Get the unique chance to visit a hidden, sacred kingdom in the Himalayas who only recently allowed tourism and ranks their GDP on communal happiness. Hike in some of the most beautiful and pristine terrain in a country that boasts 60% of its land as conservation areas. Learn the craft of telling stories about landscape and experiences in culture as our travel writing guide leads you in your expedition. Hike to monasteries and temples, learn about ancient Buddhist practices, and see amazing biodiversity as you grow your portfolio and participate in writing workshops.
Trip Summary: Bhutan | 11 Days
Next Group Trip: 2 May - 14 May 2017
Group Size: Max 16 Persons
Price From: $3800 per person
- Get the rare chance to visit Asia’s hidden gem that rests under the beautiful Himalayas
- Participate in the Ura Yakcho Festival, one of Bhutan’s most important rural festivals set in an idyllic village in the center of the country.
- Hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery
- Enjoy nightly workshops with a travel-writing guide who will help you engage with a new place and traditions and turn them into stories you can take home.
Itinerary | 11 Days
Day 1, Arrive in Paro Valley: Fly into the quiet and beautiful Paro Valley where we will begin to get to know each other and the history of Bhutan in a city of 155+ monasteries and temples while dining on local cuisine and wandering through the Paro Market. In the evening, we will begin our conversation about writing and our workshops.
Day 2, Paro and Thimphu: After breakfast, we will tour Paro Dazong, built in the 17th century to house governmental and religious organizations, followed by the Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest Bhutanese temple built in the 8th century by Songtsen Gampo. After this, we will visit the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort) built in 1646 to commemorate holding off Tibetan invaders. We will then drive to Thimphu, the capital city, to stroll through the city and debrief, continuing our writing workshops.
Day 3, Cultural Exploration in Thimphu: Thimphu has quickly become Bhutan’s bustling center between old and new, as robe-clad monks and government officials crowd the streets. Here we will visit markets and Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the temple built for Bhutan’s kings. Meet with local guides as you learn about the traditions and cuisine of Bhutan. We will tour the National Institute of Traditional Medicine and the world’s largest Buddha statue standing at 169 feet.
Day 4, Thimphu to Wangdue: The scenic drive to Wangdue with a stop for tea at Dochu La Pass (10,170 ft) will give us a bright and clear view of the Himalayas before driving into a valley of rhododendron, fir, hemlock, rice fields, and along rivers. We will visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple where Bhutanese people come to receive blessing. We will stay overnight in Wangdue and continue our writing workshops over dinner.
Day 5, Wangdue to Bumthang: Today we will drive to Bumthang in the center of the country over the winding Pele La Pass (10,827 ft) where we may see yaks. Stopping for lunch in Trongsa and continuing onto Bumtang, we will drive through valleys and forests stopping along the way to visit textile-weaving factories and learn about Bhutan unique patterns. We will overnight in Bumthang and continue our writing workshops.
Day 6, Ura Yakcho Festival: On this day, we will drive to Ura, a unique village with cobblestone streets over Ura La Pass (11,778 ft) with a view of Mt. Gangka Puensum, for the Ura Yakcho Festival. We will enjoy a full day of dances and celebrations from the locals of Ura before driving back to Bumthang in the evening.
Day 7, Bumthang: Once again in Bumthang, we will tour Jakar Dazong, the administrative center, Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan from the beginnings of Buddhism in the region, and Kurjey Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s most sacred caves. We will hike to the Thangbi Valley over a large suspension bridge to Thangbi Lhakhang, a monastery built in the 14th century. We will stay in Bumthang for the evening and continue our discussions and writing workshops.
Day 8, Bumthang to Punakha: We will explore the Bumthang market before driving to Punakha where we will relax and stay overnight.
Day 9, Punakha to Paro: In the morning, we will tour the Punakha Dzong, beautifully poised between two rivers, before driving to Paro via Dochu La Pass. On reaching Dochula, we will vist the Druk Wangyal Monastery with its elaborate paintings depicting the history of Bhutan. In the evening, tour a Bhutanese farmhouse to understand the farming tradition in the country and enjoy “ara,” a local wine. We will overnight in Paro and continue our writing discussions.
Day 10, Tiger’s Nest Monastery: Today, we will hike to the famous “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery that sits at 10,170 feet. The 8th century master, Guru Rinpoche is believed to have flown on a tigress to meditate in the cave where the monastery stands. Perched on the edge of a steep cliff, 3,000 feet above Paro, we enjoy lunch halfway up the hike before reaching the monastery to marvel at the colorful prayer flags and the view. In the evening, we will have our final workshop and debrief in Paro before preparing for departure.
Day 11: Depart Paro
Optional Extension, Kathmandu, Nepal (4 days): On your way out of Bhutan through Nepal, join us on a trip extension as we enjoy the picturesque Durbar Square, a UNESCO Heritage site, a local Nepalese cooking course, a mountain biking tour in the countryside, and explore traditional buildings in Bhaktapur, an old Newari Kingdom.
This Acanela Expedition © is the perfect fusion between comfort & adventure. Embark on this small group exploration and have hands-on encounters with local peoples and cultures, while experiencing all the historical & culinary highlights along the way.
2 - 14 May 2017
Private dates upon inquiry.
All inclusive package including accommodation for all nights, in-country transport by private bus, train, or flight, lecture and instruction materials from our expert guides, all activities, and meals as listed on the itinerary. *International Airfare and Visa Fees are not included.
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