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bhutan west to east - mountains
bhutan west to east - festival
bhutan west to east - tiger's nest
bhutan west to east - school of traditional arts
bhutan west to east - bells
bhutan west to east - waterfall
bhutan west to east - villages

Bhutan West to East

FURTHER JOURNEYS IN BHUTAN  brown-arrow-right.png

Day 1 - Delhi
On arrival in Delhi you will be met by our representative and taken to your extremely comfortable hotel, where your room will be ready for you to occupy. The afternoon is free for you to relax or explore Delhi with your guide and driver.

Overnight: The Lodhi

Day 2 - Fly into Paro
After a leisurely morning, head back to the airport for your flight to Paro. The flight itself is an unparalleled experience, with amazing views of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga and a beautiful landing in the dramatic Paro valley. When you arrive, your guide and driver will greet you for the drive to Thimpu, which will take approximately one and a half hours. 

The next two nights will be spent at the intimate and luxurious Amankora Thimpu, which nestles in serene pine forest on the outskirts of Thimpu. 

Overnight: Amankora Thimpu

Day 3 -  Thimpu
Your guide will take you to visit some or all of the National Memorial Chorten, the National Textile Museum, the Folk Heritage Museum and the National Library. You can also visit a few of the capital's cottage industries such as paper making and hand-rolled incense. If you want to stretch your legs, the hike to Cheri Gompa, the monastery where the first monastic body was established in the kingdom, takes you to the far end of the valley. Sightseeing in general in Bhutan can be very flexible - just tell your guide what you are interested in and they will accommodate.

Overnight: Amankora Thimpu

Day 4 - Tiger's Nest
Drive back to Paro for a day hiking to one of Bhutan's most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goemba, more commonly known as 'Tiger's Nest'. The four-to-five hour return trek reveals spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on a cliff face almost 1,000m above the valley floor. If you want further sightseeing and have time, you could pop into the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). The artefacts there provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. Just a short walk downhill lies the dominating Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese architecture. From there, cross Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilevered bridge, to reach the town temple built in 1525. Spend the night at the lovely Amankora Paro.

Overnight: Amankora Paro

Day 5 - Bumthang
From Paro fly to Bumthang, where you will be met and driven to your hotel for the next three nights, Amankora Bumthang.  Adjacent to the first and second King of Bhutan's palace, Wangdichholing, Amankora lies within the town of Jakar in the Choekhor Valley, surrounded by apple and pear trees. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of a landscaped courtyard adjoining the shared Palace grounds.

Overnight: Amankora Bumthang

Day 6 - Bumthang
Bumthang is known as the cultural heartland of Bhutan, and there is plenty to explore. Visit Mebartso (the burning lake where the treasure revealer Pema Lingpa discovered Buddhist treasures), Tamshing Monastery - one of the most sacred Nyingmapa monasteries - and Kurjey Lhakhang, built on the site of Guru Rimpoche's meditation site.

Walk past a suspension bridge beyond a carved Buddha on a rock to Thankabi Monastery.  You will find Thankabi Goemba amongst fields of buckwheat. The trail continues through meadows and forests of blue pine and scrub bamboo to 'Swan Temple', Ngang Lhakhang, which was built on the spot where renowned Lama Namkha Samdrup's arrow landed. If you're lucky you may spot the black-necked cranes that winter in the area.

There is plenty of additional sightseeing to be done, including visits to the Sey Lhakhang and Chakkar Lhakhang. Buddhism was first introduced in Bhutan through Bumthang, so it abounds with religious sites.

Overnight: Amankora Bumthang

Day 7 - Valley of Ura
Today you will travel for around two hours to the beautiful valley of Ura, characterised by picturesque clusters of houses and cobblestone paths. Later you will head to the higher reaches of the Bumthang valley, where the nomadic people of the highlands reside. Spend time at the local monastery and with the people of the area.

Overnight: Amankora Bumthang

Day 8 - Mongar 
After breakfast you will set off on the magnificent six-hour drive to Mongar, journeying through breath-taking landscapes of dense forest and waterfalls dotted with wildlife and beautifully built, traditional villages en route as you cross the Thrumsingla Pass and travel through Thrumsingla National Park.

The dominant language in the east of Bhutan is Sharchop, which is very different from Dzongkha (the national language), so English or Nepali are often used to communicate. The towns between west and east also differ - in western Bhutan most towns are situated in valleys whereas in eastern Bhutan most towns, including Mongar, are situated at the tops of hills or ridges. Mongar Dzong dominates this new town and you can visit it before settling down for the night at your very simple hotel.

Overnight: Wangchuk Hotel, Mongar

Day 9 -  Trashigang
En route to Trashigang (4 hours' drive), you will pass the distinctive valley of the Kuri Chhu, which features extensive cornfields, rice terraces and flourishing tropical fruit trees. There is also chance to visit Dramitse Monastery, built in the 16th Century by Ani Cheten Zangmo, the daughter of the renowned Terton (religious treasure seeker) Pema Lingpa. The Dramitse Ngacham,or 'Dance of the Drums of Dramitse', was created in this lhakhang in the 16th Century; today it is a popular dance performed at all major festivals.

Trashigang is a lively and interesting town and the bars are worth a visit this evening although they do close early - by 8pm!

Overnight: Lingkhar Lodge, Trashigang

Day 10 - Rural Trashigang
After breakfast start by visiting the temple of Gom Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau overlooking the river outside Trashigang. Gom Kora is legendary, said to be the site where Guru Rinpoche subdued a demon by trapping it in a rock.

Continue on down the road to Doksum village to see women weaving traditional fabric and a chain-link swing bridge dating back to the 15th Century. The road turns into the hills here, running up the side of a winding river valley to Trashiyangtse.  In former times, Trashiyangtse was an important centre because it lies on one of the caravan routes leading from western and central Bhutan. Nowadays the rapidly growing town is the administrative centre for the district, famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which make inexpensive, attractive and useful souvenirs of a visit to this remote region.

Pay a visit to Trashiyangtse Dzong overlooking the town, before exploring one of the most historically significant sites in the area - the ruin of Tshenkharla Dzong at Khamdang, which dates back to the 9th Century and was the first dzong constructed in the country.

If time permits, you can see the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora on the riverbank below the town, and the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in Bhutan's 13 traditional arts and crafts.

Overnight: Lingkhar Lodge, Trashigang

Day 11 - Trashigang
Merak-Sakteng is one of the most scenic pastoral valleys within the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can glimpse the culture and lifestyle of the Brokpa people. Semi-nomadic, they migrate with their yaks between the highlands in summer and the lowlands in winter. The Brokpas still engage in a barter system, trading cheese, butter and dried meat for grain and other goods. During the colder months between November and February they also travel south to Radhi, Phongmay, Kanglung and Trashigang to trade.

Later, drive to visit Radhi village, famous for the skill of its weavers as well as for its rice fields, which feed most of the eastern region. The 200 households here make a living from fine raw silk or bura textiles, producing some of the country's highest quality fabrics using traditional back-strap looms and dyes.

Overnight: Lingkhar Lodge, Trashigang

Day 12 - Samdrup Jongkhar
After breakfast, leave Trashigang for the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar (6 hours on a good road). En-route, stop at Khaling, the site of an historic battlefield and location of the National Handloom Centre, where young girls from all over Bhutan are trained in traditional hand weaving and vegetable dyeing.

Your accommodation for the night is Tashi Gasel Lodge, which has nine rooms with balconies and terraces overlooking the town. It is simple and functional, but the best in town.

Overnight: Tashi Gasel Lodge

Day 13 - Delhi
A 3.5 hour drive will take you to Guwahati in time for your flight to Delhi. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the Oberoi Gurgaon, which has a great location in Delhi's prime business and shopping district.

Overnight: Oberoi Gurgaon

Day 14 - Fly home
Today you will be driven to the airport for your flight home. 

 
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PRICING

From £7,495 / $11,415 per person (based on two sharing) for land arrangements only - excluding long-haul flights but including economy class flights in India and Bhutan.

NB. The accommodation in Delhi and western Bhutan as far as Bumthang is of an extremely high quality. Beyond Bumthang, things are much more remote and the standard of accommodation drops sharply. Please be prepared for the contrast! However, the east of Bhutan is wild with very few visitors and whilst the accommodation is much more basic, it is clean, functional and we believe the experience is well worth the drop in hotel standards for those feeling like an adventurous journey. 

All of our itineraries are tailor-made according to the interests of our clients and the above itinerary is an example only. Please contact our Bhutan Specialist Edward Granville for your own tailor-made holiday to Bhutan on +44 (0) 1242 787805.

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