BHUTAN: LAND OF THE THUNDER DRAGON
12 NIGHT JOURNEY
March 25-April 6, 2013
Rates for journey at bottom of page
DAY 1, March 25
Arrive Paro and check into the Gangtey Palace Hotel. Your first Bhutanese meal in a restaurant in downtown Paro, followed by visit to the Paro Tsechu, a centuries old religious festival, with costumed dancing monks and music. The festival is performed yearly and is a joyous and colorful event, a not to be missed part of your Bhutan trip. Spend the late afternoon and evening relaxing at the hotel, a former palace as the name implies.
DAY 2, March 26
Morning visit to the Paro Tsechu (festival) We’ll also explore the Paro Dzong, site of the festival, and one of the many fortresses/monasteries still in use today, nearly 4 centuries after construction. Ninety minute afternoon drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Overnight at Druk Hotel.
DAY 3, March 27
Full day to explore Thimphu. We’ll visit the School of Traditional Arts, paper making factory, and Folk Heritage Museum. Afternoon free to wander the town, an opportunity to see how the Bhutanese have adapted to the 21st century. Overnight at Druk Hotel.
DAY 4, March 28
Morning 2 hour hike to Wangdi-tse Monastery. Built in 1750 and impressively perched above the Thimphu valley, surrounded by pine and rhododendron forest. Few foreigners visit this monastery, with its impressive Buddha statues and collection of ancient chortens. Return to Thimphu for lunch, and then a 2 ½ hour drive over Dochu La, a 10,300 foot pass en route to Punakha. Overnight at Hotel Zangto Pelri.
DAY 5, March 29
The morning will be spent exploring the lovely Punakha Dzong, architecturally and aesthetically one of the most beautiful dzongs. Optional afternoon hike to Chimi Lhakhang, AKA the Temple of the Divine Madman, built in 1499 and one of the most revered temples in Bhutan. Overnight at Hotel Zangto Pelri.
DAY 6, March 30
Morning departure for Trongsa. The 6 hour drive is our longest and we pass through the Black Mountains the traditional dividing line between western and central Bhutan. The drive takes us across sparsely settled and uninhabited land, and through forest of rhododendrons, conifers, bamboo, and magnolias. We will cross Pele La, at 10,830’ this pass is the highest altitude we will attain in Bhutan. Overnight at Yangkhil Resort.
DAY 7, March 31
After breakfast we’ll drive or walk one mile into Trongsa to explore the Trongsa Dzong, the largest in the country. Return to hotel for lunch and cooking demonstration. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Yangkhil Resort.
DAY 8, April 1
Morning visit to the Winter Palace of the Third King of Bhutan, a 90 minutes drive that takes us into a subtropical valley. Return to hotel for lunch, optional afternoon hike into to the Mangdue Chu River below Trongsa. Overnight atYangkhil Resort.
DAY 9, April 2
After breakfast we drive west to arrive in Wangdue at the end of the day. En route stop at Chendebji Chorten, a massive Nepali style chorten in the Black Mountains. Overnight at Dragon Nest Hotel, near Wangdue by the river.
DAY 10, April 3
After breakfast we depart for the 3 hour drive to Thimphu. Lunch in Thimphu, then afternoon free to explore. Overnight at Druk Hotel.
DAY 11, April 4
Early afternoon departure for Paro. Afternoon free to explore Paro town or relax at hotel. Overnight at Gangtey Palace Hotel.
DAY 12, April 5
After breakfast we drive 20 minutes to base of mountain where Taksang Monastery is located. Also known as Tiger’s Nest, and probably the most iconic building in all Bhutan, perched on a cliff 2,700’ above the valley floor. It is said that the Guru Rimpoche arrived here in the back of a flying tiger is 746, and meditated in a mountain cave for 3 months. The site has since been sacred and a monastery has been constructed to commemorate his visit. It is a pilgrimage site for all Bhutanese who gain merit by making the ascent. You too can gain merit while by making the 3 hour ascent and visiting the monastery seemingly glued to the barest concavity of the cliff face. After descending we’ll have lunch in Paro, then return to the hotel for massage or Bhutanese hot stone bath, or to simply relax. Farewell dinner at our hotel, the Gangtey Palace.
Day 13, April 6
Breakfast at hotel, then transport to airport for flight home.
TOTAL COST PER PERSON FOR TWELVE (12) NIGHTS IN BHUTAN
(Inclusive of food, accommodations, ground transportation, entrance fees, services of licensed Bhutanese guide and driver, services of USA based trip leader, Bhutanese visa and airport taxes.)
$5500. (Based on double occupancy)
$6100. (Based on single occupancy)
NOTE: Gratuities, beverages other than coffee or tea at meals, and bottled water in vehicle, laundry, souvenirs, international airfare and travel insurance are NOT included.
Bhutan is accessed most easily from Bangkok, Thailand from where there are daily flights. Flights always depart in the early morning and participants should give themselves at least 24 hour layover in Bangkok in the event flight to Bangkok is delayed. Fares are subject to change without notice.
BANGKOK-PARO, BHUTAN-BANGKOK, $910. ROUND TRIP, economy class
BANGKOK-PARO, BHUTAN-BANGKOK, $1070. ROUND TRIP, business class
Flights are with DRUKAIR, ROYAL BHUTAN AIRLINES, operating Airbus 319 jets.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!