Spiritual Journeys

Cultural Tour
From$1,840

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    This tour is provided by

    Always Bhutan Travel

    Our vision is to provide every traveler with the most beautiful memories from Bhutan. Our mission is to craft your exhilarating journey to Bhutan filled with inspiration & life-enriching experiences lasting a lifetime.

    • 10 Days
    • Exploration Tour
    • Bhutan

    Prepare yourself for something entirely different from what you may have seen in Asia, or elsewhere. Located high in the Himalayan mountains between India and Tibet, Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures it’s progress by Gross National Happiness! On this 10-day Spiritual journey through mystical mountains, sacred temples and this richly preserved culture, we will explore spiritual guided tour in Bhutan alongside the local people, discovering their unique perspectives and enjoying the light of their inspiring spirits!

    Price Includes

    • Private guided tour
    • Visas for Bhutan
    • Airport transfers
    • Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels
    • Accommodation at 3 star hotel/ farmhouse
    • A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide
    • An experienced driver
    • A tour vehicle
    • Entry fees & road permits
    • Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
    • Bottled water
    • Full service & assistance before, during and after your Bhutan trip

    Price Excludes

    • Flight into Bhutan via Drukair/Bhutan airlines (can be arranged with us)
    • Meals at 4-5 stars restaurants
    • Hotel stay outside of Bhutan
    • Expenditure of personal nature
    • Travel Insurance
    • Tips for the guide and driver
    • Alcoholic drink

    Value Added Option

    In addition to offering independent, flexible tour options, we can also arrange a variety of “add on” options to provide a more in-depth experience of Bhutan. These include:

    • Cooking lessons
    • A farmhouse stay
    • Monastery experience
    • Evening dinner & culture show
    • Spiritual healing
    • Spiritual Healing session
    • Mountain biking
    • Fly Fishing

    These activities can easily be incorporated into any itinerary. Please note that some activities may attract additional fees.

    Itinerary

    Day 1Arrival Paro-Thimphu

    Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by our representative from Always Bhutan Travel upon exiting the arrival hall. You will be received in a traditional ceremony custom where each guest is greeted and ushered with a white blessed silk scarf. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatize to the altitude. We then drive to Thimphu, check in to your hotel and have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine.

    Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan and one of the main centers for trade and commerce. Many Government as well as private offices are located in Thimphu due to its strategic location
. We start your journey through Thimphu valley by first visiting the National Memorial Chorten – a beautiful stupa built in memory of the third king of Bhutan located at the heart of the city. This chorten is blessed and contains many sacred and precious treasures and relics discovered by many great saints and tertons (treasure discoverer) in the Vajrayana sect of Buddhism. The stupa signifies positivity and accumulation of merits in ones life.

    Walking meditation: At the stupa, we will circumambuluate the chorten for 21 times, as a form of respect and devotion. Movement along the circular path is clockwise, so that the right shoulder is facing the chorten. 

    After completing our mindful walking meditation, we head back to our hotel and prepare ourselves for an orientation. A short presentation about Bhutan, healing practices and techniques followed by the tour orientation.

    Day 2Thimphu

    Before we start our journey, attend a cleansing ceremony to cleanse one from negativities and adversities of life. This ritual is performed by a special monk who recites and performs a water offering ritual. It is believed that through this ritual, one is showered with full of positive energy and brings good luck to you.
    Today we explore Thimphu city for some sightseeing activities. This includes the Buddha point, paper making factory in Thimphu city, a family run business in Thimphu where handmade paper is made from Daphne plant.

    Day 3Thimphu-Punakha

    Transfer to Trongsa (6 hrs). Drive via the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests and over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further down the road stop to visit beautiful Chendebji Chorten. It is built in a style unusual for Bhutan, with painted eyes facing the four directions. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road.

    Afterwards, proceed to Bumthang (2.5 hrs), one the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the spiritual and historical heartland of the country. The road winds steeply up to Yo Yutung La Pass (3,400m) before descending down through dense coniferous forest to Chummey valley. From here it is about an hour to Jakar, Bumthang’s main township.

    Bumthang is home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries. The valley’s barley fields, apple groves and meadows lay below huge hills which climb up towards the Himalayan mountain wall separating Bhutan from Tibet. The beautiful architecture unique to Bhutan is evident in the many large farmhouses and temples. Bumthang is associated with Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) and with Terton Pemalingpa.

    Day 4Punakha-Bumthang

    Transfer to Trongsa (6 hrs). Drive via the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests and over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further down the road stop to visit beautiful Chendebji Chorten. It is built in a style unusual for Bhutan, with painted eyes facing the four directions. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road.

    Afterwards, proceed to Bumthang (2.5 hrs), one the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the spiritual and historical heartland of the country. The road winds steeply up to Yo Yutung La Pass (3,400m) before descending down through dense coniferous forest to Chummey valley. From here it is about an hour to Jakar, Bumthang’s main township.

    Bumthang is home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries. The valley’s barley fields, apple groves and meadows lay below huge hills which climb up towards the Himalayan mountain wall separating Bhutan from Tibet. The beautiful architecture unique to Bhutan is evident in the many large farmhouses and temples. Bumthang is associated with Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) and with Terton Pemalingpa.

    Day 5Bumthang

    Enjoy a day of sightseeing in Bumthang beginning with Jampey Lhakhang, one of 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen in the 7th Century. It was here that Guru Rimpoche conducted his first sermon on Tantric Buddhism for his host King Sendha, the local ruler, his family and subjects. Continue on to Kurjey Lhakhang, famous for a rock within one of the temples that features a body imprint of the great master Guru Rimpoche. The big cypress tree in the temple grounds is believed to be the walking stick of Guru Rimpoche.

    Afterwards visit Tamshing Lhakhang, the seat of Bumthang’s famous son, saint Pema Lingpa. He built it himself in 1501. A skilled tantric master and artist, he sculpted the main statues and painted the frescoes, some of Bhutan’s oldest which can still be seen even today, mostly in their original state. There is also a chain mail made by Pema Lingpa that devotees carry and circumambulate the inner sanctum to cleanse sins. Overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.

    Day 6Bumthang-Gangtey

    Start early today for Gangtey, about 6 hrs from Bumthang. Farmhouses and temples dot the landscape and you will see local farmers wearing the traditional woven bamboo hats of central Bhutan. The wide and picturesque Phobjikha valley is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau.

    Morning drive through Punakha valley to visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyel and was named as Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, “Palace of Great Happiness, Punakha Dzong is the former capital of Bhutan and played a vital role in shaping the political history of Bhutan. Located ideally between two rivers Pho Chu “Male River” and Mo Chu “Female River”. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo (Chief Abbot” and central monk body. Drive for lunch at one of the restaurant. Afternoon you will drive to visit Wangduephodrang Dzong built in 1638. The entire Wangdue Dzong was destroyed by fire on the 24th June 2012 and the restoration works are still going on to rebuild into its full glory. We then continue our drive towards Gangtey valley, a serene and beautiful valley surrounded by shrubs and baby bamboos, Gangtey valley is famous for its nestling grounds for the endangered Black Necked Crane.

    Towards the evening hours, we take a dip in ‘Dotso’ herbal healing bath at a nearby tavern and enjoy herbal nourished waters which is believed to heal one from diseases and illnesses. The bath is prepared using stones burned in fire and the water boiled with herbs up to 20 varieties with medicinal properties.

    Day 7Gangtey

    Day excursion and hike: Gangtey natural trail hike. You will drive for about 25 minutes to Longtey village which is near pelela pass ( altitude :3300 m) and then start your hike from Longtey Village up and over Kayche La (3700m) to Gangtey vilage. You will climb up gradually through the thickets of dwarf bamboos, birch, rhododendron, hemlock and fir to Kayche La, marked with some prayer flags. The other side of the pass is mostly meadows, and from here it is all downhill through the long and beautiful stretch of meadows and farms.

    Day 8 Gangtey-Paro

    Early morning, we pay visit to Gangtey Goenpa monastery to experience and meditation on the lawns of this special monastery whos history dates back to 7th century. The monastery is believed to posses sacred relics and religious texts from ancient masters that has been preserved at the monastery.

    After a relaxed morning session, we than continue our journey towards Paro valley that can take upto 5 hours. In the evening, we check in at our hotel and rest for our hike tomorrow.

    Day 9 Paro

    Today we visit the world famous Taktsang Monastery – A one hour hike from the base to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby you can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery. Prayer flags adorn the cliffs and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava(introduced Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan), landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Today we meditate on Impermanence at the Monastery, Insight into impermanence is central to Buddhist practice. Buddhist practice points us toward becoming equanimous in the midst of change and wiser in how we respond to what comes and goes. In fact, Buddhism could be seen as one extended meditation on transience as a means to freedom. The Buddha’s last words were: “All conditioned things are impermanent. Strive on with diligence.”

    Face the fear, and the fear becomes a lot less scary. Meditate on mortality and strip the “bite” out of death by accepting the natural law of impermanence. Then, embrace the limitations that being mortal give us, figure out the exact kind of life you want to life so you have minimal regrets—and go for it. There’s nothing holding you back when you face the fear and embrace impermanence.

    Confronting impermanence profoundly, in this meditative way, can open us to liberation. The final, liberative level of impermanence is the movement towards letting go at the deepest level of our psyche.
    After the hike and meditation, enjoy a beautiful picnic lunch at the base of Paro Takstang after which we continue our journey to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. With a long rich history of the origins of Buddhism, Kyichu maybe the most holiest place to visit in Bhutan.

    At the kyichu Lhakhang, we attend an hour long retreat session at the front yard of the majestic temple. The head priest will offer khaddar ceremony(silk scarf adorning ceremony to cleanse negativity and usher good wishes) to all the participants and offer prayers for long life. We also receive an opportunity to roll dice and the attendant monk will interpret the auspiciousness of the result.

    Once we return back to the hotel, a farewell dinner followed by a session where all participants and facilitators share their feelings and opinions about the trip accompanied by a Bhutanese cultural show. We will be highlighting healing in Bhutan and how this has changed their lives and what they learned from the trip. The evening will also end with a cultural dance program at the Hotel.

    Day 10 Paro Airport

    Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. We bid farewell and wish ourselves in the hope to meet again. We hope you cherish this special trip in your life and nourish yourself with all the positive energy accumulated through the journey.

    Tashi Delek

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