BhutanBhutan

Bhutan | April 3 - 14, 2018

Highlights: Traditional culture, magical Buddhist monasteries and shrines, moderate walking on time-worn paths, vistas of the Himalayan landscape including snowcapped peaks, shadowy gorges and primeval forests, off-the-beaten-track villages, family home & cultural visits, cottage industry handicrafts, traditional culinary preparation and photography.

 

With Tour Director & Oasis Founder Richard Koegl

 

Bhutan is not an ordinary place.  It lies along the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayas, bordered by Tibet to the north and northwest, and by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim.  It has one foot in the past and one in the future.  Known as ‘Druk Yul’ or the ‘land of the peaceful thunder dragon’, it is arguably one of the most peaceful, serene and magical places left on earth.  Not surprisingly, it is still referred to as ‘Shangri-La’ or ‘the Last Place on the Roof of the World.’  Bhutan offers spectacular mountain views, immense scenic beauty and a completely unique culture and lifestyle.   It’s a place that allows you to see and experience firsthand a museum of magnificent Buddhist monasteries, intricately carved wooden houses and the fine and diverse crafts of age old tradition.  The Bhutanese culture is one of the oldest, most carefully guarded and well preserved in the world, and with its Buddhist tradition of respect and reverence for nature, make it one of the most compelling and unique places in the world.  It is the people of this small Kingdom that are the real draw:  their revered values and ancient customs are inseparable from the air they breathe.  Oasis’ journey will traverse the country in exploration of the authentic, with daily off-the-beaten-track walks highlighting intimate and up close interactions with families and individuals.  We will indulge in cultural visits with backdoor access to some of the greatest monuments imaginable.  The genuine hospitality of the Bhutanese makes it possible to visit their homes, share their stories, and home cooked meals.  We do this all the while by taking our time to savor each moment and fully experience the magic of this very special place.



12 Day Itinerary

Days 1 – 2:  Thimphu
April 3 & 4, 2018

The flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth.  On arrival we transfer to the nation’s capital Thimphu and check-in to our hotel; welcome cocktail reception and trip orientation briefing by Tour Director Richard Koegl; Thimphu sightseeing including the National Library, Institute for Zorig Chusum where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan, Institute of Traditional Medicine, National Textile Museum, Memorial Chorten, Handicrafts Emporium, and the 1620 built Monastery of Cheri Goemba

Hotel Osel

 

Days 3 – 4:  Punahka
April 5 & 6, 2018

Semtokha Dzong, a Buddhist monastery built in 1629 by the man who unified Bhutan; 10,000 foot high Dochu Pass where there is a superb view of the high Himalayan mountain peaks and blooming forests of Rhododendron; temperate Punahka, the most fertile valley in Bhutan and the winter capital for the Chief Abbot and main monk body; Khamsung Yuely Namgyel Temple; walk along Punahka Valley through rice fields and villages, and the 17th century Punakha Dzong, the second of Bhutan’s great Dzongs and for many years, its seat of government.

Dhensa Resort

 

Days 5 – 6:  Gangtey
April 7 & 8, 2018

Walk through paddies and small villages to Chimi Lhakang, the “Temple of the Divine Madman”; Wangdiphodrang, a small market town on the banks of the Puna Tsang River known for its bamboo work and slate temple carvings; Phobjikha Valley, a broad, glacier-carved valley known for its national parks.  This unique alpine, subtropical ecosystem harbors a wide array of flora and fauna including wild boar, snow leopard, black Himalayan bear and the migratory black-necked crane.  Gangtey sightseeing including the 17th century monastery of Gangtey Gompa; the Royal Society Black-Necked Crane Information Center, and a leisurely walk into the surrounding villages, forests and farmlands to experience daily life in a pristine environment.

Gangtey Goenpa Lodge

 

Day 7:  Trongsa
April 9, 2018

Eastern drive over the 11,000 foot Pele Pass to the villages of Rukubji and Chenbibji for a walk; visit to the 19th century Chenbebji Chorten, patterned on the Swayambhunath Temple in Kathmandu; continue deep into the spectacular Mangde Valley to Trongsa, the natural divide of east and west Bhutan; Tronga Dzong and it’s amazing watch tower museum.

Yangkhil Resort

 

Days 8 & 9:  Bumthang
April 10 & 11, 2018

Exploration of the Bumthang Valley, the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries anywhere.  Sightseeing to include the village of Hurchi, known for its handwoven “yathra” woolen fabrics; the 1549 Jakar Dzong; Jambey and Kurje Lhakhang; Tamshing Temple; valley walks along country paths passing various local cottage industries including water mills that grind local wheat and barley, and a dying plant where varieties of indigenous plants are used to produce natural textiles dyes.

Yu-Gharling Resort

 

Days 10 & 11:  Paro
April 12 & 13, 2018

A regularly scheduled morning flight from Bumthang Valley to Paro; Paro sightseeing including Kyichu Lhakhang, a 7th century shrine and one of the two oldest in the kingdom; Drukgyel Dzong where on a clear day one can get a glimpse of Chomolhari, Bhutan’s sacred mountain; Ringpung Dzong and its watch tower Ta Dzong which now houses the National Museum; Taktsang Monastery or the famous “Tiger’s Nest”, a cliff-hanging monastery first built in 1692 on the spot where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated in the 8th century; cocktail reception and final night celebratory dinner at Uma Paro.

Uma Paro

 

Days 12:  Departure Paro
April 14, 2018

See More

TOUR FEES INCLUDE

11 nights in hotels as indicated and available; breakfast daily, 11 lunches & 10 dinners including bottled water, soft drinks, coffee and tea at all included meals; Welcome and Farewell Cocktail Receptions; final night dinner at Uma Paro; all sightseeing, entrance fees and transfers on a private basis in air-conditioned car and /or minivan with an accompanying English-speaking local guide throughout; baggage handling, portage at airports and hotels; Bhutan entry visa and Tourism Fees; taxes, service charges and gratuities to all local guides, drivers, representatives, restaurant and hotel staff; services of Tour Director Richard Koegl; Oasis pre-departure and final documents information.

Not Included:

International airfare to / from Paro, Bhutan (from Delhi or Bankgok); non-medical / accident + health / baggage / cancellation insurances (all highly recommended); any extra hotel nights and or tours / activities not mentioned; any items of a personal nature.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Bhutan

Most tourist hotels in Bhutan are of a similar standard and are built in classical Bhutanese style. On this itinerary we will be using traditional tourist hotels and more luxurious four and five star properties. Bear in mind that while tourist hotels cannot be compared to international standards, they are comfortable, clean, often family run and provide private en suite facilities. Above all they are authentic and any inconveniences far outweigh the unforgettable experience of staying in them. The subtle and understated luxury of four and five star hotels now offered in Bhutan provide a lovely refuge of contrasts, properties that blend harmoniously into the environment.

 

Thimphu:  Hotel Osel 

The 35-room Hotel Osel is a 4-star property situated the heart of Thimphu Valley set back from the main road.  A relatively new construction it encompasses the spirit of Bhutanese architecture and style, and service is gracious and helpful.  Rooms are large and have views of the valley, towards the Dzong or the seated Buddha.  The hotel has a small business center, spa and sauna, offers dry cleaning and laundry services, and provides complimentary WiFi.

Bhutan

Punahka:  Dhensa Resort

The 24-room Dhensa Resort is a 5-star property situated in the heart of the lush Punakha Valley.  Flanked by thick pine forests, it overlooks the Punakha River and terraced paddy fields.  The resort marries contemporary design with age-old tradition.  There is a spa, complimentary WiFi and access to the Dhensa Library.  The 24 rooms are set in six cottages, all with private balconies. They encapsulate the beauty of simplicity:  the spacious interiors are deliberately understated in design.

Bhutan

Gangtey:  Gangtey Goenpa Lodge

The Gangtey Goenpa Lodge is a wood-and-stone 2013-built 5-star construction situated on a hill top with sweeping views over the entire Gangte Valley.  The 12 room lodge has warm and welcoming suites all with in-room fireplaces.  There is laundry service and complimentary WiFi.

Bhutan

Trongsa:  Yangkhil Resort

This 21 room 3-star tourist hotel is situated in the Mangde Valley in Trongsa.  Guestrooms are simple, decorated in a Bhutanese style and all have twin or double beds with ensuite bathrooms.  Set in a lush garden, the views of the surrounding mountains early morning are breathtaking.  There is complimentary WiFi in the common areas, a multi-cuisine restaurant and small business center.

Bhutan

Bumthang:  Yu-Gharling Resort

This 4-star hotel overlooks the valley and offers complimentary WiFi in the lobby and bar.  Guestrooms are large and the views are spectacular.  There is a spa with massage, Jacuzzi, and a hot-stone bath.  The excellent restaurant serves Bhutanese, Chinese, continental and Indian food.

Bhutan

Paro:  Uma Paro

Uma Paro is a 20-room luxury hotel offering 5-star comfort in the wildly beautiful hills overlooking Paro Valley.  The hotel is dedicated to understated philosophy of quiet comfort in inspiring, culture-rich locations.  The philosophy at Uma is a holistic, cultural adventure featuring yoga and Asian-inspired therapies devoted not just to the body but to spiritual wellbeing.  There is an indoor pool, spa and fitness center.  Guestrooms are decorated in calming woods and neutrals and overlook the surrounding pine forests and valley and feature a king-sized or twin beds, hand-painted traditional Bhutanese wall designs and a well-appointed bathroom.  Room facilities include flat screen TV, DVD player, safety deposit box, minibar, hairdryer and complimentary WiFi.

See More

Featured Journeys

Extraordinary trips of a lifetimeFeatured Journeys

Gallery

Photography that tells storiesGallery

Our Blog

A journal of global travelsOur Blog