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The 10 days ‘Exploring Bhutan: Land of Thunder Dragon’ offers you a wonderful opportunity to explore the beautiful monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. The tour also helps to learn the unique culture and tradition of Bhutan.
Bhutan is a small Buddhist kingdom on the himalayas’ estern edge which is the happiest country in the world. The land of thunder dragon is the last of the Himalayan kingdoms, whose king is a revered leader that practices the ancient ways of his faith. There are sacred temples to walk to as you meet the monks who smile and welcome you on your path of enlightenment. The country is especially famous for its unique architecture, culture & traditions and natural beauties. During the 10 days tour you will discover Bhutan’s wonderful secrets through the guidance of Asia Buddhist Tours & Treks.
● Experience the magnificent temples, buddhist landmarks and fortresses of Bhutan
● Explore the soaring Himalayan peaks and the natural beauty of Paro Valley
● Learn about the secret kingdom’s rich history, culture & festivals.
● All accommodation in 3 star hotel in twin sharing basis in Bhutan
● A licensed english speaking Bhutanese tour guide and supporting staff
● All ground transportation as per itinerary
● Full Board meal in Bhutan(Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
● Farewell dinner.
● Travel permit and all entrance fees where applicable
● All government and local taxes
● International airfare to and from Bhutan
● Visa for Bhutan
● Extra accommodation in case early arrival and late departure.
● Travel insurance
● Any kind of refreshment beverages and alcohol.
● Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, bottle, water etc.)
● Any extra costs resulting from cancellation, landslide, weather, political unrest or illness
● Tips for guide, drivers and supporting staff.
● Luxury Hotel (4 & 5 star additional premium may apply)
● Language guide other than English
● Duffel/Rucksack bag/Suitcase
● Day bag.( Small handbag)
● Sports shoes or sandals.
● Sun Hat/cap
● Warm woolen cap
● Warm jacket
● Pullover or warm sweeter
● Flash or Torch light
● Camera accessories
For the Gokyo Valley Trekking there will be a license holder trekking guide and Porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers = 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that if anyone in the group is sick the trip can still go on as planned. However, Asia Buddhist Tours & Treks can run this trek for groups of any size. Usually, we have found that the maximum number of trekkers in any group is 12 people.
All accommodations for the Gokyo Valley Trekking are on a twin-sharing basis. The lodges and tea houses have been selected by the Asia Buddhist Tours & Treks after personal inspection. We look at the conditions of the inns, local hygiene, quality of food, type of service and more.
We offer two types of accommodations on this trek. In Kathmandu you will stay three nights at a Deluxe Hotel and spend eleven nights in standard tea houses during the trek. These places have pleasant, unheated rooms and wooden beds with foam mattresses.
All rooms are double occupancy, but you can request a single occupancy room for an additional fee, which will be available only during the trekking. However, sometimes single rooms are not available in some places, depending upon local conditions. We do work to provide the best possible options when trekking in the High Himalayas.
Food will vary between typical Nepali in the mountains. In Kathmandu there are far more choices, which include Indian, Continental, Italian, Tibetan and more. The city areas offer everything from good steaks and burgers to apple pie and pizza.
Nepali food is nutritious, and ranges from our traditional Daal/Bhat and Momo to fantastic breads, fruits and more. The cooking is wholesome and the food is tasty during the trek trail too.
Upon your arrival in Paro at Paro International Airport, we will come to receive you and help you transfer luggage. We will directly drive you to your booked hotel where you can relax and unwind. After refreshment we will visit the following places.
● Chipdrel Ceremony: The traditional Bhutanese welcome.
● Kichu Monastery: Built in the 7th century AD to subdue the demon of the Himalayan region as St.
Rinpoche brought Buddhism to Bhutan.
● National Museum (Ta Dzong): Learn more of the unique culture of this kingdom to help you understand and appreciate what you will encounter on this trip.
● Paro Rinpung Dzong: A flagstone path winds its way upwards from a beautiful wooden bridge to enter this Dzong (fortress). Today it is the seat of the local government as well as housing a monastic school.
Return to your hotel for the evening for dinner, followed by bed.
Thimphu is the new capital city of Bhutan, and is located just 55 km over a good road from Paro. As this is
Himalayan country, we are passing from one lush, green valley to the next. We cross over the hill and enter Thimphu where we begin visiting some wonderful places.
● Memorial Chorten: A massive Buddhist chorten (monument) in memory of the third king of the current dynasty who ruled from 1952-1972.
● Thangka Painting School: See how the traditional Buddhist mandalas and scrolls are created as new generations are taught the intricate ways to produce these sacred paintings.
● Handicrafts Emporium: See and purchase amazing Bhutanese textiles and handicrafts that help support the indigenous people of Bhutan.
● Tashichho Dzong: This is the main governmental building where the King’s throne room is housed as well as the main government offices. Also here is where the Chief Abbot and the central monastic body of Buddhists reside in the summer months.
Your stomach wakes you up as your nose can smell a good breakfast just waiting for you. Today we will leave
Thimphu and head to Punakha by way of the awesome Dochula Pass. This pass rises to an elevation of 3100 m/10,171 ft. From its lofty heights, we can see the wonderful snow capped peaks of the eastern Himalayas, including Mt. Gangar Punsum, the highest peak in Bhutan. We enjoy a cup of tea as we listen to the prayer flags flutter in the wind.
It’s downhill from the pass as we make our way to the city of Punakha. Situated on the confluence of the Pochu and Mochu Rivers, it was an ancient fortress as well as the former winter capital of the country. The monks still journey here from Thimphu to Punakha every winter as the climate is warmer. We will see the ancient fortress at the confluence of the two rivers, enjoying the alpine views in this wonderful valley. Dinner in the evening,
We journey again today, this time to the ancient city of Bumthang. On the way, we stop to see Trongsa Dzong at Trongsa. This is the ancestral home of the royal family of Bhutan. It’s watchtower dates back to 1648 AD and the structure is still in use today as the administrative center for the area. It is also home to a Buddhist monastic school. It has some incredible architecture to admire. We finally arrive at our hotel in Bumthang for dinner and sleep.
It’s the start of a fascinating day in this ancient place. After breakfast, we will tour the city. Sights include:
● Jakar Dzong: Erected in 1646, it has served as fort as well as administrative center with unique architecture.
● Several Buddhist Monasteries, including Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang and Kencho Sum Lhakhang.
● Journey to the sacred pilgrimage site of Membar Tso or “the flaming lake”. This sacred place attracts
Buddhist pilgrims from around the world.
Return to your hotel in the evening to enjoy dinner.
It’s another day of travel as we leave Bumthang and make our way to Punakha. Along the way, we enjoy some time at Gangtey. Rising to an elevation of 3000 meters, this alpine meadow offers superb views of the Black Mountains. We stop for pictures and lunch, a definite highlight of the day.
We are returning to Paro, our starting point as we will spend three nights here. Paro is an amazing valley, surrounded by high cliffs with wonderful monasteries. It’s 140 km to Paro, taking us four hours. We will stop at Chhimi Lhakhang, which is also called the Temple of Fertility. This sacred temple was built centuries ago by St. Lam Drukpa Kuenley. Affectionately known as the “Mad Monk”, he attacked corrupt practices that were taking place in the Buddhist faith at that time. His teachings helped to reform Mahayana Buddhism in Bhutan. His temple, complete with the giant phallus, is a place where childless couples travel to seek divine intervention so they can conceive.
We arrive in Paro to our hotel for dinner and fellowship with our fellow travelers before its off to bed.
Eat hearty this morning, because you’re going to need the extra energy to complete this day! It’s a morning hike to reach the most famous place in Bhutan: Taktsang Monastery. It’s also known by its English name, The Tiger’s Nest and the monastery hangs off a cliff nearly 1000 meters above the Paro Valley floor. Twelve centuries ago, the Buddhist Saint Guru Padmasambhava brought Buddhism to Bhutan. It is said the evil spirits fought against him. To combat the forces of evil, it is said that he flew to the cave behind what is now the monastery on the back of a female tiger and meditated here for three months.
It is a beautiful hike to the monastery as we make our way upwards. We lunch near the monastery at the Taktsang Cafeteria. The entire trip takes around five hours with breathtaking views! In the evening, return to the hotel for dinner and a cultural program before bed.
It’s a day of incredible sightseeing as we make our way after breakfast to the beautiful Haa Valley. The Valley is separated from Paro by the Chele-La Pass (elev. 4200 m/13,780 ft.). We stop to admire the outstanding majesty of the eastern Himalayas as well as the various valleys below us. From up here, we have a wonderful view of Mt. Chomolhari and Jichu Drakey, two of the highest mountains in Bhutan. Up here, we will have time to walk around and to do some exploring.
From Chele-La Pass, it’s an hour (22 km) to Haa Valley which we will explore. The Haa Dzong was an ancient military fortress (this area was once a constant war zone with neighboring Tibet). It is still a fortress occupied by the Bhutanese military, but we will still be able to admire its unique architecture from centuries ago.
The Haa Valley contained two important and interesting monasteries:
Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple).
We return to Paro for dinner, enjoying the crisp mountain air and the stimulating alpine views to reach our hotel for the night. Enjoy the farewell dinner and prepare for tomorrow’s travel.
Depending on the timing of your international flight, our staff will drop you at the Tribhuvan International Airport.