometers and a thousand more curves will take us to Wangdue
Phodrang, where we shall check in at our accommodation and enjoy an hour on its streets before it gets too dark.

Dinner will be served at our accommodation.
Accommodation: comfortable tourist hotel with private facilities

 

Nov 29      Wangdue Phodrang/Punakha/ Wangdue Phodrang
This morning we rise to a true day of monasteries and Buddhist cultural experiences. Right after breakfast, we visit
the famous Dzong of Wangdue Phodrang. Very unfortunately, the original (1638) building just burnt down a few
years ago, but the new one, an almost exact copy of the old monastery is already standing and luckily all the
incredible religious relicts were saved and are showcased again. From here we drive to Sopsokha and then walk
among mustard and rice fields to reach another unique monastery, Chimi Lhakhang. From here we drive a little
further north, to Punakha, the previous capital city of Bhutan. Its monastery, the Punakha Dzong, is believed by
almost all visitors to be the most beautiful in the country. Upon arrival, we enjoy a great lunch first, and then spend
the rest of the afternoon walking around town and visiting this famous and truly beautiful monastery. We will
return to Wangdue Phodrang just before sunset and have dinner at our accommodation.
Accommodation: same as previous night

 

Nov 30      Wangdue Phodrang/Thimphu/Paro
We enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning, before we board our vehicle and start climbing back up to Dochula
Pass. Once we reach Thimphu, the capital city again, we climb to an enormous statue, called Buddha Dordenma,
which overlooks the entire capital and its valley. This Shakyamuni Buddha statue houses one hundred thousand
smaller Buddha statues inside. Once we enjoyed this amazing site, we continue our way to Paro, another unique,
historic town in Bhutan. Upon arrival, we check in at our accommodation, enjoy a local lunch, and then utilize the
rest of the afternoon to explore the downtown area and the riverside Rinpung Dzong monastery. Dinner will be
served at our accommodation.
Accommodation: comfortable tourist hotel with private facilities

 

Dec 1      Taktsang Monastery
Our day is dedicated to the exploration of Bhutan’s most famous Buddhist attraction – Taktsang Monastery, the
‘Tiger’s Nest’. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava, who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan
(and thus considered the most important religious person it its history), flew here from Tibet on the back of a tigress
in the 8th century and meditated in the local cave for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three
hours. The current temple complex was built around the cave over three hundred years ago. At first we will hike to
the temple of Urgyan Tsemo, which is built on the opposite ravine from Taktsang, providing us with marvelous
views of the ‘Tiger’s Nest’ hanging to the rocks across from us. From here we continue our hike to Taktsang’s
main temple and the entrance of Guru Padmasambhava’s cave. We will return to Paro for a late lunch, after which
we will have a few hours free for further exploration and for packing up our belongings for our departure the
following morning. Our Farewell Dinner will take place at our accommodation.
Accommodation: same as previous night

 

Dec 2      Paro/departure
It is mandatory by Bhutanese tourism laws that every visitor takes a flight at least once (either getting into the
country or getting out), so we have no options but to fly from Paro International to our destination of choice this
morning. Our office will help you to choose the best flight, allowing you the shortest way home or for further
explorations in the region. Thank you for joining us, have a safe journey home!

Trip price

In double room: USD 2485
In single room: USD 2885

Trip images

Price includes:

- all accomodation
- all meals
- all activities mentioned in the program
- all land transportation
- bottled water in transport vehicles
- all airport and local transfers
- all national park fees
- all entrance fees
- all local guiding fees
- international tour leader
- all government taxes and levies
- visa fees
- photography education and assistance


Price excludes:

- international flights
- travel insurance
- personal expenses at accommodation
- departure taxes at airports
- any other items not mentioned above