This trip is a wonderful mix of fascinating cultures, ancient history lessons, impressive landscapes and exhilarating activities. Exploring Bhutan, from the moment you descend towards Paro airport, expect breathtaking views on the Himalayas and the highest mountain on planet earth, Mt. Everest.
Bhutan is definitely no ordinary place. The country is aware of the downsides of rapid modernisation and has decided to move cautiously without losing its soul. Sustainable socio-economic development, preservation of culture, tradition and nature are at the forefront of government policy. The government’s ‘high value-low volume’ tourism policy is, therefore, a good example of its efforts to keep foreign influences at bay while nurturing Bhutanese values at home. This gives Bhutan an astonishingly different look and feel altogether, a visual and spiritual feast for all visitors!
Did you know that “Gross National Happiness” is Bhutan’s development philosophy based on Buddhist values that measure the quality of life based on the spiritual and mental well-being of its people? Come join us and explore this fascinating gem nestled in the Himalayan mountain range.
Trip Mix: 40% History & Culture | 40% Activity & Sport | 20% Wildlife & Nature
Focus Themes: Hiking, Buddhism, Spa
Physical Rating: Moderate
Accommodation: Authentic, boutique-style hotels and lodges, upper-scale
Today we take a flight to Paro. The journey offers fascinating views of the eastern Himalayan range, including Mt. Everest. We arrive in Paro and enjoy the Bhutanese local lunch. We drive after lunch to Thimphu where we get a good overview of the breathtaking Thimphu valley from the Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). Feel free to pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha.
Later, we visit the National Memorial Chorten, a stupa conceptualised by the Third King to ward off negative influences. It was later built in his memory by the present King and the Queen Mother. In the evening, visit Tashicho Dzong, the centre of government and the monastic order.
Before we transfer further East to Punakha, we visit further cultural highlights Bhutan has to offer, such as the Motithang Mini Zoo. We spot Takins graze peacefully in a small protected park. We also visit the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, where we learn about the art and crafts currently taught in Bhutan. In the afternoon, we transfer to Punakha with a short stop on the way at Dochula Pass (3,050m) where we enjoy spectacular views of the mountains!
We visit the Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body.
In the afternoon, we go rafting in Mo Chu river, doing a 10 Km course comprising around 10 rapids with 2 – 2+ rapids. If someone prefers to skip the rafting, it is possible to do a hike instead. We highly recommend the rafting though! Rafting in Bhutan is a superb experience in its own. After, we check into our hotel in Punakha.
We transfer back to Thimphu and take a great bike ride to Paro. Considered moderate in terms of difficulty and traffic, it takes about 3 hours one way through smooth paved roads with slight undulations here and there, and a perfect opportunity to experience Bhutan intimately. Traverse through lush paddy fields, virgin forests, sleepy traditional houses and villages. Stopover at the confluence of the Thimphu and Paro rivers and watch the three different stupas built close-by. We have built-in another boutique resort with a Spa facility, in case you feel like a treatment after the bike ride.
After breakfast, drive to the foot of the Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest cliff before walking uphill for 2 hours to reach this monastery, giddily perched on a sheer 800m rock face. Taktshang means ‘Tiger’s Nest’ as legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this spot on the back of a tigress in the eighth century. He meditated here making this temple a sacred pilgrimage destination for Buddhists. The trip to and fro takes 4 hours for which riding ponies can be arranged. After lunch, visit one of the oldest landmarks in Bhutan. The 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang was one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gembo.
Later we take you to experience the Bhutanese Traditional Farm House visit; Agriculture is still one of the major sources of livelihood amongst the Bhutanese people and a Farm-Stay will give you an excellent glimpse into the day-to-day life of a typical Bhutanese family. You will get to taste the local tea and the local wine. You’ll be able to observe age-old Bhutanese farming traditions as the family goes about its daily tasks. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and the unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host.
All officially sanctioned and listed Farm-stays are located in the gorgeous Bhutanese countryside amidst lush farmland far from the noise and crowds of population centres. In order to experience a traditional life, electricity and running water are not available at Farm-Stays. Hot water can be provided by the family but will be served in a washbasin/bowl. In the evening, transfer back to the hotel and you all will wear the Bhutanese dress and witness the Bhutanese Cultural Program arranged at the restaurant or at the hotel in Paro.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Learn more about Bhutan