BHUTAN: SUMMER CULTURAL JOURNEY

Join us for the ideal combination of sightseeing, spiritual experiences and fun in this most spiritual of kingdoms.  We will also see the most interesting sites in Bhutan, plus pay visits to monasteries where our local contacts will introduce us to their monk friends for the opportunity to meditate and socialize with these holy men. This cultural journey will provide many fascinating and fun insights into this remarkable country.


August 2017

monk, BHUTAN, flowing robe good image, Tiger's Nest Punakha dzong chendebji, better

Day-By-Day Itinerary

We depart Bangkok, Thailand and fly to Paro, Bhutan. After our mid morning arrival, we'll meet our guides and driver, then check into Gangtey Palace Hotel, a former palace as the name implies. Lunch in Paro followed by afternoon exploration of Paro and then return to hotel. Welcome dinner at hotel.

We spend the morning exploring the Paro Museum and the Paro Dzong, a 4-century old fortress/monastery that is seat of local government. We'll see more of Paro town, and in the late afternoon drive 90-minutes to Thimphu, capital of Bhutan. Friday evening is great night to observe in Thimphu's fun nightlife, and our Bhutanese friends will join us for the evening. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

Today we'll visit several interesting sights in Thimphu, National Memorial Chorten, the Folk Heritage Museum, a traditional paper making factory, and Buddha Point Statue. Dinner with Bhutanese friends. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

This morning we take an hour hike to the impressive Cheri Monastery in the hills above Thimphu. After lunch in Thimphu we drive 3 hours, crossing the 10,300' pass at Dochu-La and then descend into sub-tropical Punakha. Overnight at Drubchhu Resort.

Punakha is home to Bhutan's most beautiful Dzong and we spend the morning exploring this 4-century old fortress/monastery, visiting the seldom seen chambers and temples inside the dzong. Following lunch we have optional 1 hour hike across rice fields to Chimi Lhakang, also known as the Temple of the Divine Madman, a beloved historical figure in Bhutan. Overnight at Drubchhu Resort.

After breakfast we drive 20-minutes to the put in site for the river rafting. We float along the gentle and safe Mother River. The trip takes about 90 minutes, passing small villages, the Dzong and the confluence of the Mother and Father Rivers, shortly after which we disembark, return to the hotel for change of clothes and lunch. Afternoon free. Cooking demonstration in hotel before dinner. Overnight at Drubchhu Resort. 

These 2 beautiful and remote mountain top monasteries are reached by a scenic 40 minute drive. Seldom visited we may be able to observe monks meditating or engaged in ceremonies. After visiting we hike downhill through forest and meadow and then drive back to Punakha for a late lunch. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Drubchhu Resort.

This morning free to relax at hotel or take short drive and explore the ancient village of Richengang. The ancestors of the inhabitants were brought 4 centuries ago from India to assist in construction of the Wangdue Dzong. Afternoon return to Thimphu, free time until dinner. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

The School of the 13 Traditional Arts and the National Textile Museum are on the agenda today. You will also have time to wander around Thimphu on your own or with the guides. As it's Friday night, for those looking for nightlife, our Bhutanese friends will be happy to join us. Overnight at Druk Hotel.

Late morning departure from Thimphu to Paro. Lunch in Paro, and then afternoon arrival at our hotel, the Zhiwa Ling Hotel, chosen by National Geographic Society as one of the unique lodges of the world, this exquisite hotel makes a lovely venue for the final 2 days of our Bhutan journey. Relax on the beautiful grounds, the tea house, meditation room or spa. 

After breakfast we drive 10-minutes to base of mountain where Taksang Monastery is located. Also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery, and probably the most iconic building in all Bhutan, perched on a cliff 2,700 feet 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 2.5-hour ascent and visiting the monastery seemingly glued to the barest concavity of the cliff face. After descending we have lunch at hotel, then relax or you may opt for visit to spa for massage or Bhutanese Hot Stone bath. Farewell dinner at our hotel, the Zhiwa Ling Hotel.

After breakfast we drive to airport for flight to Bangkok

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.)

$4800 (Based on double occupancy) 

$5800 (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, $950. ROUND TRIP, business class

Other gateway cities are also possible.

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