Spiritual Cultivation in Bhutan – 7 days / 6 nights
Upon touch down at Paro International Airport, your guide will greet you once you exit the arrival hall . Your first stop will be at Kyichu Lhakang. Built in the early 7th century, it is Bhutan’s oldest temple.
After lunch, stop over at Tacho Gang Temple, built by a Buddhist Yogi, Thang Tong Gyalpo in the 14th century and cross the fabled Iron Bridge.
Take a leisurely drive to Thimphu and check in to the hotel and freshen up. After which, you will visit the Tashichho Dzong. The dzong is located close to Thimphu town, next to the banks of the Wangchhu River. It is an impressively large structure, surrounded by well-kept lawns and beautiful gardens.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimpu.
Visit Buddha Point – This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue, 100,000 8 inch tall and 25,000 12 inch tall statues respectively. Each of these thousands of Buddhas have also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfills an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.
Afterwards, visit the Headquarters of the Bhutan Post Office and Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre.
This private centre at the south end of Thimphu produces handwoven textiles and has a selection of cloth and ready-made garments for sale (scarves, belts, jackets). You can watch weavers at work (not on Sundays) and photos are allowed. A finely embroidered kira can take nine months to make and cost over US$1200; cheaper ones start at US$60.
Last stop for the day will be at the Pangrizampa Astrology School.
The temple was built by Ngawang Choegyel, the great-grandfather of the Zhabdrung, and was the Zhabdrung’s residence when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616. Today, the temple is used as an astrologer’s centre of the state clergy, and is the home to around 100 monks studying astrology. During a visit Pangri Zampa you can learn more about astrology, and also have your personal reading done.
After breakfast, travel to Punakha. Along the way, visit the Dochula Pass.
The pass is a popular location among tourists as it offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range. The view is especially scenic on clear, winter days with snow-capped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass.
Then, we head off to the Chimi Lhakhang Monastery.
This extraordinary temple is popularly known to be the fertility temple among many and is frequented by childless couples and others alike for blessings. Built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley who was popularly known as the ‘Divine Madman’, the temple has a rollicking tale to tell.
We then head back to Thimphu for dinner and a good rest.
We visit the Motithang Takin Preserve. It is a wildlife reserve area for the takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, it was converted into a preserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free. The reason for declaring the takin as a national animal of Bhutan is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley.
Then it’s off to The National Institute of Zorig Chusum (Thirteen Traditional Arts & Crafts).
This a a place where you get to see how traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan are being taught to the students. Apprentices honing their skills in painting, wood sculpture, weaving and many more.
We then set off to Jangsa Animal Shelter.
The current Dog Shelter at Serbithang has been successfully functioning in its mission to help dogs by providing them food and a home as a primary dog shelter serving the capital city, Thimphu. The newly created clinic will serve to treat sick and injured dogs brought to the shelter; they will be given proper veterinary attention and taken care of in the shelter until they are healthy enough to be released from where they came.
In the morning, take part in the national sport of Bhutan – Archery.
Archery in Bhutan is culturally distinctive because it is a martial art practiced among a modern population that abhors killing. Bhutanese people from different social strata find archery one of the most enjoyable sports, being both fun and physical exercise. In addition, archery builds concentration, which contributes to mental development; according to a Bhutanese proverb, both sailing and archery require intelligence. Archery in Bhutan is a way of socialization, communication, and development of relations between people
Then we visit The Memorial Stupa, also known as the Thimphu Chorten.
The stupa, built in 1974 to honor the third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, is a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. In 2008, it underwent extensive renovation. It is popularly known as “the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan”. It was consecrated by Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje.
After lunch, we travel to Paro and visit the ancient ruin of Drukgyel Dzong.
Drukgyal Dzong was a fortress and Buddhist monastery, now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro District, Bhutan. The dzong was probably built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 to commemorate victory over an invasion from Tibet.
In the early 1950s, Drukgyal Dzong was almost completely destroyed by fire. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
Right after breakfast, you will undertake a three hour hike to Taktshang (Tiger’s lair) to experience a deeply spiritual hike and a dash of adventure, the most famous temple in the Himalayan Buddhist world. The temple clings precariously onto a vertical cliff about 1,000 meters above the Paro valley floor. It is here that Guru Padmasambhava, considered to be the second Buddha by the Himalayan Buddhists, is said to have meditated in the eighth century after having flown there on the back of a ferocious tigress.
Lunch will be served at the Taktshang Cafeteria where you get the clear view of Tiger’s Nest.
Hot Stone Spa
After a long day of hiking to Tiger’s nest monastery, there’s nothing better than to experience our very own unique outdoor hot stone spa, a form of traditional Bhutanese medicine where fresh river water is mixed with local Artemisia leaves and heated with fire-roasted river stones. The stones take roughly up to 4 hours to heat up, so do make a reservation with us in advance!
After which, last minute shopping in the downtown market in Paro and enjoy a Cultural performance and a farewell dinner at the hotel.
Departure ( Paro – Singapore)
Our representative will bid you farewell!
Meals will be served on board the plane.