In Bhutan in high spirits

In Bhutan in High Spirits

How many times in life have you longed for tranquil moments away from the chaos? How many times have you wanted to be free? How many times were you actually happy? Keeping these in mind, this “In Bhutan in High Spirits” itinerary is crafted purely concentrating on the happiness and freedom of mind of our clients doing this tour. Feel the feel of the Bhutanese hospitality amidst unique culture and undisturbed nature and get lost in a life time’s experience. Travel worry-free and feel the real freedom of mind.

The fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH) when he emphasized that progress should not only bring about material development but also social wellbeing and happiness. Today, Gross National Happiness is the yardstick for measuring development in the country and not Gross Domestic Product. Gross National Happiness as a development philosophy over the years has under gone massive alterations as researchers and scholars have worked to make it practical and measurable.

Tour Highlights – Detailed Itinerary

  • Opportunity to explore and understand different aspects of Bhutan and way of life in Bhutan.
  • Opportunity to visit the Dochula Pass, one of the must visit place in Bhutan.
  • Opportunities to walk around less touristy places and villages in Punakha.
  • Travel hassle free with your own guide and driver. Travel as per your convenience and visit places as per your interest. We are flexible with the itineraries except for the confirmed overnight destinations. Enjoy a real holiday.
  • Personal attention by the tour operators.
  • A private traditional cultural show and experience of the traditional hotel stone bath.
  • Wonderful day hike to the abode of gods and monks, the world famous, Taktshang Monastery (Tigers’ nest)
  • Visit to the age old Lhakhang (Monasteries/ temples) and dzongs ( Fortress)
  • Opportunity to explore villages, visit to village houses and interact with local people.
  • Opportunity to play archery (the national game of Bhutan) and many more.

Detailed Itinerary – In Bhutan in High Spirits

Day 1, Paro – Thimphu:

Driving Distance: 65 km, Driving Time: 1.5 Hr, Altitude of Paro: 2280 m.

On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan. Many travellers have termed the landing very much adventurous.

On arrival you will be welcomed by your Bhutanese guide from Neptune Holidays Bhutan with “Tashi Khadar”, and small welcome gift with a welcome note from your Bhutanese host.

Drive to Thimphu and check in Hotel. Lunch with a Buddhist Rinpoche.

After lunch, drive to the Botanical garden, interact with the Rinpoche in regards to Buddhism and meditation. We shall also practice meditation. The Buddhist meditation covers a variety of meditation techniques with the objective to develop mindfulness, concentration, tranquillity, insight, etc. Bhutan has been trying to inculcate Gross National Happiness values in schools and meditation is one of them.

Discover the inner peace within you and cherish the tranquil moments you had always longed for.

This shall be done in the open ground in the botanical garden among the green nature.

After dusk, drive to Zilukha for the photography of the “night view of the Tashichhodzong”. Enjoy your work here and Capture this beautiful moment to cherish back at home.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 2, Thimphu:

Altitude of Thimphu: 2350 m.

After breakfast, sightseeing includes;

Sangaygang view point: (2685 meters) to have view of whole Thimphu valley and walk through hundreds of colourful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley.

Takin Preserve Centre. The Takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region.

Changangkha Monastery: This monastery is built on a hill overlooking the Thimphu valley. It was built in 15th Century by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo. Many parents of Thimphu take their new born babies to this monastery to be blessed by a high lama.

The Folk Heritage Museum: Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck the museum is one of a kind that portrays the lifestyle of a family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days.

Enjoy a typical Bhutanese lunch at Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant,

After lunch, visit,

Draktsho Institute:  This school was established with an objective to empower children & youth with special needs to become self-reliant, making a living & lead a contended life overcoming barriers.

(Note: If we are not able to visit the school due any unforeseen reasons, we shall visit any other such organization like Tarayana Foundation.)

Other sightseeing includes:

Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west.

National Memorial Chorten: This Chorten was built in the honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chorten is also a centre of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues.

In the evening, visit:

Tashichhodzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Tashichhodzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.

A private Traditional Cultural Show before Dinner.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 3, Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdue:

Driving Distance: 76 km, Driving Time: 2.5 – 3 hr, Altitude of Punakha: 1310 m. 

After breakfast, drive to Punakha. On the way, stop for a while in Dochula.

Dochula pass is the most known pass in Bhutan, about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang/Punakha. It is at around 3150 m height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed to bring multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.

After an approx. 20 minutes’ drive from Dochula, visit the Royal Botanical Park.

Royal Botanical Park – Situated at an altitude range of 2100 meters – 3800 meters, the park covers an area of 47 square kilometres and is located between Thimphu and Punakha. The park contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species such as Himalayan yew, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blood pheasants and Himalayan Monal. You can also find Tetracentron (an ancient relict angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk) in the park. The park has 14.5 km of trails for eco trek for cycling and walking and one of the main attractions is the rhododendron garden including a picnic spot with children’s playground.

Lunch in Punakha. After lunch, visit, the Punakha Dzong. This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tshechu (Festival) is held here. The monk body resides in this Dzong in winter.

Then take a short and easy hike through the villages and Paddy fields to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang. This temple is located on the way to Punakha. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15th century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Devine Madman.

In the evening explore the Punakha and Wangdue Valley.

Dinner and overnight at in Hotel.

Day 4, Punakha/Wangdue:

After breakfast, excursion to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Monastery. This chorten is built on a ridge above the Punakha valley. It took around nine years to build the chorten. It is said that the Bhutanese craftsmen consulted Holy Scriptures to construct this 4 storey temple. The temple was built by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. The walk through the paddy fields and villages shall be beautiful and interesting.

Then drive to Wangdue. Lunch at Wangdue. After lunch, visit,

Rinchengang village: it is small and clustered valley located opposite to Wangduephodrang Dzong. It is about 20 minutes hike uphill from the near road.

Meet the villagers and interact with them. You shall also see the ruins of Wangduephodrang Dzong, which was destroyed by Fire in 2012 is being rebuilt now.

In the evening, drive back to Punakha and leisure time for exploring the Punakha town and valley,

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 5, Punakha – Paro:

Driving Distance: 140 km (approx.), Driving Time: 4-5 hr, Altitude of Paro: 2280 m.

After breakfast, drive to Paro. Lunch in Paro, after lunch, visit;

Rinpung Dzong:  Meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. The Dzong now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for around 200 monks of Paro and was built at the same time of Drukgyel Dzong. The famous Paro Tshechu (festival) is held here in spring.

Ta Dzong: It overlooks the Rimpung Dzong and was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This Dzong is Round, more like parts of a European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangka, etc.

In the evening, visit a handicraft shop and try the traditional Bhutanese Dress and also archery, the national game of Bhutan. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 6, Paro:

After breakfast, start your day with a hike to the abode of gods and monks would be a pretty good start. It shall be taken care of that the time shall be yours for the hike, no hurries and no worries. Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze and views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating and shall let you feel the real freedom of mind and happiness.

Taktshang Monastery: The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rinpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay.  This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.

Today we shall have a picnic Lunch among the woods.

After lunch, visit,

Drukgyel Dzong: This Dzong is in ruins now. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and is now preserved as heritage site. The Dzong is situated in Drukgyel, overlooking the beautiful village with Mount Chomolhari in the background. The Dzong was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invaders led by Mongolian warlord, Gushri Khan.

We have a special program for you today for you the feel a pure Bhutanese hospitality.  After the visit to the Drukgyel Dzong, drive to a Bhutanese farm house and relax in traditional hot stone bath 

Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

After the bath we shall prepare for a typical Bhutanese dinner in a typical Bhutanese house.

Meet the owner and interact with her with regards to the plans for today’s dinner. We would encourage you to take part in preparing today’s typical Bhutanese dinner. A new experience and feeling, the group work should be something that you would cherish your whole life.

Dinner and overnight at the Bhutanese farm House.

Day 7, Departure:

After breakfast, Drive to airport and farewell.

Important Notes – In Bhutan in High Spirits

The comfort, convenience and interest of the travelers is very important to us. We are flexible with this “In Bhutan in High Spirits” itinerary . Sightseeing can be done as per the convenience and interests of the guests. If it is of interest to the guest, they may choose to visit places that may not be in the itinerary, except for the change of overnight destination.

We reserve the right to change this “In Bhutan in High Spirits” itinerary or hotels anytime as may be required to, in case of unforeseen contingencies (natural/man made) or unavailability of hotels.

Some of the sites to be visited may be closed on government holidays or during breaks. In such cases we shall do other sightseeing in its place.

This “In Bhutan in High Spirits” itinerary can be tailor made for any duration or within any destination and can be combined with any kind of activities such as trekking, rafting, walking tour, cycling , etc.

It is advisable to book this “In Bhutan in High Spirits” tour at least 6 months prior to the travel date because of limited Bhutan tourism infrastructures and inventories.