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Enchanted Journey of the Thunder Dragon

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From$2,970
Price
From$2,970
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Duration: 12 days, 11 nights
Minimum Age: Min Age : 10+
Grade: 1 - Easy
Max Elevation: 2,334m/7,375ft
Accomodation: Hotels

Get introduced to Bhutan with handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons in the National Museum near Paro. Hike to the legendary Taktshang Monastery, also called Tiger’s Nest, on a trail through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags.

The capitol city, Thimphu, is a gallery of traditional Bhutanese culture. Explore the Thimphu market to shop for handicrafts and immerse with locals in their daily routines.

Continue across Bhutan to Trongsa Dzong, overlooking the cascading Mangde River. Engage with Bhutanese people in Chumey Valley while they practice daily livelihoods such as traditional weaving of woolen fabrics. Immerse in a wondrous environment on hikes to some of the holiest places. The serene views are continuous throughout Phobjikha Valley and on the return journey to Paro.

The tranquil kingdom of Bhutan is often called the “last Shangri-La.” Come see why Bhutan is one of the most intriguing and unique of the world’s destinations.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the cliff hanging Tiger’s Nest
  • Explore monasteries and palaces of Paro, Thimpu and Punakha
  • Experience Bhutan’s natural beauty in the Phobjikha and Bumthang valleys
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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Paro. Drive to Thimpu. Thimpu 2,320m/7,700ft
Day 2 Explore Thimpu. Thimpu 2,320m/7,700ft
Day 3 Drive to Punakha. Punakha 1,310m/4,430ft
Day 4 Drive to Trongsa. Trongsa 3,120m/10,300ft
Day 5 Drive to Bumthang Bumthang 2,800m/9,200ft
Day 6 Explore Bumthang Bumthang 2,800m/9,200ft
Day 7 Drive to Gantey Gangtey 3,120m/10,300ft
Day 8 Explore Gangtey Gangtey 3,120m/10,300ft
Day 9 Drive to Thimpu Thimpu 2,320m/7,700ft
Day 10 Drive to Paro Paro 2,280m/7,475ft
Day 11 Explore Paro Paro 2,280m/7,475ft
Day 12 Final departure    
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Bangkok to Paro

Depart early from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Rejuvenate with refreshments at the hotel.

Drive to nearby Ta-Dzong, where you’ll be introduced to Bhutan with a visit to the National Museum which houses art, handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons displays. Stroll the streets of Paro in the evening.

Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)

Day 2Paro to Thimpu

Depart Paro for Thimphu (two-hour drive) after breakfast. Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital, is situated in a valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The main street in Thimphu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops. Visit Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple. Learn more about the culture through visits to the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital and Traditional Painting School.

Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)

Day 3Thimpu to Punakha

Drive to Punakha after breakfast at the hotel. The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, on the descent to the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).

Before proceeding further to the town of Punakha, hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine madman.” He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold phallus symbols and paintings on the houses and temples are a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.

After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mochu (male and female river). The fortress is now used as the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the spiritual head of Bhutan). The Dzong served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years. The intricate Buddhist paintings inside the monastery are spectacular.

Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)

Day 4Punakha to Trongsa

The drive to Trongsa is approximately six hours. Climb steadily through semi-tropical vegetation to Pele la Pass (10,989 feet). Views of the snow-capped peaks, including Mount Chomolhari (23,996 feet), is possible during clear weather. Descend from Pele la Pass through dwarf bamboo forests to Chendebji Chorten. According to legend, this stupa was built in the 18th century by a Lama, to nail a demon into the ground that had been terrorizing the inhabitants of the valley. Continuing our drive to Trongsa, we’ll come to the Trongsa Valley, where the huge fortress of Trongsa dominates the entire landscape on the journey. The view from the fortress, also called Dzong, extends for miles. Nothing could escape the vigilance of its watchmen in ancient times.

Overnight at hotel. (All meals)

Day 5Trongsa to Bumthang

See the majestic Trongsa Dzong, situated on a mountain spur overlooking the cascading Mangde River. In ancient times, this fortress served as the capitol for the governors of eastern Bhutan and later it served as the capitol of the first and second king of Bhutan. Continue from Trongsa to Bumthang. The road ascends to Yotong La Pass (11,200 feet). Travel downhill to Chumey Valley (8,800 feet) from Yotong La Pass. In Chumey Valley, experience traditional weaving of woolen fabrics in the small village of Tsugney. Cross the Kiki La Pass (9,500 feet) on the way to Choekhor.

Overnight at hotel. (All meals)

Day 6Explore Bumthang valley

Take in a visit to one of the holiest temples in the country, Kurjey Lhakhang. It is believed that in the eighth century, Guru Padmasambhava, meditated here. Begin a hike here to visit Padmasambhava Lhakhang, another renowned meditation site of Guru Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava Lhakhang was founded by Terton (treasure seeker) Pema Lingpa in the 15th century and was restored by the Grand Queen Mother of the present King. Continue the refreshing hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in the early 16th century by Terton Pema Lingpa. Conclude the hike at Konchogsum Lhakhang, a temple famous for its bell, which bears an inscription from when it was built in the eighth century.

Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)

Day 7Bumthang to Gangtey

Return to Phobjikha Valley through Trongsa. After crossing the Pele La pass, we will make a left turn on another road that will lead us to the expansive and beautiful valley of Phobjikha. The valley serves as the winter home for the rare black-necked cranes that migrate from the plateau of Tibet when it gets extremely cold.

Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)

Day 8Explore Phobjikha valley

A peaceful hike leads us through a local village on the way to the Gangtey Monastery. Continue downhill into the picturesque Phobjikha valley. We will continue our hike to the hotel where we will be served with our lunch. The remainder of the day is free to explore the village or observe the black-necked cranes when they have migrated from Tibet.

Overnight at hotel. (All meals)

Day 9Gangtey to Thimpu

Make the scenic return drive to the capitol city of Thimpu.

Overnight Hotel. (All meals)

DAY 10 Thimpu to Paro

Relax with breakfast before the return drive to Paro. Drive to Satsham Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rimpoche, and continue on to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the seventh century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gonpo. Take a leisurely hike down to Rimpung Dzong. The hike includes a traditional bridge to cross the stunning river below.

Overnight at hotel. (All meals)

DAY 11 Paro (Tiger's Nest hike)

Begin the day with breakfast before a short drive to Taktshang Monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags. Hike at your own pace for about two to four hours.

Built in 1600s, the monastery clings to the edge of a sheer-rock cliff that plunges 2,952 feet into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Packed lunch will be served.

Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, the fortress of the victorious Drukpas. From Drukgyel Dzong, the Tibet border is only a two-day hike away.

Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)

Day 12Depart for home

Transfer to airport for flight home. (Breakfast)

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Detailed Cost Information

Cost Details here

Per person Price – valid till Dec 31, 2019
2 persons: $ 3,300 USD per person
3 or more persons: $ 2,970 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 650 USD

Prices above are based on the best 3 star accommodations available. Upgrades to 4 or 5 star accommodations would be upwards of US$1,500  depending on hotels selected. Please contact us for details of options available.

Extra – airfare into Paro (subject to change):

Singapore-Paro-Singapore: USD 940 per person (economy class) and USD 1539 per person (Business class)

Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok: USD 867 per person (economy class) and USD 968 per person (Business class)

Delhi-Paro-Delhi: USD 563.40 per person (economy class) and USD 689.90 per person (Business class)

Kathmandu-Paro-Kathmandu: USD 387.60 per person (economy class) and USD 444.60 per person (Business class)

 

 

Price Includes

  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information
  • Meeting and assistance at airport and transfers to hotels
  • All in-country transportation
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary
  • Tours and excursions outlined on itinerary
  • Bhutan Visa and Tourism Development Fee
 
 

Price Excludes

  • Your international airfare
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (Required)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, battery charging, comfort food etc.)
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Trip Gallery

Options

This itinerary is fully customizable for a party of two or more participants. Contact us for details.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

How would I obtain a Bhutan visa?

All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a license Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. We will obtain a Bhutan permit for you prior to you trip begin date. You must carry this permit with you in person and present it prior to boarding the plane to Paro (either in Kathmandu, Delhi or Bangkok). You will be required to present it again at the immigration in Paro.

What is the food like on this trip?

Thimpu and Paro in Bhutan offers multiple culinary options. But they may limited in other regions of Bhutan. The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that is not spicy.

Rice forms staple Bhutanese diet. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are consumed most often.

When is the best time to visit Bhutan?

There are two preferred seasons to visit Bhutan: Spring (March through May) and Fall (October through December).

Is there a limit to the number of tourists allowed into Bhutan each year?

This is actually a myth. There is NO limit on the number of tourists allowed to visit in a year. Bhutan follows a “High Value, Low Impact ” tourism policy. If you can PAY for the trip, you can go.

Are there ATM's available? Are credit cards accepted?

Paro and Thimpu in Bhutan do have ATM facilities. But do be careful that the ATM machines may not always be working. So it is a good idea to always some USD/EURO or GBP currency in cash.

All big hotels and shops will accept credit card payments but will also charge a 3-4%.