8D 7N Bhutan Family Adventure

  • Bhutan Family Adventure

    Bhutan Family Adventure
    Bhutan Family Adventure

Bhutan Tour Itinerary

In this family friendly 8-day itinerary, enjoy the highlights of Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, before heading out for an exhilarating descent from the Dochula Pass along the Trans Bhutan Trail towards the pretty town of Punakha. Stay in the scenic Phobjika Valley, a hotspot for birdwatching, before returning to hike a section of the Trail near Paro and visiting the world famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery.


Day 1

Paro – Thimphu

Elevation      Weather in Thimphu

On arrival at Paro International Airport today, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu. With elevations ranging between 2,248 metres (7,375 feet) and 2,648 metres (8,688 feet) above sea level, Thimphu is the fifth highest capital city in the world by altitude; and it is also the only capital city in the world without any traffic lights. The city offers a unique blend of the modern world alongside striking Bhutanese tradition.

Head out for a brief acclimatization walk in the late afternoon, during which you will visit the Memorial Chorten, a Tibetan-style stupa built in 1974 and one of Thimphu’s busiest religious sites.

If time permits visit the Draktsho Vocational Training Center. Draktsho is the only vocational training center for children and adults with special needs in Bhutan. They also provide educational, life and social skills training to children and youth with all types of disabilities. Draktsho was established in 2001 under the guidance of Her Majesty Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck, co-chair of the Bhutan Foundation. Since the government was providing education for visually and hearing-impaired students through the local schools and inclusive education projects, Draktsho recognized the need to facilitate services to those who were intellectually impaired. Draktsho works to ensure that Bhutanese citizens with disabilities have opportunities for developing skills to enhance their daily living standards by providing vocational training to pursue gainful employment and be able to contribute to society. You can also make a small donation to the center to help children with disabilities. (Optional)

Enjoy dinner this evening with your guide in one of the capital’s excellent restaurants.

 

Accommodation: Tara Phendheling Hotel or similar (3*)
Meals: D

Day 2

Thimphu

Elevation      Weather in Thimphu

After breakfast at your hotel, head out to take in some more of Thimphu’s numerous attractions.

First, head to the scenic Kabisa Valley, just north of Thimphu, to the Choki Traditional Art School. Choki is Bhutan’s only private institution providing free education to underprivileged youths who have a keen interest in learning the traditional arts and crafts. During your visit to the school you will see students engaged in a number of traditional art forms, including painting, carving, and tapestry.

Once back in Thimphu, visit the Takin Zoo. The Takin preserve is located in Motithang, a 15 minutes’ drive from the heart of the capital. It was initially established as a mini zoo populated with takins, the national animal of Bhutan, and other endangered species of animals. Later, the fourth king of Bhutan decreed that it was contrary to Buddhist philosophies to keep animals in captivity and the takins were set free, but they ultimately had to be put back in to the Reserve when they were found wandering the streets of Thimphu looking for food.

Afterwards, enjoy memorable family pottery class at Ame Zam.

After lunch, drop in at the Thimphu Craft Bazaar, a fine place to pick up souvenirs of your visit to Bhutan, before visiting the Capital’s interesting Folk Heritage Museum. Housed in a 19th century traditional rammed mud and timber building, the exhibitions depict Bhutanese culture and way of life.

Also visit the Bhutan Postal Museum. The postal museum is located on the ground floor of the Bhutan Post office almost in the middle of the Thimphu town. The museum boasts artifacts from the pre-postal era and a depiction of the development of post in Bhutan. The museum also houses a very large collection of stamps. Visitors may also print their own customized stamps as souvenirs.

Lastly, drop into Thimphu’s archery ground. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and your visit will allow you to marvel at both the skill of the archers and the important place that the sport occupies within Bhutan’s cultural heritage.

If time permits, visit a children’s playground and interact with the local children there.

 

Accommodation: Tara Phendheling Hotel or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D

Day 3

Thimphu – Dochula – Thinleygang – Punakha

Elevation      Weather in Punakha

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the Dochula Pass, east of the capital city. At 3,100 metres (10,200 feet) above sea level, you will be able to enjoy excellent views from Dochula at clearer times of the year. Mountain passes are some of the most sacred places in Bhutan and so it is customary to burn incense as an offering in places such as this. You may also wish to join locals in hanging colourful prayer flags as a sign of respect to the Gods.

While at Dochula you may visit the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), built in honour of His Majesty the Fourth King Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck and to commemorate the 100th  anniversary of the Bhutanese Monarchy. The paintings in this temple are unique insofar as they combine modern flourishes with century-old techniques. The Temple hosts a yearly tshechu (festival) which pays tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty the King and the ongoing efforts of the Royal Bhutanese Army in protecting Bhutan’s sovereignty.

You should also visit the Druk Wangyal Chorten (stupa), also known as the ‘108 Chortens’, and its nearby meditation caves.

From Dochula, head down into the adjacent valley and join a section of the Trail known as the ‘Divine Madman Trail’. You are now following in the footsteps of the Divine Madman himself, Drukpa Kuenley, when he first came to Bhutan from Tibet in the 16th century to fulfil his destiny of suppressing evil energies.

On arrival at Thinleygang, visit the Thinleygang Lhakhang (temple), which is where the central monastic body overnights on their two day journey from the summer residence in Thimphu to the winter residence in Punakha. A traditional Bhutanese lunch will then be served in a local farmhouse.

After lunch, you will be transferred to the beautiful town of Punakha.

Check in at your hotel, where you will have time to relax or to explore at your own pace.

Seasonally, there will be time on arrival for picking fruit and vegetables in the farm’s gardens; and you wish be able to engage in cooking classes given by the owners.

 

Accommodation: Dhruma Farm Resort or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D
Trek Distance: 10.5 kilometres (6.52 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 5 hours
Elevation Gain: 50 metres (164 feet)
Starting Elevation: 3,114 metres (10,217 feet)
Ending Elevation: 1,811 meters (5,942 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,114 metres (10,217 feet)

Day 4

Punakha – Phobjika Valley

Elevation      Weather in Punakha

After breakfast this morning, enjoy a tour of Punakha Dzong (fortress), which was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in around 1637 at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (male river) and the Mo Chhu (female river). Arguably, it is the most beautiful Dzong in the country.

The Dzong guards Bhutan’s most treasured relic, the Rangjung Kharsapani, an image of Chenresig kept away from the public in the utse (tower). It has survived Tibetan invasions, numerous fires, floods and a glacial lake burst. The Dzong served as the capital and seat of the Bhutanese Government until the early 1950s; and the coronation of His Majesty the First Druk, Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck, took place here. The building currently serves as the winter residence for the monastic body.

Afterwards, you will be transferred south towards the beautiful Phobjika Valley, one of the best places in Bhutan to spot the distinctive and endangered black-necked crane.

A traditional Bhutanese lunch will be served in a local farmhouse, where you will also have the chance to learn about potato farming in the Phobjika Valley and help the farmer out with some of the farm chores.

Dinner this evening will be served in your hotel.

 

Accommodation: The Valley Camp
Meals: B,L,D

Day 5

Phobjika Valley – Paro

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast at your hotel, visit the Gangtey Goemba Monastery which is situated atop a hill at an altitude of 2800 m, Gangtey Monastery (also known as Gangtey Sanga Choeling Goemba) offers a stunning view of Phobjikha valley, winter home to the rare Black Necked Cranes. This venerable monastery was founded in 1613 by Je Kuenga Gyaltshen.

Children in the group will also get a chance to interact with the younger monks and even practice their English skills with them.

Then continue your journey westwards past Thimphu and towards Paro.

On arrival in Paro, visit Ta Dzong or the ‘watchtower’, originally built in 1649 to protect Paro Dzong from the Tibetan military. In 1968, Ta Dzong became Bhutan’s National Museum, and is now home to a number of exhibitions including sculpture, painting and artifacts depicting Bhutan’s magical past.

Afterwards, continue to the stunning Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress), meaning ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’. The original construction of this dzong is believed to have been completed in 1458 and it was restored to its present glory by His Majesty the Third of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, to mark his royal wedding in 1951.

Also visit the Paro weekend farmers’ market. The residents of Paro fill the market as they rush to buy fresh local produce and the amazing colors and aromas infused with the energy of the Paro residents are quite memorable.

This evening, you will enjoy dinner with your guide at a local restaurant.

 

Accommodation: Haven Resort or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D

Day 6

Paro

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to Upper Dopshari, located high on the opposite side of the Paro Valley. Here, you will rejoin the Trans Bhutan Trail for a pleasant morning walk down the valley side.

Stop at the village of Dopshari, where you will have the opportunity to try your hand at Bhutan’s national sport, archery, using traditional wooden bows, and to have a quick game of traditional ‘khuru’ (darts). You will also be able to enjoy a cookery demonstration and a traditional Bhutanese lunch at a local farmhouse.

After lunch, continue to skirt around the northern ridge of the Paro Valley, enjoying fantastic views all the way, before descending through rice paddies to Lamgong Village. From Lamgong, the Trail continues down into Paro, passing the Kichu Lhakhang (temple) en route. Said to date from the 7th century and built by Songtsen Gampo, it is one of Bhutan’s oldest religious sites. Kichu Lhakhang is home to an original statue of Jowo Jamba which is one of the most sacred sculptures in the region; and the two orange trees inside the monastery courtyard are said to bear fruit year round.

This evening, join your guide for dinner at a local restaurant in Paro.

 

Accommodation: Haven Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D
Trek Distance: 10.5 kilometres (6.52 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 5 hours
Elevation Gain: 400 metres (1,312 feet)
Starting Elevation: 3,114 metres (10,217 feet)
Ending Elevation: 1,811 metres (5,942 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,114 metres (10,217 feet)

Day 7

Paro

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast this morning, head northwest out of Paro by private vehicle for a visit to the iconic Taktshang Goemba, more commonly known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery’. Precariously perched on a sheer cliff face 900 metres (2,950 feet) above the Paro Valley floor, the Tiger’s Nest is undoubtedly Bhutan’s most famous religious building. It is built on the site where Guru Rinpoche is said to have arrived on the back of a tigress when he came to subdue the local demon, Singye Samdrup. After subduing the demon, Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated in a cave here for three whole months.

The Monastery is only accessible by foot via an hour and a half to two hour hike up the valley side. The trek offers spectacular views from the ridge and passes a small chorten, a basic monastery, and a waterfall on its way.

Once you have reached the Tiger’s Nest, you will have a chance to visit the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated, as well as the extensive network of Lhakhangs (chapels) which house images, murals, chortens, and a holy spring. You may also wish to make a diversion to the attractive Machig-phu Lhakhang (temple) on the way back down to the access road.

During your visit, you will also hoist lung dhar (colorful prayer flags) as a family.  Lung dhar are horizontal strings of small, colorful flags commonly hung on a diagonal line from high to low between two objects such as trees or stupas. The Centre of a prayer flag traditionally features a ‘Lung Dhar’ (Wind horse) bearing three flaming jewels on its back. These prayer flags are one of the most prominent and memorable features of Bhutan and can be found fluttering throughout the Kingdom. They are considered sacred and holy and should be treated with utmost respect.

After the visit, you will head back to your hotel in Paro, where you will be able to relax for the remainder of the day or do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs.

Then transfer to a local farmhouse to enjoy a rustic hot stone bath followed by a farewell dinner with cultural performances.

 

Accommodation: Haven Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D

Day 8

Paro – Depart

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure flight.

Meals:B

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From USD 3,790
 

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