Bhutan Monastery Tour
Bhutan Monastery Tour Overview
Bhutan is the only Buddhist kingdom left in the world. This mountain kingdom is steeped in Buddhism with its incredible history. Bhutanese Buddhism is Mahayana or "The Greater Way". The Buddhism of Bhutan is unique in many ways, with its own holy men who have greatly influenced its development over the centuries. This 9 day tour is Bhutan takes you on a journey to see Bhutan's spiritual side. You will have an opportunity to immerse yourself in its culture as well as its Buddhism which permeates the consciousness of this Himalayan nation. Of course, there will be great views of the Bhutan Himalayas. While there are no 8000+ meter peaks, there are plenty of those over 7,000+ meters which are snow-covered and delightful to see.
Day to Day Itinerary
DAY 1 – Arrival at Paro: The flight from Kathmandu to Paro Airport takes just 90 minutes, but what an incredible flight! It follows along the highest parts of the Himalayas before arriving in Paro. You will see Mt. Everest along with several other 8,000+ meter mountains, the highest in the world. Upon your arrival in Paro, you will be met by a representative of GA Travels who will take you for a 90 minute drive through the Paro Valley and up over the pass to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan where you will spend the night.
DAY 2 – Thimphu: Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan and features an incredible collection of museums, cultural attractions as well as history. There is the National Library with a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscrips. There is the National Memorial Chhorten with is a monument of world peace and prosperity built in honor of Bhutan's third king, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. There is also the impressive fortress/monastery of Trashichhoedzong that houses the governmental offices as well as the throne of the king.
DAY 3 – Trongsa: It's a 200 km/6 hour trip through the mountains to the beautiful community of Trongsa. The trip features views of the heart of the Bhutan Himalayas, especially crossing Dochu-la Pass (elev. 3,080 m/10,104 ft.). From Dochu-la Pass, many peaks are visible including Bhutan's tallest mountain, Gangkar Puensum (elev. 7,497 m/24,596 ft.) On the way, visit Chendbji Chorten, patterned after The city of Trongsa is located in the middle of the country with a great view of the gorge below. We will spend the night here as we prepare to explore it tomorrow.
DAY 4 – Trongsa/Bumthang: Trongsa Dzong was built in 1648 and was the capital of the country under the first and second kings of Bhutan. Even today, all kings are first installed as Trongsa Penlop (governor) of the city before they are crowned king of the country. After touring Trongsa, it is a three hour journey to Bumthang, whereby we cross the Yutong-la Pass (3,400 m/11,155 ft.) where we will lodge for the night.
DAY 5 – Bumthang: Bumthang is home of a number of important Buddhist monasteries. Its name signifies the combination of four valleys. The city is a sacred site and the day is spent exploring them. We will spend a second night in Bumthang.
DAY 6 – Punakha: The journey explores some more of the valley around Bumthang as the journey now heads to the village of Punakha. The Wangduephodrang Dzong sits ona hilltop overlooking Punakha where you can see the confluence of the Punakha Chu and Tang Chu Rivers.
DAY 7 – Punakha/Paro: Punakha was once the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still serves as the winter residence for the Central Monk Body. The morning has a visit to Punakha Dzong at the confluence of the rivers. Later we journey for four hours to Paro.
DAY 8 – Paro: We have returned to the city of Paro, but this time we will be exploring the city and the most famous of the Buddhist Monasteries – Taktsang Monastery. Situated 900 meters above the valley floor, it literally hangs off the side of a cliff. It is said that the 8th Century Buddhist Guru Rinpoche came here on the back of a tiger to meditate in a cave here for three months. Today, it is still known as "The Tiger's Nest" and is considered a most sacred place in Bhutan. Other historic and sacred places will be visited today before spending your last night in Bhutan.
DAY 9 – Departure: It's time to leave this Shangri-La as you head for the airport after breakfast. This is a good time to discuss with your representative at GA Travels about other places to see and do in South Asia. GA Travels is a leader in travel plans for all of South Asia, including Nepal, Tibet, India and Bangladesh. There is a lot to see and do in Nepal and South Asia, and GA Travels is the right company to put together a package for you.