Dharma Practitioners Tours to Bhutan: 11 day/10 night Tours.
Day 01: Paro-Thimphu
Welcome to Bhutan. We will visit Kyichu Lhakanhg one of the most sacred temples in the Paro Valley. It features a strikingly unusual Guru Rinpoche statue that almost smiles! There is also a full size statue of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in the temple. Dilgo Khyentse’s former house is quite close to the temple. We then drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Thimphu, with a population composed mainly of government employees, monks, the royal family, and, business people has a distinctive Bhutanese character. After checking in to the hotel, we will visit some of the tourist highlights. The School of Arts and Crafts actively promotes traditional local skills. There will also be a visit to the Folk Heritage Museum. Visit to the Takin sancturary, home to the national animal. The famous biologist George Schaller called it a “bee stung moose,” referring to its bulbous nose. Drive to Sangaygang and get a birds eye view of Thimphu city and the valley. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu-Thimphu
After breakfast, visit the main shrines in the Thimphu Dzong including one of the largest Buddhas in Bhutan in the main shrine and the Guru Rinpoche shrine room, if open, which features a huge Guru Rinpoche with a flame-like swirl of copper coloured adornments around the figure. After lunch, visit the gigantic Buddha statue overlooking Thimphu and then the national memorial chorten (stupa) – if you like participate in circumambulating the chorten with other devotees. Evening take a leisurely walk in the town. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu-Punakha/Wangdue
This morning, transfer to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan, crossing Dochula Pass at an altitude of 10,300 feet amidst majestic Himalayan peaks. Hike up to the small but beautiful Lungchotse temple that sits at the top of the mountain. It takes about 2 hours hiking up and coming down about 1 and half hour through beautiful rhododendron forest and interesting bird life. The shrine room features an amazing Guru Rinpoche statue and it is wonderful to meditate “above the clouds” in this remote temple. Lunch at the Dochula cafeteria. This afternoon, we visit the Punakha Dzong, the winter residence of the Chief Abbot and the Central Monastic Body. The dzong, damaged by fire in 1986, was recently renovated using traditional building techniques that eschew the use of nails, written plans, or power tools. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha- Trongsa/Jakar
Today drive to Jakar, via Trongsa. Proceed across the Pele La Pass (11,300 feet). This afternoon, visit Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and perhaps the most impressive dzong in the kingdom. The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and the dzong can be seen for miles. Upon arrival at the hotel, relax and dine. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 05: Jakar- Jakar
Bumthang and Paro are very sacred because these are the valleys where Guru Rinpoche spent more time and blessed both the temples and entire landscape with his presence. We will visit some of the most sacred temples in Bumthang such as Kurjey Lhakhang. Guru Rinpoche meditated at this site for 3 months and left his imprint on the cave wall. The Queen Mother built a special temple to honour Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche which features are life size statue of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche – it is incredibly inspiring to sit in his presence. Jambey Lhakhang and Tamshing Goemba (one of the most important Nyingmapa temples in the country. Located across the river from Kurje Lhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, a re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava) Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 06: Ura/Jakar
Early this morning, depart on a 90-minute drive to the last of the Bumthang valleys, Ura. The day will be spent in this picturesque agrarian village, set in a high valley (10,200 ft.). This farming village is renowned for its good harvest, despite harsh climatic conditions, owing to the hard work of the locals who inhabit the area. Learn of their traditional agricultural techniques and rural customs.Visit a farm house in Ura. There will be about 1 hour hike to Ura Village. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 07: Bumthang- Wangdue/Punakha
Return to the Wangdue Punakha area today. The drive, with various stops, takes about eight hours. In late afternoon, arrive at a comfortable resort with time to relax, dine and enjoy the surroundings. Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue.
Day 08: Punakha/Wangdue/Thimphu/Paro
After breakfast drive north of Punakha. Hike to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal chorten. It takes about 45mins hiking up. Hike back through a farm village that will take about 1 hour and half. You will get a beautiful view of the Punakha valley. After lunch drive to Paro. It will take about 3 hours and 45mins.Check into hotel with time to relax before dinner. Overnight Paro.
Day 09: Paro
After early breakfast transfer to Satsam Chorten for the steep hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, icon of Bhutan. This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 feet above the valley floor and is built around a sacred cave that Guru Rinpoche, who first brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century, meditated in. Guru Rinpoche, in the wrathful form of Dorje Drolo flew there from Tibet on the back of Yeshe Tsogyal – whom he transformed into a flying tigress. Lunch at the cliff-side café or packed lunch for those who wish to lunch nearby Taktsang and reenter when opened after lunch break. It is possible to meditate in Yeshe Tsogyal’s cave during the lunch break. Overnight in Paro.
Day 10: Paro
Drive to Chelela pass(4000mts above sea level) and hike uphill on the ridge for a few hours. Have picnic lunch on the Pass. (Alternatively, visit Dungtse Lhakhang and more sacred sites in Paro Valley). Take a leisurely drive back and stroll in the town. Tonight, enjoy a wonderful Bhutanese farewell dinner in the hotel or local restaurant. Overnight in Paro.
Day 11: Departure Paro
Depending on the time of your flight we will have a light breakfast and go direct to the airport or alternatively visit some other sacred sites in Paro Valley.
Tashi Delek(Good Luck)