Highlights

  1. Taking dinner with a local family in Thimphu
  2. Indulging in morning meditation sessions
  3. Interacting with monks at hillside monasteries
  4. Admiring Himalayan views from dramatic passes
  5. Trekking to the cliff-side Taktsang Monastery

Day 1: Paro to Thimphu

After taking in Paro’s clean mountain air, you’ll be presented with with a ‘tashi khaddar’: a white scarf that symbolises a traditional Bhutanese welcome. Transfer to Thimphu for dinner with a local family before listening to a talk by a professional Buddhist speaker.

Day 2: Thimphu

This morning you’ll travel to the 16th-century Pangri Zampa monastery, where there’ll be the opportunity to meet student monks and learn more about Lamaism. After witnessing a prayer ceremony, the rest of the day is spent exploring Thimphu’s cultural attractions.

Day 3: Thimphu to Gangtey

Visit the Memorial Chorten before travelling east to Gangtey (Phobjikha) via the dramatic Dochula pass. After admiring the spectacular Himalayan views, descend towards Gangtey Valley before arriving at Gangtey Monastery, where there’ll be the chance to interact with local monks.

Day 4: Gangtey to Bumthang

Proceed east towards Bumthang via the Pele La pass, which splits western from central Bhutan, before stopping at Trongsa. After exploring the massive Trongsa Dzong – the largest fortress of its kind in Bhutan, in fact – carry on towards Bumthang via the Yutong-la pass.

Day 5: Bumthang

Indulge in a morning meditation session at Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery, where almost 400 monks call home. Later, visit Kurje Lhakhang – a complex of three temples – before discovering the seventh-century Jambay Lhakhang, the hugely important Tamshing Lhakhang and Jakar Dzong.

Day 6: Bumthang

Take part in another meditation session, this time at the 15th-century Thangbi Goemba, before travelling south-east to Membartsho, or the Burning Lake. Later, proceed to the recently renovated Konchogsum Lhakhang and Chankhar Lhakhang, a modest house that belies its palatial origins.

Day 7: Bumthang to Punakha

Head back west to Punakha via the Yutong-la and Pele La passes, taking in views of the eastern Himalayas along the way. Spend what’s left of the day exploring Punakha village, which sits beside the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers.

Day 8: Punakha to Paro

Discover the 17th-century Punakha Dzong, the riverside seat of the Bhutanese government until the 1950s, before continuing to Paro via the Dochula pass. Later, visit Simtokha Dzong, the country’s oldest fort, before discovering the National Museum of Bhutan in the Ta Dzong watchtower.

Day 9: Paro

Be driven the short distance to Satsam Chorten: starting point of the walk to Taktsang Monastery. Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous monastery is dramatically positioned 900 metres above the valley floor. Later, enjoy a further meditation session in a tented camp.

Day 10: Paro

Visit the especially sacred Kyichu Lhakhang – one of Bhutan’s most beautiful temples – before an excursion to Kila Goemba, a nunnery whose inhabitants have dedicated their lives to spiritual fulfilment. Today ends with a final meditation session at a traditional farmhouse.

Day 11: Paro

Proceed to Paro Airport after breakfast for your onward international return flight.

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