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Discover Local Life – Ultimate Bhutan

Thimphu, Punakha, Khotokha, Gangtey, Bumthang, Paro

Meet Katie

This example itinerary

from £12,000 $16,000 pp

10 days

HOME > DESTINATIONS > Bhutan > Discover Local Life – Ultimate Bhutan

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Highlights

  • Meditate with chief Abbot at Punakha Dzong
  • Dinner with member of Parliament
  • Exclusive private Masked Dance Festival in Khotokha Valley
  • Hike Khotokha to Phobjikha Valley with overnight camping
  • Warm yourselves by the fire with local farmers and enjoy their home brewed fiery arra liqueur
  • Meet with Bhuddist Monks, hike to Tiger’s Nest
  • 8 aside Archery Tournament in Paro

This example itinerary

from £12,000 $16,000 pp

10 days

Speak to Katie

+44 (0)203 137 1247

+1 (0)800 635 8124

What’s Included

  • Nine nights on Full Board with private guiding
  • Hike and overnight remote camping in Khotokha Valley
  • Exclusive private masked dance festival
  • Dinner with member of Parliament
  • Jakar Tshechu Festival in Bumthang
  • Archery Tournament & Monk encounters
  • All private transfers

Example Itinerary

Day 1-2

THIMPHU, Bhutan

  • Spot the enormous golden Buddha that sits atop a meditation hall
  • Meet with a member of Parliament for your first banquet dinner

Bhutan’s capital city is the heart of the country and home to Thimphu Valley, the giant Buddha and an abundance of monasteries.

Begin in Thimpu, where you’ll spend one night at Six Senses Thimpu – a luxury hotel in the shadow of the Himalayas with sweeping views over Thimphu Valley and Great Buddha Dordenma. With a guide, visit the golden Buddha statue and the National Memorial Chorten.

Pre-dinner, you will meet with a Member of Parliament to give a short talk. This special session strives to give you more insight and understanding of Bhutan – whether it’s the Gross National Happiness, history, religion, culture or politics of this special country.

Day 2-4

PUNAKHA, Bhutan

  • Meditate with the Chief Abbot in the inner Sanctum of Punakha Dzong, a 17th century riverside palace
  • Visit the Temple of Fertility, hike to Kham Yuelley Temple, meet with monks and visit a Bhuddist College

Once the capital of Bhutan, Punakha is full of interesting history, monuments and scenic views over the Pho River.

Travel to Punakha over the Dochula Pass, winding past exceptional views of the snow-capped Himalayas. Prior to arrival in Punakha, we will visit Chimi Lhakhang which is an easy 15 minute walk from the road. This is known as the Temple of Fertility.

Reaching Amankora in time for lunch, spend two nights at Amankora Punakha, an elegant hideaway set amidst farmland, on the river front.

In the afternoon you will visit to Punakha Dzong and chant in the inner sanctum with the chief Abbot.

The following day, Hike along the Butterfly Trail to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. For those wishing to ramp up the adrenaline, we can arrange white water rafting along the Pho River. In the evening, sip on riverside cocktails and soaking up the majestic scenery.

For lunch we will lay on a riverside BBQ lunch. In the afternoon, we will take a drive to Talo before visiting Nalanda Dorjidhen, a Buddhist college, where you will be able to sit and talk to monks speaking English.

Day 4-5

KHOTOKHA, Bhutan

  • Exclusive festival celebration in Khotokha with monks and stylised masked dancers
  • Wander the village tracks and enjoy candlelit dinner in a local farmhouse

Khotokha, a large glacial valley home to farming communities and serene scenery.

After breakfast, we will take a drive to Khotokha valley. It is a large glacial valley with few inhabitants and various sacred sites. All the settlements are subsistence farmers and mostly involved in potato cultivation. The plains are too breathtaking to miss as well as the sacred sites of Khotokha. This is a truly magical valley, but very few tourists are able to visit.

Upon arrival, you will have an opportunity to immerse yourself in a lively and vibrant festival celebration, created just for you, with a series of highly stylised masked dance rituals. Those attending will be adorned in astounding colours from surrounding villages and you will have the chance to join the locals, receive blessings and interact with the monks.

Wander the streets of the local village, before enjoying a candlelit dinner in a local farmhouse. You will then camp overnight, under a canopy of stars in the wild.

Day 5-6

GANGTEY, Bhutan

  • Hike from Khotokha valley, towards the Phobjikha valley, spot black-necked cranes, muntjacs and sambars
  • Embark on a spiritual cleansing & private prayer flag hoisting

The secluded nature of Gangtey flaunts endless adventurous hikes in outstanding mountainous scenery.

This trek begins from your camp in the beautiful Khotokha valley, towards the Phobjikha valley (3,000m), one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan, which lies in the mountains east of Wangduephodrang.

This quiet, remote valley is the chosen winter home of the rare black necked cranes, which migrate here annually from the Tibetan plateau. This moderate trek visits the villages of Gogona from Khotokha, passing through meadows and fields, then forests of juniper, magnolia and rhododendrons.

From Gogona, there will be off road vehicles waiting to transfer you to Gangtey. Gangtey is one of the most secluded spots in the world, where you’ll spend a night at Gangtey Lodge. Set in a protected reserve nestled up high in the mountains, the lodge is home to adventure, comfort and spiritual awakening.

Day 6-8

BUMTHANG, Bhutan

  • Jakar Festival in the courtyard of Jakar Dzong to include folk songs and dances
  • Visit a local farm house, drink butter tea and try their home brewed liquor – fiery arra

Considered as Bhutan’s most historic district, Bumthang showcases temples, monasteries and sacred sites.

After breakfast, we have arranged for you to partake in a spiritual cleansing. The ritual is also used to self-cleanse all the bad spirits surrounding us and to be blessed with good luck. Spiritual cleansing involves the burning of selected herbs. This normally takes place in the early morning hours and is in the presence of a senior monk from the Shedra.

After an early lunch, you will then make the journey to Bumthang. We will stop on the way for a private prayer flag hoisting. Hoisting a prayer flag is considered to bring good luck and merit to all sentient beings.

Further on your journey you will reach the viewpoint of Trongsa. Then down the valley after Yutong La Pass, at an altitude of 11,000 feet and continue through farmlands toward Zugney Village, home to many skilled weavers.

Take a scenic drive through dramatic landscapes of farmland, gorges and farmhouses to reach Bumthang where you’ll spend two nights at Amankora. Home to 29 monasteries and temples, Bumthang is coined as the spiritual heart of the country.

The following day after breakfast, visit Jakar Festival. This festival is held in the courtyard of Jakar Dzong. The festival showcases several sacred masks dance. This festival also hosts different types of folk songs and dances.

Afternoon, we will visit a local farm house with colourfully decorated outer walls and lintels, and are traditionally built without the use of single nail. Enjoy a delicious buttermilk tea and snacks and home brewed liquor. A visit to a farmhouse gives an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of a farming family.

If time permits, we will take you to see Jambay Lhakhang. It is believed to be one of the 108 monasteries constructed in a single day by a Tibetan King to subdue a demon.

Day 8-10

PARO, Bhutan

  • Archery Tournament against a local team of 8 players
  • Hike through the mountains to the Tiger’s Nest monastery, precariously built into the cliffside

Set in Western Bhutan, the valley town of Paro is perfect for exploring its surroundings on foot, as well as promising an immersive spiritual and wellness retreat.

Today you will take a scenic flight to Paro. On arrival, you will visit the Kyichu temple. You will light 108 Butter lamps.  You will then visit the National Museum with a top curator.

We have arranged a private archery tournament for you. Two teams of archers will compete. Each team is encouraged by its supporters who dance and sing, extolling their team while teasing and mocking the opponents to make them lose their concentration. There are 2 painted targets placed at each end of the range at about 120 meters apart. The teams will compete, each player shooting two arrows. Each time an arrow hits the bulls-eye, there is celebratory mayhem!

Toward the evening, you will take e-bikes on a short tour to experience a little more of the Paro Valley.

After an early breakfast, take a day hike to Taktsang Monastery, perched on the side of a vertical cliff at 3000m altitude north of Paro. This monastery creates an extraordinary sight and is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. It is one of the most famous Buddhist Monasteries in Bhutan and is also known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’.

An hour and a half hike up to a small wooden tea house provides a close view of the monastery where you take a breather and enjoy some light snacks. A further hike of an hour leads you to the glorious Taktsang Monastery. That evening, you will be able to enjoy the spa and ease those blessed aches from the morning’s pilgrimage.

Finally – to finish the trip in style, we have arranged an enchanting final dinner with live musicians, dancers and a meal fit for Bhutan’s Royal Family.

Georgina

We want to thank you both so much for making our holiday one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. We will be ambassadors for this magical country forever. We have already persuaded several friends to go to Bhutan!

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