Central Bhutan Cultural Tour UR02

11 Days From £0 (Please Enquire)

We have designed this program to experience Bhutan from the historic west to the spiritual central valleys. Starting from the culturally centered valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa and finally to Bumthang.

For full no obligation pricing options and operator contact details please enquire:

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Key Information

Travel Style: Private Tour
Start Location: Paro, Bhutan
End Location: Paro, Bhutan
Accommodation: Hotels
Period: All Year Round
Difficulty: Suitable for Most Travellers

About The Operator

Accreditations: Section coming soon
Years In Business: 1

Bhutan is historically divided into three zones, the west, East and the central. We have designed this program to experience Bhutan from the historic west to the spiritual central valleys. Starting from the culturally centered valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa and finally to Bumthang. During this trip we indulge ourselves in experiencing the enchantment of pure and exotic land, through its ancient fortresses, monasteries, and temples that dot the country side. Thanks to its isolation, small population, mountainous terrain, and the national religion of Buddhism, which stresses the sanctity of all life, Bhutan has protected its forests and wildlife. As a result, this tiny kingdom, in contrast to all of its neighbors, possesses the last truly intact, large-scale ecosystem in the Himalayas. Protecting not just nature but culture is a huge priority for Bhutan. The Bhutanese people constitute one of the most interesting and least disturbed cultures in the world. It is not uncommon to be engaged in discussion by passerby, or to be invited in for lunch by a Bhutanese family. The Bhutanese are often as curious about outsiders as tourists are about them. Over the course of our 10 days in Bhutan, we will immerse ourselves in the country's rich Buddhist culture and ancient traditions.

Description

A full day by day itinerary will be provided by the tour operator when you make an enquiry about this holiday.

Includes
- Accommodation and some meals
- Transport with English speaking guide
- Entry fees and taxes

Excludes
- Flights
- personal expenses eg drinks, tips, tourism fee.

Prices per person - please submit an enquiry to receive a personalized itinerary and costs.

Itinerary
Day 01. ARRIVE PARO BHUTAN - Fly to Paro on Druk Air. From a window seat on clear days you can experience a spectacular view of Himalayan peaks as you approach Paro. On arrival you will be received by our representative, and then drive to Thimphu, which will be approximately 1.5 hrs drive. Thimphu is situated at an elevation of 2500 meters / 8200ft. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02. SIGHTSEEING OF THIMPHU VALLEY - Visit King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk Memorial Chorten, Dupthop Lhakhang ( Monastery for the nuns), National Library, the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkhas ( sacred Buddhist religious scrolls), and the Medicine Institute where traditional medicines are prepared according to ancient practices. After lunch you will visit Lungtenzampa to observe the traditional silver smiths plying at their crafts and tour the Bhutanese traditional paper factory. Return back to town to visit the handicraft stores and stroll around the tiny capital city. Overnight at Hotel. OPTION: If you are in Thimphu during Friday Saturday and Sunday then the sightseeing will; Visit Thimphu weekend market, which is in a permanent set of stalls, vendors from throughout the region arrive on Friday afternoon and remain selling their goods until Sunday night. It’s an interesting place to visit, where village people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for the best - and cheapest – vegetables and foodstuffs. This is the only time that fresh produce is easily available and the shopping is enhanced by the opportunity to catch up on the week’s gossip. At the northern end of the market is a collection of stalls called the indigenous goods and handicrafts section. Here you will find locally produced goods, including religious objects, baskets, fabrics and different hats from various minority groups. Continue your sightseeing to Zangdopelri temple, the Changlimithang where you can witness young Bhutanese practicing their favorite archery game. Return to hotel for lunch, after lunch visit the Memorial Chorten built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Dupthop Lhakhang (Monastery for the nuns) and other places of interest.
Day 03. THIMPU-PUNAKHA - Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. Your car will drop you at the mule track, from where you will hike through the Rhododendron, Magnolia, juniper and pine forest with chirping sounds of the many rare species of birds that are found in Bhutan. Your picnic lunch will be served at a good spot. You will then be driven to Lobesa where you will make another hike to Chimi Lhakhang Temple on small hill. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as “Divine madman” to the westerners. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. You will continue your drive north to visit the majestic Punakha Dzong, situated between Phochu and Mochu, this dzong is the most magnificent dzong of Bhutan and had served as the capital of the country in the 17th and 18th centuries. Presently the Dzong is the district administration and judiciary office as well as the winter home for Bhutan’s spiritual leader Je Khenpo and the 600 monks of Thimphu and Punakha. Overnight at hotel.
Day 04. PUNAKHA-TRONGSA - The drive to Trongsa takes approximately 6 hours. We start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan through the breathtaking beauties and serenity of Bhutan’s rich flora and fauna. As we cross the fertile valley of Punakha and enter into the valley of Wangdue Phodrang. We take an opportunity to photograph the majestic fortress of Wangdue Dzong, which stands on a spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pele la Pass (3,300 m/ 10,989 ft.) With an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo, the Pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. During the clear weather we can view the high snow capped peaks specially the Mount Chomolhari (7,314 m/ 24,355 ft.). As we descend from the pass through the dwarf bamboo and quite often Yaks grazing we reach at Chendebji Chorten. This Chorten or Stupa was built in 18th century by a Lama known as Shida, in order to nail into the ground a demon that had been terrorizing the inhabitants of this valley and the Ada valley just over the ridge. We will have our packed lunch here. Continue your drive to Trongsa, as you enter Trongsa valley, the huge fortress of Trongsa makes you wonder if you will ever reach it. Backing on mountain and built on several levels, the Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes south and west. The view from the Dzong extends for many miles and in former times nothing could escape the vigilance of its watchmen. Arrive Trongsa and overnight at Yangkhil Resort.
Day 05. TRONGSA-BUMTHANG - After breakfast we will visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong, situated on a hill spur looking over cascading Mangde River. In the ancient times, this Fortress has served as the capital for the Governors (Trongsa Penlop) of the eastern Bhutan and later served as the capital of first and second king of BhutanIt. After the visit we will start our drive to Bumthang, this takes less than two hours to cover the 44 miles for a direct drive, however, we will will be stopping en route for sightseeing. From Trongsa the road rises rapidly through a series of hairpin bends until you arrive at Yotong La Pass (3400 meters / 11200 foot). From here the drive is down the hill until you arrive at Chumey Valley (average alt. 2700m / 8800 foot). Our first stop at Chumey will be to visit the small village of Tsugney where you will see the traditional weaving of woolen fabrics. Continue your drive to Choekhor crossing the Kiki La Pass (2900 meters / 9500foot). Arrive at Choekhor Valley (Valley of Dharma Wheel). Check into your hotel, rest of the day free for you to explore the small town on your own.
Day 06. SIGHTSEEING OF BUMTHANG - Our sightseeing today will be followed in the style of Bhutanese tradition, which is in clock wise. Your car will drop you at the Kurjey Lhakhang, it is believed that in the eighth century guru Padmasambhava had meditated here and subdued the local deity known as Shelging Karpo. Begin your hike from here crossing the suspension bridge and visit Padmasambhava Lhakhang. This is another Meditation site of Guru Padmasambhava. It was founded by Pema Lingpa in 15th century and was restored by the Grand Queen Mother of present King. Continue your hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in beginning of the 16th century by Saint Pema Lingpa. Next you will visit Konchogsum Lhakhang, built in the 8th century, the Temple is famous for its bell, which bears an inscription from the eighth century. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 07. BUMTHANG-PHOBJIKHA - breakfast After we will proceed on to the Phobjikha Valley.It will take about 2 hours to reach trongsa and After crossing the Pele La pass, we will make a left turn on another road that will lead us to the broad and beautiful valley of Phobjikha. This valley also serves as the winter home for the rare black-necked crane that migrates from the plateau of Tibet, if your visit here is after October 25th then you will be able to witness the cranes. Our car will drop us before arriving at the Gangtey Monastery, We will start our hike through the village to the monastery and then continue downhill into the Phobjikha valley. If our visit is from end of October then we will have ample opportunity to witness the rare black- necked crane feeding in the marshy meadow. We will continue our hike to the hotel where we will be served with our lunch. Rest of the day free for us to explore the village around or just observe the cranes. Overnight at the hotel
Day 08. PHOBJIKHA-THIMPU - After breakfast you will resume your journey to Thimphu, en route we will stop at Dochula Pass for lunch. Upon arrival at Thimphu we will check into hotel and rest of the day free for you to explore the Thimphu town for shopping. Overnight at hotel.
Day 09. THIMPHU – PARO & SIGHTSEEING OF PARO VALLEY - After breakfast we will drive to Paro, our car will drop us at Drukgyal Dzong, built in 1647 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, the Dzong was destroyed by fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. On a clear day you can get a magnificent view of the Mount Chomolhari, alt. 7314 m / 23,990 ft. Drive south to Satsam Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rinpochey, and continue on to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in seventh century by a Tibetan King, Songtsen Gonpo. After lunch visit the National Museum of Bhutan, (Ta Dzong) which contains works of art, handicrafts, costumes, armor and rare stamps. Take a leisurely hike down to Rimpung Dzong. You will walk through a traditional covered bridge across the river to your waiting car at the valley floor and take you to the Hotel. If time permits, hike up the near by hill to get a panoramic view of the Paro Valley. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10. EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY - After breakfast your car will drop you at the starting point of the excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue the hike (if not tired) for short while until you see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Looking at the monastery flying tigers doesn’t seem so impossible after all. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. Overnight at Hotel. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
Day 11. DEPART PARO BHUTAN - Morning drive to Paro International Airport for departure to your onward destination.