Bhutan in High Spirits
A perfect holiday in Bhutan with like-minded people. This Bhutan travel program is tailor made to suit the interests of women travelers from around the world. It is designed to create a memory and an experience in Bhutan that shall always remain cherished in your life. Another objective is to give you a set of new friends and opportunity to renew your old friendship.
“Bhutan in High spirits; Women Exclusive” takes you through the experiences of the tranquil valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha/ Wangdue and Gangtey/Phobjikha. It shall give you maximum experience of the Bhutanese lifestyle and shall allow you to travel in freedom. Travel to Bhutan from USA, Japan or any other countries, it shall be ensured that you travel most comfortably and conveniently as possible. This tour in Bhutan could be surely a once in a life time experience.
- Personal attention by the tour operators.
- Travel Bhutan with like-minded people and express yourself in freedom.
- Activities to create life time memories and new friends.
- Itinerary designed exclusively for women travel considering the interests of women and includes vegetable market, handicrafts, jewelry shops, get-together and many more.
- Opportunity to learn Bhutanese culinary.
- Options to wear national dress and travel as local.
- Opportunity to understand about lifestyles of Bhutanese women both in the cities and in the villages.
- Make personalized postal stamps.
- Opportunity to explore Gangtey/Phobjikha valley (one of the most beautiful Glacial valleys in the Himalayas), Paro valley, Thimphu (the capital city of Bhutan without traffic lights) and the Punakha Valley (the old capital of Bhutan).
- A private traditional cultural show and experience of the traditional hotel stone bath.
- Opportunity to see the night view of Tashichhodzong, which very few travelers get to see. (Subject to the situation that the lights are put on).
- Wonderful day hike to the abode of gods and monks, the world famous, Taktshang Monastery (Tigers’ nest).
- Visit to the age old Lhakhang (Monasteries/ temples) and dzongs ( Fortress).
- Opportunity to explore villages, visit to village houses and interact with local people.
- Breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the nature from the Dochula pass, Chelela Pass and the Lawala Pass.
- Opportunity to play archery (the national game of Bhutan) or Khuru and many more.
Day 1. Arrive Paro/ Drive to Thimphu
Driving Distance – 65 Km. | Driving time – 1.5 to 2 Hr. | Altitude of Paro – 2280 m. | Altitude of Thimphu – 2350 m.
On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.
On arrival, you will be received with a warm welcome by your Bhutan travel guide from Ideal Travel Creations with “Tashi khadar”, then drive to Thimphu.
Driving through the well maintained road between Paro to Thimphu shall be a great experience. The barren mountains, the Paro River (Pa Chhu) joining the Thimphu River (Wangchhu) at Chuzomsaa and the three stupas, and the Tamchhog Lhakhang are some of the interesting sights as you travel from Paro to Thimphu.
Lunch at Thimphu. After Lunch, you may relax or go around the Thimphu town and valley – A time for yourself. If you are interested in cycling, you may choose to do so, we shall arrange it for you at an extra cost. If you have enough time, you can also choose to sightseeing.
In the evening, visit the Tashichhodzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion). The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present. A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Tashichhodzong.
A private traditional cultural show before dinner. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 2. Thimphu sightseeing
Altitude of Thimphu – 2230 m.
After a leisure breakfast, visit the Royal textile Academy and the textile Museum. It is Bhutan’s first institution that educates the Bhutanese youth about the conservation, preservation, training, study and exhibition of the country’s textiles. The Academy provides in bringing about a National Centre for weaving and educating young students in textiles, fabric designs and museum studies. It also serves as a center for tourists, introducing the nation’s masterpiece to its visitors, while expanding the nation’s resource for cultural tourism.
The Textile Museum was established in the year 2001 and has a good collection of exclusive and antique Bhutanese textile artifacts.
Then, visit Simply Bhutan. Simply Bhutan is a living museum and a photo studio aimed at preservation and promotion of culture which is one of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness. It involves Bhutanese youth as the core group thereby generating employment opportunities to young job seekers and opportunities to learn skills through trainings and workshops. It also has an objective to raise funds to support YDF in conducting the many youth related programs, now and in future.
Visit the Institute for Zorig Chusum. Zorig Chusum means the thirteen traditional arts and crafts. Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute.
Then drive to Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant for a typical Bhutanese lunch. Tasting the local “Arra” (Bhutanese Local alcohol) is a great experience.
Then drive towards Kuenselphodrang. A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha Drodenma. The area gives a very good view of the Thimphu Valley. The place also has biking trail and a picnic spot. Afterwards visit the National Memorial Chhorten. This Chhorten was built in the honor of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chhorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style and is a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu. Lighting Butter lamps and circumambulating the chhorten can be a great experience and a good way to earn merits as per Buddhist beliefs.
In the evening, a get-together with Local Bhutanese women shall be arranged for you. You shall get to enjoy food and wine here. You can also learn to prepare a traditional Bhutanese dish. Another interesting part of the program is that you all shall together write a song during the session which shall come out as a surprise at the end of the tour. Overnight in hotel.
Day 3. Thimphu
Altitude of Thimphu – 2230 m.
After a leisure breakfast, visit the Government Post office and make personalized stamps. Post a card to your home town. This could be a good memory of Bhutan.
Then, visit a school and interact with the school children and teachers.
Drive to the weekend centenary Farmers Market. This is the largest domestic farmers market in Bhutan and has a wide assortment of fresh agricultural produce. It provides an opportunity to see the people from all walks of life here and can be interesting to interact with a few. Crossing a traditional cantilever footbridge, Kuendeyling Bazaam shall take you to the west bank of Wang Chu River where there is a small market selling clothing, textiles and handicrafts.
Drive back to hotel and relax for some time. Afternoon, a time to explore the Thimphu town visiting handicraft and jewelry shops. Also visit weaving centers.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 4. Thimphu – Gangtey/Phobjikha
Driving Distance – 140 km approx. | Driving time – 5 to 6 Hr. | Altitude of Gangtey/Phobjikha – 2900 m
Road conditions may not be as expected as road widening work is going on.
After breakfast, drive to Gangtey/Phobjikha. As you travel you shall first see the view of Simtokha Dzong and then the winding roads leads you through blue pine forests and the villages of Hongtsho (2890m) and Yusipang. The local villages sell apples, walnuts, dried cheese in this area.
The road climbs through the forest till you reach the Dochula Pass. Stop at Dochula Pass to view higher Himalayas and the visit the Druk Wangyal Chhortens. You can hang your own prayer flags here.
Dochula pass is the most known pass in Bhutan located about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang/Punakha. It is at around 3150 m height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed to bring multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.
After a good time in Dochula Pass, follow the road downhill, the vegetation now changes from oak, maple and blue pine to a forest of Hemlock, fir, Rhododendron, alder cypress, etc. You shall come across a chhorten which was built because of frequent accidents in the area. The road leads you to the Royal Botanical Park and then slowly descends towards Thinleygang. The wind gets warmer here and you shall experience that the vegetation is mostly of cactus, oranges, bamboo, pine and paddy fields. You shall also start to see the views of the Wangdue and Punakha Valley after some time.
Drive further to Gangtey Valley. On the way you shall come across villages, monuments and beautiful landscapes. Stop at places for sightseeing and photography. When in Gangtey visit the Gangtey Goemba overlooking the large green expanse of the Phobjikha Valley. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 5. Phobjikha/Gangtey – Punakha/Wangdue
Driving Distance – 78 km approx. | Driving time – 3 Hr. | Altitude of Punakha/Wangdue – 1310 m.
You could opt to take a private walk in the morning before breakfast. It could be beautiful to see the mists hanging low and the waking up of the valley. (Subject to weather conditions)
After breakfast, explore the Phobjikha and Gangtey Valley. Phobjikha Valley is of immense beauty. It is one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas and the winter roosting place of the endangered black necked crane. You may choose to do visit villages and interact with People, Hike around the valley, take photographs, etc.
Afternoon, drive to Punakha/Wangdue. Evening for leisure.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 6. Punakha/Wangdue
Altitude of Punakha/Wangdue: 1310 m
After a leisure breakfast, excursion to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chhorten. Take a short drive to the base and then walk through paddy fields before you climb a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. You shall be hiking for approximately 1 hr. to reach the temple. This Chhorten is built on a ridge above the Punakha valley. It took around nine years to build the Chhorten. It is said that the Bhutanese craftsmen consulted Holy Scriptures to construct this 4 storey temple. The temple was built by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.
You could choose to have a picnic Lunch or at the hotel.
After Lunch, explore the remote villages in upper Punakha. Visit villages and village Houses, interact with people and experience the village life in Bhutan. Walking through the paddy fields from a village to another and reliving with nature shall be another bigger experience.
If you are interested in rafting, you could choose to do the same in Punakha at an extra cost.
In the evening return to Hotel. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 7. Punakha/Wangdue – Paro
Driving Distance – 135 Km. | Driving Time: 4 to 5 Hrs. | Altitude of Paro: 2280 m.
After breakfast, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong. This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tshechu (Festival) is held here. The monk body resides in this Dzong in winter.
Then, take a short and easy hike through paddy fields and villages to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Divine Madman.
Lunch at Punakha. After Lunch, drive to Paro. On the way stop the Tamchhog Lhakhang to experience the river, the iron chain bridge and to visit the temple.
In the evening, explore the Paro Town valley also experience archery and national dress.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 8. Paro
Altitude of Paro – 2280 m.
After breakfast, hike to the abode of gods and monks, the Taktshang Monastery. It shall be taken care of that the time shall be yours for the hike, no hurries and no worries. Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze, the views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating and shall let you feel the real freedom of mind and happiness.
Taktshang Monastery: The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rinpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress which gives its name “Taktshang” meaning Tiger’s nest. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.
Picnic Lunch among the woods shall be another great experience.
After lunch, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo miraculously built 108 temples to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya in the 7th century. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.
Then we have a special program for you to feel the pure Bhutanese hospitality. Drive to a village house. You shall be served with the local Bhutanese alcohol (Arra). Also relax in traditional hot stone bath.
Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.
You may choose to have your dinner with the family. You could also choose to take part in the preparation of the dinner or learn to do it the Bhutanese way. You can also have the option to spend overnight in the village house, however this will have to be confirmed during the confirmation of your tour to Bhutan.
Overnight in hotel/Village House.
Day 9. Paro – Chelela Pass – Paro
Driving Distance: 65 Km (One way) | Driving time; 2 Hr. (One way)
After breakfast, drive to Chelela Pass. Stop at Chelela pass and enjoy the view of High Mountains and the prayer flags. You can hang your own prayer flags here.
Chelela Pass is the highest point between the Haa valley and Paro valley at an altitude of 3810 m. This place gives a very good view of the Himalayan Mountains, including the mountain Jumolhari. The place also gives good view down towards the Haa valley. A lots of prayer flags flutter in the place.
Drive back to Paro. Afternoon visit the Ta Dzong overlooking the Rinpung Dzong. It was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This Dzong is round, more like parts of a European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangka, etc.
In the evening free time for shopping souvenirs and exploring Paro town.
Farewell dinner with the Bhutanese hosts and friends. You shall be presented with a song. The lyrics shall be the one you all wrote on the get-together on the second day of the tour.
Overnight in hotel.
Day 10. Departure
After breakfast, a small Bhutanese ritual shall be held by a monk for a safe journey home wards. Drive to airport and bid farewell to Bhutan. Take back home the priceless memories, photographs and cherish the new found friends in Bhutan.