Himalayan Heaven - discover the 'Wonders of Bhutan'

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Highlights

  • Find your inner zen in spectacular landscapes
  • Attend Bhutan’s colourful Literary Festival
  • Marvel at ancient monasteries & Dzongs
  • Travel amidst the happiest people on our planet
  • Play ‘dress ups’ in Paro
  • Enjoy a fully hosted journey with like-minded ladies

Key Facts

  •   Bhutan

  •   Great for book lovers & zen seekers

  •   10 days

  •   Escorted by Sarah Hoyland

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan remains enigmatic, unspoilt and deeply spiritual. Off limits to travellers until 1974, today the country continues to preserve its customs and age‐old traditionsand is regarded as one of the world's last ‘Shangri‐La's’.

Our journey through the Kingdom of Happiness begins in the bustling capital,Thimphu, where we will not only visit the Memorial Chorten & Pangri Zampa, we will be honoured guests at the Opening Ceremony of ’Mountain Echoes’‐ Bhutan’s annual Festival of Literature, Art & Culture.

From Thimpu we journey to Punakha over the stunning Dochu‐la Pass, through emerald valleys set against a backdrop of Himalayan peaks. Around Punakha we explore ancient spiritual, cultural & historical sites including the ‘Palace of Great Happiness’ and Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorte.

We will experience Bhutanese rural life, spending time with families in traditional homes in Nobgang & Taro villages, chanting with mini monks and visiting a nunnery before travelling retracing our steps through stunning valleys dotted with ancient chortens and monasteries to reach Paro. We will wander the street stores bursting with antiques and traditional Bhutanese artworks and have the opportunity to hike to 'Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery. Perched on a rocky ledge 900m above the Paro Valley floor this is a once-in-a-lifetime hike to a profoundly spiritual destination.  We celebrate our final evening in Bhutan with a Gala Dinner dressed in traditional ‘Kira’ (Bhutanese attire).

Join us on this exceptional journey to experience Bhutan ‐ where the religion is uplifting, the air is pure, the architecture inspiring, the mountains magnificent and the people are absolutely delightful!

 

Itinerary Details

Day 1 | Bangkok | 1 night

There are no connecting flights from Australia to Paro so an overnight enroute is required. In Bangkok you will be met and transferred to the Amaranth Hotel for an overnight stay

Day 2 | Thimpu | 3 nights

Welcome to Bhutan!  On arrival in Paro today we will transfer straight to Thimpu, where we will spend three nights at the Hotel Osel, nestled in the heart of Thimpu with views of the Golden Buddha and Tashicho Dzong. This evening we will attend the opening ceremony of Mountain Echoes, the Festival of Literature, Art and Culture and enjoy a welcome dinner.

Day 3 | Thimpu

This morning take a short drive to Pangri Zampa, the 16th century monastery located in the north of Thimpu, and enjoy an interactive session with the monks before discovering the highlights of Thimpu including the Textile Museum, the National Library, the Institute for Zorig Chusum (Arts & Crafts School) and the Folk Heritage Museum. After lunch attend the Mountain Echoes Festival ‐ Bhutan's annual Literary Festival ‐ before ending your day with a visit to the Tashicho Dzong ‐ a Buddhist monastery and fortress.

Day 4 | Thimpu

After breakfast, attend the morning sessions at Mountain Echoes before taking a drive to the Centenary Farmers' Market. Visit the Bhutan 'Postal Museum Post Office' with the curator and make your own Bhutanese stamps before proceeding to the Drubthob Goemba (the only nunnery in Thimpu) and finally the Memorial Chorten ‐ the stupa built in memory of Bhutan's Third King |This evening enjoy an interactive dinner with the delegates of Mountain Echoes.

Day 5 | Punakha | 2 nights

Enroute to Punakha, view the 108 chortens or stupas at Dochula Pass, before checking in to Hotel Lobhesa in time for lunch. This afternoon visit arguably the most photographed Dzong in Bhutan - the Punakha Dzong (Palace of Great Happiness) before cossing the longest suspension bridge in the country over the Pho Chu River.  

Day 6 | Punakha

Visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery before taking a short hike to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten. Enjoy lunch by the riverside before experiencing Bhutanese rural life in the villages of Nobgang & Talo. Late afternoon we will wander through picturesque rice paddies to reach Chimi Lakhang dedicated to the 'Divine Madman' and will marvel at the wall art on the houses of the narby village of Sopsokha.

Day 7 | Paro | 3 nights

Depart Punakha on the scenic road trip retracing our steps to Paro.  En-route visit Simtokha Dzong ‐ the oldest fortress in Bhutan and stop at Ta Dzong and Rinpung Dzong ‐ both unique and with a fascinating history. Check in to Le Meridien and spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Day 8 | Paro

Embark on a fascinating excursion to the famous Taktshang Monastery known as 'Tiger's Nest' (this is optional as the hike is quite arduous). This afternoon drive to the base of Drukgyel Dzong, a 17th century fortress, and visit an colourful & traditionally built Bhutanese farmhouse.

Day 9 | Paro

Enjoy a drive to Chelela Pass ‐ one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan at an elevation of 3,988m above sea level before embarking on a walk (1hr) to Kila Gompa ‐ a nunnery that houses 7 temples & 70 nuns. After lunch wander the stores that line the main street of Paro.  They are a treasure trove of antiques, artworks, jewellery and traditional Bhutanese clothing.  For our final evening in Bhutan wee will dress up in a 'Kira' and delight in a cultural performance followed by a gala dinner. 

Day 10 | Homeward bound

Transfer to the airport to begin your journey home or continue with your onward arrangements. You may wish to stop over in Bangkok or extend your jouney to visit Ladakh or travel further into India. Almost anything is possible so please contact us if you would like to discuss extensions and additional arrangements.



Key Facts

Escorted by Sarah Hoyland and Andrea Powis
Start: Thimpu | Finish: Thimpu
ESTIMATED* start date 20 August - 30 August 2020
From US $4,300 per person twin share
Single supplement from US$ 1,750
*the start date will be determined by the Mountain Echoes Literature Festival dates which are yet to be released for 2020
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