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Heart & Soul - Bhutan Photo Tour
Bhutan's capital, Thimphu
The Tower of Trongsa
Mebar Tsho (The Burning Lake)
Day 1: Arrive in Paro and Drive to Thimphu
The flight into Paro is a befitting introduction to the country's spectacular beauty. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks like Gangkar Puensum, give way to the lush green Paro Valley. Your Bhutanese escort will warmly welcome & greet you on arrival, and then drive you to the Paro Rimpung Dzong, the center of civil and religious authority in this region. After this we will have lunch in Paro town. Then we will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The drive will take about 90 minutes along the river valley, past small villages and traditional farmhouses, through the peaceful countryside. It’s a small & charming capital city located in the heart of the Himalayas. On reaching Thimphu, we will do a short hike, (Sangaygang Cross Country) Wangditse Hike. The hike starts from BBS tower till Dechenphodrang, through pine forest. From this hike we can see the Thimphu town (Capital City). The hike will take about 90 minutes. In the evening there is a scheduled visit to Tashi Chho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) and a leisurely stroll around Thimphu town. Dinner and overnight stay in the hotel, Thimphu.
Day 2: Enjoying Thimphu
Today we will hike to Tango Monastery with picnic lunch. Drive by car to Doedena. From here walk up the Tango Monastery. The hike will take about 1 hour 30 minutes. Visit the monastery and then we will mediate inside the monastery for about 1 hour and then return. We will take our lunch near the Doedena River side. After lunch we will drive back to Thimphu and visit Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Lhakhang, Nunnery and stroll around Thimphu town. Dinner and over night stay at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu - Punakha
After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha/Wangdi. The road climbs steeply through forests of pine, hemlock spruce and rhododendrons. At Dochula Pass (3150m) you will have a breathtaking panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayan Mountain ranges during clear days. The pass is adorned with 108 small stupas and many kinds of prayer flags. Then the road descends through lush forests to the fertile valley of Punakha & Wangdi Phodrang. On reaching Lobesa, we will visit Chimi Lhakhang, which is located at a hilltop. The temple is known as the temple of fertility. Lunch will be served here at Lobesa, one of the restaurants. At Punakha, visit the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong. After this, we will drive till the view point of Khamsum Yule Namgyle Chorten, passing the beautiful rural landscape. The evening will be yours to indulge in your personal interests and leisure. Dinner and over night stay at Hotel Punakha.
Day 4: Punakha – Bumthang
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to Bumthang over Pelela Pass and Yontongla pass. Lunch will be served on the way. At Chendebiji, we will stop to see the Chendebji Chorten. The Chorten is patterned after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu and was built in the 19th century by Lama Sidha, from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was killed at this spot. On reaching Trongsa, visit to the Tower of Trongsa, a symbol of Religion and Power in Bhutan. The Tower of Trongsa is a museum in which aspects of Bhutanese culture and history are explained by beautifully crafted objects, while for others it is as sacred place of encounter with the gods. Then continue the journey to Bumthang through the hairpin bends with the dense forest of rhododendron, conifers, alder and oak crossing Yotong La, 3425 meters. The road then comes out into a wide-open cultivated valley which is the Chumey Valley, the first of Bumthnagâ four valleys. From here the road goes on straight until we see Jakar Dzong and then drops into bends before straightening out again in the main valley at Chamkhar. The drive will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Dinner and overnight stay at Bumthang Bhutanese Farmhouse.
Day 5 - 6: Bumthang
Today we will do sightseeing in the Bumthang city – visit to Kurjey Lhakhang, which is named after the body print of Guru Rinpoche which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three buildings, Tamshing Lhakhang which was established by Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501 and is the most important Nyingma Goenba in the country. Then we will drive to Tang Valley and visit to Mebar Tsho (the Burning lake). Then lunch will be served at Farmhouse or we will take a hot picnic lunch. We will visit to Jambay Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in 7th century. Then we will go to farmhouse for dinner and overnight stay. Today after dinner we will enjoy with the Traditional Hot stone bath. Next day, hike to Tharpaling Monastery or Petsheling Monastery with picnic hot lunch. We can meditate or relax in a monastery in very peaceful surroundings.
Day 7: Bumthang - Phobijikha Valley
Today after the breakfast at hotel or Farmhouse (if you have chosen to stay at the farmhouse) we will drive to off beaten track of Phobjikha Valley. It is a glacial valley and is the winter home of the black-necked cranes. This valley is a designated conservation area and borders Black Mountain National Park. Lunch will be served on the way. On reaching Gangtey, visit to Gantey Goenpa Lhakhang, the most important temple in Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism in Bhutan. After this we will go Gangtey Natural Trail hike. This hike is one of the easiest hike in Bhutan through pine forest and open meadow. It offers panoramic and stunning view of the valley. Dinner and overnight stay at Phobjikha Valey Hotel.
Day 8: Phobjikha Valley
Early morning visit to Gangtey Shedra (Monastic School) for Morning Prayer. Back to the hotel and enjoy breakfast. Then visit Gangtey Goenpa Lhakhang. This temple is one of the most important temples in Nyingmapa Sect of Buddhism in Bhutan. Gangtey Natural Trail Hike-This is one of the easiest hikes in Bhutan through pine forest and open meadows. Make time to meet the Khenpo/trulku to discuss and ask some clarification about your spiritual quest. Lunch at hotel. Free time to stroll around the valley. Evening visit again to Gangtey Shedra for Meditation Class and evening prayer. We have customs to give a small donation to the head monk or temple. Note: It is a custom that we have to give some donations to the services that we received from Monks, Tulku and other religious figures. The donations are usually given in an envelope to the monk as part of a brief ceremony at the end of teaching or prayer or at where the individual gives the donation and holds the scarfs and the master gives a blessing, placing the ceremonial scarf on the individual. Note: All the prices and donations can be discussed with our guide.
Day 9: Phobjikha Valley – Paro
After breakfast at the hotel, drive back to Paro. The road descends to Wangdi Valey and the road climbs steeply through forests of pine, hemlock spruce and rhododendrons. At Dochula Pass (3150m) you will have a breathtaking panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayan Mountain ranges on clear days. The pass is adorned with 108 small stupas and many kinds of prayer flags. Lunch will be served at Dochula Café or on the way. Continue the journey to Paro. On the way we will visit to Tachho Gang Lhakhang crossing over the iron chain bridge. On reaching Paro, we will stroll around Paro town for some shopping. Dinner and overnight stay at Paro Hotel.
Day 10: Paro
After the breakfast we will drive till the Ramthangka, where the hike to one of the Bhutans most dramatic monuments, the Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang Monastery). We will use ponies as our means of transportation to reachl the Taktshang cafeteria. From the cafeteria, we have to hike up to monastery about 90 minutes. Even from the cafeteria, we can see the spectacular views of this most scared monastery in the Buddhist world. Some, if you cannot hike from cafeteria, can sit and enjoy the view of the monastery, which is perched on the rocks, 900 meters above the valley floor. Our lunch will be served here at cafeteria. On our way back to hotel, we will visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo (the 33rd Tibetan king, who is also the manifestation of avoloketeshivara, commonly known to Bhutanese as Chenrize). Evening stroll around the Paro valley, the valley of surpassing Beauty.
Day 11: Depart Paro
Final departure transfer to airport to board your flight for onward journey.
What Is Included in Your Tour Cost:
All 5-star accommodations
Breakfast and Dinner at all the booked hotels
Lunch in local restaurants (with the exception of Amankora Bumthang - where it is required to eat on the premises)
All transfers and sightseeing costs in the itinerary
English speaking local photography guide from start to finish
Sustainable Development fees and taxes
All entrance fees
Bhutan visa fees
Hot stone bath in local farm house
Prayer flag hoisting on your behalf
One Blessing Ceremony
Tour Cost Varies by Number of Clients Joining the Tour.
1 - 6 members - ¥712,800 (Approximately USD $6480 per person)
7 members - ¥689,700 (Approximately USD $6270 per person)
8 members - ¥667,700 (Approximately USD $6070 per person)
Single Supplement: ¥267,300 (Approximately USD $2430)
Not Included: Flights to Bhutan and from Bhutan, alcohol beverages, travel health insurance, lunches, items of a personal nature.
Further upgrades to 5* Deluxe Hotel Packages are available for this Bhutan Photo Tour. If you are interested in enjoying an even more luxurious experience while photographing the wonders of Bhutan, please contact us so we can explain some of the options to you!
For example, during the Thimphu portion of the tour, this deluxe hotel accommodation is possible: