It’s time to bid a friendly Ku-zu-zam-po-la (that’s hello in Bhutanese) to our favourite Himalayan mountain kingdom. Over the years Bhutan has climbed to the top of our list of destinations that are brimming with luxurious hideaways and incredible experiences that offer fascinating cultural insights and space for guests to find a little head space. This seven night luxurious and spiritual discovery has been expertly curated by our team who have recently returned from this mountain kingdom, and is packed full of breath taking views, exclusive experiences such as undiscovered temple visits and blessings with local monks. After long days exploring and trekking you’ll need the perfect hideaway to unwind in, so luckily we’ve hand-picked our favourite luxurious and intimate lodges to rest up and relax at along the way.
The Hidden Treasures of Thimphu
Your adventure begins with a three hour flight from Delhi (or an hour from Kathmandu) which is considered one the most scenic journeys in the world. Peer out your window as you soar over the world’s top 10 highest peaks, there’s no better way to get acquainted with this part of the world than before you even arrive. When you land you’ll be greeted by your Black Tomato guide and then transferred by road to Thimphu. After a light lunch it’s off to visit the Memorial Chorten built in the memory of the late 3rd King where you’ll see local villagers who gather here in the morning spending all day chanting and chatting to friends. Your guide will then show you round Changangkha Lhakhang (the oldest temple in the region) with sweeping views of the valley at every turn. After awing at the views, keep your eyes peeled for Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin Goat that roams across the valley. After all this excitement, rest your head at one of our favourite hideaways Amankora Thimphu for one night, a peaceful retreat that’s set in the upper reaches of the Motithang area close to the capitals’ shops and main sights.Read more...
Today you’ll wake up refreshed and stroll down the valley for a morning visit at the bustling weekend market where locals from surrounding villages come to trade their local goods. Taste some of the local delights on offer such as buckwheat noodles and dumplings, then its time to be immersed in some local Bhutanese crafts. You’ll start at the traditional Hand Made Paper Mill and then onto the School of Arts and Crafts, where the students are taught the 13 different arts practiced in Bhutan. For culture lovers the Folk Heritage Museum and the National Library are also a must see. Continue on your cultural exploration with an exclusive tour of Dechenphodrang monastic school and Zilukha nunnery where you can meet and interact with the young monks and nuns. After this busy morning enjoy a long lunch while taking time to reflect on all you’ve seen. You’ll then be driven to the valley of Punakha, crossing over the Dochula pass (at 3200 meters) where if it’s a clear day you’ll see a spectacular breath-taking view of the highest mountain peaks of Bhutan stretching out in front of your eyes. For the next two nights you’ll hole up at Uma by Como, Punakha where you can relax and unwind with a massage or take a relaxed hike through the paddy fields to find the temple of fertility in Chimi Lakhang. After a hearty Bhutanese meal around the fire, rest your head in your king sized bed and get ready for another day filled of exploring.
As the sun rises over the valley sip on a lemon and pomegranate tea over a local breakfast, before you’re whisked off to Punakha Dzong, a fortress which houses the most elaborate temple in the country. Walk around and marvel at the rich Bhutanese art and architecture surrounding you with one of our expert guides in tow. If you’re in the mood for an adventure, a half day hike can take you deep into the valley to explore more remote temples. Starting right above Dzong with a short steep climb (trust us it’s worth it) you can gaze back down to panoramic views of the never ending river bed. Back at Uma Punakha you’ll enjoy lunch, and head to the spa and steam room for some peaceful time to reflect on all the spectacular scenery and spiritual sights you’ve encountered.
The following day it’s on to the next stop (a three hour drive) to the remote isolated valley of Phobjikha, stopping en route for a short hike to the ancient village of Richengang, here you’ll admire the preserved ancient houses and incredible natural scenery. This unique valley is a protected area as it’s the winter home for the endangered Black Necked Cranes that migrate to Bhutan so keep your eyes peeled. The valley is a paradise for the nature lovers and hikers, so it’s the perfect chance to stretch your legs and explore. You’ll spend the next two nights soaking up all the atmosphere of this remote Himalayan getaway from one of our favourite lodges; Gangtey Goempa Lodge. Another must do is the Phobjikha Nature trail, stretching from the Gangtey Goempa temple to the soaring hilltops this place is bound to take your breath away. Whilst in Gangtey Goempa we’ll arrange for you to experience local Bhutanese culture at its best from visiting local schools to the monks that inhabit the Gangtey Goempa temple.
Reach new heights at the Tigers Nest
From the valley of Phobjikha we’ll drive you back through the Himalayan scenery to Paro, once back in the comfort of Amankora Paro where you’ll stay for the next two nights, you’ll set out to visit Paro Dazong fortress where you’ll walk over the oldest wooden bridge still in use. Your local guide will take you across a meandering path through the forest and paddy fields which will take you to Paro’s historical old town peep into some local handicrafts stores. For a unique experience we’ll arrange for you witness the masters in a game of traditional Archery – one of Bhutan’s national sports.
Saving the best till last we’ll take you on a tour tour to view the iconic Tiger’s Nest. With a local guide in tow you’ll embark on a three hour hike which will take you straight to the most revered temple in the whole of Bhutan, literally hanging of a cliff with sheer drops below over the Paro valley. We think this is one of the most spectacular spots around, and the perfect way to end your trip. Once back at Amankora Paro you’ll sit back and unwind in a hot stone bath feeling totally at peace before a farewell dinner under the stars before you head home.