BHUTAN - Kingdom in the Cloud

natgeoexpeditons


Trip Dates: 

Sep 04 - 14, 2016 ALT
Nov 06 - 16, 2016
Apr 02 - 12, 2017 ALT
Sep 24 - Oct 04, 2017 ALT
Nov 06 - 16, 2017

 

Trip Details
Within the folds of Bhutan's mountains lie sacred temples, dazzling rice fields, and villages unchanged by time. On this magical journey, experience the wonders of the last Mahayana Buddhist kingdom of the Himalaya. Hike to ancient dzongs, meet local families, wander through serene monasteries, discover unique artistic traditions, and witness one of Bhutan’s spectacular local festivals.

Trip Cost USD 6695

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Included in the price
Hotels (Double Occupancy)
* Single supplement =USD 2,175

Not included
International airfare to/from Bangkok and airfare between Bangkok and Paro is not included in the expedition cost. The group flights between Bangkok and Paro are USD 960 (subject to change).

 

Daily Itinerary

Day 1 — Bangkok, Thailand
Arrive in Bangkok this evening and check in to our hotel.
Novotel Suvarnabhumi Hotel

 

Day 2 — Paro, Bhutan
Fly to Bhutan's Paro Valley (7,300 feet), and visit the seventh-century Kyichu Lhakhang temple. Explore our stunning hotel—a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection—before a welcome dinner tonight.
Zhiwa Ling Hotel (B,L,D)

 

Day 3 — Punakha
After a special Buddhist blessing ceremony, journey to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. This afternoon, visit Chimi Lakhang, a small but famous temple in the center of the golden Punakha Valley. Settle into our hotel and enjoy dinner together.
Meri Puensum Hotel (B,L,D)

 

Day 4 — Punakha
After an invigorating hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten, a spectacularly situated temple, be rewarded for your efforts with incredible views of the valley below. Then visit the Punakha Dzong, an impressive fortress guarding the southern end of the valley at the confluence of the Pho (male) and Mo (female) Rivers.
Meri Puensum Hotel (B,L,D)

 

Day 5 — Phobjikha
Travel to the beautiful alpine valley of Phobjikha (10,000 feet), the largest wintering site for the endangered black-necked crane. Along the way, the environment changes from semi-tropical to pine forest, and then to an alpine zone that is home to several species of rhododendron, dwarf bamboo, and Grey Langur monkeys.
Dewachen Lodge (B,L,D)

 

Day 6 — Phobjikha
Against a backdrop of forest-clad mountains, Gangtey Goemba temple complex rises dramatically from a cluster of hilltop cottages. One of the oldest Nyingma monasteries in Bhutan, the Gangtey Goemba has recently been renovated, allowing us to examine the fine workmanship of Bhutan’s best woodcarvers, sculptors, and painters. Our visit coincides with the annual Crane Festival, a charming mix of traditional masked and folk dances. Held in the courtyard of the Goemba, this festival was created by the community to raise awareness for the rare cranes that winter in the valley. Today is also celebrated throughout the country as “Children’s Day” in honor of the fourth king’s birthday. After the festival, set off on a half-day hike, stopping to visit with a village family along the way.
Dewachen Lodge (B,L,D)

 

Day 7 — Thimphu
Travel to Thimphu (7,900 feet), the capital of Bhutan. Cross the Dochu La pass (10,000 feet) en route and gaze at a 200-mile panorama of Himalayan peaks (weather permitting). Tonight, get a behind-the-scenes perspective on contemporary Bhutan during a lively Bhutanese banquet with members of the government, local dignitaries, and respected professionals.
Taj Tashi Hotel (B,L,D)

 

Day 8 — Thimphu/Paro
Spend the morning exploring the country’s more modern side in Thimphu. Depending on the day of the week, either visit the capital's colorful outdoor market, where farmers and vendors from throughout the country come to sell an array of fresh produce; or the National Textile Museum, where Bhutan’s finest weavings and brocades are on display. Return to Paro in the afternoon and settle back in at the Zhiwa Ling.
Zhiwa Ling Hotel (B,L,D)

 

Day 9 — Paro
Our journey in the kingdom culminates with a hike to the most famous pilgrimage site in Bhutan: Taktsang Lhakhang, or the Tiger’s Nest Temple (9,300 feet). Visible from afar, this stunning monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 2,000 feet above the valley floor. This evening, celebrate your Bhutanese adventure at a festive farewell dinner.
Zhiwa Ling Hotel (B,L,D)

 

Days 10 & 11 — Paro/Bangkok, Thailand
Fly to Bangkok and check into our hotel. The following morning, transfer to the airport for your return flight, arriving home the same day.
Novotel Suvarnabhumi Hotel (B,L; B)

 

OPTIONAL EXTENSION
Angkor Wat, Cambodia - Post-Trip Extension, 4 Days

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