Shangrila Cultural Tour (10 nights/11 days)

Highlights:

  • Glimpses of Bhutan’s cultural and historical heritage sites such as fortresses, monasteries and temples
  • Hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery – one of Bhutan’s most sacred places
  • Visit Trashichho Dzong and Punakha Dzong and see the beautiful architecture of the fortresses
  • Visit the beautiful Dochula Pass from where you can get a spectacular view of the Himalayas
  • Experience the spiritual beauty of Bumthang valley and visit some ancient temples
  • Spend the day at a nunnery in Bumthang and learn about the way of life of the nuns
  • Explore the beautiful valley of Phobjikha, the winter home of the black-necked cranes
  • See how people live and learn about the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan
  • Experience the local culture and taste Bhutanese cuisine
  • Visit to the Bhutanese farmhouse and enjoy a hot medicinal stone bath

 

Tour Overview:

This eleven-day tour program offers a glimpse of Bhutan’s rich cultural and traditional heritage and spectacular mountainous landscape. You will see the beautiful valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang and Phobjikha. The tour will give an insight into Bhutan’s heritage, culture and traditions.

In the capital city of Thimphu, you will have the opportunity to see one of the largest statues of Buddha and to visit the Memorial Chorten. You will also learn more about Bhutanese life, arts and crafts from the visit to the folk museum, the institute of arts and crafts and the institute of traditional medicines. One highlight is the visit to the Trashichho Dzong, the seat of the administrative and religious power in Bhutan and which houses the throne room.

In Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan, you can see the Punakha Dzong nestled between two rivers and also make a visit to the sacred Chimi Lhakhang.

In Bumthang, you can experience the spirituality of the ancient temples and also learn about education and life in a nunnery.

In Phobjikha, you will have the opportunity to walk through the undisturbed natural environment which is winter roosting ground of the endangered black-necked cranes.

In Paro, for a memory of a lifetime, you can visit the memorable Tiger’s Nest temple which is perched high up in the cliffs, and also visit Drugyel Dzong, a fortress of historical significance.

 

 

Detailed Tour Program: 

DAY 01                                     ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
The flight into Bhutan will give you a spectacular view of the Himalayan mountain ranges. On a clear day, you can see Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

Your tour representative will receive you upon arrival. The drive from Paro to Thimphu (capital city) will take you through beautiful rice terraced fields and alongside the gushing Pho Chu and Wang Chu rivers.

Afternoon visit Kuensel Phodrang where a biggest statue of Lord Buddha (169 ft) has been built overlooking the Thimphu valley. Evening visit the Memorial Chorten built in memory of the third King of Bhutan.

DAY 02                                     THIMPHU

Morning visit the National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, Institute of Traditional Medicines & Folk Heritage Museum. Afternoon visit the National Institute of Zorig Chusum (13 traditional crafts) and Jushina Paper factory where traditional Bhutanese papers are made.

Evening visit Tashichho Dzong which houses the King’s Throne Room & Government offices. The Dzong serves as summer residence for the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot & the Central Monk Body. Visit the Crafts Bazar in town.

DAY 03                                     THIMPHU – PUNAKHA

After breakfast drive to Punakha over Dochula Pass (3 hours drive). On a clear day, one can get a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain ranges and see Gasa Dzong at a distance. One can also visit the Druk Wangyel Chortens (108 stupas) on the Pass. Along the way visit also Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility.

Punakha is the old capital of Bhutan. After lunch visit Punakha Dzong, built at the junction of the two rivers Pho Chu (male river) and Mo Chu (female river). It is one of the most spectacular dzongs in the country. The Dzong serves as the winter residence for the Central Monastic Body.

DAY 04                                     PUNAKHA

After breakfast drive up the valley to Chazam. Walk through the beautiful rice fields & hike up the hill to Khamsum Yulley Lhakhang. Visit the monastery & have picnic lunch. Afternoon, return to Punakha. Enroute, visit one of the longest suspension bridge in the country.

DAY 05                                     PUNAKHA – BUMTHANG

After breakfast drive to Bumthang over Pelela Pass. Enroute visit Trongsa Dzong, one of the largest Dzong (fortress) in Bhutan & Ta Dzong (the watch tower).

Drive over Yutola Pass to Bumthang. On the way, in Chumey valley, you can see the local women weave the famous “Bumthang Yathra”, pure woolen cloth woven in the traditional method with beautiful colored patterns.

DAY 06                                     BUMTHANG

Morning visit Jambay & Kurje Lhakhangs (temples). Jamgay lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century AD. Afternoon, visit Jakar town.

DAY 07                                     BUMTHANG – DAY AT PEMACHHOLING NUNNERY

Drive to Tang valley in Bumthang. Visit the famous Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) from which spiritual treasures were discovered by the Terton (Treasure Finder) Pema Lingpa.

Visit Pemachholing nunnery, an educational institute in Buddhist studies, where young girls and women, seek spirituality and higher Buddhist education.

 

DAY 08                   BUMTHANG – PHOBJEKHA

Drive to Phobjikha valley in Wangdue Dzongkhag. Evening at leisure.

DAY 09                                     PHOBJEKHA – PARO

Morning explore the beautiful valley of Phobjikha. The valley is the home of the Black Necked Cranes, an endangered species. In winter they fly south from Central Asia to Bhutan & make Phobjekha their winter home. One can see their roosting place in the marshy land. From Nov to Feb one can see the Black Necked Cranes feeding and roosting in the beautiful valley.

Afternoon drive to Paro. On the way see the traditional cantilever wooden bridge.


DAY 10                                     PARO – DAY EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG

After breakfast drive to Ramthongkha. Hike uphill for about 3 hours to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor. It is a very sacred Monastery for the Bhutanese people who believe that it must be visited at least once in their life time. Evening experience a unique hot stone bath which will relieve all aches & pains followed by typical Bhutanese dinner in an old traditional Bhutanese house.

DAY 11                                     PARO – DEPARTURE

Early morning drive to Paro for departure. Your tour representative will see you off at the airport.