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Bhutan. Inside the Hidden Himalayan Kingdom.

Welcome to the land of Gross National Happiness. Almost completely cut off from the outside world for centuries, the Kingdom of Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas, has now opened its doors. It does so even as it continues to guard its most sacred Buddhist traditions and most precious ancient customs.

     R. Crusoe offers a sample journey to get you started.


Bhutan

Type:Custom Journeys

Mode:Land

Sample Journeys

Here is a sample journey to the Himalayan Kingdon of Bhutan. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Bhutan journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.

Bhutan. Inside the Hidden Himalayan Kingdom.

Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Asia.
Overnight in flight

Day 2: Asian Gateway City
• Land in the Asian gateway city of your choice: Bangkok, Kathmandu, Delhi, Mumbai, or Calcutta.
Overnight ion your own arrangements

Day 3: Asian Gateway City; Paro, Thimphu, Bhutan
• Fly to Paro.
• Drive to Thimphu.
• Memorial Chorten
Overnight in Thimphu

Day 4: Thimphu
• City tour including Chokhi School of Arts &?Crafts, Folk Heritage Museum, Textile Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang Temple, Zilukha Nunnery, Taschichho Thimphu Dzong.
• Dinner at a private home with Venerable Mynak R. Tulku Rinpoche.
Overnight in Thimphu

Day 5: Dochu La Pass, Phobjikha Valley
• Drive Dochu La Pass to to Dochu La Monastery.
• Phobjikha Valley.
Overnight in Phobjikha Valley

Day 6: Phobjikha Valley, Jakar
• Gangtey ritual.
• Nature walks, Black-Necked Crane Center, Gangtey Goempa Monastery.
Overnight in Phobjikha Valley

Day 7: Phobjikha Valley, Punakha Valley
• Chimi Lhakhang Temple, Punakha Dzong.
Overnight in Punakha Valley

Day 8: Punakha Valley, Paro, Paro Valley
• Drive through Paro Valley.
• Paro (Rinpung) Dzong, Nyamai-Zam Bridge, Paro main street, Choeding Temple.
Overnight in Paro

Day 9: Paro, Paro Valley
• Option to hike to Tiger’s Nest or to Dzong Draka or time at leisure.
• Private dinner with director of the Paro Museum.
Overnight in Paro

Day 10: Paro; Gateway Asian City
• Fly to Asian gateway city, connect to a homebound flight.

Day 11: United States
• Welcome home.

 

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Sample Pricing

Per person sharing room from $7,980 for this 11-day sample itinerary

Upgrades to Aman hotels are possible at additional cost. For details, please speak to an R. Crusoe travel specialist.

For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.

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Thimphu.

Tashi Taj. A blend of dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 66 guest rooms afford breathtaking views of the mountains that rise above Thimphu Valley. Amenities: fitness center, spa, heated indoor pool, 2 restaurants, 2 bars.

Amankora Thimphu. This property, in a blue-pine forest, sits close to the area’s intriguing sites and its charming traditional shops. The Amankora is a quiet retreat. Its dzong-like architecture incorporates stone, whitewashed buildings, and traditional wood burning bukhari stoves. A flagstone outdoor dining deck offers views of surrounding forest. 16 suites. Amenities: spa, 1 restaurant.

Punakha.

Uma Punakha. Opened September 2012. Positioned on a river bend in the Punakha Valley, the Uma offers stunning views from its light-filled rooms. Two villas—an intimate 1-bedroom and a family-friendly 2-bedroom—provide luxury in the wilderness. 9 guest rooms, 2 villas. Amenities: holistic treatment center, 1 restaurant.

Amankora Punakha. Based around a traditional farmhouse built by the queen mother, this hotel is surrounded by orchards and rice paddies and flanked by the Mo Chu River. Indulge in the spa, if you choose, or practice meditation during your stay. 24 suites. Amenities: spa, 1 restaurant.

Paro.

Uma Paro. Located on a 38-acre site atop a tree-clad hill close to town. 9 villas, 20 guest rooms. Amenities: holistic spa, indoor pool, fitness center, 1 restaurant.

Zhiwa Ling. A 45-room property on 10 acres that combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with 21st-century technology. Envisioned and created by a local Bhutanese company, the hotel is lovely, from it elaborate hand-carved wooden cornices to its masterful stonework. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, sauna, steam room, traditional outdoor hot-stone bath, temple, tea house, meditation house, and greenhouse. Two restaurants serve contemporary international cuisine and classic Bhutanese dishes.

Amankora Paro. This lodge stands nestled in a beautiful pine forest in the shadow of Mount Jhomolhari. The property is cozily understated, its architecture drawing from traditional Bhutanese design. Natural rammed-earth walls and gently sloping roofs characterize its rooms. 24 suites. Amenities: library, spa, boutique, 1 restaurant.

Phobjikha Valley.

Amankora Gangtey. On a forested knoll close to the valley floor. A winding path leads guests through the forest and offers sweeping views of the stunning valley landscape, fields of dwarf bamboo, and lush potato crops. The lodge accommodations and guest areas are in a rammed-earth building. Cozy chairs and sofas and family-style dining tables all providing valley and mountain views through floor-to-ceiling windows. 8 guest rooms. Amenities: spa, massage, yoga, 1 restaurant.

Bumthang.

Amankora Bumthang. Set in apple and pear orchards and framed by fields of buckwheat, millet, potato, and deep pine forests. Each of the suites is warmed by a wood-burning bukhari stove and offers views onto a courtyard, a nearby palace, and a monastery. 16 suites. Amenities: spa, library, 1 restaurant.

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Bhutan Birding.

Those of you who love birds know who you are. (Count R. Crusoe in.)

     One bird that gets an ornithologist grabbing for a pair of binoculars? The Black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis), sometimes called the Tibetan crane.

     Of the 16 known species of cranes, the black-necked was the last to be discovered. Nikolai Przhevalsky, an officer with the Imperial Russian Army, first recorded a sighting in Tibet in 1876.

     Late each October, black-necked cranes (the Bhutanese call them thrung thrung karmo) begin their migration from the Tibetan Plateau to Bhutan. Many settle in the Phobjikha Valley, feeding on dwarf bamboo shoots that grow in this wetland. By mid-February, the birds begin their return flight to Tibet.

     Hunting and habitat encroachment threatened the black-necked crane population until the Bhutanese government took action and outlawed hunting in 1980. Today, killing a crane is a serious crime in Bhutan, and the government has designated the bird’s habitats as protected conservation areas.

     The cranes have attained celebrity status in Bhutan. They typically circle the Buddhist Gangtey Monastery in the Phobjikha Valley three times upon arrival and again upon departure, which is seen by the locals as a nod to the gods. Indeed, many Bhutanese consider it a blessing to see black-necked cranes flying overhead.

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