Buddhism & Luxury Camping


Buddhism Cultural Holiday

The Tour's Highlights

  • Valleys, farms and villages, and farm homes, temples and monasteries perched on peaks and ridges, footpaths and mule tracks, high mountain passes, and rural families, and distinctive architecture.
  • Daily engagements with farmers, horsemen, shopkeepers, bar owners, weavers, monks, teachers, children, and others who are always friendly and interested in learning more about us.
  • Archery practice/tournaments
  • Culture and History
  • Textiles, art and craft and Local Markets.
  • Ascend herders’ trails to find valley views and colorful prayer flags.
  • Family Stay in Phobjikha
  • One-night wilderness camp high in the Himalaya and a fabulous day trek to Tiger’s Nest

Itinerary - Tour Plan


DAY 01

Day 1: Arrival, check in, show around and acclimatization

Druk Air, Bhutan’s national airline, provides a spectacular raven’s-eye view of the great Himalayan peaks for your first glimpse of Bhutan. At 2250m, you will descend into the beautiful Paro valley and land in the beautifully crafted traditional airport.

Your journey, rare in time, place and spirit has begun. NAT staff will welcome you at the airport to transfer to Gangtey Palace, your hotel for the evening.

This morning we will visit the National Museum, and meet with Director Khenpo Phuntsho Tashi (if in residence), who will introduce us to the natural history and Buddhist art of Bhutan. This will give us understanding of the incredible artwork that we will be seeing throughout our journey.

We will also find time to pay our respects at the twin temples of Kyichu. Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in the country, dating as far back as the 7th century. Afterwards we will begin our hike to the town of Paro, stopping along the way to view prayer flags, chortens and old farm houses.


DAY 02

Day 2: Punakha Bhutan’s Ancient Capital

After breakfast we will shuttle to Dochula Pass; the views from the point are magnificent, offering a panorama of the eastern Himalayas. Enjoy tea/coffee/refreshments at the pass before starting the 26 mile descent from the pass to Punakha through the leafy temperate forests and semi-tropical zone with abundant orange trees, bananas and bamboo.


DAY 03

Day 3: Punakha Valley and Rural Bhutanese Life

We will set out for a hike through the countryside, visiting interesting villages along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley to Khamsum Yuelly Namgayel a delightful 3-story chorten that looks down on the upper Punakhan Valley.

Descending back to the valley floor, enjoy a great Bhutanese lunch before setting out to visit the Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, a Buddhist saint who unified Bhutan in the 17th century. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and it still is the winter residence of the Je-Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body.


DAY 04

Day 4: Phobjikha Valley

En – route to Phobjikha we have time  to stretch our legs with a short walk across rice paddies to Chhimi Lhakhang, a half an hour walk across a local village and rice fields from the road head.  

The temple was built in 1499 and is located on a hillock in the center of the valley. It is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and hence is also known as the “Divine MadMan”.

From Chhimi Lhakhang, traveling easterly, the road passes through the village of Wangdi Phodrang and climbs past deep ravines with dizzying drops to the little visited Phobjikha Valley that is home to the quaint rural settlement of Gangtey.

At an elevation of 3,000 meters on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, the glacial valley is a designated conservation area and winter home of the endangered black-necked cranes.

This evening we will stay at Sonam’s Farm home. The experience allows you to immerse into the local community and better understand their daily lives in the context of local traditions like farming, milking, butter churning and cheese making etc.  It is also possible that a member of the household provides a lesson on basic local cuisine. We then have an opportunity to participate and assist the household in local cooking and finally enjoy the cooked dinner together with the family.


DAY 05

Day 5: Phobjikha Valley hike through Tabading and Kilkhorthang

We set off to explore the exquisite, pristine glacial Phobjikha Valley with a local guide.  Our trail today takes us deeper into the wild land (muddy at times) and high up a side valley overlooking sparkling streams and through hamlets, meadows and forest finally opening to the large and beautiful Lawog Valley.

After lunch check into Gangtey Goenpa Lodge. The multi award winning Lodge offers every possible comfort and luxury that one would expect in a fine country home. All guest rooms command sweeping views of the valley below and of the Gangtey Goenpa, or monastery, just 5 minutes walk away. Heated hand cut stone floors and deep bathtubs next to wood burning stoves complete the sense of luxury and coziness. The stunning main lodge subtly captures the vibrancy of Bhutanese artwork and monastic design.


DAY 06

Day 6: Next stop to Thimphu

The capital city of Thimphu sprawls up the wooded western hillside of the Wang Chhu and is the center of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a bustling town where traditional ways mingle with modern introductions. Thimphu has been the capital of Bhutan since 1955.


DAY 07

Day 7: Hike to Bumdra

Most travelers walk up and down in a day to Tiger’s Nest, but we’re taking a more interesting and scenic route by camping overnight at Bumdra monastery, at an altitude of 3,800 m before descending to Tiger’s Nest.

Depart Bhutan Suites in the morning for Paro and Sang Choeker, the starting ground for your hike. Whilst your ponies are being loaded, feel free to pay your respects at the Buddhist College.

The two hour initial steep ridge ascent (steep at times), brings you to a clearing with prayer flags and view down into both Paro and Do Chhu Valleys and in time for a relishing hot lunch.

Spacious tents are furnished with beds, blankets and thick warm sleeping bags. At night, it gets intensely cold outside the tents but inside with all our thermal sleeping bags and fleece and even a hot bottle warmer for our feet, we were very comfortable.


DAY 08

Day 8: Bumdra Ridge Hike & Tiger’s Nest

Also known as the Rock of a Thousand Footprints, Bumdra Monastery sits on an outcropping of rock where it’s said that a hundred thousand dakinis (sky dancers) descended from the heavens, leaving their footprints on the rock. Monks spend years living up here, many in isolation, meditating and hoping to reach enlightenment.

Ridge Traverse (4200m+)

Today, after Breakfast at sunrise we took a ridge hike above our campsite. The tall surrounded peaks raise the sky making the valley more beautiful and majestic. Endless summits keep appearing one behind the other.

Special Event – Raising Prayer Flags

You are invited today to join us for an auspicious occasion in which we will be raising numerous wish fulfilling prayer flags. To raise prayer flags is a way to benefit all sentient beings. The prayers, mantras, and symbols displayed on the flags produce a spiritual vibration that is activated, and carried by the wind across the countryside. All beings that are touched by the wind are uplifted and become happier. The silent prayers are blessings spoken on the breath of nature.

Tiger’s Nest

The way down to Tiger’s Nest is much easier than the hike up, except a final challenging staircase climbing to the monastery’s entrance. The track is pretty steep, losing 1000 m of altitude in 1.5 hours. From the Zangto Pelri vintage point, see Tiger’s Nest clinging to the granite rock face below you. Once in Tiger’s nest, the cool interior smells of incense. Caves are filled with golden statues of Buddhist masters. The views from windows and balconies are epic.


DAY 09

Day 9: Departure

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our departure flight. With our cultural tour we hope you have enjoyed your visit, have found it rewarding, and leave with new found understanding.



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