Exploring the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon

 

Sep 22 - Oct 4, 2018

13-day private custom trip specially designed for the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.

Bhutan - Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon

Day 1 — Bangkok to ParoDepart Thailand and make the flight to Bhutan. After a rest at the hotel we'll visit Ta Dzong ("fortress"). Zhiwa Ling Hotel
Day 2 — Paro to BumthangWe return to the airport for our flight to Jakar, in central Bhutan.
 Yu-Gharling Resort
Day 3 — Tamshing FestivalDuring our stay in the Bumthang valley, we will be attending the colourful festival among the locals who are dressed in their finest costume (some of their outfits are worn only once in a year at such festivals). Yu-Gharling Resort
Day 4 — Jakar & Pema Choling Nunnery
In the morning we visit Jambe Lakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The afternoon is reserved for a trip to the Pema Choling Nunnery to spend time with the nuns and experience daily life inside this wonderful nunnery and attend a special prayer ceremony with the nuns. Yu-Gharling Resort
Day 5 — Bumthang to TromsaToday we commence our journey back towards western Bhutan. While in Trongsa we explore its town, which forms the central hub of the kingdom and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. Yangkhill Resort
Day 6 — Trongsa to PhobjikhaToday we drive to the Phobjikha valley, 2 – 3 hours roughly. Near the summit of Pele La we turn down a side road leading to Phobjikha. This stunning valley is encircled by pine-covered mountains and rhododendron forests. Dewachen Lodge
Day 7 — Phobjikha to PunakhaWe have a full day to explore this beautiful and isolated alpine valley. In the centre of the valley, rising dramatically from a small ridge stands one of the oldest Nyingma monasteries in Bhutan – the Gangteng Goenpa, from here we can take a scenic hike (2 – 3 hours) around the valley, stopping en route perhaps to visit local farmhouses and to take in the views.

In the afternoon we make our journey to Punakha, a lush lower valley in western Bhutan, where the famous Bhutanese red rice is cultivated
. Zhingkham Resort
Day 8 — Explore and discover Punakha ValleyWe have a full day to explore and enjoy Punakha, which served as Bhutan’s capital for 300 years. We will attend a Special Prayer ceremony and Butter lamp offering in Punakha Dzong. 
Those interested can take an invigorating hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten. Zhingkham Resort
Day 9 — Punakha to ThimphuWe’ll visit Chimi Lakhang, a small but famous temple in the centre of Punakha Valley. We then depart for Thimphu, the current-day capital of Bhutan. The drive is approximately 4 hours, but we’ll break it up with stops for photos and short walks. En route, we cross the Dochu La, where thousands of prayer flags flutter in the wind and 108 chortens (small memorial stupas) dot the landscape. Weather permitting, we can capture images of 200 miles of Himalayan summits from atop the pass. 
Taj Tashi Hotel
Day 10 — ThimphuThis morning we will take a gentle hike to the south of Thimphu to see the huge bronze Dordenma Buddha, dedicated to everlasting happiness and enlightenment. When finished it will be the largest seated Buddha in the world. From this spectacular vantage point we can enjoy unparalleled views over the Thimphu valley. After lunch we continue our discovery of Thimphu or simply relax and make use of the hotel's wonderful spa facilities. 
Taj Tashi Hotel
Day 11 — Thimphu to ParoAfter a leisurely morning in Thimphu we continue our westward journey to Paro, along the winding road following the Thim Chu downstream to its confluence with the Wang Chu, then up-valley to Paro. Before we settle into our hotel, we make a visit to the 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Zhiwa Ling Hotel

Day 12 — Pilgrimage to Tiger's NestThis morning we make a pilgrimage to one of the most important religious sites in the Himalaya, Taktsang Lhakhang, known as the Tiger’s Nest. This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 2000 feet above the valley floor. The legend of Taktsang dates back to 747 AD when Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), in the wrathful form of Guru Dorji Droloe, is believed to have arrived at this site on the back of a tiger and subdued the evil spirits in the region. Zhiwa Ling Hotel
Day 13 — Paro to BangkokThis morning we bid farewell to the Dragon Kingdom as we board our flight
to Bangkok.