7 Days – Best Of Bhutan With Triston Yeo

Due to the rapid modernisation that takes place after Bhutan opens up to the world not too long back, lifestyle and the country itself is evolving rapidly.  Indeed, there is no better time to visit than now.

You also get to shoot alongside Triston Yeo, a celebrated photographer who has shot the wedding of the King of Bhutan.

Set Departure: 15 Sep to 21 Sep 2018

Prices from SGD4,320 per person sharing.

  • Experience the rich culture and heritage of one of the most desirable countries to visit
  • Breath-taking mountain views from Do Chu La pass
  • The spectacular fortress of Thimphu and Punakha
  • The iconic hike to Tigers Nest
  • Get to shoot alongside Triston Yeo, a celebrated photographer who has shot the wedding of the King of Bhutan

 

SPECIALLY CREATED FOR:

  • Photographers
  • First-time travellers to Bhutan
  • Nature Lovers
  • Outdoor Adventures

 

ARRIVE PARO / THIMPHU (Day 1 – 15th Sep 2018)

This morning board your flight to Paro (Bhutan), Bhutan’s only international airport. The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas; offering dazzling scenic views of some of world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter the Paro valley, you will pass forested hills with the slivery Pa Chu (Paro River) meandering down the valley below with the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower) on the hill above the town.

As you exit from the arrival hall of Paro airport, you will be met by your guide and chauffeured to your hotel in Thimphu (1 hour drive). En-route stop to visit the Tamchogg Lhakhang and marvel at the iron bridge reconstructed using original chain links from the famous Tibetan bridge builder Thangtong Gyelpo.

Drive onwards to your hotel for check in and a short rest. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in town.

Afternoon, you will visit the National Memorial Chorten. This landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a four-storey tall white building, containing statues and iconography of deities from complex tantric teachings and serves as an important place of worship for Thimphu residents, as well as from other parts of the country.

Drive onwards to Buddha Dodernma – a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue. The statue is filled with over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself, but made of bronze and gilded in gold. At a height of 51.5 metres, it is one of the tallest Buddha statues on the world.

Then drive to visit the Takin Preserve in Motithang. Takin is the National animal of Bhutan and looks like a cross breed between a cow and a goat.  Legend has it that the animal was created by the great Buddhist yogi, Drupa Kunley or Divine Madman, and this particular species of Takin is found only in Bhutan and nearby areas.

Drive further upwards towards Sangaygang. There’s a wonderful view of Thimphu Valley from the hillside below the telecommunications tower (elevation 2685m), high above the town. At the end of a road it branches off from the approach to the youth centre. The complex also houses the broadcasting studios of Bhutan Television. The valley makes for a lovely view and is worth a visit.

Followed by a visit to the the Farmers’ weekend’s market, where most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling market. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts / crafts are sold at the market, which is held from Friday afternoon till Sunday. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.

Stop to watch a game of archery in Changlingmithang stadium, if there is any underway.

Overnight: Druk Hotel or equivalent

 

THIMPHU (Day 2 – 16th Sep 2018)

Begin the day with drive to take a short hike to Tango Goemba. Situated north of Thimphu, one way it takes about 30 minutes’ drive and an hour long walk through shaded rhododendron forests to reach the monastery. The site of the monastery was founded in 12th century and later Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Madman) established the present building in 15th century. The great saint called Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, in 1616 meditated in a cave near the monastery and helped ensure the defeat of an invading Tibetan army. Tango currently functions as a Buddhist university with 280 monks studying there.

After your hike, we will drive you a short distance to a secluded spot in Jigme Dorji National park by the Thimphu chu (river) for a picnic lunch.

After lunch, drive to visit the institute for Zorig Chusum. It is also commonly known as Arts and crafts school or painting school. The institute offers a courses ranging from 4 to 6 years on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Followed by that then drive to visit the Voluntary artist’s studio. The impressive Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu is the capital’s main centre for artists. The goal of the studio is to promote both traditional and contemporary works of Bhutanese art, to provide vocational training for young artists and to act as a creative meeting venue for artists. It’s a great place to plug into the Thimphu art scene and chat with artists. Art by the students and instructors is sold at the Alaya Gallery, as well as at the Art Shop Gallery.

Then visit the Folk Heritage Museum – a three storied, 19th century traditional house which provides a glimpse into Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. You will come across typical household objects, tools and equipment.

Later, drive to visit Tashichho Dzong (open from at 9 AM to 4 PM for visitors during Saturdays & Sundays) known as the “Fortress of the Glorious Religion” it was initially built in 1641. The Dzong houses, main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The Dzong also functions as a winter residence for a central monastic body.  The National Assembly hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong.

Expect to be back in the hotel around 6 PM, in time to witness the daily dance performances by the local troupe, either in the hotel courtyard or in the all-day dining space. Please check with the hotel for the right time and the venue.

Later return to your hotel.

Overnight: Druk Hotel or equivalent

 

THIMPHU / PUNAKHA (Day 3 – 17th Sep 2018)

Early this morning, post breakfast, you will be chauffeured to Punakha (3 hours 30 minute drive). The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, and then descends into the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).

Stop at Dochu La to visit the 108 stupas built on this 3,150 meter high pass in honor the fallen Bhutanese soldiers. Later visit the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang, built by Queen mother Her Majesty Ashi Dori Wangmo Wangchuk and was built in honor of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Well before reaching Punakha stop en route and hike about 30 minutes to Chimi Lhakhang, which is on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, also known as the “Divine madman.” He is known for dramatizing Buddhist teachings using songs. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.

Afterwards, you can stop for lunch at a local restaurant in town.

Then proceed towards Punakha and en-route stop to visit the Punakha Dzong. Constructed in 1637, this was the second of Bhutan’s Dzong and for many years its seat of government. From this spectacular setting you can look back to see the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Temple perched on the hillside far in the distance.

Check into the hotel and rest.

Overnight: Dhensa Hotel or equivalent

 

PUNAKHA (Day 4 – 18th SEP 2018)

Early this morning you will begin your hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten. You can also start your hike from the Uma and walk all the way to the chorten through beautiful farm lands and virgin forests or drive to the suspension bridge and hike only about 45 minutes. This three storey lhakhang was recently built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon for the protection of the country and the present King. It has an impressive view of the Punakha valley below. The deities represented here belong to a teaching cycle of Dudjom Rinpoche, a great Nyingmapa master (1904-87). The functions of the deities are to subjugate enemies and harmful influences and also to spread peace and harmony. We will carry a picnic breakfast with us which will be laid out for you on arrival at the top of Khamsum Yuelley. Enjoy your breakfast in this serene setting before other guests start arriving on top of the hill. After breakfast, you will be taken for a show around of the temple.

From here, the trail climbs slowly upwards on the mountainside all the way to Giligang. There are numerous places on the way with inspiring views of the surrounding temples, rice paddies, mountain tops and green forests. Giligang Temple is a 300-years old privately owned monastery which has been taken care of by the same family for generations. Aum Kortem and Ap Sangay Wangchuk are now in their seventies and have resided in the monastery for more than 50 years. They live off the money they make from growing and selling chillies and other vegetables, and are always very excited to welcome guests.

From Giligang, the trail continues pleasurably downhill along the mountain side until you reach Changyul Bridge just before Punakha Dzong where your car will pick you up.

On the way back stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

Later this evening, you will drive to visit the Sangchhen Dorji Lhendrup Lhakhang Nunnery. Perched on a ridge amid pine trees gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang(temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans. The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation center for nuns where, apart from religious training, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.

Overnight: Dhensa Hotel or equivalent

 

PUNAKHA / PARO (Day 5 – 19th SEP 2018)

This morning, post breakfast, drive to Paro (4 hours drive).

On entering Paro town, drive directly to your hotel for Check-in. Lunch will be in a local restaurant in town.

After lunch, drive to visit the Ta Dzong or the National Museum. One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. Since 1967, the Ta Dzong has been serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The museum’s circular shape enhances its varied collection displayed over several floors.

Then walk down to Paro Rinpung Dzong which means the ‘Fortress on a heap of jewels’. Paro Dzong ranks as a high point of Bhutanese architecture with its massive buttressed walls that tower over the town and are visible throughout the valley. It was formerly the meeting hall for the National Assembly and now, like most dzongs, houses both the monastic body and district government offices. It is worth visiting this Dzong for its stunning architecture and views of the valley.

Afterwards, visit the local farmhouse. It is a traditional village house. The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of old fashioned farm houses. Bhutanese farm houses are very colourful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to Farm House is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.

Overnight: Le Meridien Paro or equivalent

 

PARO (Day 6 – 20th SEP 2018)

After a hearty breakfast, take a short drive to the north of Paro Valley to Ramthankha, and start your hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest).  The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, founder of Buddhism in Bhutan flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings with him and meditated here on this cliff. This is one of the most venerated and sacred of all Buddhist sights around the world.

This hike is takes about 5hrs with a 900 meters approximate gain in altitude. Afterwards hike down to the car park before returning to the hotel.

The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight: Le Meridien Paro or equivalent

 

DEPARTURE (Day 7 – 21th Sep 2018)

In the morning, you will be transported to Paro airport to board your onward flight.

 

END OF SERVICES

RATES BASED ON 06 PASSENGERS IN DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY (minimum 6 to travel)
Validity Per person sharing a double roomSingle Supplement
Till 28 Feb 2018SGD 4,320.-SGD 1262
From 01 Mar to 31 May 2018SGD 4,632.-SGD 1262
  • Set Departure: 15 Sep to 21 Sep 2018.
  • Only 08 spots are available.  Minimum 06 to travel.  Sign up soon to avoid disappointment as this is one of our signature packages for 2018.
  • Package price is based on per person, on twin-sharing basis.
  • Single room supplement is subject to availability and additional fees apply.
  • As of all international travel, the visitor to Bhutan is required to be in possession of a valid passport and visa. Travellers from ALL countries need a visa.
  • Visa for Bhutan will be arranged by TopLiners Club on receipt of the full payment for the tour. At the time of travel the passport on basis of which the Bhutan visa has been issued has to present at the time of boarding check in and at the emigration/immigration check points. Boarding or immigration can be denied if there is a mismatch of passport details mentioned on the visa letter and the passport presented at these checks.
  • The passport has to be valid for a minimum of 6 months AFTER the departure date from Bhutan and at least 2 (two) clear pages available in the passport for immigration stamping.

For more information, please contact us at contact@toplinersclub.com, or whatsapp: +659 6239-6909 for more information.

What’s included:

  • Accommodation inclusions as per the itinerary above
  • All ground transport in a private vehicle and sight-seeing
  • Bhutanese visa
  • Services of an English-speaking local guide
  • All meals other than specifically indicated
  • All entrance and monument fees
  • All current Bhutanese Tourism Levies and all relevant Government Taxes

 

What’s NOT included:

  • International air-tickets (return) into Paro
  • Items and expenses of a personal nature
  • All Beverages
  • Cancellation, baggage or medical insurance
  • Any new Government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control
  • Comprehensive personal travel insurance
  • Tips for tour leader, driver and local guide
  • All Other Services not mentioned above

 

COMPLIMENTS from Topliners Club and our partners:

  • Complimentary camera rental (Canon) by Canon Singapore – subject to availability
  • One free maintenance check/sensor cleaning for Canon DSLR only
  • One complimentary 12”x12” personalised photo book (soft cover) worth S$125 to encase your trip memories

 

Thank you for your interest in this package.  Please register your interest by filling in the form below.  A travel designer would be contacting you shortly.

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