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Embark upon a journey through the hidden and harmonious valleys of Bhutan, a kingdom of ancient culture, mystical monasteries, and timeless traditions. Today, Bhutan is famous for measuring success by the happiness of its citizens, rather than national affluence. The charming capital of Thimphu blends modernity with classic Bhutanese architecture. We’ll visit Dochula Pass en route to Punakha Dzong, the former capital, then Gangtey Monastery in the picturesque Phobjikha Valley. Our tour culminates at Paro Taktsang, AKA The Tiger’s Nest, a sacred Buddhist monastery overlooking the Paro Valley.
Special Note: Trip dates may change slightly once flight schedules are released, about 10 months before departure.
Kuzu zangpo la – welcome to Bhutan! Upon landing in Paro, a private transfer will escort you to the capital, Thimphu. After checking into the hotel there will be a Group Meeting followed by a welcome dinner.
Dobro delek (good morning)! Today is devoted to exploring the world’s only capital city without traffic lights. We begin at the vibrant exhibit of intricate fabrics at the National Textile Museum, then we’ll browse a rich assortment of stamps at the newly opened postal museum, and finally we’ll explore the Jungshi Handmade Paper factory, which produces traditional Bhutanese paper from the Daphne bush. After lunch, we’ll visit Memorial Chorten, a massive statue of Buddha Dordenma that overlooks Thimphu Valley. Afterwards, we’ll discover the impressive Trashichhoe Dzong, the “fortress of the glorious religion,” which is also the centre of government and the site of the monarch’s throne room. Our day ends with a whimsical visit to a Bhutanese handicrafts market. This evening, we’ll enjoy dinner together.
After breakfast, we’ll take a private transfer toward Punakha, stopping at Dochula Pass (3,050m/10,006ft) to enjoy the spectacular view. The “Druk Wangyal” chortens were built here, 108 monuments that commemorate each Bhutanese soldier martyred in a 2003 insurgency. Upon arrival in Punakha we’ll tour Punakha Dzong. This impressive structure was the former capital of Bhutan and is currently the winter residence of the Central Monk Body. Inside the dzong, we’ll marvel at the intricately carved woodwork, prayer halls, and beautiful religious paintings on the walls and doorways. After a riverside lunch, we’ll continue on a short walk through rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, the Fertility Temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley (the “Divine Madman”). Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
Today begins with a challenging yet rewarding hike (4-5 hours, 10km/6.2 miles) to the ornate monastery Khamsum Chorten. After a pause to appreciate the structure, we’ll forge onward, passing by lush forests, neighbouring temples, and quaint rice paddies to arrive at the 300-year old hilltop temple Giligang. It’s been taken care of by the same family for generations and features a stunning view of the valley below. If we’re lucky, the residents may offer us some ngaja – a traditional milk tea. From there, we continue to Khamsum Yulley, a monastic retreat and place of worship. We’ll end our day by joining the evening prayer at the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Temple and Nunnery before we return to our hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening.
After breakfast, we’re off to the Gangtey Monastery. Built in 1613 in the serene Phobjikha Valley, it’s renowned as the winter home of the rare Tibetan Black Necked Crane. We’ll head back to the resort for lunch, then explore the valley and its two rivers, Nakay Chu and Gay Chu (the serpent and the boar). We’ll also interact with locals and learn about their culture along the way. Afterwards, we’ll visit the Black Necked Crane Center to marvel at these rare and revered Himalayan birds.
Wake up to a 2-hour hike along the Gangtey Nature Trail, a verdant winding path through bamboo and pine forest to Khewa Lhakhang, a 15th-century Tibetan-style structure. Inside, we’ll find 3 statues representing past, present and future Buddhas. With our appetites worked up, we’ll stop for lunch at a nearby resort. This afternoon, we’ll drive to the Nyelung Drachaling Dzong, a watchtower overlooking the Phobjikha Valley. Tonight, we’ll enjoy some free time at the resort with dinner included.
This morning, buckle up for a 4-hour drive to Thimphu, where we’ll stop for a local lunch. Afterwards, take an optional (but included) 1.5-hour bike ride through lush paddy fields, old-growth forests, and traditional villages from Thimphu to Chuzom. Then we’ll rejoin our transport, and anyone who opted out of the bike ride, and forge onward to Paro, the home of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries. After we check in to our resort, we’ll head to a local farmhouse for a special dinner in traditional Bhutanese outfits, with the option to relish a hot stone bath afterward. Did someone say hot stone bath?!
Rise and shine! Today we reach the pinnacle of our adventure with a 5-hour hike to Paro Taktsang, a.k.a. The Tiger’s Nest. Perched on the side of a cliff 900m (2,952ft) above the Paro valley, it’s recognized as a most sacred place and visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. We’ll grab an included lunch, admire the monastery from a lookout, then visit the monastery itself. Here, we’ll pause to reflect on our achievement and marvel at the mythical cave within this cultural icon. We’ll then head back to our hotel with a stop at Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. Tonight we’ll savour traditional Bhutanese fare at a private Farewell Dinner.
There are no activities planned today until your complimentary departure transfer. Safe travels home!
It’s relatively small, landlocked, filled to the brim with tradition and veiled in an aura of mystery and spirituality.Read More
While these trips typically attract gay men, all genders are welcome, and we encourage friends and family to join the fun as well.Learn More
All accommodations on Out Adventures tours include breakfast and are located in areas central to our activities. All amenities are examples only, and may differ from hotel to hotel.
3-Star Hotels: Clean, comfortable rooms with basic amenities such as a simple restaurant/breakfast area. Customer service is good, but offers no frills.
4-Star Hotels: Comfortable and well-decorated rooms along with quality amenities such as a stylish restaurant and bar. Customer service is very good, and there is usually a concierge.Learn More
This trip is fully booked but cancellations occur. If you’d like to be contacted if space opens up, please click “Book Now”, select the appropriate departure and you will be prompted to provide limited information.
If you are a solo traveller willing to share a room with another solo traveller, please select Shared/Twin Room when booking this tour.
If you are a solo traveller interested in booking a private room, please select single supplement when booking this tour (based on availability). If you are willing to share a room with another solo traveller, please select Solo Shared.
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