Taste of Bhutan
Difficulty : Comfort
Reference Code: TOBBT
Trip Start: Paro
Age: 10 year to 70 years
Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Service: Full board
Trip End: Paro
Trip Durations: 4 days
Physical Rating: Comfort
Group Size: 2-30
Bhutan opened for tourism in 1974 and is one of the world’s most exclusive tourist destinations. Bhutan lies in the eastern Himalaya, wedged between Tibet, Sikkim and the Indian states of Assam, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh. The mountainous kingdom is sparsely populated. Its population of just over half a million inhabitants is mostly hill farmers living in small villages. Hospitality and a warm welcome to strangers are second nature in a land where ancient traditions are revered and kept alive. The history of Bhutan begins in the 8th century, with the legendary flight of Guru Padmasambhava, who fled Tibet on the back of a tigress. The Guru, who is considered as a second Buddha, settled in Taksang in the valley of Paro, where he set up the Tantric strain of Mahayana Buddhism. In the17th century, a series of impressive fortresses, known as Dzongs, were built to repel invasions from Tibet and preserve national unity. Many now house religious and administrative centres and are a fascinating side to the nation's heritage. The present monarchy dates from the early 20th century, when Ugyen Wangchuck united the nation and was crowned King of Bhutan in 1907. Buddhist teachings and way of life are an important influence in the lives of the people and Bhutan's festivals are legendary. Dancers in brilliant silk costumes re-enact ancient tales, to the booming of drums and clashing of cymbals. The crowds that attend the festivals are no less colourfully dressed, sporting the intricately woven traditional costumes that nearly all Bhutanese wear. Most of the festivals take part in spring and autumn, happily coinciding with the time that visitors arrive and we have tried, wherever possible, to ensure that our trips give the opportunity to attend a festival. Even if you are not in the country during a festival, the air of spirituality about the place is evident, both in towns and in the more remote rural areas. The Buddhist temples, known as Lhakhangs are not so much monuments, as a part of the way of life of the people.
Day 1 Fly to Paro
We take a flight from Kathmandu to Paro in Bhutan. After completion of airport formalities you will drive through the fascinating Paro valley to your hotel. In the evening you can take a stroll through the town’s main street. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2 Paro to Tiger’s Nest 2 hours walking and drive to Drkgyel Dzong and Thimpu
After an early morning breakfast you trek for approximately two hours to reach the spectacular and much photographed Taksang Monastry or Tiger’s Nest, where the history of Bhutan begins in the 8th century with the legendary flight of Guru Padmasambhava, who fled Tibet on the back of a tigress. The Guru, who is considered as a second Buddha, settled in Taksang in the valley of Paro, where he set up the Tantric strain of Mahayana Buddhism which is now practised in Bhutan. If time allows following the trek to Tiger’s Nest we drive to Drukgyel Dzong, this is a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy peak of the sacred and highest mountain in Bhutan Chomolhari (mountain of goddess) looms directly over the dzong. Along the way we will see the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. This temple reflects the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Visit Ta Szong, originally built as a watch tower, it now houses the National Museum of the Kingdom. It boasts antique thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Wandering down the trail we visit Rinpung Dzong (meaning ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’) which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount Sumeru and other cosmic mandala. We return to our transport and travel the one and a half hours drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan. The road leads through the Paro valley to the confluences of Paro and Thimphu rivers at chuzom (confluence). Three different style of chortens adorn the confluence. Just beyond here is Tschogang Lhakhang, the temple of the hill of excellent horses. It is a private temple, built in the 15th century. After the narrow rock lined section of the road opens up as Thimphu approaches, Simtokha Dzong lies enroute - this dzong now houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language. On arrival in Thimphu we check into our hotel in time for an exploratory walk before dinner.
Day 3 Sight-seeing of the Thimpu Valley and return to Paro
Following breakfast sight-seeing of the Thimphu valley includes visits to: National Library: a treasure trove of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. Traditional Medicine Institute: where centuries old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practised; The Painting School: where young monks learn the art of Buddhist thangkhas, and the mask maker workshop. There are also workshops for fine metal craft, weaving, ceramics and papermaking. In the afternoon we visit Tashichhodzong ‘fortress of the glorious dharma’. It is the centre of government and religion and site of the King’s Throne Room, National Assembly Hall and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang, it was reconstructed in 1961 in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. We also visit the King’s memorial Chorten continuously circumbulated by His Late Majesty;s subjects, spinning prayer wheels and murmuring mantras. Finally, we visit the Handicrafts Emporium and local shops if you like to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewellery, interesting items made from local materials and all manner of unique objects. In the evening we drive back to Paro with dinner and overnight in the hotel in Paro.
Day 4 Fly to Kathmandu
In the morning with the rest of the day free to relax by the pool or alternatively, arrange local sight-seeing.
Note: This trip is very suitable for extension purpose after Nepal trip
Full board basis
International flight with airport tax.
Bhutan Entry Visa fee
All personal equipment and personal expenses
Personal Medical and travel insurance
Telephone and internet charges
Alcoholic beverage, bottled drinks and cold drinks during the trip
Rescue evacuation charges if required
All kinds of Tips...
Clothing and Equipments List
» Pack to pack out - bring enough waterproof bags to carry all non-biodegradable rubbish back down the mountain.
» Remove all unnecessary packaging before leaving home.
» Bring enough warm dry clothes so that you can wrap up rather than burn firewood in the evenings.
» If you are going to trek higher than 5000m or you know it will be cold, buy an aluminum water bottle which can also be used as a hot water bottle at night.
» The easiest way to keep hydrated while trekking is to buy a 1 x liter platypus-drinking bladder to carry in your day pack.
» Make sure to buy proper trekking socks. Don’t buy synthetic socks as these promote sweating and can give you blisters. Always carry a few blister pads in your first aid kit and keep them handy in your day pack.
» Walking poles are very useful while trekking and helpful when descending.
» Please remember that waste disposal and recycling facilitates are limited in Nepal. When buying batteries make sure they are rechargeable and/or high quality so they last longer, and take them home to recycle.
There is no definitive list. What you bring will vary according to the area, time of year and the length of your trek. Below is a suggested check list which you should adapt to your own needs. Ask yourself: Will there be snow/how long /high is the trek/are we camping?
» Good quality trekking boots with ankle support
» Lightweight shell/raincoat with hood
» Detachable fleece liner or separate fleece
» Fleece trousers
» Shorts and / or convertibles trousers- quick drying
» Sun hat and warm hat(good quality)
» Spare T-shirt x 3
» Sweat towel x 2
» Spare socks x 3 ( walking sock and thin inner sock)
» Small day sack
» Sun cream
» Small water bottle aluminum doubles as a hot water bottle.
» Iodine or water purifying kit,
» Soluble vitamin tablets to taste water or powder fruit drink
» Talcum powder
» Walking sticks or Trekking poles(good quality)
» Camp shoes/trainers/flip flops to wear in evening.
» Spare underwear 3
» Toilet kit
» Pen knife
» Bum bag
» Head torch(good quality)
» Biodegradable washing liquid / soap
» Ear plugs
» Sleeping bag liner(good quality)
» Sleeping bag(good quality-30)
» Bin bag/ gasbag to keep kit dry
» Small towel
» Lip balm
» Available in KTM
Personal First Aid (Aids Kit)
» Blister plasters
» AMS medication like Diamox
» Eye drops – it can get very dusty on trails
» Paracetamol and/or ibuprofen
» Rehydration sachets, Imodium and antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea
» Sterile dressing
» Sticking plasters and tape
» Throat lozenges / sweets
» A sewing needle etc.
This trekking equipment list has been prepared by Adventure Zambuling Treks (P) Ltd.