BHUTAN - Including the newly opened Haa Valley.

8 Days. Mid-range Hotels and Guest Houses.
Flight: Kathmandu-Paro-Kathmandu.
Pre-tour Briefing: HE Office (Kathmandu Guest House) 3 pm on day prior to Day 1. Full attendance necessary for briefing with emphasis on visa, flight ticket and individual equipment checks.

Pre-tour Briefing: H.E. Office (Kathmandu Guest House) 3 pm on day prior to Day 1. Full attendance necessary for briefing with emphasis on passport, visa and flight ticket checks.

Bhutan: a landlocked kingdom situated at the eastern end of the Himalayas. The Bhutanese call their nation Druk Yul, which literally means ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. A self-imposed exile from the outside world saw life here virtually unchanged until the early 60s, and recent developments, from limited air access, the internet, mobile phone connections, to democratic elections in 2008, have seen Bhutan rapidly modernise.

Wedged between the mighty powers of China and India, the Bhutanese have consciously maintained a firm grasp on many of their traditions as a way of guaranteeing and preserving their sovereignty and unique culture.

A multitude of factors has influenced the social fabric of Bhutan. Religious and cultural influences form a common thread, which can be seen running through the country’s government, its art, architecture, literature and music, and indeed the entire social make-up of the kingdom.

The population consists predominantly of three ethnic groups: the Ngalops of the western and central region, the Sharchogpas of the east, and the Lhotsampas, recent immigrants of Nepalese origin who settled mainly along the southern plain.
More than 80 percent of the population lead agrarian lives in villages, often in rough, remote terrain. They are, however, not above enjoying the lighter moments in life and are known to be a sporty lot. The Bhutanese zealously celebrate religious festivals and holidays with indigenous sports such as traditional archery, dego (discus), and khuru (shot put). These occasions are always large social gatherings which include feasting and drinking.

Religion is the other major value system that holds the Bhutanese people together. Tantric Mahayana Buddhism of the Drukpa Kagyu sect has survived unblemished here for centuries and continues to be the officially adopted religion of the state. It is a religion that is more about tolerance than fanaticism - the people of Bhutan are allowed to practise any faith of their choice.

Bhutan holds the unofficial title of ‘The Happiest Country’ in Asia, according to the quaintly titled survey, the ‘World Map of Happiness’.
Bhutanese art and craft, inevitably religious in character, exists in 13 forms that are together called the zorig chusum. These 13 forms include textile weaving, wood and slate carving, painting, blacksmithery, and pottery, all of which have elaborate techniques and traditions passed on through successive generations.

See Bhutan now! For this Buddhist nation is slowly-but-surely emerging to take its rightful place on a larger, modern world stage.

Monk

tibet

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY:
Day 1: Fly Kathmandu to Paro (2,280m) & Drive to Thimpu (2,400m)
Morning flight to the Bhutanese city of Paro (55mins approx), our entry point located in a beautiful valley, where a warm welcome awaits. Jovial faces, prayer flags and the cool, fresh air of this high Himalayan city are immediately noticeable. Without spilling any quality time in this journey of life-time (at least for some!), we make our way to the capital city of Thimpu (1.5hr approx). The sights along the way will certainly up your excitement about your trip that is soon to unfold. After lunch, Orientation and free time follow.
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Center of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a lively place, and an interesting combination of tradition and modernity. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monks, Thimphu maintains a strong national character thanks to the adherence to traditional architectural practices.

After lunch, we embark on a tour to take in the highlights of Thimpu. The afternoon tour will include:

National Memorial Chorten:-
The building of this chorten was the idea of Bhutan's third King, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck ('the father of modern Bhutan'), who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state. After His Majesty’s premature death in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory as well as serve as a monument to peace. The National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974. The finely executed wall paintings and delicately fashioned statues within the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

National Library:
The Library was established in the late 1960s, primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. It now houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format, with some works several hundreds of years old. This collection, known as the Choekey Collection, mainly comprises Buddhist literature written in Choekey, the religious script of Northern Buddhism.

As well, it also includes works written in Tibetan and in Dzongkha, Bhutan’s national language.
There is a small Foreign Book Collection, mainly comprising of works written in English, on subjects such as Buddhist studies, Bhutan, the Himalayan region and Bhutan’s neighboring countries.

Institute for Zorig Chusum:
Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see and often talk with students and learn a little of the various skills and disciplines taught.

Monastery

 

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