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Bhutan Encounters

Bhutan Encounters

Trip Details:

Operator:   Encounters Travel
Price From: 2,379 CAD
Ideal Age Range: 19 to 30, 31 to 50, Over 51
Fitness Needs: Light Impact
Program duration: 8 days

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About this program

Embark on an 8-day cultural tour of Bhutan. You’ll explore one of the world’s most fascinating countries, and one that is extremely remote.

This trip is crafted to offer you a balance between history and culture, with incredible walks through the countryside and ample opportunities to admire the landscapes. This journey provides you with a chance to learn about Bhutanese culture and Buddhist life, and indulge in the delight of Bhutanese cuisine. 

You’ll start your adventure in Paro where you’ll be met at the airport by a member of Encounter’s staff. You’ll then visit Paro Dzong and learn about the buildings that function for both civic and monastic purposes over centuries. Pass over the Dochu La Pass, and take a moment to witness the breathtaking Himalayan Mountain views. Enjoy exploring the Punakha Valley and the Phobjikha Valley, home to endangered Black Necked Cranes. 

On the weekend, take the opportunity to visit the enormous weekend market in Thimphu, the capital. The market is a picturesque display of produce and crafts from various places around Bhutan. 

Throughout this incredible experience, you’ll visit some of Bhutan’s “tsechus”. These important religious festivals are filled with masked dances, processions and more!

 

Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive in Paro

Paro airport provides a first taste of Bhutanese architecture and is surely one of the world's most beautiful.

In the afternoon you visit Ta Dzong, originally a Watch Tower and now the National Museum.

Then walk down to Paro Dzong and learn how these spectacular buildings have combined the monastic and civic administration of Bhutan for centuries.

OVERNIGHT: Paro hotel

MEALS: Dinner

EXTRAS: Single room supplement (BHSGBE), Druk Air flights from Kathmandu, Druk Air flights from Delhi, Druk Air flights from Bangkok, Druk Air flights from Singapore, Extra day in Paro - pre-tour

DAY 2: Paro to Punakha Valley

Cross the 3,050m Dochu La Pass 3,050m today on steep winding roads through beautiful dense forests.

In the Punakha Valley, a short walk visits the Chimi Lhakhang Temple, built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley or 'The Divine Madman' and renowned for blessing barren women with fertility.

Keen birdwatchers can drive to the Che Le La Pass at sunrise in search of Blood Grouse and the Himalayan Monal.

OVERNIGHT: Punakha hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3 Punakha Dzong drive to Gangtey

Start your day with a morning walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten takes in river banks, mixed forest and terraced fields of chillies and vegetables.

Next you'll visit the spectacular Punakha Dzong, which lies between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which symbolise masculine and feminine co-existence. After lunch, drive on to Gangtey.

OVERNIGHT: Gangtey hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: Phobjikha Valley walk, Gangtey

You'll enjoy a nature walk today in the beautiful Phobjikha Valley, famous for the rare black-necked cranes that make it home between October and March after an arduous migration over the Himalayan mountains from the Tibetan plateau (the annual Crane festival in November is well worth a visit). You'll also visit the Gangtey Monastery.

OVERNIGHT: Gangtey hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: Drive to Thimphu via Wangdue Phodrang

Re-cross the Dochu La Pass to the capital Thimphu. En-route visit the ancient Dzong at Wangdue Phodrang, which is relatively un-restored and gives a real feel for how these buildings have run life in Bhutan over the centuries.

OVERNIGHT: Thimphu hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: Thimphu tours

Today's sightseeing in Thimphu includes the Memorial Chorten, Folk Heritage Museum, School of Arts & Crafts and the Takin research centre.

All tours aim to fit in with the huge weekend food and crafts market, which is a great place to pick up a souvenir of your time in Bhutan. A stop at the national stadium to view an archery tournament is also well worthwhile.

OVERNIGHT: Thimphu hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) walk

Start early for a 2-3 hours steep uphill walk to the iconic Taktshang monastery, perched on a sheer 800m rock face. Taktshang is probably Bhutan's most famous site and attracts pilgrims from all over Bhutan.

In the afternoon, visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong and the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang temple. In the evening you could enjoy a relaxing traditional hot stone bath to ease any tired limbs.

OVERNIGHT: Paro hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8 Paro, departure airport transfer

Your time is free until a transfer to the airport for departure.

MEALS: Breakfast

EXTRAS: Extra day in Paro - post-tour

Country Fast Facts

Bhutan

FlagFlag_of_Bhutan
Continent:Asia
Official Language(s)Dzongkha
Capital:Thimphu
Population742,737 (2012 estimate)
Climate(s)Cold Semi-arid, Continental (Temperate/Humid/Cool/Subarctic), Subtropical (Humid)
Major Airport(s):Paro International Airport (PBH)
Economic Driver(s):Agriculture, Energy, Tourism, Financial Sector

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