Starts any day. January to December8 days from $3795.00
Arrive Paro & Thimphu, Bhutan
Welcome to Bhutan. Arrive at Paro airport, where you are met by your driver and guide.
Drive through spectacular mountain scenery and serene countryside to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. Sandwiched in the heart of the Himalayas, Thimphu is a small, charming capital city. All the buildings are constructed and painted in the traditional Bhutanese style. Visit the Memorial Chorten, built in the loving memory of their late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, it has a multi-storied Stupa and will provide you with rare insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Arrive at your hotel in Thimphu by late afternoon.
This morning, take a scenic walk to Tango Monastery. This picturesque three-story tower monastery was founded in 12th century and reconstructed in the 15th century by the fabled ‘Divine Madman’, an eccentric monk who meditated in a cave near the monastery.
This afternoon take a short drive north to visit Changangkha Lhakhang. The temple was established in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who came from Tibet. Admire the Chenrezig statue and enjoy fascinating views of Thimphu valley from the courtyard. Continue to Buddha Point to admire the largest statue in the country.
En route back to your hotel, visit the Mini Zoo to see a Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, the National Library, with its vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Arts and Crafts School to see young children learning the ancient craft of painting. (B)
Thimphu to Phobjikha Valley
Today drive to the Phobjikha Valley, en route stopping at Dochula Pass (10,500 ft.) for of one of Bhutan's most breathtaking views – a plethora of colorful rhododendron blossoms and soft green wild herbs and forest trees dot a canvas of alpine snow. Visit the newly built “Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens”, a unique cluster of 108 Namgyel Khangzang Chortens that spiral up to a main monument Chorten. These chortens (the Tibetan term for stupas), are a new landmark for travelers as they cross Dochula into the interior of the country.
Arrive at the lodge in the late afternoon and enjoy a calming dinner. (B,D)
Today enjoy some of the many activities provided by the lodge or spend time walking around the village, located adjacent to the lodge. (B,D)
Phobjikha Valley to Punakha
Today in the late morning, drive to Punakha. Upon arrival in Punakha visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 as both the religious and the administrative center of the country. Next, explore the sacred Chimi Lhakhang Monastery, built by Lama Drukpa Kunley, the “Divine Madman.” It is believed that childless women who visit the temple will conceive after receiving "mewang" (blessing). (B,D)
Punakha to Paro
Today journey to Paro, visiting Simtokha Dzong en-route, built in 1629 as a fortress, today it is a theological university.
Upon arrival in Paro, visit Ta Dzong’s National Museum with its collection of ancient Thangkha paintings, textiles and weapons; and explore Rinpung Dzong, the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels, one of the most celebrated Dzongs in Bhutan. (B)
This morning depart for a day hike to the enchanting "Tiger's Nest”, the Taktsang Monastery viewpoint. Built around a cave where the Guru Rinpoche meditated, this monastery seems to cling impossibly to a cliff of rock at 3,000 feet above the valley floor. The hike is challenging but thrilling and mystical. And although the main building was destroyed by fire in 1998, it was reconstructed in 2000. (Transport by pony is available on the ascent, if you do not wish to hike. Walking is mandatory on the descent.
Later drive to see the old ruined fortress of Drukgyel Dzong, see Kyichu Lhakhang (built in 659) and Satsam Chorten. (B)
Today you are taken to the airport for your departing flight home or on to your next destination. (B)
Taj Tashi, Thimphu
Set in the heart of the Thimphu Valley, the Taj Tashi, is a blend of Bhutan's Dzong architecture and modern design. While enjoying breathtaking views of the mountains that rise above the Thimphu valley, guests can sample Bhutan's fiery cuisine, and gaze at the mesmerizing prayer wheels through its panoramic windows. Other warm and invigorating features at the hotel include an indoor heated swimming pool, fitness center and the elaborate Taj Spa, with its special Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, the 66 elegant guestrooms are adorned with swirls of hand-painted murals of clouds (a recurring motif in Bhutanese art), and take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. Elegant, expansive and luxuriously appointed, these spacious rooms with large bathrooms afford guests tantalizing views of the pine-topped mountains. Accompanying bathrooms feature fine fittings and amenities like floor warmers and bath-towel heaters.
Gangtey Goenpa Lodge, Phobjikha Valley
Gangtey Goenpa Lodge will offer visitors a unique and exciting insight into the beautiful Phobjikha Valley. The Lodge draws upon the inspiration of the unique and beautiful Bhutanese rural architecture down to the very last detail. Designed by Mary Lou Thomson, who has worked on some of the world's most prestigious resort projects, the interiors and furnishings showcase aspects of the vibrant local culture. The focal point of the lodge is the informal lounge and dining space with wall to ceiling views of the valley below. Plush leather sofas and rich fabrics will invite guests to share the day's adventures around two impressive fireplaces encased in local stone. The twelve beautifully appointed guestrooms, each with their own cozy fireplace, will reflect the rich cultural heritage with warm fabrics and earthen tones.
Uma by COMO, Punakha
Uma by COMO, Punakha, only the second hotel in Bhutan, is an intimate, luxury lodge located at the far western end of the lush Punakha Valley. From our picturesque base overlooking a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu river, Uma Punakha is ideally located for those who wish to explore this remote Himalayan Kingdom. Those seeking more than just luxury accommodation in Bhutan will not be disappointed by Uma by COMO, Punakha. The property is part of the landscape, nestled on a hillside at a bend in the Mo Chu river. This means every room commands sweeping views of the Punakha Valley and the Mo Chu as it winds its way through the rice fields and orchards. Two villas - a two-bedroom COMO Villa ideal for families and a One-Bedroom Villa perfect for couples - provide not just privacy but soul-stirring views of the forest, mountains and the surrounding valley. Our eight deluxe Valley View rooms, some with private terraces, share similar breathtaking views and come with king-size beds or twins and spacious bathrooms. The result is a luxury escape that feels sleek yet connected to its context.
Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Paro
The 45-room Zhiwa Ling hotel combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of 21st century technology. Envisioned and created by a local Bhutanese company, the hotel’s elaborate hand-carved wooden cornices and masterful stonework coexist beautifully with cutting-edge telecommunication systems and Swedish under-floor heating. Honoring the spiritual heritage of this ancient Buddhist kingdom, a temple has been built into the second floor of the hotel, made with 450-year-old timbers from the famous Gangtey Monastery, the crowning glory of this new cultural landmark.