A tour of 9 nights including 1 night in Thimpu, 2 in Punakha, 2 in Gangtey, 2 in Bumthang and 2 in Paro, with a base in the spectacular Amankora hotels.
Arrival to Paro, customs procedure and luggage collection. Welcome by a private English-speaking guide followed by a journer by road to the city of Thimpu (90mins), capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan Arrival to our accommodation the Amankora Thimpu Lodge. Lunch included on arrival. During this first day, we will first enjoy the wonderful views of the valley and the spectacular Dzong Trashi Chhoe, followed by the opportunity to enjoy fabulous visits during the morning including the statue of the Buddha Dordenma, Chorten National Memorial and the Folk Heritage Museum. Dinner included in the hotel.
Thimphu-Dochu La-Punakha. Breakfast at the lodge. Early in the morning, we will depart by road to Punakha, continuing our journey through the winding local roads, ascending to 3000m above sea level of the Dochu La pass, which offers beautiful views of its more than 108 images of Budha, with an incredible mountain landscape, especially on clear days. Picnic lunch included.
From there, we will continue down the valley with a short walk through the farms and rice paddies to reach Chimmi Lhakhang, a fifteenth-century fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint, perhaps better known as the “Divine Fool”. This site has long been a pilgrimage for couples who want to start a family. After arrivl at our spectacular accommodation: the Amankora Punakha Lodge there will be time to rest. Dinner included.
Breakfast at the hotel. Early in the morning, we will begin a full day of exploration through the exuberant valley of Punakha, which at 1,200m above sea level always has a warmer climate and in which, among others bananas and oranges are easily grown.
The morning begins with a short walk through the farms and farmland to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a Sanctuary recently built by the royal family.
Return walk to the lodge with lunch included.
Going deeper into the valley, the 300-year-old Punakha Dzong appears. The fortress, built in the XVII century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (who founded the Kingdom of Bhutan), once housed the government of the country and is now the winter home of Je Khenpo, the chief abbot of Bhutan, along with a retinue of 1,000 monks.
Return to the hotel for a free afternoon, where you can rest and enjoy the spectacular scenery or practice the national sport of the country, archery. Dinner included in the lodge.
Early breakfast at the lodge followed by a journey of approximately 2 and a half hours by road towards the east of the country, in the direction of the Phobjikha valley. The journey first follows the course of the Mo Chhu (Male river) and then the course of the Dang Chhu (Dang River), in a very beautiful landscape of forests with imposing oaks, before crossing the Pele La pass and beginning to descend to the heart of the valley, where our lodging will be located: the Amankora Gangtey Lodge.
Lunch included on arrival with stunning views of the entire valley.
In the afternoon, we will have time to get lost in the streets of the village of Gangtey, where we will visit Gangtey Goemba, which is a Buddhist monastic school, as well as an important monastery with hundreds of years of history.
Return to the lodge and free time before dinner (included).
Breakfast at the lodge Early in the morning, a very special activity awaits us: we will hike through wooded paths and pine forests, before ascending to a spectacular viewpoint over the mountain, which will offer us incredible views of the entire Phobjikha Valley. The 3 hours hike is medium-high level and it is convenient to be well acclimatized to the elevation of almost 3,500m at the highest point, being possible to tailor the ride in coordination with the private guide, to reduce the hardness of the route, shortening the itinerary.
Lunch included in the lodge upon return.
The afternoon will bring us a quieter activity, after the morning’s effort, visiting the conservation center of the Black necked Cranes, which migrate to the valley during the winter and are protected species in the region. Return to the lodge to rest followed by dinner (included).
After an early breakfast at the lodge time to leave the Phobjikha valley, retracing our steps on the Pele La pass, where we will have a new opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views of the area, before continuing our way to the Bumthang valley. The tour will take us all day by road, visiting en route the spectacular village of Tronsa, one of the most important valleys of antiquity that today still retains a Dzong on the mountainside, with incredible views of all area. Picnic lunch included.
Continuing our route, we will reach the Yatang La pass, which will allow us to enter the Chhume valley, home to the most famous looms in the country, the Yathra looms, where we will have time to observe how some of the country’s most traditional costumes are made.
After this visit we will arrive at the Bumthang Valley, where our accommodation will be located: the Amankora Bumthang Lodge which also shares gardens with the former Royal Palace of Wangdichoeling.
Time to rest and enjoy the lodge’s facilities after a long day on the road. Dinner included at the lodge.
After an early breakfast at the lodge we will visit Jambay Lhakhang, where at the beginning of the winter some of the most important festivals that bless the local population are organized. Next, we will visit Kujey Lhakhang, considered one of the most sacred places in the country, as it is considered one of the first Buddhist temples in the country and the place where Guru Rinpoche, the main defender of Buddhism in the country lived. From there, we will go for a gentle walk that will take us to the Tamshing Monastery. After this, we will cross the Bumthang River on our way to Bumthap, where we will have the chance to enjoy a lunch based on very traditional food, in the kitchen from a local family.
In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to visit the local brewery RED PANDA, as well as learn about the different local cheese making processes, with is used in most of the typical dishes of the country, such as EMA DATSHI, which is a mixture of cheese and chili, with potatoes and beans accompanied by white rice.
Return to the lodge at sunset, with time to rest. Dinner included at the lodge.
Breakfast at the lodge followed by transfer to the local airport of Bumthang, for a 45 minute domestic flight to the Paro valley.
Upon our arrival to Paro, we will cross the entire valley until we reach our accommodation in the exclusive Lodge Amankora Paro that has a spectacular location in a lush pine forest. Lunch included at the lodge.
In the afternoon, we can enjoy the facilities of the lodge, or have the option to take a bike ride through the valley. We can also try our luck with archery, taking advantage of the lodge’s private shooting range. In addition, at sunset, we can enjoy the spectacular view of the ruins of the Dzong Drukgyel and we may be able to see in the distance the snow peak of Mount Jomolhari, which rises 7326m above sea level and separates Bhutan and Tibet. Dinner included at the lodge.
Breakfast at the hotel. The historic Paro Valley is the center of the activities of our last day of visits, which culminates with a visit to the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, also known as the Taktsang Monastery, one of the most important architectural pieces of Bhutan. According to legend, this cliff is where Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, taking Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet.
The trip starts early to avoid the heat of the sun during the two-hour climb to the “Tiger’s Nest” viewpoint, a steep walk past a waterfall and ending between beautiful murals at the main entrance of the monastery. If time permits, there is the possibility of going further to visit other remote temples. After lunch (included, either a Picnic or in a traditional local house) we will return to the lodge and enjoy a well-deserved rest after the physical effort of the morning.
Dinner included at the Lodge.
Breakfast at the lodge. At the agreed time, we will begin the last day of visits visiting the National Museum, which brings together one of the largest collections of antiquities in the country, as well as offering a review of all the geography of the country and its singularities.
Next, we will visit the Dzong de Paro, which offers beautiful views of the valley, before the private transfer to the airport for the return flight.