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Essence of Bhutan

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From$1,710
Price
From$1,710
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Duration: 7 days
Minimum Age: Min Age : 10+
Max People : 15
Grade: 1 - Easy
Accomodation: Hotels

Essence of Bhutan

Glimpse into the heart of the tranquil kingdom of Bhutan with an experience of the lifestyle that is famously measured as “Gross National Happiness.” 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. Understand more of the culture through visits to a Traditional Painting School and the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital. Explore the Thimphu market to shop for handicrafts and immerse with locals in their daily routines.

See panoramic views of the Himalayas from Dochula Pass on the way to Punakha. A short hike to Chimi La Khang, also known as the Fertility Temple, goes on trails through scenic forests. The marriage of scenery, unique Bhutanese culture and engaging people complete this inspiring journey.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the cliff hanging Tiger’s Nest
  • Explore monasteries and palaces of Paro, Thimpu and Punakha
  • Immerse with the Bhutanese locals
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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Fly to Paro. Drive to Thimpu. Thimpu 2,320m/7,700ft
Day 2 Sightseeing in Thimpu. Thimpu 2,320m/7,700ft
Day 3 Drive to Punakha. Punakha 1,310m/4,430ft
Day 4 Sightseeing in Punakha. Punakha 1,310m/4,430ft
Day 5 Drive to Paro. Paro 2,280m/7,475ft
Day 6 Sightseeing in Paro. Paro 2,280m/7,475ft
Day 7 Final departure.    
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Arrival in Paro. Drive to Thimpu.

Depart early from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The flight leaves at 5:40 a.m. or 6:50 a.m. Bangkok time, depending on the day of departure. You will be met by our representative and transferred to Thimpu (two-hour drive). Thimpu, the Bhutanese capital (7,609 feet), is situated in a valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The main street in Thimpu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops.

Overnight at Namgay Heritage Hotel or similar. (All meals)

Day 2Exploring Thimpu

Drive a short distance north of Thimphu, to the base of a trail which leads to the 17th century Cheri Monastery. Continuing onward from the trailhead, climb steeply for 30 to 45 minutes. It is usually possible to enter Cheri courtyard, but not the temple. Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel (first ruler of Bhutan) built the Cheri Monastery in 1620 and established its first order of monks. Packed lunch will be served at the monastery site.

After lunch, return to the base of the mountain and drive back to Thimphu. In the evening, visit the vibrant Thimphu market.

Overnight at Namgay Heritage Hotel or similar. (All meals)

Day 3Thimpu to Punakha

Relax with breakfast at the hotel. 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.

Drive to Punakha after lunch. 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).

Overnight at Damchen Resort or similar. (All meals)

Day 4Explore Punakha

Hike about 30 minutes to Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great yogi, Drukpa Kuenley, known as the Divine Madman who lived in the 14th century. 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.

Visit 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 Damchen Resort or similar. (All meals)

Day 5Punakha to Paro

Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before making the return drive to the journey’s beginning in Paro (approximately five hours).

Overnight at Tashi Namgay Resort (Deluxe rooms) or similar. (All meals)

Day 6Explore 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 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 Tashi Namgay Resort (Deluxe rooms) or similar. (All meals)

Day 7Final departure

Transfer to airport for flight home. (Breakfast)

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Detailed Cost Information

Per person Price – valid till Dec 31, 2019

(3 STAR ACCOMMODATIONS)
2 persons: $ 1,900 USD per person
3 or more persons: $ 1,710 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 350 USD

Above cost is based on the following 3 star or similar accommodations
Paro – Tashi Namgay Resort
Thimpu – Namgay Heritage
Punakha – Meri Puensum Resort

(4 OR 5 STAR ACCOMMODATIONS)
2 persons: $ 4,900 USD per person
3 or more persons: $ 4,410 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 2,200 USD

Above cost is based on the following 4/5 star or similar accommodations
Paro – Hotel Zhiwaling
Thimpu – Uma or Taj Tashi
Punakha – Uma Resort

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
  • Twin accommodations in best available three/four/five star hotels.
  • 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
Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

How would someone 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 people 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%.

Options

This program is fully customizable for a party of two or more participants. Contact us to learn about your options.

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1 Review
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Barbara M

Family Traveller

“Our trip organized to Bhutan with Grand Asian Journeys was so perfect. As my daughter and I needed someone to plan the details and create the perfect itinerary to meet both of our needs (I’m 88) it was a relief to depend wholly on Pam’s expertise. Every step of the way was carefully organized and well executed. We had a flawless journey and the trip of a lifetime!”

October 8, 2015