Happy New Year

HIGHLIGHTS

The Bhutan celebrates neither Christmas nor New Years in any traditional religious sense, though many Bhutanese see this as a good reason to have a party. Winter is great time to visit this tiny Himalayan Kingdom. The weather is pleasant, as there is almost no chance of rain, the skies are clear and provide impressive vistas of distant snow covered peaks. The trip culminates in Paro, with a hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery, one of the holiest and most iconic sights in Bhutan. Experience Bhutanese hospitality, admire the everchanging landscapes, and immerse yourself in Bhutan's rich Buddhist culture. After all, winter is low season and you will get a better price for your tour.

ITINERARY

Day 1 (03 January): Paro-Thimphu
Day 2 (04 January): Thimphu
Day 3 (05 January): Thimphu. Hike to Chari Goemba
Day 4 (06 January):
Thimphu-Punakha, 77 km/3 hours drive
Day 5 (07 January):
Punakha-Paro, 130 km/4 hours drive
Day 6 (08 January):
Paro Taksang
Day 7 (09 January):
Departure


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Day 1: Paro-Thimphu
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. After visa formalities you will meet the guide of White Umbrella tours at Paro airport exit doors. We will drive to Thimphu which takes about an hour. After a short refreshment we will visit the National Memorial Chorten.

Day 2: Thimphu
We'll visit Arts and Craft School. This is a vocational training institute where the art of painting, woodcraft and sculpturing are taught to students with the objective of preserving the rich and pristine heritage.

Later, drive to Kunsel Phodrang (Buddha point) to have a ‘Birds Eye View' of Thimphu valley and visit the zoo to see the National Animal ‘Takin'.

Then drive to Tashicho Dzong, the main secretariat which houses the summer residence of the central monk body and main seat of government. Its majestic architecture in finely balanced proportions is complemented by artistic decorations and paintings and followed by visit to the Handicraft shop and return to your hotel.

Morning, drive 30 minutes from the Thimphu town to Chari Goemba which is located at northern part of Thimphu valley. Chari Goemba was founded in 17th century by Zhabdrung and it's popular for the retreat centre. The main figure is present Buddha and kudung of his father Yap Tempe Nima.

The hike to Goemba begins with crossing Bhutanese cantilever bridge and a trail is well eroded by pilgrims and ascends gradually through mix forest. As you ascend, you will come across the one chorten(stupa) on the mid way with canopy to rest. When you are about to approach, you are likely to encounter the mountain goat(wild animal) near the Goemba.

Your lunch will be arrange near the bank of glacier river. On the way back, visit Pangri-Zampa Monastery (Astrology temple) where monks study the astrology and just beside the monastery there is huge Cypress tree claimed as oldest tree in Bhutan.

Day 3: Thimphu
Morning, drive 30 minutes from the Thimphu town to Chari Goemba which is located at northern part of Thimphu valley. Chari Goemba was founded in 17th century by Zhabdrung and it's popular for the retreat centre. The main figure is present Buddha and kudung of his father Yap Tempe Nima.

The hike to Goemba begins with crossing Bhutanese cantilever bridge and a trail is well eroded by pilgrims and ascends gradually through mix forest. As you ascend, you will come across the one chorten(stupa) on the mid way with canopy to rest. When you are about to approach, you are likely to encounter the mountain goat(wild animal) near the Goemba.

Your lunch will be arrange near the bank of glacier river. On the way back, visit Pangri-Zampa Monastery (Astrology temple) where monks study the astrology and just beside the monastery there is huge Cypress tree claimed as oldest tree in Bhutan.


Day 4: Thimphu-Punakha Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 4 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring color.

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to Punakha Dzong, the ‘Palace of Great Happiness'. Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan', Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned.

Hike to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing.

Altitude at Punakha: 1300 m.

Day 5: Punakha-Paro
Today enjoy sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong. This museum houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan's historical and cultural past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime.
Dzong's are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts.

Day 6: Taktsang Monastery
Today, we hike up to the famous cliff-hermitage called Taktsang, the ‘Tiger's Nest'. This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend says that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. This site is known as one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the country. No wonder that some monks have chosen this place to meditate for the rest of their lives!

Coming back, we are following a different path that takes us through the pristine thick forest of oaks and rhododendrons festooned with Spanish mosses.

On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.

Tonight we invite you to celebrate Happy New year. We assured that you will enjoy the program and it will be one of the highlight in the trip.

Day 7: Departure
Paro Airport
 

Tour date

December/January
(15 days / 14 nights)

Group size & price

from 6-10 pax:
1,640 USD per person

Price includes

  • 3* hotels double occupancy
  • Full board
  • private vehicle
  • all entrance fees
  • English speaking Bhutanese guide (other languages upon request)
  • Visa fee

Supplementary fee

  • Single individual
    80 USD per night
  • Group of 2 persons
    30 USD per person per night
  • single occupancy
    40 USD per night

* Any individual tours and services can be upgraded according to your time and interest on request.
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