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Bhutan Discovered

Bhutan Discovered

From $ 3,460 AUD

Description

Bhutan is Asia’s best-kept secret. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples, and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chilies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.

Trip Name
Bhutan Discovered
Last Updated
2020-09-28
Days
7
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • According to Lonely Planet, Bhutan is the top country to visit in 2020: here’s why we agree: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/lonely-planet-2020-bhutan/
  • A magical kingdom in the Himalayas nestled between two spiritual hubs, Tibet and India, it would be hard not to feel closer to enlightenment in this hidden paradise.
  • Bhutan is quite possibly the most environmentally friendly country in the world; by law, 60% of the country must remain protected national forest and the country actually absorbs more carbon than it uses.
  • Journey to Taktsang, commonly known as the Tiger's Nest, the small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor, and soak in its magnificence.
  • While it’s legal to consume imported meat, the slaughtering animals for consumption within Bhutan are outright banned therefore delicious veggie dishes are varied and bountiful at every meal.
  • Hike to the top of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a monastery built to bring peace to the world, and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding rice terraces.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Paro - Thimphu
After arrival at Paro Airport and making your way through immigration and customs formalities, you will be greeted by your guide and driver and warmly welcomed to the enchanting Land of the Thunder Dragon. Drive for approximately 2 hours alongside mountains, rivers, and fields of red rice to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. After lunch, you may visit Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory, Bhutan’s famous traditional incense maker, as well as the colourful Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre. Once everyone has arrived, you’ll have a joining meeting and dinner before wandering and exploring the fascinating streets of Thimphu, the world’s only capital city without a traffic light!
Day 2 - Thimphu
Today begins with a pleasant walk that meanders gently up the valley through paddy fields, pristine woodlands, and a Tibetan village, a trail that continues uphill (1 hour) to the Cheri Dorji Dhen monastery – built in 1620 by Shabdrung, the first ruler of Bhutan. Enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Thimpu for an afternoon of sightseeing. Begin by visiting the National Memorial Chorten – many Thimphu residents consider this to be the heart and soul of Thimphu and gather here every day to pray and walk clockwise around the chorten. Afterward, visit Drubthob Nunnery, the Choki Traditional Art School, and the incredible National Textile Museum. If you’re in the mood for a spot of shopping, the National Handicrafts Emporium offers high-quality traditional goods and a small family-run enterprise that manufactures paper and paper products using traditional methods.
Day 3 - Punakha
This morning, drive to Punakha – the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. Stop at Dochu-La pass for a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, the majestic Gangkhar Puensum. Continue the journey before taking another break. Enjoy a short walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple built in 1499 by lama Drukpa Kunley. With its three towers, and wonderful location at the confluence of two rivers, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Bhutan’s 21 Dzongs. Arrive in Punakha for a good night’s rest before another day of exploration tomorrow.
Day 4 - Punakha
Head down to the convergence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, two of the main rivers of Bhutan, and admire breathtaking views of the majestic Punakha Dzong, the second oldest and second-largest Dzong in the country, as well as the cantilever bridge that spans across the river. Afterward, you might like to join your leader for an optional hike to Khamsum Yulley Monastery – an elaborately decorated chorten, built to ward off evil spirits and bring peace and harmony to all living things. As with many monasteries in Bhutan, your leader will need to hunt around for the caretaker with the keys to have a look inside!
Day 5 - Thimpu - Paro
This morning head back over the Dochu-La and continue to Thimphu (approximately 4 hours) The roads in Bhutan are narrow, and while the distances don’t appear to be very far, due to the nature of the roads and the many valleys they pass through, travelling can take some time – so this is a good chance to relax and refresh. After lunch in Thimpu, continue by vehicle into the Paro Valley. This evening, experience Bhutanese hospitality and a taste of tradition with a home-cooked meal at the rustic Tshering Farm House. Soak up the friendly atmosphere and try your hand at Bhutan's national sport, archery, with an introductory lesson.
Day 6 - Tiger's Nest Monastery
After an early breakfast followed by a short drive, prepare for your hike to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) – a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. After approximately 1 hour ascending the mountainside, reach a small teahouse that has a wonderful panoramic view of the temple and the ideal place to enjoy lunch. For those interested, it’s possible to get a closer view by hiking another 45 minutes to 1 hour (each direction) to reach the small chorten directly across from the temple. Anyone not interested in hiking any further can relax at the teahouse and enjoy the view.
Day 7 - Paro
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before a departure transfer to Paro airport for your flight out of Bhutan.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
01-01-202107-01-2021AUD $ 3,495-
19-03-202125-03-2021AUD $ 3,460-
16-04-202122-04-2021AUD $ 3,460-
20-04-202126-04-2021AUD $ 3,460-
23-04-202129-04-2021AUD $ 3,530-
17-09-202123-09-2021AUD $ 3,460-
01-10-202107-10-2021AUD $ 3,460-
15-10-202121-10-2021AUD $ 3,460-
29-10-202104-11-2021AUD $ 3,460-
05-11-202111-11-2021AUD $ 3,460-
12-11-202118-11-2021AUD $ 3,460-
31-12-202106-01-2022AUD $ 3,460-
04-03-202210-03-2022AUD $ 3,460-
18-03-202224-03-2022AUD $ 3,460-
15-04-202221-04-2022AUD $ 3,460-
19-04-202225-04-2022AUD $ 3,460-
22-04-202228-04-2022AUD $ 3,460-
16-09-202222-09-2022AUD $ 3,460-
30-09-202206-10-2022AUD $ 3,460-
14-10-202220-10-2022AUD $ 3,460-
28-10-202203-11-2022AUD $ 3,460-
04-11-202210-11-2022AUD $ 3,460-
11-11-202217-11-2022AUD $ 3,460-

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights)

Transport

Private vehicle

Map