Tour Price: $4279
This remote kingdom, a place of ancient monasteries, fluttering prayer flags and staggering natural beauty.
For years, Bhutan deliberately isolated itself from the outside world and has only recently opened its borders to visitors. Since then, Bhutan has gained almost mystical status as a real life Shangri-la . In Bhutan, the Vajrayana Buddhist culture is integrated into every aspect of daily life, and those fortunate enough to visit describe it as a unique, mystical and deeply spiritual experience.
Because Bhutan is geographically isolated by the tallest mountains in the world, The Himalayas, the influence of western culture has been slow to effect the Kingdom of Bhutan. The government of Bhutan takes great measures to preserve the nation’s traditional culture, identity and the environment. On this journey we are led by an experienced local guide with expertise in Vajarayana Buddhism and has close connections with the high llamas of the country.
We will visit Dzong’s (fortresses), monasteries and nunneries. We join the monks and nuns in early morning chants, visit Bhutanese festivals and hike to world famous Tiger’s nest monastery, perched high on cliff above the Paro valley. We have been leading tours to Bhutan since 2009 and Spirit Tours has forever been changed because of the deep personal connections we have made with the Bhutanese people and the unparalleled spiritual growth we have experienced. Join us for a spiritual pilgrimage the will not only change your way of seeing the world but your way of being in the world!
Day 1: Transfer – Airport to Hotel in Bangkok. Welcome dinner together at the hotel
Day 2: The flight from Bangkok into Bhutan will take you over the vast plains of the Indian subcontinent and then over the dense green vegetation of the Kingdom’s sub Himalayan ranges. You will get breathtaking views of the worlds highest and most majestic peaks. As the plane approaches the Dragon Kingdom’s cloud scraping airstrip at the Paro International airport, you will arrive at an altitude of 7330 ft. Our Bhutanese guide, will be at the airport to receive us after we have completed the necessary immigration and visa formalities. The first part of the journey will follow the Paro river and provide plenty of photo opportunities After about half an hour’s drive you will reach the confluence of two rivers, one flowing from Thimphu and the other from Paro. After checking into the hotel we will visit the Thimphu Memorial Stupa, a beautiful landmark built in memory of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Day 3: Today we will take an early morning pilgrimage to Changangkha Lhakhang, a monastery, where we will chant with the monks. This temple is an old fortress-like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above the capital, Thimphu. It was established in the 12th century, on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet
Day 4: After breakfast and morning meditation, we will visit the Thimpu Dzong, a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the northern edge of the city. The monastery lies on the western bank of the Wang Chu river, here we will visit the Tshechu festival. Religious festivals, or Tsechus, are held annually in Dzongs (fortress monasteries) throughout the country. This Tshechu is in honor of Padmasambhava (one born from the lotus flower) and popularly known as “Guru Rimpochey” the precious teacher. From the roof of the Dzong, monks blow on a pair of long horns. Dance festivals revive the people spiritually and in many ways refine them culturally because the dances communicate moral lessons where both the performer and the observer benefit from the exchange.
Day 5: .Today we will start early for Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. The journey will take about three hours. It will take you across the Dochula Pass (3050M) with a spectacular view of the eastern Himalayas. The pass is also marked by 108 stupas dedicated to world peace by Her Majesty, the Queen of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. The descent will take us through subtropical vegetation and into Punakha. Just before arriving at our hotel, we will have lunch and then walk thru the rice fields to a famous monastery dedicated to the Divine Mad Monk Lama Krukpa Kunley. We will then check into our hotel in Punakha.
Day 6: One of the most popular outings on our tour is the morning chanting at the Sangchen Liendrup Choling nunnery. This nunnery was built by the King’s maternal grandmother in 2010. Afterwards, you will have an opportunity to take a stroll back down to our hotel (walking optional). After breakfast visit The Punakha Dzong, built in 1637, it was once the old capital of Bhutan and is today the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body. The Dzong occupies an important place in the history of monarchy in Bhutan, as the first King of Bhutan, King Ugyen Wangchuck who was crowned here in 1907.
Day 7 : Today return to Thimphu, en route to Paro, and stop for shopping and lunch. Afterward we will visit the Buddha Dordenma, a bronze statue, a ‘Vajra Throne’ Buddha overlooking Thimphu city, about 100 meters (330 ft) above the Wang Chuu River. The statue will house over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself, will be made of bronze and gilded in gold. After our visit to the Buddha Dordenma, we will proceed to our hotel in Paro.
Day 8: We will visit Kichu Lhakang temple, which was built in 659 (7th century) by the Tibetan King Tshongtsen Gampo. It is believed that he built 108 temples across the Himalayas and that Kyichu happens to be one of the last remaining. The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songsten Gampo.
Day 9: After breakfast, we will hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is the most famous monastery in Bhutan. Guru Rinpoche, an Indian saint, is said to have flown on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to reach the viewpoint of the monastery makes for a nice day excursion.That evening we will have our farewell dinner together.
Day 10: Depart Bhutan for Bangkok Our guide will help us with the departure formalities at the airport and bid you good bye with traditional Tashi Khadhar. Overnight stay at the airport hotel in Bangkok.
Day 11: Check out of hotel in Bangkok and depart for airport for your flight home
*Price includes round trip flight from Bangkok to Bhutan and all of your meals in Bhutan