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Explore Bhutan, the Sangrila 8D/7N

The Highlights

  • Paro
  • Thimphu
  • Punakha
  • Gangtey
  • Monasteries
  • Breathtaking nature

Description

It is easy to come up with many valid reasons to plan a trip to Bhutan. Allow us to give you a few:

  • Bhutan’s nature is protected by the government and offers thousands of breathtaking views. You won’t find any plastic bags here because they are simply… banned!
  • If you currently live in a city, Bhutan is the ultimate place to enjoy vast open space.
  • How many of your friends have visited Bhutan? Probably not a lot… you will have cool stories to share after your Bhutan trip.
  • The crime rate in Bhutan is almost zero; you won’t find a safer country.
  • Bhutan is the world’s only capital with no traffic lights.
  • Bhutan is one of few countries that have kept their cultural authenticity.
  • Exploring Bhutan is like traveling back in time; many rural areas have remained unchanged for centuries.

If you are a real traveler and love authenticity, Bhutan is the ultimate place to visit.

Itinerary

Day 1: Paro – Thimphu (2,280 m ASL)

  • At the airport, you are welcomed by your guide and driven to Thimphu.
  • On the way, you visit the Tamchog Monastery built in the 15th century by Thangthong Gyalpo, also known as Lama Chazampa, which translates as “iron bridge builder”.
  • Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Migmar or similar.

Day 2: Thimphu sightseeing 

  • Your day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of the 3rd King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, father of modern Bhutan.
  • You continue your trip with visits to the world’s tallest Buddha statue, Changangkha Lhakhang, the Takin Preserve Center, Sangaygang viewpoint and Dupthop Lhakhang.
  • After lunch, you go to the National Library, the Painting School and the Folk Heritage Museum.
  • In the evening, you visit the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Your last stop of the day is at the Handicrafts Emporium followed by souvenir shopping in Thimphu.
  • Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Migmar or similar.

Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha (1,310 m ASL)

  • After breakfast, you drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass. You stop for a while at Dochula pass to view the higher Himalayas. On the way, you visit Chimi Lhakhang, built in 1499 by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as “the divine madman”). He subdued the demons with his “magical thunderbolt” and built the temple on top of a hillock. The temple is also known as “the temple of fertility.”
  • After lunch, you visit the Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong is situated between the Pho Chu (Male River) and the Mo Chu (Female River). For many years, it served as the seat of the Bhutanese government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted that “a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There is a smaller building here, called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that houses a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue. While Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him into his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From this vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which, in according the tradition, was never designed on paper. The Dzong is named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, or the palace of great happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved in this Dzong. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo (The Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan). The third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the First National Assembly here in 1952.
  • In the evening, you go on an excursion to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery.
  • Dinner and overnight at the Punasangchu cottages or similar.

Day 4: Punakha – Gangtey (3,120 m ASL)

  • After breakfast, you drive to Gangtey. Along the way, you go sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang and visit the Wangdiphodrang Dzong from the outside. According to the legend, when people were searching for the site of the Dzong, four ravens were spotted flying away in four directions. This was considered as an auspicious sign, representing the spread of the Buddhist religion to the four directions of a compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and the Tang Chu rivers.
  • Upon arrival in Gangtey, you visit the Gangtey Gompa. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, founded the temple in 1613. Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple and the present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth reincarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang.
  • After lunch, you explore the Phobjikha valley, the winter breeding ground of the rare black-necked cranes. You also visit the Crane Information Center.
  • Dinner and overnight stay at Dewachen guesthouse or similar.

Day 5: Gangtey – Thimphu (2,280 m ASL)

  • After breakfast, you go on a 6-hour drive to Thimphu. Lunch is served on the way.
  • Upon arrival in Thimphu, you can go shopping or sightseeing.
  • Dinner and overnight at Hotel Migmar or similar.

Day 6: Thimphu – Paro (2,280 m ASL)

  • After breakfast, you drive to Paro and hike to the Taktsang Monastery.
  • Another short drive takes you to Satsam Chorten. It is a two-hour walk to the monastery viewpoint. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest and many of the trees are covered with Spanish moss. You will also notice an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop for a rest and some light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) from where you walk a short distance to see the Taktsang Monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend says that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger.

Day 7: Paro sightseeing 

  • After breakfast, you visit the Ta Dzong, built in 1656 and renovated in 1968. It is an ancient watchtower and now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong, which means “heap of jewels.” It was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is the center of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short stroll takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional bridge.
  • After lunch, you visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, 16 km further in the valley. This dzong was built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan. The dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories. You explore the ramparts and on a clear day you have an unforgettable view of Mount Jhomolhari (7,314 m ASL).
  • On the way back, you stop at Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo.
  • Dinner and overnight stay at the Tashi Namgay Resort or similar.

Day 8: Departure

  • Early in the morning, you drive to the airport and say goodbye as this is the end of an amazing trip.

Included

  • Accommodation on a twin sharing basis (supplement for a single room is 40$/day)
  • All meals
  • All transport within the country
  • All sightseeing and excursions, as mentioned in the itinerary
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide during your stay
  • Visa fee (40$/person)
  • A sustainable tourism Royalty of $65. This Royalty goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours

Excluded

  • Insurance: we strongly advise taking a travel insurance as nature can be unpredictable in this mountainous area. 
  • Airport tax and porter
  • Flight tickets Druk Air (Royal Bhutan Airlines)
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, incidentals, portage, bellboy tips or any other services
  • Mineral water, soft drinks, etcetera
  • Camera fees
  • Any cost arising due to calamities such as landslides, road blockage, political disturbances (strikes), etcetera (extra costs will be charged to the client and have to be paid on the spot)
  • Anything not specified in the inclusive list

What to bring

  • Mundooz voucher
  • Things to bring
  • 12 passport pictures (many permits are necessary, depending on the regions you visit)

Visa and entry formalities

  • Under the policy of “High Value, Low Tourism Impact”, traveling to Bhutan is highly regulated. All foreigners must obtain a visa before visiting Bhutan except visitors from Bangladesh, India and the Maldives. Our licensed tour operator will pre-arrange all the visa. Upon arrival, the visa is stamped in your passport. Independent traveling of citizens of non-visa exempt countries is prohibited.
  • FIT (Free Independent Traveler) is a surcharge by the Bhutanese government of US$30 per person per day for two people and US$40 per day for single travelers. If you travel with a minimum of 3 people, you don’t have to pay these FIT surcharges anymore. However, it is important to know that in order to take advantage of the FIT surcharge waiver, guests must arrive and depart together on the same scheduled Druk Air flights.

Best time to visit

Bhutan has two main seasons:

  • From the end of February until the end of May
  • From the end of September until the end of December

The rainy season is in June, July, August and halfway through September. It is better to avoid these months.

Notes

Please contact us at info@mundooz.com if you have any questions about this tour.

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Explore Bhutan, the Sangrila 8D/7N

 submitted the review on:  

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5
Amazing opportunity

Visiting Bhutan is an amazing opportunity. Yes, it is expensive but believe me when I say it's worth every penny! Bhutan is a real "Shangri-La", with magnificent views, an interesting culture and above all very friendly people. A big thumbs up to Mundooz for offering this tour and I will recommend your organization to everyone!