Trip Length: 9 days, 8 nights but fully customizable
Brilliant, holy and serene. These words describe the locale of this unforgettable adventure, but we invite you to define Bhutan in your own words. Begin with a relaxing stay to recover from your jet-lag at “India’s Leading Hotel” in New Delhi. Next, you’ll soar over the majestic Himalayas and make your way into the forested hills and valleys of Bhutan. This spectacular kingdom tucked amongst these grand peaks invites you into its shroud of purity, heritage and happiness in hospitality.
Throughout your itinerary you will visit quaint towns nestled along rolling rivers and visit divine temples and sacred Buddhist sites like the awe-inspring Taktsang Monastery. Luxe full board accommodations will keep you well-rested and refreshed along your journey. Conclude this unforgettable trip with a day tour of dizzying New Delhi. As you return home, bring with you memories of new experiences that you will cherish for a lifetime.
After a warm greeting at the airport, be chauffeured to the award-winning Hotel Trident. Relax post-flight in your Superior Room with Garden View. Set amongst 7 acres of landscaped gardens, walkways, courtyards, reflection pools and fountains, the hotel is located in the central business district of Gurgaon, a part of the New Delhi National Capital Region. It has been voted “Asia’s Leading Hotel” and “India’s Leading Hotel.” Don’t miss a dip in the spectacular pool.
This morning board your flight from Delhi. The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter the Paro Valley, pass forested hills with the slivery Pa Chu (Paro River) meandering down the valley below with the Paro Dzong (Fortress) and Ta Dzong (Watch Tower) on the hill above the town. In Paro, be met by your guide and chauffeured to your hotel in Thimphu (1-hour drive). On arrival, check into the Amankora Lodge. Accommodation is in a Suite and your stay is on full board basis.
Visit the National Library, which holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years. This can be followed up by a visit to the Folk Heritage Museum, which provides a glimpse of the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. Visit the Tashichho Dzong, Bhutan’s administrative and religious center. It houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, government ministries, the nation’s largest monastery and headquarters of His Holiness the Je Khenpo (the Chief Abbot) and the central monk body. If it is a weekend, attend the farmers market. There is a collection of stalls that sell various locally produced goods including cloth, baskets and hats from various minority groups.
Afterward, return to the hotel and enjoy a Bhutanese cultural program.
In the morning, after an early breakfast, follow your guide into the town for sightseeing activities, including visits to the Institute for Zorig Chusum, the Handicrafts Emporium and the Textile Museum. After lunch at the hotel, set out with your guide to Cheri Goempa (Monastery). The hike takes about an hour. This Goempa was built in 1620 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. You can interact with the Buddhist monks here and can receive blessings as well.
Early this morning, after breakfast, you will be chauffeured to Punakha (3.5 hour drive). The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula Pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, and then descends into the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).
Stop en route and hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the fourteenth century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine Madman.” It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. Later, stop to visit Punakha Dzong. Constructed in 1637, this was the second of Bhutan’s Dzong and for many years its seat of government. From this spectacular setting, you can look back to see the Khamsung Yuely Namgyel Temple perched on the hillside far in the distance. Check in to the Amankora Lodge. Accommodation is in a Suite and your stay is on full board basis.
The next morning after breakfast, hike to Khamsung Yuely Namgyel Temple (30-minute hike). It stands on a beautiful ridge above the Punakha Valley. It is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions.
The rest of the day is at your leisure. If interested in rafting, you may enjoy a trip ($475 per raft). Two rivers, the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu, have different grades of difficulties. Your guide will confer with you in advance and choose accordingly.
After an early breakfast, depart for Paro (4.5 hour drive) stopping en route at Semtokha Dzong. On entering the town, visit the National Museum and the Dzong. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artefacts, weapons, coins, stamps and a small natural history collection. Then check back in to your suite at the Amankora Lodge. Your stay is again on full board basis.
In the afternoon, you may hike to Kila Gompa—the serene home of Buddhist nuns who have dedicated their lives to spiritual fulfilment. In this Gompa, nestled in a craggy patch of rock on the mountainside below Chele-La Pass, they spend their days in religious studies, prayer and meditation. Kila Gompa is about an hour’s walk from Chele-La, down a path through pine forest. Afterward, drive back to the hotel for dinner and a well-deserved rest.
In the morning, after an early breakfast, take a short drive to Ramthankha, to start your hike to the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, with many trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, founder of Buddhism, flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings and meditated here in this cliff. This is one of the most venerated and sacred of all Buddhist sites around the world. Afterward, return to the hotel for a restful lunch. In late afternoon, visit the seventh century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Dinner is at the hotel.
In the morning, be chauffeured to Paro Airport for your flight to Delhi. You will be met and chauffeured to The Lodhi, New Delhi. Just within reach of Delhi’s bustling city center, Lodhi New Delhi is a luxurious retreat in spacious surroundings, offering guests an ideal base from which to explore the city’s many diverse charms. Accommodation is in Lodhi Room with Pool and your stay is on a bed and breakfast basis.
(day rooms at The Lodhi until 10:00 p.m.)
This morning, enjoy a scrumptious breakfast then take a rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk, once the grandest market in India. In Chandni Chowk, visit the Jama Masjid, the Friday congregational mosque, known as the largest and most glorious mosque in India. The last architectural extravaganza of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the mosque was built 1656 AD. Following lunch, drive past Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate and the Old Secretariat to visit the Qutub Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret. Humayun’s Tomb, the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent, is located in Nizamuddin East. The complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
Rooms are held for day use until 10:00 p.m. Later you will be met and chauffeured to Delhi International Airport for flights to your onward destination.
Journey into the Himalayas as you explore the spirituality and natural wonders of this spectacular Kingdom
Starting at $11,105 per person