Find out what lights up the faces of the residents of Bhutan, the only country in the world that measures its well-being in GNH — Gross National Happiness. On a 10-day adventure across this bastion of Buddhist culture, explore remote mountain villages and shrines and climb magnificent heights to the cliff-side Taktsang Monastery, 900 metres (2,953 feet) above the valley floor. Amid the soaring peaks and cultural delights of this ancient place, discover your own capacity for happiness.
Visit one of the most remote countries in the world, enjoy a meeting and lecture with a monk about Buddhist culture in Bhutan, learn how to cook ema datshi (chili cheese) with a local farm family, hike along peaceful nature trails and thrilling cliffs, experience the pristine and peaceful nature of the "Dragon Kingdom"
Arrive at any time and transfer to Thimphu. In Thimphu, time permitting, take an orientation walk in town and get settled in.
In the morning, meet a Buddhist Monk and scholar to discuss Buddhist beliefs, ways of life, and values in Bhutan. Drive to Punakha, crossing the Dochula Pass and enjoying stunning views of the Himalayas through flickering prayer flags. In the afternoon, drive to Lobeysa and hike 20 minutes to Chime Lhakhang, temple of the "Divine Madman", built in 1499. Today, it is mostly visited by women, as it is known as a temple of fertility.
Enjoy a full day of exploration including a visit to Punakha Dzong, Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery, and Wangdue Phodrang. In the afternoon, hike through rice terraces and forests to Khamsum Yueley Chorten.
Travel to Gangtey and visit the Black-Necked Crane Centre, one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in Bhutan.
Walk to the monastery of Gangtey Goempa, known to hold the most sacred relics in Bhutan. After, walk across Phobjikha Valley to Khewa Valley, where we'll visit an old temple and make an offering. This evening, stop at the village of Khewa and visit a local family's farm for a cooking demonstration and a home cooked dinner.
Drive to the capital to visit the Big Buddha and the Institute for Zorig Chusum, an arts and crafts school where we can watch students practicing traditional arts such as woodworking, painting, and ceramics. Hear a lecture on the Gross National Happiness, an index used by Bhutan to measure the nation's progress.
In the morning, visit Memorial Chorten. Drive to the valley and visit Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple). In the afternoon, spend time exploring Haa town.
Drive to the Haa Valley, one of the most remote and sacred valleys in Bhutan via the Cheela Mountain Pass, at 3,810m (12,500 ft). Hike to Kila Goempa Nunnery which clings to a rocky cliff. Later, visit Kyichu Lhakhang Temple and the local archery grounds.
Embark on a vigorous hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest), the most venerated pilgrim site of the Himalayan world. The view is absolutely stunning, with the monastery clinging to a cliff face towering 2,953m (9,688 ft) above the valley. Return to Paro and visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong fortress.
Depart at any time. Airport transfer included.
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