Bhutan Spiritual Tour for 9 Days 8 Nights
Zen & Meditation
Trekking in Punakha
Paro Altitude: 2200m. Paro is a town and seat of Paro district in Bhutan. It is also the home to the only international airport in the country.
The flight to Paro is considered one of the most spectacular flight experiences in the world. While flying in and out of Bhutan, one can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makula, and other high peaks such as Jumolhari, Jichu Drakey, and Tsrim Gang. You will be received by Representative of Best Bhutan Travel at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Day 1: Arrival: Bangkok - Paro - Thimphu
Flying into the country’s only international airport, in the beautiful valley of Paro (2200m/7218ft) the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression, encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends.
Mount. Jhomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro River).
Paro is also considered as the ‘Rice bowl’ of the country as it is one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
The flight to and from Paro is considered one of the most spectacular flight experiences in the world offering fascinating views of the eastern Himalayan range, including Mt. Everest.
On arrival at airport, after immigration and custom formalities, you will be welcomed by our tour representative from Triip at Airport who will be accompanying you during your stay in Bhutan.
Drive to the capital, Thimphu at an elevation of 2340meter (7675ft) which takes about 1.5hours
Thimphu at an elevation of 2320m is a small, charming capital city nestled in the heart of the Himalayas with a population of about 100,000 people. It is the capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce. It is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions maintaining a strong national character in its architectural style, although not what one expects from a capital city is still a fitting and lively place and home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body (central clergy).
Check into hotel and visit following places:
- Memorial Chorten: This stupa was built in 1974 to honor and in memory of the late 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. To fulfill one of his three wishes. In fact, he wanted to put into tangible form the three traditional pillars of Buddhism, the Body, mind & Speech. (he had one hundred statues of Buddha made which represents the body, religious scriptures transcribed in the letters of gold which represents the speech, but before completing his third wish that is to built a stupa as it represents the mind, he passed away. So in order to fulfill his third wish his mother HRH Queen Phuntsho Chhoden Wangchuck erected this Magnificent beautiful structure.
- Buddha Point: Visit the world’s largest sitting Buddha, a recently built immense statue housing a temple at the dome. Enjoy a stunning Bird’s eye view of the city.
- Changangkha Lhakhang – It is a fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang. The temple was established in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who came from Tibet. The central statue here is Chenrezig in a manifestation with 11 heads. From temple courtyard, there is fascinating view of Thimphu valley.
Later in the evening explore the Town/Handicrafts stall/ Centenary Farmer Market and even spot the dancing policeman directing the traffic.
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 2: Thimphu
Early morning attend meditation and prayer along with the nuns at Zilukha Nunnery and offer butter lamps.
After breakfast at hotel, drive towards Cheri Monastery – Cheri Monastery is located 15 km drive north of Thimphu Valley. From a point you need to hike uphill of nearly 30-45 minutes. You need to cross old traditional bridge made of wood and stones. The Monastery is near Tango Monastery. Cheri Monastery was established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The monastery is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu sect. The Monastery serves as the monastic school for study of Buddhist Philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poets and many other Buddhist studies. According to legend or history of Bhutan the place was first visited by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. In the 13th century it was visited by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo the Tibetan Lama who first established the Drukpa Kagyu tradition in Bhutan. Zhabdrung spent three years in strict retreat at the monastery and stayed for many years.
Meditation session for an hour inside the Cheri Monastery.
Picnic lunch at Cheri Bridge next to the newly built Stupa.
After lunch hike to Tango Monastery for about an hour. The Tango temple dates back to the 17th century and was built by the forth temporal leader, Gyeltse Tenzin Rabgay. It’s also a home to one of the finest paintings in the country. You will have an opportunity to interact with monks and learn about their lives.
Meditate inside the temple for about an hour and evening join with the monks and attend the evening prayer inside the monastery.
Dinner and fellowship with the monks.
Overnight: Tango Monastery (Monks guest house)
Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha
Attend early morning meditation and prayers with the monks for an hour.
After breakfast in the monastery hike down to base the base of Tango and drive towards Dochula Pass which stands at an elevation of 3150m/10,000ft and offers panoramic views of the Himalayas. The pass is decorated with 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten, which were built to celebrate the stability and progress, brought to Bhutan by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King.
Punakha Altitude: 1300m/4265ft. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan during the time of Zhabdrun Ngawang Namkgyal, the founder of Bhutan. Today it is the administrative and religious center of the district and the winter home of Bhutan’s Central Monk Body.
Visit the following places in Punakha:
- Punakha’s Dzong – The name means Palace of Great Bliss. This dzong stands magnificently on the spit of land where two rivers (Pho chu and Mo chu) meet. Punakha Dzong has special significance in Bhutanese history as the place where Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned in 1907. It is also the winter residence for the Je Khenpo (spiritual leader) and the entire central monk body.
- Chimmi Lhakhang Hike: take a 45 mins hike round trip through the rice field to Chimmi Lhakhang, the 15th-century monastery built by Lam Ngawang Chogyal on the spot where his cousin Lam Drukpa Kuenley (popularly known as “the Divine Madman”) subdued a powerful demon. This monastery is also referred to as the “Abode of Fertility” and believed that any couple who gets blessing from this temple is blessed with a child in the next year or so. Time: 2 hours round trip hike
- Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery – Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang(Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.
- Nalanda Buddhist College – Locals call this place ‘Dalayna’ while the monks refer it as ‘Nalanda Buddhist College’.
- Leki Home Stay at Labtsakha, 6kms away from Nalanda Buddhist College, a traditional farm house for an experience of an authentic Bhutanese lifestyle and local hospitality.
Overnight in Punakha: Monastery or Aum Leki Chaper Room.
Day 4: Punakha – Bumthang
Morning, after breakfast drive to Bumthang situated at an elevation of 2600m / 8655ft) which falls in the central part of the country. It is comprised of four valleys namely Chummey, Chamkhar, Tang & Ura. It is also said to be the first valleys in the country to have received the influence of Buddhism.The main staple food in this region was buck wheat but in the later years people have started to cultivate rice.
Drive pass by the ruins of Wangdue Dzong (Fortress), unfortunately destroyed by fire in the year 2012 but now under construction. Continue to Trongsa over Pelela (Pass) at 3300m/10989ft which forms the part of Black mountain range that divides the country into east and west. The drive is long but the landscape is pleasing and worthy.
- Trongsa Dzong: Make a visit to the country’s largest and majestic fortress of the mid 1600’s built by the founder of Bhutan which holds various historical significance in the history of the country. According to the jurisdiction, before the coronation of any Kings, they have to get appointed as the governor of this district. And in the ancient times no matter from which direction a traveler came from he was obliged to pass by this dzong.
- Ta Dzong: Drive pass by the ‘watch tower’ which used to act as one during the former times, as according to legends no one could have escaped the vigilance of the tower. Now it houses a newly converted museum. Drive pass by Yotong La (pass) at 3425meter. On the journey stop over the weaving place, beside the road where “Yatha” (wool weaving) is done which the Valley of Bumthang is also famous for and continue your drive for Bumthang.
Overnight in Bumthang
Day 5: Bumthang – 2600m (Full Day Excursion)
Explore the valley making visits to these place
- Jakar dzong (fortress of the White-bird): Built in 17th century, Jakar dzong and its forces for centuries defended against a host of enemies from both outside and within the country. The name “Jakar” originates from this place. It was said that lama Nagi Wangchuck, great grandfather of Shabdrung, came to this place and was looking for a site to build his hermitage. He saw a white bird flying from the place where the dzong stands today.
- Jampay Lakhang: one of the first Buddhist temples built in the country that dates back to the 7th century. As it bears the witness to the valley to have received the first influences of Buddhism. According to the legends the temple was among the 108 temples which the first Tibetan Buddhist king vowed to build around the body of a huge ogress/demoness that was of great hinderanceand pin her down. The demoness was so huge that it’s left leg lay in Bhutan, so this temple was specifically built on the knee of it.
- Kurjey Lakhang: The literal translation of the name of this monastery like temple is ‘body imprint’, as the one who brought Buddhism, Guru Padmasambhava left his body imprint after meditating in the cave subjugating the evil forces hindering the people living aroung the valley. Now this particular cave is inside the first building of the complex, the site is also where the royals are cremated
- Farm House: visit a local farm house for an experience of an authentic traditional Bhutanese lifestyle and the local hospitality.
Evening: Explore Jakar town
Overnight in Bumthang
Day 6: Bumthang - Phobjikha
Retrace and enjoy the drive back to the glacial valley through the dense forests of the Phobjikha Valley situated at an elevation 2900m/9655ft. where potato fields occupies most of the land with more or less five thousand inhabitants.
The valley is home for the endangered Black Necked Crane, one of the rare specials of the birds in the world, which migrates from Tibetan plateau to Bhutan in winters (Early Nov to end of Feb) to avoid the harsh climatic conditions in Tibet. Phobjikha valley at 2900 meter is also paradise for nature lovers and hikers so one can enjoy the hike around the remote valley of Phobjikha. You arrive at Gangtey village. Make visits to the places around this valley.
Gangtey Monastery: The icon and the heart of the valley. A castle like monastery built in 1613 by the great grandson of the Pema Lingpa (treasure revealer). As the founder of the traditional arts and crafts which is existent in the counter prophesized that one day my descendents will erect a structure of religious significance at a summit of a mountain. True to the prophesy the current monastery was built. It is home for the few hundred monks who study ‘Nyingmapa’ (sect/school of Buddhism) looked after by the 9th reincarnated priest. The monastery is considered to be the largest and the only Nyingma(Buddhist institution in this part(west) of the country.
Evening: Explore Phobjikha valley
Overnight in Phobjikha
Day 7: Phobjikha - Paro
Retrace your journey and the drive back to the enchanting valley of Paro.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang – It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
In the evening walk through Paro town.
Meditation and offer butter lamp in Kyichu Lhakhang.
Overnight in Paro: Naksel Boutique Hotel and Spa www.naksel.com
Day 8: Paro - Hike to Taktshang, Tiger’s Nest
Attend early morning mediation, Yoga and prayers in Naksel Yoga hall with the view of Tiger’s Nest Monastery & Jumolhari Mountain (Second highest Mountain in Bhutan).
A visit to Bhutan is incomplete without going to Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s lair), one of the most sanctified and sacred temples in Bhutan.
Transfer to trail-head (30 minutes’ drive from the hotel), It is 5 hour round trip along an old trail. Begin your trek to Takstang monastery (3150m), Bhutan’s most famous sight. It is located on the face of a 900m sheer cliff, but accessible only by walk or to ride mule/pony.Your guide can arrange pony/horse for ride uphill till the Cafeteria (half way point), but one must be able to walk after that. A proper trekking boot or good walking shoes is necessary. For this hike those who choose not to can stay back with the driver and tour around Paro. This hike is absolutely unforgettable and promises every visitor an enthralling experience.
Evening: relax at your hotel and enjoy Menchu Spa at Naksel.
Overnight in Paro
Day 9: Departure: Paro – Bangkok
After breakfast, transfer to Paro airport for departure.
- Airport transfers
- 3* – 5* accommodation.
- Visas for Bhutan
- Daily 3 meals (B, L, D)
- Mineral bottled water
- Private car
- Entrance tickets to all attractions
- Road permits
- Professional English-speaking guide
- Private driver
- Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
- Wearing traditional Bhutan Gho and Kira on the second last day of the trip
Next departure date
Departure every Tuesday and Sunday
For March, April, May, Sep, Oct, Nov:
- Solo traveler: USD2.360/traveler
- Group of 2: USD2.280/traveler
- Group of 3 or more: USD2.040/traveler
For Dec, Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug:
- Solo traveler: USD1.960/traveler
- Group of 2: USD1.880/traveler
- Group of 3 or more: USD1.640/traveler
Round air ticket Singapore – Bhutan might vary from USD1.000 to USD1.040
Two-way air tickets between Singapore and Bhutan
Tips for the guide (USD7/traveler/day)
Tips for driver (USD5/traveler/day)