|14 Sep - 27 Sep|
Bhutan sits at the eastern end of the Himalayas sandwiched between India and the Tibetan Plateau, boasting soaring views of rugged, snow-capped mountain ranges decorated with fluttering prayer flags and dotted with ancient monasteries that cling to the rock face.
Travel on our Regent exclusive small group tour and discover an untouched mountain paradise. Crystal clear glacier-fed rivers, jaw-dropping mountain passes and soaring Buddhist temples festoon this remote Himalayan country.
Discover the laidback capital of Thimphu, stroll rural villages and trek to the symbol of Bhutan, the stunning Tigers Nest Monastery. The tour is arranged to coincide with two colourful and fast-paced festivals, or tsechus: Thimphu Tsechu located in the bustling capital of the country and the Mewang Tsechu located in the remote Bumthang Valley. Enjoy the freedom to experience a fascinating Bhutanese tradition and experience all the wonders of this little known Himalayan paradise.
Arrive Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. The rest of the day is at leisure. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner as a group at a restaurant a short stroll from the hotel. The walk will take you past the impressive Boudhanath Stupa. (D)
Fly Druk Air to Paro, Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest. Meet on arrival and transfer to Thimphu passing through spectacular mountain scenery. A stop will be made on the way at Tachogang Lhakhang to see the suspension bridge festooned with colourful prayer flags. Thimphu is a small, charming capital city in the heart of the Himalayas—all the houses and buildings are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. This evening there is free time to stroll around the capital city and explore the popular night markets ands souvenir shops. (B/L/D)
Drive to Paro and board the short domestic flight to Bumthang. The remainder of the day will be spent exploring the region. Visit Kurjey Lhakhang and the 7th century Jambey Lhakhang and if time allows spend time at the cheese factory and woodcraft workshop. This evening there is time to relax or we recommend watching the opening of the Thangbi Mewang Tsechu. The main event for the evening is the Mewang ceremony, or fire blessing, where people jump over fire to purify them of their sins: if you can manage this three times it is said you are safe from misfortune for a year. Overnight Bumthang. (B/L/D)
Today there are a choice of activities for the day, either a full day walk to Kunzangdrak Goemba, an important pilgrimage site for many Bhutanese which dates back to 1488. Alternatively there is the option to spend the day at the festival, an event designed to celebrate the cultural heritage of the ancient Thangbi Lhakhang. Enjoy the masked dance and folk dance performances in the enclosed courtyard of the temple. (B/L/D)
After breakfast commence the drive towards the picturesque Phobjikha Valley. The drive will take in the region of 5-6 hours crossing the Pele La Pass and passing through stunning scenery via roads often cut into the cliff sides. Stops will be made along the way including at Trongsa to visit the impressive dzong and museum. If you arrive early enough into Phobjikha there is a chance you can spend a little time at the Gangtey Tsechu to enjoy the masked dances (time permitting). (B/L/D)
Today will be spent exploring the Phobjikha Valley on foot, a nice change of pace from the previous long day of travel. Commence the day with a walk from nearby Longtey village to Gangtey Goemba, a journey which passes through some of the most beautiful stretches of the valley lined with colourful rhododendron bushes. The 2-3 hour walk ends with impressive views of the Goemba and the valley below, a great spot to enjoy your picnic lunch. This afternoon walk from the Goemba through flower meadows and a small forest emerging into the black neck crane feeding grounds before continuing to end at the base of the valley. Overnight Phobjikha. (B/L/D)
Depart Phobjikha this morning and drive to Punakha, a journey which climbs up out of the valley passing oak trees and rhododendrons. Visit Punakha Dzong, regarded as one of the most impressive in the country as it sits at the confluence of the Mo (male) and Pho (female) rivers. This is also the winter capital of the clergy. There will also be a visit to Nalanda Buddhist College where it may be possible to meet and chat to the resident monks. Overnight Punakha. (B/L/D)
After breakfast, depart Punakha heading towards the Dochu La Pass. En route stop at Messinha and take a walk through the village and via crop fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple devoted to the "divine madman" Drukpa Kuenley. He preached in a unique way dramatising teachings using songs and sexual humour - note the phallus symbols painted on buildings as you pass. Continue the drive to the picturesque Dochula Pass and stop for tea/coffee and to explore the 108 Namgyel Khangzhang Chortens built here. Resume the journey to Paro and, if time allows, enjoy dinner at a local farmhouse. Overnight Paro. (B/L/D)
This morning drive to the Cheli La Pass which offers magnificent views of Mt Jumolhari and the neighbouring Haa Valley. Enjoy a traditional prayer flag offering ceremony, a Buddhist ritual to gain merit for the next life. After the ritual take a walk to visit Kila Goemba nunnery, the oldest in the kingdom dating back to the 9th century and home to approx 50 nuns. Return to Paro and enjoy the afternoon visiting the National Museum which is housed in an old watchtower high above Paro Dzong and the dzong itself. Overnight Paro. (B/L/D)
An early start today! Start the hike to Takstang, or iconic Tiger's Nest Monastery, which is perched high on a cliff overlooking the Paro Valley and is perhaps the best-known monastery in the world due to its stunning location. The hike to Taktsang is a steep walk taking 2-2 ½ hours climbing through beautiful pine forests with many trees festooned with fluttering prayer flags. Stop for light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until you gain an incredible view of the Monastery perched precariously on the edge of the sheer 800m cliff!
Continue the hike up to the monastery itself from which you see fabulous views of the Paro Valley below. The hike is not technically difficult so take your time and enjoy the splendid views as you climb higher passing prayer wheels and prayer flags which festoon the trees. From the highest point you get superb views of the monastery sitting serenely across the opposite side of the gorge. The final stretch of the hike is via the stone staircase which leads to the site itself.
Enjoy lunch at the café, walk down and take a short drive to visit Drugyal Dzong which was built in a location chosen for its control over the route to Tibet. The remainder of today is at leisure to stroll around town for some last minute shopping. (B/L/D)
Transfer to the airport and take the short flight to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. This afternoon proceed for a half day sightseeing tour. Visit Kathmandu Durbar Square located in the heart of the old city and Swoyambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple. After lunch in a local cafe continue to visit Patan city which is renowned for its fine bronze, silver and copper work as well as the Royal Baths, Mahaboudha and the new Patan Museum. Enjoy a farewell Nepali dinner at a local restaurant followed by a cultural show. (B/L/D)
Today will be spent exploring Pashupatinath Temple and Changu Narayan Temple. Pashupatinath sits on the bank of the holy Bagmati River, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and draws tens of thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India during Mahashivaratri festival in the Spring. Changu Narayan sits outside the city and dates back to the th century. Enjoy lunch at the popular Nyatapola Cafe which boasts tables on the balconies of a historic pagoda temple. End the day with a visit to enjoy the history and architecture of Bhaktapur, also known as the 'City of Devotees' before returning to the airport for the overnight flight back to the UK. (B/L)
|Itinerary Dates||From Price||Single Room Supp.|
14 Sep 2021
27 Sep 2021