The land of a 1001 Chateaux
June 13th, 2021 – June 25th, 2021
The land of a 1001 Chateaux
June 13th, 2021 – June 25th, 2021
Sacred Destination Journey
DATES TO COME
Get a glimpse of the living culture of Bhutan
Experience Bhutan’s wilderness and rustic lifestyles on a drive through its picturesque villages.
Take a hike up to the Tiger’s Nest and relax in the sanctity of its blessings.
Trek the sacred mountains to a luxury camp
Soak and cleanse physically and emotionally in a therapeutic hot stone bath while you dine with a local family in a rustic farmhouse.
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL - TRANSFER TO THIMPHU (2300 MASL)
Arrival in Bhutan is an experience by itself as you fly past eight of the ten highest mountains in the world including Mount Everest and Bhutan’s very own Chomolhari. Samsara Asia team will welcome you at the Paro International Airport and transfer to Thimphu.
National Memorial Chorten: the spiritual centre of residents of Thimphu valley, the National Memorial Chorten offers a place of respite for the Bhutanese devotees and visitors alike. The Tibetan-styled stupa is one of a kind architecturally speaking, but the energy of elderly devotees circumambulating, chanting and turning giant prayer wheels is particularly charming and contagious. Make a mandala offering to the protecting deities for a fruitful trip and in gratitude.
Takin Reserve and Sangaygang: Evening drive to Sangaygang and visit the Takin Reserve. The takin is a unique ungulate animal with an interesting mythical history to its evolution. Take it slow today to acclimatize and relax. Walk down from the tower with a view of Thimphu valley.
DAY 2 - THIMPHU VALLEY
National Textile Museum: Bhutan’s living art of thagzo (weaving) is one of the 13 arts and crafts practiced to this day. Learn to wear the national dress (gho for men and kira for women). The museum exhibits live weaving with major weaving techniques, styles and textiles made by different regions of Bhutan.
Jungshing Handmade Paper Factory: Traditional handmade papers made from the bark of daphe species are used to this day to print and handwrite Buddhist scripts. The process of making desho paper is on display with various products for sale.
Farmer’s Market: Sitting on the banks of the Wangchu (river), the Centennial Farmer’s market is the hub of farmers from 20 districts. From local organic vegetables, fruits and rice to dried meat, local honey, homemade food and incense of all kinds are available for the residents of Thimphu. Across a cantilever bridge on the other side of the river, a variety of handicrafts from Bhutan and the South Asian region are on display.
Craft Bazaar: This line of temporary sheds is specially dedicated to authentic Bhutanese arts and crafts from all over Bhutan.
Buddha Dordenma: The 51 meter tall statue of Buddha Dordenma sits physically and metaphorically overlooking the Thimphu valley.
Gross National Happiness: - A presentation by Bhutan’s premier happiness research institutions; This will cover Bhutan’s development philosophies, its climate action, and challenges and opportunities as a small, developing nation.
DAY 3 - THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA (1,300 MASL)
Punakha valley is the ancient capital of Bhutan and the seat of the first secular and religious head of Bhutan, the Zhabdrung. It now serves as the winter residence of the religious head of the state, the Je Khenpo.
Dochula: A very dramatic drive over the mountain pass of Dochu La (3050 masl) with its 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens (stupa) and meditation caves. Weather permitting, the view of the Himalayan ranges is spectacular from this point. With a café and meditation caves around the area, spend some time and start hike down toward the Botanical Park for a picnic lunch.
Chime Lhakhang: The legendary Chime Lhakhang is a sacred temple built in honour of the Divine Mad Man, Drukpa Kuenley and legend of the phallus that conquered all evils obstructing the spread of Buddhism in Tibet and Bhutan. On a more profound level, the temple and its legendary icon exposes mediocrity and hypocrisies of the mind often cloaked in religious sanctity.
DAY 4 - PUNAKHA VALLEY
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal: Take a short mindful walk through a charming village dotted with rice fields dotted and prayer flags to a stunning monument overlooking the Punakha valley. Sit in stillness at the main altar contemplating in mindful awareness.
Punakha Dzong: Lonely Planet describes this 17th Century monument as "arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country." The formal capital of Bhutan, home to the relics of Bhutan’s first ruler, Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, and the winter residence of the monastic order of Bhutan, Punakha Dzong sits on an island between the male and female glacial fed rivers.
Village of Talo Nobgang: Talo is home of the Queen Mothers of Bhutan, a heritage village that still holds Bhutan’s rustic authenticity. A short drive to Nobgang and visit the nunnery.
DAY 5: PUNAKHA TO GANGTEY/PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
Enroute to Bumthang valley, we will make a detour of the valley of the Black-necked Cranes. In Gangtey, visit the ancient Gangtey monastery, one of the ornately renovated architectural display of Bhutan.
Take a short hike (one hour) through the Nature Trail developed and maintained by the community of Phojihka and drop down to the RAMSAR protected wetland valley, passing though the Black-necked Crane roosting ground. Visit the Crane Centre for a historical and natural perspective of the valley run by Bhutan’s first conservation organization, the Royal Society for Protection of Nature.
Spend an evening with the host family and run a Hot-stone bath spa before joining a family dinner.
Overnight Gangtey farmhouse stay.
DAY 6 - GANGTEY TO BUMTHANG (30 MIN VIA FLIGHT): NEYKOR IN SACRED BUMTHANG VALLEY
Bumthang is the spiritual and cultural hub of Bhutan with over 40 sacred temples in the picturesque valley. Land of the tertons or treasure revealers, this sacred destination is steeped in history of the nobility of Bhutan and tantric secret teachings.
Overnight: Rinchenling Resort
DAY 7 - SACRED BUMTHANG VALLEY DAY HIKE
Jambay Lhakhang: One of the 108 temples built by the great Tibetan King Songsten Gambo, Jambay Lhakhang is the seat of the Maitriya, the future Buddha.
Kurjey (1652): Walk across the valley toward Kurjey Lhakhang where the body print of Guru Rinpoche is housed.
Me-bar tsho (burning lake): Mebar Tsho is a gorge but considered one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan for a pilgrim. A short meditation session and the historical narrative of Guru Rinpoche’s tertons (treasure revealers) of prophecy.
Overnight Rinchenling Resort
DAY 8: BUMTHANG TO PARO VALLEY (25 MIN. FLIGHT)
Paro is the rice bowl of Bhutan with a farming community that stretches throughout the valley. Every year, the oldest thongdrol (that which liberates on sight) is unfurled in the National Museum.
National Museum: The museum is housed in the Tadzong (a watchtower) and an opportunity to observe a large collection of artifacts providing an introduction to the rich culture and heritage of Bhutan. A short talk on mindfulness by the author of the Mindful Living in Bhutn.
Paro Rinpung Dzong: A short walk down the hill is the Paro Dzong with its architectural splendour and Neymey Zam, a cantilever bridge as we walk the ancient path toward Tshongdue.
Overnight Janka Resort, Paro
DAY 9 - PARO VALLEY AND TIGER’S NEST TREK
Tiger’s Nest: Overlooking the picturesque Paro valley and perched high on a cliff is Bhutan’s iconic landmark, the Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest. First built in 1692 at the site of a meditation cave, legend has it that Guru Rinpoche (the lotus born) flew on the back of a tigress and meditated in the same cave to subdue a demon-ess.
The hike requires approximately 2 hours climb to the temple complex. and make a descent down the same way to Ramthankha (45 minutes to 1 hours). Overnight Paro.
DAY 10 - PARO VALLEY
Slow day today and spend half a day at Your Café with a meditation session. Alternatively drive and visit Chelela and Kila Nunnery with a picnic lunch.
In the afternoon, stroll through Paro town shopping for souvenirs and interacting with local residents. Overnight Paro.
DAY 11: HOMEBOUND
Transfer to the airport for onward travel
Guided tour with a licensed, English-speaking tour guide
Twin Sharing Accommodation (minimum 3 star hotel with private attached bathroom. Single room available for a surcharge)
Three daily meals (B,L,D)
Visa management and visa fee
Comfortable tour vehicle with a special licensed driver
Government taxes, SDF, service charges
Full service and assistance before, during and after the trip
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
International and domestic flights to and from Bhutan
Any domestic flights
Alcoholic beverages at the hotel
Expenses of personal nature
Meals at 4 star and above
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