10Days 9Nights Alluring Bhutan

Bhutan - the last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom - lies between India and the Tibetan Plateau, one of the most remote and pristine environments on Earth. Descending from 7,000-metre-high peaks in the north to the low-lying plains of the south, its rivers have forged deep valleys separated by high mountain passes. Historically isolated, each valley's topography and scenic beauty affords visitors an opportunity for unique journeys of discovery.

Exceptional Experiences:

 

  • Luxurious tranquility in the forests 
    Set in the upper reaches of the Motithang area, the 16-Suite Lodge of Amankora Thimphu is close to the capital’s sights and shopping yet remains a secluded retreat. Guest Suites, combining a bedroom and lounge, feature a bukhari wood-burning stove and views across a landscaped courtyard or of a stream and pine forest.

 

  • Bhutan Farmhouses 
    The Amankora Punkaha is built around a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse and offers fantastic views of the surrounding rice paddies and fruit orchards and the chance to be in tranquil isolation with stunning scenery.

 

  • Remote wilderness of the Phobjikha Valley
    In the picturesque but little-visited Phobjikha Valley near the village of Gangtey, this 8 suite lodge is set on a forested knoll with sweeping views of the countryside and a 16th-century monastery. 

 

  • Hidden Retreat in Pine Forest
    Amankora Paro is a 24-suite retreat, hidden in pine forest, around half an hour from Paro's International airport. Combining rustic and contemporary details, the lodge is constructed of traditional rammed-earth walls with gentle sloping roofs and wood-panelled interiors. Spectacular view of snow-clad Mount Jhomolhair and ruins of an ancient dzong at the outdoor terrace.

 

  • Increase your Gross National Happiness 
    Learn a different approach in life and society, where happiness and well-being of all people is the ultimate purpose of governance. 

 

  • Spectacular View at the Tiger's Nest
    A four-hour trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on the rocks, 900m above the valley floor.

 

Signature Departure: 15 November 2018

 

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Itinerary:

 

Day 1 (15 Nov): SINGAPORE - PARO, BHUTAN - THIMPHU  (-/L/D)

Departure from Singapore Changi Airport for your flight to Paro, Bhutan. Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It is the site of the country's only international airport and is also know for the many sacred sites in the area.

Enjoy one of the world's most spectacular descents as your early-morning flight arrives into Paro amid breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks. On arrival, you will be greeted by your local Amankora guide, who will remain with you throughout your journey across Bhutan.

A 1.5 hour drive away, Thimphu, Bhutan's capital, lies in a steep valley at an altitude of 2,350m. Upon arrival at Amankora Thimphu, you will have time to settle in before exploring the area, including the Institute of Traditional Medicines, the School of Arts and Crafts, the Folk Heritage Museum and Simply Bhutan - museums depicting Bhutan's ancient cultural heritage. Others sights include the National Library, the Textile Museum, the Weaving Center, Buddha Point and the National Memorial Chorten. 

Alternatively, opt for a mild hike with a good view, such as the Wangditse Leisure Forest trail.

End the day with an Ayurvedic hot-oil head massage, Amankora Thimpu's signature spa treatment (own expenses).

Overnight - Amankora Thimphu

 

Day 2 (16 Nov): THIMPHU (B/L/D)

A short morning hike will take you to Cheri Goemba monastery. On the way back, pay a visit to the 16th-century Pangri Zampa, which now houses a monastic training school go astrologers. Back in town, explore the capital's cottage industries, from traditional paper making to hand rolled incense; browse Himalayan artifacts along the main street; and make your own stamp at the post office. The Craft Bazaar or Vegetable markets are open at weekends.

After lunch, head to the north end of the valley to visit the Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the seat of Bhutan's government and royal offices. As the sun sets, take a stroll past the Takin animal sanctuary for a beautiful view over the Thimphu valley. According to local legend, the Takins are believed to be part cow and part goat.

Alternatively, you can play a round of nine holes at Thimphu Golf Club, set among chortens and beautiful scenery. The course's altitude - 2,350m - causes the balls to fly further in the thin mountain air (own expenses).

In the evening, enjoy a private meeting at the lodge with the Mynak Trulku, who will answer all your Buddhism questions. He is the 12th reincarnate lama of the famous Mynak Rinpoche (own expenses and subject to availability).

Overnight - Amankora Thimphu

 

Day 3 (17 Nov): JOURNEY TO GANGETY (B/L/D)

An early departure is necessary  for the dramatic drive over the mountain pass Dochu La, from where towering Himalayan peaks are visible on clear days. Sights on the way to Phobjikha Valley include one of Bhutan's first fortress monasteries, the 17th-century Simtokha Dzong, and ancient wall paintings at the Hongtsho Goemba monastery. The descent into the tropical Punakha Valley, along the Kingdom's only east-west highway, continues through the scenic villages of Wangdi.

The highway follows the scenic Dang Chhu River, before climbing through forests of bamboo and oak. Just before reaching the Pele La pass, a small side road leads to the hidden Phobjikha (Gangtey) Valley. Gangtey has an altitude of 3,000m and is a serene place of natural beauty, untouched scenery and local traditions and culture.

On arrival, you will have time for a stroll through Gangtey village before visiting the ancient altars and ramparts of the vast Gangtey Goemba, which overlooks the valley. Should the Gangtey Trulku be in residence then an audience for a revered blessing may be arranged.

Overnight - Amankora Gangtey

 

Day 4 (18 Nov): GANGTEY VALLEY (B/L/D)

The morning begins with a pleasant walk along the Nature Trail, through flower meadows, pine forests and into the open valley. If you would prefer a more challenging hike, consider the majestic Longtey Hike, which affords breathtaking views and winds through a rhododendron forest. You can also visit the Black Neck Crane Center and, depending on the season, spend time in the centre's hide to spot these rare birds, which migrate from Tibet in winter to breed.

Back at Gangtey lodge, enjoy an open-air Hot Stone Bath. Set in a candlelit stone hut, the traditional wooden tub has wonderful views of the majestic Phobjikha Valley. Your body will benefit from the minerals in the heated stones and the soothing powers of local herbs (own expenses).

Most guests combine the Hot Stone Bath with the romantic Potato-Shed Dinner to round off a truly authentic Bhutanese evening. After the relaxing bath, you will enjoy a delicious Bhutanese meal surrounded by hundreds of flickering candles and warmed by a traditional bhukari wood-burning stove (own expenses). Due to the popularity of the Hot Stone Bath and the Potato-Shed Dinner, pre-booking is strongly recommended.

Overnight - Amankora Gangtey

 

Day 5 (19 Nov): JOURNEY TO PUNAKHA (B/L/D)

Today, begins with the 2.5 hours drive to Punakha, which lies at an altitude of 1,250m in a warm, fertile valley at the junction of the Mo Chhu (Female River) and Pho Chhu (Male River). The subtropical environment allows the cultivation of rice and exotic fruits.

On entering Punakha valley, guests can visit Chimi Lhakhang, the auspicious fertility monastery built in 1499, which couples traditionally visit to pray for a pregnancy and receive a wang (blessing) from the saint with the 'magic thunderbolt of wisdom'.

Enjoy the evening in the courtyard or unwind with a massage or a facial, Punakha's signature spa treatment, using locally sourced ingredients (own expenses).

Overnight - Amankora Punakha

 

Day 6 (20 Nov): PUNAKHA (B/L/D)

Start the morning with a hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument built by the Bhutanese Queen Mother and consecrated in 1999. Following the hike you can visit the impressive Punakha Dzong, home to the remains of Bhutan's first ruler and the winter residence of the monastic order's leader and his entourage of monks.

A popular option for lunch or dinner is the Private Riverside BB. Just below the lodge, guests sit in the shade of pine trees and enjoy the sounds of the river, views of rice fields and mountain peaks, and the aromas of food sizzling on the charcoal grill. Dinner is especially romantic, lit by candles and lanterns and warmed by a nonfire (own expenses - pre-booking advised).

In the afternoon, try you hand at archery, Bhutan's national sport, or sign up for a cooking class to learn how to make momos, traditional dumplings, and the famous ema datse (own expenses).

Overnight - Amankora Punakha

 

Day 7 (21 Nov): JOURNEY TO PARO (B/L/D)

The four-hour journey to Paro takes you back across the impressive Dochu La pass. For lunch, you can either stop at Thimphu lodge or enjoy a picnic at any beautiful spot on the route back along the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu valleys. Outside the town, Amankora Paro lies hidden in pine forest towards the north end of the valley.

In the afternoon, there is time for a short stroll across open fields and past village houses. Before the sun sets, sit down by the big prayer wheel below the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong, and relax amid the rural scenery and changing sky.

Alternatively, enjoy an archery session using a set of traditional bows and arrows.

Evening at Amankora Paro may include informative lectures on Gross National Happiness, prayer flag printing or an intriguing movie on the Himalayas.

Overnight - Amankora Paro

 

Day 8 (22 Nov): PARO (B/L/D)

Begin the day with a visit to the National Museum. Here, an intriguing collection of artifacts provides a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. Just a short walk downhill lies the imposing Paro Dzong, a fine example of historic Bhutanese architecture. From the Dzong, the tour crosses Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge, from where you will be driven to the town temple, built in 1525, to view ancient wall paintings.

Paro lunch options include picturesque picnic spots or, perhaps, a visit to a traditional farmhouse. After lunch, guests can visit the uniquely shaped Dumtse Lhakhang to view the beautifully preserved wall painting there.

Later, stroll the main street in Paro and shop for Himalayan artifacts or textiles to take home.

Overnight - Amankora Paro

 

Day 9 (23 Nov): PARO (B/L/D)

In the morning, hike up to view one of Bhutan's most dramatic monuments, the Taktsang Goemba, more commonly referred to as Tiger's Nest, built on a sheer cliff face at an altitude of 2,950m. The four-hour trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on the rocks, 900m above the valley floor.

After lunch in the lodge, you can drive to the outskirts of Paro town where you will find 7th-century twin temples of Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the first Buddhist temples built in the country. Spend time lighting 108 butter lamps (own expenses) and learn about the ancient Buddhist traditions that are still practiced today.

On the final evening of your journey, soak in our Hot Stone Bath and enjoy a relaxing Tibetan Ku Nye massage, where warm oil is applied to specific points to release energy blockages (own expenses).

Overnight - Amankora Paro

 

Day 10 (24 Nov): PARO, BHUTAN DEPARTURE (B/-/-)

This morning, you bid farewell to Bhutan. Your driver will take you to Paro International Airport, a journey around 30-minutes from the lodge.

 

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Price From: (Per person )

Land Only
Full Package on Economy Class --
Full Package on Business Class --

*Price quoted exclusive of taxes.

 

Package Includes:

  • Flights on Druk Air
    • 15NOV (THU)    SINGAPORE/PARO       KB501       06:30/10:45  (40-mins layover in Kolkata)
    • 24NOV (SAT)     PARO/SINGAPORE      KB500      07:30/15:50  (40-mins layover in Kolkata)
  • 9-nights accommodation in Amankora series of luxury lodges
  • All meals and house beverages
  • Complimentary wifi, Complimentary laundry service on a daily basis
  • Long road and monument passes
  • One 60-minute spa massage
  • Assistance with visa processing (visa fee excluded)
  • An English-speaking private guide in private air-con vehicle 
  • Tour and Transfers as per itinerary

 

ENQUIRE