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Bhutan Cultural Tour: The Secret Heart of the Himalayas. 14 DAYS

This cultural tour in Bhutan is a 14-day cultural immersion in this magnificent country so little known and visited. The local tour guides speak English. It is for this reason that the given program is written in English.

Why do this cultural tour in Bhutan?

Its geography :

Bhutan, the country of “Gross National Happiness” is little known to tourists. Bhutan is one of the most closed countries in the world, which is opening up little by little and arousing all the curiosity. It is the secret heart of the Himalayas! In the heart of Asia, nestled between the two giants that are China and India, the territory of Bhutan is 100% terrestrial and 0% composed of water. This feature is almost unique on the planet. The country is crossed by the immense Himalayan range and has several peaks above 7000 meters above sea level. The highest point is also the Kula Kangri which reaches 7553 meters above sea level.  The rest of the landscape consists of 70% forest, but also high plateaus and valleys.

Its culture, its religion :

Its culture, history, monuments and traditions are intact and the friendliness of its people unparalleled. All of this together makes Bhutan one of the most beautiful and interesting destinations to discover! Buddhism, the state religion, is omnipresent in the daily life of its inhabitants. During this cultural tour in Bhutan, go on the paths of meditation, stop near the prayer flags which float in the winds of the Himalayas. Share a cup of tea with the monks of the nearest monastery and don’t miss the initiation into Buddhist rituals. This is how you will better understand the spirituality more than a century old of the last kingdom of the Himalayas.

His landscapes :

The landscapes, whose nature changes with each valley, will remain etched in your memories forever.

Its inhabitants :

If Bhutan has a lot to offer, it’s because of its people! The Bhutanese, open to the world and speaking for the most part excellent English, will very gladly receive you in their country. Proud of their nation, they are nonetheless happy to get to know tourists. Thus, traveling to Bhutan is the guarantee of a calm stay where encounters are easy, authentic and warm. The honesty and kindness of the Bhutanese will convince you that Gross National Happiness is a very real notion that everyone can appreciate!

The philosophy of Gross National Happiness (strongly imbued with Buddhist precepts) has ensured that Bhutan remains an oasis of calm and tranquility.

Bhutan Cultural Tour Itinerary: 13 Nights/14 Days.

Paro-Thimphu (3 nights) – Punakha (2 nights) – Trongsa (1 night) – Jakar (2 nights) – Trongsa (1 night) – Phobjikha (1 night) – Paro (3 nights)

Geography of Bhutan:

CULTURAL TOUR PROGRAM IN BHUTAN:

Transfer to Thimphu by car/bus. One can wander on your own to stroll Thimphu streets or relax in your hotel

Morning visit the weekend market (Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday), Handmade paper Mill , School of Arts and crafts where students learn 13 different arts used efficiently in Bhutan, Lunch in town. Drive pass by Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King . Visit Changangkha Lhakhang , the oldest temple in the valley, Enclosure where national animal, Takins are kept and Zilukha Nunnery.

In the morning visit the newly built Buddha statue which overlooks the entire Thimphu valley. Then drive to visit Tango Monastery which is located at the farthest region north of Thimphu. It is roughly 14 kilometers away from Thimphu town. Following the trail, the walk uphill takes about 40 minutes to reach the monastery. The hike will give you the chance to see the scenery and birds along the pathway. Afternoon visit the Dechenphodrang Monastic school and interact with the monks. After 5 Pm visit Tashichhodzong which house the Kings’s throne.

Drive through Dochula pass , the second highest road pass in your trip at 3010m. When the weather permits one can enjoy a spectacular view of the highest mountains of Bhutan at a site that stretches almost 180 degrees. After a short tea break continue to sub tropical Punakha. In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong (fortress) which houses the most elaborated temple in the country.

After breakfast visit Chimi Lhakhang on foot, the temple of fertility associated with religious art of phallus. In the afternoon visit Khamsum Yulley temple which looks very astonishing on the hilltop. A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong will bring you to the base of the hill on which this temple is built. From the car park, you have to cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before you start climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. It takes about 30-45 minutes from the car park to hike up to the temple, and 30 minutes to hike down. Evening walk around the Khuruthang town and interact with the people.

In the morning start the journey to Trongsa. On the way, stop in Wangdi. Stroll in Wangdi town and view the Wangdi Dzong (Fortress) which happens to be the only fortress with the original roof and now under renovation because of the recent fire. Continue to Trongsa over Pelela Pass at 3300m which forms the part of Black Mountain Range that divides the country into east and west. Stop for a while and visit the Chendebji Chorten alongside the road. Evening relax at your hotel.

Morning visit Trongsa town and visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong (Fortress), the home of the royals and the watch tower which houses a museum now. Drive pass by the second highest road pass in your trip at 3425m ( Yotong La ). En route stop over the weaving place, beside the road where “Yatha” (wool weaving) is done which the Valley of Bumthang is famous for, rest of the time relax at your hotel. 

Make an excursion drive to the village of Ura . En-route visit historic burning lake . The drive will pass over the Shertang La pass at 3573m. Shertang La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,573m (11,722ft) above the sea level, located in the Bumthang District of Bhutan. It’s  one of the highest mountain roads of the country. On clear weather Bhutan’s highest mountain Gangkar Puensum (7540m) can be seen dominating the northern valley Visit the Ura village and return. End your day with a walk passing by the Swiss farm. Evening stroll in Jakar town and try some local pancakes and noodles.

Visit Jampay Lakhang , the one of the first 2 Buddhist temples built in the country. This is the home of the naked dance festival that is still performing annually. Visit Kurjey Temple and Jagar Dzong . Trace your drive back to Trongsa. 

 Retrace your way back towards Wangdue district and visit Phobjikha valley also known as Gangtey. This valley is one of the most beautiful valley in Bhutan and also a winter home for endangered black necked cranes. Take an easy valley hike to the Gompa which takes about 2 hrs and is called Phobjikha Natural Trail.

Check out from the hotel; retraces your drive back to Paro. If time permits, in Paro visit the National Museum , the first of its kind which has a collection from natural history to religious paintings. Visit 17 century Paro Dzong (Fortress) on foot and continue walking through the oldest wooden bridge still in use. Evening stroll old Paro town and peep into some local handicrafts stores. One can also venture to try local restaurant for dinner Overnight: Paro | Altitude: 2200m

Visit the temples of Dzongdrakha on foot which studs the rock cliff. Continue driving to Haa over the Chelela Pass , your highest point of the trip at 3800m. When the weather permits one can view the most scared mountain in the country Mt. Jomolhari (7314m). Visit the quiet, timeless Haa valley with a picnic lunch.   

Visit Kichu Lhakhang , one from the 2 oldest temple in the country, historic Drukgyal Dzong (Fortress) and hike to Tiger’s Nest , the most revered temple in the country that literally hangs on a granite cliff overlooking the Paro Valley. evening at leisure

Transfer to airport for your departure flight. Our tour staff will bid you farewell at the airport

Some useful Bhutanese phrases

Hello: Ku-zu-zam-po-la (meaning good health)

Thank You: Ka din chey la

See you: Lok jey gay

Good bye: Lus la “or” Laso la

Do’s and Dont’s
  1. No photography inside main alter in monastery and fortress
  2. No smoking in public places
Dress code:
  1. No half pants and skirts while visiting monastery and fortresses
  2. Hats not allowed inside the fortresses
  3. Full sleeve or collared shirts at all times/ carrying a jacket for the cover up is useful tips 

GUARANTEED DEPARTURE FROM 2 PEOPLE. DATES OF YOUR CHOICE

PRICE: FROM 2995€/p. FLIGHTS INCLUDED, FULL BOARD.

What is included in the price of this cultural tour in Bhut:
  • international flights to Bhutan from Brussels or Paris (ask for your quote for a departure from another airport).
  • All transfers in Bhutan.
  • A local English speaking guide.
  • Full board.
  • 3 star hotels for the 13 nights.
  • Transportation by vehicles with AC
  • 1 bottle of water/p./day.
  • All visits and entrances to monuments
  • Assistance from Atypic Travel 24/7.
What is not included in the price:
  • The drinks
  • The visa: 40$/p. (Atypic Travel takes care of the visa application).
  • A valid passport still min. 6 months after return.
  • personal expenses
  • Tips
  • The insurance
  • Optional: a guide from Atypic Travel

What to put in your suitcase to go to Bhutan?

In Bhutan you will be faced with high altitudes and therefore a cold and probably very harsh climate. From a clothing point of view, you will necessarily need clothes that are warm enough to help you withstand the temperatures. Big sweaters, long t-shirts, thick socks, hat, scarf, gloves will go in your suitcase. In Bhutan you will have the opportunity to make wonderful and superb hikes. You will absolutely need to have a good pair of walking shoes with you.

As for your medicine kit, you will of course need the basic medicines to treat possible everyday ailments. If you’re planning on going on a trek and gaining even more altitude, ask your doctor to prescribe you medication for acute mountain sickness . You will surely walk a lot. Remember to put enough bandages against blisters in your first aid kit.

Bhutan is as fabulous as it is unknown. By going there you will discover an extraordinarily photogenic country . So remember to take a camera or video camera with you as well as enough memory cards. Wishing you not to need it, it is always more prudent to have a photocopy of your passport with you. If you should unfortunately lose the original, the photocopy will be very useful in your efforts. During your stay you will also need a flashlight, power cuts are frequent in Bhutan.