Spiritual Journey to Bhutan with Lama Loten

TOUR OVERVIEW

During this tour you will explore the holiest spiritual sites and important cultural monuments of Bhutan, which provides 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, Punakha and Gangtey 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. We will further drive to Gangtey valley; also called Probjikha valley which is one of the most beautiful destinations in Bhutan. It is the winter home to a group of globally endangered black-necked cranes that arrive every year from the Tibetan Plateau. Set close to the centre of Bhutan, Gangtey is in a remarkably attractive glacial valley called Phobjikha. The region boasts various nature trails as well as a Crane Information Centre to educate visitors. Gangtey boasts its own important religious sites such as the Gangtey Goempa Monastery, situated at the head of the valley, from where you can take in exceptional views.

 

Date Activity/Valley Overnight
9/08/2019 Reception at Paro International Airport, visit Kyichu Lhakhang Hotel Olathang, Paro
10/08/2019 Visit Dra kharpo monastery Hotel Olathang, Paro
11/08/2019 Hike to Chumphu Lhakhang Hotel Olathang, Paro
12/08/2019 Drive towards Thimphu valley, visit Tachog and Changangkha Lhakhang Namgyel Heritage, Thimphu
13/08/2019 Hike Cheri monastery Namgyel Heritage, Thimphu
14/08/2019 Drive towards Punakha valley, visit Chimi Lhakhang Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
15/08/2019 Short Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, and visit Punakha Dzong Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
16/08/2019 Drive towards Gangtey valley, visit Gangtey Goempa Hotel Dewachen, Phobjekha
17/08/2019 Walk the Gangtey Natural Trail in the morning and drive back to Punakha valley Zhingkham Resort, Punakha
18/08/2019 Drive back to Paro valley, visit Sangchhen Lhuendrup Nunnery on the way Hotel Olathang, Paro
19/08/2019 Hike to Tiger Nest Hotel Olathang, Paro
20/08/2019 Receive Medicine Buddha Empowerment from HH Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche Hotel Olathang, Paro
21/08/2019 International departure

Day 01 | Arrive at Paro International Airport (9th August, Friday)

Reception at Paro International Airport

Altitude of Paro – 2200 m/ 7,382 ft

Flight Details:

  • Kathmandu, Nepal – Paro Bhutan
  • Bhutan Airlines – B3774
  • Time of Departure – 15:00 | Time of Arrival –  16:15
  • Baggage allowance: Checked baggage – 30 kg, and Cabin baggage – 5 kg

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth.

Program of the day:

  • Reception at Paro International Airport
  • 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 02 | Visit Dra karpo Monastery (10th August, Saturday)

Dra karpo monastery is built against the cliff, this monastery is most sacred place where Guru Rinpoche is said to have mediated, inside the monastery you will see huge stone which is as per the legend was shifted by Guru Rinpoche from the mountain side for making space for altar room. It is about 15 mins walk from the off road, the view from the Dra karpo is breath taking.

Program of the day:

  • 30 mins Drive to Dra Karpo road
  • Short hike toward the monastery
  • Picnic Lunch near the temple
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 03 |  Hike to Chumphu Monastery (11th August, Sunday)

Hiking distance – 4 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

 

Day 04 | Drive towards Thimphu city (12th August, Monday)

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

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

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 05 | Hike to Cheri Monastery (13th August, Tuesday)

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
  • Visit Painting school, The National Institute for Zorig Chusum which provides instructions in Bhutan’s 13 traditionla arts. Students specialise in painting (furniture, thangkas – painted religious pictures, usually on canvas), woodcarving (masks, statues, bowls), embroidery (hangings, boots, cloths) or statue – making (clay). The showroom sells good – value pieces made by students.
  • Visit Institute of Traditional Medicine Services, which is established in 1988, one of the most interesting facilities in Thimphu is the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. There is an impressive, large laboratory and production facility that ensures the quality of the products, the components of which may include plants, minerals, animal parts, precious metals and gems. The institute collects medicinal plants from remote corners of the Bhutanese Himalaya, such as Lingzhi, Laya and Lunana, and then distributes pills, tablet, ointments and medicinal teas to regional health – care units around the country. The small museum details some of the 300 herbs, minerals and animal parts that Bhutanese doctors have to choose from.
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

 

Day 06 | Drive towards Punakha (14th August, Wednesday)

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 07 | Explore Punakha valley (15th August, Thursday)

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, a mere 20 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 Dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, 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 08 | Drive towards Phobjikha (16th August, Friday)

Altitude of Phobjikha valley –  3100m

Driving distance Punakha to Phobjikha valley – 3hours (80km)

Start early today for Phobjikha via Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then finally onto Phobjikha valley with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo farmhouses and temples dot the landscape. The wide and picturesque Phobjikha valley is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau.

Visit Gangtey Goempa (Monastery), an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhiam, the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition. Monastery’s history traces to the early 17th century and back to the prophecies made by the well- known Terton (treasure finder) Pema Lingpa in the late 15th century. In 1613, his grandson, and reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, fulfilled the prophecy by building a Nyingma temple at the location. Kuenzang Chholing, the long white building nearby, is where monks go to meditate for three years, three months, and three days.

Programs of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Set off early for the drive towards Phobjikha valley
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Visit Gantey Goempa
  • Dinner at the hotel

 

Day 09 | Drive towards Punakha valley(17th August, Saturday)

Driving distance Phobjikha valley to Punakha valley – 3 hours (80km)

A pleasurable walk (around 1 hour) that gives a nice feeling for Phobjikha valley. It is the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. From the small hilltop overlooking Gangtey Goemba, head downhill through flower meadows to Semchubara village and from here through beautiful forests and into the open valley. After passing a chorten and Khewa Lhakhang, the trail ends at the local community school.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Chcek-out from the hotel
  • Set off for Gangtey Natural trail after handing over your luggage to BLZ team
  • Drive back to Punakha valley
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Hotel check-in upon arriving Punakha valley
  • Dinner at the hotel

 

Day 10 | Drive back to Paro valley (18th August, Sunday)

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 built by the royal maternal grandfather of HM 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 painting. At the nunnery we will also see a stupa which resembles 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 11 | Hike to Tigers Nest (19th August, Monday)

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

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 / Tiger’s Nest, one of the most important cultural icons of Bhutan. After breakfast drive towards the base of Tigers, and begin our hike through the pine and rhododendron forests till you reach the YoselgangLhakhang. We will also pass by the Zangdopelri, which is the mystical Glorious Copper Colored Mountain of Guru Rinpoche (the patron saint of Bhutan) also the ‘heaven on earth’ and you can actually enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Taktsang Monastery from above.  A little 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

 

Day 12 | Receive Medicine Buddha Empowerment from HH Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche (20th August, Tuesday)

Brief Biography of His Holiness Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche

HH Ngawang Tenzin is a high reincarnation of the Drukpa Kagu lineage of Buddhism in Bhutan. He is regarded as one of the most revered teachers of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in Bhutan. He is the reincarnation of Druputob Chenpo Jinpa Gyeltshen who was alive in the 18th century.

At the age of 45, the Royal government of Bhutan and the center monastic body chose him to become Tshenye Lopen, which means he is now the recognized as a philosophy master. Five years later, he became Dorji Lopen (Vajra master) and oversaw the monasteries and monastic practice of Drukpa Kaygu lineage in Bhutan.

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • We will visit Drangjay Goempa situated near HH Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche’s retreat center, which was built in the 9th century by one of the Gyalwa Yangönoa’s reincarnate, Bara Wa Gyeltshen Pelzang from Tibet. We will receive Medicine Buddha Empowerment from HH in the monastery.
  • Lunch at the monastery with HH and the monks
  • Take Leisure walk around Paro town
  • Dinner at the Hotel

 

Day 13 | Fly back to Kathmandu (21st August, Wednesday)

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

Flight Details:

  • 1st August, Wednesday,2019
  • Paro Bhutan – Kathmandu Nepal
  • Bhutan Airlines – B30773
  • Time of Departure – 08:30 | Time of Arrival – 09:20
  • Baggage allowance: Checked baggage – 30 kg, and Cabin baggage – 5 kg

Program of the day:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Airport drop-off

 

 

 

Trip Highlights:
  • 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
  • Explore Gangtey valley, the most beautiful valley in Bhutan
  • Receive Medicine Buddha empowerment from His Holiness Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche
Travel Duration: 9th – 21st August 2019

Paro – 6N | Thimphu – 2N | Punakha – 3N | Gangtey – 1N

Bhutan tour package price per person

For double occupancy For single occupancy
USD USD

 

The above Bhutan tour package price includes the followings:
  • 3 star accommodations in Bhutan
  • All meals in Bhutan
  • English speaking local tour guides in Bhutan
  • All internal ground transportations in Bhutan, including airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) in Bhutan
  • Visa fee for Bhutan
  • Mineral drinking water
  • All entrance fees in Bhutan
The above Bhutan 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
  • International Air fares (USD 450 Kathmandu – Paro – Kathmandu)
  • Bank transfer fees
Please bring:
  • Warm jacket as it may get cold in the Gangtey valley
  • Summer cloths as during the day it will be very warm
  • Good leather or waterproof fabric boots or shoes with good soles for hiking
  • A jumper/sweater, denim jeans, and scarfs
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sandals and flip-flops
  • Backpacks to carry your snack food and drinking water during the long day tour
  • Hat, sunglasses, sun cream and lip balm, for the strong Himalayan sun
  • A good torch for dark temple murals
  • Easy-to-forget toiletries like dental floss and motion sickness medication.
  • Ear plugs – essential against nocturnal barking dogs
What to wear

Bhutan has a fairly formal dress code for both Bhutanese and visitors. For men, a shirt with a collar, preferably long sleeves, and long trousers are required to enter a temple or monastery. For women to enter monasteries and temples, a long skirt (covering to the ankle) or trousers are required and a shirt with long or short sleeves. Bare shoulders and bare legs are not permitted in temples or monasteries (f. ex. do not wear tank tops, spaghetti straps, shorts, or skirts above the ankle). One set of slightly nice clothes is good for hotel dinners. Remember to dress in layers as temperatures vary a lot during the day, especially in spring and summer. A compact umbrella or rain jacket is useful any time of the year. We recommend you wear slip-on shoes, as you’ll need to take them off at every temple or monastery.

Additional information regarding dress:
For women, we can arrange for you to buy traditional Bhutanese skirts, which are very easy to wear, and it would look even more respectful and elegant while visiting monasteries and fortresses. A simple cotton skirt would cost between € 15 – € 30.