Pilgrimage to Bhutan with Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche

TOUR OVERVIEW

The tour begins in Nepal with a visit to the famous Boudhanath Stupa before flying to Bhutan. Once we arrive in Bhutan we will begin to explore the holiest spiritual sites and important cultural monuments of Bhutan, which provide an in-depth view into the ancient way of life and rich culture that still thrives in Bhutan today. It is a well paced tour, designed to provide the opportunity to really savor the unique highlights of Bhutan’s western districts of Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha valley, which offer diverse mountainous landscapes, a rich Buddhist heritage including monasteries, temples and chortens (stupas), historical fortresses and extremely hospitable people. You will discover the vibrant history of Bhutan while visiting the Dumtse Stupa, Kyichu Monastery, and the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) in the beautiful valley of Paro. In Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, you will visit the 12th century Changangkha Temple before crossing the 3050m Dochula Pass from where you can see a magnificent view of the upper Himalayas and also visit the 108 stupas located there. From here you will drive into the sub-tropical Punakha valley where the incredible Punakha Dzong (Fortress) and Chimi Lhakang, temple of the ‘Divine Madman’ is located.

 

Date Activity/Valley Overnight
14 August Reception at Kathmandu International airport Hotel Tibet Int., Kathmandu
15 August Visit Boudhanath Stupa Hotel Tibet Int., Kathmandu
16 August Fly to Bhutan, visit Kyichu Monastery upon arriving in Paro valley Hotel Olathang, Paro
17 August Visit Drakarpo Monastery or Hike to Chumphu Lhakhang Hotel Olathang, Paro
18 August Short hike to Tseto Goempa Hotel Olathang, Paro
19 August Drive towards Thimphu valley, visit Tachog Lhakhang and Changangkha Lhakhang Hotel, Thimphu
20 August Short hike to Chagri Monastery Hotel, Thimphu
21 August Drive towards Punakha valley, visit Chimi monastery Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
22 August Hike to Khansum Yulley Namgyel Stupa, and later visit the Punakha Fortress Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
23 August Visit Talo Monastery Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
24 August Drive towards Paro valley Hotel Olathang, Paro
25 August Visit Dzongdrakha Monastery and Dumtse Stupa Hotel Olathang, Paro
26 August Hike to Tigers Nest Hotel Olathang, Paro
27 August Receive Mahamudra teaching from HH Kyapgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche Hotel Olathang, Paro
28 August Receive Medicine Buddha empowerment from HH Kyapgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche Hotel Olathang, Paro
29 August Fly back to Kathmandu Hotel Tibet Int., Kathmandu
30 August International Departure

 

 

Day 01 | Arrive at Kathmandu International airport (14 August)

Reception at Tribhuvan International Airport

All the participants of the group will be received by our representatives at the Airport according to
your flight timing and will be transferred to the Hotel.

You will be served with dinner at the hotel and spend the night getting to know the other participants of the tour.

Hotel check-in at the Hotel Tibet International in Kathmandu, Nepal will be at 14:00

 

Day 02 | Visit Boudhanath stupa (15 August)

Built some time around the 4th century, in the shape of a mandala designed to replicate the Gyangtse of Tibet, the stupa was renovated by Licchhavi rulers in the 8th century. The location of the stupa is interesting as it once lay on the ancient trade route to Tibet and it was here that Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers for centuries. On each side are a pair of the all-seeing-eyes of the Buddha symbolizing awareness. At ground level there is a brick wall with 147 niches and 108 images of the meditating Buddha inset behind copper prayer wheels.

Among the Nepalese in Kathmandu, the stupa is simply referred to as “Chorten Chenpo” which translates to “Great Tower” or just “Great Stupa.”

Program of the day:

  • Visit Boudhanath Stupa
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Dinner with the group at the Hotel

 

Day 03 | Fly to Bhutan (16 August)

Arrive at Paro International Airport

Altitude of Paro Valley – 2,250 m / 7,382 ft

Flight Details:

  • Wednesday 16 August, 2023
  • Kathmandu, Nepal  – Paro, Bhutan
  • Depart – 09:45 a.m | Arrive – 11.05 a.m
  • Baggage allowance – Checked baggage – 30 kg, and Cabin baggage – 5 kg

Program of the day:

  • Reception at Paro International Airport
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet as a part of the 108 temples he built across the Himalayan region in order to subdue the evil demoness who was laid across the Himalayan region and was not letting Buddhism to flourish.  
  • Hotel check- in
  • Dinner at the hotel and briefing about the tour

 

Day 04 | Visit Drakarpo Monastery or Hike to Chumphu Lhakhang (17 August)

Drakarpo Monastery

Towards the lower part of Paro, is a place, called Drakarpo. Guru Rinpoche had personally meditated in this monastery and many body prints still stands on testimony. Just below the monastery, one can see a cave where one has to pass through a narrow hole between the rocks to assess ones acts – pious or sinful. Within the cave, one can see the print of the Guru in a cave and one can see the images of a sinful and a pious person in the cave. In the cave there is the print of Paksamjoenshing. Besides all, one can see the miraculous footprint of Guru Rinpoche.

This place is considered very holy and sacred. The 8th Century revered saint, Guru Padmasambhava accompanied by his consort Dakini Yeshey Tshogay and many other Yogis and great masters down the ages have blessed and sanctified this particular place. It is also believed that if one circumambulates the mountain 108 times, even sins so great as killing one’s own parents can merit redemption. It’s quite a proclamation to say that circumambulating the mountain 108 times could merit redemption of sins so great as killing one’s own parents but doing it could very much bring about the highest level of satisfaction no matter what type of believer you are.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Drive towards Drakarpo Monastery
  • Picnic Lunch near Drakarpo Monastery
  • Take a stroll around Paro town
  • Dinner at the hotel 

OR

Chumphu Lhakhang

Hiking distance – 5 hours walk

After breakfast we will set off early for hike to Chumphu Monastery, where the floating statue of Dorji Phamo (Vajravarahi) is situated. It is believed that Goddess Dorji Phamo flew here from Tibet and stayed on in the form of a statue. It is a life-sized statue and it is believed that the statue is floating, some people test this belief by passing a money note below her feet and it passes through smoothly without a hitch.

The Lhakhang is located under northern part of Paro. The hike begins with the opening gate (Zee Go) formed by two standing rocks. There are many rocks and caves formation associated with Guru Rinpoche and each of it has story and its significance. It is believed that before Guru Rinpoche left to subdue a demon, he spent several months in Chumphu monastery. While in Chumphu, he demonstrated several miracles such as: when he was sitting in the meditating position, he left his body and foot imprint on the cave.

The trail is a bit longer compared to hiking up Tiger’s Nest, but it is not as physically exhausting. It is a pleasant hike through an enchanting forest, following a beautiful river until you reach a Stupa (Chorten). The walk is on flat land with little gradient until the last part of the trail at a bridge located at the base of the hill. The last hundred meters incline up to the monastery is fairly steep.

The serenity of this temple is just amazing.

A typical descent from Chumphu Nye takes about 3 hours.

It takes about 1 hour drive to the base and leaving your vehicle the walk is casual and not too tiring as the hike path goes through the forest with lot of shades and cool breeze.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Set off early for Hike to Chumphu Lhakhang
  • Picnic Lunch near Chumphu Lhakhang
  • Dinner at the hotel

Day 05 | Hike to Tseto Goempa (18 August)

Hiking distance – 3 hours walk

Tseto Goenpa is a Buddhist monastery complex believed to be built in the fifteenth century by Lotey Gyemtsho, the High Lama at the time. The complex lies at the top of a mountain in the Himalayas, approximately 3,000 meters high. Surrounding the monastery are three stretching mountain ridges that resemble the vajra, a mythological weapon and a Buddhist symbol of indestructibility and force strong enough to overpower ignorance.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Set off early for Hike to Tseto Goempa
  • Picnic Lunch near Tseto Goempa
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 06 | Drive towards Thimphu valley (19 August)

Today we will drive towards Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu. Thimphu is the fifth highest capital city in the world by altitude; and it is also the only capital city in the world without any traffic lights. The city offers a unique blend of the modern world alongside striking Bhutanese tradition.

Altitude of Thimphu Valley – 2,320 m / 7,656 ft

Driving distance Paro to Thimphu – 2 hours (65 km)

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Checkout from the hotel
  • Proceed to Thimphu. En route stop at Tamchoe Monastery which is located on the way to Thimphu valley. We will see an old bridge built by linked chains which were made by Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo. Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo built the iron chain bridges in Bhutan in the late 1300’s, and is said to have built 108 of these bridges around Tibet and Bhutan. Many of them are still in use today, showing the strength and durability of these bridges.
  • Hotel check in upon arriving Thimphu valley
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Visit Changangkha Lhakhang, the oldest temple in Thimphu, dating back to the 12th century
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 07 | Hike to Cheri Goempa (20 August)

Altitude of Cheri Goempa – (2859 m)

Hiking Distance – 1 Hour 

Cheri Goempa was established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of the Bhutanese state. The monastery, which is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, located at the northern end of the Thimphu Valley about 15 kilometers from the capital. It sits on a hill above Dodeyna and it takes about an hour to walk up the hill to reach the monastery.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Hike to Cheri Goempa
  • Picnic Lunch by the Thimphu river side
  • Take a leisure walk around Thimphu town and visit our local handicraft shops
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 08 | Drive towards Punakha valley and visit Chimi Lhakhang (21 August)

Altitude of Punakha Valley – 1,310 m / 4,300 ft

Driving distance Thimphu to Punakha – 2 hours 30 minutes (72 km)

Chimi Lhakhang Temple:

Chimi Lhakhang Temple is about a 20 minute walk from the Lobesa highway in Punakha district. The sacred temple is also known as the “Fertility temple”. The temple was built in 1499 after the site was blessed by a saint named Drukpa Kunley (The Devine madman), a maverick Tibetan yogi who is believed to have subdued a demoness at a location near where the temple stands today. The pilgrims who visit the temple are blessed with a 10-inch wooden phallus decorated with a silver handle. Those unable to conceive children visit the temple from around the world, where the women wishing to conceive are made to carry a wooden phallus around the temple three times.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Stop en route at Dochula pass to view the stunning panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains and also visit the 108 Druk wangyal stupas that are located there.
  • Lunch at Lobesa in a local restaurant
  • Visit the famous Chimi Lhakhang famously known as the fertility temple. 
  • Hotel Check in
  • Dinner at the hotel

 

Day 09 |Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten and visit Punakha Dzong (22 August)

Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten was constructed in 2004 by Her majesty the queen mother Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuck. It was built in accordance with the instructions of Lama Sonam Zangpo, with the intention of bringing peace in the world in general, and to clear obstacles for the country of Bhutan in particular. It’s exterior is in the form of a pagoda-like stupa while the interior consists of four stories containing images of the deities of mandalas of Vajrakilaya. Lama Kunzang Wangdi, popularly known as Lama Nyingkula, a close disciple of Dudjom Rinpoche was in charge of the construction of this Chöten. To reach Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten we need to drive for about 7 km from Punakha Dzong towards Gasa. Will park the car beside Mo chu river and then will start to hike by crossing a suspension bridge. The hike is through the rice fields of Yebisa village. It is good to hike in summer (with green rice fields) or early autumn (Golden Yellow Fields). After some time you will enter the chir pine forest and as we continue a little more will reach Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten. The hike is easy, and once you reach there you will have a good view especially from the rooftop. You will have a view of the meandering river along with interlock spurs and the beautiful villages around.

Punakha Dzong

Right at the confluence of two of Bhutan’s most important rivers (Pho chhu and Mo chhu) lies the majestic, Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong is a must visit, with its awe-inspiring architecture and history. From 1637-1907, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan, where the first national assembly was hosted in 1953. Punakha dzong is also the second largest and the second oldest dzong in Bhutan. Inside the dzong, are some of the most historically important and some of the most sacred relics in the country, like the Rangjung Kharsapani and the sacred remains of Tertoen Pema Lingpa and the most important figure in Bhutan’s history, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the Tibetan lama who unified Bhutan.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten
  • Picnic Lunch at Zamling Thang by MoChu river side
  • Visit Punakha Dzong, which is the second largest and oldest fortress in Bhutan. 
  • Dinner at the Hotel

Day 10 |Explore Punakha valley (22 August)

Visit Talo Monastery

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Drive towards Talo Monastery, it is a Buddhist Monastery located on the hills above Punakha at an elevation of 2800 m. The monastery is one of the prominent monastery in the country as it is directly connected to the mind manifestation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel as well as an essential Drukpa Kagyu Monastery. It is commonly known as Talo Geompa or Talo Sangacholing Monastery. It was founded by Chogtul Jigme Singye (1742-1789), the fourth reincarnation of Lam Thripa in 1767. The interior and exterior of the monastery shows the amazing skills of Bhutanese artist reflecting the importance of culture and religion in Bhutan. There are so many statues and lhakhangs inside the monastery out of which one is Tshapami Statue and Neten Chudru Lhakhang. Below the statue of Tshapami there is a Namsey Tsherim that is sealed for public display. Inner walls of the momastery are painted with Zhabdrung’s images substituting 10,000 Zhabdrung statues.
  • Dinner at the hotel

 

Day 11 | Drive back to Paro valley (24 August)

Driving distance Punakha to Paro  – 3 hours 30 minutes (124 km)

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Lunch at a local restaurant 
  • Hotel check-in upon arriving Paro valley
  • The evening will be at leisure to relax or do some shopping at Paro Town
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 12 | Explore Paro valley (25 August)

Visit Dzongdrakha Goempa and Dumtse Lhakhang

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit Dzongdrakha Goempa where you will see a group of monastery overlooking the Paro Valley. The temples are situated on the cliffs above the terraced fields of village called Bondhey. The temples were built in the 16th century by the local chief, Chogay Dragpa. There are four temples, which are dedicated to Tara, Tsheringma, Guru and Jowo Jampa.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Visit Dumtse Lhakhang, an unusual stupa-like temple that was built in 1433 by the iron-bridge builder Drubthob Thangtong Gyalpo. You will see his mural by the entrance. The atmospheric temple was built to subdue a demoness and the pilgrim path winds clockwise up through the temple core, passing some of the finest murals in Bhutan, representing hell, earth and heaven on three floors. It’s essential to bring a good torch to see centuries old paintings on the wall
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 13 | Loop hike to Tigers Nest (26 August)

Altitude at Tigers nest – 3,120 m / 10,240 ft

Hiking distance: 4 hours hike uphill

Hike from parking base to Taktsang monastery via Zangto Pelri Monastery

Today you will hike towards the magical Taktsang Monastery popularly known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery, one of the most important religious and cultural site of Bhutan. After breakfast you will drive towards the base of Tigers, and begin our hike through the pine and rhododendron forests till you reach the Yoselgang Retreat center. We will also pass by the Ugyen pelri monastery, which is located above the actual Tiger nest monastery.  A short hike down will bring you to the famous Taktsang Monastery and after visiting the many small temples and the caves you will hike down to the base from where your vehicle will pick you up and take you to your hotel.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Set off early for the hike
  • Visit Yoselgang Lhakhang
  • Picnic Lunch near Yoselgang Lhakhang
  • Visit Tigers Nest
  • Dinner at the Hotel
For people who cannot do the loop hike, they can take the straight route, which is 2.5 hours uphill hike from the base to the monastery.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Set off early for the hike to Tigers Nest
  • Lunch at the cafeteria
  • Dinner at the Hotel
For people who cannot do the hike at all, site seeing around the Paro valley will be arranged.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Site seeing around Paro valley
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 14 | Teaching with HH Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche  (27 August)

Receive Mahamudra teaching from HH Kyabgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche

Mahamudra represents the highest level of teaching within Tibetan Buddhism. Its study and practice leads to the realization of the very nature of reality itself, there is not a single phenomenon which is not subsumed within the realizations of Mahamudra.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Teaching with HH Kyabgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche
  • Picnic lunch while enjoying traditional dances of Bhutan
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 15 | Receive Medicine Buddha empowerment from HH Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche  (28 August)

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Teaching with HH Kyabgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 16 | Fly back to Kathmandu (29 August)

Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan Kingdom.

Flight Details:

  • Tuesday 29 August, 2023
  • Paro Bhutan – Kathmandu Nepal
  • Depart – 07:40 a.m | Arrive – 08:40 a.m
  • Baggage allowance – Checked baggage – 30 kg, and Cabin baggage – 5 kg

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Airport drop-off
  • Airport pick-up from Kathmandu airport
  • Hotel check-in at Hotel Tibet International in Kathmandu
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Dinner at the hotel

 

Day 17 | International Departure (30 August)

Wave a fond farewell as your Sangha getaway comes to an end. We hope by now you would have kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Farewell
  • Hotel check-out at the Hotel Tibet International in Kathmandu, Nepal will be at noon 12:00

 

Trip Highlights:

  • Visit Boudhanath stupa, which is the most sacred and liked sightseeing place in Kathmandu
  • Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Bhutan
  • Explore Bhutan’s important spiritual & pilgrimage sites
  • Visit Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monastery in Bhutan
  • Receive Medicine Buddha empowerment and Mahamudra teaching from His Holiness Kyapgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche

Nepal – 3 Nights | Bhutan – 13 Nights

Travel Duration: 14  –  30 August 2023

 

Bhutan – Nepal tour package price per person
For double occupancy  For single occupancy
USD 3,740.00  USD 4,280 .00

 

The above Bhutan – Nepal tour package price includes the followings:
  • 3 star accommodations in Bhutan, and 4 star accommodation in Nepal
  • All meals in Bhutan in designated restaurants/hotels.
  • 3 times dinner in the hotel and 2 times lunch in designated restaurant, in Nepal
  • Certified English speaking local tour guides in Bhutan and Nepal
  • All internal ground transportation in Bhutan and Nepal, including airport pick-up and drop-off (Not including the airport drop-off on 30 August)
  • Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) in Bhutan, $ 65 per night
  • International Air fares (Kathmandu – Paro – Kathmandu)
  • Visa fee for Bhutan
  • Mineral drinking water
  • All entrance fees in Bhutan and Nepal
The above Bhutan – Nepal tour package price do not include the followings:
  • Other personal expenses like overseas calls, laundry, and tips for Guides and Drivers
  • Travel and Medical insurance
  • Visa for Nepal
  • Airport drop off on 30 August. We are happy to arrange the drop-off for you upon request
  • Flight  to and from Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Bank transfer fee