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Remarkable East

Bhutan Revealed

Part of Remarkable East’s Insight Series

13 Days | 1–13 November 2019 | Limited to 12 passengers

Bhutan is a place like no other.
A place of remarkable beauty, where life truly moves at a slower pace and where the material pursuits of the West have been resisted in favour of tradition. A place that measures progress not in economic terms but in terms of happiness. Bhutan Revealed will showcase some of the country’s incredible scenic beauty, highlight the traditions, culture and values held in deep respect,and introduce you to the kind-hearted Bhutanese people.With modest ambles and optional longer walks, we discover dramatic dzongs, pristine beauty, warm and welcoming locals and of course Gross National Happiness — all set against a backdrop of Buddhism.
Bhutan Revealed is timed to coincide with the once-ayear Bumthang Tsechu - a grand festival of colour and joy where entire communities come in their finest attire to witness Buddhist ritual, folk dances, receive blessing and to socialise. It will be a remarkable event and one not to be missed.

Tour Highlights

  • Walk to Tiger’s Nest monastery – Bhutan’s most iconic site
  • Explore Thimpu’s weekend farmers’ market – the country’s largest market
  • Visit Punakha Dzong, an architectural masterpiece
  • See the Temple of the Divine Madman
  • Take gentle village strolls and optional longer walks through pristine countryside
  • Unwind with a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath
  • Explore Gangtey and visit its 16th century monastery
  • Pause for a private butter lamp offering and prayer ceremony in a small monastery
  • Visit the Phobjikha Valley – the winter home of the endangered black-necked crane
  • Stay 3 nights in the beautiful region of Bumthang in the lesser-visited eastern Bhutan
  • Witness the incredible once-a-year festival of Bumthang at the Castle of the White Bird
  • Take a scenic scheduled flight from Bumthang to Paro

Bhutan Revealed 13 Days

1–13 November 2019

Arrive Paro — Thimphu

First impressions last and your arrival into Bhutan will surely stay with you long after your visit. As your plane approaches Paro you will be greeted by sweeping views of some of the world’s highest peaks, thus setting the scene for a trip rich in natural beauty. You will be met at the airport and our journey commences with a short drive to thimphu, home to Bhutan’s royal family, and the only capital city in the world without traffic lights. Take a gentle guided walk in Thimphu in the afternoon. Tonight, an expert local resident will introduce us to the Gross National Happiness Index with a short talk.

Overnight Thimphu Tower, Thimphu

Thimphu

Discover Thimphu today with visits to the National Memorial Chorten, and the Buddha Dordenma statue, one of the world’s largest statues of Buddha in the seated position. Later, explore the city’s weekend farmers’ market — the biggest market in Bhutan — where locals come to shop for food supplies each week and to socialise. See local vegetables, fruit, eggs and dairy products for sale and learn a little about how they are used in Bhutanese cooking. In the evening, a short talk on Buddhism will detail its significance to the country.

Overnight Thimphu Tower, Thimphu

Buddhism forms the fabric of Bhutan and is a crucial part of its identity. While Buddhism forms a backdrop to this tour — you don’t need a deep interest in Buddhism to enjoy Bhutan Revealed. The country’s natural beauty, culture, values and its genuinely warm people are as much a part of this trip and will be able to be appreciated by all.

Thimphu — Punakha

Depart for Punakha, a scenic drive that will take us over the Dochula Pass at 3,050 metres, stopping en route for panoramic views of the eastern Himalayan Ranges and to see the 108 stupas atop the pass. Visit the Temple of the Divine Madman, also known as the God of Fertility, with its striking images and symbols of reproduction. Our hotel in Punakha sits nestled on the side of a valley with picturesque views; rooms have inviting balconies where you can relax and absorb the natural scenery that surrounds you.

Overnight Zhingkham Resort, Punakha

Punakha

Visit Punakha Dzong, also known as the Castle of Great Happiness, an architectural masterpiece that sits at the confluence of two rivers. Spend some time exploring the dzong and walk over the nearby longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. Pause for a simple picnic lunch at the beautiful Punakha riverside today. Later, a gentle walk weaving through rice paddies will take us to Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, a temple in north Punakha with views of the valley and one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture and iconography. Afterwards, stretch your legs with a longer riverside and village walk, or choose to explore the small town of Khuruthang and return to the hotel.

Overnight Zhingkham Resort, Punakha

One of the best ways to experience Bhutan and its natural beauty is to be out among it — through gentle strolls and longer walks. One of the unique features of Bhutan Revealed will be the two accompanying national guides, as well as myself as host. With two national guides this tour will allow those who want to enjoy longer walks to do so — while travellers who prefer more cultural sightseeing and local experiences will have that choice.
Lincoln Harris

Punakha — Gangtey

Drive to Gangtey in central Bhutan, travelling toward the Black Mountain Ranges, passing by small farmhouses and through pretty forests and roadside villages. Stop along the way at local wayside markets and to take in the views of the surrounding landscapes. In the afternoon experience a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath at our hotel — a bath in a wooden tub where the water is warmed by stones heated in a fire. A wonderful chance to unwind and to experience first-hand a tradition of Bhutan.

Overnight Dewachen, Gangtey

Gangtey

Explore Gangtey today, starting with a visit to the Gangtey Monastery, a 16th century monastery that exemplifies traditional Bhutanese craftsmanship. Later, a gentle guided nature walk and picnic lunch will reveal the beauty of the surrounding Phobjikha Valley — the winter home of the elegant black-necked crane that flies each winter from Tibet to roost. The cranes arrive in November and we may be fortunate enough to see these highly endangered birds. Afterwards, visit a small monastery in the valley for a private butter lamp offering and prayer ceremony for our group. (You are not required to do anything, just sit and enjoy the special atmosphere.)

Overnight Dewachen, Gangtey

Gangtey — Trongsa

Journey by vehicle across the Black Mountain Ranges to Trongsa, crossing the Pele La Pass at 3,300 metres. See the abundant brightly coloured prayer flags and large monument that marks the top of the pass, and stop en route to see local villages, stupas and the beautiful mountain landscapes. After lunch, explore the Trongsa Dzong, the largest fortress in Bhutan and arguably the most impressive due to its sheer size and traditional architecture.

Overnight Yangkhil, Trongsa

Trongsa — Bumthang

Travel farther into eastern Bhutan to Bumthang — known as the `Switzerland of the Himalayas’ — and a beautiful region of Bhutan most travellers don’t reach. Comprising of four valleys, Bumthang is home to many prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Stay three nights in a family run lodge where we can explore the valley and experience its beauty, while savouring delicious home-style cooking. Expect homemade breads, strawberry jam and yogurt, and meals made from fresh ingredients sourced in the valley.

Overnight Wangdicholing Lodge, Bumthang

Driving farther east, we reach parts of Bhutan that are out of range of most visitors. The countryside we pass through is sparsely populated, though we may encounter semi-nomadic yak herders coming down from the mountains with their animals to winter in the warmer valleys. Bumthang itself is a regional centre, with people coming in from distance villages and farms to restock with provisions and catch-up with family and friends. The main streets have a frontier town feel, while the surrounding areas are largely undisturbed, save for small farms, the occasional temple and ubiquitous stupas, and ideal for our gentle explorations on foot. Our day observing the tsechu looms as the focal point of our visit to the valley

Bumthang

Visit the Jakhar Dzong, or Castle of the White Bird, for the annual festival of Bumthang — a spectacular celebration full of colour and joy. Witness the colourful masked religious dances, the folk dances and battle enactments, and see the entire communities that come dressed in their finest for this grand event — to socialise and to receive blessings. A chance to be part of a truly special occasion for local people and to enjoy their company as they celebrate.

Overnight Wangdicholing Lodge, Bumthang

Bumthang

Visit the major sacred sites of the valley this morning, with gentle walks between some of the temples located close to each other. Enjoy a European-style lunch at a rustic lodge in the picturesque valley, where we can enjoy Emmentalstyle cheese made from local ingredients and Bhutan’s craft beer Red Panda. The afternoon is free to enjoy the tranquillity of the valley or take a stroll into the nearby town.

Overnight Wangdicholing Lodge, Bumthang

Bumthang — Paro

Board a scheduled flight for Paro — a 30 minute scenic journey with spectacular mountain views. In Paro visit the Rimpong Dzong, the most visible landmark in the Paro Valley, and walk across the 16th century cantilever bridge. Stay at the luxury hotel Zhiwa Ling in Paro. This elegant property is built entirely by hand and honours the traditional crafts and architecture of Bhutan — notice the dzong-like main building with its colourful painted walls and intricately carved wooden beams. Enjoy two-nights at this luxury hotel with optional activities from yoga to mediation and spa treatments (direct payment).

Overnight Zhiwa Ling, Paro

Paro

Visit Tiger’s Nest — Bhutan’s most iconic site. Travelling on foot, make the approximately 3-to-4 hour walk to this remarkable monastery, which perches at 800 metres up a sheer cliff. The walk winds through forest and around hills, at times offering distant views of the monastery, and passing by many colourful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Visit the monastery and stop for lunch, before making the return descent. Alternatively, visit the temples and villages in the periphery of the valley should you not wish to walk to Tiger’s Nest. In the afternoon explore the handicraft shops in Paro or simply relax at our luxury hotel.

Overnight Zhiwa Ling, Paro

Paro — depart

Bhutan Revealed concludes today in Paro. Transfer to the airport for departing international flights.

Bhutan Revealed

$10,445 per person twin share, $1,980 single supplement

  • Fully escorted from Paro by Lincoln Harris
  • Return economy class international flights^
  • 12 nights’ accommodation
  • All meals
  • Transport by private mini coach for all transfers, sightseeing and touring as per the itinerary
  • Two accompanying English-speaking Bhutanese guides
  • All listed activities including entrance fees
  • Bottled water throughout tour and meals

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Bhutan Revealed

(c) Remarkable East 2018 | Design by Studio Unfold | Site by 230i
Remarkable East is a registered trading name of India Unbound Pty Ltd ABN 31123715622

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