Bhutan: A Mountain Paradise

Happiness is a place. It’s called Bhutan.

Come explore a kingdom in the clouds – a land of soaring Himalayan peaks and ancient monasteries and myths, where thousands of prayer flags flutter in the wind, tigers fly through the air, and happiness rules – in the company of a group of adventurous travellers.

Quick Overview

Trip Dates: 04 May - 09 May
Availability: Yes, 10 spots left
Places Covered: Bhutan
Category: Mixed Groups

Why travel with us?

Exceptional Service

We offer top class service with a trained and professional trip leader always accompanying the group to handle any request or emergency.

Safety First

Our journeys are always built with your safety in mind. We use private cabs for transport & city center hotels for stay. We also collaborate with tourism boards for local support.

Small Groups

Our groups are deliberately small. We believe such groups make for better shared experiences. Start off as strangers but come back as friends for life.

The Kingdom of Happiness

Get ready for a trip to the land of happiness, filled with natural beauty, ancient dzongs and mythical sites, archery competitions and friendly locals with some of the biggest smiles you've ever seen. Want to know more? Watch this video.

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Welcome to Bhutan! You will be greeted by a Byond representative as soon as you arrive at Paro Airport.

Then, sit back and relax as you’re driven in a private coach, past silver rivers, green terraced farmland, villages unchanged by time and 18,000 ft tall mountain peaks to reach Thimphu, the smallest capital city in the world (1–1.5 hours). With a humble population of 40,000, Thimphu lies in a valley with the river running through it, and is a city without traffic lights, relying instead on the elegant gestures of smart traffic policemen in navy blue uniforms.

On the route: the Tachog Lhakhang Bridge built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a saint from the 15th century who introduced the art of building suspension bridges with iron chains; it is truly a sight to behold.

We’ll also drive past Chuzom, the meeting point of the Paro and Thimphu rivers. Here, you’ll see shrines built to ward off evil spirits that the Bhutanese believe lurk beneath the water. The last part of the journey is just a short 15 minute stretch from Simtokha to Thimphu, your home for the next three days.

Once we reach the hotel, you can check-in and unwind. 

In the evening: head for your gala welcome dinner! Eat your fill of traditional Bhutanese dishes and enjoy the festive atmosphere as you get to know your new travel crew and trip leader better.

Afterwards, if you're in the mood for some music, head out to Om Bar where you can attempt to karaoke to Bhutanese songs (and fail miserably).

You may not fancy starting the day with hot red rice porridge and a whole glass of rosewater lassi but it’s worth giving it a try, you just might end up asking for more.

 After breakfast: we’ll get our bearings of Thimphu as we explore the city with a guide (3 hours).  First, we’ll visit the King’s memorial Chorten, a striking stupa decorated with golden spires, wrathful deities and elaborate mandala paintings, that serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. You’ll see Bhutanese of all ages walking around it (in a clockwise direction only) with prayer beads in their hands.

we’ll make our way through Buddha Point, a paved road that leads to a  beautiful 52 m tall statue of the Buddha. We’ll catch a glimpse of the golden statue as it glows brilliantly under the morning sun. 

lunch (on your own) at a restaurant of your choosing. Try out the popular Bhutanese dishes such as the nut-flavoured Bhutanese red rice, and Hoentoe, a form of dumpling.

Post lunch, soak in the atmosphere of bustling streets and bazaars crowded with photogenic citizens in national dress.

 On our route: a visit to the National Library which houses an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. Perseverance is the mantra of The Institute for Zorig Chusum which is where you will be heading to next. Can you believe that students here actually undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts? We’ll also visit the Textile and Folk Heritage Museum which showcase the nation’s rich heritage.

On the way back to the hotel, you’ll drive past the Trashi Chhoe Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), the site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot, where all important government and religious decisions are made.

In the evening:
time to relax and spend some time in peace. Join us for a meditation session with a Buddhist monk.

This morning, wake a bit early, have a quick bite to eat and then, a drive up to the 10,130 ft Dochula Pass. We'll stop here briefly so you can take in the view - steep mountains dense with rhododendron forests, green valleys, monasteries, 108 chortens (Lamaist monuments), mani wall and colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind. If you’re lucky enough to be here on a clear day, you’ll also have a 360 degree view of the highest peaks in Bhutan looming in the background.

Afterwards, we’ll walk to Chimi Lakhang, a fertility temple nestled in the countryside, and said to have been built by a Tibetan saint known as the Divine Madman (who, according to legend, used to defeat demons with his you-know-what). The scene at the top is tranquil and peaceful with views of pretty farmlands below; it’s an ideal place for a bit of introspection.

After Lunch:
visit Punakha Dzong, another confluence but with two different rivers – Mo Chhu (Mother) and Pho Chhu (Father) via Wangdiphodrang. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King and rose to global attention in October 2011 when it hosted the royal wedding of King Jigme Wangchuk.

Walking through a traditional Bhutanese wooden cantilever bridge to the Dzong makes for a lovely experience. With handcrafted, painted, carved and sculpted decorations, it’s definitely a treat for those with an artistic bone.

We’ll head to Punakha for the night.
After breakfast, it’s time for some action. We’re going to an archery competition!

The Bhutanese are obsessed with their national sport, and almost every village has their own archery range with multi-day competitions taking place throughout the year. High-spirited competitions are a riot of colour and excitement, filled with dancing, songs, jokes, cheerleaders and light-hearted insults such as “Whose forehead is bulging and swollen like a wine-serving spoon, in aimless flight his shaft will drift to hit the mark not even one.” Try not to take these personally while you have a go at aiming for the bulls-eye. The Bhutanese make hitting the target look so easy!

it’s time for a drive to Paro (5 hours).You may like to stop for a traditional lunch at Thimphu. Don’t forget to try a sip of ara (a rice liquor) or local Red Panda beer and perhaps do some last minute souvenir shopping on the way.

In the evening:
it’s time to visit a local family. Greet them with a warm Kuzu zangpo la (hello). There will be children in the house, so we recommend you carry some chocolates with you!  Get a chance to learn the exquisite weaving techniques of the Bhutanese from the lady of the house. What you’ll also learn is how to put on the Bhutanese national dress, which you can wear for dinner if you’d like.

a homemade meal with the family. Stuff yourself with traditional dishes such as ema datshi made from smoky chili peppers and yak milk cheese with red and white rice.  Tonight is the best time to talk to your hosts about everything Bhutanese, from the King’s fondness for Elvis to driving without a traffic light system.

This morning: we’ll hike up to the Taktsang Monastery, the most famous and holiest of Bhutanese monasteries, popularly known as Paro Taktsang (this will take around two hours). Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, Bhutan's most revered saint, arrived here on the back of a flying tigress to defeat a local demon and then meditated here. It is now one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims from Bhutan and neighbouring countries. 

Later: on the way back, we’ll visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom, which houses an original 17th century statue of Jowo Shakyamuni that represents the Indian prince Gautama Siddhartha becoming Buddha after reaching enlightenment. It is considered to be the valley’s greatest treasure.
All good things must come to an end! It’s the last day of your trip to Bhutan and time to drive to the airport for your flight home. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell with a 'Tashi Delek' (goodbye and good luck).

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