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
20/05/2020 Reception at Kathmandu International airport Hotel Tibet Int., Kathmandu
21/05/2020 Visit Boudhanath Stupa Hotel Tibet Int., Kathmandu
22/05/2020 Fly to Bhutan, visit Kyichu Monastery upon arriving in Paro valley Hotel Olathang, Paro
23/05/2020 Visit Drakarpo Monastery Hotel Olathang, Paro
24/05/2020 Hike to Chumphu Monastery Hotel Olathang, Paro
25/05/2020 Drive towards Thimphu valley, visit Tachog Lhakhang and Changangkha Lhakhang Namgyel Heritage Hotel, Thimphu
26/05/2020 Short hike to Chagri Monastery Namgyel Heritage Hotel, Thimphu
27/05/2020 Visit Buddha point and Tashichho Dzong (Fortress) Namgyel Heritage Hotel, Thimphu
28/05/2020 Drive towards Punakha valley, visit Chimi monastery Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
29/05/2020 Hike to Khansum Yulley Namgyel Stupa, and later visit the Punakha Fortress Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
30/05/2020 Drive towards Paro valley Hotel Olathang, Paro
31/05/2020 Visit Dzongdrakha Monastery and Dumtse Stupa Hotel Olathang, Paro
1/06/2020 Hike to Tigers Nest Hotel Olathang, Paro
2/06/2020 Receive Mahamudra teaching from HH Kyapgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche Hotel Olathang, Paro
3/06/2020 Receive Medicine Buddha empowerment from HH Kyapgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche Hotel Olathang, Paro
4/06/2020 Fly back to Kathmandu Hotel Tibet Int., Kathmandu
5/06/2020 International Departure

 

Day 01 | Arrive at Kathmandu International airport (20th May)

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 (21st May)

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 (22nd May)

Arrive at Paro International Airport

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

Flight Details:

  • Friday 22nd May, 2020
  • 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 | Explore Paro valley (23rd May)

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Drive to Drakarpo Monastery, one of the holy site of Padmasambhava. He visited this place in the 8th century and blessed it with his supernatural powers and left his footprints.
  • Picnic Lunch near Drakarpo Monastery
  • Take a stroll around Paro town
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 05 | Hike to Chumphu Monastery (24th May)

Hiking distance – 6 hours walk

After breakfast we will set off early for a 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 serenity of this temple is just amazing.

It takes about 2 to 3 hours to reach this site. After 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 Chumphu Hike
  • Picnic Lunch at Chumphu Lhakhang
  • Dinner at the Hotel
Alternate program for those who cannot do the long hike to Chumphu Lhakhang

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit Drukgyel Dzong where you will get to enjoy the stunning view of the sacred Jomolhari mountain standing between the boarder of Tibet and Bhutan
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Visit Paro fortress which is ranked as a high point of Bhutanese architecture. The massive buttressed walls that tower over the town are visible throughout the valley. It was formerly the meeting hall for the National Assembly and now, like most dzongs, houses both the monastic body and district government offices, including the local courts.
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 06 | Drive towards Thimphu valley (25th May)

Explore Thimphu Valley

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, the capital city of Bhutan. 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 (26th May)

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
  • Take a leisure walk around Thimphu town and visit our local handicraft shops
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 08 | Explore Thimphu valley (27th May)

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Drive up to Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, where you can admire the 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma, Vajra Throne Buddha.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Visit Tashichho Dzong, which is a fortress and Buddhist monastery with a distinctive Bhutanese architectural design. Sitting by the Wang Chhu (river), it currently houses the throne room of His Majesty the king and also serves as the summer residence of the Central monastic body.
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 09 | Drive towards Punakha valley (28thMay)

Explore Punakha Valley

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

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

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. This small temple sits atop a hill in the center of the valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the ‘divine Madman’, Drukpa Kuenlay, built a small stupa there. Couples without children visit this temple to get blessings for a child.
  • Hotel Check in
  • Dinner at the hotel

 

Day 10 | Explore Punakha valley (29th May)

Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten and visit Punakha Dzong

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, a 30 minute hike from the Punakha suspension bridge, amid viridian infused pastures and untouched jade-hued woodlands. Socialize with local farmers, glimpsing the simple and humble traditions of the Bhutanese people and their way of life. The Chorten was especially built by the queen mother for the well being of all living beings. It was built over the span of eight and a half years, with its design being drawn from religious scripture rather than architectural schematics.
  • Picnic Lunch at Zamling Thang near river side
  • Visit Punakha Dzong, which is the second largest and oldest fortress in Bhutan. Built in 1637, this Fortress continues to be the winter home for the central monastic body, headed by the Chief Abbott, Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from the distance.
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 11 | Drive back to Paro valley (30th May)

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

Visit Sangchhen Lhuendrup Nunnery

On our way back to Paro, we will visit the thriving nunnery located in a scenic location on a mountain ridge, which was financed by the maternal grand father of His Majesty the King, to serve as a Buddhist college for 120 resident nuns. This is an opportunity for us to get an insight in the life of nuns.  Along with leading a spiritual life, the nuns here are also taught tailoring, statue making, embroidery, and the famous thangka (scroll) painting. At the nunnery we will also see a stupa which resembles the Boudhanath stupa of Nepal.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit Sangchhen Lhuendrup Nunnery on our way to Paro valley
  • Lunch at a local restaurant in Punakha valley
  • Hotel check-in upon arriving Paro valley
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 12 | Explore Paro valley (31st May)

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 (1st June)

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 in the hotel
  • Set off early for the hike to Tigers Nest
  • Lunch at the cafeteria
  • Dinner in 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 in the hotel
  • Site seeing around Paro valley
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Dinner in the Hotel

 

Day 14 | Teaching with HH Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche  (2nd June)

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.

 

Day 15 | Teaching with HH Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche  (3rd June)

Receive Medicine Buddha empowerment from HH Kyabgon Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche

Day 16 | Fly back to Kathmandu (4th June)

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

Flight Details:

  • Tuesday 4th June, 2020
  • 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 (5th June)

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: 20th May – 5th June 2020

 

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 5th June)
  • 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 5th June. We are happy to arrange the drop-off for you upon request
  • Flight  to and from Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Bank transfer fee