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Essence Of Bhutan

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highlights
  • Journey to the Gangtey Valley, winter home to the Black Necked Crane
  • Immerse yourself in Bhutanese culture in Paro and Thimphu
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang 'Tiger's Nest' Monastery
The Essence of Bhutan tour starts and ends in Paro. The Essence of Bhutan is an Adventure tour that takes 8 days taking you through Paro, Bhutan and other destinations in Bhutan.

A delightful journey taking in the highlights of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and the Gangtey Valley. On this short but comprehensive journey through Bhutan we experience the highlights of this remote and culturally rich kingdom. With time spent in Paro we visit the famous museum and Taktsang Monastery, discover the sights and sounds of the capital of Thimphu and drive across the Dochu La to explore the beautiful Punakha Dzong and visit the isolated Gangtey Valley - well known as one of the last wintering grounds of the endangered and graceful black-necked cranes.
After clearing customs and immigration in Paro, you'll be met by our group leader. There will be a pre-trip briefing on arrival at the hotel, followed by an afternoon/evening at leisure in Paro, to allow some acclimatisation; Paro is 2280m above sea level. Overnight at Kyichu Resort on the banks of the Paro Chhu (Paro River).
Meals
  • Lunch and Dinner
We spend the day sightseeing in and around Paro. We visit the ruined fortress of Drukyel Dzong (“dzong” means fortress-monastery), which still attracts visitors due to its imposing location. The fort defended the Paro Valley from invasion by Tibet in the early 17th century. On a clear day, Mt Chomolhari (7320m) can be seen towering over the dzong. Further along the beautiful Paro Valley we come to the watch tower known locally as Ta-Dzong, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. The seven-storey museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century; there are excellent displays of all facets of the country's rich cultural history including traditional costumes and battle dress, priceless jewellery and specimens of the kingdom's unique flora and fauna. We take a short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative centre and school for monks, before walking a little further and crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town.*If the Museum is closed at the time of your tour, alternate arrangements will be made.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bhutan's compact capital (population about 50,000 – Bhutan, had its very first census in May 2005) is easily explored on foot. We visit the Indigenous hospital, where traditional healing arts are still practiced, the Art & Craft school, the National Library, the Royal goldsmith workshop and the Handicraft Emporium with its famous weaving, woodcarvings and paintings. In the afternoon we visit the memorial chorten (a “chorten” is a stone Buddhist monument, often containing relics) dedicated to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the founder of modern-day Bhutan. We'll also visit the 15th century Changangkha monastery and Motithang mini zoo, where we'll see the rare "takin" (the national animal of Bhutan), before driving out of town for a view of the Thimphu Valley. We also visit the new Drupthob nunnery temple and browse the local market. Overnight Thimphu.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
From Thimphu, we drive for about three hours to Wangduephodrang (locally known as “Wangdi”) via Punakha, changing climatic zones from mountainous to tropical. On the way, we cross over Dochu La, a 3150-metre-high pass marked by prayer flags and a chorten and, if the weather is fine, a view of the eastern Himalaya including the highest mountain in Bhutan, Mt Gangar Punsum (7520m). We drive through forests of rhododrendron and magnolia, before the road descends into the warmer lowlands around Punakha. We visit the Punakha Dzong, which once served as the old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built in 1637 between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every February there is a procession known as the Punakha Serda to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Overnight Wangdi Kyichu Resort. 

*On the 24th June 2012, the beautiful Wangduephodrang Dzong was completely destroyed by fire. It was one of the oldest and most substantial dzongs in Bhutan built in 1638. Renovations were underway when the fire started and so most of the historic relics had been put into storage and were saved from the devastation of the fire. Re-building is already underway to restore the dzong to its former glory.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day excursion to the Gangtey Gompa valley, at an altitude of 2800 metres. Gangtey Gompa is a Buddhist complex which includes monks' quarters, a meditation centre, schools and a small hotel – all overlooking the Phobjikha Valley, a designated conservation area which borders Black Mountain National Park. This is one of the most isolated gompas in Bhutan; there's no telephone and no electricity (to protect wildlife).

This beautiful valley is home to the rare Black Necked Cranes which migrate from the Tibetan plateau to escape the harsh winter. About 200 to 300 cranes live in this valley and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) is taking every measure to ensure their protection; during the 4-5 months that the cranes are in residence over winter, for instance, the villagers are not allowed to make loud noises or fish in the river that runs into the valley. We explore this fascinating glacier-carved valley before returning to Wangdi for the night.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
The return drive back to Paro is no less spectacular, we re-cross the spectacular Dochu La and arrive into Paro in the afternoon.The remainder of the day can be spent wandering the peaceful streets of Paro or relaxing in the hotel.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
We drive to the foot of the Taktsang Monastery - the famous Tigers Nest Monastery said to have been one of the divine resting places of the Guru Ringpoche. However, although much of the building was once destroyed by fire it is now restored and it is still worthwhile to ascend the walking trail to appreciate the monasteries breathtaking location on a cliff edge about 800 metres above the valley floor. The rest of the day is free to complete sightseeing and purchases before our early morning departure the following day.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Our trip officially ends after breakfast with a transfer to the airport.
Meals
  • Breakfast
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Good quality accommodation on a twinshare basis throughout
Meals
  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
Transport
  • Private internal transport throughout
  • All airport transfers
Guide
  • English speaking local guide
Others
  • Sightseeing & sight entry fees as listed
  • Bhutan Government visa and sustainability fees
what’s excluded
  • International flights & taxes
  • Bottled water
  • Aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Tips
  • Airport & departure taxes
  • Travel insurance
Tour details
Duration 8 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 16 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Paro, Bhutan/ Paro, Bhutan
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Essence of Bhutan
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Payment

A deposit of 318 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 69 days before departure. For any departures within 03 August 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Essence of Bhutan tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Essence of Bhutan tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Essence of Bhutan tour. You can cancel the tour up to 70 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 69 days of departure.
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