This eight day / seven night fall tour (November 2nd through 9th, 2018) will center around the cultural and natural riches of Western Bhutan.
Bhutan is a mountainous and thickly forested Himalayan kingdom (a constitutional monarchy) sandwiched between China and India that has been referred to by National Geographic as "The Last Shangri La". Bhutan has a population under one million, a low population density (~20 people per square km), and a sustainable tourism policy that is "low-volume / high-end." Although the national language is Bhutanese (Dzongkha), English is the language of instruction in schools, and many people are delighted to engage visitors in English conversation about popular topics including their country's "Gross National Happiness," spectacular architecture, Buddhist traditions, cuisine, textiles, flora, and fauna.
We have designed this experience both with comfort and authentic experiences in mind. Five nights will be in modern and comfortable three star hotels and two nights in comfortable and very authentic "home stay" accommodations. Five star hotels are also available at additional charge for most nights.
Dorji, our guide, is originally from a small town in Eastern Bhutan and has a background in environmental conservation. From 2000-2004 while Dorji worked as project coordinator for the Guinness-recognized Bhutan photo-documentary "Largest Book in the World" with Mark's MIT Media Lab colleague Michael Hawley, he became a proficient project manager and digital photographer as he coordinated five expeditions across the breadth and width of Bhutan. He later worked for the Bhutanese royal family and helped to coordinate a 140+ Bhutanese delegation to the 2008 Smithsonian Folk-life Festival in Washington D.C. Aside from being our licensed Bhutan guide, Dorji works as a program officer for the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (the world's first environmental trust fund), and as CEO / co-founder of Thunder Dragon Chilis.
The trip begins and ends at the international airport in Paro (PBH); we can assist with bookings on Druk Airlines, the royal Bhutan airlines and with obtaining tourist visas. Opportunities also exist for trip extensions and/or stopovers in various global hubs (advice provided upon request, with costs according to the customized plan).
- Unforgettable historic architecture (e.g. Fortresses, Monasteries, Monuments, Bridges, etc.)
- Unique and Colorful Festivals
- Spectacular Landscapes including Mountain Views
- Authentic Cultural Encounters
- Culinary Adventures (featuring locally sourced organic ingredients)
- Optional mountain river rafting and hiking experiences (with exquisite views)
- See the Worlds Largest Book with one of its co-creators
- Visit the most famous monastery – Taktsang – “The Tiger’s Nest”
- Two nights in 5-star hotels
Total price per person $3,800 double occupancy. $700 single supplement charge (for single travelers requiring their own room).
Payment in full due date: 1 August 2018
* itinerary subject to change according to unforeseen circumstances / opportunities
Bhutanese Dancers performing at the spring Bhutan Rhododendron Festival in the Royal Botanical Park at Lampelri, Bhutan.
Day 1: 2nd November, 2018: Arrival - Paro - Thimphu
Your experience commences the moment your flight lands in Paro International Airport, the only International Airport in Bhutan. Once you clear the custom and immigration procedure, you will be warmly received by our guide and taken you to the hotel for refreshment.
You will start your journey visiting the National Museum (Ta-Dzong). Once the watchtower for the Rinpung Dzong (Fortress), it was converted into the national Museum in 1968 (one of the best museums of Asia). The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory.
In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Over night in Hotel Bhutan, Thimphu.
Day 02: 3rd November, 2018: Thimphu Sightseeing.
Today sightseeing starts with the National Memorial Chorten, National Library, Textile Museum
After lunch, continued sightseeing in Thimphu. Visit the Takin zoo, General Post Office and vegetable market. Over night in Hotel Bhutan, Thimphu.
Day 03: 4th November, 2018: Thimphu – Punakha (3 hrs)
Start early and head off to the beautiful Dochula pass at 10,000 feet, around 1 hour away from Thimphu. The pass is a popular location among tourists as it offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of Eastern Himalayan mountain range. The view is especially scenic on clear, winter days with snowcapped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass.
After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Punakha Dzong is the former winter capital and at present day hosts the administrative seat of the district. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, Male and Female River. Overnight at Drubchhu Resort, Punakha.
Rafting in the evening: for 2-3 hrs at the female river in Punakha
Day 04: 5th November, 2018: Punakha - Phobjikha Valley
After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha valley. In the evening, visit Gantey Goenpa, a monastery perched atop a small hill that arises from the floor of Phobjikha valley. It is also the home of migratory black-necked crane (from November till March) and one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan.. Overnight stay in Gantey Guest house.
Day: 05: 6th November, 2018: Phobjikha valley - Thimphu ( 5 hrs)
After breakfast, , drive to Punakha. After lunch, a visit to Chimi Lhakhang would be arranged to visit the temple of the Bhutan’s foremost saint, Lama Drukpa Kunley, also known as the “Divine Madman”. This temple is called the Temple of Fertility, as it is believed that childless couples who come here to pray for a child is usually blessed with a child. In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Over night in Bhutan Hotel, Thimphu.
Day: 06: 7th November, 2018: Thimphu – Haa (3.5hrs drive)
After breakfast, drive to Haa. Haa valley is made up of five counties and was closed to outside world until 2002. Haa Dzong is current occupied by military and strictly no visitation but the view is stunning. After picnic lunch, visit the famous monastery of Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple. Overnight stay in a farm house.
Day 07: 8th November, 2018: Haa – Paro - Excursion to Tiger’s Nest
Start early and spend the morning hiking up the forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. The climb is steep and takes about 4-5 hours round trip. An important place of pilgrimage and refuge for more than 1200 years, Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs two-thousand feet above Paro valley, and from your closest vantage point on a rocky ledge directly across from it, you will still need 200-300 mm lenses and a steady tripod to get right photographs.
This sacred place got its name when Guru Rinpoche rode there on the back of a flying tigress and meditated in a cave behind the present-day monastery. Special permit will be arranged for you to enter the Tiger’s Nest monastery but you will not be allowed to take pictures of the inside shrines. The shrines carries the beautiful auras left by the great saints whom meditated in the past, hence, it has been said one can easily get into a meditational state by just sitting silently.
Over night in Uma, Paro.
Day 08: 9th November, 2019: Depart
End of tour & our services