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Bhutan: April-May Departures

Join this tour as it winds through breathtaking forests, lush valleys and alpine terrains for a unique journey into the countryside to witness stunning rhododendroms and alpine flowers. Visit monasteries along the way and marvel in the outstanding art and architecture in remote regions.

This exciting trip takes us to some of the most fascinating places within the majestic Himalayas renowned as The Last Shangri-La


Additional Info

April May 2011
12 days /11 Nights

Day 1 – Paro 
Fly into Himalayas with Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Air Carrier  The flight to Paro crosses the Himalaya Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan. Looking from the aircraft we will see the green wall of hills known as dooars, or gateways into Bhutan as well as the silver rivers that thread the valleys, and waterfalls plunging down the forested mountain side. As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, look down and you will see the Paro Dzong overlooking Paro Chu (river) and Ta Dzong, (watch tower) now the national museum. Upon arrival in Paro, we will be greeted by our representative and transferred to a local restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the Paro Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the current dzongs (forts). Later in the day we will take the 2 hour drive to Thimphu. Transfer to our hotel freshen up and then if we have time we will visit the paper factory. Overnight Hotel Thimphu. . (Monday 5th April)

Day 2:  Thimphu Sightseeing
After breakfast we will drive for approx. 45 minutes through magnificent country side to the start of our 45 minute hike to the Cheri Monastery. We will then drive to the Takin reserve, which contains Bhutan’s national animal. Return to Thimpu for a relaxing lunch. After lunch we will tour the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school), the Textile Museum and the Folk Heritage Museum. The evening we will be entertained by a local cultural performance. Overnight Hotel Thimpu. (Tuesday 6th April)

Day 3: Thimphu - Wangduephodrang, with excursion to Punakha
After breakfast we will drive to Wangduephodrang, with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you will have spectacular views of the Himalayas. We will drive to  Punakha the former capital of Bhutan, hear we will dine in a local restaurant.  After lunch we will visit Punakha Dzong, which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the first Shabdrung in 1637. On the way back from Punakha we will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lakhang, which is a fertility temple, where if you wish you may receive a special fertility blessing. Overnight in Wangduephodrang. (Wednesday 7th April)

Day 4: Wangduephodrang – Gantey 3 hour drive
After breakfast we will begin the day by driving to Gantey which will take approximately 3 hours. We will pass through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons and on arrival in Gantey village we will visit Gantey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. From Gantey, you can see the picturesque Black Mountain range as well as Phobjika Valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. In the afternoon we will take a short hike in this beautiful valley. Overnight in a hotel in Gangtey. (Thursday 8th April)

Day 5:  Gangtey – Bumthang 5 hours drive
This morning we will start early for our 5 hour drive to Bhumtang which is located in the heart of Bhutan, and is one of the Kingdom’s most attractive destinations for hiking, visiting interesting places or just relaxing. On the way we will stop at Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter-high Pele La, and at certain times of year it's possible to see yaks.  On the way we will visit the Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and you'll also see Ta Dzong, the watchtower built to defend this dzong. After lunch, you'll proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a yethra (textile weaving) factory, where the yethras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. You can spend the evening relaxing or strolling through Bumthang town. Overnight in Bumthang Guest house (Friday 9th April).


Day 06
Bumthang sightseeing After breakfast we will have the morning sightseeing. The afternoon and evening is free to explore this fascinating town.Overnight in Bumthang Guest house.  (Saturday 10th April)

Day 07 Bumthang – Tongza  3 hours drive
Today is an easy drive to Tongza on arrival we will lunch and then visit the magnificent Tongza Dzong. For those who are feeling energetic there is a great walk down to the river and a hike up to a fabulous viewpoint. Overnight Hotel (Sunday 11th April)


Day 08 Tongza – Punarka  6 hours
We will depart after breakfast for our return journey to Punarka. Today is a long drive we will stop on the way at a local restaurant for lunch. On arrival in Punarka we will drive to a local farm stay for the night. Tonight we will be entertained by the local people with a cultural performance. This home stay is a wonderful experience for everyone as we will be billeted out into 2 or 3 local farmhouses. Overnight in a Farm House in Punakha. (Monday 12th April)


Day 09  Wangduephodrang – Thimphu- Paro
In the morning we will hike for aprox. 2-/12 hours through local villages descending down to Punarka where our vehicle will meet us, then it is a short drive to the town of Punarka for lunch.  After lunch we will continue onto  Paro via Thimpu and transfer to our hotel. The afternoon is yours free to relax. Overnight Hotel Paro.  (Tuesday 13th April)

Day 10  Paro
After breakfast we will hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery. It’s a good half day hike, but as we have special  permission to visit the monastery the tour should take between 5-6 hours. The remainder of the day is your to stroll around the town of Paro. Overnight Hotel Paro (Wednesday  14th April)


Day 11  Paro – End of Tour Transfer to the airport for your onward journey  (Thursday 15th April)

Land Content US$3360 book before 30th September to receive a 20% discount
Introductory
  • All Airport Transfers
  • Excellent ground transport in Bhutan
  • 3 very clean comfortable traditional hotels and guest houses twin share accom.
  • All camping equipment and food and horse support. Guide cooking team
  • 3 first class meals per day whilst in Bhutan
  • Bottled Mineral Water
  • Bhutan Visa
  • All Sightseeing
  • Entry into all Monasteries
  • English speaking Bhutanese Guide.
  • Comprehensive Trip Notes
  • Australian Group Leader

 

Not Included:

  • International Airfare
  • Soft and Hard Drinks’
  • Airport Taxes International US$25 from Paro
  • Gratitudes allow approx. US$70 per person