BHUTAN: SPRING IN WESTERN BHUTAN

May 2017

Champaca Journeys is very fond of our spring trips to Bhutan. Bhutan wakes up from winter with an explosion of wild flowers and the forests of rhododendrons are ablaze with color. On this 12-night journey we visit 4 different places in Bhutan, you will have a good look at the country and plenty of opportunity to meet its people. We will introduce you to our many local friends who will come to join us for activities. Prepare for a journey that both stimulates and relaxes as we explore this amazing country.

Chorten P Valley bridge to Punakha dzong Nalanda, Bhutan

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Arrive Paro and check into the Gangtey Palace Hotel. Lunch in downtown Paro, followed by visit to Kyichu Monastery, one of the most ancient in Bhutan. Spend the late afternoon and evening relaxing at the hotel, a former palace as the name implies. Welcome dinner at hotel.

Morning visit to museum and Paro Dzong, a fortress/monastery still in use today, nearly 4 centuries after construction. Ninety-minute afternoon drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

Full day to explore Thimphu. We’ll visit the School of the 13 Traditional Arts, paper making factory, and Folk Heritage Museum. Afternoon free to explore Thimphu on your own or with guides. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

Morning 2-hour hike to Cheri Monastery. Built in 1750 and impressively perched above the Thimphu valley, surrounded by pine and rhododendron forest. Few foreigners visit this monastery, with its Buddha statues and religious school. Return to Thimphu for lunch, then we drive 3-hours to Punakha, the drive takes us over the impressive pass at Dochu-La, at 10,300 feet. Overnight at Drubchhu Resort.

The morning will be spent exploring the lovely Punakha Dzong, architecturally and aesthetically one of the most beautiful of Bhutan's 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 Drubchhu Resort.

We begin our day early with a drive to the put in spot above the Punakha, and take a 90-minute river-rafting trip on the Mochu (Mother River) passing the dzong, villages and terraced rice fields that line the riverbanks. This is a gentle but beautiful rafting trip. Afternoon hike to Talo Monastery. Overnight at Drubchhu Resort.

Morning departure for Phobjikha Valley. The 4-hour drive takes us to this broad glacial valley, unique in Bhutan, and renown for its beauty. We’ll have the afternoon free to wander near the hotel, the lovely Dewachen Lodge.

This morning we drive to the main village in the valley to visit the Gangtey Monastery. Under renovation for the past several years, we may see craftsmen at work as we explore this fascinating monastery. From the monastery we make a gentle downhill hike though forest and field to the valley floor and then return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Dewachen Lodge.

We depart after breakfast for the 7-hour drive to Thimphu, stopping for lunch en route.  Late afternoon free to relax or wander on your own or with guides. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

Another day to explore Thimphu, visit the National Textile Museum, Buddha Point statue, incense making factory, artists studios, or for those who prefer a more relaxed day, optional visits to local spa, cafes, and shopping. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

Early afternoon departure for Paro. Afternoon free to explore Paro town or relax at hotel. Overnight at Gangtey Palace Hotel.

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 CE, 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 optional hot stone bath at our hotel, The Gangtey Palace, followed by farewell dinner.

Breakfast at hotel, then transport to airport for flight home.

prices & registration information

(Inclusive of food, beverages, accommodations, ground transportation, entrance fees, services of licensed Bhutanese guide and driver, services of USA based trip leader, Bhutanese visa and airport taxes.)


$5800. (Based on double occupancy)
$6800. (Based on single occupancy)

NOTE: International airfare, gratuities, alcoholic beverages other than local beer with meals, laundry, souvenirs, items of a personal nature and travel insurance are NOT included.

General Information

INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE

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, $750. ROUND TRIP, economy class
BANGKOK-PARO, BHUTAN-BANGKOK, $985. ROUND TRIP, business class

Flights are with DRUKAIR, ROYAL BHUTAN AIRLINES, operating Airbus 319 jets.