Spiritual Adventure In Bhutan

14 Days

Information

Spiritual Adventure In Bhutan / $3290 per person

This tour is a journey into the heart of Bhutan, steeped in Buddhism, where the forces of nature are severe, yet equally balanced with the lives and faith of the people. This tour begins easy and is moderately active as it progresses with plenty to look around and take-in the raw natural and spiritual beauty of the country.

Our tours are designed at a slower pace with ample time for casual birders too, who are also interested in cultural exposure. As well, along the way there will be plentiful time to stop at a moment’s notice for photo opportunities.

The Tour's Highlights

  • Temples and monasteries perched on peaks and ridges and accessible only on foot, footpaths & mule tracks, high mountain passes
  • Meet Bhutanese families in their beautiful homes
  • Visit fortress-monasteries that are masterpieces of Bhutan’s unique architecture
  • Daily encounters with farmers, horsemen, shopkeepers, bar owners, weavers, monks, teachers, school children and others, who without exception are friendly, responsive to our interest in them and interested to know more about us.
  • Archery practice/tournaments
  • Spiritual culture, religion, customs & traditions
  • Textiles and art and craft
  • Ascend herders’ trails to find valley views and colorful prayer flags
  • Hike to secluded temples and monasteries, including the famed Tiger’s Nest
  • Colorful Buddhist celebrations

Include

  • English speaking Bhutanese guide
  • All lodging in 3 stars traditional lodges
  • Airport transfers
  • Land transfers in a private vehicle
  • Processing and purchase of Bhutanese visitor pass.
  • Meals, tea, coffee, snacks and non alcoholic beverages
  • Bottle water on the private vehicle, and in the hotels.
  • All entrance fees for listed activities.
  • Visa and permit processing

Itinerary

01

DAY 01

Day 1: Arrival And Transfer To Thimphu

Get to explore the apple orchards and terraced fields as soon as you land in Paro; and then off to the capital city, Thimphu. Visit the largest and well- known farmer’s market, where Vendors come from around the area on Thursday afternoon and stay until Sunday night. Fresh local vegetables and products sold by villagers and wealthy inhabitants of Thimphu.

You have time in the evening to stroll through Thimphu City, where the street is lined with small businesses that primarily serve the residents.

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DAY 02

Day 2: Tango Monastery Hike

Hike to Tango (horse’s head) Monastery, one of the most significant Buddhist Universities in Bhutan. The 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye, built this stunning monastery in the 18th century.

Next visit the buddha Dordenma Statue, where Buddhists from all over the world gather to practice, meditate, and serve as a major pilgrimage site. This 169 feet statue of Buddha sits amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang.

We also have time in the evening to walk around the National Memorial Chorten, which is one of the city’s most recognizable structures. Elderly Bhutanese people can be seen walking around the Chorten all day long. Join the community in the cycle of prayers. The Chorten, with its exquisite paintings and detailed sculptures, is a remarkable example of Buddhist architecture and art.

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DAY 03

Day 3: Punakha, the historic center of Bhutan

On the way to Punakha we will pause to take in the beautiful scenery at the DochuLa Pass, a popular location among tourists that offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range.

Right after reaching Punkaha we will visit Chimi Lhakhang, the inspiring Divine Madman’s temple. This tiny community is home to a thriving phallus culture; almost every home is covered in enormous phallus paintings.

Driving time: 3 hours plus stops.

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DAY 04

Day 4: Chorten Nebu Monastic School Hike & Punakha Dzong

After breakfast, we will visit the 17th century old Chorten Ningpo. According to legend, the large oak tree outside the monastery was created from the burning log that the “Divine Madman” tossed; the tree’s bark is still dark from the burn marks.

The monastery established a modest Buddhist educational facility where the children study traditional Buddhist scriptures and texts as well as Western courses.

On the way to the lodge, we will have time to stop at the one of a kind, Punakha Dzong; where you will get to visit the historic temples, majestic towers, and expansive courtyards.

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DAY 05

Day 5: Phobjikha (glacial valleys, handsome villages, friendly family homes)

Next on our list is the beautiful Phobjikha Valley, nestled  at 9500 feet on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. We will tour Aum Sonam’s house in the late afternoon. Visitors can converse with the family members and partake in supper in the family’s house.

To have a relaxing afternoon, join in for a hot stone bath; a long-standing Bhutanese custom used for healing your body. With river pebbles that heat the water in the spa, made of local pine wood.

 

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DAY 06

Day 6: Phobjikha Valley Hike, Gangtey Goemba, Carpet Weaving, Crane Observation and Education Centre, Gangtey Community School

Walking is perhaps the most enjoyable approach to exploring this peaceful valley full of farmhouses, chortens, Mani walls, and prayer flags, all of which attest to the significance of Buddhism.

This valley is home to a carpet-weaving business and the 16th-century Gangtey Goemba, commanding a position at the valley’s top. This monastery houses the mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, one of the region’s historically significant Buddhist treasure finders, as well as a school, meditation spaces, and living accommodations for monks.

 

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DAY 07

Day 7: Bumthang (Bhutan’s spiritual heartland)

Next, while traveling to Bumthang province, we will go through the town of Trongsa in a dramatic drive. We will stop to take pictures of Bhutan’s most magnificent architectural masterpiece, Trongsa Dzong.

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DAY 08

Day 8: Bumthang Tang Valley

After a short distance visit to Tang Valley of Bumthang, our next stop is at  Pema Choling Nunnery, where more than 100 nuns—mostly teenagers and young women—study and practice Buddhism. 

We will spend the morning conversing with them while they perform their daily chants in the stone courtyard in the middle of their dorms and classrooms.

Next visit Bezur Chukpo’s home, 5 minutes north of the Pema Choling nunnery. This mansion, a family home turned museum at Tang, has three floors and 27 rooms and is a tremendous repository of historical information. It has a lot to say about medieval Bhutan’s culture and way of life. Although the house’s splendor has diminished over the years, the residents of Tang Valley still regard it as a treasured repository of their rich history and culture.

South of the Nunnery, we’ll visit Mebar Tsho, a ‘burning lake’ on your way back to the Lodge.

09

DAY 09

Day 9: Bumthang Sightseeing

Visit the Jakar Dzong in the morning; the fortification which is now used as the valley’s administrative center and monks’ vacation home.

Next stop by The Chakhar Lhakhang (Iron Castle), and Kurjey Lhakhang, which was built around the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated and left his physical mark. Visit the surrounding village of Bumthang and enjoy some free time by strolling through it.

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DAY 10

Day 10: Mountain flight back to Paro

We’re returning to Paro on a flight in the morning, and have enough time to stroll through the town and have a look at its beautiful architecture, which consists of uniformly square, white-painted buildings with rather flat roofs. Hanging out along Paro’s main street will provide a fantastic opportunity to observe the local culture and way of life, giving you more time to explore the stores and markets.

Next visit the majestic Paro Dzong, located by the river to the south of the tiny town of Paro, which is connected by wooden cantilever bridges that span the bodies of water.

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DAY 11

Day 11: Visit to Haa Valley

Haa valley is the smallest district in Bhutan, at a height of 2960 meters. Visit Lechu, a stunning farmhouse steeped in history in Haa’s charming village.

The farmhouse has been passed down through four generations to Penlop Agay Haap’s maternal descendants. Penlop Agay Haap is a historical figure in Bhutan who makes brief but significant appearances, at least in oral retellings.

Discover the Haa high alpine valleys, home to sparkling peaks and immaculate lakes. Get to witness nomadic lifestyles and the valley’s prehistoric cultural rhythms. We are among the few travelers to have found the legendary valley of the Guardian Spirit, a place that requires adventure.

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DAY 12

Day 12: Bhutan’s highest roads pass at 12500 ft

We will depart the lodge early in the morning to drive to Chele La Pass, Bhutan’s highest road pass at 12500 feet, which winds through forests of blue pine and rhododendron. Chele la is a great starting point for road walks and provides for an interesting detour on the highway. On a clear day, the view extends to the snow-covered summit of Mt. Jhomolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest peak, Jichu Drake, and neighboring peaks to the northwest, as well as the Haa and Paro Valleys.

We will ascend along the meadow to Kung Karpo La (14700 ft), where there is a little stone cabin that monks occasionally use for meditation and where sky burials can also take place. Next, we’ll walk above the tree line along the ridge that separates Paro and Ha valley and takes in the beautiful vistas of the snow-capped mountains.

 

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DAY 13

Day 13: Tiger’s nest hike

Today’s activities center on the ancient Paro Valley and conclude with a two-hour climb to the Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery, one of Bhutan’s most significant architectures.  Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) brought Buddhism from Tibet to Bhutan by landing on the back of a flying tigress on this cliffside.

After lunch—either a packed picnic or something from the delightful Taktsang cafeteria—you set off to visit Drukgyel Dzong, which was constructed to mark the Drukpas’ victory against the Tibetan army and to protect the Paro Valley from future attacks.

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DAY 14

Day 14: Departure

We will travel to the airport for our departure after breakfast. We hope you had a good time, learned something, and came away with fresh insight.

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